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We’re Hiring! WANTED: Strength & Conditioning Specialist - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 07:45
personal training gym st. john's

Are you a Personal Trainer / Strength and Conditioning Specialist looking for a company to help you grow into a top practitioner in your field?

Then we want you!

We’re looking for an engaging, transformative, and technically meticulous Personal trainer / Strength and Conditioning Specialist who also has a sense of community, practices continuous self improvement, and thrives on instilling the fundamentals of healthy living and movement in the people we see everyday.

Applications will be accepted until March 22, 2019 at midnight.

For the full job description and details on how to apply, please follow this LINK or click the image below:

personal training job description

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Ryan Patrick on Blending Movement and Training Savagery

Ryan Patrick is owner of Peak Fitness & Sports Training (aka PeakFAST) in Erlanger, Kentucky, which he opened 9 years ago. Ryan recently finished his Masters of Science from Colorado State University, and is a competitive powerlifting in the 90 kg division.

Ryan’s a guy I’ve known for close to a decade, and someone I have a ton of respect for. He’s just a hard working, genuine, salt of the Earth kind of guy.

In this show, Ryan and I discuss his overarching training philosophy – including how he blends movement quality with training savagery, why giving clients ownership is key to his success with everything from busy dads to young athletes, and how he’s using 90-day targets to spur success with his clients.


Give them what they want, in the context of what they need. – Ryan Patrick


Show Notes

Here’s a brief overview of what we covered in this week’s show:

  • MR’s Monologue:
  • How Ryan got started in the world of physical preparation.
  • The time he was living on his mom’s couch, but she was also his first paying client at his gym!
  • Ryan’s overarching thought process and philosophy when working with clients.
  • How he blends improving movement quality, while still letting people train like savages.
  • How he goes about laying out a program for a gen pop client vs. a young athlete.
  • The blind spots he’s found over the years when training gen pop clients, and what you can do to address them.
  • Ryan thoughts on how to better streamline and organize your life (this is coming from a guy with two businesses in the household, a wife, and 5 kids!)
  • The BIG Question
  • Our always popular lightning round where we talk professional success, favorite books, Ryan’s current training goals, and what’s next for him in life.


Related Links

Connect with Ryan

Links Referenced

Books Referenced


The Physical Preparation 101 Training System

Are you a fitness coach or trainer looking for ways to improve the results you deliver to your clients? Want to create consistently better training programs and learn the exact exercises and strategies to improve your clients’ and athletes’ performance?

The Physical Preparation 101 Training System unlocks the secrets to optimizing performance and improving movement through my unique, cutting-edge basic training philosophy.

In this series, you’ll learn:

  • The nuts and bolts of program design
  • The single-biggest issue you will see related to core exercises and breathing – and how to fix it!
  • How to train others to squat safely and effectively – in the first session
  • How to stop lower back pain in its tracks through deadlift progression
  • And much, much more!

You’ll also receive sample programs and templates to help you build great programs with AMAZING results – consistently.

Are you ready to take your fitness training and coaching programs to the next level? Visit to learn more and get started NOW!


Spread the Love!

Did you enjoy this episode?

Laugh at my mistakes?

Or possibly even LEARN something?

If so, please take the time and share it with ONE PERSON who you think can benefit from it. Thank you!

The post Ryan Patrick on Blending Movement and Training Savagery appeared first on Robertson Training Systems.

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Assessment: Can Your Clients Actually Do What You Want Them to Do? - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 15:11

There’s a lot that needs to be taken into consideration when assessing a new client.

Their unique injury history (past and present), goal(s), training experience, time constraints, equipment availability, even their favorite 90’s tv teen drama (if it’s not Party of Five we can’t be friends)…

…all are taken into account and cross-pollinated with my educational background and experience to ascertain, to the best of my ability, what will be the best course of action to get said individual from Point A1to Point B2 this means becoming  in the most time efficient and and safe manner possible.

Copyright: viacheslavmaksimov / 123RF Stock Photo


For all intents and purposes the assessment, at least from my perspective, is an amalgamation of muscle testing, movement screens, table work, and good ol’ fashioned investigative work to see whether or not something shakes free or if any “red flags” exist.

But more importantly, the assessment is a splendid opportunity to set the tone, prove to someone that they’re not “broken,” and to help them find their TRAINABLE MENU.

In short, I often joke that my assessment can be described as follows:

“Can the person standing in front of me do stuff?”

There’s only so much muscle testing, table work, looking at range of motion, and “hmmm’ing” and “ahhhh’ing” any one individual can tolerate before (s)he wants to jump through a pane glass window.

To that end, I prefer to make my assessments more palatable by getting the person standing/sitting in front of me more involved in the process and providing the “facade” (for lack of a better term) that they’re being taken through a pseudo training session.

By having him or her MOVE during their assessment I accomplish a few things:

1) I don’t come across as a creepoid by just staring at them for 60 minutes.

2) I get waaaaaaay more information in terms of movement ability, compensation patterns (if any) that exist, and whether or not certain positions (or loads) exacerbate their symptoms.

Active vs. Passive Assessment

One simple way to do all the above is to differentiate between one’s ability to actively perform a specific movement pattern and to passively do it.

My colleague, Luke Worthington, summarized this point beautifully and succinctly in his presentation for The Complete Trainers’ Toolbox:

“What can THEY do?” = Active Assessment

“What can I do FOR them?” = Passive assessment.

Lets us the squat as an example.

When you watch someone perform a standard bodyweight squat – or loaded – you’re bound to see a bevy of things go awry.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a shit show.

Every so often I’ll work with someone for the first time, they’ll demonstrate a well executed squat, and I’ll break down crying like the first time I watched Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform Shallow in the movie A Star is Born.


However, if I’m being honest, this doesn’t happen often.3

Generally speaking there’s always something weird or wonky or twingy whenever I watch someone squat

No one is perfect.

But to that point, I think it’s imperative to differentiate between someone’s ACTIVE ability to do something and their PASSIVE ability to do it.

Watch someone squat and it’s likely you’ll see any one of the following (if not a combination):

  • Knee valgus
  • Excessive rounding of the spine
  • Excessive pronation of the feet
  • Loss of balance
  • A perceived lack of depth (<— which is arbitrary, but if there’s a lot of “effort” to get to a certain depth or it’s just really, really shallow, then that is important to note).

And when we do see any of the above we have a nasty habit of assuming that said individual is dysfunctional, and subsequently end up over corrective exercising them to death.

Fast forward three months (and a cornucopia of hip mobility and ankle dorsiflexion drills) and there’s been little, if any, improvement.

To repeat: Watch someone squat (actively).

That will give you a ton of information.

But don’t stop there; especially if you find they’re having trouble with it.

You should also test them PASSIVELY.


Oftentimes, when you add this extra layer of assessment, in a way that’s less aggressive and provides a bit more stability to the system – FYI: HERE‘s another way to do it in a quadruped position – you’ll find that they CAN do what you’re asking them to do.

Why Is This Important?

