Unit of competency details

SISFFIT308A - Plan and deliver gym programs (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISFFIT003 - Instruct fitness programsNot Equivalent. Updated to meet Standards for Training Packages. 02/Sep/2015
Supersedes SRFGYM002B - Customise gym instructional skills to include specific areas of expertise current in the fitness industryN Based on SRFGYM002B but not equivalent. SISFFIT308A incorporates outcomes of: SRFFIT006B Use and maintain core fitness industry equipment SRFCTC001A Plan and instruct a circuit training class SISFFIT308A adds in environmental sustainability practices. 06/Jun/2011

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 describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to plan, demonstrate, supervise and monitor a range of gym programs customised for clients with specific fitness requirements and respond appropriately to the changing needs of clients.

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 general populations including older clients and older adolescents who present with no major health conditions.

This unit is applicable to those working in fitness venues, gyms or other exercise environments and those working in community setting.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.



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. Develop customised gym programs.

1.1. Identify the current fitness profile, training history, exercise preferences, exercise contraindications and specific fitness goals  of the client .

1.2. Establish the physical, psychological and social reasons for the client's participation in an exercise program.

1.3. Use motivational techniques  to help the client identify barriers to adherence and to set effective exercise goals.

1.4. Relate the training requirements of the client to their long-term fitness plan .

1.5. Integrate the client's resistance training program  with their flexibility and cardiorespiratory programs as required.

1.6. Customise exercise variables  and program variables  according to principles of training  to create a training program to meet the client's specific fitness goals.

1.7. Identify the joint movements and muscles that the client needs to target or strengthen.

1.8. Perform an exercise analysis  to determine suitable resistance exercises to meet specific needs of the client.

1.9. Record the training program according to organisational policies and procedures .

2. Instruct resistance exercises.

2.1. Demonstrate the correct technique for performing specific resistance exercises  to the client and explain their purpose and expected results.

2.2. Explain misconceptions  that are commonly held about resistance training programs.

2.3. Use instructional techniques  to teach the correct technique for specific resistance exercises.

2.4. Advise the client of safety considerations for specific resistance exercises and equipment according to organisational policies and procedures.

2.5. Encourage feedback from the client to confirm their understanding of the program and to identify any foreseeable difficulties.

3. Supervise training sessions.

3.1. Observe client training sessions to ensure all activities are performed according to organisational policies and procedures and with due consideration of other facility users.

3.2. Adjust incorrect or unsafe exercise technique as required according to safety considerations .

3.3. Apply spotting techniques to ensure safety and enhance performance.

3.4. Supervise resistance exercise equipment  usage to minimise conflict and maximise access for all clients.

3.5. Identify aspects of client exercise behaviour to develop effective motivational strategies for the client.

4. Develop a circuit training session plan.

4.1. Identify the aims  of the circuit training session.

4.2. Define expected outcomes of the circuit training session.

4.3. Identify a broad and varied exercise repertoire .

4.4. Plan and document a circuit training session plan  for clients using the principles of exercise planning  according to legislation and regulatory requirements  and industry guidelines .

4.5. Design clear and structured forms or cards for use in a circuit training session.

5. Instruct a circuit training session.

5.1. Confirm appropriate exercise area  according to legislation and regulatory requirements and organisational policies and procedures.

5.2. Check circuit equipment  is in good working order prior to commencement of session.

5.3. Use energy, water and other resources effectively when preparing and maintaining equipment and activity areas to reduce the environmental impact.

5.4. Communicate session objectives and the principles and benefits  of circuit training to clients.

5.5. Explain common types of injuries  that would prevent participation in the session and confirm that clients are not affected.

5.6. Instruct session according to circuit training plan and legislation and regulatory requirements and organisational policies and procedures.

5.7. Demonstrate and instruct correct use of equipment during circuit training session, according to organisational policies and procedures and manufacturer instructions.

