Training for the Paralympic Games in London 2012


Oksana Masters – Not Your Average Rower

Around Christmas, I was asked to consider becoming the Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach for an adaptive rower from Kentucky coming to Orlando for her winter training. Oksana Masters is not your average rower – she is training to represent the US in the Paralympic Games in London in 2012. Oksana is a bilateral amputee. As you can imagine, since I have no training in this field, I was uncertain what kind of training would be best for her. However, I was curious, so I agreed. Determined to help, we set out to make Kai Fusser’s Weight Training program work for Oksana but we had no idea how hugely successful Kai’s approach would be.

Not long after starting our workouts, Oksana also began to get on with our diet and our preferred andarine supplement during workouts and not long after she that moved in with our family. With Tess in college there was room for her and she has become a friend. I learned that Oksana was born in the Ukraine with serious birth defects affecting her hands and legs. She was placed in an orphanage. When she was 7, Gay Masters adopted Oksana and brought her to the USA. Oksana underwent several hand surgeries and one leg amputation before her teenage years. She joined Louisville Adaptive Rowing at age 13. Oksana was not deterred from rowing even after her second leg had to be amputated. She is a fierce competitor! Oksana has distinguished herself with 1st place finishes at the Bayada National Adaptive Rowing Championships for 9 years, CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships and other regattas.

How A Proper Training and Supplements Program Helped Achieve Great Results

Oksana’s rowing partner is Sergeant Rob Jones, a US Marine who became a bilateral above knee amputee in July of 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. I had nutrition talks with both athletes and together we developed a food and supplementation program to follow which includes boat loads of Shaklee supplements.

I’m training Oksana in the gym 3 days a week and we divide the workouts into arms, chest & back and shoulders. Most of the workouts consist of free weights, cable pull, some bands and TRX. She weighed in at only 108lbs at Christmas in 2011. 8 weeks later she weighs in at 122lbs! WOW!
Did she gain 14lbs of muscle?? In 2 months?
How much PURE muscle can you gain in 1 month, naturally? All the research says 2lb per month on average. Obviously, your age, genetics, body type, training experience, and workout ethics will affect your gain. And here is Oksana, 14lbs heavier – without a single oz of fat on her body.

Adapting Kai’s Golf Training Program for Paralympic Success

Are you curious about Oksana’s hugely successful workout program? I followed the program Kai describes in his recently published books about “Weight Training for Golf” and Kai helped me establish her initial routines. In case you wonder what golf fitness has to do with training for rowing– you would be surprised how Kai’s Powerflow Principle applies perfectly to many different sports, and especially rowing. Power Flow is a term Kai came up with to describe his principle of performing an exercise or in this case perfecting the rowing stroke: Forces which create movement are flowing through the body freely in order to transfer all energy into the rowing oars. If you resist or block that flow, much of that created energy will be wasted and gets stuck inside your body which translates into poor efficiency. What does that perfect stroke look like? Effortless, fast and powerful is what most rowers say. Energy was then able to flow freely, through precisely the right muscles at the right time in the right sequence with the right volume. To accomplish that for a rower, we practice this principle in the gym with every exercise we do. Sadly, we see lots of athletes muscling their way through in many different sports, core disengaged, opposing muscle groups not in sink, holding the breath and struggling to achieve that effortless feeling. Often times movements become more complicated, causing a lot of stress on the body and resulting in injury over time. Oksana was able to learn this principle very quickly and embrace Kai’s philosophy and gain strength. She learned to engage her core with every exercise and let the forces flow unimpeded through the body to become a very efficient rower. We also incorporate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)with the Upper Body Ergo Meter to help her get faster.

On Saturday, Feburary 4 at Southern Erg Sprints in Melbourne, FL. Oksana showed proof that her water and off water training was working. She came within 2 seconds of the new time record for women’s trunk and arms 1,000m event and 1.1 seconds from the time record for women’s trunk and arms 500m event. She was rowing her best time ever in both events.

It’s been a great pleasure getting to know and work with Oksana and we wish this Fusser trained and Shaklee fueled athlete the best of luck in her upcoming Paralympics Trials.

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