In the video above I’m taking my training partner, Justin, through a basic (passive) hip scour/hip flexion screen. If he were a client this would follow an active squat assessment.

I’d want to see if his ACTIVE  movement (he’s doing the work) matched his PASSIVE (I’m doing the work). From there I’d want to compare the gap that exists between the two.

I want that gap to be as narrow as possible.

If his active squat was poor yet I re-assessed passively and saw an improvement – I.e., that he could, indeed, access more ROM – then I can surmise with a high degree of certainty that he doesn’t have a micro-penis he is likely not dealing with something more nefarious, like a bony block or musculature issue.

In this scenario I can do my job as a coach.

I can implement the appropriate “correctives” and/or exercise progressions/regressions to help him learn to squat.

His body showed me he can do it passively, so I need to show it how to do it actively.

If, however, there was no improvement when testing him passively, then:

It’s not my job.

1) I’d still work within my scope and train him within the ROM that’s pain free and that he can control.

2) However, I’d also refer out for more diagnostic testing or manual therapy to compliment his iron work.

Take Home Points
  • The assessment shouldn’t be used as a tool to point out every…single…dysfunction someone has.
  • Besides, what presents as “dysfunctional” actively may just be the body turning on the emergency brakes.
  • Also look at PASSIVE movement.
  • Try to narrow the gap between active ROM and passive.
  • If more ROM is present passively, then do what you do best…coach!
  • If ROM is poor (or pain exists) actively AND passively, you may want to consider referring out.
  • Groutfits make my butt look amazing.

The post Assessment: Can Your Clients Actually Do What You Want Them to Do? appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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12 Rules for Becoming a Better Strength Coach - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 13:12
These 12 rules are a culmination of experience and mistakes and were written for younger strength coaches, who I hope understand the long journey they have in front of them. While your principles are and should still be forming, it’s always a good thing to have some rules to keep you on track.
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Men of Strength Sports Performance Podcast #4: Jeff Ward - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 13:12
This episode's guest is Georgia Southern University’s director of Olympic strength and conditioning: Jeff Ward. Coach Ward was a part-time assistant when I started working there, and he made a huge jump to the director position. He's got a good story of how he got there, so listen up!
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Stuff to Check Out: Polar Vortex Edition - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 10:58

It’s still winter. Edmonton saw it’s coldest February in over 40 years.

So let’s warm up with some snuggly gooey toasty goodness in todays episode of STUFF.


Workshop STUFF

View this post on Instagram

Philadelphia, Edmonton, and Sydney Australia! Dates for @tonygentilcore & I to teach “Even More Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint” are coming fast Philadelphia: April 27-28 Edmonton: May 25-26 Sydney: July 13-14 Space is still available for each and the early bird rates are still active, so click the link in my bio to learn more and to register.

A post shared by Dean somerset (@dsomerset1) on Feb 24, 2019 at 9:20am PST

Even More Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint is doing a mini-world tour, with stops coming to a city near you. If you have shoulders and hips, train clients or patients with shoulders and/or hips, and want to learn a ton of usable information on how to build and coach the best program possible for those shoulders and/or hips, this is the workshop for you.

We also include the digital video series level 1 of this workshop for free so you can be up to speed on all the background concepts before we dive into this level 2 workshop, plus some other incredibly valuable goodies that we give to attendees.

Upcoming dates:

Philadelphia – April 27-28

Edmonton – May 25-26

Sydney Australia – July 13-14

Singapore – July 20-21

CLICK HERE for Philadelphia, Edmonton and Sydney date info and to register

CLICK HERE for Singapore date info and to register


Social Media STUFF


View this post on Instagram

1-minute mobility flow If you hate spending time on slow isolation mobility drills, try using something like this flow sequence. It gets your hips moving through flexion, internal & external rotation, extension and even some abduction to boot, plus makes you work on balance, core control, and your ability to keep up with the beat. You’ll also look like a damn ninja when you bust this out, which is always good to see. #mobility #ninja #breakdancefighting #blessed

A post shared by Dean somerset (@dsomerset1) on Feb 1, 2019 at 9:09am PST


Curated STUFF

Why Trainers Hate Crunches – MyFitnessPal

I contributed to this article and showed why there are so many other beneficial exercises you could do for core training other than simple crunches. If you want to spice up your routine, give these a go.


3 Reasons to Introduce a Super Expensive Training Option in your Gym – Pete Dupuis

This isn’t about being expensive just to be expensive. Want to know some things people happily pay a lot of money for?

Business class seating
Waygu beef steaks
Purses (seriously, there are $10,000 bags out there)
Skin creams – I had a discussion with an organic chemist for Estelle Lauder who said the markup for some creams was in the neighbourhood of 30,000%

Can your training program offer a similar level of luxury experience? Much of this may come down to being an absolute customer service ninja, and part of it is creating the image of the best provider out there. Either be the cheapest in your market or the most expensive, because you’ll likely wither in the middle.


5 Exercises that Develop Eccentric Strength of the Hamstrings – Meghan Callaway

Eccentric hamstring control and strength are major indicators of risk of injury to the knees and hamstrings, so you’d better read this if you are a sprinter or COD type athlete.


Top 7 Pain-Free Hacks for a Safer, Stronger Deadlift – Lee Boyce via

You had me at deadlifts.


The Ultimate Shoulder Day – Andrew Coates via

It’s awesome to see good friends get a nod on T-Nation. Congrats on the first of what will likely be many articles featured on the site bud.

The post Stuff to Check Out: Polar Vortex Edition appeared first on

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Sports Performance Pillars | Understanding Specificity - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 03:51

What do athletes need to focus on to succeed? Understanding the movement and energetic demands of different sports and different players within those sports is critical to maximizing the effectiveness of their training.

The post Sports Performance Pillars | Understanding Specificity appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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Training Kids With Autism: The LDD Approach – Eric Chessen - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 15:00

“Okay so we’re gonna do squats so what I need you to do is first go to the ball and then feet out and look forward and remember…”

“Hold up. You want to see how I do it?” (coach nods)

“Squat.” (Then I demonstrate the squat)

It’s one of those crossover moments where a coach might find me during a bathroom break and tell me that there are striking similarities between coaching young athletes and coaching athletes with autism. Yup.

We talk about simplification in coaching and there is the constant pull to give more information. The art of coaching, in my experience, is a practice in providing as much verbal information as is useful and absolutely no more. I refer to this process as Label/Demo/Do (LDD).

When I say “Squat” the exercise is labeled. The goal is to have the athlete associate the word with the action. With the autism population, this may take a few dozen practices. With the neurotypical population glued to phone screens, this may take a few dozen practices. Yes, there are some similarities. Performance, whether in activities of daily living or sport, is about independent mastery. I get adamant about labels because I want to be across the room and be able to give directions that are then followed to the best of current ability.

Labeling is pouring concrete; we say it and it sets solid. During our Autism Fitness Certification seminars, attendees will practice coaching a medicine ball push throw. I’ll hear “Good push pass. Do another chest throw. Great chest push throw.” Turkish getups are not from Turkey. Bulgarian split squats were not smuggled out of the Eastern Bloc, but the labels stayed and we have a common language for these exercises. Our athletes, particularly those with autism and related disorders, need consistency and repetition. A push throw is always going to be a push throw. We should adhere to a Lord of the Rings rule; “One label to rule them all.”

