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Fitness is Not Sports Performance

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/

Exercise Hacks Ep. 14 - Jump Rope & Sprint Mechanics

[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/

Sleep - The Foundation of Health And Performance

Roughly 1/3 of our life should be spent sleeping yet there is an epidemic of sleep loss and deprivation. If we fully appreciated the benefits of sleep when it comes to health, mental performance, and physical ability, it would reshape the way we view the importance of sleep.

1 out of 2 Americans get less than 8 hours of sleep per night and 1 out of 3 Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep per night. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night results in objective declines in health markers as well as mental and physical performance.



Let's talk health and sleep. The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. It's a sad truth but it's a reality that less sleep is correlated with a shorter life span. Getting 6 hours of sleep per night or less is associated with increase in risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, and cancer as the immune system is suppressed on a genetic level.

Let's talk sleep and performance. Sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug available to us. Sleep deprivation of 6 hours or less will decrease physical performance in strength, power, peak running speed, cardiovascular function, and time to exhaustion by around 30%. It is also harder to loss body fat when sleep deprived - so if you are trying to loss weight, you need 7-9 hours of sleep per night as diet and exercise alone won't be enough. Sleep is the foundation for diet and exercise progress.

Getting 7-9 hours a sleep per night is critical in motor skill acquisition and learning. Meaning if you practice and get adequate sleep, you will perform 20-30% better in those same skills the following day. Sleep smooths out motor learning and is critical in skills becoming automatic.

Sleep isn't all about quantity as you want to focus on getting quality sleep as well. To maximize the quality of your sleep it's ideal to sleep in a cooler environment. Try putting down your phone, turning off the TV, and dimming the lights an hour before bed. Avoid alcohol or other sedatives as they block the ability of the body to get into the deep stages of sleep critical to rejuvenating the body. It's advised to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and even exercise in the hours before you plan to go to bed. Start a sleep routine and stick with it.

Sleep - Get some!

Source: Dr. Matthew Walker

 
For more related reading:

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/stop-chasing-shortcuts/

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/clinically-pressed-podcast-episode-38/

https://gallagherperformance.com/resetting-bodys-function-post-injury/

Athleticism Requires More Than Just Strength & Speed

 
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/

 
 

Exercise Hacks Ep. 10 - Loaded Progression for Shin Box Get-Up

[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/

Exercise Hacks Ep. 6 - Deadlift Variations for a Functional Core

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6qNeTnJdyU[/embed]

In this video we discuss two deadlift variations that will build rock solid functional core strength - the suitcase deadlift and pitchfork deadlift.

The suitcase deadlift and pitchfork deadlift are two deadlift variations that will expose energy leaks and strength imbalances real quick. Building a functional core often requires unconventional methods that go beyond aesthetically driven exercises. While unconventional these exercises force the lifter to generate total body tension to complete the lift - which makes them an awesome tool to teach lifters how to generate and maintain tension during squats, deadlifts or heavier training.
Each variation offers something unique.
1) The Suitcase Deadlift - targets the lateral stabilization system or lateral line in the body as detailed in Anatomy Trains. The lateral line will create or resist lateral bend in the body and serves as a 'brake' for lateral and rotational movements of the trunk. The lateral line runs in balance on both the right and left side of the body from the skull down to the trunk and lateral aspect of the hips, thighs, calves and mid-point of the foot.
2) The Pitchfork Deadlift - this variation of the pitchfork deadlift also targets the lateral stabilization system while forcing the lifter to resist rotation. It really hammers the spiral line detailed by Thomas Myers in Anatomy Trains. The spiral line is responsible creating or resisting rotations in the body. The spiral line is a myofascial sling that includes musculature that begins in the neck down to the opposite shoulder and then to the same side hip, knee, and foot arch, then up the back of the body to rejoin the fascia on the skull.
The bonus is both these exercises will reinforce patterns of stabilization in the body that are essential to movement.
These exercises are advanced and it is not recommended to go try them just to see if you can do them. They require a certain level of stability, coordination and strength to be able to do. Respect the process needed to progress to these exercises.
 
More related reading:

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/athletes-do-not-need-balance-to-be-successful/

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

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

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

 
 

How Do You Build An Athlete?

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qdKlvKwwPM&t=11s[/embed]

In this video we discuss the necessary steps it takes to optimize athletic development and "build an athlete".

