Career Advice Article Archives

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7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness Professionals

The latest Inner Circle webinar recording on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness Professionals.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness Professionals

7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness ProfessionalsI’m always getting questions from young professionals (and older ones too!) about what they can do to get ahead in our profession.  It’s one thing to simply want to get ahead and another to actually make daily habits designed to help you get there.  It takes effort.  Here are what I consider 7 of the habits that I see many of the top rehab and fitness pros stick to in their lives to get ahead.

The Power of 1%

Today’s post is a guest post from a good friend of mine Pat Rigsby.  Pat is a fitness business genius and has helped us enormously at Champion PT and Performance.  This article really resonated with me, as I am a big believer of constantly tweaking my systems.  This goes for all my “systems” – my manual therapy system, my corrective exercise system, my program design system, and even all my business systems.  I’m constantly trying to improve myself everyday, and this article really put it in perspective for me.  If you aren’t trying to get 1% better today, you are falling behind.

The Power of 1%

The Power of 1%One of the biggest differentiators between the great business and the average ones is that the great ones keep improving.  They kept evolving their training system and making it 1% better, over and over.

Someone who looks at their sales system or their assessment system may say “that doesn’t look that different from what I do.”  But again – the great ones keep improving things, 1% at a time.

And if you look at their businesses, all the things that they do from their Initial Consultation to their Referral Systems to their Training System don’t necessarily look like something you’ve never seen before…they just do them all a little bit better than most everyone else.

That’s why the best businesses succeed…they take what works, they plug it into their businesses and they ‘plus it’ over and over…improving each component by 1% time and time again.  And when it’s all said and done you have a business that has maybe 20 different components which are each 10-20% better (at minimum) than the competition.  But because of the compound effect, this doesn’t make their business 10-20% better.  Because every piece works synergistically with the others their improvement actually multiplies the improvement of the other areas.

It’s the difference between 100 clients and 400.  The difference between $150,000 a year and $750,000.

If that seems hard to believe, here’s how a 20% increase compounded changes things, illustrated another way:

  • 10 X 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000,000,000
  • 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 = 61,917,364,224

12 is only 20% bigger than 10, but compounded the difference is HUGE.

So how can you put this into action?

Model Success

That’s what you’re doing by reading this, so you’re already off to a good start.  The best business owners I know may have invented a few things from scratch, but most of the components of their businesses were things that they learned from other successful fitness pros and businesses that they adapted, improved and made their own.

So study what’s working.  Borrow from successful businesses.  Model their success.

Implement

We all see dozens of good ideas…in products, at events, in Mastermind Meetings. But I’d guess most people actually implement about 2% of what they learn. The best businesses are living, breathing pictures of implementation.  All the things people say they’re going to implement – the best ones actually do.

Remember – It’s not what you know.  It’s what you do.  You can say you’re a relationship business, but if you drop the ball over and over – you’re not.  You can say you’re all about referrals, but if you don’t have referral systems in place that are working – you’re not.

The best implement. So should you.

Plussing

‘Plussing’ is a Walt Disney term for continually improving and it should be a regular part of your vocabulary.  You may learn a referral system from someone and implement it, but you shouldn’t settle for it ‘as is.’  You should always be looking ways to make it a little more effective.  We often talk about getting 1% better.  This is getting 1% better in action.  Improving your referral reward or the way you ask.  Improving your internal language.  Improving your training system.  1% at a time.  This ‘plussing’ will eventually give you that 10-20% edge in every area that the best business owners have.

So that’s it.  Your ‘all too simple’ way to build a powerhouse business.  So put it into action and reap the same rewards that the industry’s best business have reaped.

