Unit of competency details

SISFFIT303A - Develop and apply an awareness of specific populations to exercise delivery (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISFFIT002 - Recognise and apply exercise considerations for specific populationsNot Equivalent. Updated to meet Standards for Training Packages. 02/Sep/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to SRFSPP002A - Develop and apply an awareness of specific populations to exercise deliveryE Updated and equivalent to SRFSPP002A Develop and apply an awareness of specific populations to exercise delivery 06/Jun/2011

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 28/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) 07/Jun/2011


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  18/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the skills and knowledge to provide appropriate advice to specific population clients on participation in fitness appraisals and fitness activities. It covers the pathology of the more common disease states and conditions encountered within the fitness industry and the limiting effects of the condition on exercise performance and functional capacity.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to exercise instructors who work in facilities that provide a range of exercise programs and services, such as aqua, group or gym-based to specific populations. This unit is applicable to those working in fitness venues, gyms or other exercise environments under the supervision of a medical or allied health professional.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable



Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1. Identify specific population clients.

1.1. Recognise possible medical conditions, possible injuries and possible use of prescribed medications that should exclude an individual from undertaking a fitness appraisal or participating in exercise without a medical clearance and discuss with client.

1.2. Apply a recognised risk stratification process to the client's information to determine the risk status of the client and the level of risk  associated with participation in exercise.

1.3. Recommend clients who need to make an appointment with a medical or allied health professional  as required and implement actions resulting from evaluation of risk status.

1.4. Identify specific populations common to the fitness industry requiring modification to exercise or exercise programs.

2. Provide advice to specific population clients regarding exercise testing and participation.

2.1. Explain to the client, the legal and ethical limitations of a fitness instructor in prescribing and delivering exercise to identified specific populations, and the need for a suitably qualified exercise, medical or allied health professional to design an exercise program is acknowledged.

2.2. Apply an understanding of the specific requirements of individuals with specific disease states or conditions when providing information about exercise testing or exercise participation.

2.3. Apply an understanding of the pathology  of the identified disease state, condition or injury to exercise.

2.4. Investigate the effects of medications  commonly used to manage the disease or condition through consultation or research.

2.5. Promote the benefits of exercise for specific populations  and discuss the anticipated structural and physiological improvements with clients.

2.6. Recommend suitable fitness activities and exercises and identify unsuitable or contraindicated activities and exercises.

2.7. Provide advice regarding exercise programs currently available in the fitness industry for specific population clients  or groups.

3. Deliver exercise programs for specific populations under the guidance of medical or allied health professionals.

3.1. Apply exercise considerations and exercise prescription guidelines relevant to the identified specific populations to the delivery of fitness activities undertaken by specific population clients  who are under the supervision of an appropriate medical or allied health professional.

3.2. Advise clients  that exhibit signs of poor exercise tolerance  to any fitness activity to stop the exercise immediately and make an appointment to see a medical or allied health professional.

3.3. Identify modifications to exercise or exercise programs , fitness programs and facilities in consultation with a medical or allied health professional.

4. Identify a network of medical and allied health professionals.

4.1. Refer fitness clients to medical or allied health professionals when contraindications to exercise  are identified in accordance with organisational policies and procedures.

4.2. Use appropriate documentation and terminology to communicate information to medical or allied health professionals when referring fitness clients .

4.3. Maintain client confidentiality at all times.

4.4. Identify and access suitable reference points to develop awareness of specific populations.

4.5. Identify medical or allied health professional suitable for referral of the client.

4.6. Determine the most appropriate medical or allied health professional for referral according to the specific condition or needs of the client.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • obtain and provide information (within scope) related to common medical conditions, disorders, disabilities or impairments.
  • enable consultation, advice and monitoring of client performance
  • provide clear instruction and constructive feedback to a range of clients with specific needs
  • liaise with medical and allied health professionals
  • problem-solving skills to:
  • identify exercises targeted to specific fitness components
  • assess and adjust client performance
  • identify professional limitations and refer clients to relevant medical or allied health professional
  • numeracy skills to manage the time of clients and facility schedules
  • observation skills to identify potential issues that require action
  • literacy skills to record and update client information.

