Accessibility Tools

3 Exercises for Athletic & Mobile Hips

Please watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRZL6Y6gtZI

In this video, we discuss exercises aimed at training proper hip dissociation - an often overlooked and undertrained function of the hips. Poor hip dissociation is commonly a reason for pain and poor performance.

Some key points discussed in this video:

  • What hip dissociation means. Hip dissociation is the ability to independently move the hips without compensations from the rest of the body.
  • Why poor hip dissociation and compensations are often a reason for low back pain, hip pain, and even pain within the knees and feet/ankles.
  • How poor hip dissociation is related to increased risk of injury.
  • Why the inability to move properly though the hips limits athletic potential and will negatively impact your performance.
  • And most importantly - what to do to improve your ability to move your hips independently with simple exercises that you can perform at home, at the gym, or basically anywhere with just a few simple tools.

Thanks for watching and as always, let us know your questions or comments.

More related reading:

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

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/2-exercises-for-groin-and-knee-pain

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/the-solution-to-long-term-improvement-of-back-pain

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/pistol-squat-or-skater-squat-which-is-better

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

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

The Most Effective Treatment for Shoulder Pain

Our approach to working with shoulder pain or injuries is very unique in that we really don’t work around shoulder injuries when properly indicated. The majority of the time, we don’t force someone to rest for several days while inflammation quiets down. Yes, it can be necessary in rare circumstances. However, rest and traditional methods of ice and anti-inflammatory meds are often over utilized when properly prescribed movement (i.e. exercise) is probably the better bet for improved recovery. At Gallagher Performance, we have a nasty habit of getting our athletes, clients and patients to work through pain and injuries by strategically incorporating exercise with specialized approaches tailored to find “the hardest thing they do well”. We want to find what they can be successful with while not posing any undue risk. And the best part? The system works.

When it comes to the shoulder, pain and injury is most commonly associated with poor shoulder function and faulty mechanics. And when I say most commonly, it’s not a stretch to say over 50% of shoulder injuries are due to these underlying problems. If muscles are unable to fire properly to provide ideal amounts of support (stability) and motion (mobility), then injury will occur regardless of how strong or flexible one is.
I have written extensively on the subject of the “hidden cause of injury” since the root cause of the overwhelming major of musculoskeletal injury is dysfunctional movement. Most doctors and trainers do not have the training or eye to look for dysfunctional movement and no amount of rest, ice, and Advil will ever provide the solution. No amount of passive modalities, taping, cupping, mobility drills, or stretching will correct dysfunctional movement. When it comes to shoulders, the solution to reducing shoulder pain and preventing injury is all about restoring proper rhythm and mechanics of the shoulder joint. This includes all it’s associated articulations – the glenohumeral and scapulothoracic. Basically we have to improve how both the “ball and socket” joint or “shoulder joint” (as most of us know it) and “shoulder blade” function together.

When it comes to improving the function of the shoulder, we’ll take an athlete or patient and have them perform variations of rows, pulls, presses, and ground-based movements with adequate loads to reinforce ideal body mechanics and correct dysfunctional movement or stability patterns. This is done through a combination of exercises, tempos, external stimuli, and progressions to essentially re-educate the nervous system. This is why it’s called neuromuscular re-education. We must teach the nervous system to do things better and break bad habits. Yes bad habits can be very challenging to break. Most people would rather pop a pill or rest until their pain disappears rather than break bad habits because breaking bad habits sounds like hard work. Popping pills and rest are great because they are easy and effective. But those who deal with chronic recurrences may want to think about a different strategy once their patience wears thin.
For example, some lifters have such poor thoracic spine posture and scapular dyskinesis that they may need 6 months+ of rehab and corrective work. But they have no interest in that. They have no interest in stepping back a little and refocusing their training for long-term development. They prefer to band-aid symptoms while they push their training and perpetuate the pain cycle.

The funny thing is breaking bad habits isn't as hard as most people think. If you work with the right person you’d be surprised what proper coaching, cueing, and exercise can do in a relatively short period of time. The reality is most people are highly resistant to breaking bad habits because of either ego or the unwillingness to take a step backward. Typically after a number of training or therapy sessions, the individual is able to perform any and all movements without pain and with improved shoulder mechanics. For those dealing with shoulder pain, improving their mechanics through sensory-motor training enables their nervous system to be re-educated. This re-education process is the most effective form of therapy and healing available. It cannot be understated that a critical component of this process is proper coaching and cueing. This is the responsibility of the coach or therapist. As much as proper coaching and cueing can be beneficial, improper coaching and cueing can prove to be very damaging. It is my opinion that many injuries occur because the athlete or patient had previously received very poor coaching or instruction.

This is exactly why performing exercise with proper technique is proving to be the single most effective form of therapy as it promotes almost immediate healing. If someone is having pain during a movement, they are doing something wrong. Correct them into the proper movement and watch their pain disappear. The key is re-educating the nervous system so movement becomes both therapeutic and performance-enhancing to one’s body rather than promoting pain and destroying joints. This is truth when it comes to the shoulder joint as well as any joint within the human body.

Tired of pain? Want to reach your full potential? Visit gallagherperf.wpengine.com
EXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENCE.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/finding-a-solution-to-your-shoulder-pain/

Summer Grind, Summer Blast

Lately it’s hard to find time to keep up with our blog. Life and business have a way of keeping you busy. Ignoring our social platforms may happen for a period of time, but we always revisit them. If there is one thing I’ve always hoped is that our blog would be informative, educational, and entertaining (at times).

The summer months bring on increased work load. Once May rolls around, we take it up a notch or two at Gallagher Performance. Summer is a grind, but it’s also a blast. We love the grind, love the process. With the volume of high school and collegiate athletes training for strength and performance, along with the patients we see ranging from acute care to rehabilitation to return to play, summer provides tremendous learning opportunities.

Reflecting back on the past several weeks, there are some friendly reminders and lessons learned or re-learn that I wanted to share:

