Joint Effort

By Sara Cunningham

(Published in the September 2010 issue)

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries can be debilitating, even career-ending for some athletes. Superstars like Tiger Woods, the Chargers’ Philip Rivers and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer can attest: when a doctor says “ACL,” you’ll likely be out of the game for awhile.

San Diego Pilates instructor and nutritionist Kristen Norman sees a lot of people with this type of injury (aka when your knee “gives out”) in her classes.

“I seem to be drawn to people with injuries,” she says. “I kept thinking about the surgeries, pain and discomfort that could have been avoided had these people had proper training techniques earlier on.”

With the goal of helping her clients “stay off the bench and in the game,” Norman created Bench Busters, a do-it-yourself system designed to be self-empowering while encouraging athletes to understand different parts of their bodies-and protect them. She describes her approach as “athletic training that promotes proper bio-mechanics and body awareness, like Pilates does.”

Exercises included on Norman’s recently completed training video, which she developed with business partner, Mike Bosworth, are meant to help both sexes and include fairly simple ball and stretching exercises.

“I want to empower people with the tools to live a happy and healthy life before they are forced into it by some sort of health crisis,” Norman says. She claims that following her 30-minute program three times a week can reduce the rate of injury by up to 89 percent.

As for her company’s future growth, Norman has more big things planned. One of her clients, Padres star pitcher Chris Young, who originally sought her out because of an oblique tear, has since noticed relief in his back following her workouts. As a result, she intends to expand the Bench Busters focus to include the lower back and other commonly injured areas.

“We have a vision for creating a network of all types of healing,” she says. “Eventually, Bench Busters will include nutrition, natural and herbal medicine, body-work, anything that promotes wellness and prevention of injury or disease. We see it becoming a forum for health. It’s all about maximizing the benefits of the time and effort we put in to taking care of our bodies.”