5.8. Demonstrate exercises within the circuit training session using appropriate instructional techniques .

5.9. Monitor client intensity, technique and safety during the session and suggest modifications where required.

5.10. Recognise signs and symptoms of overtraining and potentially harmful practices  and implement appropriate intervention strategies  according to organisational policies and procedures.

6. Review circuit training session.

6.1. Seek and acknowledge feedback from clients.

6.2. Identify relevant changes to address required improvements.

6.3. Modify the circuit training session plan where relevant to meet client needs.

6.4. Review own performance and identify potential improvements.

7. Monitor client progress.

7.1. Identify when a review of a client's exercise program and or overall fitness plan is necessary according to re -evaluation criteria .

7.2. Recognise the signs and symptoms of overtraining .

7.3. Reassess fitness levels of the client to determine the effectiveness of their current exercise program.

7.4. Re-establish the specific fitness goals of the client.

7.5. Modify the client's exercise program according to results of fitness reassessments and any changing requirements.

7.6. Provide positive and constructive feedback to the client on their progress and any recommended changes.

Required Skills and Knowledge

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

Required skills 

  • ability to move in a controlled and efficient manner while demonstrating to clients
  • communication skills to:
  • consult, advise and monitor client performance
  • provide clear instruction and constructive feedback to clients
  • convey information to clients about circuit class or gym program objectives, safe exercise techniques and use of equipment
  • interact with clients during the circuit class or gym program
  • problem-solving skills to:
  • clarify client requirements and develop, monitor and adjust exercise programs to meet the changing needs and requirements of clients
  • identify client problems during the session and address these through appropriate intervention
  • identify improvements to energy, water and other resources for environmental sustainablity
  • organisational skills to enable the collection and analysis of information on fitness levels and exercises and to manage the effective use of facilities and equipment
  • planning and organisational skills to:
  • plan a circuit class
  • plan a gym program
  • prepare the exercise area and equipment
  • manage the time of clients and facility schedules time effectively.
  • make modifications to the session
  • language and literacy skills to produce and document a circuit training session plan for the session and gym programs for an individual client
  • technology skills to enable selection and correct use of applicable equipment
  • self-management to review and reflect on own work performance in effectively planning and instructing circuit classes and gym program according to client expectations
  • literacy and numeracy skills to complete workplace documentation such as client fitness records and plans.

Required knowledge 

  • structure and function of joints and muscles to enable accurate identification of joints and muscles that require strengthening and stability and accurate assessment of the degree of difficulty in performing the proposed exercises
  • legislative and organisational requirements to enable safe and effective conduct of activities including safe use of equipment and managing facility schedules in the context of the requirements of other facility users
  • motivational techniques and strategies to support client adherence to programs
  • a range of resistance exercises and exercise programs to enable selection and implementation of appropriate programs to improve or maintain the fitness of clients
  • a range of suitable warm up and cool down activities
  • principles of exercise planning to enable sound planning for the circuit classes and gym programs
  • structure and function of the musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and metabolic body systems to determine the benefits and appropriateness of different exercise to meet client needs
  • health and other reasons affecting ability to participate in a circuit class to enable clients to be advised appropriately
  • organisational policies and procedures to enable safe planning and instruction of circuit classes and gym programs
  • conflict resolution strategies to support group cohesion and interaction
  • manufacturer-equipment specifications for use and techniques to check the safe use of session equipment
  • potentially harmful practices and the reasons why they are avoided in circuit training sessions to enable safe client participation in the circuit classes and gym programs
  • instructional and motivational techniques suitable for circuit classes and gym programs to enable use of strategies to produce positive outcomes for clients
  • physiological, psychological and biomechanical changes that occur with circuit and resistance training to enable informed planning and instruction of session and prompt response to client difficulties.
  • use, care and maintenance of gym equipment to maximise benefits for clients and enable safe conduct
  • environmental and resource efficiency practices related to the use of activity areas and gym equipment.

