How To Determine Your Client’s Limiting Factors in Fitness

How To Determine Your Client’s Limiting Factors in Fitness

How to determine your clients limiting factors?

How the OPEX Assessment Model Works

We are often asked by our coaching students how we determine our clients limiting factors in regards to fitness, and how we use what’s discovered to influence the design of that individual’s unique program.  The only way to answer that is by understanding how the OPEX Assessment Model works.

When an average coach ponders methods to determine a client’s ‘limiting factors’ they usually think of observing the way in which that client performs movement. This analysis of movement forms, in their understanding, the framework of a what’s known as an assessment. Because these coaches believe that the only limiting factor for clients is movement, they only test movement and performance. While movement and performance metrics are valuable data points from which to assess your client’s limiting factors, it is a rather shortsighted view of the process.

“Assessing and determining limiting factors is not just about movement. It’s looking at energy systems, behavior, habits, structural balance, how someone talks about themselves, EVERYTHING needs to be observed and assessed.” Michael Bann, OPEX HQ Coach

True coaching professionals recognize that observing movement alone does not present the clearest picture of that clients limitations. Therefore, a proper assessment is much more holistic and includes keen observations made of the Human, the Organism, and the Athlete.


“The human is perhaps the most important category to assess, without understanding their motivations and history with fitness and with coaches, any program you create for them is likely to fail.” – Head Coach Matt Connolly.

Unfortunately, There is no quantifiable data by which a coach can measure the Human in an assessment. Understanding the Human has less to do with metrics and more to do with grasping the client’s motivations in fitness, their goals, why they have those goals, their beliefs, and the manner in which they speak themselves. In short, the coach must be able to deduct the client’s essence and spirit.


When a OPEX coach assesses the Organism, they are analyzing the day to day activity and biological function of their client. To put it in more simple terms, you are observing the physical health of your client. How well are they sleeping? How often and what are they eating? Are they drinking enough water to support their bodies natural function? Are they moving throughout the day or are they relatively sedentary? How often do they exercise? Do they exercise? These observations are completed in relation to that client’s specific goal.

The answers to these questions provide valuable insight into the status of the Organism.


Assessing the Athlete is about performance metrics, benchmarks, and discovering the physical capabilities of the client.

The goal of these physical tests is to discover the truth of where the client sits in the fitness continuum in relation to their specific objectives.

While movement is a critical component of determining a client’s limiting factors to fitness, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Learning methods involved in assessing the Human, Organism, and Athlete are critical to your success as a coach.

Learn more about assessment today, and download our free Coach’s Toolkit.

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