Gallagher Performance Blog

What you need to know: Neural efficiency is the key to becoming a better athlete, this is known as athletic mastery.Mastery requires time, intelligent programming, hard work, and dedication to consistency. Consistency Matters  The primary goal of any athletic and strength development program should be neural efficiency. Fact of the matter is t...
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According to research conducted by Dr. Stuart McGill, "People with back pain actually have stronger backs than people without back pain, so weakness is not the culprit." In our experience in both treating and training individuals suffering from low back pain, there are three common factors that seems to play a central role:

1) Breathing Pattern - of all the factors that play a role in back pain, breathing is the one that gets dismissed the easiest or patient's are quick to write-off as irrelevant. Truth of the matter is breathing plays a HUGE role. The diaphragm is our primary muscle for respiration AND serves as a deep stabilizer to the lumbar spine. If breathing is not normalized, no other movement in the human body can be. Breathing is that critical. Learning to properly breathing and integrate proper breathing into movement must be learned or else the rest of the stabilizing system of the spine will remain dysfunctional, continuing to contribute to pain.

2) Core Stability & Endurance - in order to build a resilient spine, the core must be stable and conditioned well enough to handle the demands of either daily living, exercise, or sport. The core does require higher levels of muscular endurance which must first be established before more specific qualities of strength or power can be trained. While training for endurance or strength, it's critical that one is aware of their core as it relates to static and dynamic postures in order to maintain stability that spares the joints and discs of the low back.

3) Hip Mobility - stiffness or tightness in the hips will ultimately result in more motion and stress being placed on the low back. The hips are designed for movement and when they get tight this will cause one to bend or twist too often in the low back region. Repetitive motions such as bending and twisting are commonly associated with low back pain. Simply put, the lower back is not designed for repetitive, excessive motion. Improving hip mobility will begin with proper breathing and the learned skill of proper core stability in posture and movement (do you see the theme here?) Then from there, specialized attention must be given to the musculature of the hips and core to correct imbalances and improve overall function.

To sum up - learn to breathe properly, stabilize the core, develop mobile/athletic hips.

 
More related reading:

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/how-dns-solves-pain-and-improves-performance

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/when-should-i-see-a-chiropractor
 
https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/3-ways-breathing-impacts-health-and-movement

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/3-exercises-for-athletic-mobile-hips  

Just because you are in pain or injured does not mean you are fragile. Patient advice, education, and treatment that carries an over reliance on rest, ice, immobilization, and drugs only promotes fear-avoidance behaviors in patients - leaving them feeling fragile. What they need instead is graded exposure and reactivation to physical activity through movement re-education, strength training, and re-conditioning.

Research and clinical guidelines are consistently supporting exercise as THE number one intervention for back and joint pain.

Exercise provides the best long term outcomes. Sadly most people are never introduced to proper exercise for their back/joint pain OR would rather simply mask their pain symptoms with a drug, brace, tape, or some sort of passive modality yet they wonder why their pain continues to return.

These interventions have their merit, I'm not dismissing them as useless. However, when there is an over reliance upon these interventions without a shift in focus to graded exposure to physical activity through movement and exercise - it is easy to conclude why some people fail to get out of pain.

It's one thing to change pain, it's another to change how the body functions and impact the reasons WHY you developed pain in the first place. If you don't change function, this is the reason why patients relapse often.

Exercise become our gateway to change in the body. Exercise is treated like a drug in terms of dose and response. We need to dose (i.e. how much, what kinds, how often) exercise appropriately in order to get the ideal response (i.e. reduced pain, improved function).

Proper movement and smart exercise is the best medicine so let's dish it out!

You can accomplish more than you can imagine in just 15 minutes of daily, targeted exercise that is intelligently implement to address your weaknesses and eliminate your pain generators. Or the other option is to spend the majority of your day in pain, implementing questionable interventions that will do little to solve your problem in the long term.

Exercise should be viewed as a means to improve your quality of life. A means to make every day activities easier on your body. Or a means to improve function and therefore improving endurance, strength, power, and athleticism.

If you are ready to eliminate pain, erase weaknesses, improve how your body functions, or simply get in the best shape of your life - Gallagher Performance will get you on the right track to achieve those goals.

 
More related reading:

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/a-powerful-innovative-approach-to-improving-how-the-body-functions

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/tendinopathy-changing-treatment-and-improving-recovery

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/how-movement-improves-brain-function

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/how-dns-solves-pain-and-improves-performance

This training client sought out our services for three primary reasons:

1) Rehabilitate a chronic recurrent low back condition that has prevented him from training with any type of intensity or frequency for over two years AND get back to training while staying healthy in the process

2) Get stronger while packing on some quality size, and

3) Regain the feeling of athleticism from when he played college football.

We recently concluded 12 weeks and during that time he had three BOD POD evaluations. Debate on the accuracy of the BOD POD aside, impressive changes were made in only 8 weeks. These evaluations occurred on 11/21/17, 12/19/17, and 01/16/18.

Some of the BOD POD highlights include:

  • Fat Weight lose of 3.786lbs
  • Body Fat % decrease from 12.6 to 10.3
  • Fate Free Weight gain of 6.745lbs
  • Body Weight increase from 182.9 to 185.9

 

Images 1-3. BOD POD results from 1/16/18. This was the third, and most recent, analysis during an 8-week period.

Included below are photos of a few of his training weeks to give you a glimpse of how his training was structured. Along with the changes seen in his body composition, his strength continues to progress and he is training with weights and a frequency that he has not seen in over two years while maintaining a healthy feeling body.

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There are many examples of things we just assume to be true for long periods of time that aren't true at all. The perpetuation of this group think is a real problem.

This is especially true when it comes to the industries of nutrition, health care, and fitness. Here's some examples:

Dietary cholesterol has no impact on blood cholesterol levels. There is no reason to limit cholesterol in the diet. It has no impact on risk of heart disease and there is no evidence to support any link to heart disease. Except in the cases of genetic variations, the same can be said for saturated fat. Most people end up avoiding these nutrients at the expense of their own health and performance.


