Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Three Principles You Can Apply To Any Movement

Gray Cook and Dan John Essentials of Coaching

So you're already a coach/clinician/trainer that has decided to set a baseline. You check your programs against it and adjust accordingly. What's next?
Define your SYSTEM.

If you have not yet adopted a systems approach to teaching, training, and coaching it's time and Gray Cook and Greg Rose have just introduced the "10,000 foot view" in which they lay out what it is, how it works and why you should implement into your clients and athletes routines. Lee Burton reminds of what that system looks like from the ground in an earlier video learning series. A comprehensive, systematic approach, your clients deserve better and your capable of delivering it

Gray Cook & Greg Rose: Three Principles You Can Apply to Any Movement

Gray Cook & Greg Rose: Three Principles of Movement 

FOR EVERYONE ELSE: those that have not embraced the need for a systematic approach I recommend that you become a little more comfortable with individuals questioning your approach and techniques. Let's take a closer look at our recent past as a movement culture.

Over the last 50-60 years we have seen a continual slide towards decreased general health, physical capability and capacity of the North American population. We as a culture are headed the wrong way. To illustrate my point let's review US military training policy and procedures history to help capture a picture of what is happening in our culture. I personally think that we have lost our baseline. As a culture we forgot what our movement baseline used to be. Follow me on this:

The minimum physical standards for our US military have been changed numerous times over the last 200 years. Unfortunately over the past 50 - 60 years these changes have mirrored the decline in our physical capability & capacity. 

We lowered the bar again and again because our population was no longer physically capable of meeting the standards. We chose the easy way out. Instead of addressing the problem of low pass rates on physical performance standards for the military we chose to lower minimums. We lowered those minimums more than once in the past 50-60 years. The general population of the early 1900's in North America were physically capable of far more than we are now. This trend was noted as early as 1943 in the work titled Youth Goes to War. Lieutenant General Brehon B. Somervell, Commanding General, Army Services Forces stated"....Far too many young people are unable to serve their country because they are not in tip-top physical shape." Our daily routines in North American culture, our lifestyle, has continued to take us further and further away from our natural movement baseline for the past 50-60 years. 

The Victory Corps was a program designed in part to address the physical deficits in the high school aged individual. 1943 also brought us the implementation of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) Field Manual-Physical Training (FM 35-20). I have talked about the evolution of our North American definition of fitness here & here  previously and think that it is worth revisiting if you are willing to take a critical look at our current culture of fitness and how we got to our current view of what many think fitness is. By 1950 as the USA entered into the Korean War declines and deficits were noted and  summary conclusions were made towards the end of that war in FM 21-20 (1957) that we as a military force were under prepared for the rigors of combat, stating :... an alarming number of causalities were attributed to the inability of the US soldiers to withstand the rigors of combat." Our pride seemed to get in the way of true progress. We dodged the reality of the decreased capability by changing the tests by which soldiers were measured thus avoiding the truth. This in turn allowed us to blame the metrics without addressing the true deficits in the training and conditioning which contributed to poor readiness. It allowed us to enlist #'s. It allowed us to fill the quota. It cost us. 

In 1954 the Kraus-Weber Test of Minimum Muscular Fitness used 6 basic test to assess fitness levels in children in the USA and in Europe. We F-A-I-L-E-D.

Sadly in 1954 due to budget cuts the Physical Training School at Fort Bragg was closed. Just as we are starting to see objective data showing our physical decline and as a culture we seem ready to address it we are dismantling the military training infrastructure.  In a presentation to President Eisenhower in 1955 Kraus & Prudden attributed this result to " - In short, Americans plush standard of living." Every decade since this study our standard of living in the USA has continued to surpass anything that could have ever been imagined as "plush" in 1954. In 1956 Eisenhower establishes the President Council on Youth Fitness.

By the late 50's into early 1960 we begin to see the testing scores of new recruits decrease on intake measures like the Physical Combat Proficiency Test as compared to the expectation of performance from previous generations. In 1963 the Army implemented formal weight control policies for troops because obesity was just beginning to be recognized as a detriment to military readiness and performance. Well over 60 years now we have been debating the cause and what to "do about it".

