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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/

What Makes a Sports Rehabilitation Chiropractor?

Chiropractors have traditionally been known for treating patients suffering from acute or chronic pain related to the neck and back. Chiropractic treatment that involves spinal manipulation is regarded as a standard for treatment of cervical spine (neck) pain and acute lower back pain. Not only is it safe, but it has also shown tremendous health benefits for improving range of motion and reducing pain in patients during the rehabilitation process.

However, chiropractors are also capable of helping patients rehab and recover from injuries suffered in an accident or sports. The role chiropractors play in rehabilitation and sports medicine has grown substantially in the last 10 years. Almost all professional sports teams in North America utilize chiropractic services because of the recognition chiropractors has received in their ability to help athletes perform at their highest possible level. Apart from this, many rehabilitation clinics include chiropractic care as part of the services offered to patients.

Consider for a moment that the Managing Director for Sports Medicine for the United States Olympic Committee is Dr. Bill Moreau....a chiropractor!

Holding a position as a sports rehabilitation chiropractor is growing in popularity and, just like an athlete, a sports rehabilitation chiropractor must possess many tools or skills to be both effective and efficient in treating patients who are active and athletic.

Below is a list out 5 critical elements you should find when looking for a chiropractor who will be capable of treating you from a rehabilitation or sports injury perspective. Consider that these are not simply just my opinion, but rather this list has been compiled based on the insight of several of my colleagues and mentors, their clinical experience, as well as my own clinical experience.

  1. Palpation & Adjusting Skills. The heart of chiropractic is the ability to assess, diagnose and treat (heal) with our hands. Our hands truly are the greatest diagnostic tool available to us. I've had people say to me that what I do as a chiropractor is "easy" and that "anyone can adjust". There is some truth to that. Adjusting is easy. You can make a joint "pop" real easy. The challenging part is palpation and finding exactly what joint needs corrected, what motions are limited, and determine exactly how you will adjust the dysfunctional joint(s). Palpation is a skill and takes years to refine. You would be wise to find a sports rehabilitation chiropractor who is very skilled with their hands and capable of determining appropriate application of chiropractic adjustments.
  2. Functional Approach to Evaluation and Treatment. The use of functional evaluations is another critical skill of the sports rehabilitation chiropractor. The ability to assess movement and identify hidden causes to injury and pain become invaluable to helping patients find relief and optimize performance. If your chiropractor isn't taking time to assess your movement and helping identify how it may be playing a role in your pain or injury, you may be miss reasons why your pain is recurrent or why you just can't seem to get better.
  3. Functional Rehabilitation. A sports rehabilitation chiropractor should incorporate rehabilitation and active care into your treatment plan. Almost every case involving muscle or joint pain requires some level of strengthening exercise progression and education. The functional approach to rehabilitation includes identifying joint dysfunction, muscular imbalances, trigger points, and faulty movement patterns. These are often the hidden causes of injury. Observing how a patient moves and functions allows us to identify improper movement patterns that become contributors to pain and poor sport performance. By placing an emphasis on strategies to improve movement and function, functional rehabilitation is effective in improving qualities of endurance, strength, stability, balance, agility, coordination, and body awareness.
  4. Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) and Vojta Therapy. DNS and Vojta Therapy are advanced approaches used to not only treat a variety of neuromuscular conditions but also used by athletes worldwide to elevate performance. By applying principles and techniques rooted in the study of child development, DNS and Vojta Therapy aim to improve and restore the activation ideal movement patterns. These techniques are used to promote the ideal postures, movements, and degree of body awareness that is essential not only to athleticism, but to also treating the underlying causes of several pain syndromes that are commonly treated by sports rehabilitation chiropractors.
  5. Myofascial Release & Manual Therapy Techniques. Myofascial release targets adhesions that develop either within a single muscle or between adjacent muscles and other forms of connective tissue such as fascia, tendons and ligaments. Sports rehabilitation chiropractors commonly use myofascial release & manual therapy techniques such as cross friction massage, active release, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, muscle activation, PIR, and PNF. Many athletes and patients experience accumulative or overuse trauma (ex: plantar fasciitis due to running or carpal tunnel syndrome due to prolonged computer/desk work). The goal becomes to work a muscle to remove adhesions and restore neuromuscular function to decrease pain while increasing range of motion, strength, and coordination of movement.
 