Sodium has been demonized for decades when its arguably one of the most critically essential nutrients in our diet. Sodium has no impact on blood pressure when you control for variables such as potassium, calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, and thyroid hormone levels. The recommendations for adequate sodium intake can vary greatly based on individualized considerations, but many people are falling short of a healthy range of sodium simply because they believe too much sodium is bad for them.

More and more research is proving the efficacy of chiropractic and massage therapy. Sure there are some bad eggs out there, but the overwhelming majority provide excellent results through treatment that is both evidence-based and safe.

Resistance training has long been considered too harmful or damaging for adolescents. However the reality is, when proper instruction, supervision and programming is accounted for, resistance training is safer than most youth sports.

A huge reason why these misconceptions perpetuate lies in over generalized recommendations. As with most cases, the best answer to finding a solution is, "It depends." We need to move toward more personalized recommendations that take into account an individual's current health status, goals, lifestyle habits, and genetics while taking it consideration the most current guidelines.

You are either part of the problem and perpetuating group think or part of the solution and exposing false claims.

Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution. What misconceptions do you encounter regularly that people need to hear the true story on?

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/learn-how-to-spot-the-fitness-frauds/

https://gallagherperformance.com/commonmistakesindevelopingyoungathletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/is-weight-training-inappropriate-for-young-athletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-sports-performance/

https://gallagherperformance.com/attitude-is-everything/
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyTh_pAQzVk[/embed]

A common reason for low back pain, hip pain, knee pain is poor functioning hips. What happens to poor functioning hips? They usually get tight. This tightness leads to reduced range of motion and increased likelihood of back, hip, and/or knee pain.

Likewise, a common reason for reduced athletic potential is poor functioning hips.

The hip complex is meant to be trained in multiple planes of motion because the hips are designed to move in multiple planes of motion. Yet most people live in the sagittal plane of movement - essentially only moving  forward or backward - and they gradually lose the ability to move in lateral or rotational planes of motion.

Including lateral movement exercises can prove to be beneficial for reducing muscle tightness and joint pain as well as enhancing athleticism.

Here is just a sample of lateral movement exercises that are scaleable to an individual's capacity. These are great for training lateral strength, motor control, and improving weight transfer that feeds agility and power. They can easily be performed with most gym equipment. Depending on preference, you may need to purchase some furniture sliders or a slide board. You may need to get creative based on what you have access to. Regardless, the principles of movement are still the same.

In this video we feature:
  1. Lateral monster walks (use band or Hip Circle)
  2. Slider lateral lunge
  3. High box Crossover Lunge
  4. Cable Skater Lunge
  5. Lateral plyometric power
There are plenty of other lateral movement exercises that could be included. Keep in mind exercise selection should be given careful consideration based upon the individual.

Give your hips a good lather.  They'll be feeling more greased than a Five Guy's bacon cheeseburger. And that a good thing. Motion is lotion that is vital to the health of your joints. You'll be primed for speed and power. Plus your cranky back and knees will thank you.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-essentials-of-speed-training/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-exercises-athletic-mobile-hips/

https://gallagherperformance.com/2-exercises-groin-knee-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/groin-pain-rehabilitation/

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-therapists-should-understand-strength/

https://gallagherperformance.com/6-tips-for-hockey-training/
[embed]https://youtu.be/kyxR5_VqWrw[/embed]

How strong should you be to establish a solid foundation for athletic performance? It’s a difficult question to answer given the shear number of variables.

It’s important to understand that athletes shouldn’t overly concern themselves with maximal strength. Not to the degree that a powerlifter, weightlifter, or strongman would. Strength athletics set an different set strength standards with regards to becoming a competitive athlete in those sports. As far as developing athletic strength is concerned, the conversation goes much deeper than the big lifts of the squat, bench, deadlift, and press.

The reality is athletic strength should be considered relative to general movement patterns as strength training is essentially general physical preparation for most athletes. The majority of athletes would be considered to have mediocre strength in the world of strength sports.While being strong is important, they have competing demands of conditioning, sport practice, competition, and additional technical/tactical attention that become just as important to achieving athletic mastery.

Determining an ideal level of strength for any individual athlete is truly an individualized process, but we can at least speak to some general guidelines for starters.

Meeting certain strength standards is essential to physical performance demands and durability. Athletes will benefit from these guidelines as they can help eliminate weaknesses and improve specific physical abilities. Specific physical abilities such as speed, power, and explosiveness that are dependent upon strength. Strength also becomes important in improving bone density, connective tissue resilience, and overall durability of the body which become important factors in reducing injury occurrence.

While limited research exists in regard to strength standards for athletes, there are some guidelines that many strength coaches can agree on from professional experience.

These videos demonstrate five athletic strength tests. The strength guidelines are relative to bodyweight. For reference I sit at 215.

1) Loaded carry - 100-200% of bodyweight for total load carried

Video: 225/hand (450 total)
2) RDL - 180% of bodyweight for 1RM

Video: 385x5
3) Reverse Lunge - bodyweight x 10/leg

Video: 225/leg x 10 
4) Chin-up - 140% of bodyweight for 1RM

Video: bwt+90 (305 total)
5) Close Grip bench press - 125% bwt for 1RM

Video: 225x5
Note - not all testing has to be a true 1RM (rep max). Testing can be 3-5RM and can project 1RM from there with decent accuracy.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/how-do-you-build-an-athlete/

https://gallagherperformance.com/health-and-sport-performance-improved-in-5-simple-steps/

https://gallagherperformance.com/performance-training/

https://gallagherperformance.com/athleticism-requires-more-than-just-strength-speed/

https://gallagherperformance.com/technique_and_performance/

 
The concept of sport-specific training has continually gained popularity over the years. It’s a growing market and business-minded individuals are taking notice. Similar to trends in functional exercise, you have a growing number of trainers stating they offer the “latest in sports training”. Frankly, anybody online can say their method or approach is the best. In a competitive market, people enjoy using words to attract your business. There are plenty of gimmicks that exist, namely in the world of speed training. Often times, athletes acknowledge such methods did little or nothing to improve on-field performance. If these gimmicks worked, it's simply because the athlete was a novice or of low qualification. Novices have the unique ability to respond to almost any form of training. But does this mean what was done is most appropriate? Does it mean training was efficient or effective? Not necessarily. When it comes to the training of higher level athletes, previously used methods and/or exercises will eventually fail to produce continual improvements in sport performance. There is a point of diminishing returns and training must adapt accordingly.

