Breaking into training special populations, like training clients with hypertension, can be a rewarding way for personal trainers to add a new stream of revenue to their fitness businesses.
To train clients with hypertension, it’s important that you’re not only well-versed in hypertension, but that you have the tools in place to make your training as effective as possible; that’s where personal training software comes into play.
By taking advantage of the features that personal training software has to offer, you can train clients with hypertension in a way that works for them, not against them.
To learn more about the Exercise.com personal training software platform, book a demo today.
How to Train Clients With Hypertension
To learn how to train clients with hypertension, it’s imperative that you have a thorough understanding of hypertension and why it’s important to follow certain procedures with these clients.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which a person’s blood pressure is abnormally high, usually classified once a person consistently records a blood pressure higher than 130/90. Blood pressure is considered one of the leading modifiable risk factors according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Hypertension is a very common health condition that can often be prevented with a proper diet and regular exercise. Chronic high blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessels and is a risk factor for more serious conditions like kidney disease, heart attacks, or arrhythmias.
Using exercise to fight hypertension is usually a fair plan as long as you use the proper precautions. There could be some differences if you’re training a hypertensive client that’s medicated versus one that isn’t.
Do you need to be certified to train clients with hypertension?
Before you start creating programs for clients with hypertension, you’ll want to get certified as a personal trainer at the very least. This is important for your client’s safety and to protect you legally. Hypertensive clients may have certain limitations that could be considered dangerous when combined with certain training regimens.
To better prepare yourself to work with clients with hypertension, there are some advanced certifications, listed below.
- ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EP)
- ACE Medical Exercise Specialist
- NSCA Special Populations Specialist (CSPS)
These certifications will help you better understand hypertension exercise guidelines so you can start programming for individuals with hypertension safely and effectively.
Training Clients With Hypertension
Working with hypertensive clients isn’t uncommon. If you’re looking to create a workout routine for high blood pressure clients, it does help to know whether those clients are medicated or not. There are a handful of common medications for hypertension that can affect heart rate, listed below.
- ACE Inhibitors
- Angiotension II Receptor Antagonists
- Calcium-channel Blockers
While this list is not exhaustive, it does serve as an example of the multitude of medications your client could be taking, each of which may impact their blood pressure and heart rate. This means that your client may not experience normal heart rate changes during exercise.
The primary considerations for personal training the hypertensive client surround resistance training. Exercise tends to increase systolic blood pressure, and heavy resistance training tends to exacerbate this effect. Industry professionals suggest that during training, clients with hypertension should avoid holding their breath while resistance training.
In most cases, clients hold their breath while lifting heavy loads or during isometric exercises. In conjunction, these clients may also perform the Valsalva Maneuver. While this technique may help improve lifting capacity, it can increase blood pressure to dangerous levels for hypertensive clients.
There are quite a few exercises that commonly require additional bracing and breathing techniques to be successful in lifting heavy loads. Because of this trend, many professionals consider these exercises to avoid with high blood pressure. Some examples include:
- Back Squats
- Front Squats
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Olympic Lifts (Cleans, Jerks, Snatches)
It’s important to note that the exercises themselves aren’t of sole concern to clients with hypertension. More importantly, these exercises performed with relatively heavy loads (>80% 1-RM) can be dangerous because of tendencies to strain and resultantly hold your breath.
The top workouts for people with high blood pressure will be aerobic in nature. Aerobic exercise tends to do a better job improving circulation, utilizing energy, regulating fluid balance, and more. Resistance training is still recommended, but simply at lower intensities than you would use with normal clients.
A good measure for hypertensive clients would be to perform resistance training with loads that they can lift 10 times at a minimum. Muscular endurance training would be preferred over muscular strength training.
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Software Tools for Training Clients With Hypertension
When you’re learning how to train someone with hypertension, you’ll need to be prepared with structured blood pressure-lowering workouts. Your clients will trust and rely on you to provide them safe workouts or exercise guidelines.
Workout Software for Clients With Hypertension
Hypertension can be frightening for those who aren’t familiar with exercise and nutrition. With contraindicated exercises, specific methods of resistance training, and other considerations for exercising with hypertension, your clients might want help understanding how to perform exercise safely.
Exercise.com’s workout software provides trainers with a platform to develop, send, and log workouts that are easily accessed by clients. If your client is away on vacation or doesn’t need your direct supervision, you can even automate their workouts for them to log on their own.
As a trainer, you can even offer a sample exercise program for hypertension clients so they can get a feel for your programming and software. Over time, the software features valuable analytics that comes with easy-to-read graphs and charts.
Fitness Assessments for Clients With Hypertension
Clients with hypertension will exhibit different symptoms or responses to exercise depending on the severity of their hypertension and any associated medications. Exercise.com offers functional fitness assessment software that can help trainers assess hypertensive clients to better understand their abilities.
To prepare for clients with hypertension, you might want to include cardiorespiratory assessments, mobility screens, and muscular endurance tests to get a better idea of how well they tolerate exercise. It’s important to remember that your clients shouldn’t perform a 1-repetition maximum strength assessment due to the adverse effects of high blood pressure.
Once you establish a good relationship and clear expectations with your client, you’ll be afforded greater flexibility with assessments. You can send and automate fitness assessments that clients can conduct and log on their own, as you feel appropriate.
Customizable Exercise Library for Clients With Hypertension
Fitness assessments and workouts are clearly important for hypertensive clients. For clients who are looking to train more independently, you’ll be able to provide your workouts through your custom-branded fitness app with Exercise.com. This offers your clients convenient access to workouts whenever they like.
For clients that might not have a ton of experience in the gym, there is some inherent risk when sending them off on their own. Thankfully, Exercise.com’s customizable exercise library serves as a valuable guide to help clients understand the technique behind every exercise you include in your fitness program.
This way, if your client decides to train independently, you’ll feel confident knowing they can read and visualize the exercise that they’re supposed to perform rather than an unsafe alternative.
Training Clients With Hypertension: The Bottom Line
Training clients with hypertension requires a lot more than just general knowledge. It requires education, empathy, and a host of software tools built with customization and adaptation in mind.
To learn more about how Exercise.com can help you train hypertensive clients, book a demo today.