How to Work with Special Populations as an RKCAndrea DuCane
Andrea Du Cane, Senior RKC
I like to consider myself a movement coach. Most of my clients come to me wanting to learn more than how to swing a hunk of iron. They are coming to me to regain control of their bodies. I am teaching them to breathe, to feel their bodies, how to move, how to use the right muscles for the job, and hopefully get them out of pain.
I am giving them a chance to not only change their bodies, but change their lives.
As an RKC instructor, it is very important to be able to identify on some level with your clients’ physical limitations. What must it be like to live with pain, to lack a decent range of motion, to not have strength or energy to do daily tasks? You may be seen as a last resort by some of these people. They’ve been to doctors, PTs, body workers, chiropractors and maybe nothing has helped, or perhaps they were referred by one of them.
You’ll need to develop the skills to work with these clients. There will be cases that you will not be capable of handling. It is always the best policy to be honest and send them to someone else, or contact another RKC that has more experience in that area.
What are “special populations” for an RKC?
In Working with Special Populations, you get a variety tools and ideas on how to best handle special populations. This includes: older clients, de-conditioned, post-rehab, and those with various old tweaks and injuries that inhibit proper movement and functioning.
After the initial assessment, which should include ROM tests, basic movement patterns, gait, overall fitness level and of course a full medical history to screen for any serious contraindications, you are ready to begin. This information will tell you where to begin, and what your initial focus will be.
Some of what I present, you may have seen, done or are familiar with. I hope to introduce a new way to look at and utilize many drills that you already know. In other words, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time we set out to work with someone.
I hope to give you a new way to look at these drills, as well as why and when to use each to achieve a specific result.
You will get a target for each exercise and the proper cueing, what to watch for. I will provide you a basic strategy and general order of the drills to work with special populations. I also include what I call “pre-kettlebell” drills. It may not be possible for some clients to immediately start using kettlebells. For instance, if a client does not have enough body awareness to maintain neutral spine, or to track their knees properly you will want to deal with those issues before having them do kettlebell swings. Or, perhaps, your client cannot raise their arm overhead without lifting the shoulder or bending the elbow. I show you some drills that should be taught first.
The order and pace you teach these clients is also covered. Never start with overhead drills and don’t rush the process. That may seem obvious, but many clients may want to start pressing too soon, or want to move up in weight too quickly. Your job is to keep their pace and progression successful and safe.