We need to re-establish an acceptable level of minimum movement competency for the human animal. We need to start here before. First Move Well, Then Move OftenImage result for First move well logo

Part of this discussion has to be centered around whether you have a system or not, And if you do have a system, do you use it? First thing first: Pick a system and then use it.

If you have followed my previous posts over the years it is quite obvious that I believe in and use the Functional Movement System approach to clinical care and personal training.  If you do not have a systematic approach to identifying limitations and asymmetries in the individuals you are working with and measuring your programs and interventions against a baseline I very seriously doubt that you can honestly tell me if you helped or harmed them.

So let's bring it back to the "10,000 foot view":

Gray Cook & Greg Rose: Three Principles You Can Apply to Any Movement

"Measure it and you own it" Gray Cook PT, we need to be comfortable with both the credit and the blame. Buy measuring it you allow yourself the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments and corrections in an appropriate time frame.

Gray Cook of Functional Movement Systems has spent the last 20 years growing, defining and refining his approach to health and fitness.He has spent many of those years teaching  others how he believes that we as Health and Fitness professionals should be contributing to our clients lives and to the profession.

You may be familiar with earlier attempts to define this approach in Gray's 10 Principles. In his latest installment in the series of discussions (previous editions in the series have been made available from On Target Publications) Gray highlights the 3 Principles that stand over the approach.

Nature versus Nurture

Gray Asks: "How many of us can develop someone better than nature can?"....

1) First move well,,,Then, move often (The Nature Principle)

     - Movement Literacy is the ability to reproduce basic movement patterns.
        The FMS sets a minimum level of movement literacy. A minimum score of          2 on every pattern in the screen.
     - Neurodevelopmental progression as example

2) Protect, correct and develop. (The Ethical Principle)

     - Safety is optimized when protection always precedes correction
     - Correction precedes development

     - External cues for movement and Internal cues for healthcare

3) Create systems that enforce your philosophy (The Practical Principle)

      -Standard Operating Procedure- 
       SOP- A systematic approach, a tight feedback loop for professionals interested in advancing long term movement development. A way to access movement competency against set minimum levels before engaging in higher level activities. Develop competency before attempting to increase capacity, develop capacity before solely focusing on skill acquisition. 

If we believe in Principle 1, 
you honor it with Principle 2.

To take action on Principle 2,
implement Principle 3.

Create systems that enforce your philosophy.

To many times, as both a clinician and a coach, have I had conversations with clients and even colleagues in which they were unable to tell me what they were doing in their exercise or treatment approach and if they could many could not tell me why they were doing it. By having a system, a standard operating procedure, you can begin to better answer these two questions. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hacking the Hinge: with Charlie Weigroff & Mark Cheng

CHARLIE WEINGROFF & MARK CHENG: HACKING THE HINGE VIDEOWhat's your entry point into activity?

In the latest offering from Dr. Charlie Weingraff & Dr. Mark Cheng give an in depth look at  building the hip hinge. The hip hinge is the corner stone of  Dead Lifts and Hard Style Kettlebell Swings, which many will argue are key exercises for developing the posterior chain in our athletes and clients. If you have been teaching and training your clients with either of the above exercises it is necessary to know how to set up the movements and ensure they are performing correctly. This course will teach you  how to be a more effective coach and deliver better verbal and non-verbal cues to your clients for these exercises.

First you need to determine what your entry point is for clients; that is to say how do you determine where to start? I begin all my programming at TankGym with Functional Movement Screen™ (FMS) and Upper and Lower Quarter Y Balance Test™ (YBT). The FMS is designed to expose an individual’s fundamental movement impairments, and the YBT to assess balance and postural control in a dynamic way which has been shown in the sports medicine research to identify an individuals potential injury risk. An individualized Movement Corrective Exercise Program is then designed to address limitations and eliminate asymmetrical patterns. The effectiveness FMS and YBT have been proven by research and are used widely in professional sports, college and high school sports to correctly identify and categorize athletes prior to beginning training programs.  