More related reading:

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

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

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

Understanding Concussions and How Chiropractors Can Help

In light of recent news from the Pittsburgh Penguins regarding Sidney Crosby sustaining another concussion during practice last Friday, the hockey community is a buzz. Crosby’s concussion history is well documented of recent, having sustained three in less than six years. Discussions and speculations of what this means for Crosby's season, and even career, are populating the Internet and sports talk shows.

Despite the advances in sports medicine as it relates to concussion diagnosis, management, and return to play guidelines, concussions remain a challenging condition for all involved.

The reality is concussions are truly challenging. Despite measures to "prevent concussions", concussions are not preventable. There is no such thing as concussion prevention. There is no single piece of equipment, be it a helmet or mouth guard, that is capable of preventing a concussion. Rather than prevention, the focus is on minimizing concussion rates through proper identification, management, and education.

Consider that within the United States, there are over 300,000 sport-related concussions per year and research suggests concussion rates are on the rise. If your child is in contact sports, there’s a risk of concussion. Thus making this is an extremely relevant conversation and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. That said, the goal of this article is to offer insights into what a concussion is, how they should be managed, and the chiropractors potential role in the process.

What is a concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury defined as a short-lived loss of brain function due to trauma that resolves spontaneously. With a concussion, there is no structural damage to the brain. Simply put, only brain function is altered.

Encased within the the skull, the brain floats in a pool of fluid, known as cerebrospinal fluid. These protections allow the brain to withstand many of the minor injuries that occur in day-to-day life. However, if there is sufficient force to cause the brain to bounce against the bones of the skull, then there is potential for injury. It is the impact of the brain against the inside of the skull that cause the brain to be injured and interrupt its function. This impact is often due to rapid acceleration and deceleration movements of the head and neck. Rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head and neck can be created from a direct blow to the head or from impact that results in whiplash injury common in motor vehicle accidents and falls.

How are concussions diagnosed and treated?
First and foremost, anyone suspected of having a brain injury should seek evaluation by a neurologist trained in concussion evaluation.

The signs and symptoms of concussion may be obvious or very subtle. Most concussions are sustained without the individual losing consciousness or "blacking out". In several cases, the individual may not be aware they have sustained a concussion or may not connect their symptoms with a head injury. Complicating the picture is the fact that some individuals may have delayed onset of their symptoms, not presenting with concussion symptoms for several hours or days after the initial injury.

Typical symptoms of concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling “foggy”
  • Poor recall or memory of recent events
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Slower reaction times
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Low tolerance of bright lights or loud sounds
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as being unable to sleep or sleeping more
 
In some cases, chiropractors can be the first point of access for individuals who recently sustained a head or neck injury, such as those occurring in sports, car accident or fall. Chiropractors, especially ones who are certified by the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board, regularly manage athletes who suffer sports injuries, such as concussions, and are trained in proper diagnosis and understand the importance of referral for additional medical evaluation. Gallagher Performance offers such quality in their chiropractic services and has been part of the co-managment team in a number of concussion cases.

An effective tool chiropractors may use to assess the severity of a concussion is called the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2). The SCAT2 is used to evaluate, assess, and manage concussions in athletes 10 years and older with the end goal of safely returning the athlete back to the sport.

How are concussions treated and what is the Chiropractors role?
After evaluation, rest is the best treatment. Depending on severity, most symptoms resolve relatively quickly while treatment is directed at symptom control for headaches, nausea, dizziness, and sleep problems. Rest does not simply mean physical rest. Brain rest is equally important as physical rest. Exposure to television, computers, and smartphones and other devices can stimulate the brain and aggravate symptoms. Limiting use of those devices may be helpful in allowing the brain to recover more quickly. Brain rest may also involve student-athletes being held out of the classroom and encouraged not to read, study, or taking exams as this mental effort can aggravate symptoms and possibly delay healing.

When it comes to management and, for athletes, return to play guidelines, often a team of medical professionals are involved. Chiropractors may find themselves as part of this co-management team.

Chiropractors may not be the first medical professional you imagine when it comes to concussion management and treatment, but sport and rehabilitation chiropractors are trained to support the patient during the recovery process. Largely this is due to their focus on treating spinal joint dysfunction present in the head or neck, myofascial techniques to restore muscular and connective tissue function, and sensory-motor based exercise protocols to restore ideal neuromuscular function. For further consideration, two recent literature reviews outlined how chiropractors can effectively manage athletes with concussions (1,2).

