BOSU – Balance for Tennis Performance

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Written by Douglas S. Brooks, MS & Peter Twist, MSc The systems, strategies and tactics in tennis are best described as organized chaos. During a match, no competitor – even those with great on-court intuition – knows exactly what will … Continue reading

FIT JOINTS Series #3

by Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART THREE OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction: Let’s begin with your posture.

STAND YOUR GROUND!

I literally and figuratively mean that. Posture is everything. How you stand and each step you take affects every joint in your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes and all that lies in between. And here is why.

Gravity rules!

The minute we become bi-ped gravity begins its journey of push and pull down every joint in your body. Your platform for balance is your feet. They have the task of balancing your whole body upward against gravity keeping you from toppling ove. This alone seems an amazing feat not to mention the demands that occur when you decide to engage in multiple movements that sports and life require. Your body has built in mechanisms via the nerve system and joint system to accommodate your multi-directional demands quite gracefully – if your posture is intact. When your posture breaks down, uneven loading to your joints and spine begin – and injury and pain follow close behind.

So let’s explore the mechanisms of posture.

Ground Control:

Years of experience and thousands of postural assessments lead me to your feet. They reveal the secrets to how you stack upwards. Posture begins from the ground up, but can confront major challenges in today lifestyle which continually contract you down and forward such as computers, driving, cell phones, reading etc… These all force you into a forward contracted posture giving gravity momentum creating excessive loading and compensation through and including your organ systems all the way down to your toes.

Example; a minimal forward drop of the chin 2 centimetres equates to your normal 10 -12 kilo head weight becoming 17+ kilos (this commonly occurs while sitting at a computer). To ensure you don’t fall over with this additional load, the neck, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and feet all compensate and counterbalance this extra load. The longer the head maintains forward load, the harder the muscles and joints have to strain to maintain.

What a waste of energy!

Most jobs and sports require imbalanced loading to one side of your body making proper posture complicated and stressful to your whole system. Simple postural exercises can prepare your body to deal with these stresses and restack you evenly. Get your postural assessments from a professional and the rewards and benefits will last a lifetime.

Fact:

The foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles. WOW that is impressive! The toughest strongest and largest tendon in the foot is the Achilles, making it the longest and toughest to heal after injury. Those who have experienced this know it’s a big “Boo Hoo”! There are 125,000 sweat glands in each foot – yikes! So let those puppies breath!

Joint of The Month: The Foot / Ankle

The most frequently injured joint from sport is the ankle. The most common ankle injury occurs as the outside edge of the foot rolls over itself, lifting the arch of the foot and in turn tearing and damaging the outer ligaments.

Reoccurrence of foot and ankle injury is very high! Your feet must be rehabilitated properly to prevent this.

Create happy feet and prevent or rehab injury by training and stretching your feet in multiple directions and movement patterns. Yoga is great for this. Pick tramps with undulating terrain which challenge all angles.

The beach is also ideal. Kick off those boring shoes and do ABC’s in the sand (alternating heels and toes). Twirl and twist your feet in the sand – and give them a natural foot massage!

Dropped arches are a red flag to get yourself to a podiatrist where shoe inserts will assist.

On The Need to Know List:

“The World is Flat”. At least that is how your feet would interpret the western world of today – “A Flat Concrete Jungle!”

The amazing blueprint of your feet is designed for the ability to traverse across uneven terrain, stones, boulders and steep hills whilst keeping you stable and mobile. Today’s flat shoes and flat concrete jungle offer no challenge to the unique abilities of the feet and their intricate design.

The once “happy to meet a challenge” feet have now become lazy, collapsed, sore feet. When you take them for a walk, run or sporting event that slightly veers from flat you quickly find yourself with an injury.

So be kind to your feet and be playful with your feet  – because they have the big journey called “Your Life” to carry you through!

Fusion:

Sport offers you the gift of “complete presence” therein lies its sweet addiction and soul satisfaction. Your body gets to engage in the timeless space called “The Now” free of life’s tangles. Don’t let your busy calculating mind impose itself! Direct your mind as the tool in your sport, and let your body becomes the sport.

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Hip.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

FIT JOINTS Series #2:

by Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART TWO OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction: Take Me to the River.

You wouldn’t typically think of your body as a river, though you probably should!

Your human vessel is composed of 70-80% water.

Every cellular function awaits the arrival of this liquid gold to perform the alchemy of generating life, energy and repairs that you body requires to stay alive.

Millions of chemical reactions occur every minute that require water. The joints of your body depend on water so blood can deliver much needed nutrients and escort ugly toxins and waste away.

Decreased water supply to your body is particularly vicious to your joints due to the fact that if toxins are milling around your organ system and there is not enough water to transport them to your bladder via the kidney, your body will use your joints as a garbage can for these toxins, thus detouring them away from your vital organs. This trade-off seems such a logical and smart compromise, but comes at a high cost.

Toxins stored in joints cause early degeneration with pain and breakdown close behind. Your luscious clear river has now become a swamp… Yikes!!

Hydration is one of the easiest economical ways to acquire healthy joints and a happy body overall. Grab that liquid gold and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Each of you require different amounts of water based on how many cells you have, so here is an easy formula to know the right daily amount for you:

Take your body weight in kilos and multiply by .033, this is your personal perfect water intake amount.