Charlie and Mark get very specific  about the looking at forward flexion as it relates to setting up the hip hinge. This is the way they determine the entry point before programming the dead lift. 

Strong First has a great reference article on progression of programming that outlines exercises which require the hip hinge: Excerpt below:
The hip hinge goes first. The contenders are:

  • Barbell deadlift
  • Barbell good morning
  • Barbell clean (power, hang, muscle, etc.)
  • Barbell snatch (power, hang, muscle, etc.)
  • Kettlebell snatch
  • Kettlebell swing 
*Key Points & questions from Hacking the Hinge: #hackthehinge  &
  1. At least 3 aspects to consider: bio-mechanical, neuromuscular, neuro developmental.
  2. What should come first in program design, competency or capacity? Don't know the difference?
  3. Neuromuscular: if individual has passive SLR but is unable to perform standing toe touch its not a tight hamstring problem.
  4. Neuro developmental: how we acquire local motor skills & movement as we grow.
  5. Dead lift: know what your doing and why your doing it. Clearly define the goal then choose the activity.
  6. Habituating bad patterns contributes to the problem. Is it worth the "cost of doing business? ".
  7. Whats your level of readiness for the chosen activity?
  8. Before training set a baseline, , so you know how your interventions imparts change.
  9. How do you determine a client/athlete has "the goods" to initiate the dead lift?
  11. Be a really good coach.... put your clients athletes in a position to succeed .
  12. If you don't know why an athlete can perform in 1 posture but not another dig deeper or refer out. & if pain is on board the they need and deserve a medical evaluation like SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment).
  13. Diaphragm & Pelvic Floor function matter if your gonna correctly.
  14. Talk less, its what good coaches do. Let 'em learn how to struggle with basic movements then spend more time talking during skill development.
  15. Once you have your entry point. start. But test your drills & exercises against your baseline.
  16. 1 expose the limitations, 2 move the dial & do something (it has to work), 3 self limiting exercises.
  17. SAID Principal. ...learn it .
  18. Mobility first then extensibility followed by stability. Strengthening last.
  19. How do you develop tension in your programming?
If you are not able to address and answer the above points I would suggest you need to be able to do so before training your clients.


Expanding on Progressions: Essentials of Coaching & Training Functional Continuums Part 3

Exercise Continuums: In Part 2 of our review  discussed how to start defining your criteria for determining readiness for activity and exercise.
What is your Movement Vital Sign?
Gray Cook sett the Rules for moving along the continuum.Gray next gives us an example of setting rules for training and exercise and gave us a few key thoughts:

What considerations do you have for your clients before implementing programs?
Breathe, Bend, Balance, Bounce-
Play, Practice, Train-

Determining when your athletes and clients are ready for progressions: They need to demonstrate “alignment with integrity” first.

What criteria are you using to determine minimum competencies in your client and patients prior to progression?

It is here that the series continues by describing the progression and implementation of the concept of establishing competency in our clients before we attempt to increase capacity.
Dan John sets the stage by taking us through a thoughtful progression.

I think a great place to start is by reviewing Gray's 10 Rules:

1- Separate painful movement patterns from dysfunctional movement patterns whenever possible to create clarity and perspective.

2- The starting point for movement learning is a reproducible movement baseline.

3- Biomechanical and physiological evaluation does not provide a complete risk screening or diagnostic assessment tool for a comprehensive understanding of movement pattern behaviors.

4- Movement learning and re-learning has hierarchies that are fundamental to the development of perception and behavior.

5- Corrective exercise should not be a rehearsal of outputs. Instead, it should represent challenging opportunities to manage mistakes on a functional level near the edge of ability.

6- Perception drives movement behavior and movement behavior modulates perception.

7- We should not put fitness on movement dysfunction.

8- We must develop performance and skill considering each tier in a natural progression of movement development and specialization. This is the pyramid model of the competency, capacity and specialization part.

