Return to the court: How Rival helped Matt get his game back

Posted January 30, 2018

It all started eight years ago when then 27-year-old West Seattle resident Matt Coin woke up one morning with a throbbing pain in his leg. At the time, the former collegiate tennis athlete was used to aches and pains here and there caused by the four herniated discs in his spine he was diagnosed with in his teens – but not quite like this. Over the next four weeks, the pain progressed to the point where he could barely roll out of bed in the morning.


Matt Coin during a hike near Mt. Rainier last spring.

“I bought slip-on shoes. It took me about 20 to 30 minutes to just put a pair of pants on,” Matt said. “I saw dozens of doctors, surgeons, chiropractors, and physical therapists and no one had a real solution. I finally found a physical therapist at 28 who slowed things down a bit, but it still felt like it was two steps forward and one step back. So this went on until I was about 30. I had to stop playing tennis and going to the gym, I just felt lost. Being fit and active is my favorite thing to do, it was awful.”

Eventually, the technology staffing manager at Google moved to Seattle and began treatment at Kinetic Sports Rehab in Fremont – where he first started seeing significant improvement in his chronic pain and mobility. After several weeks of successful rehab, Matt’s physical therapist gave him the green light to start personal training to establish stability and regain his strength. There was only one hiccup – every trainer Matt had worked with before wasn’t able to design an appropriate training program he could complete without exacerbating his injuries.

“I was just looking for someone who could help me rebuild strength and not so worried about getting a six-pack. Then very first time I met Ridge (Carpenter, Rival Trainer), he slowed everything down and explained things really well,” Matt said. “He helped me understand how one movement might impact the other. I just felt very safe – which was the most important thing.”

Matt started training with Ridge in November of 2016, and on December 17 of the same year, Matt woke up pain-free. The next month, he returned to the tennis court for the first time in eight years, and he’s continued to play routinely for the past year.

“It’s kind of mind-blowing how much stronger I’ve gotten,” Matt said. “I’ve lost about 15 pounds in the last year. But more importantly, I’m gaining muscle. I just feel so much healthier overall. I wake up in the morning and I’m not stiff. I don’t get nervous anymore about trying to pick something up off the ground and then giving myself a six-month injury.”

Ridge built a training program for Matt that focuses on developing technical skill and core strength. They begin most sessions with larger strength movements such as the barbell deadlift or military press to fire multiple muscle groups and get the body “knitted together.” From there, Matt will often move onto more athletic kettlebell movements, incorporating auxiliary exercises such as core-based TRX work or pullups.


Ridge Carpenter shares a laugh with one of his clients

When it comes to Matt’s progress in his training, Ridge contributes his gains in strength and skill to Matt’s mental fortitude, work ethic, and drive which makes their sessions feel more like a collaborative effort.

“Even if Ridge moved to Bothell, I would commute there every week to see him,” Matt said. “I wish I had known Ridge when I was 15, because I feel like I would never had had the pain I did. I would have built the strength to prevent the injury.”

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