Ultimately, the brain will recover at it’s own pace. For athletes, return to play guidelines are established to ensure they are safe to return to sport competition. This involves the close observation of the athlete to ensure no symptoms are present during gradual exposure to increased cardiovascular demands all the way to more intensive and sport-specific measures.

Dear Patient, Be Patient
While 80 - 90% of individuals who suffer a concussion will recover within 7 - 10 days, some will experience symptoms for weeks or months. The length of recovery is not necessarily related to the extent of the initial injury.

Employers or school officials should be informed of the concussion diagnosis and aware of potential issues of poor performance due to difficulty with concentration and comprehension. Return to sport is fully dependent upon complete resolution of concussion symptoms and this decision should come from the neurologist overseeing care. Remember to be patient. The brain is a delicate structure and will heal with time. Don’t rush your recovery process. Returning too quickly can put you at increased risk for worsening your previous condition. Let the brain recover and reboot.

Gallagher Performance has extensive training and experience in evaluation and co-management of patients and athletes who have sustained a concussion. Our experience allows us to assist in providing gold standard care when it comes to concussions.

This blog post was written by Sean Gallagher, DC, DACRB, PES
To schedule your appointment, call (724) 875-2657.

References
Johnson, C.D., et al. Chiropractic and concussion in sport: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2013 (12):216-229.
Shane, E.R., et al. Sports Chiropractic management of concussions using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 symptom scoring, serial examinations, and graded return to play protocol: a retrospective case series. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2013 (12): 252-9.
 
 

The Benefits of Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation, also known as Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy, is an effective and efficient way to improve joint mechanics, reduce pain, improve mobility, and facilitate the acquisition of improved movements patterns when implemented strategically into treatment plans.

Yet the benefits of spinal manipulation, or chiropractic care in general, is still met with skepticism.

We are so far past establishing that there is evidence supporting spinal manipulation. Rather, we are moving in the direction of how to best establish the use of spinal manipulation in the management of specific musculoskeletal conditions and pain syndromes. The fact is that there are so many studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses done on spinal manipulation that a Medline search would be overwhelming to discuss.

The evidence is well summed up by a review of international low back pain guidelines. Over the last 10 years, 12 countries have done critical reviews of the scientific literature concerning low back pain. The international consensus is that the evidence supports chiropractic spinal manipulation as an effective tool in managing low back pain, and therefore is included in the recommendations.

However, the benefits of spinal manipulation do not begin and end with back pain. There are numerous benefits to spinal manipulation that make chiropractic care an invaluable addition to one’s health related or athletic pursuits. Below is just a short list.

  1. Joint pain relief - The most obvious benefit is relief of pain. Chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) can almost instantly relieve pain experienced in the low back, mid-back, neck, and extremities and has demonstrated this in research.
  2. Disc Bulge/Sciatica - The European Spine Journal published the findings from a clinical trial with chiropractic manipulative therapy showing 72% success rate in treating sciatica and associated symptoms. Disc bulges respond favorably to spinal manipulation techniques which focus on resorting joint mechanics and unloading the intervertebral discs.
  3. Headaches (tension and migraine) – There are hundreds of peer reviewed research articles demonstrating the ability spinal manipulation to prevent and ease the burden of headaches and migraines.
  4. Blood Pressure - In 2007, a team of researchers published a study in the Human Journal of Hypertension demonstrating that one upper cervical chiropractic adjustment had the same effect as two blood pressure-lowering drugs. Those effects were not simply short-term, they lasted more than six months.
  5. Surgery Prevention - The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published its low back pain guidelines and suggested that people suffering from back pain first try chiropractic before resorting to surgery. When appropriate, a growing number of physicians and specialists are recommending patients pursue conservative management of musculoskeletal conditions and pain syndromes before surgical intervention. The majority of these patients avoid surgery as they respond extremely well to conservative management via chiropractic care, physical therapy, or a combination.
  6. Athletic Performance - There is a reason why countless professional and Olympic athletes receive regular chiropractic care. The physiologic and neurologic benefit of spinal manipulation is super charged when used in a comprehensive care plan to address pain and dysfunction. Simply stated, muscles just work better when proper joint motion is restored via manipulative therapy. Athletes thrive on proprioception and motor responses from sensory input. Proprioception and motor response all improve from spinal manipulation. Coupled with exercises to facilitate motor skill acquisition, the short-term responses from spinal manipulation eventually become long-term improvements in movement quality and efficiency.
Based on my knowledge and experience as a sports performance and rehabilitation chiropractor, I’ve seen some surprising improvements with pain, joint proprioception and overall movement quality due to chiropractic spinal manipulation. When appropriately indicated, I regularly use spinal manipulation for reducing joint pain, improving joint mechanics, reducing muscle tension, and improving movement.