Labeling also leads to opportunities for choice and autonomy. If I ask Karl whether he wants to do push throws or overhead throws first, he has a distinct understanding of each exercise. He can demonstrate a preference. For many individuals with autism, this is a highlight of independence and as close to free play as it gets. Because the labels “push throw” and “overhead throw” have been repeated consistently, practiced, and reinforced, Karl can understand the differences and elect his choice.

Introducing exercise is predominantly visual. We can easily show what a movement should look like. A long explanation tends to translate poorly towards performance and takes away from practice time. Demonstrating the exercise allows the athlete to have a visual reference for the movement. Also, some of my athletes genuinely enjoy watching me perform squats. I don’t know why.

Demonstrating is also a great opportunity to set up contingencies or if/then relationships. This is simply translated into “I go, you go.” Our athletes may require a demonstration of a new exercise multiple times during the teaching process. This is much easier and effective than explaining hip position, neutral spine, and every other abstract aspect of movement.

Doing is practice. When our athletes are doing we can assess and address whatever compensations or deviations arise. In the doing phase, we can coach and correct. When our athletes are doing, we can change the variables so that the press is more overhead, the heels are on the floor during squats, and that bear walks don’t deviate into pyramid shuffles (rear up in the air with hands and feet merely gliding across the ground).

Label/Demo/Do is about efficiency. In the 45-60 minutes I have with an athlete (often only 1x/week), I want more time practicing and moving, and less time explaining. Copious amounts of information do not enhance the experience.  Here is a very brief example of the LDD method in practice:

Where I will provide robust information is when providing Behavior-Specific Praise (BSP). My favorite concept and practice from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), BSP follows the successful completion of a task and illuminates exactly what the individual did successfully. Rather than saying “Great job,” which I could say while staring at the wall, “Great job keeping your feet on the floor” during a push throw tells the athlete that I was watching and reinforces exactly what he/she was doing correctly. There’s a much greater chance they will repeat that behavior after using BSP.

BSP also allows me to give feedback that is descriptive but not overwhelming. When information comes in as instruction, it’s often just noise. When it is praise, there’s a higher chance it will connect with the athlete, neurotypical or otherwise.

The Label/Demo/Do approach seeks to optimize the time spent practicing and refining movement quality. It mitigates the dreaded “stand and wait while coach explains” and enables our athletes to transition quicker. For those working with the autism and special needs population, LDD decreases the opportunity to engage in off-task or problematic behaviors by, in technical terms, giving our athletes something better to do. It takes some practice to say less, but it enables us to coach more.


Eric Chessen, M.S., is the Founder of Autism Fitness and the Co-Founder of the strength equipment company Autism Fitness offers certification, online education, and consulting worldwide. For more information visit

The post Training Kids With Autism: The LDD Approach – Eric Chessen appeared first on IYCA - The International Youth Conditioning Association.

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5 Great Kettlebell Exercises for Baseball Players - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 13:56

Today’s guest post comes from Seattle-based physical therapist, Dan Swinscoe. Enjoy! -EC

Kettlebells have come a long way since they were used as weights on scales in the open air markets of eastern Europe about two hundred years ago. For exercise purposes, they’ve been called everything from an ancient Russian tool against weakness to a cannonball with a handle. One thing is for sure, though: since Pavel Tsatsouline introduced them to the US about 20 years ago, they have become staples in most gyms and rehab centers, including my own.

Physical therapist Gray Cook once said, “Dumbbells will make you strong, but kettlebells will make you efficient.” It’s the shape that makes them great. Because of the offset handle, when gravity acts upon the bell, you are forced to control it in two planes of motion, not just one (as with a barbell or dumbbell). It’s for this reason that they are one of my favorite tools to rehabilitate and train baseball players.

Which exercises will be the best for you depends on your individual needs – which are determined by a good assessment. However, my list below should have you pretty well covered – even if many good exercises didn’t make the list. In particular, I’m leaving out the single arm and double arm swing on purpose because they are so well known. I think they are awesome and I recommend them, but with this article I am hoping to bring some lesser known but invaluable kettlebell exercises to light. The KB snatch is also a great and popular exercise, but I don’t teach it to my pitchers.

Based on research from OnBase University, no matter how they throw or what pitch they’re throwing, pitchers have to do five things well to be successful. They need to 1) control their upright posture, 2) stride 85% of their height, 3) interact with the ground, 4) control their core, and 5) control their arm. Not every pitch is perfect and no pitcher is perfect, but the more we improve those five things, the better the performance and the more protected they are against injury.

Because injuries to pitchers are more common than to position players, I am biasing my list to what pitchers need most. Here are my top five kettlebell exercises to help the pitcher.

1. Pivot Lunge/Pivot Clean.

This is a great drill for training leg strength and control over momentum (as needed for pitching). We speak in terms of the lead leg, but we have athletes go both directions. Master the skill with the pivot lunge before progressing to the pivot clean. Once the athlete knows how to do both, we usually program it so that they combine them in one set. As an example, for a set of 10, the first five reps are pivot lunges and the next five reps are pivot cleans – and then switch sides. This is a unique advantage to the kettlebell. Lunges are okay with a dumbbell, but once you begin cleaning, the KB is distinctly better.

Trains: stride, upright posture, ground interaction, core control, arm control):

2. Turkish Get-up with Screwdriver

This exercise has a lot going on. To help simplify things, we first teach them separately. When we isolate the screwdriver, we teach it first supine (face up), then progress to side-lying, and then into the side plank position. Each version is slightly more challenging than the previous one because each version adds another body segment to have to control. The TGU and the screwdriver each have value on their own. We will combine them once the fundamentals are mastered and the athlete has demonstrated the ability to handle the complexity of this challenge. More than anything else, this exercise trains the player to improve rotator cuff control of the ball on the socket. However, it also demands scapular control and challenges the cross body patterning connecting that shoulder to the opposite hip via the core. Oblique abdominals and serratus anterior are huge with this drill. Once the movement is mastered, the load can be progressively increased so strength can be gained.

Trains: upright posture, stride, interaction with ground, core control, arm control)

3. Offset Kettlebell Front Squat

With this exercise, we get a nice challenge to scapular stability on the side holding the kettlebell, especially as the bell gets heavy. However, the real benefit of this squat version is how we also get contralateral stability challenges in the frontal plane for both the core and hips (in addition to the usual sagittal plane challenges with other squats). I especially like this style of squat because the challenge is very high with weight that seems small compared to barbell squat variations. This way, I get high muscle stress with low joint stress. For this reason, it’s my #1 squat choice for players when training in season.

Trains: upright posture, interaction with ground, core control, arm control


4. Dynamic Rows

This exercise has the athlete in a hinge position, which challenges the posterior chain. However, while maintaining that hinge, rotation of the torso is accelerated and decelerated bilaterally. The dynamic nature is an additional challenge from standard rowing exercises. It also forces the rotator cuff and scapula stabilizers to work and work quickly.

