This article is brought to you by Physical Coaching Academy
One way a great trainer can distinguish him- or herself from other trainers is by good cueing.
What is cueing?
Cue / (ˈkjuːɪŋ) / refers to a signal or a stimulus that results in an action. In other words, giving instructions, pointers or directions. The way trainers cue will predict the way clients learn specific movements and exercises.
Positive versus negative cueing
Depending on our clients, we can cue positively or negatively. Some clients might prefer hearing what exactly they are doing wrong, others will prefer you to disguise to a more positive approach.
Find out which of the two your clients prefer.
Here are a few examples of negative cues versus positive cues:
- “Don’t round your shoulders” vs. “Keep your shoulders back and down”
- “Don’t round your back” vs. “Stay as tall as possible”
- “Don’t let your knees cave in” vs. “Track your knees over your toes”
- “Don’t overextend your neck” vs. “Keep your chin tucked in”
Types of cueing
There are 3 types of cues we can use during coaching:
1. Verbal cueing
Imagine you would be coaching a blind person. It’s important to give short, simple, yet effective cues. Here are a few examples of poor cues versus better cues to use:
- “That looks great!” vs. “Your knees are tracking your toes perfectly like that”
- “Your posture looks good!” vs. “Your back is nice and tall, which makes your posture look great!”
- “Your knees are good” vs. “The alignment of your knees are in the place they should, tracking over your toes”
2. Visual cueing
Imagine you would be coaching a deaf person. Make your cues as visual as possible. When talking about a certain muscle you will be training, show that muscle by touching it, for example: “We’ll be training the obliques” - while saying this, touch your obliques so the client knows where they have to put their focus.
3. Kinesthetic cueing
It could be that verbal nor visual cueing works for your clients. In this case, kinesthetic cueing can be the one. Using tactile feedback for example: “Keep your shoulder blades down and back, until you feel my hand”.
Another great example here can be to use a broomstick or PVC pipe when performing a hip hinge. “Keep the broomstick in contact with the back of your head, between the shoulder blades, and your tailbone. With these 3 points of contact, perform the hip hinge, without losing contact with any of these 3 points.”
Clients should notice feedback, imagine certain cues, sense and/or feel tactile feedback.