I thought that the title of the post was appropriate because I guess I would consider myself to be a beginner still in the whole information product marketing world. I’ve always seen myself as a Strength and Conditioning Coach who made the DVDs because I believe in the content and I strongly believe that it can help any hockey player and/or coach. However, the reality is that not that many people are talking about them on-line. I now get the power of marketing and the impact of more people talking about your products. All I can do is appreciate the learning experience that this has provided me with.
I do promise to get the word out more when I do complete my book which is now 40,000 words and 150 pages deep. I find myself at the stage where I am updating more of the content as I learn more.
The title of this post includes “Re-visit” because I attempted to write about how I was using the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) back in 2004 or 2005. At the time, I was using the FMS with my team in a different manner than how I am now. Although I was screening each member of the team, I wasn’t clear on what to do with the scores. I tried to correct different parts of the screen by incorporating corrective exercises within the team’s strength training sessions. For example, if a player had scored a “2” on the Deep Squat, then they would perform a corrective exercise such as the Toe Touch with Alternating Arm Reach to Stand in between sets of a strength training exercise. For example, they would perform a set of an exercise such as the Hang Clean and then proceed to do a corrective exercise before their next set. We would also insert other corrective exercises which were specific to other parts of their screen into other parts of the team strength training session.
While I am not saying that this was the wrong approach, or that any other way to use the FMS and correctives is wrong, it was really difficult to implement this method. One, I have 20-25 players on the team. Trying to individualize FMS scores into the team training program this way was time consuming and not logistically efficient. Second, I thought that each player should be able to get a total score of 21. As a result, I would look at the scores and then try to correct each pattern going from top to bottom in the order of how the screen is conducted. This would put the Deep Squat first, followed by Hurdle Step, In-Line Lunge, Shoulder Mobility, Active Straight Leg Raise, Trunk Stability Push Up, and Rotary Stability.
Fast forward 8 years, and the reality is that I still don’t have a comprehensive system for using the FMS and its accompanying corrective exercises. However, there have been many screens and correctives done since. In reality, what it came down to was that even though I was using the screen, the screens weren’t actually getting better. Whether that was taking a part of the screen from a “2” to a “3”, or getting symmetrical “2’s” instead of “1-3”, we weren’t seeing it happen.
What could I do better? It certainly wasn’t from a lack of learning. I’ve attended the FMS course, I’ve purchased all of the “Secret” DVD’s, I’ve seen Gray Cook speak several times, and I’ve read Movement (1). It wasn’t until I attended the CK-FMS course which is a 4-day FMS course that is held in conjunction with RKC community, that I really felt like I got it. What I learned during the course is that there is a system for interpreting FMS scores and a protocol for corrective exercise strategies.
What the system does is give a hierarchy of which parts of the FMS to address according to the scores. I also learned that the system of using correctives doesn’t start with the Deep Squat. It starts by looking at the Active Straight Leg Raise. It turns out that the Deep Squat is screened first because it is easier to administer the standing parts of the screen first when screening somebody.
Since I now know the hierarchy of the parts of the screen, what about the scores? First, if there is a score of zero in any part of the screen, then that should be referred out. Any pain during any part of the screen should be scored as zero. This goes for all 7 parts of the FMS, not just the clearing exams after Shoulder Mobility, Trunk Stability Push Up, or Rotary Stability. When there is a score of zero, I would let our Athletic Trainer know and he would mostly likely then follow a proper examination protocol or let our doctors know. If there are no zeros, we would then look at the FMS hierarchy and the Algorithm. Any asymmetries in any part of the screen would be prioritized over any 2’s. For example a screen with an ASLR of 2 right, 1 left would be addressed before the 2 on the Deep Squat. (It is important to note that I’ve also learned that 2’s are actually good. A FMS score of 14 with 2’s and symmetrical 2’s isn’t bad at all.)
What do we do now?
In my opinion, the FMS is now easier to implement. The number one priority is to identify the weakest link. In order to do this, we follow the FMS algorithm and identify what is the most important part of the screen to address first. When we prioritize the one weak link, we are going to spend more time on correcting that part of the screen. In my opinion, this is better than the approach in which we may prescribe 1 corrective exercise for each of the 7 parts of the screen. If we spent the same amount of time that we would spend on using the shotgun approach just on the weakest part of the screen, we will have a better chance of making positive changes.
