On Monday, I went through some of the highlights of Charlie Weingroff’s new DVD set Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training.

The post dove into three big picture take home messages about human performance:

  1. The New Definition of “Stability”
  2. The Core Pendulum Theory
  3. The Difference Between Movements and Exercises

If you missed it, go to the link below to check it out:

>> Training = Rehab Rehab = Training <<

Since I put that up, I’ve gotten a few emails with similar questions. Basically, people want to know two things:

  1. Is it a resource they should move to the top of their “to get” list
  2. Is it more geared toward strength and conditioning professionals or athletic trainers/therapists

To address the latter, the entire premise of Charlie’s presentation is that there shouldn’t be a difference between how the human body is treated in a physical therapy versus strength and conditioning setting, at least not based on the setting alone. Instead, he contends, that these differences should be based on skill sets. As an example, if a practitioner is a qualified manual therapist, than he/she should do manual therapy. If not, then don’t. This could be in a PT setting; it could be in a training setting. Simple enough.

The overwhelming commonality in “training” and “treatment” (which is also training, since every stimulus we provide our bodies elicits an adaptation response) SHOULD be built upon the immutable laws of human movement, which he details in-depth in his DVDs (especially the first two). He provides the example of his own setting, where his “physical therapy” work looks substantially more like training than it does traditional PT work.

To get back to the original question of whether Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training is more appropriate for physical therapists or strength and conditioning professionals, the answer is “yes!” In my opinion, maximizing my understanding of how the human body moves and functions is the first step toward optimizing these processes for maximal performance. Charlie describes the complexities of the interaction between functional anatomy and biomechanics brilliantly. This understanding applies to all training and rehab settings.

This transitions us nicely into the first question-“Is this a resource I should move to the top of my ‘to get’ list?” You can probably guess my answer here. I can empathize with the people that emailed me with this. Frankly, there is SO much information out there right now that it’s easy to become overwhelmed, both in terms of time and finances. I, like many of you, am responsible for funding all of my own continuing education endeavors. In the last few years, I’ve spent in excess of $15,000 on continuing ed stuff, which for a while was putting a damper on the quantity of food I had in the house! I understand that for many it’s going to come down to an either/or situation. In my opinion, you’d be crazy NOT to pick up a copy of Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training as soon as possible. It will likely lead to significant changes in the way you train and/or rehab your athletes, which I can’t say with nearly as much enthusiasm for much of the other stuff out there.

With that said, let’s transition into some content from Charlie’s DVDs:

The Chicken or the Egg
Charlie highlights the fact that pain changes everything. If an athlete is in pain, it’s going to change the way that both local and global muscles function to produce movement. In other words, pain changes muscle firing patterns. Coming back to the idea that every movement creates a training stimulus to the body, it’s important to minimize (if not eliminate) the number of movements athletes perform while in pain. This comes back to Michael Boyle’s profoundly simple idea of “rehabbing” athletes-if it hurts, don’t do it.

Charlie also points out that, in the presence of pain, you rarely know if a faulty movement pattern caused the pain or if the pain is causing the faulty movement pattern.

Who came first?

The exception to this is if you’ve been working with an athlete for an extended period of time when they’ve been pain free, but exhibited a relevant movement abnormality that, over time lead to them getting hurt. In many situations, ESPECIALLY with in-season athletes that get banged around all the time, this is not the case. It’s important to keep this in mind in all training situations, but Charlie also points out that pain anywhere makes the findings of the Functional Movement Screen irrelevant. After all, how can you assess movement pattern quality if pain is changing the underlying neuromuscular patterns that contribute to normal movement?

The Truth about Training Professional Athletes
There’s a longstanding trend, especially amongst youth athletes, to want to train exactly “how the pros do”. The thought process is both logical and admirable-they’re the best athletes because they get the best training; because they’re the best, they work with the best strength and conditioning coaches. As you know, it is almost never appropriate for a youth athlete to work off a pro athlete’s training program because they lack the training foundation that most pro athletes have (amongst other reasons).

Charlie said something that really jumped out at me because it’s something I don’t think many people realize. With regards to strength and conditioning for professional athletes he said,

“Every person in this room would vomit if they saw some of the things that go on in professional sports.”

This highlights an important point-not only should people not blindly follow the programs of professional athletes because they likely aren’t ready for the demands those programs require, but they shouldn’t be following them because many times the program may be complete garbage! As with any job, there are great people in professional sports and there are, well, less-great people in professional sports.

Networking: The key to getting a job in professional sports

On Friday, I’ll be back with more insights from Charlie’s DVD set, including:

  • How Charlie defines “owning a movement”
  • The difference between and time appropriateness of high and low threshold strategies
  • Program design changes I’ve made as a result of watching these DVDs

In the meantime, go to the link below to pick up your copy of Training = Rehab Rehab = Training!

