Laura Binetti is an incredible athlete and successful trainer, and has had an extensive career in bodybuilding, being one of the very few women who have won three different pro events(the 1994 Canada Pro Cup, the 1996 Prague Grand Prix, and the 1999 IFBB Pro World Championships.)
Laura Binetti kindly shared with us her winning approach to prep with Jack McCann, WCBB athlete that she has been coaching for 15 years. «Jack and I became really good friends, and that friendship and trust that we have with each other really helps with what to do. I met him over at the National master competition in Pittsburgh years ago.» She explains.
Taking away the not abled part, Laura will manipulate the upper body training, by incorporating variety between individual body parts or combinations of full body and then intertwining body parts training as well as a lot of super sets to fatigue the muscles
Combinations of two body parts
- Chest and biceps
- Shoulders and triceps
- Back and their weakest body part, and have them train that twice a week
Example with chest workout:
Superset Flat dumbbell press /Flat flies
Cardio will be 5 or 6 days a week
Cardio will be hand bicycle or track, or swimming
Being limited with the cardio that can be done, Laura will mainly manipulate their diet.
«I will change the menu plans so they can get as lean as possible. It is a lot more starch carbs intake, because for them it is energy draining and a lot harder without the use of their legs to get that lean crisp look. The calories get dropped a bit lower as well. I always get their feedback to make sure they are ok but it is really a tough sport.» She adds.
Now you have to keep in mind that all sorts of injuries and medical reasons can have you on a wheelchair, therefore at the first consultation it is very important to get as much information as possible, some athletes can still have use of their upper legs, others cannot feel their legs, and all this does have impact on training.
«I get down all of their background information , but they have such control of their upper bodies, that even if the guys that don’t are paralyzed from the waist down, I will still at the end of the workout have them do their abs routine. Whether they can feel it or not they are going to do it.»
Another key factor to the success of their workout is for her to actually see pictures of the gym they will be training at. «That really helps me manipulate the workout to benefit what their weaknesses might be as well as their strength, keeping in mind if I need them to go from one machine, back into their chair, off to another machine and so on.
The added challenge for a wheelchair athlete is to get off their chair, strap themselves to stability, and get the weights, so an extra hand to give them the weights is always helpful, if not they will get used to do it themselves.
It is crucial to look around and choose the best gym with enough space for them to move around on their wheelchair. I see some of my athletes manage to go up and down the stairs of older gyms. The wheelchair athletes are conditioned to their chair and to maneuver around.»
An added challenge is that it is difficult for them to weigh in, and get on a scale, so Laura Binetti does a lot by pictures, and based on the changes she sees she will adapt the workout for the following weeks. Usually change the routines every 2-3 weeks to shake up the muscles.
«I keep the thinking away from the athletes, they have to do all the work, they have to get as much as they can from me, I manipulate their weight training, the menu plan, we look at the proper supplementation for their body.»
Laura also finds the pictures extremely helpful to track improvements, since often they won’t notice the changes anymore by seeing themselves all the time.
«I try not to take age as a limiting factor, it is a process and a lot of work and I listen to their feedback, if they are constantly tired it’s to manipulate the calories intake, and looking at proper vitamins. In general the adrenals are getting burned out, so we look at supplements to help with that. It is always individualised.»
Great communication between the trainer and trainee is crucial: «It is fascinating to work with Jack, everybody wants to win, of course the goal is to do your best and win, and Jack just has that in him , he is very very determined and really disciplined, he just finished his competition (The Toronto Pro Supershow) and he is like: ok what do we have to do now for the Arnold classic?- He is always looking ahead and always organized, which is really important.» Laura Binetti adds.