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Fitness Risk Management

Course CodeVRE104
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Accidents and injuries are always a risk for people during exercise or any other physical activity. This course develops your ability to understand and manage risk of injury as an exercise professional.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding Human Wellness
    • Introduction
    • Self esteem
    • Motivation for learning
    • How to motivate students or clients
    • Reinforcement
    • Understanding Stress
    • Stress and the immune system
    • Long term(chronic) problems caused by stress
    • Physical fitness (anaerobic and aerobic)
    • Safety related issues with exercise : incorrect exercises
    • Safety in other aerobic activities
    • Identifying hazards
    • Safety maintenance in an aerobic exercise area
    • Safety audit
  2. Advising on Human Wellness
    • Pre screening adults
    • Medical symptoms, signs, health problems to watch for
    • Communication with clients
    • Client screening questionnaire
    • Medical clearance
    • Legal liability for fitness instructors
    • What is a liability problem
    • Contributory negligence
    • Insurance
  3. Fitness Tests
    • Risk prevention
    • Before any fitness test
    • Reasons for fitness testing
    • What to test
    • What to measure: weight, blood pressure, body weight and percentage fat
    • Heart rate
    • Lung capacity
    • Cardiovascular score
    • Evaluating cardiorespiratory endurance
    • Evaluating muscular strength and endurance
    • Designing fitness tests
    • Recommended procedure for conducting a new fitness test series
    • Test conditions
    • Combination of tests
  4. Interpreting Fitness Tests
    • Introduction
    • Fatigue during fitness testing
    • Atmospheric pressure affects
    • Calculations
  5. Understanding Back Problems
    • Back terminology
    • Types of spinal injuries
    • Muscular injury
    • Neurological injuries
  6. Recognising and Addressing Back Problems
    • Reducing risk
    • Ergonomics
    • Posture
    • Standing
    • Lying
    • Furniture design
    • Computer use
    • Exercises for the back
    • Workplace health and safety issues
    • Indicators of back injury
  7. Preventative Back Care
    • PBL Project with the following aims: - To identify five common back problems; - Consider how these problems affect the quality of one’s life; - To design exercise guidelines for people already suffering from back problems; - To design exercise guidelines to prevent back injury in healthy individuals; - To design a management plan for an exercise facility; - To establish a procedure for reviewing and evaluating the program.
  8. Understanding Weight Control
    • Principle of weight control
    • Endocrinology
    • Nutritional advice
    • Energy required for different activities
    • The science of nutrition
    • Energy production
    • Factors affecting BMR
    • Working with an obese client
    • Working with an underweight client
  9. Weight Control Methods
    • Role of exercise in weight control
    • A plan for losing weight
    • Water
    • Water retention
    • Athletes and nutrition
    • Weight management PBL Project, with the following aims: - To work with a client with a body mass problem; - To determine the extent of this problem; - To plan a body fat reduction and maintenance program combining both exercise and diet; - To consider the opposite situation, where a client is underweight; - To plan a program to remedy this; - Design a daily meal plan incorporating all necessary food groups and nutrients.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Develop skills which will enable you to advise clients on basic health issues, and promote a common sense approach to fitness and well being.
  • Develop a foundation which enables the development of skills to carry out basic tests on clients.
  • Be able to recognise back problems and postural defects, and subsequently assist in prescribing safe exercises; adhering to occupational safety measures.
  • Develop skills and techniques to assess client needs then assist in prescribing programs to help clients control their body mass.

What You Will Do

  • You will learn a wide variety of things, through a combination of reading, interacting with tutors, undertaking research and practical tasks, and watching videos. Here are just some of the things you will be doing:
  • Describe the health status of the population living in your country, using current statistics and information.
  • Describe health habits that contribute to well being and longevity.
  • Explain the limitations of the person you interviewed and how their exercise routine may be altered/modified.
  • Explain the implications of drugs (prescribed and non-prescription drugs) to personal health and wellbeing and fitness.
  • Describe the warning signs of heart disease.
  • Outline actions for each warning sign to avoid heart problems.
  • Design a beginner's fitness program for a person predisposed to CHR (Coronary Heart Risk).
  • List the medical and alternative medicine practitioners involved in the health field and describe their relationship to health service.
  • Explain how you conducted the fitness testing with respect to... -taking pulse at rest and during exercise. -using an HR monitor such as a polar. -using a sphygmomanometer
  • Explain the following:
    • VO2 max prediction test
    • PWC170 test
    • Aerobic tri-level test
  • Describe how the fitness test results you obtained from a set task can be used.
  • Set a safe program for a client according to their desired outcome and ability level, using information from the screening and fitness evaluation based on a set task.
  • Identify ten (10) different health problems that may restrict exercise performance, excluding back related problems.
  • Draw a simple sketch of the spine, identifying structures and segments, including each of the spinal curvatures.
  • List any lifestyle factors you can think of that contribute to back pain?
  • Explain the purpose of a potentially dangerous or ineffective exercises and demonstrate safer alternatives.
  • What illnesses (diseases) can cause back pain?
  • What structural problems (ie. physical damage to the body), can cause back pain?
  • Identify the major postural and phasis muscles that contribute to maintaining correct body alignment and explain how they function.
  • What things might cause injury and burn out to a fitness instructor in their daily work?
  • Write down a list of guidelines or rules for fitness instructors to follow to avoid back problems.
  • Produce a small booklet that illustrates and explains basic flexibility exercises that could be performed as a prevention exercise to back pain. Also add in a list of do's and don'ts for people to follow.
  • Write down what you eat over a 24 hour period, and then:
  • Calculate the calories in this diet.
  • Determine how well the nutrients are balanced in this diet.
  • Write a report on what you believe about genetics and the environment influencing people's weight gain and loss.
  • Write a report about anorexia and bulimia.
  • Try to determine the ratio of males and females that suffer from these diseases.
  • How are they believed to develop?
  • What are present methods of helping sufferers with these problems?