Joint of the Month: Your Precious Knees

The largest joint in your body is the knee.

Classified as a hinge joint, your knee is the meeting point for your shin (tibia and fibula) and your upper leg (femur) which are all joined together via a barrage of ligaments to secure this precious joint.

Without this joint we could be walking on stilt legs (very unattractive), and most sports as we know them would be impossible!

The function and health of this joint is dependent on the balance of the pulleys and levers (muscles/tendons) that attach to it.

For instance, weak hamstrings and strong quads create excessive load to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament): the most commonly injured ligament in the knee.

Balanced muscles, healthy ligaments and good posture are critical to this joint. So get yourself assessed via a length / tension assessment by a qualified professional, physiotherapist or CHEK practitioner.

Fact:

The knee is also the most complicated joint in your body! As it is a pivotal hinge joint that allows flexion (bending), extension (straightening) and small amounts of rotation, it is a ligament-filled joint. Those of you who have endured knee injuries and surgeries know these three lettered ligaments well: ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL. Injury to this joint is the reason most people visit orthopaedic physicians. It is also the joint most vulnerable to acute injury and osteoarthritis with the ACL is the most commonly injured ligament.

On Bended Knee

Most of our available leg movements and virtually all sports activities are dependent on your knees. They also support the whole upper body – so many thanks required!

Because your knees are in such high demand, they are also subject to a variety of injuries. In fact, knees keep most orthopaedic surgeons as busy as bees. Unfortunately many knee pre- or post-injuries are not rehabilitated properly and leave many people with the inability to fully extend (straighten) or flex (bend) your knees. This can not only be very frustrating but also compromises the rest of the body which has to compensate for your weakened knee.

Bless rather than curse your knees and prepare them for the demands you ask of them!

Because your knees are composed of ligaments not muscles, you must train and prepare them quite differently. The flat surfaces of our contemporary lifestyles provide no challenge to these ligaments and they become weak and prone to injury.

The knee should be trained in multiple movement patterns with slow held motions to excite and engage the ligaments, otherwise they can become unstable.

This joint is seriously challenged if your sport involves quick stopping or starting, changing directions or repetitive impact such as running, rugby, soccer netball, basketball, skiing, tennis or squash to name a few.

Individuals with flexible joints and hyperextension tendencies are especially vulnerable to knee problems so seek professional advise before engaging in a sporting activity.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
  • Train and rehabilitate to address the ligaments not just the muscles.
  • Seek professional advise and have a length tension assessment.
  • Get your spine checked to ensure postural imbalances are addressed.
  • Visit my webpage for more information or inquiries: http://www.activecare.co.nz

Fusion:

Create your perfect sporting moment…where your body, mind and soul smile. Breath into that moment and feel the magic. Then do it again… and again!

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Foot-Ankle.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

It’s Not About the Weight

By Josh Smith.

It’s not about the weight. It never has been.

And frankly, I’m sick and tired of the poor education that gets peddled in the media, in the stores, and by other so-called ‘health professionals’ (Yes thats YOU – dieticians, nutritionists, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, doctors, physiotherapists and anybody else peddling ‘weight loss’). It’s not about the weight.

Yes, some people must lose ‘a percentage of their body mass’ and sometimes a LOT of their body mass, before we can consider them healthy. But lets take a look at this for a second…

What are these people actually doing?

If they are doing things correctly, achieving ‘health’ how health should be achieved – they are bringing their body back towards homeostasis*.

They are taking their body from a toxic, stressed state to a size and shape that is normal for them, through the application of correct nutrition, training and lifestyle modifications.

This ‘normal size‘ is different for each and every person.

It is geneticially imprinted into each of your cells upon birth, and is innately linked to the ‘primal being’ inside you, and not some misinformed, misguided and mistaken pseudo-YOU that you develop through other people’s perceptions and beliefs.

Sometimes you must gain ‘weight’ to be healthy, but this does not mean you are fat. Quite the opposite.

If you are healthy, your muscles are dense. Your blood flows correctly. Your body is quite literally a fat burning machine, using that fat as fuel to feed your ever-thirsty, lean muscle mass.

So what is it we should be focusing on?

  • Body fat loss
  • Energy levels
  • Digestive ability
  • Taste sensation
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Bone density

All of these things can be measured, whether qualitatively or quantitatively, and give us a much better definition of whether we are ‘healthy’ than weight loss alone could ever give us.

So what is a healthy look?

In my own personal opinion, health looks like muscle mass. Health looks like clean skin. Health means sparkling eyes, reduced body odour, and a positively energised aura.

This doesn’t come with ‘weight loss’. This comes with a complete transition of your thinking, and comes from an understanding that a fading person is not necessarily a healthy person.

Healthy people can lift things.

Healthy people can move in all three planes of motion, under unstable loading parameters (gravity, instability), WITHOUT restriction.

Healthy people have ENERGY. They GLOW. They can digest GOOD FOOD.

Healthy people don’t look for energy drinks, protein supplements, schmancy machines or substandard training regimes.

Healthy people understand their BODY, know what their body WANTS, and then GIVE IN TO IT.

So don’t think ‘weight loss’. Think ENERGY. Think MINIMISE BODY FAT. Think FUNCTION.

