Adapted fitness is personal training for people with both temporary and permanent disabilities, adapted to the needs of the individual. It can be utilized for weight management, stress management, healthier lifestyle choices, and more. Read on to find out how to use this methodology with differently-abled personal training clients.

How does the Adapted Fitness Training Model work?

Exercise routines and machines can be utilized by differently-abled bodies – it just requires a knowledgeable personal trainer to help them safely reach their goals. Training programs are centered around each person’s indivdual goals, whether those are daily weight management goals or serious athletic goals. In addition to physical training, adapted fitness also serves as a tool to help clients define their sense of self and their confidence.

Examples of adapted fitness

Low-impact cardio workouts like cycling and jogging or muscular challenges like circuit training and power yoga are ideal for adapting to all sorts of clients and their fitness needs. Utilizing wheelchair-friendly gym equipment to strengthen clients’ arms and core is another excellent adapted fitness goal.

What are the benefits?

While this adapted approach to training will have different results for everybody and nothing is guaranteed, there can be some real medical benefits. A few of the biggest focuses are on pain reduction, functional strength development, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and mobility. Improved blood circulation, digestion, bone density, muscle strength, core strength, cardio strength, and reduced muscle atrophy and spasticity are also possible benefits.

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Why is Adapted Fitness Important?

Historically, the fitness industry was not accessible to people with disabilities. Gyms and equipment that are wheelchair accessible are still more a rarity, not a norm. Adapted Fitness ensures that physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle is no longer out of reach for anyone. Empowering clients and athletes with the tools and resources they need allows them to grow not only physically, but also psychologically.

Fitness for all is an important human rights goal that paves the way for better representation and quality of life for those who are differently-abled.

The Adapted Fitness Training Model in Action

At Special Strong, we utilize a specific training model with four key targets. Target I is Core Balance and Flexibility. This stage of the program focuses on functional movements and corrective exercise. Target II is Brain and Sensory System. This stage explores auditory, tactile, vestibular, and visual pathways. Target III is Strength and Muscle Development. At this stage, our clients receive anaerobic resistance training. Target IV is Endurance and Stamina Adaptation. Our clients in this final stage receive aerobic cardiovascular training.

Special Strong provides adapted fitness for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs certification courses for educators, professionals, and parents who want to learn how to adapt fitness to serve the special needs population. Fitness franchise opportunities are available.

Daniel Stein

Daniel has been involved in the fitness industry for over ten years and has owned his own private training business since 2013. His passion for health and fitness led him to get certified through NASM, NFPT, and ACSM. He also holds a specialty certification as a Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer (CIFT) and as a Certified Autism Trainer, which allows him to train individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. In 2013, Daniel married his beautiful wife, Trinity. A few years later, they prayerfully started Special Strong to pursue their calling of working with the special needs population. They both attend Resonate Life Church in Lucas and serve in ministry together. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, reading, and fishing.