Get Started Today, 1% At A Time

fitness business blueprint[Note from Mike] Here is your first step towards 1%.  When I was just starting Champion PT and Performance, I sought out as much information as possible to assure I started in the right direction.  I’m not a fan of making rookie mistakes when I can learn from the mistakes of others.  One of the best resources I discovered was the Fitness Business Blueprint by Pat Rigsby, Eric Cressey, and Mike Robertson.  Even if you aren’t starting a “fitness” business, this is a great resource for physical therapy business.  It is very comprehensive.  It covers everything you need to start a successful business with things like:

  • How Eric Cressey performs his assessments to build his programs
  • How Mike Robertson designs his programs, sessions, and staff meetings
  • How Pat Rigsby identifies his ideal clients and gets them in the door

I asked Pat if he could offer anything special to my readers on this product so they could benefit as much as I did and they responded with a huge discount!  I love being able to help my readers get access to things like this at such a discounted price.  The program is normally $299.95 but they are offering my readers ONLY a special price of $99.95 if you use the link below:

About Pat Rigsby

Pat RigbsyPat Rigsby is the CEO and Co-Owner of the several of the most prominent brands in the fitness industry including the Fitness Consulting Group, Fitness Revolution, Athletic Revolution and the International Youth Conditioning Association. Along with partner Nick Berry and an incredible Team, Pat has helped Fitness Revolution develop into the fastest growing training based franchise in the world and Athletic Revolution develop into the fastest growing youth fitness and sports performance based franchise. Together they have also led the Fitness Consulting Group to becoming the world’s leading business coaching and development organization for fitness professionals and establish the International Youth Conditioning Association as the world’s leading educational organization on the topic of youth fitness & sports performance.

Pat is the author of the only book on the topic of Fitness Business ever to reach #1 Bestseller status, The Little Black Book of Fitness Business Success. He’s also authored or co-authored several other best selling books, is a popular public speaker on the topics of business and marketing and writes the most widely read newsletter on the business of fitness in the industry, reaching over 60,000 fitness professionals.  Learn more about Pat Rigsby here.

How to Work with Professional Athletes

The latest Inner Circle webinar recording on the How to Work with Professional Athletes is now available.

How to Work with Professional AthletesHow to Work with Professional Athletes

Last month’s Inner Circle webinar was on How to Work with Professional Athletes.  A good portion of our clientele at Champion PT and Performance are professional athletes.

In this presentation, I discuss some of the many things I have learned in my career about working with professional athletes.  I’ll discuss what this involves, pearls from the perspective of the player, agent, and team, as well as recommendations on how to break in with professional sports.

5 Things We Can All Learn from Derek Jeter

5 Things We Can All Learn From Derek JeterGrowing up in Boston as a Red Sox fan, I never thought I’d be writing an article about Derek Jeter (we all know that Nomah is bettah than Jettah…).  I think that working in Major League Baseball for so many years and having the opportunity to work with players from every Major League team has made me a bigger fan of the game in general.  (Photo Credit)

Perhaps I’ve lost some of the magic, but I’m just as much of a Yankees fan as I am a fan of the Red Sox and a fan of every other MLB team. 

I’m a fan of an excellent performance.  I’m a fan watching young players blossom.  I’m a fan of watching the game played the right way.  I’m a fan of the players I work with and help become better.  I’m a fan of the game, so I’m a fan of Derek Jeter.

5 Things We Can All Learn from Derek Jeter

As Jeter says his farewell to baseball, it made me think about what we can all learn from his amazing career.  Here are 5 things about Derek Jeter that stand out to me.

Discipline

There is a big difference between willpower and discipline.  Chris Brogan speaks about this well in his latest book The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth.  People often ask me how I have the time or willpower to contribute to my website, make more programs, own a physical therapy and performance center, and still somehow have a life and family.

As Chris says, it has nothing to do with willpower, it’s all discipline.  Chris says:

“Willpower is when you want to do something different and force yourself to do what you believe is the better choice.”  Discipline is actually working hard to REPEAT the task that you know will make you better.

Do you think Jeter took a lot of days off from batting practice?  Do you think Jeter had donuts for breakfast every morning?  You think Jeter showed up late to the park and was unprepared for the game?

Nope.

I get it, there are a lot of conflicting interests in this world.  Discipline is crafting your long term vision of what you want out of your life and then making decisions based on this vision.

Consistency

Honestly, what good is discipline with out consistency?  I would say the two things that impressed me most about Jeter’s career were his discipline and his consistency.

Take a look at Jeter’s career stats over at Baseball-Reference.com.

Notice a trend here?  There are really no significant dips and jumps in his performance.  Sure there are some years that are better than others, but that is one heck of a consistent career.

