Gallagher Performance Blog

Not All Trainers Are Created Equal

Not All Trainers Are Created Equal
The best performance coaches and trainers will always perform thorough and complete assessments before working with a new client. Assessments establish the foundation for success.

On the training side, this means your trainer takes you through movement screening, baseline performance tests, and takes time to understand your injury history. On the nutrition side, this means taking time to evaluate and understand a client’s current dietary habits and other variables such as their work/school schedule, primary objectives, food sensitivities, level of social support, willingness to change, and many more.

With that in mind, is this how the majority of trainers and even nutritionists go about their job? No.

Most coaches/trainers seriously lack detail in their assessments. We hear this all the time at GP during our initial assessments, even from clients who have used a number of trainers in the past. The level of detail and depth of evaluation raises curiosity and they ask, "Why has no one spent the time to do this before?"

This is a huge mistake. Quality assessments are the key to gaining real insight into what a client needs and form the ability to make critical coaching decisions. This is the point at which training ceases to be a science and becomes an art.

If you’re not put through comprehensive training or nutrition assessments before your first session, know that you deserve better than that.

Relief Care vs Regular Chiropractic Care

Many people say that once you start going to a chiropractor you have to go for life. They are afraid they are going to get locked into something for life when the same thing could be said for routine medical physicals, dental check-ups, and even regular exercise if you want to experience the benefits and take a preventative approach to your health.

When it comes to chiropractic care, patients may choose to be seen for a brief treatment period to help relieve a specific problem. They may choose to receive regular care because it helps them feel better. The patient always has the choice.

The reality is, there is a level of personal responsibility one must accept if they want to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and proper nutrition are arguably the two most important life-style changes one can make for themselves. The majority of the clients we see at GP initially are looking for exercise and/or nutritional programming. But once they experience massage or chiropractic care and what it can do for their body, their health, or their recovery, many opt for routine care. This is exactly why several top level athletes make regular massage, soft tissue treatment, and chiropractic a part of their recovery and maintenance program.

At GP, we strive to provide our clients and patients with the tools and knowledge they deserve so they are able to live active and healthy life-styles.

GP Nutrition Tip!

GP Nutrition Tip!


GP Nutrition Tip:

It's summer time and if you are like us, we love watermelon. Recent research has given one more reason to get some watermelon in your diet. Researchers studied watermelon juice and it's ability to help relieve muscle soreness in athletes. Now why would they do this? Watermelon is rich in the amino acid L-citrulline. L-citrulline is known for its excellent ability to reduce muscle soreness. The study used natural watermelon juice, l-citrulline enriched watermelon juice and a placebo. Guess what? The natural watermelon juice performed best since the bioavailability was greatest, meaning the body is able to use it best. Not surprising at all.

It is our opinion that watermelon is best served among friends and family with plenty of good old fashion home cooking.

SourceWatermelon Juice: Potential Functional Drink for Sore Muscle Relief in Athletes. J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Jul 29.

Word to the Wise - Maintaining a Regular Strength Training Schedule

Word to the Wise - Maintaining a Regular Strength Training Schedule


Properly structured and monitored in-season strength programs can be of tremendous benefit to athletes wanting to avoid decline in performance over the course of their season as well as minimize the occurrence of injuries. For example, studies have demonstrated that up to 85% of non-contact ACL injuries occur mid-late season. Maintaining adequate strength, body awareness, and performing exercises that help off-set the repetitive nature of sport can be the difference between a mid-season slump and a break-out year.

Here are some words from a former GP rugby athlete:
"The programming in season was designed to stay close to the gains I had made and still have energy to train for rugby, while utilizing different rep schemes and lifts to avoid undue muscle soreness. I was provided with a lot of information on nutrition, sleep, and mobility. Along with regular adjustments and soft-tissue treatment, I had a great season and felt better than I did while playing football in college."

-Carl N.

Keeping Nutrition and Supplementation Simple

"The amount, composition and timing of food intake can profoundly affect sports performance. Good nutritional practice will help athletes train hard, recover quickly, and adapt more effectively with less risk of illness and injury. The right diet will help athletes achieve an optimum body size and body composition to achieve greater success in their sport."

- IOC Sports Nutrition Consensus (2003)
For athletes and individuals looking to have improved performance and body composition, the number one priority should be eating better. The next step is to then supplement to address any deficiency of essential nutrients and/or target a specific physiological system. Just as important is ensuring that there is research demonstrating real benefit and safety of the supplement.

