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Evidence-based fitness training can prevent sports injuries

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Jan 31, 2023 5:00 am

Getting a fitness certification made it to the top 10 list of “Fitness Trends in 2023.” For someone like me, who witnessed firsthand the evolution of the fitness industry in the Philippines since 1986, that’s great news, indeed.

My eldest daughter got her personal training certification from both the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) even though she hardly has time to get clients. My other daughter, meanwhile, spent a month in India to get her yoga training and certification. 

They can train others for a living, but they don’t. For them, they just want the working knowledge to create programs on their own, share their knowledge with family and friends from time to time, and generally have sufficient stock knowledge to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Personal fitness training imparts knowledge on how to get a healthy and active lifestyle.

Education is really important, especially if we are passionate about something and want to make it our livelihood. Since our involvement in the fitness industry meant involvement in sports development, I have long wondered if the number of universities with kinesiology degrees (I have enough fingers to count them all at this point) has a direct relationship with our Olympic achievements.

It is not just about speed, strength, agility, and power anymore. Preparation and recovery are very important in making sure that the athlete will remain injury-free as much as possible.

The countries with top kinesiology programs are the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. As of the last count, the United States has the most Olympic medals at 2,980 followed by the United Kingdom at 948. Australia has 562.

Since there are not a lot of schools offering kinesiology here, all the more it is of prime importance for fitness professionals to keep themselves informed and updated through certifications and continuing education.

NASM Optimum Performance Training was inspired by a college football injury experienced by Michael A. Clark.

I had the privilege of watching the NASM PES (Performance Enhancement Specialist) and CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist) in action. They take videos of athletes while engaging in sports. The one I specifically observed was of a basketball court. They showed me the videos and explained to me and their coach which mobility and flexibility issues could cause injuries if not corrected.

The creation of the NASM Optimum Performance Training by Michael A. Clark was inspired by a college football injury. Dr. Clark was a member of the college football team in Wisconsin and he saw his team captain tear his ACL. He witnessed his grueling experience, from surgery and rehab to strength and conditioning routines. That experience shifted his goal from becoming an orthopedic surgeon to a physical therapist instead.

American football is so rough and physical. Proper training is required and that’s why DeMarcus Ware, recently named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023, took the NASM CPT certification to enable him to train other athletes properly after retirement from sports.

His observations also fueled his passion to create an integrated approach to enhancing athletic performance. Clark, who was named “Health and Fitness Visionary of the Year” by Men’s Health magazine, is one of the top physical therapists in the world. If you do more research, you will notice that Clark has revolutionized the many sports he is involved in as founder of NASM and Fusionetics. 

Through technology developed by the latter, a coach can determine corrections needed by an athlete due to muscle weakness or lack of flexibility. The identification of these problems forms the basis for personalized exercise and recovery programs.

It is not just about speed, strength, agility, and power anymore. Preparation and recovery are very important in making sure that the athlete will remain injury-free as much as possible. How many skilled players have we seen throughout sports history wasting away due to injuries?

Dr. Clark’s hands-on experience as a sports medicine consultant and specialist (for numerous pro teams and athlete-clients including MVPs, All-Stars, and Champions from the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, and the Olympic games) clinically validated the value of systematic integrated functional training. His method included core stabilization training, neuromuscular stabilization training, reactive neuromuscular training, integrated functional strength training, and functional flexibility training.

For NBA All-Star Grant Hill, NASM OPT and CES training systems allowed him to play for 20 years.

Dr. Clark’s success in helping athletes get bigger, stronger, and faster while preventing injuries and optimizing performance attracted the attention of everyone, especially in the pro leagues. In fact, it has been reported that the majority of NBA and NFL clubs have NASM-PES or NASM-CES in their teams.

He said the NASM OPT model organizes complex scientific principles, from human movement science and human performance to exercise and sports science, into a system of distinct levels and phases. Trainers can follow the steps to provide an evidence-based solution that enables clients to get desired results, such as weight loss, enhanced fitness, increased performance, or improved recovery. 

After creating the OPT model, Dr. Clark created the PES to help trainers apply the NASM OPT model to sports performance clients, and the CES applied evidence-based methods to identify and improve muscular imbalances and faulty movements in order to reduce the risk of injuries by 50 to 70%.

DeMarcus Ware, an NFL pro-bowler and Super Bowl champion, shortlisted for the 2023 Hall of Fame, added NASM-CPT to his accomplishments. He had a conversation with NASM master trainer Ken Miller (who ran a two-day workshop here in Manila last December) including a podcast where he declared, “I came to NASM because I felt like that was the best. I played the best in the NFL, so I want the best information.” The retired pro now trains other athletes.

Ken Miller also had two-time NCAA National Champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill as a podcast guest. Hill’s incredible career was also impeded by severe injuries. He said that the NASM OPT allowed him to play close to 20 years in the NBA. The knowledge also helps him balance his life and fitness post-career when he doesn’t have a whole team of fitness professionals to coach him.

“For me, a lot of what kept me going were the things I learned through NASM—the principles, the foundation. I have an arthritic ankle. And I know if I don’t do my corrective exercises, if I don’t foam roll, if I don’t do my correctives, then it hurts my ankle,” Hill told Miller on how the NASM Corrective Exercise Specialization helped him extend his career and live an active life after retirement.