To illustrate this, lets compare his rookie year of 1996 to 2012:

  • 1996 – 157 games, .314 batting average, 104 runs, 10 home runs, 78 RBIs, and 14 steals
  • 2012 – 159 games, .316 batting average, 99 runs, 15 home runs, 58 RBIs, and 9 steals

Pretty impressive to be that consistent over 20 years and 2700 games. 

Consistency breads dependability and trust.  We are developing a systemized approach to our model of integrated physical therapy, fitness, and sports performance at Champion Physical Therapy and Performance.  Why?  So we can build a reliable service to our clients with repeatable and predictable results.

Want to get ahead in life?  Focus on consistency.

Lead By Example (Positively)

There are many different kinds of leaders in this world.  There are the loud and vocal leaders, the motivators, the “pump up the crowd” kind of people.  The ones that want the attention and lead to gain the spotlight.  The manic-depressive crowd.

There are also the quite and consistent leaders that lead by example.

Leading isn’t necessarily a good thing, there are many examples of “negative” leaders.  People that are captivating and engaging and actually set the WRONG example!  Like it or not, these are leaders. 

But luckily there are also the “positive” leaders.  The leaders that set the example, that push others just by being so disciplined and consistent. 

In the long run, I’ll take the type of leaders like Jeter, the positive leaders that consistently lead by example.  To me, this is as much educating and motivating, as it is leading.  This is what young professionals need to learn.

And don’t forget, this applies to anyone.  You can lead others in any direction, meaning you do not have to be in a position of authority to be a leader.  John Maxwell has an excellent book on this call The 360 Degree Leader

Don’t Rock the Boat

One of the most interesting things about Jeter to me is how neutral he has stayed on everything throughout his career.  While I’m sure he had plenty of opinions, it’s usually not in anyone’s best interest to blurt them out every night on SportsCenter.

Many of the “guru’s” on the internet should really take this one to heart.  Unfortunately controversy sells.  However, realize we are all probably going to change our opinions and adjust our thought process based on past experiences and knowledge gained.

Don’t be that person that is so definitive in their thought process AND doesn’t mind telling the world about it!  Have an open mind and try to avoid rocking the boat, it always comes back to haunt you!

When you are so vocal about something, you start to focus on defending your stance instead of keeping an open mind.

Treat Everyone the Right Way

One of the sentiments within baseball is that Jeter is a “good guy.”  I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jeter several times.  I’ve seen him walk into the training room of an All-Star game just to introduce himself and say hello to the staff.  Not everyone does that, in fact most don’t.

Baseball has a funny way of changing people.  The players have everything in the world given to them and are treated as rock stars at all times.  Imagine arriving at a hotel at 4:00 AM and having a line of people asking for your autograph as you get off the bus!  It’s hard to stay grounded.

Treating people the right way is the corner stone of any relationship.  You are not a better human or person in this world because you can hit a fastball, or because you have accumulated $275 million dollars over your baseball career.  These may be extreme examples, but it applies to us all.

 

As we move on today as the first official day in the last 20 years that Derek Jeter is not a professional baseball player, keep these 5 principles in mind.  Yankee fan or not, there are plenty of things we can all learn from Jeter’s amazing career.

One Step Back to Take Two Steps Forward

Lately, I’ve found myself using a certain phrase with many of my clients to emphasize a point I’m trying to make, “sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward.”  I specifically emphasize that this is a lot different than the phrase “two steps forward, one step back,” which often has a negative connotation.

Perhaps it’s our always-on, go-go-go, society that we live in now that wants nothing but progress, but this concept has many meanings to both myself and my clients.  Here are a few ways I incorporate this concept into my training, rehabilitation, and even personal development.

 

Fitness and Performance Training

As fitness trends continue to evolve and fads come and go, there are always two common complaints that I hear from people in regard to their training programs:

  • I’m not making progress
  • I’m breaking down

Either of these two complaints is enough for me to consider that you may need to take a step back.  These tend to occur when your programming is not individualized based on your own specific needs and goals or when your always focused on “emptying the tank” every session.

workout exhaustion

Assuming you have a well-design strength or performance training program, the error tends to occur by always focusing on pushing the limits and not allowing your body to recover.  If you are training to failure or competing at fitness every day, you have to be conscious of the fact that eventually this breaks down your body.  This is normal, required to make progress, and advantageous, at least when used correctly.  (photo credit)

However, to continue to make long lasting gains and avoid wearing and tearing on your joints and muscles, you need to incorporate some sort of deloading into your programming.  I won’t go deep into the concept of deloading, as other people that are smarter than I am have said it well before.  Here is a great article by Tony Gentilcore on why and how he incorporates deloading into his programming, for example.

