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Strength and Conditioning Coach Joins Back in Action Physical Therapy


Back in Action Physical Therapy has hired a strength and conditioning coach to the team. Welcome James Wilson, Jr.!  

Some of you may have already met with James, who has been helping out part-time at both the Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina locations. This month he started working full-time at both offices.

We did a Q&A with James so we could introduce him to you all:

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

James: I was born and raised in North Carolina, growing up in the Charlotte area. I went to UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated in 2013. There, I met my wife, Sara, and we live in Apex with a kitty named Bella and a puppy named Jonah.

Q: What is a strength and conditioning coach?

James: A strength and conditioning coach, it’s really all about helping people get stronger, more fit. There’s an assumption that we only work with athletes, but we work with the general population, too. Plenty of people who don’t play sports for a living and just want to get healthier or be more mobile with higher quality of life can use a coach. What we do is help clients by going through a routine or series of exercises, sort of like a personal trainer. We also design a workout regimen appropriate for their needs, fitness goals, and health goals. We help them fine tune that plan and making sure they are implementing the workouts on their own.

Q: Why does a physical therapist practice need a strength and conditioning coach?  

James: People who come into Back in Action get the best help, they are no longer in pain, and achieve the range of motion and functional strength they need. What we are seeking to do is to “blur the lines” between physical therapy and strength and conditioning so that clients have a smoother transition from rehab back to their lives as they improve their movement, strength, power, fitness, balance, and become more “injury tough.”

Q: What do you love about your job?

James: Really how it allows you to build a rapport with people. How you can get to know a person through weeks/months of training, how you get to become an integral part of their life and they become part of yours. Plus, the work I do is very measurable. You can really see someone progressing, whether it’s the depth of their squat, or their technique, running faster.

Q: What do you love about working at Back in Action?

James: It’s the people that make Back in Action a place where you want to be, where you’re excited to go to work. I love Kristal coaching me up or talking to Sean and learning about anatomy and research. Everyone has their niche here and it’s cool to see that.

Q: Describe a typical day.

James: I serve in a couple roles right now. One is to serve as a bridge between current patients and patients who have just been discharged, bridging them to their fitness goals and life goals. I help them through the process of being able to go on that vacation or be able to do that 5k or play that sport they haven’t played in awhile but they really miss. I help them get back to where they want to be or get some place they’ve never been or haven’t been in a long time. And then I’m doing some admin stuff, and part of that is helping connect people with the right therapist for their needs.

Q: What surprises people about working with a strength and conditioning coach?

James: A few things. One is that at least the first couple of days we don’t do a lot of actual weight lifting. We want to connect mind to the core and make sure to use that. The other is really how much we care.  I’m a huge stickler when it comes to form and technique. I’m all about getting stronger and it’s fun to see the amount someone can lift fly through the roof, but to me it’s way more important that someone does it correctly or just as close to perfection as possible than just pushing a heavy weight around.

Q: What do you tell people who are nervous?

James: I understand. For some, this type of coaching is a new thing or if they’re coming off an injury, they don’t want to get hurt again. Or they think we’re going to do a lot of crazy stuff or that we’re going 0 to 60. We go very slowly when needed, which helps. We don’t harp on the destination as much as what’s the next step.

Q: What do you do for fun outside of work?

James: I’m an average, boring guy. I spend time with my wife, we walk a lot with our puppy. I enjoy working out, and I really like to learn about exercise and movement. I also referee youth soccer. I probably watch too much Netflix; I’m a bit of a homebody.

Q: What advice do you give people that you are really good about following in your own life?

James: Focus on the form. Forget about the weights, forget about the repetitions. Just do your first, your second, just keep going. Focus on technique. Just try to feel what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll get more out of it if you’re able to concentrate on how you’re doing it.

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