If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t why don’t you?!?!) you know that I do a weekly Q&A on Sunday’s.
I find it very enjoyable. I get to answer some question and help people out, and I get to challenge myself a little – a lot of times the questions make me think about what and why I do what I do with the clients and athletes I work with.
I decided that I would bring a little bit of that content over here, answering some of my favorite questions from the week on the blog.
Question #1: What Exercises Do You Do For Healthy Scapulars and Rotator Cuffs?
In my eyes, what we are really trying to get at is keeping shoulders healthy, which is a major issue for both athletes and general population clients.
Because I’m not a physical therapist, I am going to be relatively general when it comes to answering this question.
First and foremost, if you or someone you are working with has shoulder pain when performing any movement, stop doing the movement and refer the client out to a physical therapist or other medical professional.
When it comes to keeping shoulders healthy, my approach would look something like this;
- Perform daily tissue quality and shoulder mobility work. Foam roll the upper back, lats, and external rotators. Perform thoracic spine mobility work (V-Stance T-Spine, Side Lying T-Spine, etc).
- PULL A LOT! We do a ton of rowing with these clients, trying to build some upper back strength as well as building the posterior shoulder.
- Shoulder friendly pressing (Landmine Press variations, Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press, Push Ups, etc). Most of these exercises are pain-free for people with shoulder issues, though it isn’t a guarantee. Whatever is pain-free we stick with and double down on.
We aren’t perfect, but we have had pretty good success keeping shoulders healthy with this simple formula.
Question #2: Do You Train Knee Dominant Exercises When Clients Have Knee Pain During the FMS (Functional Movement Screen)?
Simple answer to a complex question.
Thankfully, we have a doctor of physical therapy on staff. When a client has pain during the movement screen, the client will be seen by our physical therapist.
From there, our physical therapist will direct us on what we can and can not do with our lower body training.
If you don’t have a physical therapist on staff, refer out and stick to exercises that are pain-free.
Question #3: Core Training: 100% Only Exercises That Resist Movement Or Some Exercises That Create Movement?
Core training may be the most discussed and debated part of a training program…actually, uni-lateral vs. bi-lateral lower body strength training takes that title!
I will start by saying that I am well aware that the core is capable of creating movement. You won’t ever hear me arguing otherwise.
But, I think it is clear – the main function of the core, in life and in sport, is to stabilize the pelvis and spine.
Because of that, all our core training revolves around teaching the core to resist movement (we may perform an exercise or two here and there that doesn’t, but its rare).
Anti-Extension core work like Rollouts, body Saws and Front Planks.
Anti-Rotation core work like Pallof Presses and all the variations that go with it.
Anti-Lateral Flexion core work like Side Planks and variations.
Loaded Carries like farmers carries, suitcase carries, and goblet carries.
For me, the days of crunches, sit ups and Russian twists are dead. I haven’t programmed one of those movements in years, and don’t see myself programming any of those movements any time in the near future
Question 4: What Is The Best Certification For Strength Coaches?
Tough question, because it depends on what setting you want to be working in.
Let’s say you want to work with athletes at a college/university or at the professional level. If this is the case, I would strongly recommend getting the CSCS from the National Strength & Conditioning Association and/or get the CSCCa from the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.
On the other hand, if you want to work at a private gym working with a mixture of general population clients and athletes, I think the CFSC from Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning is the way to go.
Personally, from someone that has all three, the CFSC is the most comprehensive and practical of the three and the one I feel the best about.
Question 5: What Olympic Movements Would You Use With General Fitness Populations?
With our general population clients, we don’t use any Olympic lifting variations for one simple reason…risk vs. reward.
Most all of the Olympic lifting variations (Clean, Snatch, Jerk) all require a lot of mobility to perform correctly.
Most of the general population clients we work with DO NOT have the mobility needed to perform these lifts.
This sets them up to potentially be injured performing these lifts…and no one wants to be injured.
However, we still train power. Tons of Kettlebell Swings and variations of the movement (Band resisted, 2-Kettlebell Swing, 1-Kettlebell Swing, Hand to Hand Swing, etc). Landmine Split Jerks. Jump Squats. And a TON of medicine ball throw/slam/pass variations.
Question #6: What Percentage Do You Use for Sled Marches?
We don’t use a percentage, we use as much weight as we can with proper form.
For me, the Sled March is a strength exercise just like a Bench Press or a Split Squat.
When we are programming for a Bench Press or a Split Squat, we use the amount of weight we can use with good form for the sets and reps that we have programmed.
The Sled March is no different. As long as the athlete or general population client can perform the movement correctly, we will continue to push (pun intended) the weights we use.
Question #7: What’s The Key To Getting Stronger Week By Week?
First and foremost, unless you are a complete newbie to the weight room, you probably aren’t going to get stronger or make progress week by week.
Let me take it a step further – you aren’t going to get stronger or making progress week by week.
Getting stronger and making progress isn’t rocket science though.
You can make progress by using more weight than you previously have.
You can make progress by using the same weights but performing the movements with better form than you previously have.
You can make progress by using the same weights but performing more reps than you previously have.
There are a lot of ways to make progress, more ways than I have listed here.
What’s the number one way to make progress?
Consistently get in the weight room!
Question #8: Is The Sled March a Hip or Knee Dominant Exercise?
This is a great question!
Like Trap Bar Deadlift or a Skater Squat, I think you could make a decent argument either way, but I program it as a hip dominant exercise.
Simply put, I look at a Sled March as a heavily loaded hip extension movement.
Question #9: Prior to Their Training Session, Do Adults Foam Roll or Do They Go Straight To A Dynamic Warm Up?
Everyone that walks through the doors, whether an athlete or a general population client (adult), they will foam roll prior to their training session.
When you think about it, adults may need to foam roll more than an athlete does.
Many adults spend their entire day sitting at a desk that results in poor posture and tightness in certain areas of their body.
Adults have a lot of wear and tear on their bodies and could use some tissue quality work.
Adults do and should foam roll prior to their training sessions!
Question #10: What Does a Training Session Template Look Like With Athletes?
Pretty straight forward template, one that is the same with almost all athletes.
After a warm up…
- Heavily Loaded Power (Hang Clean, Jump Squat, etc)
- Knee Dominant
- Upper Body Push
- Hip Dominant
- Upper Body Pull
Block 4: Conditioning
That’s it…plug and go!
Hope you enjoyed! Tune in for another installment next week!