How we go from hurt to hero…(a trainer’s quick explanation of the process)

I am positive that with each of the clients that that I have ever had, they had to ask themselves at one point “Why do I even need a trainer?” Honestly, I am sure I would say the exact same thing. I mean, I ask myself often, “Why do we need a mechanic?” or “Why do I need a pool guy?” Ok, if you know me personally, both of the questions are very obvious to answer. Granted, I am not sure if the pool guy comes half of the time and he blows in and out in like ten minutes, I really do need him. (my life would be so unfilled without someone charging ridiculous amounts for parts we don’t need that wont fix the problem.) Sorry, back to the topic at hand.

I definitely would not try to fix my own car. That noise will get louder and louder from under the hood and immediately, I am thinking that I don’t want to end up stranded on the side of some road. Like most people, I head to an expert who tells me, “I AM AN EXPERT, I KNOW YOUR CAR AND I CAN TAKE CARE OF YOU.”  You absolutely have to be guessing that my next line is going to be something to the effect of…I AM AN EXPERT, I KNOW MOVEMENT AND I CAN TAKE CARE OF YOU.

If that is what you had guessed, then you are right. Either I am going to do something that mechanic wont do with the remainder of this short blog post. I am going to invite you into a short bit on the philosophies and systems that I use to claim expertise.

First, let me start this by saying that I am no dummy. I realize that without paying clients I have no business and everyone that lives under my roof (family of five, two cats and a raccoon that has been breaking in the garage recently), will STARVE. With that being said, if people are hurt and they cant move well enough to chase whatever fitness dreams they may have, then I don’t work. So before anything, my concerns are to keep people  PAIN. Now, I am not talking the PAIN you feel when you have just completed squatting 200 pounds or your 5th of 5 400 meter sprints. No, I am talking about the pain you get just being you. Meaning , when you need to think twice about bending over, twisting and turning, or when it just plain hurts to sleep on your back at night, I am the answer to giving you the tools to alleviate pain and dysfunction, so that you can do things like lose weight.  To continue on with the auto comparisons, we will work under the hood before we work on the paint job.

So here is how I start the thought process.

My first couple sessions with someone are the most important couple hours that I could have with them on this journey. Just like the mechanic, this is my fist chance to look at the mechanics of YOU. We will start off by watching you move through the Functional Movement Screen. The FMS was pioneered by physical therapist Gray Cook, and is heavily endorsed by strength coach/physical therapist Dr. Charlie Weingroff. This screening process is comprised of 7 unique movements. These movements replicate the seven developmental movement patterns that will all passed though to get to be functioning adults. Each of the exercises has to be performed exactly as will be described to you and is graded on a score of one to three.

Successful movement skills are dependent upon so much and I really think that the FMS is a very special tool because right away a it gives me as a  practitioner of movement a chance to see what you can do or not do.  NOBODY (and I really mean NOBODY) scores a perfect 21 on this screen. What is great, is that FMS will highlight deficiencies and takes into an account that movement needs to be broken into issues of mobility, stability, and motor control. While researchers will continuously debate its effectiveness to predict injury, I do see it as a great baseline to get for folks wanting to exercise for whatever reasons they may have. The score for each of the seven exercises, gives us a plan of exercises, that may involve the use of kettlebells, dumbells and barbell weight, in addition to one’s own body. This allows us to move towards movement efficiency.  Efficiency equals better movement equals more time spent chasing goals (ie weight loss)

With that being said, I know that FMS cant be enough, so I follow the words of advice of another physical therapist, Mike Reinold. Mike says that one “test” or “assessment,” is never enough. I believe it is imperative that we try to be as conclusive about our clients body as we possibly can be. That is why the next part of my assessment process involves three steps and certain around pain and posture.

Our next step is collecting as much “pain,” history from you as I can gather. Things like current nagging issues to old high school football injuries. I will also listen to what it is that you do. For example, lets say you are a secretary. I am going to want to know if you have a chair that swivels, how often you wear heels to work, which had you operate the mouse, etc. These are all going to be factors in the next two parts of our assessment.

Next what will be done is both the visual and structural assessment. During this time, we will try and connect the dots in your body as to why maybe you couldn’t perform the FMS efficiently, maybe why you suffering certain pains and what maybe we need to do to reduce the chances of injury with exercise. For this part of the assessment (which is completely painless) we will look at potential imbalances in the seven major joints in the body.

This part of the assessment is actually the most eye-opening. Right away I will teach you how your body is supposed to function and we will design a corrective exercise plan. It is in this section of the assessment process that you will likely be given homework assignments with a few tennis balls.  What we will do here is  identify muscles that aren’t at their correct lengths and with the appropriate stretching and self massage techniques, your posture and movement abilities will be improved upon. 

So there you have it. Essentially, I am going to guard you against all the things that you want to “just do'” right away with the stuff you NEED to do instead, all so that I can make sure I can feed my kids!


hope this helps,




Categories: pain fix


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