Key points discussed are:

  • The importance of practicing your sport skills and practicing with intent
  • Taking the necessary steps to stay healthy in a strength & conditioning program
  • Understanding the process of long-term adaptations in athletics
  • The application of the speed-strength continuum, it's importance in programming and identifying where athletes fall within the continuum
This presentation is geared towards power-speed athletes who thrive on the development of speed and strength qualities. Power-speed athletes participate in sports such as football, hockey, baseball, basketball, track & field (throwers and sprinters), lacrosse and weightlifters just to mention some of the more common sports.

These considerations are important for enhancing sports performance, identifying the true needs of the athlete and taking the steps to keep them healthy in the process.

Take a listen and learn more!

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-specificity-in-your-training-plan-matters/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-value-of-in-season-training-for-athletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/athletes-do-not-need-balance-to-be-successful/

https://gallagherperformance.com/gallagher-performance-training-how-we-are-different/

 

Ultimate Runner's Guide to Injury Prevention

Running season is fast approaching. Spring and summer have a host of events from marathons, to half marathons, to triathlons, to various course races. Many have likely already started their training. And then of course we can’t forget those who will simply take up running in hopes of shedding unwanted body weight for the summer.

Whether you are taking up running to become healthier and lose weight, to qualify for Boston, or if you have your eyes set on crossing a race off your bucket list, your routine training will either build you toward your goal or you will be bogged down with nagging injury after nagging injury.

When you consider that 65-80% of runners will sustain an injury during the running season, clearly there is something that needs addressed to help runners cut down their chances of being sidelined or having recurrent issues during their training.

If there is one thing that most people know about me is that I’m not a distance runner. I’ll make that disclaimer up front. Never been a distance or endurance athlete and never will be. I live in the power-speed world of athletics. However, as a former hockey player and strength athlete, one of favorite past times and off-season training methods was (and still is) sprints.

Between my background as a chiropractic rehabilitation specialist as well as personal and professional experience in speed development, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to build a body that is resilient to the demands of running/sprinting rather than breaking down. And at Gallagher Performance we have developed a reputation for not only building speed demons, but keeping their body healthy and ready in the process.

So what gives? Why is someone like me writing an article about running?

The name of the game in athletics is physical preparation and the same can be said of distance running. Unfortunately there seems to be a misunderstanding in that one only needs to run to be successful at running. While this may be true for some, there are numerous others who simply cannot solely rely on running in order to be prepared to run. Simply just running to be ready to run is an oversimplification of arguably the most complex human movement.

If that sounds ridiculous or confusing, let me explain my logic.

Most runners will eventually encounter their fair share of aches, pains, strains and overuse injuries. Plantar fasciitis, shin splints, tendonitis, stress fractures, runner’s knee, IT band syndrome and joint pain are common to the running community. Once training demands exceed what is one physically prepared for, this is where things start to go south.
These conditions may be present for a number of reasons, including any of the following:

  • Sharp increases in training volume
  • Foot wear
  • Gait mechanics
  • Strength deficits
  • Joint dysfunction or fixations
  • Improper motor control of lower extremities and/or torso
  • Overtraining
  • Inadequate physical preparation
This article is not intended to address training theory or programming as it relates to preparation for an endurance event, foot wear or gait mechanics. What I want to address is the reality that one must be physically prepared for a specific event and this requires that a runner must possess the necessary prerequisites in movement as it relates to running.
And no, being physically prepared doesn’t mean being fit or having a certain level of fitness. Being physically prepared for a distance running event goes far beyond one’s aerobic fitness.

To get my point across, allow me to use the analogy of intelligence. One can be intelligent yet being prepared for an exam in Civil War History is another issue. Now one may take that exam and it could go very well or horribly bad, but it doesn’t change the fact that the individual is still intelligent. What it means is they were either prepared or unprepared for that specific exam.

So while one may be “fit”, it does not mean they are physically prepared for a specific physical event. Even if one lifts weights, bikes, and jogs on a regular basis it doesn’t mean they are ready for a marathon. And most understand this, as they will specifically prepare for a marathon by training for it over a number of weeks.

But what is one to do to make sure their body is ready for the demands of running other than simply running? I mean that’s all one needs to do right? Just get out there and put in the miles right?

Yes, you will have to put your time in on the road or track. That’s a given. But there are also other considerations to make beyond the traditional means of endurance training (see this article here - 2 Common Misconceptions in Endurance Training).