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:

  • plans, demonstrates, supervises and adjusts gym programs incorporating safe and effective equipment use and exercise prescription for a range of clients, including older clients to address their fitness goals
  • communicates effectively with a range of clients to explain the exercise program, its expected benefits and safety considerations and provides constructive feedback
  • identifies individual client behaviours and applies appropriate motivational techniques and strategies to support exercise adherence
  • plans circuit class with interrelated components, monitors the progress of the session and applies effective contingency management techniques to deal with a range of problems and issues that may arise during the session, such as equipment failure or client overtraining, and makes adjustments in response to changing situations
  • instructs circuit class that meet client expectations, comply with legislative and organisational requirements, and are of sufficient duration to allow the candidate to demonstrate techniques to instruct and review a circuit class
  • evaluates and reflects on own work performance to identify ways in which session outcomes and benefits to clients can be improved.
  • manages the timing and conduct of gym programs to enable effective and efficient use of facilities, respecting the needs of other facility users.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure planning and delivery of gym programs including circuit sessions for multiple clients to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

  • a fitness facility where equipment such as cardiovascular, free weight, pin-loaded and circuit is available
  • a range of clients, including older clients, with a range of real or simulated fitness goals and needs
  • relevant documentation such as programming cards relevant to the specific program format.
  • documentation such as circuit training session plans and manufacturer specifications for equipment use.

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:

  • direct observation of client consultation
  • observation of effective training sessions, incorporating feedback and appropriate motivational techniques
  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of the structure and function of joints and muscles and their relationship to effective exercise planning
  • portfolio of customised training plans developed, monitored and adjusted in the workplace
  • third-party reports from supervisors detailing work performance.

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

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.

Specific fitness goals  may include:

  • sports, cardio and muscle conditioning
  • increased strength or endurance
  • flexibility and mobility
  • decrease stress
  • increase functional capacity.

Client  may include:

  • experienced or inexperienced
  • older adult
  • de-conditioned
  • older adolescents:
  • 16 years and over
  • active or inactive
  • pre-natal
  • post-natal
  • menopausal.

Motivational techniques  may include

  • arousal control techniques and theories
  • zone of optimal function.

Fitness plan  may include:

  • long and short term goals
  • periodisation and training phases
  • time and commitment to training sessions
  • exercise adherence.

Aims  may include:

  • competition or performance targets
  • self improvement
  • fitness targets
  • lifestyle adjustments.

Exercise repertoire  may include:

  • cardio
  • strength and conditioning
  • flexibility.

Training programs  may include:

  • warm up
  • cool down
  • resistance specification:
  • exercises
  • equipment
  • repetitions
  • sets
  • resistance
  • intensity
  • frequency
  • variations
  • cardiorespiratory specifications:
  • exercises
  • equipment
  • intensity
  • duration
  • frequency
  • heart-rate training zones
  • flexibility specifications:
  • target muscles
  • range of motion
  • duration
  • type of stretch
  • static
  • dynamic
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).

Exercise variables  may include:

  • range of motion
  • speed of movement
  • source of resistance
  • level of impact on the body
  • equipment selection
  • exercise order
  • exercise selection - machines vs free weights.

Benefits  may include:

  • physiological
  • psychological
  • social.

Program variables  may include:

  • training frequency and session duration
  • exercise order
  • repetitions
  • sets
  • resistance
  • intensity
  • overload techniques:
  • cardiorespiratory and flexibility training.

Principles of training  may include:

  • training thresholds
  • progressive overload
  • specificity
  • individuality
  • reversibility
  • recovery
  • variation
  • diminishing returns.

Exercise analysis  may include:

  • identification of joints where movement is occurring
  • classification of the exercise as being isolation or compound
  • identification of working muscles and the joints on which they act
  • identification of joints and body parts that require stability - antagonists, agonists, stabilisers
  • identification of the muscles responsible for stabilising the joints and body parts
  • assessment of the degree of difficulty in performing the exercise
  • assessment of how well the exercise meets the functional requirements of the client.

