Seminar Review: How to Make a Monster – Charlie Weingroff
Before getting into the seminar I just have to say that IFAST is a great facility and the owners, Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman, were wonderful hosts. I know they have a few events there throughout the year and highly recommend the facility as they do a fantastic job of making everyone comfortable and are able to round up a solid crowd in terms of trainers that are more “on the ball”, which tends to make presentations more enjoyable as the conversation leads to continued learning for everyone.
Charlie’s presentation was excellent. Charlie always does a good job of blending a lot of learning with a lot of entertainment. As Bill Hartman said to me during a break, “Charlie is fun”
I took down 12 pages of notes during the day and figured I would share a few of them. What I will say is that if you don’t have Charlie’s DVD you should really pick it up. The DVD has a lot of the foundational information that make some of the concepts he discussed this past weekend (and concepts he will be discussing this year through a number of his talks) make much more sense. HERE is my review of the DVD if you are interested.
Just because someone’s pain is gone the brain may still move as if it is under a threat.
Anyone can coach someone to do a squat and that squat may “look” good in terms of technique but are the right muscles performing the lift? Is the individual muscling through the lift? Are they using a high-threshold strategy and moving as if they are still under threat when they shouldn’t be?
Unloaded movements use the ground to take up some of the stability the body does not have when standing (loaded) -> use unloaded movements as a regression when needed.
Sometimes a heavier load causes enough stress to create a threat to the system and allow the body to produce good movement.
Be in “corrective” as little as possible. Don’t do corrective exercise if you don’t need to do it. Unless you are in a rehab situation you shouldn’t need to do correctives for more than two weeks.
Reseting is where the “magic” is:
- Reset usually comes in various forms of passive therapy, fascilatory therapy, soft tissue work, trigger point therapy, or joint mobilizations/manipulations
- You can’t always just do corrective exercise to help someone in pain. You may be selecting the right exercises but you still may be hitting road blocks that require a “reset”.
- Great people know “where to go next” when what they are doing isn’t working. Make sure you have an audit so that you can check your work.
- Once you have hit “reset” you need to try and re-enforce the system by allowing the individual to maintain their “new” body when not training.
- You may need to be in “re-enforce” 1st before exercise!
- Re-enforce may consist of very easy work like foam rolling, going for a walk, or just re-gaining proprioception by moving around throughout the day.
- The sessions at first may not resemble exercise as you need to first maintain the reset before loading. This may last for a few sessions and the individual needs to perform the work on their own when they are not at the gym.
- Re-enforce can be enhanced with tactile cues such as proprioceptive taping
- Be smart with the re-enforce and remember, “The goal is to get to the weight room as soon as possible”
Train various spectrums
- Part to whole
- Simple to complex
- Sagital -> Frontal -> Transverse
- Slow to fast
- Closed loop to open loop
Increasing muscular contractility (neurological output) is “where the money is at” -> learn to contract the muscles harder.
Preparation -> What biomarkers are you looking at to make sure you are prepared to train that day?
We don’t only get hurt from biomechanics. Look at everything!
Only losers do rehab so that they can go back to the gym and get hurt.
Every rehab program should have an aerobic component.
FMS tells you what not to do. It isn’t all you need but you use it to tell you what not to do and then you pick up other stuff you need with your programming, training, and the clients definable tasks.
The five senses (vision, smell, taste, touch, hearing) drive the CNS to react. Use these stimuli in your training to get more from your body.
We all have negative/stress patterns in our brain but we inhibit them. If you choose exercises that overemphasize these patterns you end up doing more harm than good.
Stability = control in the presence of change
Tonic muscles are the local/stability muscles. These are the muscles you can’t see and they are most important as they help position our joints for optimal success. They strangulate the joint and make sure it is in the right position (when they are working properly).
Phasic muscles are the muscles that we use for more global movement such as locomotion and these are the muscles that we can see visually.