The reality is running is tremendously demanding on the body and it’s even more so from a distance standpoint because of the need for far greater precision in running form, mechanics and motor control of the feet, ankles, hips and torso.

The need for strength and precision in movement control for the distance runner should make training strength and precision in movement control a high priority. This skill of awareness or proprioceptive ability can be trained through exercise. And this brings us to the heart of the article – ensuring you are physically prepared for running. Ensuring that your feet/ankles, hips and torso are more resilient against the cumulative physical demands of running.

Understand that I realize, like any competitive athlete, the cumulative trauma of the competitive season adds up and it is a challenge to stay 100% healthy. There are a number of variables that go into keeping one healthy. The hope is that through this article you gain an understanding of how training and maintaining certain physical abilities through specific exercises will not only help to offset what your body endures on the road, but make it more resilient as well.

The following exercises will serve to build the physical foundation that will help one stay healthier during training and the competitive running season, thus making sure your physical preparation meets or exceeds training demands.

1. Respiration with Trunk Stabilization
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxONX_8ZGkI[/embed]

2. McGill Side Bridge
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJhqDATf5_k[/embed]

3. Low Oblique Bridge with Hip Differentiation
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXc7wr3oBkY[/embed]

4. Single Leg Balance & Swaps
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exz8f-ngKPM[/embed]

5. Pallof Press
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-0HIVP5ZQA[/embed]

6. Plank Progressions
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKWc4XJ9xKI[/embed]

7. Box Squat
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJh3xyMWj7g[/embed]

8. Romanian Deadlift
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4Mk6OEE2RQ[/embed]

9. Lunge Matrix
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGdmImUcQFw[/embed]

10. Power-Speed Drills
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti5-hTsOC-8[/embed]

That's a Wrap
While this list is far from comprehensive, it will serve as a general template to help runners to address basic physical prerequisites needed to stay healthy and train with minimal risk of setbacks. This is general template for physical preparation of a runner. Remember, like any athlete, physical preparation serves as your foundation as a runner. Take time to develop your physical preparation. Take time to develop your strength and movement control as it will allow you to get more out of training and keep your body healthy in the process.

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/

A POWERFUL, INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO IMPROVING HOW THE BODY FUNCTIONS

The Gallagher Performance approach will improve the way your body moves and functions.
Simple yet effective changes to improperly functioning muscles and joints will allow the body to make immediate shifts toward working as a functional unit. Thus reducing pain and enabling higher levels of strength, speed, and power with greater resilience.

The results are incredible. Time and time again, our patients and athletes quickly change from a state of pain and tension, to a state of relaxation primed for performance. This all comes back to assessment and knowledge. When we do the right thing, the body responds immediately.

The methods used at Gallagher Performance are utilized internationally by elite athletes, sports teams, and health practitioners. Not only are we able to efficiently and effectively treat injuries and enhance sports performance, our methods are also powerful tools for stress management, quickly breaking common patterns of movement dysfunction related to chronic pain. The methods have international recognition and no provider, therapist, or trainer in the Pittsburgh area has the training and background in these methods that Gallagher Performance offers, making us truly unique.
HOW DOES THE GP SYSTEM WORK?
Our body is designed to breathe and move. In order to breathe and move, our body finds ways to accomplish these tasks, and it’s willing to do so in efficient or inefficient ways. Our breathing and movement can develop compensation patterns or “key dysfunctions” that become the target of successful musculoskeletal treatment.

These compensation patterns cannot be ignored, as they put us at risk of poor sport performance, tension, or pain. Our body’s ability to overcome the stress of life can result in reduced movement quality and energy levels. Measurable reductions in stability, strength, power, mobility, and stamina are often the result. Our body becomes less resilient, increasing the chance for fatigue and breakdown.

If you experience a traumatic event or injury, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Post injury, you’ll notice the slow and gradual decline in energy, function, and performance. Compensations begin to manifest in order for us to avoid pain and accomplish daily tasks. The result may range from noticeable decline in energy, to impaired function of muscles and joints, to chronic pain which long outlasts the initial injury.
It is almost inevitable nowadays for the majority of us to experience the effects that stress, injury, and/or compensation has on the human body. And it can be simple to reverse those effects when you focus on what your body needs to regain ideal function.
The system at Gallagher Performance starts by testing how your body is currently functioning, so that changes can be clearly measured. This is accomplished through evaluating joint restriction, muscle activation and strength, and functional patterns of movement.