9- Our corrective exercise dosage recipe suggests that we work close to the baseline at the edge of ability with a clear goal. This should produce a rich sensory experience filled with manageable mistakes.

10- The routine practice of self-limiting exercises can maintain the quality of our movement perceptions and behaviors and preserve our unique adaptability that modern conveniences erode.

Now that we are all starting in the same place Dan John starts us out by warming us up with Get Downs. Get Downs are a fabulous way get the neuromuscular system started and test your fundamental ability to get up and down from the floor in patterns. Next, Dan demonstrates how we can begin to impart loads onto the system in a way that does not compromise our competency in a given pattern of movement or exercise. Breath (well) before you Bend, Bend (well) before you Balance, Balance (well) before you Bounce, Bounce- These are the dynamic activities of sport and training.

This progression allows us to establish competency before training for capacity. These particular progressions work up from ground work to kneeling postures, to standing postures to then to carry's.
Dan suggest that you begin the carry's with a weight that you are able to safely and correct bottoms up.
I highly recommend that you add this into your tool box of health & fitness knowledge and seek out those unique educational opportunities. Go hear and learn from the most respected trainers, coaches and clinicians and grow professionally every step of the way.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Expanding on Progressions: Essentials of Coaching & Training Functional Continuums Part 2


Exercise Continuums:
What is your Movement Vital Sign?
Gray Cook. Setting the Rules for moving along the continuum.Gray next gives us an example of setting rules for training and exercise: When determining if the individual in front of us is appropriate for developing kettlebell swings they should, at a minimum, 1) be pain free in both forward bending and backward bending, 2) ensure they have adequate hip mobility available by scoring a 2 on the Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR), 3) ensure they have proper straight leg deadlift technique, 4) ensure that they are taught a kettlebell swing by a competent instructor or coach trained in the maneuver.

Continuum- a continuum is about “progressing somebody safely through a simple movement pattern to a complex movement pattern”.  Two such exercises that follow this concept of progression are the above mentioned kettlebell swing and the push-press.

Common language
The absence of:                       Requires:
Movement Health                  Rehabilitation
Movement Competency        Correctives
Movement Capacity              General Fitness
Movement Complexity         Specific Fitness

Progression- a progression is about understanding that every individual in front of us is constantly oscillating between further away or closer to the health and fitness continuum.   As our clients and patients move in life we, as master coaches and clinicians, need to be able to accurately locate them and intervene appropriately. Gray continues to develop the rules and reasoning surrounding them.

Key thoughts: What considerations do you have for your clients before implementing programs?
Breathe, Bend, Balance, Bounce-
Play, Practice, Train-

Determining when your athletes and clients are ready for progressions: They need to demonstrate “alignment with integrity” first.

What criteria are you using to determine minimum competencies in your client and patients prior to progression?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Expanding on Progressions: Essentials of Coaching & Training Functional Continuums Part 1

No matter where you are as a professional on the continuum of a Health and Fitness practitioner we all need to recognize our common origins. Our undergraduate education sets the foundation for us to have a shared vocabulary. Standardized medical terminology. The medical terminology class that most of us took that first semester of our college careers set the stage for us. It allowed our instructors and mentors to communicate with us. The importance of this shared vocabulary is greatly understated and mostly underutilized. Strength & conditioning coaches, sport specific coaches, physical therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, physicians all have a common language that we start with. Next, we took basic anatomy and physiology, biology, biomechanics, kinesiology, exercise physiology, exercise prescription and soon had a solid introduction to the concepts and theories that we would use and set in motion on our journey as a Health and Fitness professional.

Unfortunately many of us stopped there, many of us felt our educational journey was complete. We thought we had all the tools necessary to be a Professional                     (fill in the blank).  For those of you still reading congratulations. We are lifelong learners. Individuals that recognize and appreciate that our undergraduate education was merely a springboard that facilitated the ability to undertake greater studies. To truly be a master coach or clinician you recognize that it takes a willingness to be open to learning from and collaborating with other leaders, from other disciplines throughout your career.

Gray Cook, Dan John and Lee Burton exemplify this in their latest collaboration: Essentials of Coaching & Training FunctionalContinuums.

