Since there are cookie-cutter gyms everywhere, it is refreshing when the boundaries of the sports club concept are stretched by the innovative approach taken at the Dynamic Conditioning Centre (DCC) in Toronto.
An adventurous and advanced athletic training facility located in a bright, loft-style space in the heart of the city at Yonge and Wellesley, DCC is the brainchild of owners Jared Postance and Lee Davy, both veterans of the fitness industry and athletes themselves, who sought to create an “athletic playground” where both the body and mind would be stimulated. Though designed for athletes, the centre caters to all.
What makes DCC unique is the unusual sum of its parts: the flooring comprises wood, FieldTurf, a sandbox and matting; and the exercise equipment includes tractor tires, sledgehammers, kettle bells, logs, monkey bars, weighted metal sleds, climbing walls, ropes, fire hoses, heavy sand-filled canvas bags, balance beams, and mesh netting (for running through, throwing balls at and climbing under). The club boasts a unique obstacle course for fitness and agility training – the Ultimate Cat’s Lair Obstacle Challenge. Sound like fun? It is, and that’s the point. Under the safety of the watchful eyes of caring, qualified professionals, clients increase their fitness level.
The nature of the gym’s equipment and set-up is conducive to a rehabilitation program, as most exercises are closed-chain activities with heavy emphasis on kinesthetic awareness.
Over the past several years, most fitness professionals and associations have been enamoured with functional and sport-specific training that in theory uses like movements for like activities. In addition, there has been the attempt to create a more dynamic exercise environment using labile surfaces such as balance boards, BOSU trainers and Swiss balls. Many personal trainers ask novices to perform exercises on wobbly surfaces that they would have difficulty with on stable ground. However, for the most part, this type of training does not work well in your average gym with ordinary equipment.
DCC doesn’t use any machines. Exercises are focused on training the whole body, not just one part, and this requires individuals to move better and fine tune their motor skills. It can be said that while machines create stupid bodies that know only how to work in the same repetitive fashion, dynamic training results in smart, fast and strong bodies that can adapt quickly to change and new stimulus. Balance, coordination, agility, speed, muscular symmetry, strength and mental acuity are elements emphasized at DCC that are necessary not only to be a good athlete but also to be a healthy, active human.
With five years in the fitness industry as both a personal trainer and indoor cycling instructor, I was given the opportunity to come on board as a chiropractor at DCC. Other staff members – conditioning coaches, athletic therapists, physiotherapists and dieticians – are all highly qualified in terms of both education and experience. Team members are eager to share their knowledge, and this interdisciplinary co-operation benefits the clients.
Generally, my referrals come from the trainers on the floor after they have noticed or discussed a certain weakness during a session with the client. Infor-
mation from the personal trainer helps to detail the patient history and profile. The trainer can indicate which specific movements and patterns cause pain and dysfunction. Remedial exercises, the active component of care, can then be carried out during a training session, allowing the trainer to evaluate any post-treatment strength, speed and flexibility gains.
Then, it’s back into the ever-challenging Cat’s Lair to evaluate one’s own human performance.•
Where the focus is on human performance
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