Trains: upright posture, core control, arm control

5. Open Half-Kneeling Hip Mobility

Improving stride length is something a lot of pitchers need to do. Improving this mobility so that it sticks can sometimes be a challenge. I think the reason this drill works so well is because of the load of the kettlebell. The weight of the bell assist the player into “depth,” and because he’s doing this actively, the weight seems to give the nervous system more to feel. The gains seem to stick. Players also seem to universally like how it feels to them. Any exercise that is liked gets done more often. This one feels good.

Trains: upright posture, stride

I hope you find these kettlebell exercises useful. If this is your first exposure to kettlebell training I would recommend you seek professional coaching when you are able. Keep in mind some of these exercises take time to master. But like other investments they are worth the payout in the end.

A special thanks to Cardinals pitcher Ian Oxnevad (@ioxnevad) and University of Washington commit Cole Fontenelle (@cole.fontanelle) for their modeling services.

About the Author

Dan Swinscoe, MPT, CSCS is a physical therapist in Issaquah, WA. He practices at Peak Sports and Spine Physical Therapy and teaches his own class, Kettlebells for Clinicians. You can follow him on Instagram (@danswinscoe) and email him at

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Exercises You Should Be Doing: Reverse Nordic Curl - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 13:34

Anyone who’s visited the Nordic region of the world – generally considered to be Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland – knows they’re known for a few things:

  • Fjords
  • Vikings

And that’s pretty much it.

Copyright: NejroN / 123RF Stock Photo


Okay, that’s a bit of dearth representation of all the history, art, food, and culture the region has contributed to our benefit. I mean, there’s also Nordic walking, the Nordic Track, as well as the star of today’s blog post the Nordic Leg Curl.1

The Nordic Leg Curl (also known as the Natural Glute Ham Raise) is an awesome exercise that can be used as a posterior chain builder and strengthener, in addition to, when implemented accordingly, being a fantastic “rehab” exercise with regards to working with someone suffering from chronic hamstring strains.

To the latter point, because the eccentric – or lowering – component of muscular action can be prioritized, it’s just a nice way to overload the hamstrings in a way that’s unique to the mechanism of injury for chronic strains (I.e, the bulk of them generally occur when the hamstrings are eccentrically resisting knee extension).

You can read about them more in THIS article, or watch this video (courtesy of T-Nation and Bret Contreras):


Anyway, recently I came across the antithesis of the Nordic Hamstring Curl, and I wanted to share it today because I’ve been playing with it of late in my own training (and with a few clients).

The Reverse Nordic Curl

Who Did I Steal it From? – A few people, actually. Sivan Figan and Nick Tumminello have posted videos of it within the past few weeks, and Meghan Callway was a bit of inspiration as well. She posted a nifty Landmine variation HERE not too long ago.


I know, I know…I’m going to rot in YouTube hell for posting a vertical video. May the comment gods show me mercy.

What Does It Do? – I find it’s an excellent way to train the quadriceps eccentrically and to encourage more length in that area. It’s kinda-sorta a more “joint-friendly” variation of a Sissy Squat.

On an aside, from a rehab standpoint, given the bevy of research showcasing the efficacy of SLOW eccentrics on tendon healing & repair, I can see a lot of value for this exercise when working around knee woes.

Key Coaching Cues: Much like Meghan suggests with her Landmine variation, you want to make sure you ensure a “stacked” position throughout the duration of the exercise. Meaning your head, torso, hips, and knees should be “stacked” on top of one another the entire time.

In this case the band across the chest (cameo appearance of the NT Loop, HERE) adds a bit of accommodating resistance – you want to actively resist the aggressive pull of the band on the way down, as well as overcome the pull of the band on the way back up. I find, too, the band provides a bit more kinesthetic feedback to the lifter to better engage his or her’s core.

Slowly lean back making sure to maintain the canister (stacked) position, then use your quads to “pull” yourself back up. I am indifferent with regards to toes plantar or dorsiflexed. I’m sure there’s a nerdy explanation out there as to why one or the other is good or bad, I just can’t think of one.

Besides, Vikings are awesome.

Oh, lastly: I lean more on the idea that this exercise lends itself to a high(er) rep count, in the ballpark of 8-15 repetitions per set. Too, I’ve been tossing them in as an accessory movement towards the end of a squat or deadlift session. Honestly, I think you’ll be surprised by how much of a quad pump you’ll get from these.

Give em a try and let me know what you think.

The post Exercises You Should Be Doing: Reverse Nordic Curl appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Femoro-Acetabular Impingement and the Rehab Process: The Diagnosis - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 11:15
Femoro-Acetabular Impingement (FAI) can often be asymptomatic and will not affect some people’s daily lives — even who test positive to the diagnostic procedures. However, that does not mean that the management of FAI should be ignored, as it may be a factor in hip osteoarthritis in later life.
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Buddy Morris on Stress and Recovery for the Athlete - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 10:01
"Play the game; don't let the game play you." Coach Buddy Morris (one of the speakers for the 2019 Strong(er) Sports Training and Success Seminar) talks about stress adaptation and recovery with Dave Tate, Tom Myslinski, and Jim Wendler in the sixth video of a nine-part conversation.
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Level 1: Nearly 1 million data points show what it REALLY takes to lose fat, get healthy, and change your body. - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 22:01

Exclusive body transformation research: We analyzed a year’s worth of data from 1,000 nutrition coaching clients to find out how much effort it really takes to make meaningful change—to your body, your health, and even how you feel about yourself. These findings could shift the way you think about weight loss and health improvement forever. And most important, help you (or your clients) more easily achieve the sustainable results everyone wants. 


There is no perfect person.

(No matter how awesome you are.)

Yet when many of us contemplate a health plan, weight loss program, or other lifestyle change, we start with the expectation that we need to be perfect.

But how could you be?

You have stress, and feelings, and previous habits, and maybe a job or school or kids or a pet, and days when you feel like crap. Plus, Netflix.

If perfection is required, then most of us might as well not even bother.

But what if changing your body isn’t a pass/fail scenario?

What if almost any effort—no matter how imperfect—could result in real, measurable progress?

Turns out, that’s not just a nice idea: It’s the truth.

Changing your body doesn’t require 100% consistency. We’ve got the data to prove it.

Our team just finished crunching an insane amount of data from our nutrition coaching program where clients give us daily feedback.

  • 12 months
  • 1,000 clients
  • Nearly 1 MILLION data points

All to better understand how much effort it takes to make meaningful change.

Now, if you’re not familiar with our year-long coaching program for both men and women, here’s a snapshot of how it works: Clients check in every day and tell us whether or not they completed a workout (or other activity) and did “their habits.”

Habits are daily health practices—such as eating lean protein at each meal or consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables—that we give them every two weeks. These habits accumulate, and by the the end of the year, they’re incorporating about 25 in total. (Spoiler alert: This is how you change!)

They also regularly report their body measurements and answer progress surveys, where they tell us other important stuff, like how they’re feeling.