Think HEALTH.

And for goodness sake – DON’T sit around moping when your Lite ‘n’ Easy diet, machine-based training regime and energy drink consuming lifestyle makes you THIN and SICK.

*Homeostasis is a state whereby the bodies’ systems are working in synergy, Yin and Yang, and that the balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system are functioning optimally. What this means is that body fat loss is maximised, circadian rhythms flow naturally, and all muscles, organs and body systems are supplied with the right amounts of blood at the right times for repair and function, amongst other things.

It is within you.

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness, offering Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

Surfing Your Way To Success With Total Gym

Inspired by summer creeping up around the corner and a couple of fantastic surfing videos on the new-look Total Gym website, this month I decided to write an article for our Total Gym owners – how to use Total Gym to train surfers. Many of the exercises came from GRAVITY Master Trainer Jeff Groh, which you can view on the Total Gym website.
Click here to view videos (note: these are alphabetical – click the right arrow twice to get to ‘S’). The models in the pictures below are Nicole Decker, Rob Glick and Jeff Groh.

Total Gym and Surfing

Surfing is so much more than just “getting up on the board.” And when it comes to competitive surfing – that is a whole other playing field. A very specific functional strength is required to replicate the movement patterns of surfing. The primary ones being:

  • Paddling
  • Duck Diving
  • Popping Up
  • Manoeuvres on the Board (requires a strong core for stability / balance)

To achieve functional strength, the muscles of the upper body, lower body and core have to be trained in a way that translates directly over to the sport in a synergistic manner. While isolation in some cases is necessary (core, beginner, rehab, etc.), primarily the athlete should be trained using exercises that challenge a combination of muscles – to replicate how they are challenged while surfing. This is necessary to improve or get the edge on a competitor…and is what separates the winners from all others.

Space/Time Saving Solution

As a personal trainer you want to give your client the most effective workout possible. However the time spent changing machines and moving to different areas within a room eats up time and disrupts what should be a time-efficient yet still challenging experience – particularly with professional athletes.

Total Gym ticks all the boxes because it enables you to work within a small area (a “pod”), maximising both your time and your client’s. In regards to the surfer it offers stability challenges, has core integration in most exercises, offers seamless strength transitions and near-unlimited advancements to ensure continued progression. Total Gym has incredible functional applications to almost any sport, and when it comes to surfing it is ideal for replicating many of the real-life actions of the sport.

And you don’t need to be an expert at surfing – you just need to understand the movement patterns and functional strength required to develop in the sport. Not sure what functional strength is exactly? Click on this link to read a great article by friend and colleague Dean QuirkeUnderstanding the Principles of Functional Training.

The added benefit of Total Gym is it is the perfect training tool not only for able-body surfers, but also surfers who have some kind of limitation or disability and are restricted by the equipment they can use.

Examples of Exercises to Benefit Surfers using Total Gym

Following are some functional exercises for the surfer using Total Gym. As we lead into summer there are loads of opportunities to start developing programs and promoting to attract novices who are ready to get back on the board or professionals who want a leading edge.

PADDLING – Surfer Lat Pull.


This popular exercise is a great way to challenge the lats/back while integrating the core, increasing the strength and endurance required for paddling out, or just prior to catching a wave (modification-high kneeling).

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PADDLING – Swimmer.

Strengthen the back musculature and arms in a swimming motion for muscle endurance. The unique thing about Total Gym is the glideboard – allowing the surfer to replicate the movement with resistance.

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PADDLING – Prone Reverse Fly with Back Extension.

Again, strengthen the back musculature with another great exercise. This position has more focus on scapula retraction and shoulders. Incorporate as little or as much back extension as the client needs.

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DUCK DIVING – Dive Bomber.

This exercise replicates duck diving under a wave or popping up on a surfboard. It could be likened to a pike, however it is quite different. The starting position has the heels raised and a neutral core position. The client ducks down towards the board, and moves into back extension. This translates into functional strength for surfers ducking under waves.

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POPPING UP – Prone to Quadraped.

While it is not safe to pop up to a standing position on the glideboard, you can pop up to a Quadraped position which is still a great stability challenge. Direction comes from the trainer (call out “pop up!”). A great method is to have the athlete performing a swimming motion on the glideboard lying prone (left), then the trainer calls and the athlete moves into the quadraped position (right).

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POPPING UP – Drop Squat.

While there are a number of squat variations that can be performed on Total Gym, all ideal for lower body functional strength for a surfer, the drop squat in particular is unique as it mimics the concept of popping up and landing in a flexed position. It also protects the knees while still providing the necessary challenge required. This is different to a normal squat in that the knees pop up, then land in a neutral position as the feet land on the squat stand. Holding additional weights at the upper body increases the challenge.

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CORE – Jack Knife.

With the SCRUNCH® accessory, you can achieve an incredible core-targeted workout. SCRUNCH® elevates core training by allowing the athlete to stretch, strengthen and stabilise the entire core and trunk for a targeted abdominal workout. This is of great benefit to the surfer who needs to acheive optimal core strength to effectively manoeuvre the surfboard.

