Unit of competency details

SISFFIT041 - Develop personalised exercise programs (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes SISFFIT021 - Instruct personal training programsNon-equivalent. Title changed. Content from SISFFIT021 split between SISFFIT041 (covers planning programs and sessions) and SISFFIT042 (covers instructing sessions). Significant changes to structure and content of Elements and Performance Citeria. Performance Evidence significantly 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

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 10/Nov/2021


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  15/Dec/2021 
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Unit of competency

Modification History

Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISFFIT021 Instruct personal training programs.


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to develop exercise programs and a series of sessions tailored to individual client needs, exercise preferences and fitness goals.

It requires the ability to integrate information from pre-exercise screenings, fitness assessments, and any medical guidance that may have been received for particular clients, to design suitable programs. Skills for instructing sessions are covered in a complementary unit.

Program design involves effective application of exercise science and training principles. This unit has a direct relationship with, and is supported by, SISFFIT049 Use exercise science principles in fitness instruction.

This unit applies to personal trainers who work independently with clients using discretion and judgement to develop individually tailored client programs. They practise in settings such as fitness facilities, gyms, leisure and community centres, client workplaces and homes and outdoor locations.

The skills in this unit must be applied in accordance with Commonwealth and State or Territory legislation, Australian standards and industry codes of practice.

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 needs.

1.1. Review outcomes of client pre-exercise screening and fitness assessment and identify significant information for program design.

1.2. Identify implications of medical guidance for exercise programming and duty of care to follow.

1.3. Discuss exercise preferences and consult with client to identify, negotiate and confirm their short- and long-term fitness goals to inform program design.

1.4. Build client trust and rapport using client-centred communication showing sensitivity and empathy during interactions.

1.5. Develop and document client profile to assist with programming and ongoing evaluation.

2. Plan personalised exercise program.

2.1. Review client’s exercise preferences, goals, current abilities and medical advice to determine types of exercises and equipment for program.

2.2. Determine appropriate training volume and frequency of sessions required to achieve client goals.

2.3. Design a systematically structured program that incorporates the effective use of exercise training principles.

2.4. Design overall program aligned to client’s short- and long-term goals to allow progression towards fitness improvements.

2.5. Plan for increased difficulty of exercise types to progress client throughout the program.

2.6. Document exercise program according to organisational format.

3. Plan personalised exercise sessions.

3.1. Determine objectives of individual sessions to allow progression of client fitness within overall exercise program.

3.2. Select exercises, training techniques and exercise equipment that target components of client’s health and fitness goals.

3.3. Plan sessions that incorporate volume and intensity and load of exercises appropriate to client’s age, sex and existing fitness capabilities.

3.4. Plan for exercise phases and volume within client’s preferred session duration.

3.5. Develop sequenced and varied sessions to enhance client motivation and program adherence and to allow for recovery from specific exercise types.

3.6. Incorporate at timely intervals progressive difficulty of exercises that respond to client’s progression.

3.7. Document session plans according to organisational format.

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 sometimes unfamiliar information of varying complexity in client pre-exercise screening and medical guidance records, including health and fitness terminology and abbreviations.

Writing skills to:

  • produce detailed program and session plans that use fitness terminology and abbreviations for instructional use
  • use fundamental sentence structure to complete forms, and client records that require factual and subjective information.

Oral communication skills to:

  • ask open and closed probe questions and actively listen to elicit information from clients and to determine client understanding of information provided
  • provide fitness and exercise information to clients using plain language and terms easily understood.

Numeracy skills to:

  • complete and record calculations and estimations of varying complexity for program and session plans involving times, frequency, intervals, volume, speeds and loads.

Initiative and enterprise skills to:

  • critically evaluate all client requirements for appropriate program design.

Unit Mapping Information

Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISFFIT021 Instruct personal training programs.


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

Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISFFIT021 Instruct personal training programs.