As stated above, spinal manipulation is a power tool that can be used within a comprehensive treatment plan. These treatment plans often utilize a variety of approaches that emphasize soft tissue work, guided exercises to improve stabilization and movement patterns, and patient education. These combined approaches serve as a “gold standard” for successful management and treatment of a number of musculoskeletal conditions.

To learn more about chiropractic and how it can be a benefit to your health or athletic goals, please contact our office at (724) 519-2833.

More related reading:

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-solution-for-chronic-back-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/low_back_pain_causes_and_treatment_recommendations/

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/

Before You Go To A Chiropractor, Read This First

Imagine a world where patients get the advise, education, and treatment they need. Imagine doctors who:

  • Make sense of what a patients says
  • Know exactly what a patient needs
  • Confidently provide gold standard advice and treatment interventions
This world is obtainable, but it must first begin with better quality, order and structure to our thinking patterns. One of the fundamental challenges with healthcare is that the human body is amazingly complex and adaptive. In response to the complex nature of dealing with the human body, doctors and therapists may have the tendency to routinely provide services that serve their own skill set better than appropriately addressing the patient's needs. Often times this leaves both the patient frustrated with lack of response to care.

Improving the Quality of Physical Medicine Care
The last 15 years have been great for musculoskeletal healthcare. There are several new treatment procedures and we have developed a deeper understanding of how the body works and how it breaks down. This has had tremendous impact on the world of physical medicine care, and chiropractic profession is no exception. The advancement of musculoskeletal care education has fueled a growing speciality within the chiropractic profession, sports injury & rehabilitation.

While physical therapy is often the first choice for medical doctor referrals in rehabbing an exercise or sports-related injury, there is a growing trend among athletes and individuals who enjoy an active lifestyle to turn to sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractors.

You may be thinking, “I thought chiropractors were only good for treating low back and neck pain and headaches.”
Just like the medical profession, there are many areas of specialty in chiropractic. Those who specialize as a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor have undergone the traditional education on joint manipulation or adjustments. However, in addition to their core curriculum, sports injury & rehabilitation complete hundreds of hours in continuing education learning about exercise and sport-related injuries, manual therapy, and functional rehabilitation methods.

What's so special about a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor?
Chiropractors who utilize a sports injury & rehabilitation approach incorporate joint mobilization/manipulation, soft-tissue treatments, various manual therapies, and functional rehabilitation techniques to provide a gold standard of care in treatment for individuals with exercise and sport-related injuries.

