Phil's Story: From scared to move to getting his life back in 3 weeks

I’ve been training Phil’s son for several years. Normally his Mother drops him off (which by the way, he’s an absolute legend - how many other 14-year olds do you know that would get up at 7am on a Sunday morning to go and learn how to lift weights properly, enhance their mobility and strength train?!) But it just so happened that one week it was Phil doing the drop off.

His son and I started our session as normal and as I was walking across the gym to get a resistance band, I jokingly mentioned to Phil that he should join in. I was met with a disheartened laugh and one of those all too common phrases: “Nah, my back’s buggered”.

Of course, normally it is not like me to interrupt a training session with someone, but my mobility senses were tingling, and I asked: “Why? Who told you what?

He told me of scans he had that pointed to the usual twists and turns, “bone on bone”, “degeneration” and was considering surgery to see if he could get any pain relief.

I asked if he had been recommended any exercises to try, or any guidance on things to look out for, or been recommended a movement program like The Simplistic Mobility Method?


He was basically told, “Suck it up princess, this is your life is now. You’re done

This really resonated with me. I can still remember that feeling when I was in the Doctor’s office. Just standing there thinking my life was over. It’s only going to get worse from here. I’d just have to do my best. And to be fair to me and everyone else that’s been in this situation – that’s pretty much what the Doctor was telling me. You have a serious back injury. All you can do now is rest and manage the pain.

Luckily for me, my job as a coach meant I had a curiosity and a drive to want, even need, to get better. Through determination, tenacity and pure stubbornness I was able to find resources to help me through months of study. Though without a background in coaching & movement, it is so hard to sift through bad information… and there’s a lot of crap out there.

I started by asking Phil could he sit down on the floor and get back up for me - the fear and dread in his eyes was immediate - but he gave it a go and was able to get there eventually, though I could tell it took a lot out of him. This physical response was adrenaline produced from the fear of pain! His body was actively fighting him and warning him against doing this simple thing; which to someone that has been in pain for so long becomes not so “simple” anymore.

After that I got him to hold a post and test his single leg balance each side… which was completely non-existent, especially on one side.
We had our starting point!

I got Phil to work on my clockwork hip drill, which encapsulates one of The Simplistic Mobility Method concepts quite well, and we left it at that! 15 minutes was his first session - nothing strenuous, but it took a lot out of him. I told him to take it easy and work on the couple of things we did in this session at home once a day. I asked if he wanted to come back next week, he said yes!


Week 2, and you would think a different person walked in through the door. He came right up to me saying he, “felt a bit sore the first few days, but LOOK!
He bent right over and touched his toes no problem, exclaiming he “hasn’t done that in 20 years!!” Another Simplistic Mobility Method test passed!!

We started building in the concepts a little more, when I asked him to get down to the floor there was no hesitation, no worry, you could tell he had been practicing. We started going through some hip rotation drills from SMM and yeah it was clunky and awkward, but he could do it!

More balance work and a little later he was able to try standing on one leg in the middle of the floor, not holding on to anything! Keep in mind this is Phil’s SECOND session!!

We played around some more for about 30 minutes, even started into some bear crawls and some bicep curls for good measure 😎 He was buzzing to tell me how energetic he felt and how he’d started losing weight already!! I was like, “You’re buzzing? I am BUZZING!!” People often ask where I get my inspiration from, THIS is it!

Week 3 and more improvements again! We are actually able to attempt more drills from The Simplistic Mobility Method and he is not only able to do them but passing the hardest variations! Phil has an AWESOME squat!! On the back of this, we tried lifting a bit of light weight and getting his hamstrings activated. Absolutely perfect form. His body awareness is through the roof!

This week we were able to do a full 45 minutes, he joined in with around half of the sets his 14-year old son was doing and did amazingly! Said he was walking funny for a few days after, but because of a “good soreness”, muscle soreness, not back pain! He’s now feeling muscles work that he hasn’t done in such a long time – he’d just shut himself out of his own body.

Week 4 and I am basically able to train Phil like any other person that has come to the gym for their first time, I barely need change or alter anything. He will he hitting everything from The Simplistic Mobility Method soon with ease!

All of this was just because Phil said he would “Give it a go”.

Never let yourself give up on your body! Pain is not normal, and it is not a life sentence. All you need is the willingness to try.

If you live in Northern Ireland or Ireland and would like to train with me in person, just get in touch on, or we can work together for 4 weeks online with a Personalised Program. If you’re just looking for a simple, no nonsense program to help you fix your own pain then check out The Simplistic Mobility Method.


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