There are plenty of telltale signs that a personal trainer isn’t up to par. Starting a workout with stability ball crunches is a good sign that you’re personal trainer doesn’t know what he’s doing.
I see personal trainers do all kinds of bad things and can tell a lot about a trainer by how they start their sessions. If your trainer starts a workout by having you do any kind of crunches it’s a great indication that you should find another trainer.
Workouts should start with low-intensity compound movements – calisthenics, dynamic flexibility exercises, an easy couple of minutes on a rowing machine, etc. – and transition to higher intensity exercises as the session progresses. This is Training Knowledge 101.
A trainer who starts sessions with any kind of crunches is lazy and interested in killing time rather than providing clients with an efficient and effective workout. Personal trainers start training sessions with crunches because they are lazy and it gives them the opportunity to sit down – on the floor or on another stability ball – while not having to actually teach clients anything.
If you pay a personal trainer you should expect that you are going to get a workout that will challenge you, improve your fitness level and teach you something. A workout that starts with crunches just doesn’t cut it. Crunches, no matter when they are done, are one of the least effective exercises you can do.
If your trainer includes crunches in your routine this indicates they possess an extremely limited – and suspect – amount of knowledge; there are a litany of more useful exercises that strengthen abdominal muscles. Trainers who incorporate crunches are unaware of the realities involved with strengthening the abdominal muscles and how these muscles function.
Lazy trainers defend their use of crunches based on the misguided believe that this exercise “protects” weak backs and trunks. This is nonsense. The only way to truly strengthen the trunk – which by the way extends beyond the muscles of the abdomen and back – is through the use of dynamic, full range-of-motion exercises that are performed in a variety of positions, not just lying on your back. Your trainer might not know what they’re doing if they if sessions start with crunches and without you performing a proper warm up.