personal training liability waiver

Can a Personal Training Liability Waiver & Release Form Protect Your Business?

Table of Contents

Personal trainers are those heroes of health and fitness that help others reach their own fitness goals. With skilled planning and the right motivation, trainers can lead their clients on to new heights in a happier, healthier lifestyle. A personal trainer is in charge of their clients’ wellbeing during their session which is why personal trainer insurance is so vital for your business. Another crucial aspect of protecting yourself and your career is a personal training waiver and release form. Here, we’ll look at what a waiver is and how it can add to the overall protection your personal trainer insurance provides.

First Off, What Are Personal Training Waiver And Release Forms?

In personal training, there is a liability for the trainer. Liability is the risk of having to pay for something that the law says you’re responsible for. There are many different kinds of liabilities which is why savvy trainers sign up for liability insurance before the first weight is ever taken off the rack with a client. Having liability protection in place is a great first step towards a long and fulfilling career in fitness but a personal training waiver and release form provides even greater levels of protection.

The form provides the client with a detailed description of the risks of working out, things like warning there could be muscle pulls, trips and falls, and other injuries simply through the act of performing fitness routines. Once the client is aware of the risks, the form then also provides a release of liability. This means the client is acknowledging the risk and agreeing that they are voluntarily releasing their right to sue if something goes wrong.

Now, a waiver is very important in the eyes of the law when it comes to what happens after an accident but keep in mind it isn’t a magical force field that keeps a personal trainer from getting sued. This is a risk mitigation strategy that should be employed in addition to an underlying general liability insurance policy to give a trainer a better level of overall protection from day one.

The Best Times to Use a Personal Trainer Waiver

A personal trainer waiver form is really something that needs to be in place before you ever start a session with a client. Get a release form template, make sure it applies to everything you will cover with your clients, and get your client to read, sign, and understand before beginning.

The waiver is not only a protection for the trainer, it shows you are a professional who is serious about the services you provide. Signing the waiver is a time to go over the program on a personal, one-to-one basis with clients, answer their questions, and help them feel comfortable with you as their guide to a healthier self. This journey is incredibly personal for clients and results take trust. Establishing trust with clients starts with showing you are a competent and skilled professional, which a waiver and release form can help demonstrate.

If You Have a Release Form Do You Really Need Insurance Too?

In short, absolutely. As we stated above, the liability waiver and release form for personal trainers is only a tool in the overall risk mitigation tool belt. Risk mitigation is the act of transferring risk from yourself and onto your insurance carrier. Therefore, you need to have personal trainer insurance in place for a release form to provide the best level of protection possible.

Remember that the release form isn’t a complete shield from liability but it can help diminish it. If an unfortunate event ever does come your way, you have both the shield of a liability waiver upfront and then a wall of liability protection from your personal trainer insurance plan backing it up and actually giving you tangible safeguards. A liability form is just a piece of paper, without any insurance behind it, you can still be found to be liable when an accident occurs and would have to pay out of pocket. At just $189 per year for all inclusive insurance from IFG, the policy is a small investment to make in ensuring your career is covered from the very start. Get covered today.

Real Life Examples of Accidents That Happen in Gyms Everyday

There are so many ways that accidents can happen in the gym. Clients are moving, bending, stretching, lifting, and pushing themselves to get the results they want. All of this activity simply means there’s a greater chance for an accident or injury to occur. Even with a personal trainer waiver and release form in place, accidents can still happen that could leave a trainer having to pay for whatever damage was done.

Some of the real ways trainers have found themselves facing a claim against them include:

  • A personal trainer was sued and lost when a client was doing leg press exercises and complained of neck pain. The trainer didn’t stop the session which resulted in the client sustaining three herniated cervical disks.
  • The courts found a trainer responsible when their client who was new to working out was thrown off a treadmill and fractured her ankle. The trainer was found to have failed to supervise the client or instruct the client on how to use the treadmill properly.
  • A trainer lost their lawsuit when they instructed their client incorrectly on how to use a lat pulldown machine which resulted in the client slipping on the machine and cracking vertebrae.

Examples like these show just how attentive a trainer needs to be before, during, and after a session with a client to ensure their wellbeing. Going through the personal training waiver and release form process with your clients provides a safe and informative time to cover all the ins and outs of the session.

What to Include on a Personal Training Liability Release Form

If you are looking at training waiver and release form templates online, you will easily find hundreds of results. With any form, you want to give it a good review to make sure it has everything needed to help protect both you and your clients during their sessions with you.

Clearly Articulates the Risks Involved with Your Fitness Regimen

The form needs to very clearly spell out the risks of doing physical exercises including the risk of serious injury. You can look up and even cite medical information on the form to educate your clients.

Explains What Signing the Waiver Means

A personal training waiver needs to actually explain what all is entailed by signing a release of liability. The client is voluntarily giving up their rights to file a suit against their trainer because they are accepting the risk and proceeding of their own free will.

Is Used in Conjunction with Medical History Evaluation

Use the personal training waiver and liability form as a chance to review a client’s medical history and any medical conditions they have. If a client had wrist surgery a few years ago, then a trainer needs to know not to have them try a one rep max on wrist rolls. This can seem like common sense but you’d be surprised how many personal trainers have found themselves in hot water when a client was injured for an undisclosed condition.

Take the time to ask, document the responses, and even have the client sign as part of your waiver form paperwork. You can go further to update the regimen in writing after an initial fitness assessment is performed. Just make sure your waiver and release form is signed and dated with the client before beginning any fitness activity whatsoever.

Provides a Safe Way for Clients to Speak Up When it Hurts

Your waiver form should clearly direct that a client bears a responsibility to speak up when something doesn’t feel right or hurts to do. A client needs to know they can and should stop a session if things get too intense.

Lets Clients Ask Questions

Lastly, the waiver form should be your opportunity for an open and honest dialogue. Make sure to ask if the client has any questions about everything you cover in your form.

Get Insurance that Protects Your Whole Career with IFG

Insure Fitness Group provides 3 types of liability insurance made just for fitness pros. These plans are just as tough as your workouts to make sure each trainer has 360 degrees of protection through every workout. Signing up only takes minutes and our plans offer the best value around with our blend of coverage and affordability. Never wait for a quote or fill out a long questionnaire, just great coverage, great prices, and great service that protects you every step of your fitness career. Learn more about the all-inclusive personal trainer insurance plans we have available.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.