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STRETCHES – Hip Flexor

There is a lot of shortening of the abdominals and hip flexors with the SCRUNCH exercise, so Total Gym allows the athlete to round out again by assisting an incredibly effective and deep hip flexor stretch. The glideboard allows for a dynamic stretch option so the athlete can move deeper and deeper into the stretch as required.

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STRETCHES – Hip Flexor with Reach


The Hip Flexor stretch can be modified into a 3-dimensional stretch by adding arm drivers in the sagittal plane, frontal plane and transverse plane. This offers an incredible variation with the movements, opening up the entire body and rounding everything out again.

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MOBILISATION – Foam Roller (Vertical and Horizontal)

A surfer is often in a flexed position and the spine will relish a release. Horizontal and vertical mobilisation is incredibly effective for this using the correct sized foam roller (100mm diameter). Click here to download a Foam Roller article for more about this.

MODIFICATIONS

Total Gym is an exciting piece of equipment due to the diversity and endless possibilities. Not only can this single piece of equipment achieve well over 200 exercises, you can add other training tools to enhance an exercise or further increase the exercise possibilities.

  • For enhanced strength incorporate Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, Weight Bar, Plates, and more.
  • For increased functional stability incorporate a Suspension Training tool or Cable Machine.
  • For stability challenges incorporate BOSU, DuraDisc, or any other unstable platform to use with Total Gym.

The glideboard is also adjustable – it be positioned from an incline to a horizontal position to act as a bench and it can be positioned at the ground level for evolved Pilates work.

The possibilities are endless. The rest I will leave up to your imagination!

SUMMARY

The exercise prescription for surfers to achieve their goals needs to be functional, compound movements that challenge the entire body to achieve the necessary levels of strength, mobility and flexibility. And, most importantly, these need to translate directly over to the movement patterns of surfing. If you’re a Total Gym owner – then you’ve got a great way to achieve this.

Click here to download this article in PDF format and view a breakdown of each exercise including more images and progression options.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing.

Understanding the Principles of Functional Training

‘Functional Training’ is a term that has been used dare I say it “loosely” within our industry over the last few years.

So what does the term ‘Functional Training’ really mean?

What I will aim to do in this article is to give you an overview of some of the principles of functional training and how you can apply those principles to improve client performance through exercise prescription.

Let’s first take a look at some of the definitions of functional movement:

  • An exercise continuum involving balance and proprioception, performed with the feet on the ground and without machine assistance, such that strength is displayed in unstable conditions and body weight is managed in all movement planes.
  • Multi-joint, multi-planar, proprioceptively enriched activity that involves deceleration (force reduction), acceleration (force production) and stabilisation; controlled ammounts of instability; and management of gravity, ground reaction forces and momentum.
  • A spectrum of activities that condition the body consistent with its integrated movement/use.

All of these definitons authentically state what functional movement is, but with the growth of new trends within the health and fitness industry we tend to lose site of the application of some of these principles.

To keep things simple, I propose an alternative definition:

Functional Training involves movements which are specific to the task or purpose within a person/s activities of daily living.

Conditioned Athlete vs. Non-Conditioned Athlete

There seems to be a belief that sports activities differ from active daily living and that we should train our conditioned athletes one way and our non-conditioned athletes another way. While this is typically true in terms of power and performance, both activities share some basic features:

  • They involve skillful application of ground reaction forces.
  • Forces are transmitted through the body through a chain reaction.
  • Tasks are performed in 3 dimensional planes of motion.
  • In order to achieve balance and skills needed to perform these tasks, we regularly get into certain postions. As these tasks are performed more reguarly, motor programs and functional adaptions are reinforced.

For these reasons it’s helpful to re-think the traditional distinction between athletic and non-athlethic activities.

Therefore when designing a program we can look at the fundamentals of the type of activity which is being performed by either the conditioned athlete or the non-conditioned athlete. Then we can then determine the role ‘functional training’ will play in either the enhancement of performance or is helpful in improving the overhall quality of life.

Principles of Function

Principle 1 

Function is 3 Dimensional and includes all three planes of movement:

  • Sagittal: Front to Back
  • Frontal: side to side
  • Transverse: Rotational

Principle 2

The physical forces that the body has to contend with are:

  • Gravity
  • Ground Reaction Forces
  • Momentum

Principle 3

Movement is Driven

  • Drivers of the body

Note: For example we would classify the foot as the driver during an anterior balance reach with the foot reaching towards the specified target.

Principle 4

  • Chain Reaction

As 3D movement includes the whole body and involves multiple joints, we must therefore assume that there will be a chain reaction created throughout the body as we deal with the physical forces.

Applying these Principles of Functional Training

As trainers we all have an understanding of exercise prescription and an abundance of different exercises to choose from in our forever expanding tool bag.

However we must understand that it is not the exercise that will determine the success of the movement – it is the movement that will determine the success of our exercise prescription.

I often see clients that have come to me for post-rehabilitation after several weeks of working with a health professional during the acute phase of injury. These clients have mostly had a reduction in pain and are therefore ready to engage in a post-rehabilitative exercise program.

After an initial subjective summary we start to build a picture of the client’s functional health and activity history. An example of this would be a client who sprained their left ankle 6 months ago and received no treatment for that injury. A great one to remember for later on, whilst performing the client’s functional assessment.

