If you enjoy exercising and keeping healthy, being a personal trainer can be the ideal career for you. You’ll get to spend your time sharing your love for working out with others and watch them become fit and strong.
While your main responsibility is training your clients, you also need to take care of your business. That includes doing important paperwork like legal forms. There are a few personal trainer legal forms that you need, but we’ll focus on just one – your personal trainer waiver form.
What is a Personal Training Waiver Form?
In general, signing a waiver means you give up the option to take some action. A personal training waiver form or release form means that your client gives up the option of suing you if they get injured during training.
It’s also called a personal training liability form, because the client agrees not to hold you liable, meaning legally responsible, for accidental injuries.
Basically, when your client signs a fitness waiver it means they accept the risks of following your personal training plan, including the small chance that they might get hurt while training.
When Do You Need a Personal Trainer Liability Form?
A personal trainer liability waiver form is extremely important for your personal training business. In fact, you should get every new client to sign this form before you start working with them.
You might wonder why you need a personal training waiver release form when you have personal trainer liability insurance? That’s because liability insurance and a personal trainer liability form are different. Your liability insurance covers you if someone trips on their way in to your training studio, you drop a weight on their foot or you accidentally smash their heirloom vase with your jump rope. General liability insurance is mainly for accidental damage or injury that are not part of your actual training sessions.
A general release of liability form protects you if your client is injured because of your training. For example, if your client sprains his wrist doing planks or your client twists her ankle during training runs. These situations aren’t covered by your liability insurance, so your client could sue – unless they signed a personal training liability form which shows that they understand that all exercise carries a risk of injury.
Here are some common personal training lawsuits caused by accidents or misunderstandings:
- Your client tears a rotator cuff lifting weights and sues you for not teaching her the correct way to lift weights.
- Your client doesn’t tell you that he has an old weakness in his wrist from a previous injury. Because you don’t know about this, you set him to do more push-ups than he can cope with and he sprains his wrist, so he sues you for pushing him too far.
- You don’t know that your client has a history of dizziness. He loses his balance during a stretch and twists his ankle trying to recover.
- You move your client into the right position for squats, but she thinks that you touched her inappropriately and sues you for sexual harrassment.
How to Reduce Your Risks as a Personal Trainer
Although every business carries some risk, you want to avoid risk as much as you can. It’s a lot easier to grow your business if you don’t have to worry about being sued by your clients. A personal trainer waiver form can help with that.
These steps can help reduce your legal risks:
- Make sure to explain clearly the risks of doing personal training exercises;
- Have your clients sign a consent form which shows that they understand the risks of intense exercise;
- Take time to ask your clients all about their medical history and their physical condition, so you know how hard to push them;
- Do a full fitness assessment before you create an exercise program for a new client;
- Encourage your clients to tell you when something hurts. This way you won’t cause an injury by telling them to carry on when they should really stop;
- Give your client time to ask questions and check that they feel comfortable with your answers;
- Always keep your insurance policy up to date;
- Have your certificate of insurance handy to show to clients and exercise studios.