Holistic Care Pays Dividends

The human body is mostly robust if cared for in a holistic way, but very easy to damage if your care is out of balance.
Often people will abuse their body until something becomes damaged. 
  • Exercise is important, but too much of one type of exercise and not enough of another can easily cause an imbalance
  • Similarly eating both protein and carbohydrate is important; but it is risky to overeat one and under eat theother. 
Managing risks when undertaking fitness, involves understanding the body, and challenging it enough that it develops good, balanced fitness levels; but not challenging it in any way that creates an imbalance or damage.

Managing the Back

Given the complex nature of back injuries, and the difficulty in treating and correcting them, preventative back care is key.  Recognising a back injury can be as straightforward as asking the right questions and collecting the right professional records during fitness assessment questionnaires. However, a patient may be unaware that they have, or are at risk of a back injury.  They will rely on you to show them how to correctly use exercise equipment, how to correctly perform prescribed exercises, and how to reduce their risk of back injury.
Most back problems are due to muscles being too weak in the abdominals, generally resulting from lack of exercise. When the muscles are weak, the hip/s rotate forward, the back will curve, back muscles become shorter and the abdominal muscles sag and stretch.
Measures to prevent back injury include:
  •  Maintain correct posture
  •  Use ergonomic furniture, equipment and tools wherever possible
  •  Maintain strength and muscle tone in the abdomen
  •  Maintain strength and flexibility in the back muscles
  •  Ensure you lift and/or move heavy objects correctly, relying primarily on the strength of your leg muscles and not using your lower back  to carry the weight
  •  Ensure you know how to use heavy equipment or tools correctly
  •  Ensure you know how to perform heavy labour tasks associated with your job/hobby correctly
  •  Seek medical care immediately if you suffer a back or neck injury, such as in a car accident
  •  Keep a balanced diet, including adequate calcium and vitamin D, to ensure your vertebrae are strong and healthy. Cartilage supplements may also be useful in preventing degenerative disc injuries.


Why study this course?

Whether you are training a client or training yourself... this course will teach you how to train safely by providing you with the knowledge on how to minimise the risk of injury when exercising.


Meet some of our academics

Denise Hodges Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner, Marketing Coordinator (Laserpoint). Over 20 years varied experienced in business and marketing. More recently Denise studied naturopathy to share her passion for health and wellness. Denise has an Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing).
Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.

Check out our eBooks

Aqua FitnessLearn to do low impact exercise in water. It is great for rehabilitation after injury, weight loss, and general fitness. This e-book is full of well illustrated exercises to try and has been written for both exercise professionals and amateurs. It is the revised edition of a book by John Mason, originally published by Kangaroo Press (Simon & Schuster). Lots of illustrations. 121 pages
Aerobic FitnessAerobic fitness contributes more to your quality of life than perhaps any other aspect of fitness! This updated version of Aerobic Fitness is full of information about the body and its functions. It also contains detailed illustrations of which exercises to use for individual muscle groups. 93 pages. 64 illustrations.
Human BiologyFor any new student of human biology, being confronted with thousands of unfamiliar words can be overwhelming. It can also be difficult to identify which words you need to learn first. This book presents words that have been carefully selected as the most important for new biology students to learn and understand. It also provides more information about each word than is often found in traditional dictionaries, giving students a more in-depth understanding of the word's meaning. The book is intended as an aid to all new students of human biology.
Nutritional TherapyDiscover how the way you eat can impact upon the affects of an illness. This book is unique, written by our health and nutritional scientists. Chapters cover: “Scope and Nature of Nutritional Therapy”, “How different factors Interact with Nutrition”, “Different Ways” and “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses for Different Health Issues” Thirty different conditions are covered from Mental Illness and Gastritis to Coeliac Disease and Osteoporosis.