A typical functional assessment would include:

  • Gait evaluation
  • Balance Reach
  • Lunge
  • Excursion Tests
  • Other Tests

Staying within our principles of function, let’s take a look at the balance reach assessment.

For example:

Observing the Sagittal Plane Balance Reach

We direct our client to reach their right leg anteriorly and posteriorly at a verticality of ground and at a distance of mid range.

Results

Interestingly during our observation our client shows a limitation in dorsi-flexion through the left ankle complex when reaching the right leg anteriorly.

Exercise Prescription

On completion of our functional evaluation we can review our subjective summary and observation of functional movement before we determine our exercise prescription. The great thing about a functional assessment is that some of the exercises that we use to assess our clients may be also prescribed in our exercise selection.

For example

Balance Reach Observation

Our observation in the sagital plane showed a degree of limitation in dorsiflexion in the left ankle on a anterior reach with the foot as the driver.

Corrective Exercise selection

Balance Reach – Frontal Plane

Frontal plane reach with foot driver working within the ‘threshold of success’ – same exercise selection but alternative plane selected to work on improving the mobility of the ankle complex.

Conclusion

Observing our client’s movement in all three planes of motion may help us to identify a series of limitations in their functional capabilities.

Clients learn new skills in stages so it is important to work with our clients within the ‘threshold of success’. It is important to recognise these stages and to prescribe your exercises accordingly.

Mistakes play an important role in how we learn, as long as we are adhering to the main principles of function and our mistakes are minimal. The trainer must be able to identify those mistakes and be able to provide a solution to enhance our client’s functional capabilities.

References:

  • Mentoring Workshop 2011 Dirk Crafford Orthopaedic Rehab and Performance Consultant and Founder of Functional Health Fitness
  • Santanaj.c. (2000) Functional Training Boca Raton FL: Optimal performance systems

Dean Quirke
Master Dip. Fitness Testing & Sports Therapy, Dip. Exercise Science, BWLA Weight Lifting Coach, Advanced Strength Training AGSHSS Corrective Exercise Level 2, AGSHSS Pre & Post Natal Exercise, AGSHSS Myofascial Trigger Point Release Therapy, CHEK Exercise Coach,NLP & Transformational Coach, GRAVITYPost-rehab Trainer. Dean specialises in corrective exercise, injury prevention, weight management and special populations. Based out of Sydney, Dean’s passions lie within movement and rehabilitation. This has led him on an incredible journey of self discovery and education. Dean believes there is a great need and a requirement to be open-minded and adaptable in order to be successful in this field.
www.holistichealthconcepts.com
Ph: 04 3144 1213  or   Mob: 0431 441 213
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw


What Role Does ROI Play In Your Business?

We are in a time when now more than ever, setting up a business is not as easy as 1, 2, 3.

We need to consider a multitude of factors and are often restricted by a limited budget and strict timeframe.

So how do you start up a business – maximise your return – and most importantly survive the statistics of failing as a small business within 2 – 5 years?

Possibly one of the most important factors that is often overlooked – is your ROI.

So what is “ROI”?

ROI stands for Return on Investment (also known as “rate of return”, “rate of profit”, or simply “return”). Basically it is the ratio of money coming in (cash flow / income / profit), relative to the total amount invested (capital / asset / expense).

Now if you start getting into this it can get quite complicated, however for the purpose of this article we’ll simplify it right down.

In regards to your fitness business, the key factors you want to look at in regards to your ROI is:

  • How long will it take you to recover the money you have invested?
  • Will you still be paying the equipment off in 6 months? 12 months? 2 years? Longer?

Key ROI tips when Setting Up Your Business…

Tip #1 – Avoid Unhealthy Debt

You don’t need to purchase everything outright when you first start out! Always consider your budget. If you have savings and can purchase outright – fantastic! If however you need finance, then that’s another story.

Do you already have debt? If so – will more finance add extra pressure and stress to you and your business before you even start?

If you have no existing debt but do need finance – then the next step is to consider what you need vs. what you simply want. Wants and needs are two very different things!

Unhealthy debt creates a stranglehold on your business. It generates stress and creates unnecessary pressure as you build your business.

Positive debt (if it can be called this…!) is based on your projected rate of return or ROI realistically being achieved within a minimal timeframe; from 6 to 12 months.

In regards to your fitness equipment selection, always choose equipment that is within your means (budget) and not excessive to needs. Therefore you will maximise your ROI and ensure you will pay it off within a reasonable time frame.

From here you can make the choice to gradually invest in more equipment. A positive method is to save as you go, and only invest in more equipment that you can purchase outright. Then you can safely do so with the knowledge that you’re not adding extra pressure to yourself or your business.

And…you can make a big deal about new equipment coming in via newsletter and social media so your clients start getting excited about these new toys!

Tip #2 – Set Up the Smart Way

Setting up the smart way” begins from Day 1 of planning your business. The questions you need to keep asking yourself are

What is the most cost-effective way to do this?”

And “Does this fit within my budget or is this excess to needs?

Now some things can’t be helped – accountant, insurance, design work, business cards. However some of these things can be helped with a little know-how, or thinking outside the square.

  • Can you do a contra with a professional you know (contra personal training for work)?
  • Are you social-media savvy enough to start up your presence via social media to save on initial website costs?
  • Can you get free publicity?
  • Can you work out a deal on space i.e. utilising the room of another business until you have enough money to move into your own space?
  • Can you get in someone else to help cover the costs?