Once we have screened the player and have identified the weakest link, he will then be put into a specific corrective exercise group. We categorize our corrective groups according to what part of the screen is the weakest link. These groups will start their training sessions immediately with the proper progressions and exercises before participating in the team training session. We actually did this during the off-season by screening 34 players at our prospect conditioning camp. What was interesting was that other than 3 individuals, each player was identified as either an Active Straight Leg Raise or a Shoulder Mobility (the others were 2 Trunk Stability Push Up and 1 Rotary Stability).
Each corrective exercise group consists of the following:
In our team training sessions, we will always start with soft tissue work. We have always done that with foam rollers, tennis balls, and the stick. However, in addition to what some of our players may do for general foam rolling, we will now address specific areas. For example, in our Shoulder Mobility group, we would spend more time on the internal rotators of the shoulder joint, posterior shoulder, upper back, and the serratus. Our Active Straight Leg Raise players will spend more time with their hamstrings, glutes, calves, hip rotators, and hip flexors.
After we foam roll, we will then move on to breathing.
Breathing (ASLR, SM, RS,TSPU)
When I first started reading about the concepts of breathing, specifically diaphragmatic breathing, or crocodile breathing, I must admit that I completely disregarded it. Why would I spend any time teaching our players how to breathe through their diaphragm? There will be no time when the athletes that I work with will remember to breathe through their stomach when they are competing. Also, breathing is part of the autonomic nervous system, so how would we be able to consciously think about breathing like this during competition or under any stress? It looked like a complete waste of time and not something that I would do with my athletes.
What changed? I tried it in the context of the FMS corrective exercise strategies. I measured my shoulder mobility which has been a 2 left, 1 right for some time. I then proceeded to do 20 crocodile breaths and then re-assessed. I had an immediate positive change when I re-screened. I also used it with several athletes who saw positive changes in not only shoulder mobility, but other parts of the screen as well. It works- period.
I probably can’t tell you why or how this works, but getting into a relaxed state by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system has something to do with it. There are other professionals who could tell you why and how more specifically. However, whether it is yin/yang, sympathetic/parasympathic,or tension/relaxation, there is something beneficial of getting into the slower and relaxed state by breathing through the abdominal area versus the chest.
The question is now, who needs to add diaphragmatic breathing and how are we going to coach it?
When diaphragmatic breathing is combined with soft tissue work and corrective exercises, you can see positive changes happening- especially to the Active Straight Leg Raise and Shoulder Mobility. It is important to note that for us and for the best usage of time, we will find the one corrective exercise that will help make a positive change. A positive change would be a correction in the FMS score or maybe a gain of a few inches.
Active Straight Leg Raise
With the ASLR, we will either do Band Leg Lowering or Band Leg Lowering with Core Engagement. This would depend on which exercise makes the positive change.
With Shoulder Mobility asymmetries, we will go right into to the Rib Grab. Before we coach our players on Rib Grabs, we must emphasize to them what the proper side lying position is. What is interesting about Rib Grabs is at the starting position, there appears to be rotation at the lumbar spine versus the thoracic spine which is what we are trying to improve. The key to prevent this is to keep the knees above 90 degrees. This has been very helpful in making sure that we are not getting any lumbar rotation.
What has worked well with Rotary Stability is rolling. If we identify someone with an asymmetry in the Rotary Stability, we go right into assessing their rolling ability/inability.
We will use rolling as an assessment of how the athlete rolls without the use of the lower body and lower body extremities. We will look at 8 different quadrants while watching them. We will be looking for their ability to roll from prone to supine upper body only left and right, prone to supine lower body only left and right, and then supine to prone upper body only left and right, and supine to prone lower body left and right. We will simply ask them to imagine that they are paralyzed from the waist down in our upper assessments and then paralyzed from the waist up in the lower body assessments.
Like the actual FMS, when we are assessing the athletes’ rolling, we are looking for their weakest link. What position are they unable to roll to/from? Where do they get stuck? After we know this, we will simply get them to correct that part of their rolling ability. This will help improve the Rotary Stability.
(Special thanks to Charlie Weingroff for allowing me to use this video which includes a great explanation about rolling.)
