The Biomechanics of Performance

The Biomechanics of Performance

First questions to ask yourself
  1. What forces are acting?
  2. What direction are those forces being applied?
  3. How big are those forces?

Biomechanics is an essential area of rehab and performance that every coach and clinician should understand, but there is one BIG problem. Ever pick up a biomechanics book? If you’ve so much as peaked at one, you probably saw a ton of technical jargon, physics, mathematics, and endless equations. While the fancy equations might be useful for researchers, coaches need a working knowledge of a few biomechanics principles to really make that knowledge useful in the gym. So, cut out the equations, and grasp the concepts. In this video series, we’ve done just that.

This 4 part video series will go through the core principles every coach should understand to make their training more effective, prevent injuries, and make better decisions when writing programs or adjusting things on the fly.

  1. Biomechanics and Coaching
  2. Essential Concepts for Coaching I
  3. Essential Concepts for Coaching II
  4. Biomechanics for Peak Performance

Anytime I’m working through biomechanics of a movement, the first things I ask myself are:

  1. What forces are acting?
  2. What direction are those forces being applied?
  3. How big are those forces?

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Deadlift vs. Squat - Are you giving your athlete the wrong exercise?

Deadlift vs. Squat

Are you giving your athlete the wrong exercise?

Do you know what changes you get from a deadlift? How about a squat?

These exercises are NOT just for pushing up your lifts: they can create different physiological adaptations in the neuromusculoskeletal system.

Knowing what those adaptations are allows you to choose which is best for each athlete.

See how it impacted an elite volleyball player in this video.

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What to Do After an Internship

What to Do After an Internship

It takes time to study well.

Distraction is a huge barrier to early coaching success. Many of our interns get stuck in “Flavor of the Month” topics and never dive deep enough into one single topic.

One of the biggest barriers for our interns to overcome is also one of our biggest strengths here at IFAST. We have coaches who specialize in their own things: I like to talk about the psychology of coaching, Ty can relate anything to an athlete, Lance does… whatever he does.

This rounds out our business nicely because now we can served different populations at different times of day, maximizing our use of the space we rent.

But for an intern, they spend time with me working on cuing effectively, then Bill mentions something cool about complexity theory and they stop thinking about cuing and start thinking about dynamic systems theory.

…Or they hear Lance say something cool about the neck.

…Or they see Ty structure a drill in a simple, yet ingenious way.

All of these things are interesting and effective, but when you pinball back and forth between them, you never get deep into one topic.

If you hear people on the internet speak in cliches and generalities, they likely fall into this. It’s okay to communicate that way because it connects with certain people. Just make sure that YOU know what you mean EXACTLY.

Listen to the rest of my discussion on this below.

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Final Intern Project: TED Talks

As a final project of their internships, all of our interns are required to put together a 15-minute talk. Why?

  • Public speaking is difficult
  • Public speaking gets easier with practice
  • Forming a lecture is a great way to organize your thoughts
  • Refining something with depth into 15-minutes requires organization and prioritization
  • Most things can be taught in 15-minute chunks
  • Everyone has a unique perspective worth hearing

In this video, I will give you the recap of the three interns talks. Take a peek into what a graduating intern thinks about.

The Science of Big Muscles

The Science of Big Muscles

Part 1 – Occlusion training, drawbacks, and more on hypertrophy

Where’s the beef?

Who cares, were going to build some.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, this isn’t a weird lab experiment I’m running here in Louisville. It’s everything you’d ever want to know about helping your clients pack on lean mass.

Let’s get to the bottom of determining the correct way to breed new muscle children.

In this two part series, we’ll get into who really needs hypertrophy training, what typical hypertrophy work looks like, and the basics of occlusion training. Plus, the science behind it all (because you know I love that s***).

Once we understand all of that jazz, we can determine which clients and athletes need hypertrophy work and how to make it most effective.

Here’s what to expect in part 1:

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Motivating vs. Coaching

Motivating vs Coaching

I don’t know if there’s anything more important than learning to listen to a human being.

Anyone who has worked with a few clients before knows that the highly motivated clients are the most fun.

…But also the most rare.