  • Power-speed athletes thrive on power-speed drills and exercises. Just because one can squat or deadlift 500+ doesn’t mean they are explosive and fast. Yes athletes need strength and for many they will need a primary focus on strength training. However, those newly acquired strength levels must also be displayed in more power-speed dominant means such as sprints, jumps, throws as they have greater specificity to athletics than anything barbell related.
  • Athletes need to rapidly absorb force and rapidly generate force and do it on a level of unconscious activation. That brings me to another point of muscle activation. Muscle activation is a craze nowadays and rightly so. The overwhelming majority of the population will benefit tremendously from learning how to activate and integrate muscles such as their tibialis anterior, glutes, and scapular stabilizers to name a few. A lost art in muscle activation seems to be the use of isometrics. There is always an isometric contraction during the amortization phase of movement. Even during the most explosive movements, there is an isometric contraction. Isometrics are also awesome for reprogramming and generating a powerful mind-muscle connection, making isometrics a great tool for performance as well as rehabilitation. We have been utilizing a select few isometric drills for uprighting, motor control, and priming for improved force/strength generation. In a relatively short period of time, they have more than demonstrated significant value.
  • There is a right way to go about training and a wrong way. The right way will always be dependent on the needs of individual and their specific goals. Don't get caught up in hype, trends, and empty promises. Trust the tradition. There is magic in the basics of the barbell, free weights, sprints, jumps, and bodyweight drills. They have stood the test of time. Fads and trends come and go, the basics remain. Using these exercises is one thing, understanding how to structure them in a training plan is another animal in itself. Find a trainer/coach that understands training specificity or else you are simply wasting your time and money.
  • We are problem solvers. Either as a clinician or trainer/coach, the heart of what we do is problem solving. Maybe it’s a matter of ability or effort, but clinicians or trainers either have the ability or they don’t. The ability to problem solve comes from knowledge and experience and even instinct. When it comes to effort, frankly some are just lazy and don’t care to think hard as it complicates their job. Whether it is listening to what a patient/athlete is telling you or just simply watching, you’ve got to process the source of the problem and how you’re going to solve it. When it comes to performance or rehabilitation, everything makes sense. If it is happening there is good reason for it. If we don’t understand it, it doesn’t make sense to us, but it always makes sense. Never dismiss a client or patient as not making sense. Make the effort to make a change. Change your perspective. Learn more.
  • We all need a coach. No one gets through life all on their own. We all have needed mentors and coaches at some point in our life. These may have been parents, family members, close friends, teacher, professors, bosses, etc. If we pursue something of significance, chances are someone helped us along the way. We need the help of others than have more knowledge, more experience, more accomplishments. I have had a number of mentors and coaches. For everything they did for me, I hope I can pass that on to those that I work with in the role as a coach.
  • Take time to get to know your clients and athletes. Show you care about them. We do more than just simply get kids bigger, stronger, or faster. We have an opportunity everyday to connect with our clients and athletes and hopefully make a positive impact. The reward goes far beyond cash flow. It’s about making a difference for the better.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and enjoy the grind!

More related reading:

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/faqs-frequency-avoided-questions-of-strength-conditioning/

Attitude is Everything

Attitude.

We've all heard about it since we were young. We've heard it from parents, family, friends, teachers, and/or coaches who preached the importance of attitude.

Sometimes it takes a certain individual to have an impact in ways others cannot. Likely you have had someone in your life tell you the same thing you've heard countless times before, but for some reason it sticks. It sinks in. These people capture our respect. We feel they are deserving of our attention and we finally listen.

When it came to the importance of attitude, my Uncle Gene was just one person who made a big impact on my views. My uncle served in WWII and when he talked attitude, I listened.

Why?

It had everything to do with that fact that he embodied the message of "Attitude".

During his time serving in WWII, he was on a test flight near Foggia, Italy when a parachute flare bomb failed to release from his B-25. The bomb was hung near the rear hook on the shackle. With the safety wire pulled, the vane was able to spin freely. Realizing the danger of the situation, he climbed down into the bomb bay and, supporting himself with his elbows, he freed the bomb with his feet. For his actions he was awarded the Soldier's Medal for heroism. I have this medal in my bedroom to this day.

Now while his actions were awarded, it was his attitude in that moment that was the clear defining factor.

He was no more physically capable than any others aboard that plane. As a member of the Air Force, these men all had to be in top physical condition to serve our country. It wasn't that he was any bigger or stronger than the next guy. Simply put, in that moment he displayed resourcefulness and selfless courage to step into that situation. His attitude dictated his actions. Because of his attitude and actions, he received recognition for what he accomplished.

In a world where accomplishments matter, attitude matters most.

So what are some key characteristics of the attitudes or mindsets which promote success, be it in sport or in life?

JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D., author of Your Performing Edge and an internationally recognized sports psychologist, has identified characteristics that make a champion athlete that are able to be developed by anyone who wants to excel in sport:

  • Enthusiasm and Desire – Top athletes have a hunger, a fire inside which fuels their passion to achieve an important goal, regardless of their level of talent or ability.
  • Courage to Succeed - It takes courage to sacrifice, to work out when you’re tired, to seek out tough competition, to stick to your program, to test your limits, and to overcome obstacles.
  • Internal motivation and self-direction – Direction and drive need to come from within. The goals must be ones that you have chosen because that’s exactly what you want to be doing.
  • Commitment to Excellence – Elite athletes know that to excel at their sport, they must decide to make it a priority in their life. They make an honest effort each day to be the best at what they do. At some point you must say, I want to be really good at this; I want this to work.
  • Discipline, Consistency, Organization – Elite athletes love what they do and it is easier for them to maintain consistency in training and in competing. Regardless of personal problems, fatigue, or difficult circumstances, they can generate the optimal amount of excitement and energy to do their best.
  • Being focused and yet relaxed – Champions have the ability to maintain concentration for long periods of time. They can easily let go of distractions and take control of their attention. They don’t let emotions get the best of them and cause poor performance.
  • Ability to handle adversity – Top athletes know how to deal with difficult situations. Adversity builds character, but adversity also reveals character. When elite athletes know the odds are against them they embrace the chance to explore the outer limits of their potential. Rather than avoiding pressure, they feel challenged by it. They are calm and relaxed under fire. Setbacks become an opportunity for learning.
Many of the points simply brings the message back to attitude and the attitude one activity decides to embrace. Attitude is everything and I feel that Charles Swindoll puts this into perspective very nicely:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitudes we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes.
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/sports-training-and-life-after/

Q&A with Quad City Strongman

Quad City Strongman is the premier strength training gym in the QC area. From their experience and knowledge to community involvement, QC Strongman is first class all the way. Learn more about QC Strongman in this interview.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3Tq1PTzWEI[/embed]

Understanding the Benefits and Concerns of Youth Strength Training Programs

Benefits of Strength Training for Youth
Numerous studies have been published on the benefits of strength training in regards to overall fitness and health markers, muscular strength, injury reduction, sports performance enhancement, and confidence. Scientifically proven adaptations from strength training include increased neural drive, increased synchronization of motor units, and hypertrophy of skeletal muscle. These adaptations not only create a bigger, leaner, and stronger individual, but one who is able to express improved control and execution of complex sport skills while performing them at greater force and velocity outputs. So as a young athlete, if you have a desire to run faster, jump higher, or throw harder, you must first become stronger. Strength is the foundation on which all other physical abilities are built.

Experts also agree that there are many health benefits associated with strength training with research suggesting that strength training in youth can result in increased bone density, healthier body composition, and improved blood lipid profiles. Other benefits from participating in a strength training program also include reduced chance of injury during sport participation and increased self-esteem and confidence.

Now while to what degree strength and improvement in the weight room transfers into an athlete performing better on the field may be left in question, one thing that will always transfer to a competitive environment is confidence. I'm not talking having a massive ego or being cocky. Confident and cocky are completely different. Confidence is extremely important and strength has a unique way of improving confidence in children.

