Interview with Charlie Weingroff

If you’ve been reading my site for the last couple of years, you know that I have a great deal of respect for Charlie Weingroff. He’s incredibly bright, and has a truly unique perspective on the rehabilitation to performance training continuum. He continues to be a go-to resource for me as I dig deeper down the rabbit holes of performance enhancement, manual therapy, etc. Last week Mike Ranfone from Ranfone Training Systems interviewed Charlie. I really enjoyed the article so I asked if I could respost it for you guys, which RTS kindly allowed. Check out the interview below. Also, as a reminder, Charlie is doing a two-day seminar at RTS in Hamden, Connecticut October 27-28. This is a great opportunity for folks on the East Coast to learn from one of the brightest guys out there. I’m hoping to make it up, even though this is my only free weekend for the next two months! Check out this link for more information: Charlie Weingroff at Ranfone Training Systems

One of my favorite resources of all time.

New Interview with Charlie Weingroff

Mike Ranfone of RTS sits down with for a rare and insightful interview with one of the brightest minds in physical therapy and strength and conditioning, Charlie Weingroff.

RTS– So you’re a DPT, ATC, and a CSCS. Obviously you have the academic/professional credentials, but how about some insight into your own training and accomplishments?

CW: In terms of my own training, I’m sure just like everybody else, I’ve got some gym lifts that I might think are pretty good. But I don’t have anything that nobody else can’t top pretty readily. I am certainly proud of making Elite @ 220 with an 800 Squat, 510 Bench, 605 Dead. I have no clue what I weighed because for a little while, I never bothered trying to make weight. For that meet, I weighed in in full heavy sweats @ like 213 and sneakers, so I couldn’t have been more than 205 for that meet. I was also wearing Ace Briefs and an IPF Squatter, which is much less gear than most guys wear in Multi-Ply.

Some of the lifts I am most proud of are my first 43” box jump, which took me 6 tries to nail, the Van Dam split, 595 ATG raw squat, and Olympic 400m sprinter Tyrone Ross eyeballing a 40 @ around 5 flat….and yes, I was actually the one running.
And of course I dumped 675 to my knees on my final warmup 1 meet when I lost 9 pounds without knowing, I got pinned with 936, gave up a goal from the red line against St. Joe’s-Montvale my sophomore year, finished dead last in the tire toss in a Strongman, and got caught in a run down on a botched Suicide Squeeze. That was embarrassing.

RTS– Knowing what you know and doing what you do, how have you been successful in integrating all of your disciplines and where do you see most people/coaches missing the mark on how to effectively train/rehab?

  1. No one wants to be told what NOT to do.

CW: I get it. I really do. It’s just human nature to not be told what to do, or especially what not to do. People want to be shown all these exercises or techniques that they “can do when they back in the clinic or gym on Monday.” I said on my DVD that everybody just wants the house. Gimme the keys, show me the front door, and let me have it. I’ll do everything you say, just show me.

Well, the fact of the matter is that there is so much good that we can do in terms of exercise or manual therapy selection, program design, coaching cues, that being told what to do nothing more amounts to “Hey, here’s how I do it.” That’s not teaching. That’s showing.

I see folks missing the major messages of general principles and rejecting messages of restriction in favor of off the wall, crazy exercises that defy the logic that got us all to the dance.

2. Training others with personal bias. Ours or Theirs.
When we train ourselves, we can do whatever we want. Like I suggested above, I get human nature. I know my shoulder hurts more when I bench a lot, but guess what? I still bench a lot. And when my shoulder feels better, or one day when I need surgery, I am going to be driven to get back to holding 5 wheels over my face. Coach Boyle would slap me sideways for this approach. But I am honest to myself and my own vices. I get it. I respect my emotional attachments.

But I’ll be damned if I am going to push my own lunacy onto someone that trusts me with their most sacred thing on Earth, their body. If they trust me, if they trust you, they deserve best practice. Best practice means they don’t always get to do what they want. They don’t get to do what we like. They get to do what is absolutely the best. There are few other expert service professions where the customer gets to decide what they get. Look how jacked up the food industry is.