Maximising your ROI means cutting down your expenses – which is a matter of thinking outside the square!

Tip # 3 – Select the Right Equipment for your Business Model

The key investment for your start-up business should be fitness equipment, second only to upgrading a room or area as your working space (if you have the money to do so).

In deciding what equipment you’re going to purchase, it’s important to think about the following:

  • What will your point of difference be?
  • What space do you have available?
  • What is your primary training model? (personal training/multi-client/group/team)
  • And most importantly – what is the minimal equipment that will achieve all of this for you to start out with?

It is for these reasons and more that fitness professionals are now opting for a functional training studio over purchasing static, single-plane machines.

Functional fitness equipment often offers a multitude of exercise options that can be performed and tailored to the clients’ individual needs.

Most static machines on the other hand have limited use and simply take up space.

Functional = diversity + maximum use of space.

Other factors to consider when selecting your initial and ongoing fitness equipment:

  • Does the product present longevity? – i.e. they won’t present dated training methods in 2, 5 or 10 years.
  • Does the product offer diversity? – i.e. they offer a number of different exercise options with the one product
  • Can the product work for you? – i.e. is there a product that can be used by your clients unsupervised and offer extra income to your business?

In addition, it’s never a bad idea to consider products that will either create an added point of difference, such as:

  • Foam Rollers (for after-session use)

Or in some cases invest in higher priced items that can pay for itself unsupervised, and is based on a booking system. Examples include:

  • Inversion Table
  • InfraRed Sauna
  • InfraRed Light

By considering an added point of difference you can maximise your profits, and set yourself apart!

Solutions!

In summary, when planning your business:

  1. Avoid Unhealthy Debt
  2. Set Up the Smart Way
  3. Select the Right Equipment for Your Business Model

Always consider your ROI…take the time to research all the options available to you…and make the smartest decision that meets your needs, in the most affordable way.

Final Note – from HQH Fitness

Why Total Gym is great for ROI.

HQH Fitness truly believe in and back Total Gym as a product. This is not only because it’s such a high quality product, but also because of the ROI Factor.

Total Gym offers great rewards.

As a product it is unique and diverse – it not only has personal training and multi-client personal training applications, but also group, Pilates and Post-rehab programming to work within any fitness or wellness business model. It works amazingly well as a centrepiece for Circuits and Small Group Training or Team Training.

The diversity alone means you can increase what you offer, position yourself apart, and have minimal space working for you 24/7.

With complete education support, free online marketing tools, and for such a minimal investment, it’s just like a franchise model – without any of the on-going fees.

Many HQH Fitness customers simply choose Total Gym and a few accessories to begin with, pay off their equipment within the first 6 months, and after that…it’s pure profit.

From there, they will gradually add other tools and equipment – and build up their business as they go, doing so in a way that means they aren’t suffering financially as they go.

HQH Fitness even offer a free interactive Business Planner where you can work out your own ROI with Total Gym!

If you’re interested in setting up a studio, click here to learn more about different models and options.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing and is passionate about helping business owners achieve their goals.

Small Group Training – Breaking it Down

There has been a significant shift within the fitness industry over the past few years with Small Group Training growing in leaps and bounds.

In the age of quick information where trends travel fast, savvy fitness professionals are getting on board with their entrepreneurial spirit by realising the benefits of training more than one client at a time.

And when you look at bottom line, Small Group Training makes inherent sense.

Total Gym®, one of the first international fitness equipment companies to truly embrace the Small Group Training model, brought this concept to the forefront of peoples’ minds when they launched their commercial product line in 2003.

With their education programs centred around Small Group Training on Total Gym, fitness business owners everywhere quickly recognised the benefits of this highly profitable and time-efficient training model.

In the following article we break down the Small Group Training model and take a closer look at this new phenomenon that is transforming fitness businesses around the world.

Small Group Training can essentially be broken down into two formats:

  1. Team Training
  2. Multi-Client Training

1. TEAM TRAINING

Team Training offers camaraderie – a group of individuals getting together for a common purpose. With a general target of 4 – 12+ participants, this is most commonly a pre-programmed approach which may or may not be musicality-based.

Different approaches fit within this model including Circuits, Stations (e.g. 2×2 or 3×3), 50:50 set up (e.g. Total Gym and Spinning), as well as Bootcamps or Challenges.

Payment is low per person, anywhere from around $10 – 20 per session (depending on what your hourly target is), making it incredibly affordable for clients.

Fiona Caddies of FiTraining, Australia, has set up her studio with the Team Training model in full effect.

She uses two Total Gym Classic PowerTowers, TRX, spinning, dumbbells, Bosu and other training tools to train multiple clients at a time.

As a result, she ensures that she lives the lifestyle of her dreams.

“I have a four day weekend, every weekend. It’s a great lifestyle choice.” Says Fiona.
Click here to view her story.

So…if you’re on board the Team Training approach the question is – how should you charge your clients?

Within the Team Training approach the most common payment options are:

  • Class Model
  • Program Model

Class Model

The class model is based around the “pay per session” concept, with the most common method being via concession card. Whilst this leaves it open for clients to drop in when it suits them, it means that attendance is uncertain and income is dependent on all booked clients showing up.