Trunk Stability Push Up
An important aspect about the TSPU part of the screen that I have seen is that there might not be as many immediate changes from the corrective strategy perspective. For Trunk Stability Push Up corrective strategies, we have been successful at using basic push up position progressions.
Before we get into push up progressions, we will always start with the plank. We like the RKC version of the plank where our elbows are slightly ahead of the shoulders, the feet are squeezed together, and we are asking the player to contract all of the muscles in his body to make him as stable as possible. As we get better at planking, we will incorporate push up position holds and then increase the volume of Push Ups.
The FMS can give us a map of where not to go or what not to do in our training. Gray Cook is known for saying “Don’t put fitness on top of Dysfunction”. There is a system as to how to determine what are exercises are appropriate/inappropriate according to FMS results. The CK-FMS community would refer to this as “Red-Lighting”, “Yellow Lighting”, or “Green Lighting”. The FMS can tell you which strength training movements should not be done (red), proceed with caution (yellow), or proceed (green). For example, athletes with “1’s” in the SM, should stay away from any overhead pressing. Those with “1’s” in ASLR should stay away from exercises such as Kettlebell Swings, Deadlifts, and Double Leg Squatting.
I must admit, when I first learned this system, I originally thought it may be too much on the cautious side of things. We keep it simple by not allowing anyone in the shoulder mobility group with 1’s to overhead press with kettlebells, dumbbells, or the barbell until we have a minimum of symmetrical 2’s. With the ASLR group, we won’t do Swings or Front Squats with those who have 1’s. Not until their screens are a minimum of symmetrical 2’s.
For some coaches, using the FMS in the team setting could be a difficult task at first. What has worked for us in making it as simple as possible is the following:
1- Identification of the weakest link
2- Placing each athlete in a specific pre-workout group according to their weakest link
3- Using the correct exercise strategy which could include soft tissue work and diaphragmatic breathing. How do we know if it is the right exercise? By re-screening and determining if there is a positive change
4- Adhering to the rule of not putting fitness on dysfunction
When we think about the time spent on everything above, we are talking about 5 minutes of soft tissue work and 5 minutes of breathing and correctives. Then we proceed with our team warm up. For the most part, these 10 minutes and then making the necessary adjustments for contraindicated exercises are when we are really individualizing our program.
(1) Cook, G. (2010). Movement. Aptos, CA: On Target Publications.
I was actually hesitant to post this but ended up thinking “what the heck”. The reality is that I am sometimes guilty of caring what people may think. Some may think “who is this guy who is writing about mentors and stuff”, or “who gives a s#%t who his mentors are?” Anyways, if you are at least reading the blog, I know that some of you are friends or maybe you are at least a little interested.
Most of the people that I am going to talk about are coaches who are or have been coaching or teaching in the trenches. That really means a lot to me. Although some of them do have an internet presence, some of them don’t. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t phenomenal at what they do.
I was recently inspired to write this by 2 recent blog posts/articles that are currently on the internet. The first is What it Means to be a Boyle Guy by Kevin Neeld. Obviously if you know me, given by the title of my post, you know there is a really good chance that I will talk about Mike. However for another look at Mike’s impact on another coach, check out Kevin’s article. The second article that helped inspire me to write this is Your Life and Lifting Goals by Dan John. This is just another Dan John article. I say that seriously because all of Dan’s articles are gold. It is an outstanding piece. In the article, Dan talks about a mentor of his by the name of Dick Notmeyer who impacted Dan early on in his lifting career.
This post is about some of the people who have made an impact on me professionally in a positive manner. Of course, I would like to mention my parents, my wife Hillary, or even my uncle Bill who bought me my first weight set- you know the plastic grey ones that were filled with sand. Or, I could easily mention all of the coaches (primarily hockey coaches over the past 11 year) who have influenced me. However, this is about strength and conditioning professionals for now.
