Unit of competency details

SISFFIT014 - Instruct exercise to older clients (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISFFIT044 - Develop and instruct personalised exercise programs for older clientsNon-equivalent. Title changed. Significant changes to structure and content of Elements and Performance Criteria. Performance Evidence amended: hours and client contact sessions removed, replaced with number and type of clients, and number and duration of sessions. Knowledge Evidence updated with significant additions and deletions. 09/Nov/2021
Supersedes SISFFIT314A - Plan and deliver exercise to older clients with managed conditionsNot Equivalent. Updated to meet Standards for Training Packages. 02/Sep/2015

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 03/Sep/2015


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092103 Sports Coaching, Officiating And Instruction  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092103 Sports Coaching, Officiating And Instruction  07/Dec/2015 
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Unit of competency

Modification History

Not applicable.


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to plan, instruct and evaluate exercise for male clients aged forty five and over, and female clients aged fifty five and over. It requires the ability to provide instruction of exercise programs aimed at improving health and fitness for older clients, with consideration of aspects of healthy ageing. It also covers promotion of incidental physical activity to clients to minimise the risk of developing sedentary lifestyle behaviours. It involves using industry endorsed risk stratification procedures when determining the provision of suitable advice and referral requirements.

This unit applies to fitness instructors who work in a variety of fitness locations such as fitness, leisure and community centres. These individuals typically work independently with some level of autonomy in a controlled environment.

Work is performed according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

No occupational licensing, certification or specific legislative requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Competency Field


Unit Sector


Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Identify client fitness requirements.

1.1 Consider and confirm client needs, expectations and preferences using suitable questioning techniques.

1.2 Review and advise client of outcomes of pre-exercise health screening procedures.

1.3 Refer client to medical or allied health professionals as required.

1.4 Select and use appropriate baseline functional capacity or fitness assessments, as required.

1.5 Identify common barriers to exercise participation by older clients.

1.6 Recognise and explain benefits of exercise for older populations and the role of exercise in reducing risks associated with ageing.

1.7 Receive guidance from medical or allied health professionals for exercise participation, as required.

1.8 Develop and document client profile for re-evaluation purposes.

2. Develop program plans.

2.1 Identify settings and program considerations that support safe and sustainable exercise participation for older clients.

2.2 Determine type of training, training methods and equipment required to achieve client goals.

2.3 Develop and document program plans that incorporate instructional information and guidance from medical or allied health professionals if required.

2.4 Explain benefits of exercise and anticipated structural and physiological adaptations as they relate to client goals and needs.

2.5 Develop customised training sessions that include a variety of exercises and equipment to meet client needs.

2.6 Discuss and confirm client understanding of potential signs and symptoms of intolerance contraindications to exercise and recommended precautions.

3. Instruct exercise session.

3.1 Allocate sufficient space, assemble resources and check equipment for safety and maintenance requirements.

3.2 Provide clear exercise instructions and confirm client understanding.

3.3 Demonstrate exercises, techniques and equipment to client.

3.4 Explain any precautions for exercise relevant to client age, ability and risk status.

3.5 Monitor participation and performance to identify signs of exercise intolerance and modify as required.

3.6 Monitor client intensity, techniques, posture and safety, and modify program as required.

3.7 Seek ongoing guidance from, or refer client to, medical or allied health professionals, as appropriate.

3.8 Select and use communication techniques that encourage and support clients.

3.9 Modify session as required considering basic mechanics, safety and fitness outcomes.

3.10 Respond to clients experiencing difficulties and answer questions as required.

3.11 Complete session documentation and progress notes.

4. Evaluate program.

4.1 Monitor and evaluate exercise program at appropriate intervals.

4.2 Provide written and verbal feedback to medical or allied health professionals, as required.

4.3 Request and respond to feedback from clients.

4.4 Review own performance and identify areas needing improvement.

4.5 Identify aspects needing further emphasis or attention in future sessions.

4.6 Evaluate program or activities and discuss modifications to program.

4.7 Document and update records of evaluation and modification of programs.

Foundation Skills

Foundation skills essential to performance in this unit, but not explicit in the performance criteria are listed here, along with a brief context statement.



Reading skills to:

  • interpret and evaluate pre-exercise screening and baseline assessment results.

Oral communication skills to:

  • explain course of action, including referral and fitness services, as required.

Numeracy skills to:

  • use heart rate calculations or other monitoring techniques during training, where relevant
  • use body mass index calculations during pre-exercise screening, where relevant.

Unit Mapping Information

No equivalent unit.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=1ca50016-24d2-4161-a044-d3faa200268b


Assessment requirements

Modification History

Not applicable.

