Showing posts from 2020

Foundational Legs: Reflections before an Upcoming Podcast

Last week Donie Fox had a great article for HMMRMedia -- "Using Foundational Legs Exercises as the Cornerstone of Rehabilitation." Check it out if you haven't already. Donie's article is important in my mind because it addresses a critical issue in the rehab world. There is a serious lack of appreciation for and mastery of the use of basic movements (squats, lunges, step ups) to build foundational lower extremity strength.

Donie and I have decided to go into more depth on this topic in our next few podcasts. We will also hopefully touch on return to running programming criteria.

Here are some barriers, in my opinion, to rehab professionals adopting a "foundational legs" approach. I'm not trying to be overly critical or a curmudgeon here. I am simply trying to share my observations after 20 years of working at all points on the rehab and performance spectrum.

Ok, here goes.

1.  "Protection" mindset vs "performance" mindset. "Can…

Spectrum Squat Variations

In support of my HMMRMedia article today, I wanted to give people a look at some of the Spectrum Squat variations I have used -- and show athletes doing them in actual training sessions. The athletes featured are Morgan Northrop (US national team, aerials skiing, 5' 6" and 128 lbs), Eli Kimche (high school senior, golf, 6' 4") and Nolan Berry (high school senior at the time, basketball, 6' 10" and 220 lbs).
The video quality isn't super high, but this is the real deal, flaws and all. Morgan and Eli do a fantastic job of using their full range of motion. Eli is doing is first ever Spectrum Squats in these videos and is learning to rack the KBs. He only has KBs at home so we work with what we have during the COVID -19 times. Morgan is a pro at Spectrum Squats and has used them to their fullest throughout every training year.

The video of Nolan is for all of you working with tall, somewhat inflexible athletes. I worked with Nolan all four years of high sch…

Talking Legs & Strength

Over the next few days, Martin Bingisser will be sharing a video lesson and several articles related to programming for leg strength. James Marshall wrote a great piece -- "Training the Legs Through Movement" -- that was featured last week. Donie Fox and I will have follow up articles in the next few days that build on this idea. 

In preparation for the video lesson discussion, Martin sent out some questions. I thought it would be good for me to write out my thoughts and take some time to reflect. Here are my thoughts on two of the questions. I hope my reflections spark your curiosity and direct you to the article by James and the follow up articles that will appear later today and this week.

Sorry for the wacky formatting. I have been trying to get it all neat and tidy, but Blogger has not cooperated with me today. So I'm playing with it all right now.


One point both James and Donie have made in their articles: there are some workouts that are made for loading, and oth…

Power: Teaching Connection

There are many ways to train power. At this point in my career, I think many athletes are better off training power without a barbell. I am not against it, but it demands a high level of skill, specific equipment and time to do it safely. Developing athletes are better off expressing this aspect of physicality via sprinting, jumping, bounding, throwing and putting. Exploit the acceleration, distance and time elements of the power equation.

Power = Work / Time
Power = Force x Distance / Time
Power = (Mass x Acceleration) x Distance / Time

Training for power doesn't always mean we have to train for maximal power, with heavy resistance as the key variable. And when we do need to train for maximal power, we should have the tissue and joint infrastructure ready to handle the demands of those tasks. We need the right foundational movement competencies so we are prepared. As James Marshall said in his most recent HMMRMedia article, we need a system and framework that purposefully provid…

Hypertrophy: I Got Over it


Pursuit of mass looms large in performance -- for dudes. Gets to be obsessive sometimes in knee rehab. Girth is easy to measure. Feel the burn, see some results. But do those numbers reflect improvement in function?

Now patients can do some pretty functional (and slick!) e-stim at home with their own Power Dot or Compex units. These things can be helpful. We don't have to waste precious time during an in-person session now.

Then there is BFR. I'll be brutally honest: I don't like it and I don't bother. I think it is a major distraction from the real work that needs to be done in rehab. Why are physios so drawn to gadgets? Why aren't we more concerned with management of gravity and ground reaction forces? Connect the brain to the leg to the ground and move. Focus on coordination and control throughout the full ROM before anything else. Girth before capacity and joint integrity seems foolish.

The hypertrophy will come when you have full function and comm…

A Primer for Building Foundational Squats

Many people ask me about teaching athletes to squat. So I thought I'd put together a post showing some of my "go-to" teaching movement sequences and share a few helpful points. This post will not go into any depth about working with people who have significant mobility restrictions -- we'll save that for a future post. But this should give you some practical tools and cues to help you build your process and progression.
And that's my first point: We all need a process. This is the process I've developed over the last 15 years or so. It's not perfect, but I've found it helpful -- for me. EVERYONE I work with uses this process. So everything I do within my system of programming builds from the elements in this process. New movements will have familiar elements of movements already learned. 
Second point: You will probably need to use a few explicit instructions at the start. Stance width. Toe out. Help people find this right away. And then let them kno…

Weightroom Without Walls: The Art & Practice of Outdoor Work

In this episode, Donie Fox and I discuss the skill of being able to appropriately progress training and rehab in the outdoors. With our current situation regarding Coronavirus we are now without our facilities and indoor training equipment for the foreseeable future. How do we ensure our quality of care does not suffer? We pay particular attention to staying true to your philosophy and not just taking the easy option of making people tired for the sake of it. We discuss careful planning and implementation of training using fields, hills and stairs. We mention means of progression and regression, and we try to paint a picture of how we run these sessions with our athletes and those we work with.

In order to make this an audio and visual learning experience we have shared some of these progressions and ideas in a Google photos folder for you here - check each video description for more info.

And you can find our show notes for this episode here.

Link to the Anchor site and player to p…

Rethinking Load & Intensity: Valuing Bodyweight Work and Effort

Obstacles bring opportunity.

For many athletes and athletic development coaches, this is the first time they have not had access to a facility and traditional weight training equipment. Can we really do effective work with non-traditional/submaximal implements and bodyweight movements?


This is our opportunity to see the power of simplicity. The power of consistency, intention and effort. Done well. Applied over time.

This is a great opportunity to reflect upon our ideas about intensity and load -- and the traditional definitions (%1 RM) we use to drive programming and periodization. The development of equipment to easily measure barbell velocity has prompted many coaches to seriously think about how they use a barbell. Many now see value in lighter absolute loads on the bar.

Can we get more coaches to value movements that don't use a bar? Maybe now we can. Because they are being forced to use bare-minimum loads. Maybe more coaches will actually try and do the bodyweig…

Recharge and Restart

I am dusting off my old blog. Time to get my act together and use this tool in a productive manner again. My friend Patrick McHugh has inspired me this week.

Most people would tell me to use the blog feature of my business website, but truth be told, the blog feature of the SquareSpace sites stinks. Especially when it comes to integrating video into posts.

Or I'm just an old curmudgeon.

Like everyone else, I'm working through this trying time, mostly from home. Thankfully, I'm not in any official quarantine and I have the luxury of my business space as a secondary retreat from home. So I am compelled to use my knowledge, that space and this space to help others stay sane and healthy while we work through our collective challenge.

Let's start with one of my favorite little movement sequences: Powerball Series #1 and #2. There are two sequences, with five movements in each sequence. #1 is geared toward single plane work: sagittal, frontal and transverse.  #2 has more com…