When do you need to unload?  It varies based on your training experience, intensity, and frequency.  Rather than standardize a deload period, I have a simple criteria to determine if you need a deload week – are you plateauing your progress or are you breaking down?  Simple.

But realize that deloading does not mean resting.  Our deload periods at Champion take advantage of the time and work on enhancing efficiency and cleaning up movement patterns.

Also note, this concept applies to sports performance training.  If you are 12 years old and long tossing in October to enhance your pitching velocity for next April, you really need to get better advice from someone that understands the concepts of periodization.

 

Injury Rehabilitation

I’m a big fan of “regen days.”  Often times during injury rehabilitation, people are trying to get back as soon as possible.  For the highly motivated person, like the professional athlete, they often feel like they have to get after the rehab program every day to get back as fast as possible.  I have actually found that this often SLOWS the process down!

As an example, in professional baseball, we play everyday.  Maybe we have 2 or 3 days off a month.  Sunday is usually a day game and getaway day, meaning that we need wake up early, pack our bags, check out of the hotel, play the game, then travel to another city.  I was always a fan of taking Sundays off from rehab in professional baseball, and I was often looked at like I had two heads.

I seriously doubt we are going to make any significant gains on a Sunday morning waking up at 7:00 AM and rehabbing when last night’s game ended at 11:00 PM and you were in bed at 2:00 AM.  We just crushed it all week in rehab, it’s time for a break.  Get some good sleep and take the day off – both physically AND mentally!

That’s just one example.  For the athlete that may be rehabbing daily, I often build my rehab programs with altering variables throughout the week depending on what phase of the program they are currently performing.  For example, I often do a three day split with my baseball players:

  • Day 1 – Strength based
  • Day 2 – Stability based
  • Day 3 – Regen

Again, “regen day” does not mean rest, but I can’t keep taxing the system every day.  During the early phases of rehab, perhaps the first month or two after Tommy John surgery, we don’t need this as the training stimulus is not high enough, but once you start incorporating more advanced exercises and eventually throwing, this concept becomes important.

I always tell my clients – take a step back and you’ll come back twice as ready to go.  By the end of the week, most of my clients are pretty beat down and ready for a nice weekend to recover.  On Monday morning, they are ready to roll again.  This is how you make big gains week-to-week in the rehab process.

 

Personal Development

studyingLastly, I use this concept all the time in my own personal development.  We’ve all probably been in a place where we felt that the programs we are writing or how we were coaching our athletes was perfect.  And I bet it was.  But it was only perfect for that single day.  As we continue to learn, grow, and develop, I push all of the team at Champion PT and Performance to challenge themselves.  I want them all to look back at a program they wrote several months or years ago and think “I would write that completely different now.”  (Photo credit)

That doesn’t mean that your program was poorly designed before, it means you have evolved your thought process and progressed yourself.

If you are writing the same programs all the time or can look back and your programs a year later are the same as last year, you are better than that.  Take a step back, challenge yourself intellectually, learn something, evolve, and take two giants steps forward.

 

Taking a step back to take two steps forward doesn’t have to be negative.  It’s still progress.  Consider these tips and incorporate theses concepts into your training, rehabilitation, and personal development.

 

 

3 Mistakes Coaches Make When Training Women

Tony GentilcoreToday’s guest post comes from strength and conditioning guru Tony Gentilcore.  As one of the premier strength coaches and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance, Tony knows how to train people and get results.  There are many misconceptions in strength training women.  Tony provides a great article on some of the mistakes he commonly sees when coaching female clients.

 

3 Mistakes Coaches Make When Training Women

Before I begin lets address the obvious.  I’m not a woman.  I’m a dude. And as such, like most dudes, I have a strong affinity for old school Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, Star Wars, Rocky I, II, III, and IV (but not V), Rocky Balboa was eh, beef jerky, tanks, and leaving the toilet seat up. 