For any athlete, sport-specific training must ensure maximal transfer of the training program to on-field results. If exercise selection or organization has little carry over to making athletes better, you are wasting valuable time and money. Transfer of training can be summed up with the SAID Principle (Specific-Adaptations to Imposed-Demands). The SAID Principle has been proven time and time again in both research and training. This principle implies that training is most effective when resistance exercises prescribed are similar to the target activity or primary sport form/movement. Furthermore, every training method will elicit a specific (and different) adaptation response in the body. There must be compatibility between training and sport. This becomes of increasing importance as an athlete reaches higher and higher levels of athletic competition.

As mentioned before, research has demonstrated how exercises that once worked to improve sport performance for an athlete at a lower qualification level, will eventually lose training effect as the athlete gains mastery. For instance, indicators of maximal strength (squat 1RM) often have a direct correlation in low-level athletes, but lose significant correlation with enhancing sport performance in higher-level athletes. Similarly, movement abilities such as sprinting and change-of-direction (agility) are each separate motor tasks, characterized by specific motor abilities. Improvements in linear sprint speed and change-of-direction ability have limited transfer to each other and the degree of transfer decreases as an athlete progresses.

Thus, in order to enhance the sporting ability of high-level athletes, there comes a time when we must get more detailed than simply chasing increased strength and 'quick feet'. It’s inevitable. There is no way to avoid it. The world’s greatest Sport Scientists understood this and proved the need to go beyond traditional training approaches to see continual improvements in performance as athletes reached higher levels of competition. This is where the concept of Special Strength Training (SST) becomes of importance in the training plan.

Introduction to Special Strength Training
Pioneered by Dr. Anatoli Bondarchuk, SST has been incorporated for decades by coaches in other countries, mostly in the Olympic sports. Dr. Bondarchuk is most noted for his involvement in the throwing sports, particularly the hammer, and his results speak for themselves. It was Bondarchuk’s identification and implementation of special exercises with the highest degree of dynamic correspondence to the sporting movement that became the focus of his athletes' training plan. His organization of training allowed athletes to set world records and win numerous international and Olympic medals despite the fact that they did not possess the greatest strength in movements such as the clean, squat, or bench press.

Exercise Classification System
Bondarchuk classifies exercises into 4 categories:
  1. GENERAL PREPARATORY EXERCISES are exercises that do not imitate the competitive event and do not train the specific systems.
  2. SPECIAL PREPARATORY EXERCISES are exercises that do not imitate the competitive event, but train the major muscle groups and same physiological energy systems as your sport. However, movement patterns are different.
  3. SPECIAL DEVELOPMENTAL EXERCISES are exercise that replicate the competitive event in training but in its separate parts. These exercises are similar to the competitive event, not identical.
  4. COMPETITIVE EXERCISES are exercises that are identical or almost identical to the competition event.
It’s important to note that as an athlete rises from general preparatory exercises to the competitive event, each category on the list becomes more specific and will have greater dynamic correspondence to the athlete’s sport. Thus, as specificity increases, exercise selection decreases. There are hundreds of exercises that potentially could be considered Preparatory exercises. Preparatory exercises prepare the body for more specific sport training, while Developmental exercises aim to develop strength and technique. Special Developmental and Competitive exercises have the highest degree of transfer. The greatest focus from a planning and organization standpoint is placed on these exercises in order to yield improvements in sport performance. At this point, exercise selection has narrowed greatly. Often, the competitive exercise is simply the competitive event. In the case of a track athlete, the competitive exercise is considered the event (hammer, shot put, long jump, 100m, etc). This can also include subtle variations to the event. For team-sport athletes, the competitive event  is the game. The classification of exercises as they relate to specific athletes is not the scope of this article. That discussion is far too detailed and is always dependent upon the athlete, their level of qualification, and the competitive event.

In explaining SST, Bondarchuk said,
“General exercises have little relevance to the sporting action. Specialized preparatory exercises use the same muscles that are involved in a particular sporting action. Specialized developmental exercises include single joint actions that duplicate one portion of the sporting action. They also mirror the velocity and range of motion seen in the competitive movement. Competitive exercises are those that fully mimic the competitive movement in more difficult conditions and easier ones.”
Advantages of Special Strength
There are a number of advantages to programming SST within an athlete’s training program. Among many reasons, arguably the most important application of SST is the development of strength as it relates to specific movement and skill execution in an athlete’s sport. This advantage cannot be overlooked since very few approaches train physical qualities (strength, power, work capacity, etc) and technical skill development simultaneously. Programming should provide the avenue for athletes to achieve higher levels of sport mastery. Rather than applying appropriate programming, many trainers get caught chasing quantitative numbers (squat or bench 1RM, 40 yard dash time). While focus on general motor abilities is important for the novice athlete and provides performance-enhancing benefits, they lose their carryover for the more advanced athlete. SST ensures that strength gains will have a direct transfer into sport technique and skill development.

Special Strength is Task-Specific 

The effectiveness and accuracy of exercise selection within special strength training is dependent on a thorough understanding of what a given athlete is being asked to perform in competition. Selecting an exercise is great, but you have to put it into a program and a plan. You need to know your athlete and what exercise(s) works well for them. For team sports, task-specificity also takes into account that you understand the athlete’s position and the physiological/energy demands relative to their sport. Care must be taken to stay within certain parameters, above or below, the sporting movements to avoid yielding negative adaptations on the expression of sport skill. For example, applying loads that are too heavy will negatively influence technique by causing breakdown in mechanics that are important for developing speed strength. Speed strength is essential for throwing, jumping, and sprinting. Conversely, loads that are too light will also have a negative influence on mechanics since the lack of resistance with fail to promote the building of specific strength.

