Athletes and coaches should never be satisfied with the amount of knowledge that they posses. My friend, Greg Nuckols, exemplifies this rule. The 22-year-old phenom has spent at least one hour per night dedicated to studying the art of Exercise Science. He has been dedicated to this practice since he was 14 years old. That is 2920 hours of studying! Compare that to any doctorate program in the country, and I dare say that he has earned about 100 PhDs. This is dedication, and this is how we improve this industry!
I can’t claim the same amount of dedication, but I am diligent in my own studies. I continue to read studies, and articles from people who I admire in my industry. I also have the privilege of knowing a lot of the top players in the Strength and Conditioning World like Coach Joe Kenn, Glenn Pendlay, Don McCauley, Zach Even-Esh, John Broz, Louie Simmons, Chad Smith, Charles Poliquin, and many more. I also love to attend seminars led by people that I admire. Below are some highlights from a Perform Better Functional Movement Seminar that I attended 2 years ago. There is some compelling information that I believe will benefit you all.
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Takeaways from the Perform Better Functional Movement Seminar
In my last blog I explained what a great weekend that the MashElite crew had in Charlotte at the Perform Better Functional Movement Seminar and hanging out with the MDUSA Crew. This time I want to talk about what we learned at the seminar. The speakers were incredible, and the topics were equally awesome. The speakers and topics included: Martin Rooney going over his hurricane training, Charlie Weingroff cracking the stretching code, Gray Cook exploring functional movement, and Michol Dalcourt training the deconditioned athlete. We learned a lot from them all, but I am going to try and give you the highlights from each.
Gray Cook was first up, and for all of you that don’t know he is the inventor of the Functional Movement Screen and the author of the Functional Movement book. We learned a great hurdle and balance beam mobility warm up along with some great coaching points on breathing into the diaphragm without the shoulders rising. We learned that hip mobility or lack of mobility can be related to mobility and stability. Sometimes people can’t get their legs over a hurdle because they can’t stabilize on the balancing leg. He also taught us the importance of strengthening the feet, and how weak feet are directly related to knee and back problems. The biggest takeaway is that if your client can’t perform a movement correctly, then you must first correct the movement pattern before adding massive loads. It only makes sense, but a lot of coaches ignore that point.
Martin Rooney is by far the most dynamic speaker out there in the strength and conditioning world. He is the inventor of the Training for Warriors workout that is sweeping the world by storm. He also has come up with his hurricane workouts that are named that for the different categories of intensity. What I mean by that is a Category 5 is something that a beginner wants no part of! I learned a lot of common sense ideas from Martin. One of the biggest points that he made is that all systems must have parameters. Lately coaches have taken on the mindset of simply killing their clients. Anybody can beat someone down to the point of almost death, but a real coach has a goal in mind. The goal should be to obtain whatever the client’s goal is. I also learned to have a daily system which I already have, but it is good to get that reinforced. Last Motivate Your Clients Man! Be Alive! Live What You Are Preaching! If You Don’t Like Fitness, Then Do Something Else! We owe it to clients and athletes to live what we are saying. They come to us to get motivated. If you don’t believe what you are saying, then your people will know right away.
Charlie Weingroff taught us that stretching is mainly a neurological response more than actually lengthening the muscle. We learned how fascia is directly linked to the neurological response. We also learned some really cool techniques to alter the neurological response of stiffness. The coolest technique was to tense an alter section of the body to disturb stiffness. In layman’s terms if your adductors are tight, stretch them slightly. Then contract your abs and upper body for a few seconds, and then the adductors will release. It is a crazy response! I have used traditional PNF for years, but this response is even better. I also learned that bracing yourself will allow certain tight muscles to release and mobilize. Crazy stuff! The teacher was a fellow powerlifter, and he could do a full split. The takeaway there is that being a strong powerlifter is no longer a valid excuse to be an immobile Ogre!
Michol Dalcourt taught us some awesome new insights to training the deconditioned athlete. We learned that the compression of fascia causes a major loss of water from the cells leaving it with less mobility. Sitting all day will actually cause the binding of fascia causing major hip tightness leading to knee and back issues. We learned that you have to crawl before you walk, and deconditioned athletes need to start slowly and work their way up. Proper biomechanical movement patterns are more important than any other goals. We learned to use the whole body synergistically together in as many planes as possible while learning to always keep the spine long and lead with the pelvis and scapula.