Life takes its toll on your body.

Stress in all its forms can impact on your posture, movement and everyday function.

Your history of sport, occupation, medical, lifestyle and relationships will all tell a story somewhere in your body.


Over 10 years ago at my first appointment as a Personal Trainer I was fortunately mentored by a senior trainer and fellow Kiwi named Dan Gorrie. He was a beast – ex rugby player weighing Over 100kg. I often saw him throwing the heaviest weights around and performing complex movements I’d never even seen before. It was all a new trend of metabolic/HIIT style circuits (now days called Crossfit) and I wanted in!

Finding your weakness

I was in my own mind a fit and strong rugby player, I could bench press a decent load and my motto was to go ‘hard or go home’, reaching for gains every time I hit the gym.

I knew I had the odd weakness from knee surgery and a few shoulder knocks from my sport but nothing that would hold me back as far as I was aware from doing hypertrophy split programming keeping my ‘mirror muscles’ happy.

In the first session I booked with him I was deadly nervous, my adrenals were spiked and ready for war. To my surprise there was no training it was all assessing. He basically jotted down notes while I either stood, walked or performed various movements, all telling him a story of my structural and functional imbalances.

Dan pulled me apart joint by joint and mentioned things like “your right sub-tailor joint is locked up, your hip flexors are concrete, thoracic scoliosis” The list goes on.

consider pre-hab to avoid rehab_2

Addressing the problems

He filmed me moving as proof= I could clearly see I wasn’t the elite greyhound I imagined I was.

He mentioned a Trendelenberg Shift. Eek… It sounded proper nasty! But it is really common amongst runners, mothers who carry children on one side and most people I assess early on in their training. It’s basically a weight shift to one side whilst squatting meaning you’re loading one side of your body (through the hip complex or lower limb) more than the other.

“Right Marshall, tomorrow we train”… I was visualising the most brutal iron pumping session ever, he was massive and I wanted to be just like him.

Instead I was given a session that consisted mostly of joint mobility, activation techniques, stabilisation, diaphragmatic breathing and awareness of movement.

The training

The session was surprisingly tough– some exercises had me shaking, sweating and completely focussed simply because I had faulty recruitment patterns, inactive tonic muscles and neurologically I was being challenged. My ego was stripped away from me but for all the right reasons. I was informed if I didn’t take these movements seriously in ten years time I would be in worlds of trouble. Some of my joints were degenerative already from wear and tear on the rugby paddock but with the right call to action some damage can be reversed completely.

The benefits

Immediately I could intrinsically feel the benefits. My performance, once I finally passed the pre-requisites to involve complex movements, was amazing and I felt bullet proof. But like a magician spinning plates Dan dealt me with a regular maintenance program (Pre-hab) mixed in with my performance work to keep my body from crashing to the ground.

I went on to study countless courses in Rehabilitation, Corrective Exercise and Athletic Strength and Conditioning and they all had similar protocols in this area.

Today I am seeing way too many gym related injuries, lifters are mummified in kinetic tape, lacking recovery, maintenance and simple progressions from fundamental movements.

The takeaway

In some cases like my own you may need to ‘regress to progress’. Some days are beast mode friendly but treat your body to some pre-hab training to keep everything intact and firing in all the right places. The moment you’re injured and forced to doing re-hab exercises it can be a very long and nasty road to recovery.

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