In this video, we discuss:

  • How even the most excited fat loss clients you have will waver (and how to get them back on the saddle when they fall off)
  • How you CAN’T become a better person without also becoming a better coach (I truly believe this)
  • Are systems important, or is it mostly about your mindset?
  • Why motivating is not the same thing as cheerleading
  • Why motivating is THE crucial skill to develop as a coach, no matter who you’re coaching

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Which Book Is Best?

Members can download the notes to get the short version.

Questions asked this month (the month of how to learn anatomy, physics, and coaching exercises):

  • Thoughts on the Frans Bosch book, Strength Training and Coordination
  • What’s the relationship between infrasternal angle and infrapubic angle?
  • If I’m getting a rib cage coming in (narrowing infrasternal angle), is the pelvis outlet coming in as well?
  • I have a basketball player who’s super tall and has a narrow infrasternal angle. But he’s the best athlete on the team. Never has pain. What would you do to change him?
  • If you have someone with pain while squatting, would you modify with a trap bar deadlift?
  • How do you address someone who thinks they should change their exercises, but you don’t really want to?
  • If someone had pain while front squatting, would you consider re-introducing it a few months down the road?
  • What’s your definition of pain?
  • How do you describe pain to someone? Example: when having pain in a squat.
  • There’s a performance model that drives to drive a polyvagal response through a noxious stimulus. Is it too costly?
  • How do you learn where muscles attach and how physics change when you move?
  • How uphill of a battle is it to address a young athlete (volleyball and dancing) who’s playing a lot?
Filtering Through the BS

Filtering Through the BS

  • Why you don’t need a filter if you have good mentors
  • How to develop your own filter as you become a better coach

If you want to get to the point where you can filter anything you watch, see, hear, or read, then I have some advice for you.

Watch the video to find out what it is.

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Teaching Clients How to Row

What’s the single most difficult exercise to teach someone?

Fundamental movements: squat, bend, push, and pull.

Most problems in the gym can be stated simply. I don’t want your back to move around too much when you squat or bend. I want your shoulder blade to follow your arm when it moves.

“Fixing” a lower body “problem” can be difficult, but usually there’s a simple idea behind it. Get the hips in the right position and maintain balance.

Upper body pushing isn’t too bad; make sure you cue a full reach at the top.

Upper body pulling, however, is a bear. Lead with the shoulder blade, make sure the rib cage moves, don’t compensate with the spine (but still let it move a little), kill momentum, don’t shrug, pause at the top, don’t let the head flop around, where should the eyes look, bring your elbow away from your side (but not too far), count your reps, and try not to think about how many sweaty people have been on this bench since it was last cleaned.

Which brings us to this video.

This post is NOT for people looking to be told what to do. I want to give you a broad vision of rowing, how to coach it, and where it fits into a person’s entire training regimen. I don’t want you to rely on inaccurate, concrete progressions, but instead start to think through and problem solve for your clients (athletes and gen pop alike).

This post is NOT for people who are lost and don’t know what to do. This post is for people looking for a better way to do things.

The agenda:

  • A short talk on how muscles hypertrophy (so we know what we need to do to get gains) [see more below]
  • The variations I like to start with (and how to coach them)
  • The variations I think are easiest to teach (good programming makes you a successful coach in the gym)
  • The variations I think are most prone to error (make your clients earn their stripes before you give these to them)
  • How you can tweak little positioning details to totally change the exercise (and get what you want out of it)
  • Why I would have someone reach while they row (do you think I’d have everyone do it?)
  • Everything you need to understand to keep your clients’ joints healthy (I just want to help you think about scapular movement, glenoid position, rib cage orientation, joint forces, and muscular anatomy at play)
  • How to tell when the latissimus dorsi is taking over (and why that can be such an issue)
  • The two different types of rowing mindsets (one that helps you get jacked and another that helps you feel better)
  • How pull-ups fit into this equation (it’s the same only different)
  • Thoughts on chin-ups vs pull-ups (sometimes I care what grip they use, sometimes I don’t)

I’m an anatomy nerd so take this with a grain of salt: honestly, I’ve found that knowing the anatomy has helped me coach this more than anything else. That and practicing it in my own training. Once you know all the pieces, it’s much easier to focus on just one of them at a time while still keeping the bigger picture in your mind.