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit in the context of the job role. This must include period(s) totalling at least five hours comprising at least five different client contact sessions and:

  • use industry endorsed pre-exercise screening tools and risk stratification processes to identify the risk level of at least ten older clients
  • prepare referral letters to relevant medical or appropriate allied health professionals with supporting pre-exercise health screening documentation for at least two older clients
  • plan, document, implement and evaluate suitable exercise programs within scope of practice for older clients:
  • three clients that don’t require guidance or instruction provided by medical or allied health professionals
  • two clients in response to guidance or instruction provided by medical or allied health professionals
  • conduct sessions that incorporate:
  • appropriate selection and monitoring of a range of equipment appropriate for the client’s functional ability, according to industry guidelines
  • demonstration, explanation, and instruction of exercises
  • injury prevention strategies specific to client needs and to minimise the risk of falls
  • suitable order and sequence of activities
  • session components that target the needs and goals of the individual
  • suitable duration, intensity, volume
  • ongoing clear and constructive feedback to clients and, where required, medical or allied health professionals
  • use of evidence based exercise adherence strategies
  • minimise the risk of falls
  • variations and structure suitable to the needs of the older client
  • provision of hydration and rest opportunities as required
  • explanation of the role of exercise and incidental physical activity in prevention of chronic diseases and functional decline that may or may not be associated with ageing and reducing the risk of falls
  • modify programs for clients, addressing at least three of the following:
  • technical requirements
  • changing needs due to fitness adaptations
  • changing goals
  • client needs, objectives, likes and dislikes
  • technical difficulty adjustments of exercises
  • medical or allied health professional feedback
  • conduct periodic ongoing evaluation of outcomes from fitness programs in accordance with the established program goals and industry best practice.

Knowledge Evidence

Demonstrated knowledge required to complete the tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit:

  • legislative and regulatory requirements regarding specific population exercise participation:
  • privacy
  • anti-discrimination
  • work health and safety/occupational health and safety
  • duty of care
  • organisational policies and procedures in regards to specific population exercise participation:
  • industry endorsed risk management protocols, exercise implications and referral requirements
  • overcrowding
  • ventilation and/or climate control
  • hygiene
  • emergency
  • standards of personal presentation
  • participant’s clothing and footwear
  • use, care and maintenance of equipment
  • precautions to exercise relevant to the older adults in accordance with industry guidelines where applicable
  • signs and symptoms of exercise intolerance and appropriate management strategies
  • situations where cessation of exercise program is required, this may include but is not limited to:
  • chest pain at rest or during activity
  • severe breathlessness/feeling faint/dizziness/loss of balance
  • unusual fatigue or shortness of breath
  • asthma aggravation/attack
  • significant muscle, bone or joint pain (beyond what is normally expected during exercise)
  • situation whereby the fitness professional makes a judgement that continuing the session is beyond their professional capabilities and scope of practice, and could potentially compromise client health and safety
  • role of medical or allied health professionals for referral processes:
  • accredited exercise physiologist
  • accredited practising dietician
  • chiropractor
  • continence nurse advisor
  • general practitioner
  • occupational therapist
  • osteopath
  • physiotherapist
  • podiatrist
  • psychologist
  • remedial massage therapist
  • sports doctor
  • typical anatomical and physiological considerations for older adults
  • common barrier to exercise participation:
  • perceived versus actual barriers
  • initial low fitness level
  • time and access to facilities
  • self-consciousness in client
  • methods to overcome barriers to exercise adherence:
  • goal setting
  • feedback
  • healthy habits
  • health-related components of fitness:
  • body composition
  • flexibility
  • muscle strength
  • muscle endurance
  • cardiovascular endurance
  • awareness of major types of injuries or conditions that may present in older clients that may require referral to a relevant medical or appropriate allied health professional:
  • sprains
  • musculoskeletal
  • cardiovascular
  • respiratory
  • other
  • importance of strength and balance training in falls prevention
  • exercise considerations in regards to the following components of ageing process, injuries and conditions:
  • physiological
  • biomechanical
  • psychological
  • behavioural change and social needs
  • lifestyle and cultural
  • general population characteristics
  • awareness of the following injury risks or considerations that may be related to older clients:
  • inadequate skill and physical preparation
  • overtraining
  • biomechanics and exercise technique
  • physical and mental preparation
  • poor core and postural awareness
  • fatigue and recovery
  • history of falls
  • incontinence
  • benefits of exercise related to older populations:
  • increased muscle mass
  • maintenance of bone health
  • joint health
  • minimising fat levels to prevent disease
  • improved ability to function in everyday tasks and reduced risk of functional decline that is often associated with ageing
  • prevention of chronic disease related to sedentary lifestyles and ageing
  • reduced risk of falls
  • concepts of healthy ageing
  • risks of leading a sedentary ageing lifestyle:
  • falls
  • low bone density
  • cardiovascular deficiency.

Assessment Conditions

Skills must be demonstrated in:

  • a fitness industry workplace or simulated environment with clients with real or simulated health and fitness goals.

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • organisational policies and procedures related to older clients
  • manufacturer guidelines on equipment safety and usage.

Assessment must ensure use of:

  • a variety of equipment appropriate for use by older clients
  • industry endorsed risk stratification procedures
  • session plan templates with space to identify modifications/adjustments needed
  • older clients; these can be:
  • older clients in an industry workplace, or
  • individuals who participate in role plays or simulated activities, set up for the purpose of assessment, in a simulated industry environment operated within a training organisation.

Assessment activities that allow the individual to:

  • develop a variety of exercise programs for older clients over a period of time, ensuring adequate time to allow for the implementation of required modifications
  • provide advice regarding fitness services and facilities for older clients
  • complete and update client records:
  • pre-exercise screening documents
  • program as prescribed
  • modifications
  • client consent
  • copies of any communications.

Assessors must satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisation’s requirements for assessors, and:

  • have achieved a Certificate IV in Fitness or above; and
  • have at least 1 year consecutive post qualification fitness industry experience in the application of the skills and knowledge of the Certificate IV in Fitness.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=1ca50016-24d2-4161-a044-d3faa200268b