Inside Evan Fournier’s Joint Mobility Exercises with Longtime Physical Therapist Fabrice Gautier
Introducing “Body Mechanics” with European osteopath and physical therapist Fabrice Gautier—who trains dozens of NBA, NFL, MLB and soccer players—where select clients take you inside their private sessions on the training table.
LOS ANGELES -- A few days into the New Year, high up in a suite at The Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles, Evan Fournier spends the day resting and recovering before the Orlando Magic’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers at nearby Staples Center. Between some shopping and a salmon lunch, Evan returns to his room for a session with Fabrice Gautier, a fellow Frenchman and European osteopath who also happens to be his physical therapist.
The two converse in French as Evan explains to Fabrice that, while he’s feeling good overall, he’s bothered by some tightness in his upper back and pain in his right shoulder—the same side and hand with which he shoots. Despite the fact that there aren’t many osteopaths in the U.S., Evan recalls working with “quite a lot” of them. And yet, he still prefers Fabrice over them all.
After working with Evan since the 2012 NBA draft, Fabrice hardly needs any explanation from the seven-year NBA veteran as to what’s ailing him. With just a touch, “The Body Mechanic” can almost always identify the cause of his client’s concern.
“First time we're supposed to meet, we didn't meet,” Fabrice tells CloseUp360. “I was supposed to meet him at The Ritz-Carlton [in downtown LA], but he tells me Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey.”
“It was my rookie year,” Evan says, laughing. “I had no idea.”
Evan’s French agent, Bouna Ndiaye (with whom Fabrice has worked with closely since 2006), initially introduced the two. Evan is one of a handful of clients—including Nicolas Batum, Rudy Gobert and Ian Mahinmi—whom Bouna has brought to the states and, furthermore, to LA to work with Fabrice.
“He's the best agent, the best French agent,” Fabrice says. “He's been bringing most of the French players into the NBA. We've been working together since a long time trying to teach the younger rookies, the young players how to take care of their body.”
“He’s just better and that's it,” Evan says. “The results are better.”
When asked what he looks forward to most in a session with Fabrice, Evan puts it simply.
“Feeling better,” he says. “I mean, it just kind of depends on what I feel. But honestly, I don't care what he does. I just want to feel better.”
“The pain doesn't go away necessarily right away, but you feel like you have more mobility in the joints and stuff, and you just feel better,” Evan says. “Like, it's just smoother, you know, and so over time, the inflammation and the pain just goes away. It's like a release, the release how smooth your joints are.”
In between visits with Fabrice, Evan will even be sure to use the Waff—the clear bubbles popularized by LeBron James that help to improve balance.
“A little bit every day. I do a couple exercises for proprioception and balance,” Evan says. “It's just funny because this whole thing blew up here in America when LeBron used it, but we've been using it for years.”
Fabrice's Techniques with Evan
Assessing and treating a restriction of mobility of the left pillar of the diaphragm and the left psoas major close to its insertion at T12 L1.
Correcting his right first rib being restricted in an upright position, affecting his shoulder and neck mobility.
Assessing and fixing a restriction of mobility in his foot.
(Photos by Aaron Massarano)
“I twisted an ankle last season [in December 2017],” Evan recalls. “[It] was more severe and it was a Grade 2 sprained ankle.”
That injury usually requires 4-6 weeks of recovery. Luckily for Evan, Fabrice was due to arrive in Orlando for one of his regularly scheduled visits.
“He came, I think, two days after I twisted my ankle,” says Evan, who only missed three weeks.
Wherever Evan is, be it in Orlando or on the road, Fabrice checks on him every three weeks to a month.
“It's hard to tell you how many days I've gained by doing the treatment,” Evan says. “But you just know you feel better afterwards, you know, so you just got to keep doing it.”
“You recover some mobility,” Fabrice says. “You have a little accessory movement within every single joint. If you can restore that, the movement is much more fluid. So the players expend less energy to function.”
Stay tuned for the next installment of “Body Mechanics” with Magic point guard D.J. Augustin.