LONDON, United Kingdom — The growth of London’s injury prevention specialists Pure Sports Medicine is driving fitness operators to tap into the trending prehab revolution.
The brand, which now operates seven clinics across London, including a joint venture with David Lloyd Leisure at its Raynes Park club near Wimbledon, has grown revenue at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of more than 17% over the last 10 years. This, it argues, demonstrates the increased demand not only for services that help people recover from a specific injury but also for preventive wellness offerings.
And prehab – shorthand for pre-rehabilitation, which involves preparing the body for exercise to reduce injury risk with stretching, mobility and flexibility work, muscle manipulation and postural alignment – is finally starting to be adopted by mainstream gyms and health centres.
Gymbox, Third Space, Matt Roberts Personal Training, Bodyism and Ten Health and Fitness are some of the big players offering dedicated prehab fitness sessions to members, alongside their core classes.
But leading the prehab revolution since 2003 has been Pure Sports Medicine, which last year opened two new clinics in London to strengthen its growing influence across the capital.
Fundamental to its success has been its commitment to education and building trust with its clients over industry gimmicks or fads. Since opening its first clinic in Kensington, London, the brand has steadily expanded whilst building a robust reputation as industry leaders in physiotherapy and sports medicine.
Now mainstream operators are looking to its success to deliver a more holistic wellness experience for their own members.
Speaking to Health Club Management, Claire Small, clinical director of Pure Sports Medicine, reinforced why the need to offer prehab solutions is more important than ever.
“Modern lifestyles mean that we spend long periods of time sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer, in a car or undertaking repetitive activities. We use some muscles constantly and other muscles very little.”
She adds: “We’re no longer putting the joints of our bodies through their full ranges of motion on a regular basis and this means that some muscles get weaker, some joints get stiff and our bodies become unbalanced.” It’s become reflected in what Pure Sports Medicine CEO Simon Devane has identified as “an increasing focus on prevention” in the fitness industry.
As awareness improves, Devane believes, the private health sector, gyms and boutique studios will be the consumer’s first port of call with the public sector unable to offer adequate or efficient solutions.
“There will always be significant demand for rehabilitation services to support injuries but there is an increasing focus on prevention and consumers developing more of an awareness of the benefits of being active to combat increasingly sedentary lifestyles,” said Devane.
“We believe there will be increased growth in consumers choosing privately provided services over the NHS to gain rapid access to services relating to musculoskeletal conditions.”
But for fitness and wellness businesses to effectively meet the demand, Small insists operators need to avoid creating generic one-size-fits-all classes based on the belief that prehab sessions are simply low-risk warm-ups.
“An effective prehab programme needs to be specific enough to deal with areas of poor control, weakness and inflexibility. This means that individuals should ideally have a detailed initial assessment to identify areas of focus,” she says.
And, echoing the principles with which Pure Sports Medicine has flourished, Small believes education will be key, with adequately trained and highly knowledgeable instructors crucial for prehab class success.
Following the launch of its latest 4,800 sq ft, 12 room clinic within the One New Change Development at St Paul’s, which opened in August 2018, Pure Sports Medicine is now setting its sights on expanding beyond London in the UK and increasing its corporate wellness partnerships.
“The three biggest revenue generating areas for us are physiotherapy, sports doctors and sports massage,” said Devane.
“The increasing focus and engagement by corporates to better support their staff from a health and wellbeing perspective represents a significant opportunity for future growth.