So, we looked at changes in our client’s bodies combined with how often they said they did their habits and workouts.

We focused on those who said losing weight was their top priority, and looked at how much weight (or body girth) they actually lost after a year.

And we asked:

How consistent do you have to be in order to make “good progress”?

What we discovered didn’t surprise us, but it might surprise you.

It could even inspire you to embrace your “imperfect” self, and make the (surprisingly small) changes that can transform your body and your life.

Surprise #1: Just putting in some effort—no matter how small—changes things. What happens when people do their habits and workouts less than half of the time?

You might assume their efforts are a total waste.

You’d be wrong.

People lost weight anyway.

Clients who are less than 50% consistent—but stay in the program for the full year—wind up losing between 5-6% of their total body weight.

Now, 5-6% loss of body weight might not sound like much, but you can see the average weight loss for both men and women was 11 pounds. That’s sustained weight loss—something that stays with you, and something you can build on.

And people did it by kinda-sorta practicing some small healthy habits, not following rigid meal plans or extreme diets that eliminate entire food groups.

People also got healthier.

That’s because research suggests a 5-6% decrease in body weight can lead to:

  • better cardiovascular health
  • decreased cancer and diabetes risk
  • better sleep (with less apnea)
  • better mood
  • less inflammation
  • better immunity; and maybe best of all…
  • a zestier sex drive.
What does less-than-half consistency look like?

Let’s think about how this might play out in real life.

Maybe you eat a lot of fast food and packaged snacks. And your assigned habit is “eat more whole foods.”

If you eat four times per day—say, three meals and one snack—that means you’re eating 28 times a week. If just 12 of those meals or snacks were made of fresh, minimally processed foods, you’d be about 40% consistent.

This would be the equivalent of swapping out a fast food lunch for a green salad topped with lean protein every day, along with having a piece of fruit for a snack most days, but then changing nothing else.

And by the way, although we’re using 40% as our example here, there were certainly people who were 30%, 20%, and even just 10% consistent that achieved similar results, on average. Almost any consistent effort, applied over time, seems to be enough to move you forward.

Here’s another way to look at it.

Let’s say you want to eat more fruits and vegetables (another assigned habit in the PN Coaching program). If 100% consistency means you eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, that would be 35 servings per week.

If you were aiming for 40% consistency, you’d need to consume just 14 servings of produce in one week. Or an average of 2 servings per day.

What about workouts?

If doing something active every day means you’re being 100% consistent, then doing something active 40% of the time would require 2.8 activities. In real life, that might translate to two intense workouts, plus two long walks per week.

But remember, these are just examples.

Your goals will be relative to your starting point.

For instance, if you haven’t exercised in a year, 100% consistency might mean being active just three days a week. And as a result, 40% consistency would be just 1.2 weekly workouts.

If all of this sounds easy, you’re right.

It’s about learning to accept that better is better, and even a little effort can translate into real weight loss and health benefits.

Surprise #2: Showing up between 50-79% of the time actually makes a big difference. 50-79%: The beautiful balance between half-assing and getting results.

Now, here’s the magic zone between “not too difficult” and “making real progress”: somewhere between 50 and 79% consistent.

Our data showed no statistical difference between groups that hit this level of consistency, whether it was 50-59%, 60-69%, or 70-79%.

Wrap your head around that.

Not only do you not need to be “perfect” to get results, you don’t even need to be “pretty good.”

For example, by doing their habit practice and workouts at least half the time:

  • Men lost an average of 6 pounds more, compared to the guys who did their habits and workouts less.
  • Women dropped just one more pound (they weighed less to begin with), but they lost 4 more total inches.

A “habits at least half the time” approach also burned through belly fat, as both men and women shrunk their waists, moving them out of the high risk categories (35 inches of circumference for women; 40 inches for men) for heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic health problems.

Surprise #3: Being at least 50% consistent with your health and lifestyle improvements might be easier than you think.

You don’t need to be a superstar.

With some small, manageable changes (especially if you get help and support from a coach), you—yes, even you, with the children and covered in dog hair and rushing to soccer practice—can be pretty darn consistent.

Most of our clients end up in the 50-79% consistent group (even though they often feel like they’re “not doing enough”).

Once again, think about what this might mean in the context of your life.

Maybe dinners at your house are nuts. The family is scrambling to get homework done, or get to extra-curricular activities; the teenager or toddler is complaining about the food; someone brought home greasy takeout, and it’s a whirlwind.

Right now, eating “whole foods” mindfully and slowly with the right portion size is so not happening for you.

But… what if you could figure out how to organize your breakfasts and lunches a little better—without a lot of life disruption?

If you nail a healthy breakfast and lunch, plus the occasional snack, you could hit your mark of eating nutritious foods at 17 out of 28 weekly meals. And boom… 60%.

Or perhaps you want to control your portions. At Precision Nutrition, one of our core habits is called “eating to 80% full.” This helps you naturally reduce your intake by learning to tune into hunger and fullness cues, and getting used to stopping when you’re satisfied, but not stuffed.

If your goal were eat to 80% full at breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day (21 meals per week), you’d be 60% consistent if you did that at only 13 meals.

Another example: Let’s say you love wine but want to drink less.

And let’s say that “100% consistent” is never drinking. (Wait… stop screaming. Stick with us here.)

If you normally have three glasses of wine each night, and you cut that down to one, you still get a daily Chardonnay, and you’ve knocked out two-thirds of your regular habit.

Perfect? No, but definitely better. And better is the goal.

In all these cases, you’ve got lots of wiggle room. And as the data shows, you’ll still come out ahead.

Surprise #4. Even super-dramatic changes don’t require 100% consistency.

As you may know, some PN clients achieve incredible body transformations.

Of course, if you’re after big changes, you’ll have to be more consistent, and make more tradeoffs or adjustments to your lifestyle.

But even so, you still don’t have to be perfect.

Our data show that being 80%-89% consistent with your nutrition and lifestyle habits can result in significant—and, more importantly, sustained—losses in body weight and waist size.

How does this level of consistency take shape in real life?

Let’s go back to our practice of eating nutritious meals, made of mostly whole, fresh, minimally processed foods with lots of good stuff in them. (What we call “PN-friendly.”)

If you eat 4 meals a day, again, that’s 28 meals a week. Achieving 80% consistency means about 22-23 meals are “PN-friendly.” And that means 5-6 meals might be “less optimal.”

Now suppose you’re trying to cut out desserts.

If you’re used to eating dessert every evening, then 80% consistent would mean skipping dessert about 5-6 times over the course of the week.

That’s a big change, but it doesn’t mean total dessert deprivation. You’d still have 1-2 desserts to enjoy each week, and the rest of the week is highly consistent. Double win!

Surprise #5: People’s actual circumstances didn’t determine what they were able to do.

You’d think having particular demands on you would make it harder to stick to your habits.

That’s why we ask our clients about things like their work schedule, whether they have kids, whether they travel a lot, and/or how much stress they feel.