Avery Faigenbaum Dr. Faigenbaum is currently a Health and Exercise Science Professor at the College of New Jersey. He was one of my exercise science professors at the University of Massachusetts at Boston back in 2006. Back then, the exercise science curriculum at UMB was only geared towards the ACSM health fitness instructor track. There was also an Athletic Training/Sports Medicine track in which I was a part of for a semester or so. That is when Avery came in as a professor at UMB. What he brought to the Exercise Science department was a new concentration called “Strength and Conditioning”. As a result, I eventually switched to the Exercise Science track. Since I was currently playing football at UMB, it would have been extremely difficult for me to accumulate all of the clinical hours that were required for the athletic training track. I figured that since I liked to lift weights and train for football, it would be pretty awesome if I could make a career out of it. It was Avery that really made learning about this stuff fun. He is really passionate about the field and he actually got me pretty fired up to do well in his classes.
When it was time to apply for my senior year internship, there were 4 schools that strength and conditioning majors could apply to for internships. I applied at Boston University. Although I was intrigued by the thought of interning at Boston College, which is the only Division 1-A football program in Boston, I still applied at Boston University because of the next person that I am going to talk about.
I applied at BU because I recognized the name of the contact person on the list of available schools. In my mind, Mike was the guy who worked with Cam Neely to help him get back on the ice after he suffered a career threatening injury. I can remember reading about Neely’s rehab in the Boston Herald or seeing some stuff on the TV when he was working out with Mike and thinking that what Mike was doing would be a cool job. Cam Neely’s knee and hip were big news in the Boston sporting news back then. I really didn’t know what Mike’s role was in the actual process, but I knew that he was doing something that I wanted to do.
(Side note- I consider myself very fortunate because I actually do get to do that now.)
I actually never interned for Mike at BU. I interned for Glenn Harris who is the Director of Strength and Conditioning and is also someone who taught me a lot about coaching. I did get to intern for Mike at Sports Acceleration North during the summer of 1998 right after I graduated from UMass Boston. I don’t think the present system at MBSC is much different from what it was back then. We coached day and night for 4 days per week. It was non-stop coaching and it was a blast. I can’t tell you how valuable that experience was for me. You learn very quickly in that environment. We had different types of athletes who came in on a daily basis ranging from the NHL players in the am to the hundreds of high school kids who played all different kinds of sports all throughout the day.
What’s interesting about the whole Sports Acceleration experience (now MBSC) was that there were other interns who were starting out there as well. Mike Potenza, who is currently the San Jose Sharks Strength and Conditioning Coach, was also an intern, as well as Darryl Nelson, who is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the USA Hockey National Development Program.
I owe Mike a lot when I look at my strength and conditioning career so far. With Mike it is usually “Do this, not that” when it comes to advice from him. I can still remember a story about Mike vividly. During the summer of my internship, I also played on a staff basketball team that was in a league after work hours at the same facility. When I first started coaching that summer, I was a really quiet and shy person when it came to being a coach. Maybe I was a little overwhelmed or even intimidated by some of the athletes. However, I was a pretty aggressive basketball player who always competed even though I probably wasn’t very good. Mike said to me one day “I want you to coach like you play basketball”. I must say that it kind of clicked after that. I got what he meant and as a result, I was a more confident coach.
Al Vermeil- To me, Al Vermeil is the ultimate Strength and Conditioning Coach. Al was the strength and Conditioning Coach for the Chicago Bulls during the Jordan era and he was also the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Francisco 49ers in the early 1980’s. He has several NBA championship rings and 1 Superbowl championship ring I believe.
When I was an assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Boston College, our staff brought in Al for a 1-day seminar on strength and conditioning principles. Through his speaking, his passion for teaching and the field was contagious. I remember during that day, I had a hockey player come in and do a lift that he missed the previous day. I asked Al if he wanted to coach him up. Al was more than willing. Before you know it Al had his sleeves rolled up and was on the platform coaching the player in the hang clean. His coaching and energy was inspiring.
After our seminar, Al was someone who I always stayed in touch with. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be on the phone with him for at least 45 minute or so asking questions. I can also remember him sending me his 300+ page training manual which I still look at today.
I think what I will always remember about Al though is that on the night that the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, there was a message on my office phone voicemail from Al . In the message, Al sang “We are the Champions” by Queen. You really can’t make that up.
Pete Friesen For those that don’t know, Pete is the Athletic Trainer/Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Hurricanes. Like those above, he is also a great person. When I made it a goal of mine to work as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NHL, I would always some people in those positions. Pete was always one of the guys to get back to me. In fact, I still have those emails saved in a folder on my Hotmail account. He was one of the first people to introduce me to the FMS and foam rollers.
