AE Trainers Push Athletes To Next Level


Guest Post by Paul McKenzie from May 24, 2011

Customized program aims to locate hard-to-find weak spots in elite athletes and those looking for the next level.

People who underperform in their sport or in life in general often have trouble understanding why. AE Creating Elite on Red Rum Drive tries to provide those answers.

“Most people underperform in both,” said co-owner James Walker. “But not always for the reasons they suspect.”

AE uses in-depth assessments and ongoing analysis to find out why their clients are underperforming, whatever their goals may be. The range of goals targeted by the facility’s clientele is wide, and Walker said the expertise found in the gym’s owners and coaches makes such a range possible.

Walker said co-ownwer Monica Walker and coaches David Parks and Casey Johnson are former collegiate athletes and arena football players. “All of us have extensive training in fitness, athletics and nutrition to draw on that you can’t find in most commercial gyms,” he said. “Combined, the coaches here have almost 40 years of training and experience to draw on.”

The gym employs a specialized program, designed for each athlete. “Every client has an in-depth assessment to determine exactly what it is they need,” Walker said, adding than the goals of athletes in training are often at odds with what think they need. “We’ve had professional athletes come in with pain in their hamstrings, for example, whose physical trainers believe that they just need someone to help them be more flexible there. After an assessment, they discover that their lower abdominal area is weak and their quads are tight, which is leading to the hamstring pain. Fix that area, and their hamstring pain goes away.”

As another example, Walker said golfers and squash players have come to the facility to improve arm strength only to find that imbalances in their shoulders are what hold them back. The important point to remember in their approach, Walker emphasized, is that the body is a holistic machine.

“For the older noncompetitive athlete, we aren’t assessing to see how fast they can hit a ball, but rather how they do the basic motor skills like running, jumping, throwing and swinging,” Walker explained. “For the elementary level child, we’re emphasizing mastering those same basic sports skills. For more competitive athletes or older children, we focus on more sports-specific movements, but always with the same approach of treating the body as an interactive and holistic machine.”

The cost of misunderstanding the mechanics of a movement can be twofold, according to Walker: lower performance and higher risk of injury.

“When you ask a body part to take on a load for which it isn’t designed, your body will try to obey you, but you’ll be under performing, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll be operating with a much higher risk of injury. In our assessment we’re looking for subtle cues that others often don’t see or look for to find exactly where the problem lies, and sometimes it’s in an area a novice might easily miss.”

And the desire to correct such imbalances is not limited to elite athletes.

“Everyone wants to perform better, even if they’re not competing for a belt or medal,” Walker emphasized. “They all want to walk or run better and without pain.”

Walker works with professional athletes routinely, but said the real payoff often comes from watching other clients grow. In the end, Walker is passionate about possibilities, and is convinced that most people can accomplish far more than they believe possible.

AE Creating Elite is located at 21690 Red Rum Dr., Suite 102 & 117, Contact the facility at 703.488.9860 or