The FDA does not test the effectiveness, safety, or purity of supplements. There is no guarantee when it comes to accuracy of the ingredient list, accuracy of contents, and safety of contents. A 2001 study tested 634 products, 94 samples were positive for banned substances and 66 were questionable, roughly 25% of all samples. Meaning, chances are 1 in 4 supplements are questionable in nature for banned substances.

It is absolutely critical for athletes, especially collegiate athletes and those subject to drug testing to understand they may be unknowingly consuming a product that could result in them failing a drug test. Equally as important is each individual having a knowledge of what exactly they are putting into their body and potential interactions that may occur.

Below are a list of resources and strategies to help you become an informed consumer:

1. Check with www.wada-ama.org2. Supplement/Food/Drug Interactions and be checked at nccam.nih.gov/health
3. When purchasing supplements, choose a larger company or look for certificates of Third Party Analysis.
4. Check www.consumerlab.com for accuracy of label claims
5. Select products with few ingredients

Training Tip: Improve Your Conditioning

Training Tip: Improve Your Conditioning


Charlie Francis was famous for the High/Low model developed for his track athletes. But that doesn't mean the concepts only apply to track athletes. This approach when effectively applied to athletes of any sport will produce tremendous results. The key principle of the system is to separate your training into high and low intensity days, with a minimum of 48 hours between High intensity days. This allows for the body to perform at its peak on a more consistent basis by providing the necessary recovery between high intensity training sessions.

How are High/Low days defined or structured?

High intensity days will include any activity that produces high levels of metabolic or nervous system stress. Examples would be explosive sprints/jumps/throws, explosive strength exercises, and high-intensity interval training to name a few. On those days, overall volume of exercise is kept to a moderate level. Low intensity days are designed to keep workout intensity at a moderate level while allowing your body a chance to recover fully. The low days are a great time to include technique work, sport specific drills, and aerobic capacity development drills such as tempo runs.

Interval/Sprint Training vs. Cardio: Which is Better for Fat Loss and Physique Development?

Interval/Sprint Training vs. Cardio: Which is Better for Fat Loss and Physique Development?
1. Sprint exercise resulted in 3 times more fat loss while expending 1/2 the calories compared to those who performed aerobic exercise. (Tremblay)

2. Low intensity aerobic exercise participants lost lean body mass. Over the long term, reduced lean body mass results in a lower resting metabolic rate and thus reduces the ability to burn fat. (Mouglos)

3. One study found that the addition of 4 hours of aerobic exercise per week had no effect on weight loss, while another found performing 45 mins of aerobic exercise 5 days per week for 12 weeks had no effect over dieting alone. (Van Date, Utter)

4. Twenty minutes of interval/sprint training, 3 times per week for 15 weeks led to greater fat loss compared to steady state aerobic exercise. (Trapp and Boutcher)

So is cardio pointless? Even thought it pales in comparison to other modes of exercise in the ability to burn fat, cardio is still effective. However, cardio should not be done alone as one's only form of exercise. Cardio is effective in promoting CNS recovery from intensive exercise and should be a small part of an exercise program that includes proper eating, muscle-building resistance training, and fat-burning intervals.

GP Differentiator

GP Differentiator
One question we receive frequently is, "What makes you different from other chiropractors?"

It is our philosophy that patients should not have to come in for care for the rest of their lives. Instead, we strive to identify the repetitive movements and postural abnormalities that cause pain and discomfort by performing thorough and detailed examinations.

This enables us to create a treatment plan which targets each patient's pain generators. We stress a collective and active approach on the part of each of our patients through education. By clearly educating each patient on why they are performing their prescribed exercises or stretches, the focus becomes about patient empowerment and providing them with a sense of what they can do for themselves. This typically results in great patient compliance and shorter treatment plans, with most patients seeing noticeable changes in 4-8 treatments. Some patients may even experience significant changes in 1-2 treatments.

At Gallagher Performance, we work for the individual and not on the individual. Our focus is on your goals and your outcomes.

GP Athlete Spotlight: Charan Singh

GP Athlete Spotlight: Charan Singh
Charan Singh recently completed a 12-week strength development block under the direction of Head Performance Coach Ryan Gallagher. The program primarily emphasized max strength development while attention was given to explosive strength conversion and position specific conditioning for football. Recovery/regeneration strategies along with his nutrition were tailored to Charan and his needs from week to week. Below is a video which highlights Charan's results from appropriate programming, and his shear hard work and determination.

Charan Singh Training Video
Tribune Review Article 

Training Hard vs Training Smart

Training Hard vs Training Smart


"People are incredibly innovative in their efforts to screw up training."