Pete is a lifelong learner and he is also an outstanding presenter who brings energy in everything that he does. I was absolutely honored and humbled to be able to introduce him to the attendants at the BSMPG seminar this year.
What Pete does really well is that he gets his guys to buy in. In fact, I heard him take the Hurricanes through a core/warm up routine before practice one day. I say hear because our weightroom is immediately next door to the visiting team’s locker room. You could feel Pete’s’ enthusiasm for what he does coming through the wall. What I also respect about Pete is that he has been doing this for a long time as he worked with the Hartford Whalers before the franchise moved to Raleigh NC.
Dan John Lots of people are Dan John fans these days and rightfully so. For me, not only as a coach but as a person who is trying my best at not being skinny-fat, Dan John has been instrumental. I’ve been reading Dan’s stuff for a few years now on T-Nation and at DanJohn.net. There is something about his writing that makes it seem like he is sitting right next to you. For me though, it was at the RKC where I really got to get more of Dan. Dan was my team leader who made the entire 3-day weekend an unbelievable experience.
When I look at the above list, what is most common is that they are all great people. They get it. I’m not sure if I know exactly what “it” is yet, but I am certain that they have it.
One thing about me is that I am not a big fan of big-timers. You know who they are, the guys or girls who act like they haven’t met you before or they have no time for you. You will never get big-timed by any of these guys. They get to know your name and get to know you as a person. To me, that is worth so much more than how a person’s success is perceived to be.
What is also common about all of them is their passion for what they do. Each person’s energy and enthusiasm is visible when you around them. They inspire you to be a better person and strength and conditioning coach.
Another reason why I think this article came to me was that there are actually young people looking to intern for me or work at our annual prospect camps. Maybe I am at a stage in the career of a Strength and Conditioning Coach or something. All I know is that I hope to be the best person that I can be and not big-time anyone ever (If you think I have in the past, I apologize).
I like following a program that is designed by other coaches for my own training. There is something about having someone else design the program in which I follow along.
For the past year, I have been following the Right of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel. This was a great program to help me prepare for the RKC while getting stronger with swings, snatches, clean and presses, and pull ups. I knew that for 3 days per week, I would be doing kettlebell clean and presses and pull ups. I really liked the simplicity of the program. The goals of the program are to press the kettlebell closest to ½ of your bodyweight and also perform 200 snatches in 10 minutes. Although I haven’t pressed ½ of my bodyweight yet (44k) or performed 200 snatches in 10 minutes, the program definitely works. Why? I got stronger at pressing and have done more snatches in less amount of time. Yes, I should probably stay with the program until I can press the 44k and snatch 200 reps. However, the longer that I have been doing this program, the longer I’ve been away from other lifts. For example, in the ROP, other than swings, snatches, and get ups, there isn’t much leg strengthening. Yes, for lots of people these 3 exercises would be sufficient leg strengthening. However, when you have been squatting both double leg and single leg variations and then not doing them for almost a whole year, your body and your strength will miss them. Also, what I felt missing from the program was some basic barbell work. Although I am not the best at the bench press, I definitely felt like my one arm presses were missing something from not bench pressing. Maybe it was from not pushing heavy loads with 2 arms or my triceps strength was lacking due to not bench pressing. I don’t know, but I was missing something when it came to my pressing strength.
What I would like to do is spend a little bit of time away from the ROP and work on getting stronger globally. I want to work with the barbell once again and get my legs and bench press stronger. However, I would like to be able to press a good amount of weight overhead. The end goal is still the ½ bodyweight press. I think that by not doing the ROP for a little while and getting stronger in other areas will help me with this.
Like I said before, I like following other programs. In this case, I knew I wanted to work with the barbell and keep getting stronger at the one arm press. Enter Mass Made Simple by Dan John. Why? Well number one, I know Dan John knows his stuff. Two is the simplicity. What I also really liked about the ROP is the direct instructions. “Do this, not that” is very common. In Mass Made Simple, you have this for 6 weeks straight.
This program has what I am looking for- barbell work, one arm overhead kettlebell work, and leg strengthening. Yet, it is simple. It is the same exercises every workout. Bench press, Bat wings, one arm presses, bird dogs, barbell complex, and the high rep back squat. All you have to do is follow the program.