Summing It All Up
This article attempted to offer insight into the concept of special strength training and how it correlates with higher levels of sport mastery. Due to the nature of SST, it’s important to keep in mind that early specialization in training, similar to early specialization in sport, can occur too soon. Athletes like NHL stars Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Henrik Zetterberg (pictured above) don't train like novice, youth hockey players and young hockey players should not be training like them. Research has proven that athletes at low levels of training and physical ability need to focus on increasing general physical qualities such as strength, as strength will carry over greatly to movement speed. In fact, novice trainees have the ability to attain simultaneous increases in strength, power, coordination, speed, core stabilization, proprioception, and reduced injury risk. However, as an athlete reaches higher levels of mastery, effectiveness of basic training methods become limited quickly due to the specificity of movement and skill related to sport.

If you are unclear on how to properly utilize the training methods of SST, you should not blindly implement SST into your training. The incorrect application of exercise and program variables would likely have a negative affect on the neuromuscular actions involved in sport movement. Athletes looking to ensure the best results from SST would be wise to have their training overseen by a coach/trainer who is knowledgeable and competent in its application.

Sources

Bondarchuk. Transfer of Training in Sports. Ultimate Athlete Concepts, 2007.
Siff & Verkhoshansky. Supertraining. Ultimate Athlete Concepts, 2009.
Verkhoshansky. Fundamentals of Special Strength-Training in Sport. Sportivny Press, 1986.
 
 
 
 
GP recently interviewed Mike O'Donnell DC, CCSP, CSCS. Dr. Mike and his wife, Jessica, run Back in Action Chiropractic located in Fort Wayne, IN. Not only do they provide expert understanding of chiropractic and rehabilitative care, they also bring to the table the unique insight as highly accomplished strength athletes. Simply put, their accomplishments would take up an entire blog post. It's rare to find a clinician and staff not only capable of identifying with athletes and addressing their needs appropriately, but also able to apply these same concepts to improve outcomes for patients. I had the privilege of being classmates with Mike during our chiropractic education at Palmer College in Davenport, IA. Once I got the understanding of Mike's background as both a strength athlete and coach, I knew he would be an invaluable resource not only in my training as an aspiring strength athlete, but in my clinical development as well. My brother and I are truly fortunate to have him and Jess as friends and mentors.

Now on with the interview.

GP: Provide our readers with some information about your background as an athlete, competitive powerlifter and strength coach.
MO: The day after 7th grade football ended I began lifting in my basement. I competed in my first powerlifting meet when I was 15 and won the ADFPA teen nationals that same year. Through high school I played football and was team captain. To train for football I simply did more speed and plyometric work. As a high school and junior lifter, I won six national titles and went to the IPF Junior Worlds, taking the bronze in my last year, 1999. I competed against many lifters who are regarded as the best in the sport today. I have lifted in the USAPL Open Nationals several times. As an undergrad at Western Michigan I studied Exercise Science. This did not include enough sport science to make me happy, so I did tons of research on my own. After my bachelor degree I worked under Buddy Morris at Pitt for a short time. That was a great learning experience. Eventually I decided to go get my DC degree and learn much more about chiropractic and rehabilitation.

GP: You are well educated on the training methodologies utilized in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries. Could you explain briefly how those methodologies differ from North American approaches and the impact it has on athletic development here in the United States?
MO: In North America, athletes start playing a sport as unprepared youth with no background in general conditioning. This isn't always true, but we have no system to condition young athletes besides just playing the sport. In an Eastern model, camps are held without a sport focus to condition young athletes, and the specialization comes later. In general, early specialization is a mistake. This has been proven to limit progress, lead to early burnout, and increase injury rate.

GP: You have worked with athletes of all ages and abilities. In your opinion, where are we still falling short in the development of athletes in America?
MO: We fall short in several ways. Early level coaches (high school and below) often have poor qualifications. Also athletes are eager to maximize their results as early as possible. This leads to poor skill development. It is extremely difficult for athletes to unlearn poor habits or a poor work ethic. All too often young athletes look to non-training means (i.e. drugs) for improvement as well.

GP: What would you identify as the fundamental components of effective and efficient programming for athletes?
MO: Once good general preparation is established, the programming should be as specific as possible. Factors like frequency, work load and intensity vary from athlete to athlete and at different phases of training. Weaknesses should be assessed constantly and addressed, but focus should never be taken off the sport form. Overall, one should train as often as possibly but remain as fresh as possible. The programming should never compromise technique.

GP: One common theme you’ll see among trainers/coaches is very little thought that is given to the order of exercise selection/variation during a training plan. It’s almost as if many trainers just ‘make-up’ workouts. Give us your thoughts on the importance of organization of training for athletes?
MO: Organization of training and exercise selection expertise are prerequisites to training anyone. Entire teams should not all be performing the same training. This would assume the entire team has the same deficiencies. There are way too many under qualified "strength coaches" and trainers out there. Even some of the highly regarded strength coaches or online trainers are a joke. This is why I personally have no tolerance for movements and training styles that are fad- based. Put some thought into what you, or your athletes, really need and address it in your training. Further, organizing training should be an ongoing process. There are no perfect programs. Just phases or training blocks. On the other hand, there are some coaches that over coach their lifters/athletes. They are so worried about their own role in the athlete's development that the athlete cannot focus on their performance, or maybe the training isn't being attacked with the mentality that it should be.

GP: What do you see as the most common mistakes coaches and trainers are making in the preparation of athletes?
MO: The most common mistakes - the coach who tries to be the athlete's friend (not hard on them); poor analysis of training needs and the current state of the athlete; and the most important aspect in my opinion (this goes for anyone seeking a great PT, DC, manual therapist or strength coach) is that the coach cannot identify with the athlete because they weren't an athlete themselves. I know several above average coaches that are held back my the mere fact that their athletes cannot identify with them. Either they weren't athletes at all, or they are an unimpressive presence altogether!

