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PAR-Q and Screening.
Erica Eaton Quinn
What should a fitness professional do before any new
client is given an exercise programme?
Meet, greet and screen the client.
Need to gather certain information.
What would you need to know about
Medical background and current
Consider medical background…
– Need to identify signs/symptoms of
– Analyse risk profile, e.g. CHD
Why is it important to find this out?
• The aim of health screening is to look
for contra-indications to exercise.
• Exercise is generally marketed from a
• BUT it can have negative effects for
certain people if the correct
prescription for a certain condition is
• The aim is to enhance health not kill
• For example CHD can be greatly
helped by exercise, but if it is set at
the wrong level it can kill.
How do you gather the information?
Using a PAR-Q.
Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.
‘To detect the presence of disease and to
assess the initial disease risk classification
of the clients’
Note there are 2 parts to the statement:
Detect the presence of disease.
Classify the client’s risk.
What questions do you need to ask?
• Consider the design of the PAR-Q document.
• In small groups list the information you need to assess
• Try to create a series of questions to gather this
information from your client.
• You need to consider how each question is worded.
• Note that your client may not be aware of some of the
• Only ask questions that will help you to help the client.
• If a specific condition/risk is identified in your client what
do you do next?
But in reality…
• It is not so simple.
• GPs are already overworked,
overstressed, have very little
• Given 9 minutes per person!
• Many now charge for forms to be
• May not want to accept liability!
• Some clubs have come up with
an alternative version.
Do all medical conditions require
• If they have answered yes to a specific set of
questions they will need to sign a second form to
say their condition is under control.
• Requires some degree of responsibility for self.
• Can self certificate for certain conditions.
• For example:
• Other conditions may be classified as high risk…
Risk Factors for CHD.
• CHD is a big killer in the developed world.
• An increase in PA is known to help the condition.
• BUT if it is set at the wrong level it can kill.
• Need to assess risk factors for CHD…
• Three levels of risk:
• Males <45 and females <55
• And those showing no current symptoms
• Males >45 and females >55
• Or those showing at least one pre-existing medical
condition (but not Cardiovascular).
• [ACSM (1995) state medical clearance needed for the
• Individuals who have one or more signs or symptoms of
cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic disease.
• Look at the PAR-Q you have been
allocated and evaluate the following:
• Content-does it cover all the important
– If not what is missing?
• Coherence-is it easy to follow?
• Language-is the use of language suitable?
• Layout-is it well laid out?
If the PAR-Q does not highlight any
• If your client has no medical issues you can undertake a
range of anthropometric tests and basic fitness tests.
• Height and weight (BMI)
• Waist to hip ratio
• Body composition
• Cardiovascular function – Blood Pressure, Resting Heart
Rate, V02Max (indirectly!)
• Lung Function – static and dynamic lung volumes.
• Muscular endurance.
BUT before carrying out fitness tests
• Is fitness testing required/what does it
– Motivational tool.
– Set targets.
– Identify whether programme is working (re-
• When deciding what to test consider…
– The situation you are putting your client in?
– Is it beneficial to the client?
– Are you forcing the client into a situation they
are unhappy with?
Obtaining the information requires a
professional approach to the client…
• Consider meeting your client for the first
• Remember your client could be very
nervous/out of their comfort zone.
• What should the fitness professional
– First impressions are very important.
– The first meeting is generally more
memorable for the client than for you.
– The meeting may have a strong
significance for the client.
– Your responses/reactions to the client
could have a dramatic effect…do not
want to put them off!
The ACSM (2007) states a personal trainer
[fitness professional] should provide…
• Education and knowledge
• Safe and effective practice (client’s needs)
• Individual attention
• Motivation and enthusiasm
• Achieving targets
• Empathic listening and communication
• Human interest / respect / welfare / guidance
• High quality
• Good reliable service
When you carry out your client interview consider the
skills you need as a fitness professional?
• Need to remember that the client must
feel as though they can trust you with
• Display a good subject knowledge as
the client has come to you for expert
• Need good people skills.
• Need to be able to actively listen.
• Must be non-judgemental.
• Also need to be enthusiastic as well as
• Be aware of non verbal communication
and the message you give out.
Task for next session.
• Based on the PAR-Q you developed as a
group devise your own individual PAR-Q
• Carry out a client consultation to obtain a
• Check with your client that you can bring
the PAR-Q to the next session for analysis
• Bring the PAR-Q to the next session.
• Heyward, V. (2006) Advanced
Fitness Assessment and Exercise
Prescription. Bradford, Human