Although it is Mass Made Simple and it involves ingesting more calories, I won’t be doing that. Yes, I know that the program is supposed to allow you to gain some serous size. I don’t think it is something that I need at this part of my life. I just want to get stronger but I realize that added muscle can be a result- not a bad thing.
I have started a Training Log page on my blog. Feel free to check it out. I am already 4 workouts in and I am feeling great. There is something about high rep back squatting with light weight. I don’t know, but I feel like I am putting on some lean body mass while losing body fat. I think high rep squatting has lots to do with it.
A few of my friends/colleauges have requested that I write up a review of my recent experience at the CK-FMS cert. Doing this helps me organize my thoughts and comprehend what I have learned from a seminar. Here you go:
This past weekend, I attended the CK-FMS in St. Paul Minnesota. For those that may be unfamiliar, the CK-FMS is a certification that is provided by Dragondoor in conjunction with Gray Cook- founder of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and Brett Jones- who is heavily involved with the FMS and the RKC community. The CK-FMS is 4-days long and consists of lectures and practical sessions on the FMS screen and the accompanying corrective exercises. That is the most general description of it in the sense that there is way more to it than learning the FMS the correctives.
I’ve always been a supporter of the FMS. I think it was back in 2005 when I first screened my athletes. Back then, after I screened them, I didn’t know what to do with the results. This is something that I’ve been trying to figure out for the longest time. I’ve been to FMS courses, have watched all the “Secrets” series, and have seen Gray speak many times through Perform Better. It wasn’t until this weekend that I can say with full conviction “Now I know what to do and how I can use it with my guys”.
Why didn’t I get it? Maybe because in the back of my mind, I thought that the FMS was impractical in the team setting. I thought I could use it with my athletes but I really could never “get it” and operate it as a system. I actually still have an article that I never did finish about using the FMS in the team sport setting on my computer. It started out with great intentions, but I never finished it because I never could comprehend how to really use it. All I know is that one season; I screened all of my athletes. I then simply incorporated the in-season strength and conditioning program. At the end of the season, I looked at who was hurt during the season from an overuse injury perspective. The guys who were hurt did have some asymmetries on their FMS. I’m not a brain surgeon by any means; however, this showed me that if I knew what to do with the info, maybe there were some things we could’ve done to prevent. The point is that the FMS to me has been and continuous to be a learning process. The goal has always been and continues to be the perfect program for injury prevention and performance. The FMS simply gives you a compass on which direction to go first in the journey. The reality is that a score of 14 with symmetrical scores down the board is ok. Asymmetries need to be addressed.
What also made this course really good was that the RKC community was involved. Like I’ve written before, my RKC weekend experience was a phenomenal experience. There are some really good people at these events that I have the outmost respect for. This includes not only the instructors, but the Dragondoor staff and the students. I met some really cool people at this event.
Since it was an RKC event, I had the opportunity to re-test my RKC standards which included having proficient technique in the lifts, doing 5 pull ups, and also performing the 100-rep snatch test in 5 minutes. I was very happy to pass all of these, however what I think is more important is the fact that RKC’s are not only being tested to show that they can do it. It is so that they can coach their athletes/clients in them proficiently. Another reason why I think the RKC is an outstanding cert.
One of the highlights for me at the CK-FMS was further solidifying or “Cementing” (which is a word that was used by Brett Jones many times throughout the course- think “Myelinate” from the book Talent Code) why I like the Get Up and more importantly, why it’s good for my clients. It is amazing how much you can do with the different steps of the Get up. When we look at exercises such as the Get Up and the Bretzel (which I will be writing a blog post/article on soon), we can further appreciate them more as just exercises. They are actually screens as well.
What I have taken from this experience is that I am more confident in my screening and application of corrective exercises. I own the map. Also, as an RKC, and when it comes to my own training and coaching skills, I am setting out to achieve RKC-2 certification. With the new standards now set for that cert, it is going to be a challenge. Simple but not easy.
