What is Custom Exercise Programming and How Can It Help You?

We have had many Cancer Exercise Specialists, as well as those aspiring to be, ask professional trainer cancer exercise training institutequestions regarding exercise programming for their clients. When you began to read your CES Modules you were probably overwhelmed by the amount of information being presented to you. Putting the pieces together in a safe, efficient, and results-oriented manner can be quite the challenge when you are just beginning your journey.  Maybe you have been a Cancer Exercise Specialist for quite some time, but have a client with multiple challenges and/or a type of cancer that you are unfamiliar with. You must factor into the equation: 


  • What surgical procedure the client had
    • When was surgery completed
    • Were lymph nodes removed
    • Are there multiple incision sites
    • What is/are the direction(s) of the incision(s)
    • How has this affected range of motion and posture
  • What type(s) of treatment(s) has the client undergone
    • When did they finish treatment, or are they still undergoing treatment
    • What are the acute and chronic side-effects of treatment
  • Is the client at risk for lymphedema
    • Add lymph drainage exercises
    • Educate about how to prevent and identify lymphedema
    • How to safely start and progress exercise program to prevent lymphedema
  • Does client have peripheral neuropathy
    • How does that affect upper body exercises
    • How does that affect lower body exercises
    • How does that affect balance
  • What are your initial goals, interim goals, and long term-goals

This would overwhelm just about anyone! Believe me when I tell you that it will eventually become second-nature to you; I promise. The only way that you are going to become efficient as exercise programming for cancer patients is to practice. This is not something that you can become an “expert” in overnight; regardless of whether or not you passed the exam.

If we do not properly chose exercises based on areas that need stretching vs. strengthening, we are likely to exacerbate muscle imbalances that can lead to dysfunction, faulty biomechanics, joint degeneration, and injury.

If we do not have our clients perform lymph drainage exercises prior to exercising, and we do not progress their workout incrementally, we run the risk of them getting lymphedema.

If we do not understand the vast list of acute treatment side-effects, we may overlook something that could have severe health consequences to the client.

If we do not understand chronic treatment-related side-effects, we may not know what the most important components of an exercise program (cardio, strength, flexibility, ROM, balance, etc.) that we need to focus on.

This is why we now offer individualized exercise programming for Cancer Exercise Specialists. You meet with your new client and have them complete their health history as well as obtain all appropriate paperwork. Once you have their medical clearance and liability release, you conduct a comprehensive postural evaluation, range of motion assessment (when necessary), and all other initial fitness tests that you deem appropriate.

When completed, you submit all relevant information to us at CETI and within 48-hours, we will provide you with an initial exercise program for that client. You can be confident that the exercise program you present to your client will be top-notch as far as expertise and efficacy. This is not only a benefit to your client, it is an opportunity for you to learn and grow. We will provide you with explanations for every exercise recommendation as well as a schedule of how to progress and when to re-evaluate.

You can focus on your client, building a relationship with them, and teaching them proper form and function while we take the fear and uncertainty out of the equation!