I have just signed up a client who is a deep sea diver. He has terrible postural distortion patterns in almost every area (upper x is worst). I have started him on SMR and flexibility to loosen his tight muscles. He complains of arthritic pains. His doctor says it’s due to the depth and type of gasses used and the weight of diving suit. He works in a very confined space and says it’s like having 20 stones of weight bearing down on him. He then has to swing a sledge hammer at depth in diving suit. He has been cycling 250 miles a week (I have stopped this), which was adding to his problems. His job involves anaerobic work only. He can manage 3-10 swings of the sledge hammer then has to gasp for every breath. His core is very weak also. I would appreciate any advice with this client.
When it comes to conditioning, there are many factors that trainers forget to take into consideration. Ss Paul Chek says, “Assess, don’t guess!” Assess the entire person:
- Medical history and present
- Lifestyle Assessment
- Nutrition and Sleep Diary
- Length tension relationships
- Primal Movement Patterns
(Many of these forms are available under "Programs & Assessments" on PTontheNET.com.)
As you can see, there is a lot to do. There can be more as well as less, but you have to use what you see fit for your client. I am going to give you some basic insight on how to assess and condition a client like this. Before I do, I want to make one simple recommendation that I think will help you with this and future clients of yours. Purchase Scientific Core Conditioning, Scientific Back Conditioning, Program Design and Advanced Program Design from the C.H.E.K Institute. Most of the basic info that I am going to recommend comes out of those courses.
I would use any assessments that you know of at this point or refer out to a skilled PT or C.H.E.K Practitioner. There are many things to assess to figure out his postural distortions and so forth. In this case, you need to figure out what Paul Chek calls his biomotor abilities:
To keep it simple, you want to follow the stability, strength, power paradigm. This can be accomplished in a 12-20 week program, depending on whether the client is a cat or a salamander. Assess his current biomotor abilities by choosing weightlifting movements that correlate with each. Then you work within the paradigm:
- First, your goal is to correct muscle imbalances with flexibility (stretch the short facilitated muscles) and corrective exercise (strengthen the elongated muscles) and focus on stability/core function.
- Second, focus on building up his strength/strength endurance and continue with core conditioning.
- Third, this is the power or specificity phase, incorporating more dynamic core conditioning exercises. This is where you will use exercises that mimic his work environment. For example, a deep see diver does not need much speed, but they do need power, strength, stability, flexibility, agility and coordination. So the exercises you pick will be geared toward that as well as toward stability, power and coordination. Look at the movements he makes when swinging a hammer over and over. Break that down into separate movements, and you have his program. Swinging a sledge hammer over and over under water is much more difficult than doing it above. You need to take that into consideration as well as his gear, the weight of the water on his body and the movement: twist, lunge, pull/push. Use functional exercise, tornado ball, MB ball, DBs and weight vests.
- As for his arthritis, this can be caused by auto-intoxication from eating an unhealthy diet, taking OTC meds, being stressed (chemically, nutritionally, environmentally, physically, mentally, emotionally, EMF and so on) on a continuous basis and faulty loading. Cleaning up his nutrition as well as his lifestyle will assist you with his arthritis. Also, follow the exercise paradigm above, and you will get his body back into alignment and strengthen his inner/outer unit, which will increase his performance and decrease his pain/further chance of injury.
I think if you work with that for sometime, you will have a great recipe for success.