GP: What are the qualities and attributes that athletes and parents should look for in a trainer/strength coach before investing in their services?
MO: Sporting background and accomplishments, educational background and accomplishments, and clinical competence, methods, and track record. Period. Anything less, and I am skeptical about what I am getting. I don't care who has the best DVD!

GP: How has the background as a competitive strength athlete and strength coach benefited you as a chiropractor and your ability to manage patients from acute stage to reactivation through active care?
MO: This is a great question, because I tell people that ask that I use my training, coaching, and professional background everyday when treating patients. My philosophy in the clinic is the more accurate the assessment, the more accurately I can apply your treatment, whether its passive or active care. As the phases of care progress, it's important to know what type of care or movements to change to. This assessment or "eye for the deficiency" can take years to develop. Today there are systems and seminars to attend and learn these analytical methods, but learning this way can lead to a lot of limitation and misunderstanding. I would advise students, whether they are professional level yet or not, to use the gym as your lab. Lift and learn!!!

That's a Wrap
Mike, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Your knowledge and insight is truly appreciated. We always learn something from you and hope our readers learned something as well. For anyone in the Fort Wayne area, be sure to check out Back in Action Chiropractic for the best results when it comes to your health or sport-related goals.
The gateway to change in the body is the sensory system.

The balance of excitatory and inhibitory  signals coming from our body's sensory system influences the level of performance of the human body. And this balance of stimuli is always under the control of the brain/central nervous system (CNS).

Be it a chiropractic adjustment, massage or manual therapy, or exercise, the rich stimulation of sensory system is what drives changes in our nervous system that create responses such as:

✅ reduced pain

✅ increased body awareness

✅ improved neuromuscular control

✅ reduced muscular tension/tightness

✅ improved joint range of motion

How the Nervous System Unlocks Performance

The tissues and joints of the body are richly innervated with sensors that constantly monitor the conditions our body is exposed to. The external stimuli our body encounters will generate excitatory or inhibitory signals which will ultimately improved or shut down performance.

For example, our tendons are home to sensory receptors known as Golgi Tendon Organs (GTOs). GTO are responsible for sensing tension as it builds up in our tendons. If the load (resistance) our body encounters is too heavy, thus placing potentially damaging stresses on our muscles and tendons, the GTOs will shut down our muscles ability to contract as a protective mechanism. This inhibitory signaling is directed by the nervous system to protect our body from injury.

Conversely, our body can be elevated to higher levels of performance by the nervous system by means of excitatory signals perceived by our muscle spindles within our muscles. Muscle spindles are sensors that are sensitive to stretch. For those that are familiar with the myotatic or stretch reflex, muscle spindles enable our muscles to function like a "rubber band".

The balance of signals coming from our muscle spindles and GTOs is being monitored by our nervous system to either enhance or shut down performance. This occurs through what is known as the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC).

Enter Plyometrics

The SSC is a normal function of all human motion, be it walking, jogging, running, throwing, etc. The training of the SSC occurs through what is known as "plyometrics".

Plyometrics are often mistaken for ballistic training. Plyometrics may be the most misunderstood and undervalued form of training as they specifically train the SSC function of our muscular system. More specifically they are undervalued and underutilized in rehabilitation and return-to-play procedures for athletes.

If the function of the SSC is not normalized, this is potentially why many patient's "fail" rehab and athletes are unable to return to play or are soon after sidelined with a relapse.

Experience the Difference

At Gallagher Performance, we place a priority of normalizing the function of the entire body. We follow criteria-based progressions which address complete neuromuscular function, including addressing strength deficits and normalizing the SSC function.

Below are same exercises we use regularly to improve the function of the nervous system and unlock the performance abilities - be it for rehabilitation or athletics.

 
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y6LIQ7QMKY[/embed]

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsagldr1jJ8[/embed]

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNxdBifUk9I[/embed]

For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/posture-movement-require-brain-education/

https://gallagherperformance.com/solving-pain-influence-czech-rehabilitation-techniques/

https://gallagherperformance.com/dns-solves-pain-improves-performance/

https://gallagherperformance.com/training-tip/
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQj4CnMyU1M[/embed]

Going back once again to the podcast with Clinically Pressed, I mentioned the jump rope as a great tool for developing low grade plyometric qualities in the foot and ankle.

Let's take this a step further and demonstrate how these same qualities apply to sprinting. Front side mechanics or tripe flexion is extremely important to running and sprinting ability. Most people focus on the posterior chain and triple extension with little focus on triple flexion.  There is a reason why sprinters spend so much time practicing and rehearsing front side mechanics with marching and skipping drills.

A critical part of triple flexion is dorsiflexion at the ankle. Often you'll see athletes sprint with a lazy foot that isn't brought into dorsiflexion during the gait cycle. This must be addressed and trained accordingly. We want to train an 'active' foot, not a lazy foot. Training an active foot will require cues but the use of external cues such as the jump rope will force an athlete to become more reactive, thus possibly leading to quicker learning of new skills.

The jump rope can be included in skipping drills to develop ideal foot/ankle mechanics as they are necessary for optimal speed and power development. If these qualities aren't trained and mastered then athletic potential will be hard to realize.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/health-and-sport-performance-improved-in-5-simple-steps/

https://gallagherperformance.com/a-few-words-on-athletic-development/

https://gallagherperformance.com/what-is-natural-talent/
One of the biggest challenges plaguing sports performance is the prevalence of general fitness programs masked as "sports performance" programs.

Sadly the concept of sports performance has become so polluted that most parents and young athletes buy into programs that ultimately are just heavily fitness-focused with very little or poor instruction in regards to true development as it relates to sport.

True sports performance addresses much more than how fit you are or how hard you are willing to work. It's much more than cleans, sled drags, sprints, and conditioning circuits. You can use all these methods and more to sell someone on the "look" of sports performance. But if you truly analyzed most "sports performance" programs they boil down to general fitness and that's it.