If you choose to visit a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor, you can expect a comprehensive examination before treatment begins. These examinations generally include:
  • A detailed history, orthopedic and neurologic examination, and functional based examination to create a working diagnosis.
  • Functional based examination to focus on the spine, shoulders, hips and feet, as these joints and their respective functions serve as the "key joints" of the human body.
  • Joint and muscle palpation to assess the quality of your joint movement, trigger points, and muscular imbalances.
Once the examination is completed, we want to discuss your specific goals in order to create a customized treatment plan for your road to recovery. The more accurately we assess, the more accurately we can apply treatment. Four types of treatment used at Gallagher Performance for exercise and sports-related injuries are:
  1. CHIROPRACTIC MANIPULATIVE THERAPYGallagher Performance provides the latest techniques, including joint manipulation (adjusting), designed to treat musculoskeletal complaints. The purpose of joint manipulation is to release restricted joints of the body, primarily in the spine and extremities. Joint commonly become restricted as a response to poor posture, imbalanced muscle activity, and/or trauma. By releasing a restricted joint through manipulation, improvements in the quality of motion of the joint are gained that may not be possible with exercise or other interventions. Manipulation also serves to reduce pain and relax tight muscles.
  2. FUNCTIONAL REHABILITATIONIn addition to providing relief through manipulative therapy and treating muscular adhesions, it can prove to be incredibly valuable to identify the source of a patient’s symptoms. The functional approach to rehabilitation includes identifying joint dysfunction, muscular imbalances, trigger points, and faulty movement patterns. These are often the hidden causes of injury. Observing how a patient moves and functions allows us to identify improper movement patterns that become contributors to pain and poor sport performance. By placing an emphasis on strategies to improve movement and function, functional rehabilitation is effective in improving qualities of endurance, strength, stability, balance, agility, coordination, and body awareness.
  3. DYNAMIC NEUROMUSCULAR STABILIZATION (DNS)By applying principles and techniques rooted in the study of child development, DNS aims to improve activation and neural control of muscles and ideal movement patterns. DNS promotes the ideal postures, movements, and degree of body awareness that is essential not only to athleticism, but to also treating the underlying causes of several pain syndromes.
  4. MYOFASCIAL RELEASEGallagher Performance offers a number of soft tissue approaches to treat painful or tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments. We have extensive training in identifying and treating muscular adhesions that compromise quality of motion and contribute to pain symptoms or reduced sports performance. Many overuse or repetitive use conditions respond well to treatment of soft-tissue structures, including back pain, shoulder pain, shin splints, runner’s knee (IT band syndrome), and plantar fasciitis.
If you have any questions or have been struggling with pain related to your activities, exercise or sport, Gallagher Performance offers customized treatment plans to get you our of pain and performing better.

To schedule your appointment, call (724) 519.2833

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/options-dont-take-insurance/

https://gallagherperformance.com/powerful-innovative-approach-improving-body-functions/

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

Welcome to Gallagher Performance

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

Hi. I’m Dr. Sean Gallagher. Welcome to Gallagher Performance. I’d like to tell you about what we have to offer and why it might be a right fit for you to come check us out.

We offer chiropractic, functional rehabilitation, massage therapy, nutritional programs, as well as sports performance and personal training programs.

To begin with, my approach to chiropractic is different from what most have come to expect or have experienced in the past. As a chiropractor, my focus is on returning you to proper function and teaching you what you can do to keep pain from returning. Rather than spending 5 minutes with my patients, I usually spend 30 -60 minutes.

New patient evaluations are an hour long, as this allows me the opportunity to listen and understand their history as well as their desired goals and outcomes from treatment. All new patients receive a neurological and functional-based evaluation as this serves to create a working diagnosis and treatment plan recommendations.

Our functional-based evaluation and treatment plans are focused on looking at how you move so I can figure out strategies to help you move better and ultimately help you understand what could be causing your pain and what you can do to keep it from returning. The process is truly focused on you as the patient and your desired outcomes.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments or manipulations, I perform soft tissue treatments to improve the integrity and function of the muscular system. Massage therapy is offered here as well as it is extremely effective in treating painful or tight muscles and assisting in the healing process. Additional rehabilitation work focuses on improving movement qualities such as endurance, strength, stability, balance, agility, coordination, and body awareness.

When it comes to training, Gallagher Performance is all about individualizing the training process. That’s because we understand each person responds differently to training due to a multitude of factors that must be accounted for. We take time to understand your injury history, training experience, primary sport(s) played, and several other factors. Regardless of whether training occurs in a private or semi-private setting, clients are all closely coached through the entirety of their program to maximize results. This is what separates us and makes us unique from area competitors.

So if you’re looking to improve your performance, whether in sports, the achievement of your health and fitness pursuits, or you just need a tune-up to get your body feeling better, whatever the reason, come see us at Gallagher Performance. We are committed to you achieving your health and fitness goals and would love to be of service to you. Thank you.

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]

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

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization: Advancing Therapy & Performance

Here at Gallagher Performance we not only strive to provide the best in chiropractic, rehabilitation and manual medicine treatments for our patients, but we also utilize comprehensive diagnostic methods and tools to help determine which treatment is best for you. This allows us to apply to most ideal therapeutic interventions. At GP, this could include any combination of the following: chiropractic manipulative therapy, manual therapy according to Lewit and Janda, Vojta Therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, neuromobilizations, and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS).