Organisational policies and procedures  may include:

  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • client supervision
  • communication protocols
  • privacy
  • records management and security
  • use, care and maintenance of equipment.

Resistance exercises  may include:

  • bench and chest press
  • flye
  • cable crossover
  • shoulder press
  • lateral and front-arm raise
  • shrug
  • upright row
  • shoulder internal and external rotation
  • biceps, preacher and hammer curl
  • overhead triceps press
  • lying triceps extensions and press
  • triceps kickback
  • bent over and one-arm row
  • supported and t-bar row
  • pullover
  • wrist curl
  • bent over lateral raises and reverse flye
  • squat
  • lunge
  • deadlift - bent and stiff leg
  • calf raise
  • hip abduction and adduction
  • leg curl, extension and press
  • hack squat
  • back and hip extension (glute-ham raise)
  • abdominal, including oblique and reverse, crunch
  • abdominal isometric hold
  • basic core stability and proprioceptive exercises
  • lat pull-downs
  • seated row.

Misconceptions  may include:

  • hypertrophy outcomes
  • slowness
  • reduced flexibility
  • spot reduction of body fat.

Instructional techniques  may include:

  • clear and accurate explanation
  • demonstration of correct technique
  • observation of client performance
  • positive feedback
  • spotting techniques.

Resistance exercise equipment  may include:

  • machines
  • free weights
  • body weight
  • benches
  • racks
  • exercise balls
  • elastic resistance
  • proprioception and stability training devices.

Circuit training session plan  may include:

  • phases of:
  • preparation
  • conditioning
  • recovery
  • adaptation
  • rest intervals
  • required equipment
  • floor plan for equipment arrangement.

Principles of exercise planning  may include:

  • frequency
  • intensity
  • duration
  • movement
  • environment
  • program type.

Common types of injuries  may include:

  • muscle or soft tissue
  • back
  • heart condition
  • joint.

Re -evaluation criteria  may include:

  • signs and symptoms of overtraining
  • loss of motivation
  • lifestyle factors
  • illness or injury
  • plateau in performance
  • time elapsed since last evaluation
  • client satisfaction
  • change in fitness goals.

Legislation and regulatory requirements  may include:

  • Organisational Health and Safety
  • duty of care
  • privacy
  • anti-discrimination
  • copyright
  • licensing
  • child protection
  • trade practices
  • consumer protection
  • environmental
  • business registration and licences.

Industry guidelines  may include:

  • Peak-body guidelines
  • national standards for the use of electrical equipment
  • number of machines on a single circuit.

Potentially harmful practices  may include:

  • hyperextension
  • exercising while sick or in extremes of temperature
  • multiple repetitions
  • ballistic movements
  • spinal hyperextension
  • loaded knee hyperflexion
  • on-the-spot pounding
  • straight leg sit-ups
  • lever length
  • additional equipment.

Intervention strategies  may include:

  • stopping or modifying the exercise
  • modifying equipment.

Equipment  may include:

  • cardiovascular:
  • bikes
  • treadmills
  • elliptical trainers
  • steppers
  • rowing machines
  • free weight:
  • bars
  • dumbbells
  • collars
  • straps
  • barbells
  • benches
  • hydraulic
  • innovative
  • exercise, medicine and swiss balls
  • bars and body bars
  • steps
  • bands:
  • dyna
  • tethers
  • tubing
  • specific muscle targets:
  • abdominal assisters
  • rotator cuff
  • plyometric training systems
  • resistance
  • pin-loaded equipment
  • electronically braked
  • air-braked
  • pool-based
  • sound and microphone systems.

Overtraining  may include:

  • fatigue
  • elevated resting heart rate
  • loss of motivation to exercise and exercise form
  • plateau or decrease in performance
  • development of over-use injuries.

Unit Sector(s)


Competency Field