Concerns of Strength Training for Youth
Roundtable discussions including strength coaches, medical professionals, and researchers have focused on questions of concern pertaining to the strength and conditioning programs for young children. These concerns include injury rates, efficacy, and safety.

Among these experts, they have agreed on one common theme:

When a program is well supervised, form and technique are properly instructed, and the program is administered by someone who holds an appropriate certification, there should not be a concern for the child’s safety.

When it comes to weightlifting injuries, a large number of the reported injuries took place in a home gym or involved children who were unsupervised while they were lifting. In regards to minimizing risks in the weight room, many of the experts agreed that there should be an appropriate coach-to-athlete ratio (smaller ratios are ideal), proper education on strength training technique, and proper progressions for their training age.

Appropriate Age to Begin Strength Training
It is generally accepted that there is no specific age at which it is best to start a strength training program. However, it is recommended that children must be mature enough to accept and follow directions while also possessing an understanding of the risks and benefits associated with strength training. It is commonly accepted that if a child is participating in an organized sport, then this is an appropriate time period for them to begin a strength training program. Typically, for the majority of children this would approximately between the ages of 6-8.

Final Words
There are numerous benefits for youth to begin a strength and conditioning program. The program should be led by a qualified strength and conditioning professional and tailored to meet the needs in regards to age appropriate training, gender, and primary sport(s) of participation. Children should be willing and ready to follow instruction to ensure safety, quality training, and to meet their performance goals.

For more information on the topic of youth strength training and athletic development, please click on the links below:

Guidelines for Selecting a Strength Coach or Personal Trainer
Gallagher Performance - Staff Bios
Common Mistakes in Developing Young Athletes
Success or Failure: What Are You Setting Your Young Athlete Up For?
References
Faigenbaum, A, Kraemer, W, Cameron, J, Blimkie, R, Jeffreys, I, Micheli, L, et al. Youth Resistance Training: Updated Position Statement Paper from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 23(suppl 5): S60-S79, 2009.
Haff, G. Roundtable discussion: Youth resistance training. Strength and Conditioning Journal 25(1): 49-64, 2003.

VBlog: Olympic Lifts and Training

The Olympic Lifts of the clean & jerk and snatch, as well as their variations, are commonly used to develop power and even as metabolic conditioning. What exactly is their role in training? We address our views in this short video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVdjYkeq2AA

Warm-ups, Stretching & Mobility

What is the purpose of the warm-up? How important is the role stretching and mobility during the warm-up process? Plenty of clinicians and trainers preach mobility, mobility, mobility. Is mobility truly the answer? We answer those questions in this short video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-mlmqBmNyg

Assumptions, Accusations, and PEDs

The controversial subject of individuals assuming and accusing other individuals of using PEDs has been brought up once again.

It's comical to me because I always here about these assumptions or accusations from a second hand source. I never hear it directly from the source. But, that's another story.

At this point in my life, I’ve heard it since I was in college. Not just me, my brothers as well.

Let me make something perfectly clear: I am a natural athlete. Ryan is a natural athlete. My brothers are natural athletes. Always have been, always will be.

Why I am writing this post is to ask the question, "Why do people assume someone is using PEDs or anabolics in the first place?"

Is it because they believe something is not possible?

Do they have this belief because they are not capable of the same achievement? Or do they believe that because they can’t do it, then no one can?

Do they somehow believe that they are the strongest natural athlete alive and if someone is stronger than them, that person is a cheat?

Looking deeper in the matter, I consider the attitude of the individual making the assumptions or accusations. They start with the attitude that they believe what others are achieving is not possible, all based on the belief that it is not possible for them. And the impossible will always be their reality, never achieving what they are truly capable of because a driven, motivated person will make it possible. They will always find a way and won’t quit. They will never allow themselves to believe something is not possible.

Want to know the secret of the strong?

It all starts will their mentality.

A stronger person will never question the abilities of a weaker person. It’s always the weak questioning the strong. Weak in mind and character will always equal weak in strength. The strong simply want it more. Strength begins with a change in attitude. Put your mind to it. Change your attitude. Put forth some real focus and thought to achieving your goals and forget what others say is or isn’t possible.

Besides, who sets the limit of natural strength and athletic ability?

Why do people feel the need to define what someone else is capable of or tell them what their limitations are and if they have been reached. The strong of mind and the driven athlete are made to push boundaries and create new limits. Ignore the haters and detractors. It’s up to us to impose the stressors needed for adaptation and elevated performance. Put in the work and the time. Remember, nothing worthwhile ever came from quick and easy. Strength is no different.

Don't fall victim to the poorly educated and allow them to shape your views on the limits of human potential and what is or what is not possible. You’ll be amazed at what can be achieved without the excuses and with plenty commitment, consistency, time, failure and above all hard work.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/training-take-it-seriously/

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

FAQs: Frequency Avoided Questions of Strength & Conditioning

It’s time to understand what training for an athlete is all about. Parents and athletes are seeking out training services in great numbers and are confronted with more options year after year.

A real problem for people is that they see stuff like P90X, Crossfit, bodybuilding style training, or any kind of general fitness training and they get confused into believing that it is good training for an athlete. What they need to understand is that these training styles do not necessarily give you high performance. Many times adults and their young athletes fall into the trap of pursuing training without truly understanding if it will be beneficial or detrimental to their athletic development. What we have compiled below are some common FAQs or Frequently Avoided Questions that should be answered before you begin an organized training program aimed at developing a young athlete.

1) What are the demands of the sport?
Does your strength coach/personal trainer actually account for the sport you participate in, understanding the biodynamics and bioenergetics of the sport and adjusting your training accordingly? Or do they simply plug you into their system and make you workout based on what they know how to do, not what you need as an athlete? Understanding the anatomy and physiology of sport is highly critical in the design of athletic and sport performance training. If you’re coach or trainer does not understand these concepts as they relate to your young athlete’s sport(s) of participation, they will fail to produce significant results.

Don't buy into "functional training" hype. Simply ask them, how exactly is this functional for my young athlete? You'll be surprised at the sales pitch you may hear.

Read more:

What is Functional Exercise?
Training for Elite Athletes
Identifying Strength Needs for Athletes
Guidelines for Selecting a Strength Coach or Personal Trainer
2) How does training impact a young athlete’s muscle fiber typing?
Muscle fiber typing is specific to slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. Understand that slow twitch muscle fibers are highly resistance to fatigue and do not produce much force, making them more favorable for use during distance/endurance training and lighter resistance training workouts. Fast twitch muscle fibers are more easily fatigued but they produce a great deal of force and are needed to be fast, explosive, and strong.

Coaches and trainers can run the risk of any transitional muscle fibers being pushed to low threshold, high endurance-based muscle fibers when they make power-speed athletes do far too much distance endurance training or high rep weight training. Power-speed athletes make up the bulk of team sports such as football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and track & field events such as sprinters, throwers, and jumpers. This is not a comprehensive list, but none the less provides you with an understanding of just how many sports are highly dependent on power-speed qualities.

