What can Activcore Physical Therapists Learn from the Chinese Diving Team

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So I have talked to several friends and colleagues about Activcore.

It is quite easy for them to see that the most apparent differences between Activcore and your conventional physical therapy are:

1) longer treatment session duration, and

2) use of the Redcord suspension system.

However, I would vehemently assert that having more one-on-one time with the client does not simply lead to an opportunity to perform a greater number of sets and reps of each exercise. Rather it provides a more focused, client-centered approach that involves greater attention to detail and a more intimate understanding of each person’s needs.

Being an avid consumer of literature dealing with skill building and learning, I recently read the book The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. This insightful book steps into the nature vs. nurture debate and draws some surprising conclusions about how excellence can be fostered provided the right conditions are present. I would argue that physical therapy treatment is the same. High levels of improvement and performance can be achieved by the client when given the proper recipe of variables and conditions.

On Mr. Coyle’s website, his colleague, Rett Larson highlights one the greatest talent hotbeds of modern times: the Chinese Diving Team. I would like to point out some parallels regarding the truths about one of the world’s most successful athletic teams and the Activcore model.

1) Similar to the coaches of these divers, we also see individuals of all levels and abilities. Often I have a 78-year old sedentary client with poor bed mobility performing the same exercise on the Redcord suspension system as an elite level 18-year old runner, just with different parameters. As an Activcore therapist I have gained a new appreciation of common impairments across the lifespan. This cues me in to treat areas that would be overlooked in the conventional model of physical therapy.

2) The Chinese divers spend most of their time working on super basic dives. We, as Activcore practitioners, work on super basic movement patterns. The reason for this is simple. We often have similar demands in life: ascending a staircase, getting out of a chair, putting on a pair of pants. Even high level athletes need to be able to do these activities without pain. If their movement patterns are dysfunctional in these small areas, just imagine the compensation that must ensue during more loaded movements. The Activcore difference is that we meticulously identify these areas of impairment and use a strict “test and retest” model to verify our hypotheses. We can regress or progress these basic movements often within a few minutes time and recognize improved movement patterns.

3) The Chinese divers are obsessive about coaching every single repetition. Activcore, being strictly one-on-one for an hour, permits the therapist to focus on the details. This way he/she is not preoccupied with observing their previous client still exercising in the busy gym, whose treatment time has been dovetailed to the current client. Additionally, the Redcord system frees up the therapist’s hands and eyes to focus on the client from all different angles, observing and cueing for perfect technique when necessary.

4) The Chinese coaches do not permit their divers to focus on just one discipline. At Activcore, we take a holistic approach through our Redcord movement assessment. Much like the SFMA, we can detect remote bodily regions like a cervical spine limitation may be involved in producing low back pain. We can then quickly perform a treatment based on our findings and re-test to determine the potential role of this impairment. We do not specialize in treating solely one area, we treat the whole person.

5) Chinese divers accomplish their most important work outside the pool. At Activcore, our clients often perform their most important treatments on their own, outside of the clinic. Because we can accurately diagnose and treat many issues, the one hour format permits ample time to perform adequate home exercise instruction. Our clients like having clear coaching on what their problem is and what they can do about it, instead of just being handed a sheet with some exercise diagrams and arbitrarily chosen numbers filled in the blanks indicating how many sets and reps to perform.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Our commitment to help you be active for life lives in every member of today’s Activcore team. But its origin can be traced to the inspirational stories of our company founders, Ian Kornbluth, Jamie Kornbluth and Tyler Joyce. The meaningful actions of these physical therapists have led us to three essential values that guide our work.
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