I started working on average twice per week with paramedic, Mark Whitley, in June of 2015. The goal was to better prepare him for the rigors of the career he wished to do for another 10 to 12 years – in other words, avoid needless physical injury whilst improving mental fortitude.
In initially assessing Mark, he presented as 99.9% of us do – asymmetrical (i.e. with 1 leg shorter than the other – see photo below – or, more accurately, locked up muscularly in one hip). For Mark, this turned out to be his right leg/hip.With this being the case, it was no surprise that Mark’s hip, low back and shoulder pain presented on his right side. These had become chronic issues for him that adversely affected all aspects of his life. I thus set out to 1st unlock him and 2nd to lead him through drills that mimicked the stresses and strains of his job. My process was as follows:
- functional chain trainer for 3.5 minutes
- double knee swing to opposite arm
- low straight leg swing to opposite hand keeping shoulders on the floor
- bent knee pull to opposite side keeping shoulders on the ground
- right knee forward lean to open up right hip – chest forward, support leg bent at 90 degrees
- prone superman arms to side and chest forward
- prone superman with arms overhead and chest forward
- Health Bridges #1 to unlock the sacrum and lower lumbar sections of the back
- Health Bridges #2 to unlock the upper lumbar and thoracic sections of the back
After taking Mark through the 18 minute process, he was unlocked in the right hip and presented as symmetrical (i.e. both legs the same length). See photo below:
This was a major break-through for Mark. After then doing my job-specific training routines (none of which were replicated from session to session) for the remainder of our 1 hour sessions, Mark noticed a significant improvement in posture, balance, reaction time, flexibility, mental clarity, fatigue tolerance and, most importantly to him, virtually no avoidable injuries that kept him off work. Even better, he has maintained almost perfect symmetry in the time between our sessions. This has led to fewer treatment sessions with his chiropractor and massage therapist. Further, he has continued to defy the odds within the paramedic world. In a young person’s world, Mark is setting the pace even as he approaches age 50. I am proud of his focus and singular desire to continue in a career that helps save people’s lives!
I know for a fact that all of us struggle with asymmetrical bodies. This puts us at a much higher risk of incurring an avoidable injury that can lead to chronic pain. As a coach and trainer as well as a supremely active ‘old-timer’, I recommend that ALL of you implement as much of the unlocking routine presented in this blog as possible. Take the initiative to live injury and pain-free!