Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training

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

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