- Charlie Francis, Canadian Speed Coach

When it comes to sport training and many training systems, there are aspects that are poorly managed or misused in their application. One that is very common is the lack of understanding of physiology as it relates to bioenergetic training parameters and workload compatibility in sport.

Programs and coaches may frequently implement high lactate training loads into their program for a variety of reasons. Exhaustive shuttle runs, suicides, gassers, extended sets, and 'circuit' style workouts are all examples of lactic training. The problem is even though they may be performed with perceived 'maximal effort', in order to accomplish the prescribed work, individuals are training at a medium intensity. This level of intensity is too slow to develop speed. They teach muscles to behave slowly. Furthermore, the recovery requirements are high and thus cut into the ability to perform more intensive work that would directly improve speed and explosive strength.

There is not much justification for the frequent use of lactic training loads when the nature of most field/court based sports is alactic/aerobic with varying degrees of lactate influence. This is illustrated by the influence of bioenergetics on mitochondrial concentration in skeletal muscle. Mitochondria are responsible for energy production and oxidative potential. More mitochondria means greater energy supply and faster recovery. Mitochondrial concentration is elevated in skeletal muscle by anaerobic-alactic and aerobic training, while anaerobic-lactic training results in their destruction. Lactate threshold training must be appropriately prescribed and closely monitored.

This is just one example of why training loads and parameters must have compatibility to ensure the greatest transfer into sport performance improvement. The sports training world has fallen victim to a number of gimmicks in the name of profitability. Gimmicks such as high speed or anti-gravity treadmills, ladder drills, and exhaustive circuit-based training are examples of training that has very little to no carry over into athletic performance. Read more about this here.

For athletes and individuals who take their training and health seriously, your results are too important for someone to 'screw it up'.

What is DNS?

What is DNS?

The GP Clinic specializes in DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization). Dr. Gallagher's extensive training and background in DNS therapy allows him to provide a level of care that is unique to the Pittsburgh area.

What is DNS?

DNS is a revolutionary European approach in the treatment of back pain and several neuro-muscular 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. DNS exercises are used to improve neuromuscular control and 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.

Understanding the Role of Olympic Lifts in Training

Understanding the Role of Olympic Lifts in Training
The Olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk) and their variations are often used in the training and preparation of athletes that require explosive strength and power. Although Olympic lifts may be useful for teaching an athlete of low preparation how to rapidly generate force, overall they are not ideal for developing explosive strength for a number of reasons. Of primary importance is the increased risk of orthopedic injury associated with Olympic lifts, namely the overhead portions. So how does one efficiently develop power and explosive strength without undue risk of injury?

If the end goal is to improve explosive strength of the leg and hip musculature, as measured through vertical jump and standing long jump, coaches must select the most efficient and safest means. Charlie Francis placed sprints, jumps, and throws just as high as the Olympic lifts on his motor unit recruitment chart. Sprints, med ball throws, weighted/unweighted jumps all become wiser alternatives for power development as they require far less time to learn and impose less risk of injury.

This is not to say Olympic lifts serve no purpose. They certainly can be useful, but their positive effects are greatly misinterpreted by most coaches. For instance, some coaches utilize various volume and intensity schemes with the Olympic lifts to develop bioenergetic pathways used in acceleration phase of sprinting. Others will use it to develop tremendous starting strength. Keep in mind, there have been Olympic-level weightlifters with remarkable vertical jumps. Some have the ability to keep pace with or beat Olympic-level sprinters in the first 30m out of the blocks.

This sounds like pretty amazing stuff, right? Simply hit some cleans and snatches to get powerful and fast?

However, there's a big problem.

You aren’t as good at the lifts as an Olympic-level weightlifter. Remember, weightlifting is a sport. It is a skill and unless you have a lot of years under your belt, perfecting the lifts, you aren’t even remotely close to having the lifts make a significant impact on your athletic performance.

If you are going to get the most out of training the Olympic lifts, it absolutely matters that you are skilled from a technical viewpoint.

For example, outside of elite status Olympic weightlifters, very few lifters actually achieve full hip extension during the lifts. Meaning, they aren't fully developing powerful hip extension. Full, powerful hip extension is essential to developing explosive athletic qualities seen in sprinting, jumping, and throwing.

So, as an athlete, why would you perform a series of exercises that are ultimately going to take years of practice to learn while reaping little benefit from that effort? Sure, plenty of people think they have "learned" the lifts, but reality is they are far off the mark.

It takes time, a lot of time, to learn how to do the lifts properly. Achieving rapid, full hip extension is not an easy task and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Nobody ever mastered the lifts in a matter of weeks.