Once compensations are identified, we target “zones” to help activate the body to perform better. These “zones” can be a specific muscle, group of muscles, joints, or a combination.

Once we activate, we have to integrate. In order to do this, we run through the body’s movement patterns, testing and activating along the way to enable muscles and joints to regain their ideal function. Then through cueing and exercise, the brain can integrate improved patterns of movement, allowing you to move effectively and efficiently.

A body that moves better has less stress and less pain, allowing you to work at greater capacity and with greater energy.
That doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be indestructible for the rest of your days. That would be too good to be true. After all, it you enjoy being active and testing your body’s limits, you are going to feel it. Our movement patterns need reminding and that’s why we use targeted home exercises to help the body reinforce ideal function and keep compensations from returning.

The methods and techniques used at Gallagher Performance are proven to be effective in getting people out of pain and elevating performance. We truly offer unique, powerful tools for control over your own health and performance.
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/chiropractic-rehab-dns-treatment/

https://gallagherperformance.com/tendinitis-changing-treatment-and-improving-recovery/

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

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: Overtraining a Myth?

This short video discusses the reality of overtraining as it relates to human performance when it matters most. Overtraining is not a myth. Learn more here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyYQEVO7QOI

Sports, Training, and Life After

When it comes to writing and keeping up a blog, demands of life and business can make it challenging to find time to sit down and put some good thought into something you hope your readers will either find a degree of value or connection with in reading. Sometimes the best inspiration for writing comes through simple conversation. In this case, I was having a conversation with a parent that generated some thought that got me to thinking I should sit and put my thoughts down.

Knowing some of the physical ailments I deal with on a regular basis from sports, this particular parent of one of our athletes asked me, “Would you do it all again?”

Essentially their implied question being, “Was it worth it?”

Easy answer. I said, “Yes.”

The sports of ice hockey, powerlifting, and Strongman have provided me numerous friendships, lessons, memories, and helped shaped how I approach life. I would never change that.

Keep in mind, while some injuries I sustained playing hockey were severe, what I deal with to this day is relatively minor compared to other athletes.

In fact, while I did sustain injuries during sport participation, I received just as many injuries and set backs in the weight room or in training. This is what I would have changed the most. I would want to go back to change my training habits and attitude when I was in high school and college.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, I was fully invested in training for hockey and had minimal resources. The Internet did not provided the amount of information it has today. I was using magazines or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding to find guidance on what to do when it came to working out and lifting weights. There was truly a lack of training info out there. Similar to most kids my age, reading over the monthly Muscle and Fitness was the closest thing we had to authority on all things bigger and stronger.

There were no seminars. No YouTube tutorials. No blogs or online forums. No ebooks. These didn't exist as a reference to help young, aspiring athletes guide their understanding of training.

Books on training were just as hard to find. As a kid, I absolutely hated to read books. But I had one exception. I loved reading autobiographies on athletes I looked up to. Athletes like Jerry Rice, Herschel Walker, Jaromir Jagr, and Mario Lemieux.

At times, these athletes would discuss what types of workouts they did growing up or still performed in the offseason. I recall reading that Jerry Rice, as a kid, would run after horses to get faster. During his career as the greatest receiver in NFL history, Jerry Rice was well known for always coming into the season in phenomenal condition from brutal offseason workouts. Herschel Walker did 1,000 push-ups per day and was an absolute force on the football field. Jaromir Jagr did 1,000-2,000 bodyweight squats per day as a kid growing up in the Czech Republic and he attributed that to the speed and strength on the puck which made him the arguably the greatest European-born player in NHL history.

At 14, I remember being obsessed with what highly successful athletes did as young kids and I put it all down on paper, writing up my own workouts based on what they did. Lots of bodyweight squats, push-ups, running hills and biking for miles.

So I got to work. I biked 11 miles around my hometown on some days. Others I would run a hilly 3-mile course. And everyday I did bodyweight squats and push-ups, working up to eventually doing 2,000-2,500 squats and 400 push-ups within 75-90 minutes. Plus, my brothers and I would just go outside and play for hours. Didn’t matter what it was. We just played for fun.

I got my first weight set and bench around that same time and took on more of a bodybuilding focus thanks to Arnold and Muscle and Fitness.

The mentality was pushing yourself as hard as you can. More was better. Soreness meant you were doing something right. Complete exhaustion or puking meant you had a good conditioning workout. This was my mentality through high school and into college. I figured if it worked for some of the best athletes on the planet, it surely had to work for me.