Athletes need to utilize training methods that push transitional muscle fibers to a more high-threshold, fast-twitch muscle fibers. Transitional muscle fibers are highly sensitive in the young athlete, especially in the teenage years. If improper training methods are utilize, you will lower their ceiling of athletic potential.

Read more:

Common Mistakes in Developing Young Athletes
Success or Failure: What Are You Setting Your Young Athlete Up For?
Two Common Misconceptions in Endurance Training
3) Does quick feet training make sense for an athlete?
The majority of quick feet training involves the use of dot drills and speed ladders. These drills do nothing to reinforce proper mechanics of sprinting or ice skating. Just watch for yourself. When these drills are performed, kids are standing upright with minimal hip and knee bend utilizing short, choppy strides that impart very little force into the ground. This is completely contradictory to what any sprint or skating coach would demand from their athletes. The fastest guys are the strongest guys because they put more force into the ground. Quick feet training makes no sense.

Read more:

Don't Fall for the Speed Trap
Choose Consistency and Intelligence in Training, Forget the Rest
4) Does high rep weight training for time make sense?
The whole point of strength training is to improve the efficiency of how your nervous system works. The heavier the weight, the more motor units and muscle fibers your brain needs to call upon to execute the movement. The more motor units and muscle fibers in use, the more force you produce. But we just don't need force, but athletes need to produce force quickly. The faster they produce high amounts of force, the faster and more explosive they become. Pretty simple.

Your brain will not call upon a lot of muscle fibers to execute a movement against light weights. This process of selection exists on a continuum and you don’t get to high-threshold, fast-twitch muscle fibers until you start hitting close to 80% of your 1RM (rep max) or higher. It doesn’t matter how many reps you can do against light resistance. So while the P90X and Crossfit people are doing tons of reps with light weights and little to no rest intervals, you’ll never tap into those muscle fibers that power-speed athletes thrive on for success in their sport.

It’s the complete opposite training you want to do for athletics like football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and just about every power-speed track & field event. Especially for teenagers because you can influence the muscle fiber make-up and the ratio of slow twitch to fast twitch fibers of young athletes. This will have tremendous impact of the athletic development or destruction. Again, high rep weight training with little to no rest serves no purpose for a young athlete and contradicts the demands of athletics.

Read more:

Drop the Confusion, Athletes Need Consistency for Efficiency
Have You Mastered Your Movement?
3 Reasons You Should Train for Maximal Strength
Why Athletes Should Avoid HIIT Programs
 

Why Therapists Should Understand Strength

As a chiropractor that specializes in manual therapy and rehab protocols, I see patients dealing with a variety of problems. Now while the conditions can vary greatly, the common denominator that all my patients share is that they are either in pain or unable to perform a specific activity at a level they desire. Being able to provide a service to help people was exactly why I got into chiropractic and it is why I work to continually develop my craft and treatment philosophy. My treatment philosophy has helped to develop my system for how I go about evaluating and treating each patient that comes to me for help. As valuable as my education and residency has been to developing my treatment philosophy, the insight and knowledge I have gained on strength and conditioning as an athlete and coach has been equally valuable.

A great mentor of mine told me that with his background as a strength coach, he uses that background and mindset everyday with his patients. Some years later, I continually have a renewed appreciation for what he communicated in that statement because looking at my patients through the "lens of strength" can provide me with a refreshing perspective.

Why?

Simply put, strength matters. Strength has the ability to cover up dysfunction. Strength will directly impact movement quality. Strength will improve mobility or flexibility issues. Strength has tremendous ability to minimize or reduce overuse injuries. Strength becomes a focus in my treatment plans and the advice I provide my patients.

In my opinion, a major player in the outcomes of patient care is the quality of advice they receive. Much of the advice I provide is directed at my patient's current exercise routine. And, at times, the advice is very blunt. The type of advice that is often tough to swallow on their part because it means big changes

What does that advice look like?

Say you are dealing with low back pain that is worsened from repetitive flexion. You can’t tolerate bending forward to tie your shoes or get nervous just thinking about picking up something from the floor, yet you love your group exercise class that has you running through dozens of crunches, sit-ups, air squats, and wall-balls. Your back is not going to respond to any form of therapy until you remove the irritating factor (your group exercise class) and follow the advice of substituting in more appropriate exercises that promote a healthy back.

Say you can’t properly lift your arms overhead with ideal form and posture through the shoulders, spine, and hips. Now you want to participate in an exercise routine that includes Olympic lifts such as the snatch and overhead pressing. What you must understand is that you lack the prerequisites to perform loaded overhead exercises. This is why your shoulders or low back hurt after overhead pressing or performing a full snatch and you need to be advised accordingly.

Advice should be constructive, providing a solution. However, there is some advice that is simply unacceptable. The classic example of this is the runner who develops knee pain, decides to see a doctor and is told, "Stop running."

Unacceptable.

The solution is rarely that simple. Maybe that runner lacks movement control in joints in such as the ankles, hips, pelvis, and spine because they lack adequate strength in surrounding musculature. Maybe that should be addressed while their current running program is restructured according to their tolerances.

There are solutions and often those solutions involve strength development.

As a therapist, odds are in your favor that you are going to find a strength deficit that is playing into that runner's knee pain. Odds are in your favor that you are going to find that lack of strength is correlated with any number of common conditions.

Lack of strength is never solved by inactivity and prescribing rest. Strength requires the opposite. Strength requires focus, guided effort. Strength is a difficult pursuit and it requires that one knows what they are doing if you are going to coach the process.

On my end as a therapist, what becomes even more difficult to navigate is managing a patient who has his or her own personal trainer or strength coach. I always ask them what they are doing for "training," and most times my response is inwardly shaking my head. I don’t say anything, unless I’m asked. If I’m asked, then it is time to be brutally honest.

It is important to note that you shouldn’t just take exercises away, but substitute better ones. My job is to find the best exercise for the job. This is why developing a large exercise pool to draw from is invaluable as a strength coach and as a rehab specialist. Having a huge exercise pool will allow you to make progressions, regressions, and substitutions based on movement patterns, training goals, mechanical sensitivities, or movement limitations.

At GP, we have taken time to develop our exercise pools for lower body pushes/pulls, upper body pushes/pulls, hybrids, developmental stabilization, etc. This allows seamless transition between phases of rehabilitative care for my patients and continual development from a strength and performance perspective for my athletes because we have developed our plan for progressive development. This understanding of strength also allows me to provide the most appropriate advice when it comes to exercise selection.

As William Penn said, “Right is right even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong even if everyone is for it.” People are there for your expertise and knowledge as much as your skills. Remember to provide the care and treatment you would want to receive and provide them with the advice and direction you would want to understand.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/interview-with-mike-odonnell-dc-ccsp-cscs/

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/before-you-go-to-a-chiropractor-read-this-first/

On The Use of Deep Squats and Intense Conditioning with Athletes

Lately, we have faced a number of questions regarding two subjects:

1) Why don’t we make our athletes perform full, deep squats?
To be very clear on the subject, it all comes back to the understanding of how different movements and work outputs affect your training goal.