So when it comes down to appropriately addressing power-speed development in athletes, it should become clear that there is potentially wasted time and energy in truly learning the Olympic lifts. Similar training results can be achieved with more basic exercises without the high technical demands.

Looking for ways to develop powerful hip extensions? Variations of sprints, jumps, and med ball throws get the job done faster with greater dynamic correspondence. Unless you are competing in weightlifting, the Olympic lifts don't offer much in dynamic correspondence to many athletes. Consider movements specific to your sport. Whether it is skating or shooting in hockey, throwing a baseball, covering a wide receiver, or kicking a soccer ball, there are very few specific connections with the Olympics lifts when you look at the movement patterns.

For an athlete, the Olympic lifts become very general in their ability to train resisted hip extension and reactivity.

As an athlete, your goal is to get better at your sport. Specificity in training matters. You could be wasting valuable time and energy resources on learning lifts that have little impact on your abilities to perform in competition.

Concluding Thoughts
I’m not here to bash on the Olympic lifts. They can serve a purpose in developing explosive hip extension and reactive/plyometric qualities. However, there are problems that exist with their use and implementation in the training programs of athletes. As mentioned previously, outside of competitive weightlifters, the Olympic lifts lack specificity. Specificity and dynamic correspondence are critical for any athlete. The Olympics lifts also impose greater structural risk and this could be considered unnecessary when developing athletes. The goal of athletic development is to maximize training results while minimizing structural risk. Consider variations of sprints, jumps, and throws. These alternatives are easier to implement and progress, thus providing both athletes and coaches the ability to master power-speed qualities specific to the athlete's sport form.

Suffering From a Recent Back Injury?

Suffering From a Recent Back Injury?


Back injuries are not rare. Unfortunately, back pain will affect most people and interfere with their daily routine at some point in their life. To combat this issue, many people feel it is necessary to maintain a 'flexible' back.

According to research performed by Dr. Stuart McGill, professor of spine bio-mechanics at the University of Waterloo, statistics show that individuals with more 'flexible' backs are more likely to get injured. The joints and muscles of the hips and shoulders are designed for movement. The muscles of the torso and back are designed to prevent or stop movement, maintaining a stable back and preventing excessive range of motion. A stable back provides the platform to generate movement and transfer force/power.

This information demonstrates the importance of teaching athletes and clients how to maintain the control of a stable torso/back during movement. Any area of the body that lacks proper stability/control will compromise movement and increase the risk of injury.

Early Specialization in Sports

Early Specialization in Sports
Early specialization in sport is becoming increasingly more common among children. The rationale behind such a decision typically being if a child plays one sport, year round, they will be more advanced than their peers, more likely to be the 'star', get recruited, and/or possibly go on to make millions. Is this all fact or just wishful thinking?

Recent research from UCLA reveals that early specialization in sport has very poor connection with young athletes achieving elite status. A survey of almost 300 NCAA Division I athletes found that 88% played two or three sports as children and 70% did not specialize in one sport until after the age of 12. These findings were already understood in former East Germany and USSR within their youth development programs.

Studies in East Germany and the USSR found that children who went through an early specialization program did have more immediate improvement in their performances. But these children also had their best performances between the ages of 15-16, had greater inconsistencies, many quit or 'burnt out' by the age 18, and they had greater rate of injuries because of forced adaptation compared to children who played multiple sports and specialized later in life.

At GP, we take an educated and unique approach to proper youth development in sports, focusing on the development of a wide variety of motor and coordination skills. Athletic development is a process and certainly not one that should be rushed.

Drop the Confusion, Athletes Need Consistency for Efficiency

Drop the Confusion, Athletes Need Consistency for Efficiency


What you need to know:
  • Neural efficiency is the key to becoming a better athlete, this is known as athletic mastery.
  • Mastery requires time, intelligent programming, hard work, and dedication to consistency. 
Consistency Matters
The primary goal of any athletic and strength development program should be neural efficiency. Fact of the matter is the nervous system controls and coordinates every movement and every function in your body. The nervous system thus is the regulator of strength and movement coordination. This is why ALL successful athletes have periodization implemented into their programming. Periodization is a fancy word for structured, intelligent programming to address individual needs.

Any athlete that has reached elite status in their sport has used periodization to address their needs and to ultimately promote positive, long-term adaptations from the learning of repeated actions by the nervous system. One observation that can be made of such programs is how little they seem to change or when a change is implemented, it follows a progression based on what the athlete is displaying or what they are capable of from day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month.

