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The evolution of Shoulder Reconditioning: A success-based paradigm

Tim Stevenson Head Coach from Dynamic Shoulders

‘If we worked together and everything went awesome, what would success look like?’


This is one of the first questions I ask in an initial consultation with potential clients who are interested in working with Dynamic Shoulders.


It is the most important question when trying to get someone from a state of injury or compromised progression back to doing the things they love at the level they desire.


It is a simple question, but it represents a shift which will disrupt an industry.


Understanding Reconditioning vs. Rehabilitation:


In the ever-evolving landscape of athletic performance, the term 'reconditioning' has emerged and is challenging the traditional approaches to post-injury training.


With its roots in performance sport, reconditioning stands as a new hope in the distinction between protecting and restoring tissue health and preparing individuals for a successful and sustained return to sport or activity.


The standard ‘rehabilitation’ model as it is delivered in physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic clinics globally often focuses on protection. Rest, limited activity, and a few exercises to keep the client busy whilst the body heals itself.


Reconditioning takes a proactive stance. It is a reverse engineered, end-goal-oriented approach that starts with the athlete's ultimate objective in mind. That might be a sustained return to high level sport, being able to train CrossFit five times a week, a challenge or simply living the life you want.


This paradigm shift emphasises an outcome-based model that goes beyond mere rehabilitation.


Instead of focusing on what the client or athlete can’t do, we focus on what they can do with a clear direction of travel towards what they want to do.


The Neurophysiologic Approach:


Central to reconditioning is the understanding that shoulder injuries, pain and instability are a neurophysiologic challenge meaning we need to consider the brain, and well as the muscles, tendons and everything else.


In many cases it is not just a damaged tissue or a musculoskeletal issue that is causing the problem. Bill Knowles explains it as a ‘peripheral injury with a central consequence’.


Because reconditioning focuses on what the athlete can do, the exercise prescription can grow to become a strategic collection of legitimate periodised workouts. In other words, a proper training programme.


This is in stark contrast to the three low intensity and mundane exercises you often leave the therapy clinic with…which don’t get done because they are boring.


The opportunity to make positive adaptations during the training week therefore grows enabling the reconditioning process to do the neural rewiring as well as improving range of motion, movement quality, control and strength.


It's About the Athlete, Not the Injury:


Outside of elite sport the responsibility for the rehabilitation process is largely devolved to the client or patient.

This gets spectacularly poor outcomes as research shows 60 – 70% of people don’t do the exercises they are prescribed.


In a normal physical activity or training scenario, healthy athletes and individuals can opt for coaching one-to-one or in a group setting if they want it. This offers a whole lot of physical and mental benefits.


So why when people get injured do we take them out of their environment (telling them they need to rest), remove coaching support (aside from sporadic contact with a practitioner every 3 – 4 weeks) and expect them to manage a far more challenging situation than uninjured doing exercises by themselves?


That doesn’t make sense.


If we put the athlete and the target outcome at the centre of the process it is obvious that coaching is a key component in getting a successful result.


Coaching plays a pivotal role in the reconditioning process, providing guidance, support, and expertise.


In the context of athletic reconditioning, coaching extends beyond traditional rehabilitation methods.


At Dynamic Shoulders, the coaching team works with our athletes and clients to help them maintain and coordinate movement patterns and guide meaningful movements with the correct load and intensity.


From programme design to accountability to load management and psychological support and much more being embedded in the reconditioning coach's role, the potential for outstanding results is far greater than what a lot of rehabilitation processes can expect.


The paradigm shift


Shoulder reconditioning is not just about restoring to good condition; it's about elevating athletic performance to new heights.


This evolving paradigm encourages a comprehensive, performance-based approach that considers the athlete's entire journey – from injury to sustainable competition or performance in life.


As more and more people embrace this shift based on the results it yields, the future of shoulder reconditioning looks promising, reshaping the way athletes train, compete, and thrive.


If you're struggling with shoulder pain, instability or a lack of confidence that's keeping you from reaching your training or sporting goals. Book a FREE consultation call.

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