In July of this year, Mark Whitley (age 48) was referred to me by Darcy Smith, the owner of Form & Function High Performance training centre in Clarkson, Ontario, Canada. Mark’s request was simple enough – create a training programme that helps keep him injury-free in his professions for the next 12 years (until he retires). His professions are: Registered Massage Therapist (25 years), Para Medic (25 years) and safety officer for Apotex drug testing trials (15 years). Delivering on Mark’s request is NOT so simple.
As a sports specific Exercise Physiology specialist, Darcy felt I could be of more assistance to Mark than any other ‘training’ specialist in the area. My approach initially with him was as follows:
- record the physical challenges that were currently afflicting Mark and adversely affecting his ability to work without injury and pain
- inquire about the specific physical actions and movements that dominate his work
- inquire about the types of environment that he encountered in an average week
- assess his physical limitations as they apply to his work
I then proceeded to:
- assess Mark’s range of motion
- measure his areas of discomfort via specific movements
- design a programme that required limited equipment and was time-efficient
- incorporate into the programme exercises and drills that Mark could do on his own
- put him into the Barefoot-Science foot strengthening domed insert system
A sample of a training session (the whole session is done BAREFOOT) with Mark based on the above is as follows:
- a warm-up of hip rotations, forward and side-to-side leg swings, forward inch worm walking, extensor chain activation, hip release, shoulder shrugs and side stretches
- running forward crossover, angled side to side, backwards, push-off side to side and bending whilst running, rotating from side to side and picking up a weighted ball
- standing on the flat side of a Bosu Ball, bending to pick up a weighted ball, carrying it across the body to the other side, putting the ball down and repeating with gradually heavier balls
- sitting on a stability ball, picking up a weighted ball from 1 side, rotating and carrying it across to the other side, placing the ball on the ground and repeating with gradually heavier balls
- standing 1-legged on the round side of a Bosu Ball, catching a weighted ball tossed at different levels, running sideways to another Bosu Ball, setting the ball down and catching another ball. Repeat for 60 seconds
- lying prone on a stability ball, reaching forward to pick up a weighted ball, lifting it up and rotating it to the side of the ball and back. Repeat to each side with gradually increasing weighted balls
- cool down included supine side to side double knee rolls with arms outstretched to the side, single leg swings low across the body, inner and outer knee presses to the floor and arm swings forward and backward
The results for Mark following the above programme (along with a number of other specific exercises not featured in this blog) and putting the Barefoot-Science insert system in all of his work shoes have been improved range of motion, significant reduction in joint and muscle pain, improved ability to stay on his feet without fatigue and more enjoyment in his chosen professions. We continue to work on keeping Mark active especially as a Para Medic (a profession dominated by those in their 20s and 30s!). Mark also mentions that for the first time in his exercise life, he feels the specific applications to his work, looks forward to the training and is remaining injury-free!
For those in a similar situation to Mark, look at implementing some of the above exercises into your schedule. You will NOT be disappointed.