Technique manipulation can have a tremendous impact on training outcomes. When it comes to the training of athletes, training outcomes must ensure high level of competitive performance in their primary sport(s). The considerations one makes when training for pure strength and power will be completely different from the individual training for maximal muscular hypertrophy. When training for strength and power, you want to set yourself in a position for the greatest mechanical advantage. An individual’s greatest mechanical advantage will also be influenced by their anthropometry. This becomes the context of making coaching decisions that will dictate technique and variations used in movements such as squats, deadlifts, presses, and Olympic lifts.

In sport, one can argue that there is some level of sport-specificity in utilizing ½ and ¾ squats as they may provide a greater transfer of training into the dynamics of certain sporting movements. Keep in mind that auxiliary or supplemental work in the training program must ensure muscular/connective tissue health and balance.

This is not to say we don’t utilize a full, deep squats. Some of our athletes are more than capable of performing them. For others, there is a greater risk to reward ratio and greater sporting outcomes can be realized with squat variations that impose less structural risk.

It really comes down to selecting the best tools for the job and removing the variables that don’t have a place in an athlete’s long-term goals.

2) Why don’t we use intense conditioning work with our athletes?
Understand that the adaptations an athlete undergoes from both a neuromuscular and energy system (aerobic and anaerobic) viewpoint will always be influenced by the structure of training load and volume in a given program.

“Explosive, not tired.”
At GP, that is a concept we communicate to all our athletes, but still this is a concept many of them have a hard time understanding. Many come to us with the goals of being bigger, stronger, and faster. They want it all and convincing how the process really works, through intelligent conversation, is a challenge.

Flash forward several weeks into the program and these same athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster through intelligent program design and execution. All aspects of the training program align with their goals and their bioenergetic (energy system) demands relative to their sport. There is conditioning work, but it is structured best to according to their needs. Conditioning work doesn’t have to push you face first into a pile of your own sweat and vomit.

Nowadays, young athletes assume conditioning and speed are the same and that by improving their conditioning, they will get faster. For many athletes, suicides and gassers come to mind. Intense practices run by coaches for no other reason that to make their players work hard also comes to mind. Players are instructed to sprint with minimal rest, pushed to exhaustion. Many trainers and "programs" utilize high-intensity conditioning methods. Sure you want your athletes to last an entire game and not get out worked, but this will not get them faster. Actually, it is counter-productive if speed is the objective since it is physiologically impossible to perform at your maximal effort without adequate rest. And it doesn’t ensure that they will be in the best condition either.

There is such thing as training parameters and workload capability. These concepts demand consideration when training athletes. Sadly, if you asked the majority of trainers and coaches what those two terms mean, you learn pretty quickly that you are talking to yourself. True speed is only developed at near maximal effort. Maximal effort depletes energy systems and strains the nervous system. All these need adequate time to recover between sprints. This must be monitored closely to ensure that a speed training session does not become a conditioning workout. Conversely, conditioning work must follow guidelines designed to help athlete’s maximize their conditioning without disrupting other aspects of performance. If conditioning training is performed at too high of an intensity, the training not only inefficiently conditions the athlete but can also interfere with speed performance and development. It will also interfere with strength and power development as well.

Are you getting the picture?

The very same athletes who want speed, strength, and size must understand that intense, non-directed conditioning only serves to inefficiently condition you and interfere with the goals and needs required for sport success. This is not our opinion; this is fundamental sport and exercise science.

Conditioning is a primary component in our training programs, for any athlete. However, conditioning takes on different looks due to the various energy system demands for the individual athlete. Conditioning is tailored to their needs. Just because a coach crushes them in practice with endless gassers, it doesn’t mean they are suddenly out of shape.

More related reading:

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

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

Does Practice Make Permanent? How Practice Rewires Your Nervous System

In our younger years, many of us likely heard the expression “Practice Makes Perfect.” This usually came from a parent, coach, or teacher. Some took the saying a step further, adding “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.” Some even say, "Practice Makes Permanent". Regardless, still the message was clear – if you want to improve, you need to put in some time and focused effort. You need to practice.

But is all about simply practicing or do we need to have a different focus?

Research has provided a better understanding of how practice influences skill development, helping us understand how the nervous system is rewired during the process. While there are many components to consider during the process of motor learning and skill acquisition, in this article we will be discussing how a unique tissue to the nervous system called myelin plays a critical role in the acquisition and mastery of skills.

Practice Rewires the Nervous System
When we are exposed to a movement or sport skill that is new or unfamiliar, the result is typically feeling awkward and uncoordinated. To some degree, we may be apprehensive. This is normal and to be expected. But, as we practice, something happens. Things get smoother, we feel more comfortable, and the movement/skill becomes more natural.

What is happening?

What practice is actually doing is rewiring your nervous system to become more efficient during complex movement tasks through a process called myelination.

The Role of Myelin
Understanding all the intricacies of the nervous system is not the point of this article, but a little background will be helpful. Myelin is a tissue that covers our neurons, the cells that make up the nervous system. Myelin is mostly a fatty substance, with cholesterol being an essential component. It serves to insulate nerve cells and has a characteristic “white” appearance. This is why most people refer to myelin as “white matter” when discussing the nervous system. What science has helped us understand is that myelin improves the speed and strength of nerve signals, meaning that myelinated nerves transmit signals faster than non-myelinated nerves. Myelin helps our nervous system function at a higher level.

Ok, so how do we get myelin onto our nerves?

To begin with, the majority of myelination occurs during the early stages of development. These stages of development occur during the 2-3 years after birth and into early childhood. Children are myelin-generating machines. This can be seen not only in respect to movement, but also with language and comprehension skills as well. Where there is development, you will find myelin. This is why there are critical developmental stages that exist in long-term athletic developmental (LTAD) models. LTAD models help us understand that we cannot make up for lost time. Sure, as we get older we can continue to generate myelin, but it happens at a slower rate and requires more effort. This is why most young athletes who miss critical developmental stages tend to get passed up later in their athletic careers.

So what’s the big deal about critical developmental stages?

It provides children with graded exposure to skills through practice and repetition. The process of practice and repeated effort triggers a pattern of signals through our nervous system. With time and repetition, myelin is produced to increase the speed, strength, and coordination of these nerve signals. It’s a streamlining effect that your nervous system undergoes due to exposure to a repeated sensory stimulus and motor (movement) output.

Practice Makes Myelin, So Practice With Purpose
Understanding the role of myelination in skill acquisition has tremendous implications. Yes, volume and frequency of practice matters, but myelination makes a case for understanding why quality of practice matters. Practicing with an extreme focus on quality is equally, if not more important, than simply practicing a lot. Don’t just practice to practice. Corrections should be made as they are needed. You don’t want to spent the majority of your time practicing bad habits, as bad habits are hard to correct. Bad habits arguably are not permanent. However, the longer they exist, the harder they are to unlearn. Myelin is a big reason why.