In fact, there was no correlation between how much stress people felt at home or at work, or how well they said they were coping with that stress, and the results they got.

In other words, no matter what a dumpster fire of flaming stress some people’s lives were… if they were able to figure out how to take small, meaningful actions day to day, they were able to be consistent anyway.

This often meant having creative solutions, like:

  • Eating the same meal for breakfast and lunch, rather than prepping two separate ones.
  • Getting meal or grocery delivery, if they could afford it.
  • Enlisting older kids into shopping and meal prep help.

And so on.

It also meant knowing how to scale back a little—rather than completely shutting down—whenever things didn’t go as scheduled.   

For example, imagine you sleep through your alarm, or drop a carton of eggs on the floor at breakfast. Suddenly, you have no time to get to the gym.

Instead of skipping your workout all together, you can turn a walk with the baby in the stroller or a trip to the playground into the “workout.” It may not have been what you planned, but you still got some exercise.

This is called adjusting the dial, and it helps you stay consistent, even when life gets messy.

You can apply this concept to not only your exercise habits (shown in the “dial” illustration below), but also to your eating and overall wellness habits. (Learn more about the “dial method”.)

As you devise these work-arounds, your consistency is sure to improve, as will your results. In fact, some of our clients became so good at this they were able to achieve an astounding 90-100% consistency.

And again, their increased effort paid off, with more weight and inches lost.

To be sure, this level of consistency isn’t doable for everyone. And that’s okay.

Not all of us desire to work this hard or live with all the tradeoffs it requires—or even care about such dramatic physique changes. (For more, see The Cost of Getting Lean.)

But even so, 17% of our clients were able to hit this mark. And they did it by adding one habit at a time and building from there. Just like everyone else.

Now… have a look at the results from all groups together, and take note. It provides a nice visual of how improvements in consistency truly drive change. (Have we made our point yet?)

Surprise #6: Just making some effort—however inconsistent and  imperfect—can make you feel better about how your body looks, feels and moves. Consistency creates confidence.

Many forms of progress are invisible to the bathroom scale.

That’s why we include a 13-question “resilience index” in our PN Coaching program. We ask clients to tell us how they feel, by indicating how strongly they agree or disagree with statements like:

  • I’m the person I want to be.
  • I lead a meaningful and purposeful life.
  • I feel good about how my body looks.
  • I feel healthy and physically thriving.
  • I feel confident in my ability to take charge of my life.

What we found:

The more consistent people were, the better they felt about life in general.

In part, this happens because people feel good about the changes they see in their bodies, such as less pain, more fitness, and the ability to do more movements, more easily.

But it also happens because people are acting on their own behalf.

We gain positive energy, confidence, and resilience after and because we act, not the other way around.

Even a small boost in confidence might mean:

  • You walk into a gym for the first time.
  • You try a new exercise.
  • You say hi to that attractive person.
  • You dress better.
  • You take on a physical challenge, like a race.
  • You consider a more active vacation, like a hiking trip.
  • You finally wear that bathing suit, or take off your shirt, at the beach.
  • You ask for what you need and want, or say no to what you don’t want.
  • You take care better care of you.

And each action you take only creates more action.

No perfection required.

You can still become, at last, the healthy, thriving, confident person you’ve wanted to be—just by putting in whatever effort you’ve got.

Whether that’s 40%, 60%, or 80%, your best really is good enough.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that helps them adopt simple but effective habits they can sustain—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Level 1: Nearly 1 million data points show what it REALLY takes to lose fat, get healthy, and change your body. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Arnold Sports Festival 2019

Meet Your Heroes at Arnold Sports Festival 2019. The Arnold Sports Festival will feature entertainment and pop culture programming for the first time in 2019.
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Complete Bench Press Warm-Up - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 11:33

Copyright: luckybusiness / 123RF Stock Photo


I think one main reason most (not all1) people skip their warm-up is because there’s no rhyme or reason to what they do.

They’ll perform some arm circles here, some thingamabobbers there, do the hokey pokey, turn themselves around, and they’re miraculously “warmed up.”

While something is better than nothing, I do feel the more specific your warm-up is to the task at and you’re about to do – bench press, squat, deadlift, overhead press a centaur – the more “palatable” (not to mention efficient) it’s going to be.

To that end, my good friend and fellow Boston-based coach, Matthew Ibrahim, submitted the first of what will be a 4-part series on how to dial in your warm-up based on the main lift of the day.

Today, it’s the bench press.


Your bench press warm-up should be short and to the point.

It’s important to spend time priming these main areas: chest, shoulders, rotator cuff, triceps, lats and hips. Remember: the bench press is much MORE than just an upper body exercise.

Most people miss the boat when it comes to working on hip extension (think: bridges, hip thrusts, etc.) in their warm-up prior to bench pressing. Why is this important? Well, it’s important to use stability and tension in both the legs and trunk to your advantage.

You achieve this through maintaining hip extension in your bench press.

Furthermore, if you can successfully anchor the feet down into the ground, use some strong leg drive and stabilize the trunk, you will be able to bench press from a much STRONGER base of support.

Big leg drive = big bench press.

The next step is to target all of those key upper body muscles for a healthy and strong bench press: rotator cuff, triceps and lats. We want to make sure the rotator cuff muscles are ready for overall shoulder health and that the triceps are prepared to assist in arm drive. The lats are crucial in terms of being able to successfully anchor and pin down the upper back area, which forms another STRONG base to drive up from.

Lastly, let’s discuss thoracic extension.

Pure biomechanics folks – please take a DEEP breath and realize that there are ZERO shearing forces going down vertically through the spine here, since the body is positioned in a horizontal set-up on the bench.

Let that sink in.


Is the upper back “arch” slightly uncomfortable for some folks?


However, I would suggest that only a visibly excessive arch is typically one that might not feel great. A strategic arch that helps the lifter gain leverage is always welcomed for a bigger and healthier bench press, especially from a pure physics and biomechanics standpoint.

All eight exercises below provide your body with the opportunity to warm-up everything labeled above in an efficient and cohesive format.

1) Bridge w/ Alternating Reach – x5 each side


2) Yoga Push-Up – x5


3) Mini-Band Standing Short Pull-Apart – x8


4) Mini-Band Standing Chest Press – x8


5) Band Standing Pull-Apart – x10


6) Band Standing Tricep Extension – x10 7) Band Standing Straight Arm Pull-Down – x10


8) Hands Supported Tall Kneel Rockback – x8


About the Author

Matthew Ibrahim is the Co-Owner & Lead Performance Coach of TD Athletes Edge in Salem, MA. He has been an invited guest speaker nationally in over 10 U.S. states, which was highlighted by his presentations at Google Headquarters and Stanford University, in addition to guest speaking internationally in Milan, Italy. His work has been featured in Men’s Fitness, STACK Media and The PTDC. Currently, he is completing his masters degree at Rocky Mountain University with a direct track into their PhD program. He is a big fan of interacting on Instagram and regularly posts about training, performance and recovery.