Lee begins by helping us all re-establish a common language to communicate with other professionals on the continuum. 

We need to do the Right Thing, with the Right Person, at the Right Time.

What is your entry point? Where do you begin your training and conditioning programs? Your clinical exam? You discharge criteria? Where do you end? If you are not able to clearly answer these questions I would suggest that you do not have a systematic approach to delivering your services. And that you do not have the ability to articulate to other professionals where clients and athletes are in your programs. How do you know that the individual in front of you is appropriate for your knowledge, skill and expertise?

Entry Point. The Functional Movement Screen. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is the entry point into a well-developed, systematic approach to Health and Fitness. The FMS allows us rate and rank fundamental movement patterns in an easily communicated way. It allows us to correctly identify where an athlete or individual is on the performance continuum and whose professional services will benefit them the most at this point in time. Yes, screening and testing will help you efficiently categorize an individual as in/appropriate for your services. Build your network and find practitioners, clinicians and coaches that you can work with to best serve your clients. The more helpful you are to directing them to the appropriate services the more likely they are to return for yours. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Appropriate Progressions (The Right Thing, with The Right Person at The Right Time)

Life is always on a continuum, and throughout life we travel a long and often winding path on our health and fitness journey. (Notice that Health comes before Fitness). Training and Conditioning program design is one factor on this continuum. As we design training and conditioning programs we need to pay particular attention to many aspects of the individual in front of us requesting our services. The general medical health of the individual is our first consideration as we determine their appropriateness/readiness for physical activity. Then we factor in the individuals recreational/sport interest(s) and assess & test their current fitness levels and capacities to determine where they are on a Health and Fitness continuum.

Our first priority for fitness should be general health and well being then add fitness to that. Unfortunately many in our culture seem to want to focus on either Health or Fitness, believing one will bring the other. We can't ignore our general health and dive into the latest fitness fad to attempt to become healthy. Nor can we ignore our bodies need for physical activity and simply eat "healthy" and assume that we are therefore "fit". Don't misunderstand me, Health and Fitness need each other, but you can be healthy and quite unfit; as well you can be unhealthy and "in shape" for your chosen sport or activity. Think about a slim healthy and totally inactive person that goes out for a casual walk and ends up in an emergent situation that they need to run for their life, unable to run very far or fast: Healthy and unable to meet the demands of the situation. On the other side think of the ultra marathoner on the same walk also but currently recovering from a recent bout of the Flu: Unhealthy although appearing fit, still unable to fully meet the demands of the situation. Just as health is on a continuum moving between various stages of illness, injury and recovery; fitness is on an ever oscillating path as well. We need to recognize that we as whole individuals are at the point of where the two continuum's intersect.  But if your daily life is similar to mine it feels a bit more chaotic than a simple XY axis graph.

Sean Manseau, CSCS recently offered his version of lifting variation in an article for Breaking Muscle: A System for Maximizing the Movement Potential of Every Person. Manseau describes the need to recognize that all of our personal training clients and club members are individuals and that a "one size fits all" approach to programming leaves gaping holes in our ability to help them. We need to test & asses our clients physical fitness and performance to assist us in determining the appropriate exercises for them. Once we have baseline measures then we can determine the most effective exercises within a progression. I'll repeat for emphasis the word "progression". We need to be able to offer our clients reasonable progressions within a given exercises that allows them to properly learn the movement patterns and techniques in a safe manner but at a level that is challenging. Simply plugging a client into a scripted program, setting a group goal and turning them loose sets them up to be feeling Awkward, Disconnected, and Intimated. Because of poor participant readiness for our programming we lose many of these individuals through attrition. You may have previously heard me talk about this concept described by Gray Cook, PT. And if our clients feel this way in most athletic endeavours no amount of our brilliant coaching cues to "keep yours knees out" will deliver the results clients are looking for.

Dare to be different: give your clients the programming they need instead of wedging them into your group program.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hard Style Kettlebell Swings

The What the Hell Effect: How the Swing Improves Everything.