- Distributes load over the surface of the joint
- Can be static or dynamic
- Just remember, static does not equate to movement. Someone may look bad in static but once they move they can move with centration
- Has to do with not only the balance between mobilizers and stabilizers but also antagonistic muscles
Path of instantaneous center of rotation
- Synonymous with centration
- Refers to the balance of muscle activity around a joint during movement
- Is related to tone, girth, stiffness, strength, and motor control
- Excess girth (IE, bigger muscles) may not always be good if you lose centration in the movement you are trying to perform (E.g., If a baseball player develops too much upper extremity mass they may give us some of the ideal centration they need to swing the bat optimally)
The goal is to carry as little system load (body weight) as possible and still be strong as hell and get the job done.
Choose postures that challenge max joint centration. This may include:
- Unloaded – prone, supine, side lying
- Quadraped - all fours, planks, oblique sitting
- Kneeling - Tall, half kneeling, oblique
- Audit these postures to make sure you are getting what you want
Every muscle can be phasic or tonic (just as every joint has some stability and mobility)
- Some have higher a higher affinity towards one or the other (just as joint systems may have a higher affinity towards being stable or mobile).
- Whether a muscle is phasic or tonic will depend on: Body position, Fixed points, Motor control
- Loss of centration = when phasic muscles are forced to stabilize
Bracing should be an option!
High threshold strategies come into play when we allow phasic muscles to behave like tonic muscles.
The tonic muscles (the stabilizers and the muscles that you cannot see) tend to turn down their activity in the presence of pain.
High threshold strategies can be caused by poor motor control, always bracing (even when you don’t need it), and poor form.
Joint centration is a neurological thing. It is a function of stress. When stress increases we tend to lose joint centration.
Loss of joint centration anywhere is a stress to the body and CNS which causes us to change how we move.
Train the body, not the body part.
You can’t train out of certain postures.
Exercises may not even look like the person’s problem. They might not look like biomechanics of the injury.
The goal is cortical training.
The brain is always thinking in developmental kinesiology despite being vertical.
Punctum fixum = fixed point
Punctum fixums in the spine:
- T/L Junction (this is the first fixed point in the body for a baby)
- C/T Junction
- Don’t move through the punctum fixums in the spine. They need to be stable! Don’t create a punctum mobile where there should be a punctum fixum
T4-T8 = dead zone
- Highly proprioceptive area
- We need mobility here
- Loss of mobility in this region leads to a greater need of mobility to come from one of the punctum fixums
- Mobilizing the ribs and t-spine are helpful in this region
RE: Reverse crunches
- Individuals are not in lumbar hyperextension because they lost stiffness in their obliques. They are in this position because they need to use a high threshold strategy to stand upright, causing the punctum fixums to become mobile.
- When the person stands back up they go back to their extension movement because the problem is not a kinesiological problem with the obliques or abdominals
- Kinesilogy does not always translate to training
- No one has hyperlodosis because they lack rectus abdominus/obliques. They have it because they don’t have segmental stabilization
- Don’t use outer core muscles without first stabilizing muscles beneath them. Otherwise you are just chipping away at the CNS
- Centrated position = mild protraction
- You are looking for a flattened position, slightly protracted, with the scapular stapled to the rib cage.
- You are NOT looking for the scapula to be downwardly rotated and retracted
- The “packed shoulder” is a direction NOT a position
- Too much attempt at packing can cause you to give up your T/L junction
- Upper trap/rhomboids = phasic
- Lower trap/serratus anterior = tonic
- Lats = strength, no stability!
- Too much lats = red line
- Hard style should be an option!
Push up plus has the highest EMG for serratus anterior. Guess what….WHO CARES!?
- We are looking for optimal synergy of all muscles, not high EMG of one muscle
- Too many people are focusing on EMG when too much contraction of a muscle can be as bad as too little. Look for synergy as that will lead to centration
There are just a few of my notes. This was a really great seminar and I highly recommend checking out Charlie on one of his stops this year (I believe he has his speaking schedule posted on his website) as there is a lot more in depth information than just these notes as well as his DVD, if you haven’t done so already. Additionally, the hands on portion of the course is an excellent learning experience because you get to feel this stuff for yourself.