Margot Robbie called it a “legend.” Colin Firth said he “delivered results I never believed possible”. Claudia Schiffer says she “keeps me looking forward to working out”. And Samuel L Jackson insists his method is “very spectacular”. David Higgins is a fitness trainer that Hollywood stars call when they want to feel supple, agile, confident, and pain-free during a grueling shoot for their blockbuster film.
The Australian-born trainer, who lives in London with his wife Cara and their three sons, Bailey, Beau and Coby, has built an outstanding reputation for his intelligent conditioning exercises, which focus on functional movement, core strength and postural stability. By learning how to move with greater fluency and control, her A-list clients can survive difficult shots, perform more natural moves, and look their best on screen. However, his method is designed to work for anyone with difficult joint or posture problems. And although she spends her days coaching Hollywood actors, Higgins says her movement-based training is perfect for sick office workers and stressed parents.
“This method isn’t just for actors, it’s for everyone,” he insisted. “Our bodies adapt to what we are used to. So if you sit a lot, your body becomes adept at sitting, which means, biomechanically, it tightens the hips, wraps the shoulders, and tightens the neck, so we get pain points in the body. Over time that causes bodily dysfunction. So one day you brush your teeth or pick up a bag, and your back is gone…”
Higgins’ training philosophy was inspired by his own traumatic experiences. He was a prolific state-level Australian Rules Football player until, at the age of 19, he was hit by an illegal tackle that dislocated his shoulder and ripped his ribs from the sternum. His professional dreams were over, but the ordeal taught him how debilitating pain was, and illumined the precious value of simple functional movements.
He went on to complete a degree in sports rehabilitation at Victoria University, and studied Pilates and other training regimes. In 2004, she moved to London, worked hard to set up her own gym, and soon began coaching celebrities such as Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell.
“I was originally based around Notting Hill – didn’t know it was a celebrity hub – but one thing leads to another: you get recommended, and you get people’s trust,” she said. “So you made a little black book about people.”