So I survived my first 3 day perform better summit. For those of you that don’t know what that is, its a gigantic fitness and human performance conference held at the Providence convention center. All the ‘big wigs’ in the personal training world come give lectures and hands-on practicals.

Each hour of each day, we had 4 options to choose from. The topics ranged from the business side of personal training, to proper squat mechanics, to adherence and making movement fun. Brain overload to say the least. By Sunday afternoon, my brain felt similar to scramble eggs.

Dee ta Dee

1 of my lecturers suggested writing 3 things you learned each day, and at the end of the weekend to pick 3 of the 9 things to actually start using this week. So, if you’re interested, here they are!

1. Kelly Starret – Torque Matters

Kelly is a PT and owner of Crossfit San fransisco. His information wasnt necessarily new to me, but he just reminded me of how important these things really are. We mostly talked about stability in the trunk, and using torque in the hip and shoulder joints.
The first thing that hit home was how important head position is. When we lose proper head position, we lose about 20% of our strength.  Think about that. A common error when people deadlift is looking at yourself in the mirror and hyperextending your neck. You could improve your pull 20% just by keeping your neck and head in proper alignment! Again, not neccessarily news to me, but as a coach I need to sound like a broken record reminding people not to check themselves out when they deadlift.

Now if he stopped checking out his man thighs he could actually use weight! The madness!

So what can you take from this? 

Keep your head in line! It’s as simple as that. This includes everything from deadlifting, to squatting, to pullups. Your neck and body will thank you.

2. Fraser Quelch- Changing the Game

This lecture was more of a broad topic relating to obesity. We like to think that our jobs as trainers and coaches affect a lot of people. But the reality is that we don’t. Less than 1% of people in the US go to the gym 3 or more times per week. Now if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably in that 1%, and you probably find that shocking or even hard to believe. But it’s true, so what can we do?

Quelch discussed the idea of bringing “play” back into the lives of US adults. We’ve started to get the idea with things like small group training, bootcamps, Zumba classes, etc. Shit on Zumba all you want, but the best designed programs are the ones that people adhere to. I would rather have someone Zumba-ing for the rest of their lives over being a couch potato. Zumba all day.

So what can you take from this?

-Find something you enjoy doing. Most of us don’t LOVE strength training (but if you do I’m not mad about it). Make a difference in someone else’s life. If your best friend is chronically inactive, try taking them rock climbing or kayaking the next time you hang out. You never know what they might fall in love with.

-Find some friendly competition. Light a fire under someones ass (or your own for that matter).

-Here’s a thought. This might sound crazy… If you have kids; PLAY WITH THEM! When was the last time you played marco polo in the pool or flashlight tag on a warm summer night. It’s fun peeps, I promise. And your kids won’t forget. Oh and also you don’t need kids to do that stuff. Just sayin’.

3. Lee Burton- Mobility, Stability, and Motor Control

Mobility: The ability to move freely and easily

Stability: State of being stable. Not likely to change or fail

Motor Control: The ability of the neuromuscular system to perform coordinated movements and skilled actions.

Not only do we need all 3 of these components, we need them all in the right places. A theory popularized by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook is the joint-by-joint approach.

So for example, our ankles and hips need to be mobile and our knees need to be stable. Beyond that, we need to know how to use that mobility and stability control our movement. For example, a client of mine is an ex-ballerina. When I screened her deep squat it was perfect; I actually said to myself ‘I can’t wait to get her under the bar.’ But like all my beginners, I started with a goblet squat. The second I gave her any load, her knees were wobbly, and her form went to poop.  You can have all the mobility and stability in the world, but if your body doesn’t know how to use it, it doesn’t matter. 

So what can you take from this?

Well, it honestly takes a trained professional to recognize your motor control errors. But being mobile and stable in the the right places is a great start. i.e. if you have tight hips, your core might be weak, which your body then compensates with a stiff t-spine (which should be mobile, not stiff).

So…

Ankle = mobile

Knee=stable

Hips= mobile

Lumbar spine= stable

T-spine= mobile

See a pattern? I will write soon on what to actually do for these, but this post is getting lengthy.. and I’m impressed if you’re even still reading.

In Conclusion

My first perform better summit was a great experience. Learned some new things, met some cool people, and left inspired with some new tools for the tool box. If you’ve read my ‘about me,’ one of my goals for this blog was to share my knowledge and organize my thoughts. The best way to learn something is to teach it!

That’s me! Doin some med ball work.

Learn on hombres. Until next time!

-L