Some will say, "Well fitness is important in sports. You got to work hard. You got to be in shape. You got to learn how to push through." Fact is anyone can workout tired. Anyone can workout sore. If they want it bad enough. The problem is none of that matter when it comes to performance. The reality is once an athlete has to go up against another human being, only one thing matters - is their ability greater than their opponent?

It doesn't matter how fit you are and how hard you train if you show up on competition day and fail to be at your best. Sport performance is multi-faceted and should never be treated in the context of fitness-focused training. There are general fitness attributes that are important in sport, but true sport performance must move beyond fitness in order to allow athletes to truly realize athletic potential by focusing on specific adaptions relevant to their sport.

It's important to do your homework and look beyond what may seem like sports performance. Despite what you may see on Instagram or hear from a friend, what you sign up for may not be exactly what you were looking for.
For more related reading:
https://gallagherperformance.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-sports-performance/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/physical-preparation-vs-fitness/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/learn-how-to-spot-the-fitness-frauds/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/training-maximize-athletic-potential/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/athleticism-requires-more-than-just-strength-speed/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/training-tip/
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gnAmWIjLCc[/embed]

Groin pain is a common complaint in athletes and active populations as well as a common source of frustration. What makes it so frustrating is the poor understanding of proper management because of the number complexities related to the true cause of groin pain.

15% of all injuries responsible for competition time lost in hockey players is due to groin pain from common conditions such as groin strain, femoral acetabular impingement (FAI), labral tears, and sports hernia.

Sports hernia is one of the most difficult causes of chronic groin pain to identify and manage. Sports hernia is a weakness and/or injury to the abdominal wall and supporting musculature which can result in groin pain. The difficulty in diagnosis lies the fact that most sports hernias do not produce a palpable hernia and are not seen on advanced medical imaging such as radiograph, ultrasound, MRI, or CT. Surgical exploration is generally the most excepted method in producing a definitive diagnosis of sports hernia after other potential sources of groin pain have been eliminated.

Diagnostic methods in determining the presence of sports hernia may include the identification of five classic signs and symptoms:
  1. Complaint of deep groin/lower abdominal pain,
  2. Exacerbation of pain with participation of sport activities that is relieved by rest,
  3. Tenderness with palpation of the pubic ramus,
  4. Pain with resisted hip adduction,
  5. Pain with resisted sit-up test
Disclaimer: Do not attempt to diagnosis your own condition. Proper evaluation and diagnosis of your pain or problem should be left to licensed medical professionals only.
Surgical intervention has been shown to be an effective method, both in the short-term and long-term, for the management of sports hernia while little is understood about the long-term effects of conservative, non-surgical treatment of this condition.

Here we show a glimpse inside the rehabilitation of post-surgical sports hernia for one of our hockey athletes. Early rehabilitation focus on core control and stability with progressive demands of the extremities.

This model will be vital for proper progression through treatment and functional training prior to return to sport. Rehabilitation must address underlying functional deficits of the core and hips while building a foundation of movement control and awareness necessary for the future development of strength, speed, and power.
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/exercise-hacks-ep-11-train-abdominal-slings-functional-core

https://gallagherperformance.com/training-maximize-athletic-potential/

https://gallagherperformance.com/low_back_pain_treatments_that_just_wont_help/

https://gallagherperformance.com/understanding-methods-application-training-rehab/

https://gallagherperformance.com/makes-sports-rehabilitation-chiropractor/

https://gallagherperformance.com/prevent-re-injury-integrated-training-rehabilitation/
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHRCCRmeznQ[/embed]

Ideal movement and optimal strength development first begins with using the diaphragm as the primary muscle for respiration and for Intra-abdominal Pressure (IAP) or what is also known as the abdominal brace.

A frequent piece of feedback we receive at GP is that much of what we coach is the opposite of what most people have always heard. In regards to breathing and bracing, too many people have either heard or been coached to 'draw' or 'suck' in their abdominal wall. These tips only serve to rob people of stability and strength and play a role in low back pain.


In this video series we discuss how to test IAP for yourself. This is much more challenging that it seems. Insufficient IAP is many times due to poor diaphragm activity and its functional relationship with the abdominal muscles. Poor IAP indicates an underperforming core.

If you're dealing with acute/chronic pain, frustration with progress in the gym, or plateaus in athletic performance and haven't had your breathing and IAP assessed - you're missing out! Learning to properly breathe with the diaphragm can be the stepping stone to the realizing the potential you have when it comes to physical ability. Since breathing is foundational to correct IAP, the core cannot function as it is intended until breathing is normalized. The core is our body's powerhouse and it starts with breathing. It sounds too simple to be true, but improving your breathing can have profound impacts on pain and performance.

Re-training the breathing pattern and creating sufficient IAP cannot be fully covered in a series of 60 second videos. Want to learn more? Set up a consult with us. Assessing, coaching, and learning is very individual. When it comes to getting rid of pain and improving how your body works, GP's level of care, attention, and progressive instruction with our personalized training, chiropractic, and rehab will get you to your goals.

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-common-reasons-low-back-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-ways-breathing-impacts-health-performance/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/solution-long-term-improvement-back-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/dns-solves-pain-improves-performance/

 
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwIba7PpgXA[/embed]

Keeping with the concept of core stability and hip mobility, the shin box has become a popular drill for improving hip rotation, eccentric loading of the hips, as well as reinforcing ideal intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and core stability.

Ideally the shin box is performed in a progression of static to dynamic variations. Progressions are dependent upon the ability to achieve ideal external rotation in the lead leg and internal rotation in the trail leg while maintain an upright, braced torso with sufficient IAP.


While the shin box and its get-up variations are most popularly used as a warm-up/movement prep or 'mobility' drill, loaded progressions can be an awesome tool for increasing hip strength and neuromuscular coordination of force transfer through the hips and core.

This advanced progression of the shin box involves the hanging band technique with a safety squat bar. The hanging band technique is great for cleaning up technique and reinforcing proper stability and motor control. Failure to control your technique or movement will result in the hanging weighs to sway uncontrollably. The fight your body goes through to maintain stability and the control needed to avoid excessive sway does plenty to 'coach' one how they should be moving. There's tremendous value in utilizing exercises or movements that allow one to problem solve on their own. That's what makes this loaded progression an awesome tool.

