Skills Of A Personal Trainer: Examples And Ways To Improve

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Personal trainers guide their students to complete specific fitness goals by helping them through exercises and diet plans. The skills of such fitness coaches are essential in deciding what type of physical training they can offer and how their fitness knowledge can teach clients to live a healthier lifestyle. Understanding a personal trainer's skill set might help you practise the fitness skills employers look for in fitness instructors. In this article, we discuss the skills of a personal trainer, list some examples and methods to improve these skills and explain how to highlight them in your job applications.

What Are The Skills Of A Personal Trainer?

The skills of a personal trainer support their clients in achieving their desired physique by following a fitness regime suitable for their body type. As a personal trainer, you study your client's fitness goals and present health conditions to create an exercise and dietary routine for toning their body. Personal trainers use soft and technical skills to contribute to their client's fitness journey. Soft skills such as being an active listener and giving easy-to-follow advice help address a customer's difficulties and recommend fitness solutions. In comparison, technical skills help create diet charts and allocate the right workout equipment.

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5 Examples Of Personal Trainer Skills

Trainers use many skills to help clients establish a healthy fitness plan. If you wish to work as a personal trainer, you can benefit from improving these skills:

1. Equipment knowledge

As there are different equipment choices for exercising varying body parts, knowledge of fitness equipment is essential. For example, some equipment focuses on the upper body, such as the back, shoulder and chest muscles. Understanding the appropriate weights and exercising gear for each body part helps offer correct guidance. Similarly, lower body areas such as the thighs, calves and glutes may use unique weight bands or barbells. Accustoming yourself to how various equipment impacts specific muscles can convince future employers of your expertise as a fitness instructor.

2. Nutrition awareness

Since the speed at which clients achieve their fitness goals depends on specific dietary decisions, personal trainers can offer better nutritional food choices. This might include food and beverage combinations with different quantities of proteins, vitamins and minerals. Learning how to suggest food choices for pre-and post-workout meals might improve your client's bodily response to fatigue. Gathering data on your client's age, weak muscles and joints, current diet and allergies may help develop accurate nutritional plans that complement their physical fitness. Storing a database of diet plans based on fitness goals can also help.

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3. Stretching techniques

Personal trainers can educate their clients on stretching techniques to loosen their muscles and relieve stiffness. During pre-workout warm-ups, you can use this skill to prepare your client's muscles for enduring challenging stages of exercises during the main workout. Try targeting muscle groups based on the workout regime for the day. For instance, if the class focuses on using barbells, kettlebells or treadmills to strengthen the lower body, conduct pre-workout stretching exercises that flex the same muscles. This might reduce body soreness and present trainees with an enjoyable fitness training experience.

4. Communication skills

Because amateur trainees may not understand complicated exercising fundamentals, personal trainers usually explain the basics of posture maintenance and the right way to use the equipment. As this requires interacting with clients, how you speak can motivate them to follow your instructions. If a client thinks it is difficult to perform a specific body movement demanding flexibility, empathise and patiently help them enhance their range of movement. This helps develop a reliable relationship and demonstrates your ability to guide beginners using practical and theoretical fitness expertise.

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5. Time management

Time management helps fitness instructors stay organised and accommodate the schedules of multiple clients while also practising new fitness formats. You may use calendars to remember reserved slots, reschedule session dates, submit invoices and make notes for special requests from clients. As a fitness trainer, you may research and prepare dietary recommendations to help your clients improve their health. In case of extra classes for clients wanting to tone their body before a special occasion, you may create stricter yet shorter workout sessions to ensure you provide quality fitness training.

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How To Improve Personal Training Skills

Consider following these steps to improve your personal training skills and offer better fitness instructions:

1. Participate in certified courses

Participating in certified personal training courses educates you on standard fitness protocols for creating effective workout plans. These courses offer specialised training on fitness techniques for different muscle groups, such as abs, shoulders, chest or legs. You can apply these teachings based on your clientele and their aspirations. Try registering for a course that offers a practical experience through certified fitness instructors with at least five years of experience training fitness aspirants.

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2. Offer private classes to beginners

Once you complete certification in personal training, try offering your services to beginners wanting to build a healthy physique. Such services allow you to observe your teaching skills and analyse your client's response to the fitness lessons. Make it a proactive process and ask your clients to communicate any physical changes they observe. It can also help to inform your previous fitness instructors of your new clients and share your monthly progress with them. This might motivate them to share their opinions on your process and suggest relevant changes.

3. Continue practising posture and mobility

Many fitness trainees rely on examining and copying your posture without asking questions. Since they may not imitate your posture perfectly, your experience in observing your initial mistakes related to posture and weak mobility can help. Use your observations to create a fitness chart denoting common issues with posture sustenance and lack of mobility. Add another section displaying images and text-based descriptions of the quickest solutions to maximise your posture correctness and mobility range.

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4. Request feedback from clients

Requesting client feedback can reveal how you can improve as a fitness instructor. Ask them to rate your communication and demonstration skills on a scale of one to ten. Based on the fitness lessons and formats you taught them, ask for exercise-specific feedback to understand what variations you can add for a better workout experience. The more feedback you get, the easier it becomes to identify what areas of your professional skill set you can improve. Their feedback also informs you of their exercise preferences and gives you valuable insight into your expertise.

Personal Training Skills At The Workplace

You can use these tips to display your personal training skills in the workplace:

  • Suggest exercise variations. Since specific movements may be challenging for trainees, suggesting variations in exercise formats enables them to participate throughout the class. It is beneficial to prepare at least one alternative exercise targeting the same muscle group.

  • Mentor fresher personal trainers. Taking the responsibility to guide new recruits shows your confidence and commitment to sharing your fitness knowledge. This approach also explains your leadership skills, helping you in quicker promotions.

  • Track your clients' physical progress. Monitoring your clients' progress can indicate your dedication to helping them achieve their goals. Create bi-monthly reports highlighting their progress and suggest advanced workouts based on their improved endurance.

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How To Highlight Personal Training Skills In A Job Application?

Here are three areas where personal trainers can highlight their skills during a job application:


Because hiring managers read your resume first, briefly state your experience as an instructor by using the professional summary section. The experience section allows you to highlight relevant achievements and duties during your past roles as a fitness instructor. In the skills section, you can categorise critical soft and technical skills to highlight your communication, management and equipment-handling knowledge.

Cover letters

Cover letters let you expand on how your fitness skill set contributed to your client's fitness programme. Relate these skills to how you developed fitness routines for clients with different physiques and fitness goals. As cover letters include multiple sentences, you can add your client's fitness parameters before and after following your instructions.

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Job interviews

Since you converse with hiring managers during job interviews, talk about how your skills supported you in developing goal-specific fitness plans. Elaborate on how you take periodic feedback and modify exercise formats to incorporate new workouts. It is best to explain your fitness philosophy and methods to highlight the importance of dietary commitments for faster results.

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