Follow along HERE:

The post Complete Bench Press Warm-Up appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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What’s DOMS Got to Do, Got to Do With It? - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 10:18

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is the sensation of getting sore a day or two after a hard workout, and may take anywhere from 12-36 hours to start up. This means you bust ass on Monday, fist pump your excellence on Tuesday, and can’t sit on the toilet on Wednesday without using a hand rail.

While this feeling can psychologically be empowering to feel like you had a good workout (I can’t feel anything below my beard. I ROCK!!), and as a result it’s going to give you better results than if you could walk like you hadn’t just gotten off a horseback ride for 10 hours, DOMS doesn’t really indicate much.

Here’s a brief list of times in my life I’ve had DOMS from specific circumstances:

  • I worked with an exercise I hadn’t in a few months
  • I used a very different volume with the same exercise
  • I was jet lagged and used half the weight I would usually use
  • I walked around a new city on vacation
  • I studied for a long time in a weird position in university and my traps were jacked
  • I ran a 5k
  • I stretched longer than usual
  • A workout after a few weeks of not weight training
  • A workout after a few nights of bad sleep
  • Training camp
  • A basketball tournament
  • a pickup basketball game after not playing for a decade
  • a hike at elevation
  • a long drive in an uncomfortable car seat
  • back to back workouts with the same muscle groups

You can see some stuff that would indicate a “good workout” but also a lot of rather random stuff that shouldn’t be an indicator of “good” anything, but moreso just stress to tissues. This also doesn’t include the times I’ve been injured and had some serious DOMS going on.

Essentially, DOMS will happen when something changes. Either you’re changing up your workouts, doing a new exercise, a new volume or weight of an old favourite, or you’re not well recovered or ready to train effectively to manage the work. The resulting change and readiness can cause some very small rips and tears in muscle tissues, which when remodelled and repaired can be stronger than before. It’s also this remodelling that’s a primary driver of hypertrophy, but not the only one.

Because of the relationship with hypertrophy and bodybuilding, people who are in the gym tend to try to get this DOMS to happen on a regular basis, even if their specific goalsets don’t require hypertrophy, or if they aren’t actively training to grow muscles at all.

Here are some specific goals that may not need hypertrophy to happen, in order to still achieve the goal:

  • body fat loss
  • strength gain
  • endurance/cardio improvements
  • flexibility gains
  • sport performance

Even if someone’s training for these specific elements, there’s a common belief among many going to the gym that in order for a workout to be good or to “count” they have to be sore following that workout. While it may be true that a good workout could make you sore, it’s not necessary to be sore to have a good workout. It’s sort of like how all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs.

You can have a great workout and not be sore. You could have a great workout and be sore. You could have a mediocre workout and be sore, or not sore. You can get kicked in the shins or fall down the stairs and be sore. You could slip on the ice and do some marvel of breakdance ninja fighting and not actually fall over and be sore the next day.

I train some endurance athletes, specifically track cyclists, who put the majority of their training in on a bike and augment that with gym workouts. If I put them through a workout that makes biking harder due to being really sore, it wasn’t a good quality workout for them as it’s affecting their entire reason for training.

If I put someone who is looking to lose weight through a hard workout and they get so sore they aren’t willing to workout tomorrow or the next day, and are hesitant to come back the day after that, it’s not helping their goal of weight loss. An injury post-rehab client getting sore could set their progress back significantly or re-aggravate that injury. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get sore or that we have to avoid it entirely, but that as a goal, it’s not really all that great to shoot for.

However, if getting sore is the only observation that satiates your requirements for a good workout, I gotchu covered. I’m offering kicks in the shins after every workout for an additional $20. Satisfaction of soreness guaranteed, or I’ll kick you in the other shin for free.

The post What’s DOMS Got to Do, Got to Do With It? appeared first on

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Workout of the Day: Back and Bis with Mark Dugdale - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 10:15
1. MAG Scapula Retraction Pulldowns 2. Max Tension Hammer Strength Rows 3. Decline Banded Pullover 4. Away Facing Pulldowns 5. Isolation Curls 6. Incline Dumbbell Curls — click to see the sets, reps, and equipment I used for this back and biceps workout.
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Viva La Flama Blanca: An Interview with Anthony Fuhrman - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 10:10
Between three jobs, strongman competitions, and his appearance on The Titan Games, 105-kilogram World's Strongest Man Anthony Fuhrman shares his thoughts on pro middleweight strongman issues, meeting one of his childhood idols, and Taylor Swift.
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3 Simple Modifications to Squat When in Pain - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 09:21

Our bodies are built to adapt. How else would we ever develop the strength (mental and physical) to meet challenges or compete in sports, let alone recover from them to be stronger, more capable, more resilient than before? That means that our training can be hard. It should be hard at times. But what can you do when you have pain when you squat—especially given the all-too-common and frequently short-sighted advice to avoid all squatting? Here, David Cho, SFG I, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and CSCS shares three simple squat modifications to work around pain.

Preface: The following advice is NOT a suitable replacement for a hands-on assessment by a clinician. If you have pain, please consult a medical professional who understands YOUR goals and (hopefully) strength.  Once cleared, an FMS-certified coach can help get you started.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that training can (and should) be hard at times. It’s important to push our boundaries intelligently especially when we train for events, i.e. an instructor certification strength tests, the snatch test, or the TSC.

Now, what if we have pain? The typical reaction from many medical providers tends to be STOP. Why? They’re concerned about causing an actual injury. That’s good, right? The problem arises when STOP becomes “that movement you did is bad for X and you should never do that again,” and/or “you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than 10lb.” We’ve all heard it, and we know that in virtually all but the most extreme cases, it isn’t true. Avoidance of movement is simply not a long-term success strategy for most. Not moving, not training, and not doing anything are the wrong answer 99.7% of the time.

Ingrain that in your mind. Get it tattooed somewhere—I’m considering it.

But it Hurts When I Squat

Pain with squatting is a common occurrence in the performance field. Once structural damage or a required medical intervention is ruled out, we move on to rehab. Most programs will begin with manual therapy, isolated muscle strengthening, passive modalities (ice, heat, electrical stimulation, etc.), and other pain-reducing strategies. The problem comes when strength progressions are not implemented quickly enough. Rehab must be challenging to create positive change in the body. Current research has shown that our bodies require anywhere from 70-85% 1RM loads to strengthen tissues. This means our “training” weights can actually be our rehab.

Training and rehabilitation should not be considered completely separate. They are simply on different ends of the performance scale.

Rehab-Spectrum-David-ChoCredit to Greg Lehman and Jarod Hall So How Do we Safely Squat with Pain?

It’s simple.

Find a way to perform a different variation of the squat. It can be as easy as using a lighter weight (No duh, right? But how many of us do this?) or doing lower volume. Here are some of my other favorite ways to modify movements:

  1. Tempo
  2. Range of Motion
  3. Body Position

(I left out finding a proper instructor to assess technique and watch for movement compensations that you likely don’t know about because this should go without saying).


