Una’s True Transformation Journey: Week 3

Una completed her week 3 True Transformation review on the 25th of September. This gave her the opportunity to give us feedback regarding the previous week and it also gave us the opportunity to monitor her progress through such things as weekly activity levels and body measurement and heart rate data collection, and answer all of the questions she had.

This week Una carried out her Functional Assessment with John Bolton and so the focus of the week 3 review was on the results of this functional assessment in terms of what they mean, how they will impact her training and how we can address any issues such as muscle imbalances and weaknesses.

What is a Functional Assessment and what is its purpose?


A Functional Assessment consists of a series of movements, which are observed and documented by a trained professional to enable us to identify movement dysfunction and musculoskeletal problems. Our functional assessment also identifies movement compensations and asymmetries which can serve as predictor of possible future injuries.

Based on these results we prescribe corrective exercises for each individual and these specific exercises aim to decrease risk of injury for that person while also increasing their functional movement and athletic performance.

Why did we carry out a Functional Assessment on Una?

Simply, muscle imbalances, muscle weaknesses, restrictions in range of motion and poor communication between the nervous system and certain muscles or group of muscles cause injury over time if they are not addressed. The injury may not be in the weak muscle or group of muscles, it may actually arise in other muscles that are compensating for the injury. We see these issues a lot in clinic, particularly in runners who aren’t doing any form of strength training, or those who are over training (volume and intensity are too high and recovery is too low). All of us have some degree of these issues, so it is important to be aware of them and work on them for optimal health and performance.

Una is a runner so we functionally assessed her muscle strength, muscle imbalance, range of movement and muscle firing sequence. John carried out the assessment and has since prescribed a very specific strength and conditioning routine for Una which will ensure good biomechanics and good efficiency of movement when she runs. This in turn will reduce her risk of injury and increase her running speed over time.

All too often people begin running, or increase their mileage significantly, and find themselves injured and this is generally due to the lack of functional strength, poor range of movement, muscle imbalance and poor core strength. To find out more on important factors when running check out a previous blog; http://www.truefitness.ie/blog/secret-running-beginners/

Our expert advice to Una this week

Based on the results of our assessment we have prescribed very specific corrective exercises in order to reduce her risk of injury and improve her performance. We have also revisited her training programme and revised it based on the findings of the functional assessment. Una will focus on functional and core strength and her running training programme was adapted this week to reflect this. Una was advised to continue running, however, she was advised to temporarily reduce her long runs and replace some running sessions with low impact cycle sessions in order to maintain her fitness and reduce the impact on her body.

What did Una’s think of all of this??

In brief, here is what Una thought about the assessment and feedback she received this week;

· Una thought the functional assessment was extremely beneficial as it made her aware of her muscular weakness and imbalances and the consequences that these have on her body

· She learned the importance of building functional strength in order to reduce the risk of injury and improve her biomechanics and efficiency of movement

· She also found her training sessions in week 3 were much more comfortable and easier to perform due to our previous recommendations related to the lactate threshold test

Overall this week has highlighted the importance of functional movement and why we should build our foundations before progressing our training.

If you are curious of what happens in the coming weeks of the online True Transformation programme, please join us next week for a recap of Week Four of Una’s transformation journey!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Diane Cooper, Sharon Fennelly and John Bolton

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