The Difference Between a Personal Trainer and Physical Therapist


Many personal trainers are making money and gaining popularity by instructing on “Pain Relief Movements” across the internet.

Some are making more money than licensed therapists 🙁

Most of the movements they feature are simple generic exercises that we do with our patients… And they are making a lot of money. Some are making bank! (like the guy below).

How is this working?

Patients and consumers want exercises and stretches more than ever.

They don’t want dangerous drugs, injections and surgery anymore. (And they don’t want temporary things like ice/heat, EMS, US, and ionto)

So, personal trainers are presenting these simple movements out to the public via the internet…and consumers are paying to get it. (see sample below)

Even if you don’t like it, and say…

  • But they don’t have the training!
  • They could hurt someone!
  • Not all exercises are good for everyone.

They are doing it.

And it goes to show how easy it is for practically anyone to teach some of the simple generic things we might be doing.

So what am I getting at?

I want us (PT/OT’s) to own our space for movement for pain relief and exercises for better performance (rather than “massage”).

  • I mean aren’t we the licensed experts?
  • Aren’t we the biomechanic expert?
  • …the pain relief experts?

The truth of the matter is in the public’s eye, we are not.

And the second truth of the matter is, most PT/OT’s don’t have an expert command of “movement” (that we should). And there are some personal trainers doing it better than us.

But even when it comes to exercise, shouldn’t there be a difference between an expert PT/OT and a personal trainer, don’t you think?

Well, here are two videos below. One is of a personal trainer showing how to relieve sciatica and back pain. Nice exercises but generic things I used to do as a novice therapist. I’m not putting this guy down, not by any means. All the power to him. But there are better. And as a physical therapist, we should know better. The second video is of me showing you a better movement.

This is what Personal Trainers are showing consumers.

This is what I have my patients do.

It’s very different than the exercises shown above. It works better with patients and it’s only one simple movement. Check it out. The video is formatted for a therapist training (not a consumer version).

How do you feel about personal trainers showing pain relief exercises to consumers? Share your comment below.

Do you want to elevate your movement skills, get more famous, get more direct access patients, and make more money?

In the upcoming MFM Certification Class, I show you:

  1. How to do exercises and movement that sets you apart from the everyday “Joe Personal Trainer”.
  2. A simple marketing method that gets you recognized as the “Movement for Pain Relief Coach”
  3. How to get a ton of more patients directly from the community.


Share your comments below.

About the author 

James Ko

James Ko is the lead instructor and founder of IndeFree. He's a physical therapist of over 20 years and have owned 7 private practices and is launching a national chain. He's worked with some of the world's most celebrated athletes, actresses, and X-Game competitors. More importantly, he knows what it's like to fail and succeed. He enjoys reading James Patterson and Nicolas Sparks, and likes to golf, play the guitar and practice martial arts. He loves playing with my Mac and Cozy most of all!

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