Don't Let Fitness Trends Confuse You
Programs and/or trainers that endorse 'muscle confusion', randomized daily workouts, or continual change to exercise without following proper programming will always fail to develop an efficient nervous system. Sure for the ADD crowd and those that get bored easily, this appeals to you. Or maybe you are that person obsessed with 'fitness' and have become convinced workouts of this manner are the Holy Grail. If you are one of these people, be my guest. That's your choice. This article is specific to athletes and those that want to see consistent, sustainable results from their hard work. Not to simply have a workout entertain them.

Randomized workouts may sound interesting, even cool. The marketing placed around these workouts will spin words and science to make them appealing to the masses. Ultimately the end result is not allowing the athlete or individual to properly adapt to their training and achieve mastery.

How can adaptation and mastery be a bad thing when you want to improve? Want to be great?

Mastery is the Goal
For many, the frustration with mastery is it requires time. A lot of time. Mastery is a long-term process. This is exactly why great coaches and great athletes stress fundamentals at any level, from 7 year olds all the way up to the professional ranks. Think about it. Coaches don't just go through random drills at practice and if they do, they likely don't last long or frankly shouldn't be coaching in the first place. Fundamentals are reinforced because the better an athlete is at the fundamentals, the greater chance of success they will have when performing more complex sport skills.

Mastery is a grind. Its prerequisites are consistency and discipline. Mastery takes years to develop and this becomes a problem when the fitness industry wants to sell a 'quick fix'. And most Americans want that 'quick fix'. They want results now, not later. They don't want to put in years of work when they see programs that advertise how they can 'get ripped in 60 days' or 'get faster in 4 weeks'.

That's a Wrap
Athletes should recognize that their goals will not be solved with today's latest fitness trend. The only way to achieve mastery is through consistent, focused effort to become efficient in all fundamentals and sport specific skills. The message should be clear. At GP, this is something we feel strongly about and want to provide you with the information needed to make the best decisions for your goals. Mastery and efficiency are critical to the athlete and we addressed the importance of that in this article.

Is your training program allowing you to develop the mastery needed to achieve your goals?

GP Athlete Spotlight

GP Athlete Spotlight


Congratulations to Andrew Stimmel (Murrysville, PA) for a successful camp over the weekend with the Ohio Machine of the MLL. Andrew was recently drafted by the Machine in this year's MLL Supplemental Draft. Andrew finished his collegiate lacrosse career at the Ohio State University, after transferring from Penn State his freshman year. During his time at Ohio State, he was named a team co-captain and Defensive MVP in 2010, being regarded as one of the top defensive midfielders in the ECAC.

Andrew is also currently the head coach for the men's lacrosse team at Grove City College and serves as staff/coach at Low and Away Lacrosse, one of the premier lacrosse skill development systems on the east coast.

Training: As Simple as a Glass of Water?

Training: As Simple as a Glass of Water?
Many coaches and so called 'strength & conditioning' coaches typically lack an understanding of bio-mechanics and physiology as it relates to sport. The athletes are the one that pay the price for this, as their preparation and performance can be negatively affected.

The program design must carefully monitor all aspects of training. Charlie Francis used a glass of water analogy to describe the delicate nature of balancing sprint/conditioning training with additional CNS intensive loading (lifting, jumping, throwing, etc) in athletic development. Fill up the glass with an abundance of one and you leave little room left for another because CNS resources are finite. What happens if you overflow the glass? The athlete ends up over-trained, performance suffers, and injury becomes more likely.

Athletic development is not a 'quick fix', rather a long-term process. GP applies expert understanding of bio-mechanics and physiology, tailoring these concepts to each client and athlete's program. We want them to understand what it takes to raise their game to the next level.

History Matters

Seen by doctor after doctor with no relief of your joint pain?
Dealing with a previous injury that still holds you back in your daily activities or sports? Frustrated with lack of results in your training or dieting?

Be it joint pain or just stubborn body fat, it seems all too common that people deal with frustration when they are seeking results and it seems there are no answers as to why they are not getting better or improving. Unfortunately, some people are eventually told to "Live with it" or "Take this pill". While others decided for themselves, "Maybe this is the way I'll always be".

Just like a good real estate agents say, "Location, location, location'. A good doctor/therapist says, "History, history, history'. The history holds the clues, often more than patients expect.

At GP, we understand the importance of taking a detailed history and utilizing comprehensive assessments to provide our patients/clients with quality information and service. Experience the difference GP has to offer and let us help you get the results you want.
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Contact

  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

Hours of Operation

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