Required knowledge 

  • principles of exercise program design to enable safe and effective program design
  • client induction and screening processes
  • structure and function of major body systems to enable the selection, instruction and adjustment of exercises appropriate to client needs including:
  • musculoskeletal
  • cardiovascular
  • nervous
  • digestive
  • pathology of common medical conditions or disorders
  • exercise modification requirements of specific population groups
  • effects of different exercise components on the major body systems to enable safe and appropriate exercise planning
  • motivational techniques to support client adherence to the exercise program
  • fitness industry or organisation guidelines, policies and procedures to support safe and effective operations
  • industry standard risk stratification process
  • common medical conditions prevalent in children and young adolescents and older clients

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • confirm sufficient knowledge of exercise modifications for specific populations.
  • identify specific population clients
  • apply knowledge of the pathology of the disease, condition or injury to exercise delivery
  • provide suitable advice to specific population clients about exercise participation
  • deliver exercise delivery for specific population clients after referral and under the supervision of health professionals.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • demonstration of skills within a facility where a variety of exercise modes and equipment are available, such as a weights gym, pool, exercise to music room and an outdoor environment
  • access to a range of clients with a range of real or simulated fitness needs and expectations.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • observation of consulting with clients to determine their preferences and needs and designing and instructing an appropriate fitness program
  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of exercise program principles and their use in developing client specific exercise programs
  • third-party reports from colleagues or supervisors detailing work performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • SISFFIT304A Instruct and monitor fitness programs
  • SISFFIT307A Undertake client health assessment
  • SISFFIT308A Plan and deliver gym programs
  • SISFFIT309A Plan and deliver group exercise sessions
  • SISFFIT310A Plan and deliver water based fitness activities

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Actions resulting from evaluation of risk status  may include:

  • referral to a medical or allied health professional for further medical evaluation and clearance
  • referral for clinical test
  • medical or allied health professional present for sub-maximal testing
  • suitably qualified fitness professional conducts sub-maximal testing

Medical or allied health professionals  may include:

  • sports physician
  • sports doctor
  • general practitioner
  • physiotherapist
  • accredited exercise physiologist
  • occupational therapist
  • remedial massage therapist
  • chiropractor
  • osteopath
  • accredited practising dietician
  • psychologist
  • continence nurse advisor

Benefits of exercise for specific populations  may include:

  • improved functional capacity
  • improved quality of life
  • independence
  • decreased mortality
  • decreased morbidity
  • decrease in medication dosage
  • relief of symptoms.

Clients  may include:

  • experienced or inexperienced
  • adult or children
  • pre-natal
  • post-natal
  • menopausal
  • specific populations with medical or allied health clearance
  • medical conditions or injury under the supervision of an appropriate medical or allied health professional
  • healthy active older clients.

Contraindications to exercise  may include:

  • absolute
  • relative
  • risk of participation outweighs any perceived benefits.

Exercise programs  may include:

  • resistance training
  • circuit training
  • gym training
  • endurance training
  • aerobic fitness
  • group exercise fitness session
  • aqua fitness session
  • spinning
  • gentle exercise
  • aqua therapy
  • stretching session.

Level of risk  may include:

  • low risk
  • moderate risk
  • high risk.

Common medical conditions  may include:

  • hypertension
  • high cholesterol
  • continence issues
  • asthma
  • metabolic disease or conditions
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • pregnancy (pre and post natal)
  • musculoskeletal conditions
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • osteoarthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • lower back pain
  • neck issues
  • knee injuries
  • depression
  • menopause.

Medications  may include:

  • lipid lowering agents
  • bronchodilators
  • anti hypertensive agents
  • insulin
  • oral hypoglycaemic
  • anti inflammatory
  • analgesic
  • anti-depressants
  • non-prescribed
  • multiple medicine interactions.

Pathology  may include

  • the pathophysiology of the condition
  • variations of the pathophysiology of the disease and or condition
  • the physical or physiological effects of the disease and or condition
  • the psychological effects of the disease and or condition
  • method of how a sufferer should be managed if complications arise during a fitness activity
  • effect of the condition on exercise behaviour.

Signs of poor exercise tolerance  may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • pallor
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • swelling of ankles
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fatigue
  • leg cramps
  • claudication
  • redness
  • unusual heart rate response
  • loss of coordination.

Unit Sector(s)


Competency Field