Despite many of our patients having previous experience with chiropractic or physical therapy, they are unfamiliar with DNS. Gallagher Performance specializes in DNS therapy. Dr. Gallagher has been studying and utilizing DNS since 2007. His extensive training and background allows him to provide a level of care that is unique to the Pittsburgh area.

Since DNS has implications in both physical rehabilitation and training, we spend a great deal of time educating our patients and clients on DNS and answering some frequency asked questions. With that in mind, the goal of this article is to help educate our readers about DNS and the significance this intervention has as it relates to pain or sports performance.

What is DNS therapy?
DNS is a revolutionary European approach in the treatment of back pain and several neuromuscular conditions. DNS therapy is based on the neuroplasticity of the Central Nervous System and targets the cause of pain/dysfunction rather than its manifestations. DNS therapy evokes ideal movement patterns by manual stimulation of developmental reflex zones and utilizes specific exercises to improve neuromuscular control. The therapeutic benefits become significantly expanded from previous standards of rehabilitation. Any one from infants to adolescents, chronic pain patients to athletes can all benefit from DNS therapy.

How does DNS compliment chiropractic adjustments?
DNS therapy favorably compliments traditional chiropractic adjustments in several ways. When patients may be apprehensive about receiving an aggressive or forceful chiropractic adjustment, DNS offers gentle, non-forceful, low velocity manipulation that is well tolerated and safe. For those that receive traditional chiropractic adjustments, DNS works in concert to normalize joint function and restore muscular balance, leading to more sustainable improvements in reduced pain and improved function.

Often times, symptom relief experienced from a chiropractic adjustment can be short-lived with symptoms returning rather quickly. In contrast, when DNS is applied in a chiropractic setting, the approach allows for longer-lasting symptom relief due to therapy’s ability to improve Central Nervous System (CNS) coordination and joint stability which is then maintained by performing prescribed home exercises.

DNS therapy simply enables a chiropractor to effectively treat and manage a broad range of musculoskeletal and neurological disorders. While traditional chiropractic may be limited in what can be done through chiropractic adjustments and passive modalities, DNS represents a powerful alternative to chiropractic care when dealing with pain syndromes and more complex structural pathologies where the effectiveness of traditional chiropractic is highly limited.

How is DNS therapy able to get me out of pain and moving better when other conservative therapies have failed?
The results achieved by DNS therapy are often difficult to achieve with traditional methods used by chiropractors and physical therapists due to the physiological phenomenon that occurs during treatment to minimize muscular imbalances, relieving painful protective muscle spasms, resulting in a more stable musculoskeletal system with improved spinal stability and postural awareness.

During DNS therapy, induced movements are controlled not locally, but by the higher levels of the Central Nervous System. This then results in faster and longer-lasting improvement in function and pain relief. When combined with exercise, the promotion of joint stability and ideal movement becomes habitual and independent of conscious effort.

How are DNS exercises different from traditional physical therapy or physical training exercises?
In the majority of physical therapy and chiropractic clinics, as well as in personal training settings, exercises are performed that simply train muscles in isolation. The patient who has shoulder pain and is only prescribed shoulder exercises illustrates this concept. The fault in strengthening weakened muscles through isolation training is that isolation training will fail to unify the painful or problematic joint with the entire locomotor system. Sure you can perform all the isolation exercises you wish, but this does not guarantee that the strength or coordination gained will automatically transform into adequate performance.

DNS exercises are applied in accordance with development kinesiology or essentially how we develop motor function during childhood. As we develop, reflexive movements (primitive, postural, locomotor) become more refined and coordinated, ultimately leading to specific movements we produce later in life such as walking, running, jumping, reaching, throwing, etc.

However, developing these skills does not happen magically. Learning to control the body and developing fundamental skills make up our motor milestones. These milestones mark critical points in our development and there is a progression that these milestones follow. This is known as developmental kinesiology. In simplistic terms, we need to be able to lift our head and support it, roll over, crawl, support ourselves upright, walk with assistance, and then walk without support.

The understanding of developmental kinesiology and critical motor milestones allows the provider to make exercise progressions and regressions during the course of therapy in order to appropriately address the underlying locomotor system dysfunction(s).

These exercises are applicable for patients with variety of acute and chronic conditions as well as for athletes who are trying to improve their performance and also prevent or rehabilitate injuries.

