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RPR Episode 21: Dean Somerset
Episode 218th March 2020 • Rebel Performance Radio • Rebel Performance
00:00:00 00:52:52

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Dean Somerset, mobility sage, joins the show to talk about all things training, mobility, how to provide a great service as a trainer, understanding your role, and staying open minded. 

Dean found his way to fitness through the desire to do something that doesn’t feel like a job while being able to pursue his passion of fitness, diving deeper into the science of training, and helping people. After considering physiotherapy, Dean wanted to stick to the gym and create a hybrid of strength and conditioning with physical therapy. Dean believes movement and mobility are inseparable from strength training, and likes to investigate why clients are feeling certain things in training and daily life. He now does personal training, online coaching, as well as putting on workshops to help other coaches integrate strength training with mobility work. 

Dean’s onboarding process is unique in that most of his clients are by referral, so they are already bought in to what he practices. He takes a complete medical history, including any relevant doctor’s notes and scans for specific injuries & illnesses. The goal of his screening process is to determine if he can fix the issue with fitness if the individual needs more detailed therapy. More importantly, he screens what is important to the client, what is relevant to their goal, and what needs to be done to circumvent the issue so that they can get on with what’s most important - actual training. Dean’s also not afraid to admit that sometimes a client’s problem isn’t up to him to solve, and is a believer in referring out when necessary. 

We then discuss Dean’s course Scientific Application of Mobility Training. There’s so much research on mobility, but few look at evidence and make suggestions on how to use it. Dean gives us a breakdown on static stretching and the threshold for adaptation, which turns out to be extremely high and thus a low return on investment. Dean’s course includes applications for real world mobility and the reasoning behind each of the exercises with definitive finite variables. 

This leads us to a discussion on mobility and the top down approach Dean takes towards it. The first factor is whether bones and joints are actually allowing range of motion to occur. Second, is your body putting the brakes on for something, or protecting itself from something? There are many things that can cause these restrictions and Dean gets down to the bottom of this cause in order to correct it with the appropriate intervention.

We then dive further into muscle tightness due to neural signaling. The main component being the muscle spindle, it’s sensitivity, and level of neural integration. When introducing co-contractions with other muscles, it can override this spindle, let that muscle relax, and reduce the threat scenario that’s causing the hypersensitivity. The goal with this work, as always, is to get to the point of being able to do more of the stuff we want to do in the gym (like lifting heavy weights).

We then discuss the integration of respiration into this concept and how it can contribute to mobility. Through understanding anatomy and biomechanics, Dean believes that we can influence mechanics by putting the muscles in a position to exhibit the greatest amount of torque possible. 

This leads us to discuss how mobility work fits into the bigger picture for programming. The first step here is looking at the client’s main goal, which may not be fitness related at all, highlighting the importance of using the right tool for the job and meeting the client where they’re at. 

Finally, we get into some of the resources that Dean has particularly enjoyed over the last several years, including the work of Dr. Andreo Spina and Dr. Stuart McGill due to their “if that, then this” systems that they have in place to catch red flags and determine the skill set needed to help the client. 

Enjoy and hit that subscribe button if you learned a thing or two.

Episode Highlights:

4:30 – Dean’s background

9:30 – Dean’s onboarding for new clients

24:00 – Dean’s course Scientific Application of Mobility Training

30:00 – A top down view on mobility

41:30 – Blending mobility into a larger program

49:30 - Dean’s recommended resources

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