Personal trainer Jack Graham says having uncertified instructors is ‘unsafe’
Physiotherapists in Dubai claim most the patients they see are people with “personal training injuries”, with many a result of working with unqualified trainers who don’t know what they are doing.
One physiotherapist said many ‘trainers’ in the UAE are unaware that a simple set of sit-ups can also cause health problems.
Doctors are urging trainers to get proper qualifications and to register with authorities in order to continue training people.
Miffy Edlund, a sports physiotherapist at The Physio Centre Dubai, said: “We always recommend our patients to ask for proof of qualification before arranging any training sessions. We have had more patients come to us in Dubai following personal training injuries, than anywhere else we have worked.
“But in Dubai, an interest in fitness is often mistaken for understanding exercise and training. Personal trainers are often under pressure to provide results in performance, strength and shape. This can often lead to neglect of the body and what it’s telling the client.”
Doctors are urging trainers to get proper qualifications
Edlund added that qualified trainers will know exactly what is right for their client and when to work out and rest. Edlund said: “Qualified personal trainers know when they can push and when they can’t, they know who to contact and most importantly for the client, can adapt a training regime to allow for continued exercise without doing further damage. Regulation of this industry is essential according to our therapists.”
One physiotherapist, Dr Abduladheem Kamkar, of Dr Kamkar Medical and Physiotherapy Centre, said he has had patients who have visited the centre with injuries resulting from doing too many sit-ups or ‘dead lifts’ – where a person lifts heavy equipment in a standing position.
He said that trainers need to receive “proper training” in order to help people get fit. “Trainers don’t even realise that one of the leading causes of back injuries are sit-ups and dead lifts,” Kamkar said. “It would help if trainers at least study the basics out of a medical book.”
One REPs-registered personal trainer at Smart Fitness Dubai, Jack Graham, 29, said that it’s important for trainers to get accredited, so people who are paying for the sessions can get the most out of their workouts in a safe environment.
He said: “It’s not difficult to register. You provide REPs with your qualifications and depending on how qualified you are, they provide you with a certificate and on what level you are. “There are lot of freelancers out there who are not registered and that’s not safe for the people in training.”
A gym instructor based in Abu Dhabi argues that as a former professional athlete he is better qualified than certified instructors due to his experience.
He said: “Having qualified REPs is a fantastic idea, but where it falls apart is if when people like me, a professional athlete for 15 years, who has competed around the world and qualified in numerous sports, does not get a certificate.
“I have applied for it but not been given once since I have not done the online course. People who have never worked in fitness pay around $2,000 and become a level one or two trainer, just because they did an online course.”
Training 50-60 people on a daily basis, he feels people like himself should have a different category or undergo a separate procedure to get certified.
“If you’re a mechanic, you need to study the books, but if you haven’t put them together physically, you really wouldn’t know how to go about it. “Same goes with the online training. It’s good but you need to have practical experience as well.”