TWPT is a private personal training gym in the centre of Tunbridge Wells. I went along to an abs workshop with head trainer Ed Lumsden to learn about how these muscles work and how to train them. Ed is an expert in the area, known for his speciality in abdominal exercise and responsible for Davina McCall’s amazing six pack. However, as well as learning about abs, I found out a lot more…

Right from the word go, Ed set out to explain the different muscles that make up the ‘core’ and what jobs they had. I have exercised before and enjoyed classes of all sorts but this approach was certainly unique and I hadn’t realised how much more there was to learn. Ed made it all simple to understand and fun, using theory and practical together to get his points across.

“If there’s one thing that I wanted people to get from the day it was that saying
‘engage your core’ doesn’t mean anything,” he says. “The core is a complex area with every muscle performing a completely different function. Therefore it needs a far more intelligent approach to training than most trainers offer.”

During the practical sessions, Ed noticed that I was struggling with a couple of the movements:

“Charlie found certain exercises really tough. Rather than just dismiss this as a weakness, I assessed further and it seemed that Charlie’s thoracic spine (upper back) was completely locked up. This in turn was affecting her pelvis and making it impossible to move freely.”

I didn’t come away from the workshop with Davina-esque abs, but Ed sent me for a one to one assessment with Jon Manners, one of the senior trainers at TWPT and a specialist in back pain and mobility, so that I could find out more about my spine.

Due to sitting at a computer for a job, I have experienced issues with back and neck pain over the years. Jon found three main issues right from the start – a lack of mobility in the thoracic spine, restrictions in the pelvis and hips and also forward head carriage. It seemed like a lot to deal with, but Jon talked me through his approach step by step and we put together a six week plan.

“I started with Charlie by just working on the mobilty of the areas that really needed it. Restriction in one joint is always compensated somewhere else so it’s so important to get each link in the chain working properly before getting back into normal training”.

Once my mobility was improving, Jon started working more on my strength and teaching me how to control my movements. I was amazed by how much better I was feeling and how much I was actually capable of doing when done properly.

I had been told previously not to ever do weights due to my back pain but Jon broke all the movements down and showed how improving technique and choosing the right exercises can actually help the problem, not make it worse.

The gym itself is a great facility – spacious, contemporary and very central but the main reason to go there is the trainers. You can see how specialised and knowledgeable they are in their fields. Normally, gyms can seem quite intimidating, especially when faced with equipment you don’t really know how to use, but the great thing about TWPT is you’re just working one-on-one with your trainer and nobody else can see you.
Jon was so patient with me and gave me some really useful tips, as well as a programme I can apply when I’m at the gym. Now that I know what I’m doing, I defi nitely won’t feel as intimidated any more.
“We’ve got an amazing team here that we’ve built over the last five years,” Ed explains. “I wanted a team of trainers that can do everything a normal trainer can do, from weight loss to strength training but on top of that have their own specialities. When you’re looking for results in a particular area such as back pain, training through your pregnancy or learning boxing, you need someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and that’s what we have here”.

Email: Phone: 01892 545 400