In the context of training and sport skill development, if you lift/sprint/jump/practice with poor technique and no one corrects your mistakes, you will be myelinating those nerve pathways – which does you no good and only serves to lowering your athletic potential. Sure you may improve, but you will never reach your true potential. And the longer your bad habits remain, the harder it is to correct them.

The takeaway: practice of movement skills over time causes specific neural pathways to work better via myelination. To improve your performance, you not only need to practice FREQUENTLY, you also must practice CORRECTLY and receive plenty of feedback from a qualified coach so you are able to properly develop your movement and sport skills.
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/unlock_your_potential_with_this_powerful_tip/

https://gallagherperformance.com/movement-improves-brain-function/

Stay Strong and Heal Faster While Injured

Injuries are a part of sport and life. It is an unfortunate reality and a lesson some encounter with greater frequency than others. I have had my fair share of injuries as well. The reason why I am writing this post is because of my most recent injury.

Over the past 14 weeks, I have been prepping for a strongman competition in Iowa on May 16. The training cycle had been going smoothly and I was feeling good heading into the final days before my taper. Four days ago, I pulled my left bicep during tire flips. The tire flip is one event that is notorious for causing bicep injuries due to the large amount of mechanical stress it places on the biceps. Fortunately, I did not suffer a complete tear, no surgery needed. However, competing is out of the question. When you are self-employed and your job requires the uses of your hands, there is no need for any further set backs.

For some, injuries mean down time from training. They see injuries as an obstacle. Not in my mind. An obstacle is what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. There are still ways to train around injuries. Sure, I will not be able to do anything stressful with my left arm for 3-6 weeks, but I can still get a powerful training stimulus from a incorporating squat and single-leg variations for lower body strength, jumps/bounds/hops for more intensive CNS stimulus, and training my non-injured arm to help maintain strength and speed recovery of my injured arm.

Wait….what? Training your non-injured arm helps to keep your injured arm strong and heal faster?
There is truth to that statement. The phenomenon I am referring to is known as “cross-education”. It is well established that to minimize the effects of detraining, performing single-side training with the non-injured limb (upper or lower body) will allow you to maintain strength and accelerate healing in the injured limb.

Cross-education occurs when you strength train a limb on one side of the body. The result is an increase in strength in the opposite limb on the other side of the body due to neural adaptations. Cross-education appears to be effective for all muscles and joints of the body, from shoulders and hips to ankles and wrists.

A study published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness demonstrated that strength gains in the untrained limb are typically in the range of 5 – 25% depending on if that limb dominance. Strength gains average around 35 – 60% increase in the trained limb. Additionally, it appears that less range of motion will be lost in the injured limb due to the cross-education effect – another major benefit.

There are other studies on the subject of cross-education, but still cross-education is not completely understood. Strength gains in the injured limb are most likely due to neuromuscular adaptations and increased neural drive to the untrained muscle. A similar hypothesis is improved motor control because training the healthy limb results in recruitment of high-threshold motor units in both limbs. Keep in mind, there is no evidence of hypertrophy (muscle growth) or changes in muscle fiber types in the injured limb following single-side training.

Cross-education highlights the importance of single-limb exercises during training and rehabilitation from injury. Helping clients or athletes understand cross-education may encourage them to continue an exercise routine during time of injury, as it can help maintain strength and speed recovery. Cross-education is a perfect illustration of how one can turn a weakness into a strength through focused training efforts.

 
Sources:
Lee, M., Carroll, T. Cross-Education: Possible Mechanisms for the Contralateral Effects of Unilateral Resistance Training. Sports Medicine. 2007. 37(1), 1-14.
Zhou, Shi. Cross-Education and Neuromuscular Adaptations During Early Stage of Strength Training. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness. 2003. 1(1), 54-60.
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/prevent-re-injury-integrated-training-rehabilitation/

Gallagher Performance - Staff Bios

For many of our readers, you may not be aware of the specialized background that Gallagher Performance has in personal training, athletic development, chiropractic rehabilitation, manual therapies, and sports-injury care.

Whether you are pursuing professional services for personal/performance-based training or you’re thinking of seeing a health professional about a sports injury, Gallagher Performance has two board-certified specialists who are capable of addressing your goals and needs.

Meet the Staff

Ryan Gallagher LMT, NASM-CES: Head Performance Coach
Ryan Gallagher is the Head Performance Coach and a Licensed Massage Therapist at Gallagher Performance. Ryan has quickly established himself as a highly sought after coach for athletic development, helping athletes achieve new performance bests while implementing specialized strategies along with manual therapy to keep his athlete’s healthy during their competitive and off-seasons.

Ryan has been involved in the fitness and sports performance industry since 2007. During that time, he has worked extensively with youth, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. He has also worked with competitive strength athletes in powerlifting and Strongman, as well as physique athletes (bodybuilding, figure, and bikini).

Ryan is certified as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and is also a Nationally Certified Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management with a concentration in Wellness and Fitness from California University of Pennsylvania.

To compliment his educational background, Ryan is an accomplished athlete in the sports of ice hockey, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Strongman. HIs diverse athletic and educational background provide Ryan with an highly extensive and unique skill set that allows him to efficiently and effectively help his clients achieve their goals while staying healthy in the process.

Sean Gallagher DC, DACRB, NASM-PES: Director of Sports Therapy, Performance Coach
Dr. Sean Gallagher is the Director of Sports Therapy and also serves as a Performance Coach at Gallagher Performance. In 2009, Sean earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA. Prior to attending Palmer, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science from Ohio University.

After graduating from Palmer, Sean entered a residency program in Palmer College of Chiropractic’s Sports Injury & Rehabilitation Department. The residency is the only one of its kind within a chiropractic college in the United States. Under the direction of former Olympian, Dave Juehring DC, DACRB, CSCS and Ranier Pavlicek DC, ATC, DACRB, CSCS, the residency provided Sean the opportunity to further the development of clinical skills in the realm of diagnosis, treatment and management of sport-related injuries. During this time, he received extensive training in manual therapies and developmental stabilization methods influenced by the German and Czech rehabilitation schools.

Sean graduated from his residency and completed his board certification in 2012, making him one of a select few chiropractors in the country that have successfully completed a rehabilitation and sports-injury residency. He is a board certified rehabilitation specialist through the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board (ACRB) that abides by the standards set out by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

To compliment his clinical training and experience, Sean also serves as a Performance Coach with years of experience working with athletes of all abilities and is a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) through NASM. He is an accomplished athlete in the sports of ice hockey and Strongman. During his time at Ohio University, he was part of the 2004 ACHA D1 National Championship team. In 2001, he was named to the NHL’s Central Scouting Service “Top 10” High School players in the US and was ranked among the top players in North America (US and Canada). As a competitive amateur Strongman, he has won or placed in several NAS sanctioned competitions since 2010 and was a National qualifier in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Our staff welcomes the opportunity to get you back to 100% and help you reach your fitness or performance-related goals. When you think of sports performance training and chiropractic rehabilitative care in the Pittsburgh area, remember the team of experts at Gallagher Performance.