Not only are you improving 'mobility' but you're also developing strength and doing so in a way that movement quality won't be compromised because of load. It's something that happens all too often with exercise. You see people sacrificing form and quality of movement for the sake of more weight on the bar. With this exercise it isn't going to happen. If you try to perform this exercise with too heavy a load that causes form breakdown, the movement isn't happening at all. Arguably, one of the biggest contributors to 'mobility' issues is poor form associated with mismanaged loading strategies - or basically trying to 'muscle through reps' at the expense of quality in movement. This ultimately will   cause joint issues and mobility restrictions as you place too much stress on your joints on a repetitive basis.

So what's the best solution to mobility issues?

Sometimes the best mobility drill is building the foundation of ideal technique in a well-designed strength training program that erases your weakness. And this loaded progression of the shin-box get-up does just that.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/do-you-really-need-more-mobility/

https://gallagherperformance.com/solving-movement-problems-entertainment-vs-effective/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-best-exercise/

https://gallagherperformance.com/unlock_your_potential_with_this_powerful_tip/
When it comes to health, fitness, or athletic goals, there is no secret. There is no special exercise class, no special equipment or supplement. There is no magic. Yet people keep looking for one.

The truth is there are no shortcuts and anyone promoting shortcuts is lying to you. And if you bought it, you were buying 'hope' only to discover you actually got a bunch of nonsense that left you disappointed and frustrated.

Chasing shortcuts is a mentality that is robbing people of not only achieving their goals, but the ability to maintain them. If you some how think that serious health and fitness goals are able to be achieved with anything less than 100% commitment, dedication, discipline, and will power to sacrifice for your goals - there is nothing anything or anyone can magically do for you.


Spend your time, energy, and resources on what does work instead of chasing shortcuts. Recognize the work it is going to take and commit 100% to your goals.

Is this easy? No way. Most want something only when it's convenient or when it's easy to prioritize. They prefer the sound of some shortcut that will get them where they want to be - with less effort, less time, or without changing anything.

Where are you getting advice? Who are you listening to? Are they simply trying to sell you a BS program or product? Stop listening to this nonsense. It doesn't work. What works is tried and true sustainable actions with long-term focus.

Sustainable actions may be tedious and boring. But you know what isn't boring? The results sustainable actions consistently produce and the ability to maintain them. Ask anyone that's ever achieved anything worthwhile - in business, academics, or athletics - they all found success in doing the tedious and boring. All day. Every day.

Health. Fitness. Performance. Nutrition. They're no different. They are all lifetime pursuits. It's called a 'lifestyle' for a reason -you have to be in it for life. The question is do you value your goals enough to commit to the level of work, dedication, discipline, and will power needed to achieve them?

Change your mindset. No excuses. No shortcuts. Just results.

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/what-is-natural-talent/

https://gallagherperformance.com/attitude-is-everything/

https://gallagherperformance.com/learning-through-misconceptions/

https://gallagherperformance.com/training-tip/

https://gallagherperformance.com/dns-solves-pain-improves-performance/
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YybcsllEkhk[/embed]

Two common sites for pain and movement problems are the low back and sacroiliac (SI) joints. The SI joints are a common site for sensitivity due to biomechanical overload.

Once we have screened for sensitivities, pain generators and movement dysfunction, the presence of SI joint dysfunction is often found along with poor abdominal sling function. Chiropractic adjustments are great for addressing joint dysfunction, but we must train movement through specific exercise.


Addressing abdominal sling function is critical as the SI joints receive stability from the force closure our musculature provides. Poor function of these abdominal slings results in poor stability (and often pain) in the SI joints during walking, running, squatting, lunging, bending, pushing or pulling.

Our abdominal slings are present on the front (anterior) and back (posterior) of our core. The anterior sling being made of the pec major, external oblique, internal oblique, and transverse abdominus. The posterior sling being made of the latissiums dorsi and opposite glute complex.

These exercises demonstrate how to strengthen the abdominal slings as a functional unit. You want to think transverse plane.

Cable chop variations are great for the anterior sling. Cable chops are excellent for building a functional anterior sling for stability and efficient force transfer, especially for front side mechanics as it relates to running, sprinting, jumping, and throwing.

The posterior sling can be targeted with Single-leg Romanian deadlift (RDL) variations as shown. Drawing tension through the lats and glutes provides the stability in the posterior sling to improve motor control of the lumbopelvic region for efficient hip extension. Clean, efficient and - at times - powerful hip extension is critical to a number of athletic movements as well as daily living.

Our hips should be the "King of Motion" in the body, yet many of us deal with tight hips and painful backs or SI joints as a consequence. Our hip movement must be trained and optimized, but the hips will only be as efficient as the abdominal slings allow.

For improved function and less pain, think outside the box when it comes to your abdominal training. Function serves a far greater purpose than aesthetics.

Give these exercises a shot. Let us know your thoughts or questions!

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/beginners-guide-injury-recovery/

https://gallagherperformance.com/improved-approach-chronic-pain-management/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-exercises-athletic-mobile-hips/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/exercise-hacks-ep-8-breathing-bracing/

https://gallagherperformance.com/do-you-really-need-more-mobility/

 


 
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZUKOz1iuhk[/embed]

This video highlights the hamstring rehab with Carter Henderson. Carter was a standout linebacker at Duquesne University, leading the team in tackles the last two seasons. Now he is in preparation for an NFL Pro Day.

Carter came to GP for rehab of a hamstring pull 12 days out from his Pro Day. His initial 5 days focused on manual therapy, eleetromuscular stimulation (EMS), with a primary emphasis on exercise progressions based on his tolerances and weaknesses. Focus was placed on exercise specificity to the stresses the hamstrings encounter during sprinting. We aimed to match joint angles, mechanics, and dynamics as they relate to his sprint form and lateral movement.

Days 6-8 on his rehab focused on tempo runs and flying 40s, keeping intensity below 75% effort. Gradually worked into higher intensities with specificity to pro day drills. Focus still on manual therapy, joint mobilizations and manipulation when indicated.