It’s been a while since my last update and much has happened during that time. For me, it started off with a trip to Germany to teach strength and conditioning principles to a great group of coaches. It was a very humbling experience for me as these coaches are at the top of the profession in Germany. I got to teach 2- 2-day courses during my stay. I did get a little time as well to check out some of the sites including seeing the biggest church that I’ve ever seen in my life. It was so big that it took almost 500 years to build! I was very grateful for this opportunity as I met some really great people while getting to see another part of the world.
After my trip to Germany, it was on to Boston where I was speaking at the BSMPG annual seminar. It was another event that I was honored to be a part of. Art Horne and Dan Boothby really do a great job with this conference on an annual basis. The speaker lineup was outstanding as coaches like Cal Dietz, Joel Jamieson, Dan Boothby, and Pete Friesen all spoke in the hockey track while people such as Bill Knowles and Craig Liebenson were the keynote presenters. While I am not a “basketball guy”, there were also some of the best Strength and Conditioning coaches in basketball with presentations from coaches such as Art Horne from Northeastern University and Andrea Hudy from the University of Kansas. What was also really impressive was that the people in the audience featured some of the best strength and conditioning coaches in Hockey and Basketball as there were lots of coaches from the best programs in collegiate hockey and basketball and also a few from the NHL and NBA.
At HockeySc.com, we continue to roll along with adding great content to the site in addition to having some really good discussions on the forum. It was also great to see many of the members at BSMPG. We are excited about how the site is continually being the best in hockey training information on the internet. Here is what we have added since my last update:
I want to do more book reviews on my blog. Similar to when I go to seminars, I like to take notes, highlight the best takeaway information, and then organize them into a review. Like a previous blog post, I write these reviews and descriptions to help me get some of my thoughts about the subject on paper (or computer).
The first book I want to talk about is Triphasic Training by Cal Dietz and Ben Peterson. Before I get into the book, I wanted to take the time to mention Cal. I’ve known Cal now for the past 12 years. Back in 1999, Cal graduated and moved on to the University of Findlay from his Graduate Assistant position at the University of Minnesota. I was fortunate to be able to replace him at Minnesota. Cal was then re-hired as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Olympic Sports at the University of Minnesota a few years later right after I graduated and departed for the University of North Dakota. Since then, Cal has done an unbelievable job with U’s athletic department. The teams and individual athletes that he has coached have been very successful.
Along with being a successful strength and conditioning coach, Cal is a very bright and is also a really good person. Most of the time when I speak to Cal about strength and conditioning or what he is doing with his athletes, I honestly feel dumb. There are times when I really have no clue what he is talking about and things are just way over my head. When it comes to being a good person, I know from a personal perspective. I will never forget being at the Rochester Mayo clinic in Minnesota for a major surgery that I had to have done back in 2005. It was a scary time for me and my family. Cal and his wife Karyn, a former USA hockey Olympian, made the trip down from Minneapolis to come visit me as I was recovering. I thought that was really neat and it is obviously something that I will never forget.
Triphasic Training is a really good detailed description on the methods of Cal’s strength and conditioning philosophy. What I like most about the book is that the information is laid out in a very comprehensive manner that even I understood. Cal tells stories and makes comparisons to some of the athletes that he has coached to make points more clear. What is triphasic training? From what I am taking away from the book, it is how Cal manipulates the “tri phasic” actions of applying stress to the body. Eccentrically, Isometrically, and Concentrically. There are so many ways that the strength and conditioning coach can apply stress and you will learn several of the methods that Cal uses. Not only will you learn the methods, but more importantly, the why.
To be honest, there are times when I feel a little overwhelmed by the whole Russian training methodology. Sometimes I feel that I need to read up on all of the author such as Verkhoshansky, Medvedev, etc. Or, just read Supertraining over and over again. For me, Triphasic Training has made understanding what those guys are talking about a little bit easier.
The concept of block periodization is something that I could see working in the collegiate setting or in an Olympic training type environment. Having your athletes available to train with you for up to 48 weeks per year makes such a difference. The more time that you have with your athletes, the more you can do. From my understanding, block periodization is spending more time on one fitness quality over others. For example, in a strength block, the athletes would be spending more time with higher loads and less volume. In an endurance type block, there would be more of an emphasis on higher volume with lighter to medium loads.
