Imagine this conversation between trainer and client;
Trainer: “So my assessment findings has determined that your glutes are tight.”
Client: “What are my ‘glutes’?”
Trainer: “They are the muscles on your backside.”
Client: “So your saying I have tight buns? Sweet, thanks!”
Trainer: “No, no, this ins’t a good thing!”
Client: “Oh so your’e saying I’m a tight-arse? Do you know how much you charge?!”
The trainer could be right- tight glutes probably aren’t a good thing by their definition. But what is their definition? What do they mean by tight? This is crucial, as defining ‘tight’ more clearly instructs both trainer and client on what action needs to be taken.
So here are some alternative descriptions the trainer could have used.
Trainer: “As a result of my testing, it seems you are holding too much tone in your glutes- we call this neuromuscular facilitation. We are going to try some stretches and see if we can get them to ease off.”
Trainer: “Your glutes seem to restrict your ability to move freely through your hips. Stretching doesn’t seem to be having an effect- so we are going to try some self-massage using the foam-roller and see if we can loosen up the connective tissue of the glutes”.
These definitions are resultant from secondary testing (secondary to a passive ROM assessment in this case) so they are arrived at with greater confidence. They also lead directly to an intervention strategy that the client can take action on.
I don’t like the word tight. It is a vague, umbrella term that we can use out of habit- and I think it is an example of lazy language. I think the greatest gift we can give our clients is education to help demystify their body- fostering understanding is incredibly powerful. Lazy words like ‘tight’ do not demystify. I think they can actually do the opposite. We can do better!
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