Can the Training of Athletes and Non-Athletes Have Similarities? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Can the Training of Athletes and Non-Athletes Have Similarities?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • The training of athletes and non-athletes can have similarities.
  • Progressions and variations of exercises are important especially for those who may not be at an advanced level physically.
  • Exercises and workout plans should be tailored for a specific person whether they are an athlete or not. There are certain imbalances or areas of improvement for each individual.

Everyone trains for different reasons. Athletes want to perform better in competition, bodybuilders want the right physique, and just about all of us want to look better in some way. One has to be sure they put together a safe and effective training routine but there are so many styles of training out there! Which is the best way to go?

Whether or not you’d call yourself an athlete, personal trainer Vallice Ford believes there are plenty of benefits to training like one. Here’s what he has to say:

I often get asked about my training style or primary focus with my clients. First, I like to point out that all my clients start out at different levels.

For example, if I have a stay-at-home mom who played soccer in college, then her workouts would be totally different from what I plan for a retired 57-year-old secretary with a hip replacement.

So, can you train athletes and non-athletes similarly? I say Yes, it is possible.

You may find it interesting to read that I have put some clients – men & women – through some of the very same workouts that I did numerous times when I played college football.


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Progression and Variation

There needs to be a progression to everything. I do my best not to limit or categorize my training style or my client’s progression and abilities. As a trainer and strength coach, I am sought out to motivate and challenge people who may have never been physically challenged before.

Challenging and motivating my clients keeps them excited about training and also keeps me fresh and innovative on new exercises and concepts. Monotony can be brutal; I’ve been there.

Todd Durkin says that the manner in which he trains Drew Brees and other Professional Athletes is not that far from the average client. What do you think about that?

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Athletic Moves Work

I had the opportunity of taking a client who was a pathologist in a hospital, smoked cigarettes, and drank wine frequently during the week to the point where she purchased her first pair of running shoes and now is in the process of training for 5K races.

Even though she was fairly active at work, she never thought she would see herself doing the kind of agility drills and plyometric box jumps that athletes perform.

Might I also mention that she dropped 15+ pounds in the first few months after changing eating, drinking and smoking habits?! She stopped smoking and drinking wine completely, and trained with me three times per week.

She also walked to the gym instead of driving as long as it wasn’t a monsoon outside. As a fitness professional, you live for moments and success stories like this one.

Why Training Matters

To know that you can greatly impact somebody’s life in this particular manner is more rewarding than any monetary compensation. Trainers: don’t be afraid to try new exercises with your clients if they are at the skill level to perform them!

Also, clients: do not be afraid to make these kinds of suggestions to your trainer. If they really care, they will always have your best in mind.

When in doubt, Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.). I try to follow a pattern that my client will not see the same exercise in a two-week period.

This may seem hard, but a small modification as far as the angle of the range of motion or the tempo can make this very creative and interesting.


Keep in mind that exercise will always be an important component of one’s overall health. Get started on your fitness journey today by Going PRO and gaining access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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