2318 – Hip and Back Specialty Certificate Program

Intermediate / 15-hour Workshop


Faculty: Ruth Sova, MS, ATRIC / Maryanne Haggerty, MS



The Hip and Back Specialty Certificate Program focuses on practical application for relearning functional movement patterns with carryover to activities of daily living. We often get stuck in a rut using the same exercises for almost all hip and back patients. This course will help anyone with a heavy patient load, especially if working with varied abilities and issues. Use the ideas from this course while writing or creating a protocol, for poolside when looking for an exercise, modification or progression, or for working groups at different levels.


This course will focus on:

Soft Tissue Issues:  We’ll review six basic soft tissue hip and back issues, experiment in the pool, and go over a sample protocol. The pool experience will follow a format of first decreasing pain and anxiety with evidence-based breath exercises, then warming up the hip and back musculoskeletal system with a squat combo, followed by performing exercises for deep tissue muscle re-education, stabilization, and function. We will use open and closed chain stabilization exercises that will also involve hip and back mobility.


A Total Kinetic Chain Approach:  We will integrate the entire kinetic chain for optimal performance of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems to create neuromuscular efficiency. In this segment of the course we will focus on unblocking the neural pathways for arthokinematic, muscular effectiveness and total body function. Using all three dimensions with sagittal, coronal, and transverse movement will improve our hip and back conditioning.


Modifications and Progressions:  We will review and experience several simple techniques for exercise modifications to allow for varied abilities to perform the same exercise. Progressions are included to further challenge qualities such as balance, coordination, endurance, trunk stability and gait. We will create modifications and progressions using speed variations, inertial drag, action/reaction, acceleration, turbulence, and form drag concepts.


The Heavy Concept:  The Heavy Concept offers a simple approach to neuromuscular retraining from the inside out. The Heavy Concept can help to restore neuromuscular timing, balance and control, and promote normal musculoskeletal biomechanics. It can improve functional movement organization by re-educating neuromuscular patterns of the trunk by increasing efficiency and effectiveness. With the Heavy Concept the activation of the trunk muscles precedes firing of the hip and leg muscles. Proper timing of these muscles is an important factor in recovery from and prevention of injury. 


Exercises for Hip, Back and Knee:  Clients sometimes rely on you to achieve their pain-free time. We will give you at least 30 therapeutic exercises clients can perform during your sessions with them, or independently as homework or after they’ve been released from therapy. Experiment with Feldenkrais®, the breath, Ai Chi postures, BackHab strides and seated Pilates, PNF, UCT and Burdenko exercises to achieve hip and back re-patterning in a safe way.


Equipment Selection and Use:  Exercises can be enhanced by using a variety of pieces of equipment.  Working with or on a piece of equipment helps an individual strengthen core muscles, as well as develop kinesthetic and proprioceptive abilities. As we try specific activities for hip and back function, we will discover how to design equipment-based progressions for clients of any age or function. This segment will also assist you in making choices for designing aquatic exercises with equipment that makes the transition to land-based exercise easier. Using equipment that allows concentric and eccentric contractions, plus the additional properties of the water will produce a better than smooth transition to land.



·       Evaluate and identify equipment that allows for force couples, concentric and eccentric contractions in the water.

·       Compare the types of equipment that allow for forced couples to help transition a person to the land directly.

·       Identify benefits to using equipment in the pool and the need for guided instruction for safe and effective use.


FACULTY: Ruth Sova, MS, ATRIC, founder/president of ATRI, is an internationally known speaker, author and consultant. She is the founder of six different businesses including the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute, the Aquatic Exercise Association, Living Right Magazine, America’s Certification Trainers, Armchair Aerobics Inc., and the Fitness Firm. A leader in the health and wellness industry, she also draws on her vast experience as an entrepreneur to teach others what it takes to assume the risk of business and enterprise. Ruth is the author of numerous articles and 15 books on her specialties of wellness and business. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Sevier-McCahill Disability International Foundation Award; and the John Williams, Jr. International Swimming Hall of Fame Adapted Aquatics Award. Known for her high energy and practical teaching approaches, Ruth has brought thousands of people over the years to understand the benefits of water exercise.


FACULTY: Maryanne Haggerty, MS, has been educating professionals, individuals, and groups on safe and effective exercise for 25 years. As a faculty member and presenter for TSI, NASM, AEA, and AFAA, she has certified professionals. Promoting exercise for all abilities, Maryanne has presented televised exercise segments on aquatics. She has developed corporate wellness seminars and six-month home exercise program progressions.