Personal Training series: Predicting Injuries

No two people have the same body; and even if two people look the same their ability to withstand load can be vastly different. Commonly in the clinic my clients complain about holding good posture. They report how other colleagues in their places of work can sit with bad posture but never develop pain. Why is this?

There are some people who have a musculoskeletal system which is able to withstand the abnormal loads on their bodies in poor sitting postures: there are others who have a very low tolerance to the stress of sitting with poor posture. There may be many reasons for this but I think a major factor is simply genetics. Genetics cannot be changed. Therefore, two people should avoid comparing themselves when it comes to posture, movement and pain.

Another example of this is athletes – who play sport regularly – and get more injuries than others who may sit at home with an unhealthy lifestyle and watch TV. If you play sport you are generally going to be healthier on the inside but maybe more prone to injuries on the outside. Unfortunately this cannot be avoided as sport does put abnormal loads on the body. If the body cannot adapt to these loads then injuries will occur.Those people who sit on a sofa and eat unhealthy foods do not expose their body to the stresses of sport and in the long run may have fewer injuries and actually better joint condition.

When a physiotherapist assesses a person a bespoke testing protocol is followed; this protocol will take into consideration the movement patterns this person puts themselves through in normal daily life as well as in their sports or hobbies. This assessment is a very functionally based assessment whereby the client can see where their issues are in daily function or sport – and then has a goal to achieve in the rehabilitation process.

The physio will do a thorough examination of the musculoskeletal system and identify individual variances within each person. Physiotherapists can then report to the trainer what the potential consequences of training that person will be. This method will also identify what limitations this person may have when setting goals. When a physiotherapist and personal trainer work closely together you get a synergy like no other. The client gets fully assessed at the start and the constant feedback throughout the training process will provide a bespoke feedforward system for goal attainment and injury prevention.

When a physio and trainer work closely together injuries due to movement can be predicted. Sometimes a client can do an awkward movement once, twice, ten times but if they decided to run a marathon with the biomechanics that they have they will develop an injury. The training process must be adapted to provide help to prevent this injury increasing strengthen and flexibility in various parts of the body to enable that person still to run a marathon.

It is my intention that a client is able to train with very few major injuries; continue to train if they have minor injuries; and attain their goals on time. The client also has the benefit of knowing the physiotherapist, and of knowing that the trainer and physiotherapist are working together as a team.

Personal Training series: Physical Edge Physiotherapy team working specifically with Personal Trainers for superior results

I believe being healthy is important, as it affects every area of life – if you are healthy you can do more and feel better doing it. Often people find it difficult to motivate themselves to go to the gym or to do sport; they need someone to direct them in their training, give them focussed goals, and keep them motivated along the way. Personal trainers play a significant role in this regard – helping people achieve their physical goals. Today personal trainers often work in one-on-one training facilities, to offer functional gym training in a smaller more intimate environment;the gym generally has better equipment, is cleaner and the trainers can offer state of the art functional training.

Having spoken with several high profile trainers in London, we have identified the need for physiotherapists to work with trainers.People find it frustrating when they get injuries and the trainer sends them to a physiotherapist they do not know; the physiotherapist may not clearly communicate back to the trainer what the client’s injury is, and how to help heal that injury during training. Sometimes training is stopped for no reason and the client is taken away from his / her training goals.

The way to improve the training process is to have a physiotherapist work with the trainer from the very start. By getting assessed by a physiotherapist before training starts, a person can discuss their injuries and how their body operates with a medical professional. The physiotherapist will identify the injuries, past and present, which may present during training sessions; even if there are no current injuries, the physiotherapist can identify potential pitfalls a person may encounter as they go through their training regime towards their goals. Once the person is assessed by the physiotherapist the physio can feed back to the personal trainer what to look out for during the training process, what limitations there are for that person in training, and whether the training goal is appropriate. The trainer can then confidently train a client knowing that he/she is supported by a medical professional who understands injuries and how the body functions in response to them.

The personal trainer will continue to communicate closely with the physiotherapist during the training process; the physiotherapist will continue in their assessment of a client throughout their training regime in order to maintain correct movement of the body and further direct the trainer towards more advanced training goals. By working well together in this way the physiotherapist and trainer help to provide a better service to their clients. If an injury does occur during training the physiotherapist will already know the client, and the trainer will be able to communicate immediately with the physio on how to proceed. The synergy of this relationship far exceeds any personal training system by itself.

The benefits to the client are:

  • Prevention of injuries during training
  • Faster goal attainment
  • Faster return to training if an injury does occur.

If you are interested in working with a physiotherapist and personal trainer contact us at http://www.physical –

Decision to race the L’Etape du Tour

It has been 5 weeks since I finished the Ironman in Switzerland. I have been eating whatever I wanted and I noticed my metabolism initially was very high. After eating a meal I would get hungry within 2 hours and I could feel my body getting thinner, especially my face.

My body wanted to continue training but I resisted and in 5 weeks I have completed only one,  45 min run. I got straight back into work as a physiotherapist and had very little sleep over the first 2 -3 weeks. This exhausted me to the point of feeling sick. I had not felt this way so often before and I think my body tired much faster after the ironman. I could rest and felt great for 2 days but if I had another late night the tiredness returned. The Ironman does take all your reserves of energy and I am still recovering today. Maybe without late nights and work I could recover faster? I am feeling better this week than last week and with a more sleep I know I will recover fully.

I wanted another challenge after the ironman. The time it takes to train for an Ironman is too much to continue doing these events. I know my strongest discipline is the cycling and I have decided to learn more about this sport whilst continuing to compete in shorter distance triathlons.

The decision I have made is to complete  a stage of the Tour de France which is called the LE’tape du Tour. I want to learn how to fix bikes, the biomechanics of cycling, training correctly and the etiquette of the sport. I plan to use this experience to help my knowledge of endurance events and improve performance in Triathlons.

I got my bike out of its bike box, after the ironman, and reassembled it. I had taken the front fork out of the body of the bike and it took some guess-work how to reassemble it correctly. If  you are taking it apart make a mental note of how the bearings and smaller spacers fit together.

I bought new Zipp 303 wheels as I was impressed with the Zipp wheel set I used for the ironman. I got advice from my bike mechanic, Dave, on which wheelset is suitable for road cycling. The 303’s have been designed for aerodynamics both up and down hills. They are strong enough to train on and will be less affected by cross winds when cycling.

I took the new Zipp 303’s into my cycle shop in Putney and had Patrick, cycle mechanic, show me how to put on new tires, change the rear cassette, and alter the brakes when I switch from training wheels to the Zipps. I have these lessons videoed on my youtube site on

We decided to put Latex inner tubes on the wheels to keep them extremely light. If I am spending £1550 on wheels it is worth maximising their performance. I now have both training wheels and Zipps to race on and I can put them on my bike when I choose.

I will now talk to Fran, my coach for the Ironman, and we are putting together a training program in the gym to prepare me for training on the bike. The idea is to build up Strength, Endurance and Power and then start training in a structured way from January. The date for the 2011 L’Etape du Tour has not been decided yet. The organisers must wait for the official Tour de France  race dates to be set, last year the race was in mid July.

This week I start in the gym and will see my coach on Friday for a training plan.