Teamwork Makes the Dream Work. The Importance of a Multi-disciplinary Team | Iconic Fitness Dubai Marina JLT

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work. The Importance of a Multi-disciplinary Team

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work. The Importance of a Multi-disciplinary Team

The more like-minded professionals you have on your side, the better the chances are for success in all training, health, and rehab-related issues.

‘Hannes! You need to be careful when buying a car. Cars depreciate in value; in fact, everything in life depreciates faster than a car, except ice cream. Ice cream is the only thing in this world that depreciates in value faster than a car, so if you don’t need a car in Dubai, please don’t buy one; buy an ice cream instead; it’s much cheaper’.

These are very wise words from Thomas, a sophisticated elderly gentleman that has been training with me twice a week since late 2021. These are the kinds of wisdom Thomas likes to bestow on us younger trainers here at Iconic Fitness. Thomas is very strong and functionally fit, thanks to all the work he has done during the past 3 years with us. Thomas enjoys taking the odd breaks between his sets, so this is when these wise words come out in heaps for us more inexperienced ‘younger people’ in our 40’s.

Thomas is an avid sailor and world traveler, and he spends most of his time here in Dubai working part-time as a consultant and horseback riding. Thomas is all about horseback riding. That’s the main reason he signed up with me.  He suffered from severe back pain during and after his rides, and he wasn’t going to stop his favorite activities. My main role as Thomas’ trainer and coach is to ensure he can maintain his horse-riding hobby a few times a week without pain and also ensure he remains bulletproof to garden, sail, and ride his horses. Horse riding can be done in three sessions a week for anything between 60 and 120 minutes per session. The riding for that duration is already a challenge in itself. 3-6 hours of any physical activity per week is taxing on the body, and on top of that, its an activity where you have to use your strength, coordination, and endurance abilities at random given moments during a ride, depending on what horse you have. Thomas also likes a challenge, so he simply won’t opt for a tame horse or one that’s been accustomed to daily riding activities. No, sir, Thomas likes to pick out stubborn horses. He loves telling us all about his horse riding stories, as he has recently rode horses all across the world and only mainly comes to Dubai, as the setup here in Al Qudra is the best facility he has ever seen. ‘There is just something different about these Arabian horses,’ he says. Yes, Thomas likes his challenging horses, so my challenge as his rehab coach and conditioning expert is ever-changing and challenging. 

Thomas has come a long way. In our first few sessions, I had to teach him how to squat properly. He used to squat a lot on his toes and only in half-squat positions—”horse-riding positions’. We later incorporated full-depth squat positions to further activate the gluteus and still maintain the most important VMO-affected angles and activities to support his knees while also maintaining all the strength he has accumulated over the decades due to the horseback riding positions. From isolated squats, we had to progress to a more full-body squat approach where he pulls bands towards him during a squat to maintain forces mimicking riding that directly loaded the weaker parts of his balance. All this while I have to strengthen the core, back, gluteus, and coordination. Our sessions progress to more compound movements superset with spinal mobility and mimicking’spinal decompression’ as much as we could in a gym setting.

It’s the tinkering, adaptations and progression in his training along with clear and solid communication between him and me that made the great progress. 

There is thus a lot of prep work, feedback from Thomas and tinkering going on to adjust workouts based on how he feels after a ride, and where his next destination will be and what equipment they will have available if nay at all. Constant communication, online programming and assistance along with a 5 min chat every morning while he is cycling is essential for prep for the coming sessions. The importance in support and communication cannot be overestimated.

As his personal trainer, I can only do the best work when he was in the gym with me in person. When he travels to Denmark and Portugal every quarter, things do become tricky, and this is where I need additional input as his coach. And this is where a multi-disciplinary team is so important. Thanks to the great insights from the outstanding crew at the Franklin Chiropractic Clinic in JLT, Dubai. With the valuable insights from Dr.Marius Coetzee, Dr. Madeleine Franklin, and Chloe Hoeben who have all worked very closely with myself and Thomas, I was able to tinker and adapt Thomas’ training even further and also support him more. The great communication from Franklin also expanded my understanding of what Thomas would go through during his travels and what effect irregular routines and sleeping patterns in different hotel rooms and beds would have when he travels. The core function of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) is to bring together a group of healthcare professionals from different fields in order to determine a patient’s treatment plan.

As a strength and conditioning expert and rehab coach, I specialize mainly in 2 things: conditioning and rehab. But a client’s needs often stretch further than that. Some clients need additional nutrition and dietary support. Others need valuable insights from a surgeon, physiotherapist, or, in Thomas case, physiotherapists and chiropractors. As good as a coach you believe to be or as good as you think your coach is, the reality is that no one knows everything. The body is a wonderfully complex system, and if you have niggles, pains, health-related issues, or struggle to improve your health, you need a team to assist and back you up. It’s ideal to get input from professional, like-minded people who assist you in working towards a common goal and strive to get you to your performance and health goals as quickly as possible and safely as possible.

I’m happy to report that Thomas is stronger than ever, moves incredibly well, and recently spent an entire week gardening in his mom’s garden back in Denmark in full squat positions and carrying odd-shaped bags and flower pots with no back pain. He sails most weekends and still rides 2-3 times a week.

If you are struggling with back pain or any performance-related injuries,. Let me know. Come and see us, and let’s get the conversation started. We have built a great support network with like-minded people who communicate very well. The more people you have on your side, the better for you.

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