Click here now to get your copy >> Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Last chance; this starts this week! 2011 Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

At least year’s Boston Hockey Summit I had an opportunity to briefly meet Charlie Weingroff. Charlie used to work with the Philadelphia 76ers and was there to present on the basketball track of the seminar. I heard so many good things about him from other attendees that I signed up for his newsletter when I got home and have been following his work closely ever since. In that time, Charlie has been an incredible resource (he provided a ton of guidance for this Hockey Injuries: Sports Hernia Case Study, and introduced me to Dr. Michael Tancredi who is an invaluable referral resource for me) and become a friend.

When I found out he was working on a new DVD set I shot him a quick email to ask when it would be released. As soon as it was available, I bought a copy. With the chaos of the holidays, and working through other books I was in the middle of, I didn’t have an opportunity to sit down and watch it until last week.

My first impression was…wow.

Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training is the most insightful (dare I say groundbreaking!) strength and conditioning resource since Cressey and Robertson’s Building the Efficient Athlete. To give you the quick run-down, there are 12 hours of film split up over 6 DVDs that really dive into how the human body functions and how to train to optimize this function AND minimize injury risk. The novelty of this information stems from the uniqueness of Charlie’s background-part physical therapist, part strength and conditioning coach, part manual therapist, and part powerlifter. The ultimate mad scientist combination for creating a performance enhancement expert.

And with the final ingredient…we’ve done it! He’s ALIVE. MUHAHAHAHAHA.

Over the next week, I’m going to dive into a few of the things that really stuck out for me, starting with:

Click here now to get your copy >> Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training

Redefining Stability
With the popularity of the Mike Boyle and Gray Cook’s “joint-by-joint approach to training” also comes a bit of misunderstanding. Stability has become a garbage term that gets thrown around to mean a lot of different things. Typically, stability is used within the context of “core stability” which usually refers to exercises that involve maintaining a neutral position. Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of this in the past, but have since moved away to defining stability not as neutral, but as control. This is why Charlie’s definition resonated so much with me. He defined stability as:

“An ability to control movement in the presence of change”

With this clear, accurate definition in place, it’s important to recognize the profound implications this has on the joint-by-joint approach to training. Now instead of a “stable” joint being thought of as not wanting to leave neutral, we can see that it’s more a matter of being able to control the movements of the joint, especially in undesired planes (e.g. frontal and transverse plane movements of the knee-specifically the junction of the femur and tibia, and at the elbow, specifically the humerus and ulna).

According to Charlie’s new definition of stability, this exercise would be considered…well, still stupid.

Core Pendulum Theory
The “Core Pendulum Theory” is a term Charlie coined to emphasize the importance of maintaining full joint mobility. To paraphrase, a joint needs to have full mobility for two major reasons:

  1. Full mobility allows the joint to naturally recognize it’s center/neutral location, known as joint centration.
  2. Full mobility provides optimal neural feedback to the nervous system, which can then send more appropriate signals to the surrounding muscles

As an oversimplified example, let’s suppose a hip has 40 degrees of internal rotation and 50 degrees of external rotation, and recognizes it’s central/neutral position as 0 degrees of rotation. If 20 degrees of internal rotation is lost (not uncommon, especially in hockey players), the joint may associate it’s “neutral position” in a few degrees of  external rotation. Or, probably more accurately, the femoral head would shift slightly within the joint, which would affect both the ability of the surrounding muscles to operate optimally AND force transfer through the joint. Also, because the mechanoreceptors no longer provide appropriate feedback to the nervous system, the nervous system is unlikely to appropriately activate the muscles that CONTROL (there’s that word again!) internal rotation (e.g. the external rotators).

Movement vs. Exercise
In many cases, the words movement and exercise can become blurred. After all, wouldn’t functional exercise use functional movements? Well, not exactly. As I alluded to above, Charlie highlights the importance of all joints having full range of motion. Related to a current hot topic in core training, he notes that the lumbar spine should have FULL flexion range of motion. However, repeatedly flexing the lumbar spine as an exercise can damage the discs. In this case, you need full MOVEMENT, but you shouldn’t use it as part of an EXERCISE.

Another example is with valgus collapse of the knee.

Assuming this picture was taken during a jump landing, this picture illustrates:

  • A demonstration of a hip internal rotation MOVEMENT
  • An incredibly dangerous EXERCISE

To elaborate, landing from a jump isn’t inherently dangerous. Landing as in the picture is absolutely dangerous. The point is that there are times to EXPRESS movement capabilities and times not to. In the case of the lumbar spine, there should be full flexion and extension range of motion to ensure proper joint centration, force transfer and a stable dock for attaching muscles, but because the discs begin to fail when they go through a certain number of flexion/extension cycles, that range of motion should not be included as a part of regular exercise.

Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training is not for everyone. In my enthusiasm for a new product or resource I sometimes forget this part. While Charlie brilliantly breaks down all of his training philosophies and concepts, there is a certain requirement for an underlying prerequisite knowledge in functional anatomy and biomechanics (or kinesiology). If you’re a hockey mom or dad, this wouldn’t be a good allocation for your money. If you train or rehab people for a living, this is a MUST have.

Click here now to get your copy >> Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training

To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Did you remember to sign up for this? 2011 Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!