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, and:

  • develop and document one personalised exercise program for three clients, to collectively include:
  • a female adult client
  • a male adult client
  • a client for whom medical guidance has been received
  • consistently use client-centred communication to identify each of the above client’s program needs and preferences
  • for each of the above three clients, develop and document four personalised session plans, each with a minimum duration of 45 minutes
  • across the above 12 sessions collectively, incorporate both indoor and outdoor sessions and the following types of exercises:
  • cardiovascular
  • resistance
  • flexibility
  • low and high impact
  • exercises that target the:
  • health related components of fitness
  • skill related components of fitness
  • exercises with and without equipment.

Knowledge Evidence

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

  • boundaries and responsibilities of fitness instructors in providing personalised exercise prescription and relationship to duty of care
  • type of client information provided by pre-exercise screening and fitness assessment processes, and implications for exercise programming:
  • client needs and exercise preferences
  • client body composition data
  • client fitness data and indication of suitable exercise intensity
  • types of client guidance that may be provided by medical and allied health professionals and implications for exercise programming:
  • injury management protocols
  • contraindications and precautions for types of exercise for those with medical conditions and health risk factors
  • exercise recommendations for client health improvement and collaborative rehabilitation
  • factors that affect the design of personalised exercise programs:
  • physical differences that need to be considered for:
  • adults of different sexes
  • older people
  • antenatal, postnatal, menopausal and post-menopausal women
  • exercise history and current abilities
  • desired frequency of training sessions
  • client goals
  • client-centred communication techniques for establishing and building trust and rapport, and how they may vary depending on individual client characteristics
  • the meaning of the following components of fitness, and how exercises can target client goals and improvements for each:
  • health related components:
  • cardiovascular endurance
  • muscle strength
  • muscle endurance
  • flexibility
  • body composition
  • skill related components:
  • power
  • speed
  • agility
  • coordination
  • balance
  • reaction time
  • proprioception
  • different types of high and low impact exercises and equipment that can be used:
  • cardiovascular exercises:
  • continuous
  • interval
  • resistance exercises using:
  • free weights
  • gym equipment including weight machines
  • body weight
  • flexibility exercises:
  • dynamic
  • static
  • benefits and impacts on the body of different types of exercises and specific injury prevention strategies
  • how different types of exercises can be combined and sequenced for safety and optimum effectiveness
  • how to effectively apply and combine exercise science principles to the design of personalised exercise programs and sessions to target client goals
  • how the FITT (frequency, intensity, time and type) principle is used to structure exercise programs and sessions
  • the principle of recovery, its importance and how this relates to different types of exercise for:
  • cardiovascular endurance training
  • muscle strength and endurance training
  • neuromuscular coordination training
  • flexibility training
  • established phases of exercise sessions, their underpinning rationale and timing for each within designated time of session:
  • warm up
  • main workout
  • cool down and stretches
  • components of exercise sessions, and how they can be used effectively to target client goals:
  • exercise order
  • volume and intensity and load of exercises
  • repetitions and sets
  • repetition tempo
  • rest intervals
  • training techniques that can be used in personalised exercise sessions, how they can be used, and considerations for their use:
  • supersets
  • drop sets
  • pre-fatigue techniques
  • plyometric training
  • interval training including high intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • circuit training
  • fartlek
  • format and inclusions of documented:
  • exercise programs
  • exercise session plans
  • client profile and client evaluation records.

Assessment Conditions

Skills can be demonstrated in:

  • the workplace, or
  • a simulated workplace set up for the purpose of skills assessment.

Assessment must ensure the use of:

  • interaction with clients; these can be:
  • clients in an industry workplace, or
  • individuals who participate in simulated activities used for the purpose of skills assessment
  • client records which include documentation of:
  • completed industry standard pre-exercise screenings
  • completed fitness assessments
  • samples of guidance information provided by medical or allied health professionals
  • template exercise program and session plans.

Assessors must:

  • satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations requirements for assessors, and
  • hold a Certificate IV in Fitness, and have a collective period of at least two years’ experience working in fitness instruction, where they have applied the skills and knowledge covered in this unit of competency; the two years’ experience can incorporate full and part time experience, or
  • be a registered or accredited practising health or exercise professional with a degree and experience relevant to this unit of competency.


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