 

GP Client Testimonial - Shaun Davis

I first started working with Sean, at Gallagher Performance, due to an injury to my back/SI Joint in 2014. The injury occurred December of 2013 and I went through almost a year of physical therapy and other doctor appointments before coming to Sean to fix the problem. Sean realized what the problem was and started giving me a combination of chiropractic adjustments and specific exercises to strengthen the area and eliminate the problem.

Over the time when I was injured, I was unable to do anything overly physical. The worst thing that can ever happen to a former athlete is to realize that they can no longer be athletic. I needed to do something more, so I came back to Sean immediately and had him write me up a plan and provide one on one guidance to help me achieve my fitness goals. Sean prescribed a rigorous training program that challenged me day in and day out. I noticed results very quickly and within 12 weeks, I felt better than I had felt in the past 10 years!

I am still going strong with Sean's plans and I look forward to seeing what the future brings using the PROVEN Gallagher Performance methods. Sean single handedly took me from a stale couch potato and he has given me back my manhood! Thanks to Sean I feel like an athlete again. I would recommend Gallagher Performance to ANYBODY looking to get in better shape! They are the best around, hands down!

-Shaun Davis

Random Thoughts on Sports Training

Had a couple quick thoughts on sports performance training that I wanted to share, so here it goes….

1. Advanced athletes don't always need Special Developmental Exercises (SDE)
One of the more popular trends in the fitness industry is “sport specific training”. While the training of advanced athletes must always consider the specifics of their sport, this does not always mean they need advanced exercises. For the young athlete and athletes with minimal training experience, there is no need for advanced exercises or the “Train like the Pros” mentality. This is generally well understood. However, when it comes to high-level athletes or athletes with several yeasrs of training experience, coaches/trainers may assume that they need highly innovative, cutting edge training. Parents can also fall into this trap as well due to marketing tactics. The truth is that they need the basics too. They need the basics just like everyone else. In some cases, they may need a lot of the basics. It can be surprising how poorly some high-level athletes move when they are removed from sport.

With that said, keep in mind that high-level athletes generally have the ability to adapt very quickly to repeated exposure to a given stimulus. They have the ability to make dramatic improvements from week to week in terms of quality of movement, strength, and power development. This ability is a huge reason as to why they are such gifted athletes. The value of Special Developmental Exercises (SDE) in the preparation of high-level athletes for sport competition cannot be understated, but nothing can take the place of sound coaching that utilizes effective program variations and additions to meet the ever-changing complexities of the individual. When it comes to high-level athletes, programs may need to be updated at higher frequencies to promote continual development of the desired physical attributes the athlete needs. These updates should never be random, but applied with purpose and intent to promote continual development.

At the end of the day, some high-level athletes may be better served by training that focuses on the basics and laying a foundation for continual development through proper periodization rather than concentrating their training on fancy, innovative training methods.

2. Where you “feel " the exercise is just as important as how the exercise “looks”
We all know therapists, trainers, and gym gurus who preach “technique, technique, technique”. The importance of technique does not need repeated, but the idea of textbook technique may be more of a myth than fact. Technique, like exercise programming, should not be handled "one-size fits all" fashion. How an exercise "looks" is important, but what is too often forgotten in regards to exercise is where that individual "feels" the movement. For example, you observe an athlete performing a movement with what appears to be “perfect technique”, yet they do not “feel” the movement activating muscles in the right places. This example also highlights why feedback from an athlete can be extremely valuable. It is extremely valuable to know where your client/athlete “feels” the exercise. Don't just assume they are feeling proper muscle activation all because the exercise “looked good” from a technique viewpoint. Helping the client/athlete to "feel" the exercise while maintaining proper technique simply comes down to coaching, tweaking technique, and/or finding the right cues to promote the visual imagery necessary for them to connect their brain to the movement.
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/quotes-and-insights-from-buddy-morris-strength-coach-of-the-arizona-cardinals/

Two Years at Gallagher Performance

April 2015 marks two years since Gallagher Performance opened and with the anniversary on the horizon, I thought it was time to start reflecting back on our second year in business.

All our services from chiropractic to massage to personal training to sports performance training continue to experience steady, consistent success. Sure we do not operate at the volume of more established businesses, but our business model places a greater focus on individualized instruction over pure numbers. To us, business success is not simply measured in terms of client volume or monetary gain. For us, success is also measured by identifying how others have been positively impacted by their experience at GP. This could be in the form of clients experiencing improved self-image and confidence that extends beyond the weight room, improved markers of health, improved ability to perform activities without pain or limitation, avoided surgeries, or learning how you inspired a young athlete to pursue a career in chiropractic or fitness. This is exciting to us and it is humbling to learn how you are making a difference.

In regards to our services, it has been another great year. GP’s chiropractic and rehab therapy has been recognized as one of the best in the Pittsburgh area. Our personal and performance training services continue to generate tremendous results for our clients and athletes. The results keep our clients loyal and the referrals coming in. We have truly cared about delivering quality in all services since we opened. It’s a great feeling to see how much our clients appreciate the attention, know-how, and confidence they receive while working with us. When you focus on quality of service and improving the consumer experience, only good things can happen.

Of all our services, this is most easily observed with our sports performance training. In only two years, we have seen our sports performance training services utilized by a variety of athletes from a growing list of amateur/club organizations, high schools, and colleges. In addition, GP continues to direct the Strength & Conditioning program for the Franklin Regional Hockey Organization.

Here is a glimpse into what types of athletes we have worked with and where they are coming from:

Sports/Events

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Physique (Bodybuilding, Bikini, Figure)
  • Powerlifting
  • Soccer
  • Strongman
  • Track and Field (sprint event focus)
High Schools
  • Franklin Regional
  • Greensburg Central Catholic
  • Hempfield
  • Penn Hills
  • Plum
  • Seneca Valley
College Athletes
  • Andrew Brncic, Alderson Broaddus University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Colin Jonov, Bucknell University (NCAA DI) - Football
  • Colin Childs, California University of Pennsylvania (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Jake Roberge, Northwestern University (NCAA DI) - Soccer
  • Ben Dipko, Slippery Rock University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Christian Wilson, Mount St. Mary’s (ACHA DIII) - Hockey
  • Ryan Grieco, Lake Erie College (NCAA DII) - Baseball
  • Evan James, Penn State University Greater Allegheny (NCAA III) - Baseball
  • Dante Luther, Washington & Jefferson University (NCAA DII) - Football
  • Charan Singh, University of Massachusetts (NCAA DI) – Football
We could continue on about each of these athletes, but suffice it to say that we are very proud of each of them, their work ethic, their character, and what they’ve accomplished.