Often DNS exercises are conducted with active support from the clinician to insure that the patient maintains proper support and executes ideal movement. DNS exercises could include the use of stability balls or bands to further facilitate the desired response of the exercise. These exercises are not only used to improve the stability of the spine, muscle coordination, balance and strength, but also to increase the body’s awareness and sensory integration.

Conclusion
All of a sudden, conservative management and treatment of patients and training of athletes looks a lot different than what is traditional accepted.

DNS is not only a magnificent approach for preventing and rehabilitating pain syndromes in the movement system it is also becoming extremely popular in sports performance circles. The same ideal patterns that keep an individual out of pain also maximize the efficiency of the movements, which not only reduces risk of injury but improves performance.

When you consider the principles of DNS, it truly is not about what exercises we prescribe or what exercises we perform, but rather what we are actually getting from those exercises when we perform them that is important. DNS provides a system of evaluation and treatment which follows motor development, thus providing an effective way to help our patients get the most out of therapy and our clients get the most out of training.

Sources:
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization & Sports Rehabilitation, Frank C, Kobesova A, Kolar P. Int J Sports Phys Ther. , 2013 Feb;8(1):62-73.
A case study utilizing Vojta/Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization therapy to control symptoms of a chronic migraine sufferer, Juehring DD, Barber MR. J Bodyw Mov Ther, 2011 Oct;15(4):538-41.
Cerebellar function and hypermobility in patients with idiopathic scoliosis, Kobesova A, Drdakova L, Andel R, Kolar P. International Musculoskeletal Medicine. , 2013, 35(3): 99-105.
Effects of shoulder girdle dynamic stabilization exercise on hand muscle strength., Kobesova A, Dzvonik J, Kolar P, Sardina A, Andel R. Isokinetics and exercise Science. , 2015;23:21-32,
Developmental Kinesiology: Three Levels of Motor Control i the Assessment and Treatment of the Motor System. Kobesova A, Kolar P. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies., 2014;18(1):23-33.
The Prague School of Rehabilitation, Kobesova A, Osborne N. International Musculoskeletal Medicine, 2012;34(2):39-41.
Postural - Locomotion Function in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Disorders, Kolar P, Kobesova A. Clinical Chiropractic, 2010;13(1):58-68.
Analysis of Diaphragm Movement during Tidal Breathing and during its Activation while Breath Holding Using MRI Synchronized with Spirometry. Kolar P, Neuwirth J, Sanda J, Suchanek V, Svata Z, Volejnik J, Pivec M. Physiol Res, 2009;58(3):383-92.
Postural Function of the Diaphragm in Persons With and Without Chronic Low Back Pain. Kolar P, Sulc J, Kyncl M, Sanda J, Cakrt O, Andel R, Kumagai K, Kobesova A. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2012;42:352-362.
Stabilizing function of the diaphragm: dynamic MRI and synchronized spirometric assessment, Kolar P, Sulc J, Kyncl M, Sanda J, Neuwirth J, Bokarius AV, Kriz J, Kobesova A. J Appl Physiol. , 2012;42(4):352-62.
Importance of Developmental Kinesiology for Manual Medicine, Kolar P. translated from Czech Journal of Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, 1996;4:139-143.
Surgical treatment and motor development in patients suffering from cerebral palsy, Kolar P. Translated from Czech Journal of Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, 2001;8(4):165-168.
Long-Term Efficacy of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization in Treatment of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain, Bokarius AV, Bokarius V. 12th World Congress on Pain. Glasgow, Scotland. Aug 17-22, 2008. Presentation # PF225.
A case study utilizing spinal manipulation and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization care to enhance function of a post cerebrovascular accident patient, Oppelt M,Juehring D,Sorgenfrey G, Harvey PJ, Larkin-Thier SM. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies., 2014;18:17-22.
More related reading:

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

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/

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/

Learning Through Misconceptions

After the recent posting of Two Years at Gallagher Performance, we received a generous amount of positive feedback. You all are too kind and please know that we truly appreciate it. Along with your feedback, we received a number of messages from people wanting to know, "What have you learned?"

That question really got my mind going. Honestly, another year in business teaches you a great deal. Certainly a simple sentence or two would not be sufficient to answer the question.