This is an unstable model that results in fluctuation in attendance and income, which can be highly affected by seasonal changes. This makes it difficult to run a business with any form of consistency.

Program Model

The Program Model is centred on certainty and is the recommended option. With a general target of around 4 – 8+ participants per program, payment is made either in advance or by direct debit / AP.

Each program has a start and end date, often 4 to 6 weeks in length, and shows active progression. Within this model your payment per session is guaranteed and the client is more motivated to attend.

In addition, by offering “make-up” sessions every week, you increase the buy-in at the beginning and ensure that your clients have the opportunity to make up any session they may have missed, but you still get paid for each and every session, regardless. You can also use this make-up session to invite any leads to experience a free session – making the most of your time.

The Program Model also works well in conjunction with the Waterfall Structure – which has been promoted heavily by Total Gym after the success of this format was seen in a US gym.

The Waterfall Structure is all about staggering your programs. This method of scheduling is centred on five key factors that ensure your success:

  1. Book out programs in advance
  2. Stagger the program start dates
  3. Ensure progression
  4. Utilise the “Sold Out!” strategy
  5. Only schedule what you can book out in advance

So there are obvious benefits in taking a Team Training approach, but what about Multi-Client Personal Training? Where does that fit in?

The distinction between the two is quite important to your business – firstly in how you position yourself and your business, secondly (perhaps most importantly) how much you charge per session and thirdly, your preferred method of training.

So now we take a closer look at Multi-Client Training.

2. MULTI-CLIENT TRAINING

Multi-Client Training is Personal Training on a slightly larger scale. Very different to Team Training, Multi-Client training is about training around 3-4 clients at a time based on their individual needs. By creating “pockets” for each client, you break each individual down into their goal, needs and challenges, and tailor the session to each individual – replicating their goal in their exercises.

This training format is more time consuming as the preparation is personalised and not as generic as Team Training tends to be. The key challenge of Multi-Client Training is working with different clients, health histories and goals and personalising the session to each individual – all in the same room.

So what are the benefits of Multi-Client Training over Team Training?

  • You can charge more per person than you would in Team Training, anywhere from $30 – 50 per 45 or 60 minute session (depending on your one on one charge out rate). This is because you are still giving a one on one training approach in your session and offering personalised attention. At the same time you are still charging less than your charge out rate for a one on one session, making it more affordable for the client.
  • By creating “pockets” or “pods” for each individual, you have each client working in their own area and you can simply rotate from client to client to help them set up each set and monitor their progress.
  • You can stagger the starting times, meaning that you can bring one client in at a time, set them up, set their agenda for the session and have them start while you bring the next client in – maximising your time with each client.
  • You empower and educate the client.

One true benefit is that clients learn how to execute exercises properly and monitor their own form and function. For those who are happy to embrace this type of education, it is truly invaluable to their wellbeing as you teach them habits for life.

David Snively of DBS Fitness, Canada, is the owner of four Total Gym Classic GTS units and is the master of Multi-Client sessions.

“It really works well from a business perspective and from a strategy perspective.” says David, whose business is completely built on a Multi-Client Training Model.

David incorporates tools such as Bosu, TRX, Cable Pulley systems, kettlebells, medicine balls and more, all around the Total Gym GTS centrepiece.

He explains how he runs his Multi-Client Training sessions in a FREE online video on GRAVITY Clubhouse. We highly recommend you watch this for ideas. Click here to sign up for free:  and then click on this link to go direct to ‘Mastering Multi-Client Sessions‘.

This video in a nutshell teaches you the best ways to master Multi-Client sessions.

So after breaking it down, you can see there are multiple approaches and opportunities within the concept of ‘Small Group Training’. From a business perspective, it’s the smart solution to training. Just be clear on how you position yourself and what you are offering.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing and is passionate about helping business owners achieve their goals.

Priorities

By Josh Smith

Coming in to a high amount of business growth over the past month and a half has meant that for me, I have had to re-evaluate and re-prioritise my current lifestyle and the direction my current choices are taking me.

Having this discussion with a few friends and clients of mine, it seems that for many people – what they actually want from life, and the current direction that they are going in, are two very different things!

How often do you hear “I wish that my life was better” or “Nothing ever goes my way”, or another, generally as equally miserable, saying along the same lines?

If you had to ask me, I would say that I hear these types of sayings uttered at least 3 to 5 times per week, and I’m sure you would be the same. With the advent of social media and the ease of ‘status updates’, you might even see these sayings 3 to 5 times PER DAY!

Being the type of person I am, I like to challenge these types of people on what they actually mean by their sayings. More often than not I get answers that, when broken down further, relate to discrepancies between how they currently prioritise their life and what is needed to achieve the outcomes they wish for.

So you wish to get paid more? Then while you are at work why spend time playing on social media, reading the newspaper or taking long lunch breaks? In my mind that is not something the boss will pay you extra to do!

In the health and fitness industry, it is imperative we teach our clients to prioritise correctly. In my role as a lifestyle coach and business mentor to personal trainers, I spend hours each week delving into the deeper recesses of my clients minds, uncovering exactly HOW they are currently prioritising and WHERE they need to make changes.