The problem became I wasn't getting much bigger or much stronger. Sure there were initial benefits during the early years. See when you are young; if you show up, train hard and keep adding weight to the bar, it works! It works so well that it’s what I figured I could keep doing. But what no one ever told me was it only works for so long. You eventually reach a point of diminishing returns.

At a certain point, I had to seek out the help of a sports-trainer and that was hard to find back in 2000. My brother and I were heading into 12th grade and had a big showcase tournament coming up that summer. My dad was able to track down a guy for my brother and I to train with in preparation for that tournament. Under his guidance and direction, I was able to see improvements in size, strength, and speed that I was unable to achieve on my own.

What did he do for me that I couldn’t figure out on my own?

He knew that I needed to get more explosive, more dynamic, better conditioned for my sport. What I didn't understand is that sometimes success from things you have done in the past is the worst indicator of what should be done next.

Lesson learned.

Then I think back on my college hockey career and the years I have spent competing as a strength athlete in both powerlifting and Strongman. The muscle imbalances and movement restrictions that started to creep in because of poorly structured training programs. There were plenty more lessons I learned about intelligent training structure and program design from a number of various injuries and setbacks.

Hockey, Powerlifting, and Strongman have all influenced me somehow from a training perspective. I wouldn't change anything about participating in these sports; I would change my preparation for them.

I feel bad for kids these days. I feel they have it worse then my generation. They have been duped into thinking they will be better athletes from participating in one sport. They are being sold speed ladders, specialty camps, and mass marketing fitness trends. I grew up with out any experts, now kids today are growing up with “experts” everywhere. They are being robbed of the option of playing multiple sports by coaches who demand their involvement in one sport throughout the calendar year. They are forced into specialization too early. And when it finally is time to specialize, they have no base of athleticism or strength because those attributes have been ignored due to lack of free play. You can’t build upon a poorly established base and that is why youth sport injuries are continually on the rise. I share the opinion that this is why the fastest growing surgery is pediatric.

So to answer the question of a concerned parent, don't be concerned about the game or the sport or whatever your kid chooses. You should be concerned about the lack of free play, the lack of movement and variability, the lack of smart training. Take interest in that. I believe this to be the important part.

More related reading:

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

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

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

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

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
 

Quotes and Insights From Buddy Morris, Strength Coach of the Arizona Cardinals

Buddy Morris is the Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Buddy has a way of telling it like it is, not shying away from speaking his mind when it’s against popular cultural opinion within the world of sports performance training. I was fortunate enough to learn form a mentor of mine, Dr. Mike O’Donnell, who worked under Buddy at the University of Pittsburgh.

To this day, I enjoy reading and learning anything I can from Buddy. I have come to learn that when Buddy speaks, you should listen.

Why?

You are going to learn something.

Below is just a short collection of his thoughts that I have provided me with some insight into what it takes to better yourself as someone who works with developing young athletes.

Buddy Morris on the current state of the personal training and sports performance industry:
“(Personal training in the private sector) is one of those professions that’s about who you know, not what you know. If it was about what you know, there’d be a lot of guys on the street right now.”
“These days, everyone is looking for the top secret program and the “easy way” to lose weight, get in shape or become a better athlete. Here’s the secret: THERE IS NO SECRET! It’s all about things like commitment, effort, dedication, perseverance and WORK! You think that might be why it’s referred to as, “working out”?”
“It’s also become ridiculous with the athletic population. Every guru is out there trying to sell his miracle top-secret never-seen-before program to make you a super athlete. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times; “a good coach gets a lot done and goes a long way without gadgets, gimmicks or toys to enhance performance.”
Buddy Morris on the qualities of a great coach:
“The best coaches are the ones that can make adjustments.”
“The real magic will be in how you make adjustments on training day and use your heighten powers of observation and problem solving to make the training optimal on the training day.”
“Training readiness: The maximum amount of stress the body can handle or tolerate at any given time will fluctuate on a daily, hourly, and minutely basis.”
Buddy Morris on the importance of continual learning and development:
“I am far from an expert and I still have a lot to learn even after more than 3 decades in my profession.”
This is a personal favorite of mine just because there are far too many people marketing themselves as THE expert. The best trainers and coaches are humble and they are always trying to develop their craft. They don’t believe they know it all, so they actively pursue more knowledge. Buddy Morris more than gets this and it's exactly why several other coaches learn from his example.

More related reading:

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

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.

 

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/

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