All things considered, this past year has provided several friendly reminders of why we do what we do at GP. Some of the biggest lessons learned came in the form of routinely dispelling common misconceptions when it comes to owning and operating your own business in the competitive health and fitness/training industry.

So, for your entertainment, we present to you our thoughts on a few misconceptions that we routinely encounter.

Misconception #1 – We work “Banker’s Hours”
One of the biggest misunderstandings we have come across is that professionals in the fields of health or fitness work Monday-Friday, 9-5 or that they work minimal hours a day to operate and fulfill the needs of the business. In reality, owning your own small business is a 24/7, 365 days a year responsibility. When you are not handling daily business operations, you are either working countless hours answering emails and phone calls, programming for clients, filing necessary insurance paperwork, updating social media and blog content to creating an Internet presence, etc. When it’s all said and done, days can add up to 10-12 hours real quick. This becomes especially true during the peak seasons of spring/summer when our schedules fill up with high school and collegiate athletes.

People get into the health and fitness industry all the time because they claim how much they love it and that it’s their “passion”. Others get into to make a fast buck, never once realizing that it’s a job. It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job. You better love what you do because there are certainly easier ways to make more money while working less hours. With that said, we have learned over and over again that we love what we do.

Misconception #2 - Success Comes Quickly
Believing success comes quickly is another huge misconception, especially within the fitness industry. It seems as if no one wants to put in the real work. The honest, hard work earned through time. Earned through experience. Earned through the professional growth one gains by working with a number of clients of various backgrounds and developing a track record of success. The traditional approach to professional development appears to be old fashioned. Nowadays, newbies to the fitness industry would rather focus on growing their Facebook or Instagram following by creating the “appearance” of success rather than truly earning it. We have a small number of likes on our Facebook page and even fewer followers on Instagram, yet we continue to grow. We grow because of the track record of success we continue to develop, not because of some selfie posted online. If business success had anything to do with selfies and hashtags, we would have been finished long ago.

Similar to other successful businesses, our growth stems from putting in the work and building our business from the floor up. We did not build our business backwards by first creating a huge following while having little to no experience. Rather than focusing on creating a huge following, we prefer to focus on quality of service and building a track record of success, thankful that those who have worked with us are more than willing to tell others about our business. The process never goes as quickly as you'd wish, but there's more satisfaction in the climb than being at the top. We've learned that we love the process. We love the grind. We recognize that nothing meaningful ever came from quick and easy. Besides, the individuals hoping for "quick and easy" seem to be the ones who enter the industry and are out within a couple years. Likely because their "image" of success could not longer compensate for their mediocre results and what they lacked in knowledge and experience.

Misconception #3 – Knowledge Doesn’t Have Value
This misconception probably bothers us the most and it stems from the typical, “Let me pick your brain....” scenario. Keep in mind; we realize that being part of the health and fitness industry is about helping others by providing sound advice and guidance. Ryan and I both went into business realizing that we will be providing a lot of free advice, but there is a fine line that must be respected. The health and fitness industry is both knowledge and service based, so a genuine respect for one’s knowledge would be very much appreciated. I would argue that the industry is primarily knowledge-based, as services (program design, nutrition structure, etc.) are dependent upon knowledge. However, unlike services, It becomes difficult to attach value to knowledge.

When it comes to receiving advice, it’s as it people assume advice should be given away freely. After all, it’s just information, right? Wrong. We field so many questions on a regular basis from people who are ultimately looking for free information. They are looking for guidance from a knowledgeable individual, in hopes of better organizing their own training or nutrition for their self-betterment. Usually it goes a little like this, “Real quick, how would you structure my workouts or my eating/macros so I am able to achieve ABC goals” Quality, experienced coaches understand that there is no “quick” answer to this question. If you have respect for a coach/trainer, please have respect for their knowledge and appreciate the fact that it supports their livelihood. It’s how they earn a living; it’s what they get paid to do. Respect the fact that you are receiving knowledge from them and there is value attached to that. Don’t be a serial freeloader.

Wrap Up
Misconceptions can prove to be a great learning tool. We recognize that dealing with these common misconceptions and many others is a part of job. So let's hear from you. To our professional colleagues and friends in the health and fitness industry, what are some of the common misconceptions you encounter on a regular basis? We welcome your responsible replies and comments.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/are-you-promoting-independence/

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/

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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