Unit of competency details

SISFFIT042 - Instruct personalised exercise sessions (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 Criteria. 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 prepare for, instruct and evaluate pre-designed exercise sessions that have been tailored to individual client needs, exercise preferences and fitness goals, as part of an overall personal training program. It covers skills for modifying programs in response to ongoing client monitoring and feedback.

Skills for planning programs and sessions are covered in a complementary unit.

This unit applies to personal trainers who work independently with clients using discretion and judgement to prepare for and instruct exercise activities. 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. Prepare for session.

1.1. Review client exercise program and confirm individual session objectives and activities.

1.2. Check and prepare physical environment to meet session requirements and identify and respond to factors that may impact session delivery.

1.3. Prepare required equipment and check for safety and serviceability.

1.4. Assess client condition and capability as they present through observation and verbal screening and identify required exercise precautions.

1.5. Identify implications of current medical guidance and make required adjustments to session activities.

2. Provide exercise instruction.

2.1. Introduce and follow pre-designed session structure and timings.

2.2. Use and combine verbal, visual and tactile instructional methods according to nature of information and client needs.

2.3. Observe client exercise technique for safety and effectiveness and provide corrective instruction based on observations.

2.4. Provide succinct explanations about the relationship between exercises, their beneficial impacts on the body and implications for achieving fitness goals.

2.5. Monitor client performance against objectives using measures suited to the type of exercise.

2.6. Identify signs of fatigue and exercise intolerance and make required session modifications.

3. Encourage and support clients during sessions.

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

3.2. Encourage and respond to client questions about individual exercises and overall program.

3.3. Use communication techniques that provide positive reinforcement and motivation to client.

3.4. Encourage participants to provide feedback and identify personal progression and satisfaction with session.

4. Evaluate session.

4.1. Evaluate session against objectives and identify progress and aspects needing further emphasis and attention in future sessions.

4.2. Evaluate own performance and identify areas for improvement.

4.3. Document session evaluation and client progress according to record keeping procedures.

5. Monitor client progress and update program.

5.1. Monitor client progression towards goals through ongoing observation and measurements and compare with expectations in program plan.

5.2. Request ongoing feedback from client to identify program likes and dislikes and their views on goal achievement.

5.3. Modify and update program and future sessions according to feedback and evaluation.

5.4. Maintain current program documentation according to procedures.

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 familiar exercise program and session details involving health and exercise terminology.

Writing skills to:

  • use fundamental sentence structure to complete 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.

Numeracy skills to:

  • follow and adjust session timings to meet requirements of session duration
  • take and record accurate measurements involving speed, weight and time.

Initiative and enterprise skills to:

  • critically evaluate successes and failures of sessions and programs to initiate improvements.

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:

  • instruct six personalised exercise sessions which have been developed as part of overall exercise programs:
  • each with a minimum duration of 45 minutes
  • collectively instruct:
  • a female adult client
  • a male adult client
  • a client for whom medical guidance has been received
  • across the above six sessions collectively, instruct indoor and outdoor sessions and the following types of exercises:
  • cardiovascular
  • resistance
  • flexibility
  • low and high impact
  • exercises that target:
  • health related components of fitness
  • skill related components of fitness
  • exercises with and without equipment
  • for each of the above six sessions:
  • prepare environment and equipment
  • pre-screen client for current condition
  • use the following instructional and communication techniques:
  • clear and correct verbal, visual and tactile instructions
  • correct and safe exercise technique demonstration
  • feedback and positive reinforcement
  • motivational communication
  • complete accurate session records which include client progress notes, client feedback and evaluation of own performance
  • according to actual client interactions or case studies:
  • identify two situations from pre-session screenings that indicate exercise precautions and modify planned exercises in response
  • respond to two clients showing signs of over exertion or difficulty, and modify their activities
  • evaluate the effectiveness of one client program, modify program and future session content and document details of the evaluation and changes made.

Knowledge Evidence

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

  • procedures for maintaining client records, session evaluation and program updates
  • scope of practice for a personal trainer in instructing personalised exercise sessions:
  • responsibilities and limitations
  • professional boundaries
  • environmental factors that may impact session delivery and how to respond:
  • noise
  • indoor venue climate control and ventilation
  • exposure to uncomfortable and extreme weather conditions in the outdoors
  • safety and serviceability checks for equipment used with cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility exercises
  • types of observations and verbal screening questions that can be used to assess and determine current condition of clients and exercise precautions
  • common medical conditions and injuries, contraindications and precautions for exercises, and how exercises, intensity and loads can be modified to allow safe client participation
  • established phases of exercise sessions and their underpinning rationale:
  • warm up
  • main workout
  • cool down and stretches
  • different types of exercises, types of equipment that can be used and safe techniques for their completion:
  • cardiovascular exercises:
  • continuous
  • interval
  • resistance exercises using:
  • free weights
  • gym equipment including weight machines
  • body weight
  • flexibility exercises:
  • dynamic
  • static
  • proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
  • common exercise related injuries, and how to prevent these in exercise instruction
  • instructional techniques used with individual clients and how they impact effectiveness of instruction and client execution of exercises:
  • providing clear information about exercises and instructions about technique
  • combining explanation and demonstration of correct exercise technique
  • cueing, and how to adapt instruction to suit different learning styles:
  • verbal
  • visual
  • tactile
  • kinaesthetic
  • communication techniques used for the following and how these may vary depending on individual client characteristics:
  • establishing and maintaining individual rapport
  • motivating individuals for optimum performance, including techniques for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • providing constructive feedback and positive reinforcement
  • measures that may be used to assess client performance against session objectives:
  • speed or timing
  • loads
  • endurance
  • range of movement
  • methods for monitoring client comfort and safety during personalised exercise sessions:
  • how to use monitoring techniques:
  • heart rate response
  • talk test
  • rated perceived exertion (RPE) scale
  • how to recognise and respond to common indicators of over exertion and discomfort and when exercise should be modified or stopped
  • factors to consider in session evaluation:
  • structure and timing
  • suitability of exercises and equipment for session objectives
  • client feedback
  • client performance and progress
  • trainer communication and instruction
  • methods used to evaluate effectiveness of personalised exercise programs:
  • ongoing informal discussions with client and targeted questions to elicit opinion about achievement of goals, and improvements in skill, fitness and general health
  • ongoing observation and measurement of client performance and health and skill improvements
  • staged formal fitness assessments and comparison measurements.

Assessment Conditions

Skills can be demonstrated in:

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

The following resources must be available to replicate industry conditions of operation:

  • first aid equipment
  • communication equipment for emergency response.

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
  • indoor and outdoor locations for exercise
  • equipment required for sessions
  • personalised exercise programs and session plans
  • client records and progress charts
  • procedures for maintaining client records, session evaluation and program updates.

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