Tempo refers to the speed of your movement phases in a particular repetition. Most (I could argue every) exercise has a concentric and eccentric phase. In a squat, the eccentric phase happens when you lower yourself towards the bottom: your muscles work to decelerate your descent. The concentric phase is the reverse: you accelerate or rise up from the bottom. Select a weight that doesn’t trigger a painful response (hint: it’s heavier than you might think and remember that tissues strengthen in response to load). For most people, I’ve found that an appropriate starting weight can be anywhere from 50-70% of their training max depending on the severity of their discomfort. Now make the concentric and eccentric portions last longer than normal. I typically stick with the 5-6 sec range. To further clarify, take 6 seconds to lower into a squat and then take 6 seconds to rise back to your starting position. There is a third type of muscle contraction to consider—the isometric—that happens between the eccentric and concentric phases (or vice versa). For the squat, it’s the hold (if you include one in your tempo) at the bottom, between going down and coming back up. Isometric exercises are such a terrific rehab tool that I’ll save discussing them for their own future article.

Range of Motion

Remember when we all judged people doing half squats? Well, there’s some value to them. I use them all the time with people who have knee pain during squats. Again, don’t forget the primary purpose of these modifications: it’s to reintroduce movement patterns and load them in a safe manner where they do not feel pain all the time. If that means having someone squat 70% of their 1RM to a high box, then great! Be patient. You’re still getting stronger and, more than likely, building a better base than you ever had before.

Body Position

So what if it hurts to do anything standing? Try seated variations. That hurts too? Try lying on our back or stomach. One of my favorite movements to recreate a squat is rocking. It’s very easy. Set yourself up on hands and knees. Keep the eyes looking forward and simply sink your hips back toward your heels.  

Squat-Rock-Forward-David-Cho Squat-Rock-Back-David-Cho

What does this look like? A squat! We can progress this position by simply placing a swiss ball against the wall and rocking into it.

As you might’ve already noticed, you can use all 3 modifications in conjunction and apply them to nearly any movement.

We can spend hours discussing many of the topics I’ve brought up in this article, but hopefully, I’ve given some actionable techniques that you can keep in your toolbox whenever needed. Please reach out to me if you have any questions.

The post 3 Simple Modifications to Squat When in Pain appeared first on StrongFirst.

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The 4 Key Principles of the FPM Approach - Mon, 02/25/2019 - 18:00

Here is a summary of the key 4 Principles that are the foundation of the First Principles of Movement Approach.

A precision approach is always individualized by learning about the patients goals, expectations, concerns, past history, environment, & social context. When the patient feels heard such motivational interviewing established the necessary empathy to guide a compassionate journey towards return to function.

In this way our plan or program is based on the person’s profile rather than us naively assuming all patients with similar pain or pathology require the same prescription. The PATIENT PROFILE emerges when we perform a Needs Analysis of their required capacity (ie demands) & current capacity. The goal of rehab is to bridge the gap from the floor (current capacity shortfall) to their ceiling (required capacity).

By explaining clearly WHY we are doing WHAT we are proposing this builds trust through relatedness. Such trust is the necessary fuel for the patient to persist (eg grit) through the inevitable ups & downs of the process.

1. Pain & Reassurance ➡️ Return to Participation 



To manage pain we use a traffic light metaphor where we avoid Red (7-10) & allow yellow (4-6) to provide REASSURANCE that hurt doesn’t necessarily equal harm & that activity is beneficial even if uncomfortable. This promotes a re-conceptualization of safety vs danger messages about ones diagnosis, imaging results, pathology, tissue health, past injuries, muscle imbalances, stability, etc.

The catalyst to accelerate recovery is graded exposures to feared stimuli as one gradually resumes modified activities. This reduces one’s sense of being FRAGILE.   The impact of giving tangible hope & an achievable plan thus mitigates OVER-PROTECTION & further negative sequela from excessive rest.

Thus cognitive-behavioral training builds the pain tolerance line & begins to move foreground pain into the background. If you want your body to feel better feel your body move better! It is the 1st step to PREPARE a person to resume activities & SOCIAL PARTICIPATION. “The first treatment is to teach the patient to avoid what harms him”. Nothing is more deleterious than the idea that you are damaged so reassurance about the safety & efficacy of movement is the first step. “The motion is the lotion” concept must be tested sci

entifically using the CAP to disprove the belief that rest is best, the tissue is damaged or that hurt equals harm. 

Measurements: VAS, Yellow Flags, ADLs

2. Reactivation & Function



By giving tissue sparing or hygiene advice REACTIVATION is accelerated. In this way we increase contextually relevant exposure & variability while concurrently improving competency & thus self-efficacy! This bridges the gap from preparation to training & from fragility to resilence. 

As one regains confidence positive adaptations begin to replace negative compensations of excessive guarding & OVER-PROTECTION. By priming resumption of near normal activities descending fear avoidance beliefs & behaviors are mitigated upstream thus preventing the descent into disability.

Measurements: integrity of movement prep screens or motor control (0-3)

3. Load & Resilence ➡️ Safe Return to Higher Demands.



The next progression is to gradually add load. This is measured with the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale. This is an essential hack for RESILENCE by avoiding the tendency to manage patients away from load & fostering rehab purgatory due to UNDER-PREPARATION & inevitable re-injury. By slow-cooking the load exposure RETURN to PLAY & SPORT can safely occur.

Measurements: RPE, RM, capacity

4. Variability ➡️ Return to Optimal Performance



The final progression is to further enrich the contextual exposures by imagining the most unpredictable aspects of one’s life or activities & preparing for the unexpected (Gabbett).  This ANTI-FRAGILE message uses the full gamet  of Dynamic Systems Theory (DST), attractor states, advanced periodization (shock blocks), accessory exercises, & variability of training optionality (tri planer, different stances, grips, etc). 

In this final stage the movement literacies of agility, balance & coordination (ABCs) are trained for long term athletic participation & sustainability in the TASKS & SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT deemed of value by the patient. In this way we seek both to identify upstream solutions & provide behavioral nudges & guardrails gamified for making the hard easy.

Finally, it is always the goal to be as precise as possible. We want to find the source of the source (Pain generator) by seeing the INDIVIDUAL as having a linkage system. Assessment of the regional interdependence of the entire kinetic chain will identify key, relatable “weak links” to be addressed. Since you are only as strong as you’re weakest link this level of mastery is required to OPTIMIZE PERFORMANCE sustainably & thus reduce injury risk. “That which enhances performance prevents injury.”

Measurements: above outcomes for progress


This comprehensive strategy takes a mutivariate approach to enhancing the INDIVIDUAL’S relationship to their ENVIRONMENT & TASKS. By seeing how a linear approach of treating the site of symptoms with palliative measures, or focusing mainly on the pathology (“the tissue is the issue”), is inconsistent with the BPS precision, patient-centered approach we can provide more functional & relatable guidance to patients.

The culmination of the pivot from more rigid Doctor-centered rehab Rx is the shift to more agile patient-centered functional rehab. This compassionate approach recognizes the patients ENVIRONMENT, behaviors & goals, not just their pathology or symptoms.

The post The 4 Key Principles of the FPM Approach appeared first on First Principles of Movement.

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