Just because you’ve learned something from someone supposedly credible, or you don’t understand what someone a lot smarter than you is talking about, this just means you need to dig deeper into accepting or rejecting a new message. I don’t find this optional. We must give people what they want, yes………, but in the context of what they need.

    1. Giving up.

Lots of people complain. I complain. In our profession, people complain even more when they are exposed. They rationalize. They try to explain why they are doing what they are doing even though it is painfully clear what they are doing is bullshit.

Well, the last thing I think folks are missing the boat on is simply not trying, and maybe risking, to find a new atmosphere or environment in which to be great. The client or patient population, rules of the facility, business model, etc. are not letting them be who they want to be. Rather than gameplan how to use the current situation as a launching pad to something better, they piss and moan and reject messengers that call them out on the mediocrity of their practice.
Whatever or get off the pot. And guess what? There are people a lot smarter than you. Do what they do, not what you feel like doing.

RTS– I’ve heard you state that increasing muscular contractility is “where the money ‘s at”, or basically learn to contract the muscles harder. Do you mind expanding on that as long as it doesn’t imply squatting on a swiss ball?

CW: There are 2 major ways in which we can stronger. One is through physiological means. This would include all of the local adaptations to muscle tissue that will yield more force production.

But the other major way we can get stronger is by learning how to contract your muscles harder. This can be thought of as neurological strength, and there are many, many ways to access this. This is perhaps the overwhelming principle taught in the RKC School of Strength, how to access the maximum strength that the muscle is capable of. Part of this is ground in neurophysiologically through motor unit recruitment, but it is also taking advantage of joint centration, irradiation, and superstiffness. Contracting muscles harder and using neurological inhibition drives the initial lift and then the training drives the easier approach to physiology.

Examples are keying into certain forms of choice to move the bar, contracting more muscles in a particularly pattern, and gripping harder onto the bar or bell as well as the contacts to the floor.

RTS– And this (previous answer) is important regardless of your chosen endeavor? Bodybuilding, athletics, etc.

CW: I’ve just found that because it is typically undertrained in most training populations and it has a much higher potential for adaptation, training the neuromuscular approaches has an amazing yield.

The bottom line is when you train with the neurological methods, you can lift more weight. And when you lift more weight, you are going to get whatever you are looking for, strength, hypertrophy, metabolic demand, minimal dose for maximal effect, etc. This is more anecdotal, but I think accessing the neurological mechanisms yields a neurological system that is less insulted from training and is likely in a better state of preparedness to come back for another workout. This isn’t quite evidence-based, and everyone will be a little different along with preparedness being linked to training volume and intensity. I do think applying joint centration, irradiation, and PNF may pink line some things to the CNS that are typically red.

RTS– Core pendulum theory and joint by joint approach sounds like pretty advanced theories, are they only applicable to elite athletes or can they be utilized by any coach, athlete, therapist?

CW: I think these messages are applicable to all facets of training or rehab and for all individuals. They are explanations that give us guidance to the What, Why, and How of improving and restoring qualities. I mentioned before that I am dismayed when trainers and clinicians just want the “house.” I think the Joint by Joint and Core Pendulum are the blueprints of the house. Understanding these principles can allow you to make up your own movement screens, tests, and assessments, and choose the most ideal approach to manual therapy and exercise. I think they are for everybody.

RTS– Other than your upcoming seminar @ RTS on Oct. 27-28, do you haven any big projects or plans coming up?

CW: I still have several big talks and seminars throughout the rest of this year, and I’m sure I’ll be adding things as they come up. I am very much committed to a rehab and training mentorship probably in the 4th quarter, and we will probably film the training portion as a follow up to the first DVD. We are closing in on 1000 copies sold, so I tend to think there’s interest there. I am always excited for how Nike Sparq Performance is growing, and how all of our roles may change as we grow.

Don’t miss your chance to see Charlie Weingroff present his ideas in person at Ranfone Training Systems on Oct. 27-28! Click on the link below for more details.


To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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