Effective treatment for a hamstring strain, and for any injury, must address not only the site of pain but ALL possible predisposing factors. There are essentially three ‘reasons’ as to why hamstring injuries occur. Sprinting is not the problem. Focusing on each predisposing factor through progressive treatment and training will best prepare the athlete for return to sport activities.

The act of ‘pulling’ a hamstring usually occurs at high speed running during the terminal swing phase of the gait cycle. As the hip is decelerating the forceful momentum as the leg swings forward, the hamstrings are loaded and lengthening as you are finishing the swing phase before foot strike. There are predisposing factors that ultimately cause the hamstring to be compromised such as:
  1. Poor neuromuscular control of the lumbopelvic region,
  2. Asymmetries in muscle length and/or hip range of motion, and
  3. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
All of these factors need to be and should be considered when devising a treatment and rehab protocol to ultimately reduce the risk of re-injury and improve rehabilitation outcomes.

The utilization of manipulation, massage, soft tissue techniques, and nutritional considerations to support tissue healing become the foundation of early care and recovery from hamstring injury. Everything used to facilitate healing is based on examination and identification of the presence of any predisposing factor(s).

The transition from rehabilitation to return to sport then becomes dependent upon a process that addresses proper tissue healing and exercise progressions to improve structural balance, lumbopelvic control, strength, and coordination of movement required by sport specific demands in output and movement patterns.

This essentially sums up the process behind Carter's rehabilitation program.

Carter has turned around nicely and tons of credit to him. He wasn't able to walk without pain when we first started his rehab and was able to run a 4.75 sec 40 yard sprint on his pro day at Duquesne University. He did everything right in his rehab. Carter is extremely coachable and great to work with and we wish him all the best.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/solving-pain-influence-czech-rehabilitation-techniques/

https://gallagherperformance.com/posture-and-movement-linking-training-and-therapy/

https://gallagherperformance.com/makes-sports-rehabilitation-chiropractor/

https://gallagherperformance.com/fascia_muscular-adhesions_how_they_relate-_to_pain_and_overuse_injuries/

https://gallagherperformance.com/best-way-recover-tendon-pain/

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNH6aIezqd0[/embed]

Outside of low back pain, shoulder pain is one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal complaints. For avid exercisers and athletes, shoulder pain is something most are familiar with, especially when it comes to horizontal pressing movements.

The most popular of the horizontal pressing movements being the barbell bench press. Bench press often enough, long enough, and heavy enough, you will likely experience some degree of limitation due to shoulder pain or injury.

This can be for a number of reasons that all should be considered. But there is one reason why the barbell bench press becomes unfriendly to the shoulders - the fixed position the scapula (shoulder blades) are placed into.

Creating a tight upper back and stapling the scapula to the bench is critical for a big press as this forms the foundation for pressing.

But let's consider healthy shoulder motion is dependent upon a freely moving scapula. Otherwise too much stress is placed at the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint). Yes, accessory exercises should be programmed to maintain healthy shoulders but there is only so much that can be done to offset thousands of pounds of bench pressing volume. We absolutely should be proactive in our approach to avoiding shoulder pain and/or injury.

That's why it is important to incorporate horizontal pressing movements that allow the scapula to move more freely. Whether they are used as a primary movement, accessory movement or alternative while the shoulder is on the mend, the exercises seem in this video can offer increased shoulder stability and motor control while giving your joints and connective tissue a break from intense training. See in this video are:

1) Standing Horizontal Cable Press

2) Stability Ball Dumbbell Press

3) Stability Ball Alternating DB Press

4) Stability Ball Single-Arm DB Press

A great benefit to these exercises is the amount of core and hip engagement required which is awesome for teaching force transfer through the body and how to steer strength.

Note: if performing heavy presses on a stability ball be sure to use a properly rated ball.

 
 
 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/advanced-training-for-elite-athletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/effective-treatment-shoulder-pain/
 
There's no single blueprint coaches follow when building an athlete. There are no shortcuts. Those cool looking, cookie-cutter programs found online, they often result in failure. In the training world, athletes aren’t built by copying the same program and applying it across the board. At GP, we are in the business of individualized architecture – intelligently designing personalized programs for each athlete. Whether in the weight room or on the field, it should be individual-specific.

We dial in to specificity instead of just saying let’s just go train hard and get bigger, stronger, or faster in the generic sense. Coaches and athletes can be obsessed with bigger, stronger, faster. Yes these are important elements of training but not at the expense of movement skill.

Sometimes athletes need more specific work when it comes to the quality of their movement in regards to stabilization, sequencing, rhythm, relaxation, timing, etc. Developing movement skill is often ignored or disregarded. The problem is there can be a huge disconnect between what an athlete thinks they are doing during a specific movement and what they are actually doing. We must improve their perception and awareness of movement. When combined with proper strength and conditioning, Improving an athlete's body awareness and movement skill will yield far greater results than just focusing solely on strength and speed numbers.

Movement skill acquisition should increase with as strength and speed development increases. This will only enable the athlete to move more efficiently and with less risk of injury.

There are different methodologies, philosophies, systems and styles used in the strength and conditioning industry. Reality is there is no gold standard by which everyone should follow. It’s about finding the right fit for both athlete and coach. Every athlete is slightly different and there won’t be one method that will work for every athlete. That's exactly why individualized decisions should be made for the athlete.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/thinking-of-taking-your-child-to-a-trainer-read-this-first/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/understanding-the-benefits-and-concerns-of-youth-strength-training-programs/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-essentials-of-speed-training/

https://gallagherperformance.com/how-do-you-build-an-athlete/

https://gallagherperformance.com/guidelines-for-selecting-a-strength-coach-or-personal-trainer/

 
 
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Contact

  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

Hours of Operation

  • CHIROPRACTIC
    Monday-Thursday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-6pm
    Friday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-5pm
    Saturday: by appointment only
  • MASSAGE & TRAINING
    Hours are by appointment only