I guess I am more of a concurrent periodization coach while also alternating strength and accumulation phases. We always work on getting stronger, getting faster, getting more powerful, and getting in better condition. For my situation, the reality is that I don’t get the opportunity to train my athletes year round. With the exception of 3-4 of our players, our guys are gone from season’s end to the next season’s beginning. So, I don’t get to spend 48 weeks per year with them.
Our job as strength and conditioning coaches is to apply stresses to our athletes in the safest and most effective ways as possible. Triphasic Training is a great resource for learning the way that one of the best in our industry does it. Get Triphasic Training here.
I recently had the privilege of attending Charlie Weingroff’s seminar at Momentum Sports Physical Therapy in Lake Forest, CA. For those that don’t know Charlie, he is a really bright person, physical therapist, and strength coach. I actually first met him at the Perform Better Summit in Rhode Island in 2010, even though I have read most of his information prior.
What I really like about Charlie is that he has some very similar philosophies as me in regards to how he trains athletes. He is also does unbelievable job of blending strength and conditioning principles with his physical therapy knowledge. So, when he is giving a seminar 15 minutes away from my house, I am in.
For me, writing these kind of posts allow me to go back and look at my notes from seminars and then organize them better by putting them out there. At the same time, these are my notes and may come across as random.
-“Get it Right versus doing the best you can.” Charlie was very passionate about this thought. He doesn’t like hearing that people “Did the best you could”. Find out the best right way how to do something and do it. Doing the best you can isn’t acceptable.
-The Making a Monster concept wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I actually thought he was going to give us exercises, sets, and reps of how to make a monster. I was wrong. There is actually so much more to do before you prescribe sets and reps. It goes back to the first thought- Get it right. Dial in the athlete’s movement, preparation, and sensory systems before we assign sets and reps (which is probably the easy part).
-Charlie touched upon aerobic energy system work. Aerobic energy system work can help the locomotor system. Charlie recommends aerobic work to be done in the 30-60 minute range at a heart rate below 110 bpm. Especially for those who may be in pain or in a rehabilitation setting.
-“More Keys you have on the key ring, the more doors you can open”. I loved this quote. To me, there is nothing wrong with learning as much information that you can and then filtering the information and then developing and building your own system. For whatever reason, people in our industry criticize others for learning lots of new information and applying it. I somewhat agree and also somewhat disagree. I think that it is important that you are also being smart about how you incorporate new information. We need to be good at what we do. For example, I am a strength and conditioning coach. I want to be the best strength and conditioning coach for my athletes. Sometimes, we find those that learn new information in the form of a seminar or a book and try to apply it right away without having a foundation from what the knowledge is built upon. I am not a physical therapist, but I find that I can learn apply information learned from PT’s in my setting. However, I can’t and won’t treat pain, manipulate people (physically), or “practice” PT. Be good at what you do and what you are.
– I really like what the omega wave technology does and could do for myself and my athletes. The reality is that it costs 35k. So, I won’t be purchasing one anytime soon. However, Charlie talked about using grip strength as a way to assess stress levels. From reading more information from guys like Patrick Ward and Charlie, finding a way to assess my athletes stress levels and then either ramping up or backing off on them MAY be something that I would consider doing. We will see as I need to experiment with it. However, I just found a hand grip dynamometer in the Athletic Training room. Since it has a sticker on it that says it needs to be calibrated in 1999, it hasn’t been used in a long time.
-Are we using our lumbar extensors when we should be using our hip extensors in exercises such as glute bridges? For me personally, I needed to see and feel this. As a coach who has been using glute bridges with my athletes for a few years now, maybe I need to re-look at this again. Why? Well, I need to work on my own hip extension pattern as I really don’t have much hip extension ability in my hips. However, Charlie was able to help me and give me a few correctives that I think work better than glute bridges in terms of re-learning how to use my glutes and hamstrings versus my lumbar extensors. Maybe my athletes are using their lumbar extensors as well?I think hockey players could always use some more hip extension pattern length.
-Rolling patterns should be assessed and corrected if they are impaired. This is something that I could see and feel directly.
All in all, this seminar was really good. I actually had to miss the afternoon of the 1st day as my son Will had a playoff hockey game. I would recommend that you see Charlie at one of his seminars or at the Peform Better Summits this summit. Charlie will also be speaking at the Okanagan Strength and Conditioning Conference this summer.