“Health & Fitness should be for everybody, irrespective of your physical capabilities” – Dom Thorpe, founder of Disability Training
Here at Disability Training our aim is to provide quality personal training for disabled people. We look beyond your disability, and at you as an individual. If you’re looking for a personal trainer who specializes in working with disabled people, or if you have a disability and you’re looking to get fit, you’re in the right place. We find out what you CAN do and apply all the rules of health and fitness in ways which work with our clients.
We’re not here to “cure” or “fix” your disability. That’s not what Disability Training is about. We’re here to help you exercise in spite of your disability. Often as a result of this, we’ll see an improvement in your strength, balance, coordination, body composition and general physical ability.
We’ll travel to your home or gym facility and take you through a structured routine based on you and your body. There IS no rule book. We had to throw it out the window a long time ago. Each and every disability has its own quirks and hurdles. Each and every person with a specific disability can vary massively in their level of ability or symptoms, so we can’t simply use a pre-written programme. We have to carefully consider, adapt and create bespoke exercises to suit you, in order to get the most from our sessions together.
I’m Dom and I founded Disability Training in 2008. I saw a clear need for fitness training for people who couldn’t carry out the standard exercises offered by most personal trainers. I heard from too many people who’d been turned away by personal trainers who simply didn’t know where to start.
Personal Training for a person who is disabled can undoubtedly be more challenging for both the client and the trainer. Most personal trainers are unable to adapt their training techniques to the needs of those with disabilities. This is a shame because really, all it takes is a bit of thinking outside the box, a bit of research into the various conditions and a bit of care and consideration for the person trying to improve their fitness.
I decided to move into training disabled people as my mother, who sadly died of Multiple Sclerosis, had no access to a service like this. She regularly received funding which was allocated to costs that would benefit her illness. However, she had nothing of any value to spend it on, other than bits of gym equipment she saw on infomercial channels, but never used. Had I known then what I know now I would have been able to work with her and help her maintain physical health for far longer than she did. So I’ve taken it upon myself to help as many people as I can by sharing my knowledge and techniques to help them maintain good health.
I’m currently the featured fitness instructor for the exercise videos provided by The MS Society where you can find multiple workout videos which can be done in the home.
- Fitness Instructor – Level 2
- Advanced Instructor – Level 3
- Training for People with Disabilities – Level 3
- GP Exercise Referral – Level 3
- Pre & Post Natal Exercise – Level 3
After gaining my level 3 fitness qualification I studied a Training for People with Disabilities qualification before expanding my knowledge with a GP Exercise Referral course. Since then I’ve worked with people of all ages and disabilities from children with learning difficulties through to a current client who’s 91 years old. He can’t get out of his chair and experiences something called Progressive Aphasia – a condition which prohibits him from understanding language. Challenging to say the least, but we still manage to work together twice a week to keep him as mobile as possible-something that he and his family value a lot.
No matter what your disability, there is always some form of exercise which can benefit you physically. When presented with the opportunity to train a disabled client I adopt the attitude of ‘what can you do?’ not ‘what can’t you do?’. I uses this positive attitude to combine my existing knowledge of fitness, my knowledge of the specific disability and any exercise preferences you may have to provide an exercise regime that will suit you, whatever your needs.
Some of the conditions I have experience with are listed below, but don’t worry if your condition isn’t on the list. I’m sure after meeting you, asking you a few questions and spending some time researching the specifics of your condition I’ll be able to help you achieve a fitter body, a healthier lifestyle and improve your mental wellbeing as a result of it.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Parkinson’s Disorder (PD)
- Stroke Patients
- Guillain Barré
- Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs)
- Lower Body Paralysis
- Autism and Aspergers Syndrome
- Morbid Obesity
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Progressive Aphasia
- Down’s Syndrome
- Severe Learning Difficulties
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
- Unexplained hip pain resulting in an inability to walk
- The Eldery
My clients have been kind enough to send through some testimonials which I’ve listed below. They’re from people with a wide range of disabilities. I’ve used the personal training skills I possess and modified them in ways which allow the clients to see improvements in fitness, health, wellbeing and general functional skills.
Pearl, 65, Guillain Barré
The nightmare started in July 2008, when I contracted Guillian Barre Syndrome, a condition of the peripheral nervous system, causing paralysis from the neck down and leaving me in hospital for 7 x months, initially in ICU and then into a rehab unit.
When I finally got to go home I received a lot of great physio. At a follow up appointment, my neuro consultant told me that he thought I should be doing more exercise. I was really upset and angry. Here I was doing all this physio only to be told it was not enough! My carer at the time, suggested I look for a Personal Trainer and that is how I found Dom online. He was the only Trainer who mentioned any experience working with disabled clients.
I was in a wheelchair – still am – but we started working together, initially at home, then boxing in the park and finally, thanks to his contacts, I was able to join the gym at London South Bank University. All of this changed everything for me.
Instead of feeling down, tired, my muscles wasting away, I was back! Exercise makes you feel good, really good about yourself. Not only in body but just as important in mind as well. I did not feel like a second class citizen any more. Dom treated me – most of the time – like all his able bodied clients. No soft regime for me! That made me feel normal. We also laughed a lot. So important when the going is tough.
I moved out from London a few years ago, but I am still seeing a Personal Trainer, swimming and going to a gym. My body is really strong. I can leg press 60K, toned, no bingo wings for me and I feel really good about myself. If you are disabled in any way, it’s so important to keep moving. Dom showed me what was possible, and I would recommend him 100% to do the same for you!
I sell in various packages which vary in content, depending on your requirements. Typically, my clients start off with the Fit & Toned package before switching to the Healthy & Happy, should they continue after the first 10. However, it’s entirely dependant on your budget and requirements. There’s no point paying for a nutrition diary and extra fitness programmes if you don’t need them! The Muscle Beach package may be the best value if you’re really planning on hitting it hard. It all depends on your needs. If you’re not sure, I’m always happy to advise. I won’t give you the hard sell…I’d rather see you get value for money and walk away a happy customer. A happy customer is far more valuable to me than a high paying customer.
No need to decide now
Prior to deciding which package you want, I offer a taster session free of charge. It’s a chance for you to meet me, for us to have a chat about your goals and try out a few exercises. After this I leave it with you to come to a decision about whether or not you want to move forward. If you do want to go ahead with the training, we can discuss which package suits you best.