Another Year in the Books
In wrapping up, we acknowledge that GP would not be what it is without the consistent support we receive. A sincere thank you goes out to all you – clients/athletes, parents, family, friends, social media followers, and professional colleagues – for your continual support over the past two years. Special thanks to our marketing firm, 4C Technologies, for their continual support and expertise. We also want to extend a huge thank you to Diamond Athletic Club for being second to none and providing us the venue to operate as a business. Without you all, GP would not be what is today, and we look forward to many more years to come.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/four-years-gallagher-performance/

Periodization: Keep Athletes on Track for Success

Your nervous system has a nasty of habit of adapting.

Adaptation is the ultimate goal of training. Physical training is intended to create the stimulus needed for adaptation. Adaptation takes on a number looks, be it increased muscle mass, increased strength, improved speed and power outputs, or increased cardiovascular efficiency. The desired adaptations will always depend upon the needs of the athlete and how periodization influences each training phase or block.

Training phase? Training block? Periodization?

If these terms are unfamiliar to you, let us emphasize why they need to be important to you: Your nervous system gets bored of everything.
Our bodies are wired in such a way that unless we change some variable (volume, intensity, frequency, etc.) of the training stimulus, we will ultimately fail to continually adapt.

Periodization and the pursuit of adaptation is the foundation of scientific progression in physical training and athletic development. Great coaches will put you on a program long enough for you to adapting to it, then they introduce change.

Periodization is simply organization of training. One must have an expertise of how organization of training and exercise selection expertise impacts development. This is a prerequisite to training anyone, but unfortunately there are many under-qualified trainers and coaches out there that do not understand these concepts. Entire teams or groups of individuals should not all be performing the same training. This would assume the entire team or everyone in your group training class has the same deficiencies. Approaching training in this fashion is just ridiculous and deserves to be criticized. Periodization and training is an individualized process. The fitness industry and fad-based training has convinced the public that periodization and planning is not needed. Well, at least until training fails to produce meaningful results.

Understand there is no perfect program or system, just phases of training. Training is an ongoing process. Periodization and the planning of training is an ongoing process. This is why your trainer or coach must be putting some thought into your training, otherwise your success is always in jeopardy.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/commonmistakesindevelopingyoungathletes/

Learn How to Spot the Fitness Frauds

Health and fitness is a service-based industry and, like all service-based industries, the Internet has dramatically changed how people are reached with marketing and sales strategies. Among many factors, a huge player is the rise in popularity of social media and the entertainment it provides. From Facebook to Twitter to YouTube to Instagram, one has the opportunity to reach people with greater ease than ever before.

Certainly, there are many positives that can result from this; however, there is the other side. The side where the opportunists, the con-artists, and the shameless self-promoters thrive. They have more interest in deception than education. Sure they can entertain and fascinate, but are they providing something of substance? Social media has opened the door to anyone who wants to push health and fitness information before anyone can scrutinize the quality, making sure it holds up to the science of human and exercise physiology.

So how do you identify the frauds? The con-artists? The over-night sensations who compete in one event (show, competition, race) and are now parading themselves online as some go-to fitness expert before anyone has realized they are only serving one giant cup of nonsense, likely peddling other's work and intellectual property as their own?

My brother and I ponder this subject quiet often. We discuss it with close friends and colleagues in the health and fitness industry. So here is a short list of items that should make you question both what you are reading and the person associated with it.

1) Lack of qualifications for what they claim to do.
Honest members of the industry will come straight out and tell you what they’re trained to do and more importantly, what they are not trained to do. In the fitness industry, some jobs don’t require much of a formal education, while other jobs require quite the opposite. A run-of-the-mill personal trainer only requires a basic certification before gaining hands-on experience. Those who work in high-performance settings, with specialized clients, or integrate therapeutic or corrective measures into their programs will require considerably more education as they are held to higher standards of competency. Naturally, the higher you climb, the greater your earning potential. The problem arises when trainers mislead and misrepresent themselves, acting as if they are qualified in areas they are not, all in the name of earning the almighty buck. They are usually the ones who are also trying to convince you that education is not importance and "only experience matters". This is just wrong. Stop it. This is a classic con-man scheme.

2) They Suffer from Selfie-Hashtag-Buzzword Syndrome.
Social media has created a monster known as the selfie. Those trying their best to break into the fitness industry want to make as much noise as possible. What better avenue than selfies, right? They use their endless stream of selfies as if they are pushing a business card in your face. As if somehow we should buy into what they are doing and come along for the ride. Then to top it all off, they bombard us with hashtags, buzzwords, and trendy phrases intended to connect, motivate, and inspire. Ultimately, they want you to buy into them. They want your attention and your business. Most in the fitness industry are guilty of this, and I must admit we play the game as well. But if you sift through all the selfies and hashtags and find only more selfies and hashtags with nothing of real substance, red flags should go up. There is a point at which those that you follow online must stop existing in the virtual world and provide a physical form of interaction. Who have they worked with? What results have they produced? If their body of work is mostly selfies and hashtags, they're a fraud.

3) What they say doesn’t line up with how they look.
This builds off my earlier point. Sure there are plenty of trainers and coaches and fitness experts who look great and seem to have the body of your desires (attention ladies). The are usually the one posting selfies, using their body as their business card. They want you to know how great they look on a constant basis. There are thousands in the health and fitness industry that look great. So what? Does that necessarily mean they know what they are doing or that they possess the knowledge on how to help you reach your goals. I agree that people in the health and fitness industry should “look the part”. They should exemplify health and fitness because it's their passion, not because they are trying to sell you on themselves or their products. Looking the part is important, but if you are going to base who you decide to work with solely on how they look, you could be in for a rude surprise. Talk to them. Ask them questions. They should be knowledgeable. They should be educated on the subjects of anatomy, physiology, nutrition, human movement, and how these topics relate to your goals. People get into these industries all the time because it looks easy on paper. It’s not easy. If they are clueless, they are in the wrong business.

4) They always have something to say, always trying to sell.
If someone is really good – meaning they know what they’re talking about and consistently get quality results – you never hear from them. Rather you hear about them – from their clients, colleagues, and their competition. But, you never hear from them directly.

What about the imitators? They are all about making noise. All about getting as much attention as possible. They will not only hustle to get your attention. No, hustling is not enough. They are going to overwhelm you, wave after wave after wave of their propaganda.

Trust your gut the next time some health or fitness “expert” pops up on your social media and your reaction is, “Not them again.” Your gut instinct is usually an honest one.

Final Words
There are plenty of honest individuals and organizations in the health and fitness industry that operate themselves with integrity. Seek them out. They desire to properly educate and help others achieve their goals, doing so with tremendous success. These are the trainers and coaches you need to find and receive guidance from when you are unsure of how to pursue your goals. But with all the noise and distractions, they can be hard to find because they aren't out there shamelessly promoting themselves. Unfortunately, there are far too many frauds and con-artists who end up getting more business than they should because of the noise they generate. Noise does not equal results. Hopefully this article allows you to best identify who you should be trusting with your health and fitness pursuits. And hopefully it helps you to ignore the noise.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-truth-about-functional-exercise/

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/how-to-develop-physical-fitness/

We love to hear your input. Tell us about your experience on Google.

Connect with Us

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