So this week I ask you: are your priorities leading you in the right direction?

  • Are there things you want to achieve; business growth, physical development, or financial gains, that are being hindered by your current subconscious attitudes?
  • Are you spending too much time socialising, procrastinating or focusing on the less important things?
  • Do you find yourself spending major time on minor things?

If so then I urge you to take a deeper look at yourself.

Take some to reflect upon your goals, and start to uncover the behaviours and habits that are impeding your progress towards them. Write them down, remember them, and learn what it is that is taking away from your ideal lifestyle.

Only by knowing what is not good for you, can you develop the behaviours that will be GREAT for you!

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness which offers Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

One on One Personal Training – A Dying Trend?

The small group training model is a phenomenon that has taken the fitness industry by storm.

With so many businesses and individuals embracing this new wave of training – from large club chains to small self-employed operations – fitness professionals all over the world are discovering that the small group training model is:

  • More attractive to their clients
  • Better suited to their business
  • And best of all it increases their bottom line

So the question presents itself – is one on one personal training on its way out?

The One on One vs. Group Training Debate

Many believe that small group training is the future of fitness, while others are yet to be convinced.

Group:
Small group training (also often referred to as “team training”) allows the fitness professional to earn more and provides a more affordable option for the client…which creates a win:win solution, correct?
vs. One on One:

However, there are some within the industry who believe that small group training takes away from the individual, failing to offer the one on one personalised approach that they feel clients need and deserve.

So in an industry where trends come and go and what once was right is now wrong (and vice versa), who is right – and where does one on one training fit in moving forward?

The Business of Training

  • First and foremost it is important to come back to the ultimate goal of running a business – to be successful.
  • And success in business is defined by what the owner’s ultimate goal, targets and dream is for that business.
  • Therefore anyone operating within their business goals and working successfully towards their dream are doing exactly what they should be doing. It is not for anyone else to say they are right or wrong.

So keeping that in mind…let’s break it down.

Hands Up for Small Group Training

Small group training is not just a phenomenon as previously stated; it is in fact a trend that appears to be here to stay.

And for the average fitness professional whose business goal is centred on earning money doing what they love, the one on one model no longer cuts the mustard.

It is important to remember here that having a goal or dream around money is not a bad thing! In reality, this is the primary purpose of most businesses today.

And when we’re talking about the business of businesssmall group training just makes sense – from a financial perspective, from a marketing perspective and from a time perspective.

Whether presented in a team training format, or a multi-client personal training format (the difference to be explained in an upcoming blog), small group training is all about bringing a group of people together and taking them to their goals in a fun and motivating environment.

Regardless of the fact they may not get the dedicated attention they would recieve in a one on one session, anyone being trained within a group format – chooses to do so.

Programs such as Les Mills’ classes and team training are popular for a reason. They have in fact paved the way for small group training. Within a group, people experience camaraderie and connection with their fellow “team” and are inspired and motivated to challenge themselves or be challenged. All the endorphins from fitness are enhanced within a group training format.

The benefits for small group training include:

  • Presents a positive environment, with motivation and support from within the group
  • More income for the trainer
  • More affordable for the client
  • Time efficient
  • Fun and interactive

This list could go on and on.

When the clients love it and it helps the trainer to achieve their goal of earning more – how can group training be judged as “wrong”? It can’t. In fact, it’s simply smart business.

So based on this…why would an individual want to continue to offer one on one training when small group training is so attractive?

The Place of One on One Training

Rest assured one on one or private training has – and always will have – a place in the industry.

The only difference moving forward is that with more competition and cheaper alternatives, it simply requires the person running this business model to work smarter.

“Work smarter” simply means that a personal trainer or fitness professional can no longer rest on their laurels.

With more and more trainers coming into the industry offering  lower price points, group training services, not to mention marketing superstars and industry experts who stand out from the crowd…a business that chooses to work within the one on one training model should fit within the following criteria:

  • The business’s ultimate goal is not about the money. When a trainer/business owner has the dream of taking individuals to their goals in a personalised format – the one on one model can always apply. This is because they do it for the love of it, not for the money. When you make money a non-issue, it sells itself and they can offer a competitive price point.
  • The business’s ultimate goal is centred on working with a high-end market. When a fitness professional, specialist or practitioner needs to work closely with a client, one on one training ensures that they offer focus and dedication to that client only, aiming for the best results possible. They may have a money focus/goal, however at their specialised level they are able to position themselves at a rate per individual that weeds out the non-committed and meets their target hourly income.
  • The business’s ultimate goal is about presenting a package/program approach. When a fitness professional thinks ‘outside the square’, a number of ideas will come their way. By offering a package approach (including seminars, assessments and a number of add-ons or “freebies”), they can sell a package of items to an individual, thereby getting their target hourly income while still offering a one on one model.

So…Back to the Question

Is One on One Personal Training a Dying Trend?

The answer is clearly no…and it will certainly never “die”.

There is always a market for clients who want the care and attention of one on one training. They may just be harder to find, and the trainer may need to target their market better.

Trainers working within this model will need to start working smarter, be clear on the ultimate business goal that they are working towards, and understand the model that best fits that goal.

Otherwise…they could well be left behind.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing and is passionate about helping business owners achieve their goals.