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Working on Your Sales Pitch – What do they care about?

Members can download the notes to get the short version.

The theme this month was:

  1. Work on your sales pitch
  2. Don’t expect perfection

And there were a ton of great questions:

  • How do you go about training someone like a punter? W2017-11-13 IFASTU Q&A with Mike Robertsonould you start with bilateral movements or unilateral stuff? [2:00]
  • How often do you mention PRI when training people? [8:35]
  • What’s your wrap up / sales pitch when trying to explain breathing patterns to your athletes? [12:08]
  • What makes some of these college basketball strength coaches some of the best? [14:50]
  • Do you like airborne lunges or skater squats? [21:51]
  • Do you use KB swings with your athletes? [26:15]
  • How do I test during different blocks? [33:38]
  • What warm up exercises do you like using for your Indy 11 soccer guys? [36:42]
  • How do you build in buy-in for the 90-90 breathing positions and quadruped breathing positions? [40:52]
  • If someone has pathology and they do a movement that looks pretty good, do you cue them out of it or just leave it alone? [45:02]
  • I have a golf client. What should I do with him? [49:00]
  • They are asymmetrical because they swing in one direction. How would you address them? [56:59]

There was a question this month on training golfers. If you want a more in-depth breakdown of the golf swing and working with golfers, check out this video from Ty Terrell:

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8 Weeks to Train a College Basketball Player

8 Weeks to Train a College Basketball Player

This summer I had a basketball kid in from Butler who is a pure stud: Prince Harry of Harlem.

He’s a tough dude, hard worker. Isn’t it great to have someone in who is so dedicated? Those are always my favorite athletes.

Anyways, I wanted to walk you guys through the program I wrote for him.

  • We had 8 weeks
  • How did I identify my priorities?
  • Why did I choose them? (so you can identify your own in the future)
  • What is Adaptive Currency and why is it so important?
  • His before and after results
  • His program

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Pelvic Angle and HRV: Exercises to alter autonomics

Pelvic Angle and HRV

Getting clients into the proper positions results in better mechanics and decreases the chance of injury. Whether treating a physical therapy patient or coaching in the gym, we pay close attention to the position of various body segments in relation to one another.

But what are these positions? And why do they work?

In this video, I’ll give you some exercises you can try right away. These work really well for certain clients (like those super stressed out ones) as long as you cue them correctly.

Then I’ll walk you through some of the research and neuroscience behind how position might impact the autonomic nervous system. If you understand the science, you can make up your own exercises.

How does position affect autonomics?

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Comprehensive Squatting: More squatting biomechanics than you could ever want to know (until you see the results)

Comprehensive Squatting

Everyone in this industry talks about building your foundation.

Go back to basics.

Do the easy things well.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Pelvic position is paramount in developing a client’s foundation and your own fundamental skillset as a coach.

Again for emphasis: this topic is essential for coaches.

I broke this talk into two components: lecture and practical. For those of you who want my advice, here’s how you should approach this topic…

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Help Any Client Achieve Their Goals

Note from Lance: Our special guest today is Zac Cupples, DPT, CSCS. I’ve been able to call Zac a friend since he did his clinical rotation with Bill Hartman in Indianapolis. I managed to pin him down for a half hour and teach us about his system for creating change, specifically through a movement lens. What is limiting YOU?

I’m in the business of creating change, but — as you know — that stuff is HARD TO DO.

How do you simplify the process?

I like to outline things. When thoughts have a directional flow, it’s easier to keep everything straight. So I have to ask myself questions about each and every situation.

What kind of person is in front of me? And what am I going to do with him or her?

In this post, I’ll outline my process of helping people achieve their health and performance goals. We’ll discuss:

    • The 4 areas where we can start creating change
    • My main area of focus: physical activity
    • The 4 steps physical activity
    • Each step from my physical therapy view
    • Each step from my performance coach view
    • My progression for mobility
    • The 3 active mobility tests I use
    • Testing for arm motion with lower body tests
    • Runners who get pain after they run 5 miles
    • Patients who get back pain after they sit for 4 hours
    • Athletes who can’t play the whole game without pain
    • …and a bunch of other short examples to relate this system to your own clients

Please take this. It’s worked well for me. If you have suggestions, though, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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