To save face, however, I’m not what you would call a “guys guy.” I like to buy flowers for my girlfriend just because, I’ve watched every episode of Sex and the City (true story), and, while I’m sure I’m going to catch some flak for admitting this and run the risk of losing my Man Card, I’m rather fond of the occasional pedicure (also, true story!).

Pop culture references and societal norm commentary aside, I’ve been in the fitness industry for a little over twelve years now, and in that time I’ve trained my fair share women.  Some have been elite athletes – ranging anywhere from world-class triathletes to Olympic hopefuls – in addition to both collegiate and high school athletes. Moreover I’ve also worked with a gulf of women in the general fitness population from varying demographics with any number of varying goals and needs (not to mention training experience).

On top of that, throughout my career, outside of my current role as strength coach (and co-founder) at Cressey Sports Performance, I’ve had the opportunity to work with female athletes and clients in both the corporate and commercial gym setting.

In short:  I’ve seen it all and feel I have a well-rounded perspective on the topic of “female specific” training. 

It’s on that note I’d like to discuss some of the universal mistakes I’ve observed numerous coaches and trainers make when it comes to working with and training female clients.  Here are my top 3 mistakes coaches make when training women.

 

Buying Into the Term “Female Specific” Training

do-women-need-to-train-different-than-menI don’t deny the fact there’s an array of differences between the female and male body – both anatomically and physiologically.

Boys have boy down there parts and girls have girl down there parts. We all learned that fairly young in life. Also, hormonally speaking, there’s quite a bit of diversity between men and women – the most obvious of which is the different levels of testosterone and estrogen.

Although estrogens are thought of as female sex hormones and androgens are considered male hormones, both men and women make hormones in both groups, with different ratios depending on gender.

Men have much higher levels of testosterone (which explains why it’s much easier for men to add muscle and stay a lower body fat level), and women have higher levels of estrogen.  We don’t need to go into the deep science on hormones for the sake of this article, but we’d be remiss not to at least note that hormones do enter the equation.

When working with females one (or more) of the following scenarios will affect how we go about training them:

  • Athletic Amenorrhea (losing your period).
  • Pregnancy Training
  • Training for Menopause
  • Menstrual cycle (this will HIGHLY dictate training and nutrition).

We DO need to consider “stuff,” and we absolutely should not make light of any of the above talking points.

However, I don’t really buy into the whole “female specific” training mindset – especially if we’re referring to a healthy, non-injured client/athlete.

The human body is the human body and whenever I work with a female client I treat her just as I treat my male clients. I assess them, look at their movement quality, figure out if there are any red flags from a postural and alignment standpoint, and if we’re in the clear, they’re going to squat, deadlift, push, pull, carry, and lunge just like everyone else.

I don’t do “girl” pushups with my female clients.  I do pushups (and progress and regress accordingly).  I don’t do “light weight/high reps” because they’re girls, either.  They TRAIN just like everyone else.

Which serves as nice segue to my next point.

 

Stop Using Terms Like “Sexy” and “Toned”

Walk into any grocery or convenience store and peruse the magazine shelves and you’re bound to notice an endless barrage of words like “sexy” and “toned” directed towards women.

Conversely, guys are inundated with terms like “jacked” and “chiseled” and “gainzzzz” and other bro-tastic adjective you can think of.

For women, I don’t like the connotation the mainstream media beats over their heads.  And I certainly don’t like the message it conveys. Is it any wonder why so many women (young and old) are programmed into thinking they have to look a certain way to fit our lame societal norms? It sucks.

When I start working with a female client I try to gravitate towards terms like “strength” or “athletic” or “performance”…..because I feel they’re more empowering and have a less nefarious tone to them.

And speaking of performance……

 

Stress It!!!!

If there’s one thing I can universally point to that separates female clients from male clients it’s that male clients compare themselves to themselves, while female clients compare themselves to other females.

Put another way, most of the time (not always) male clients will be more concerned with what he weighed last month or what he lifted last week. He’ll almost always lean towards being more temporal minded and compare himself to himself.

This isn’t to say that guys aren’t competitive with other guys – I’ve seen way too many improvisational “deadlift offs” to state otherwise. But rather, generally speaking, most male athletes and clients are more concerned with competing against himself and setting performance based goals.

Conversely, most women (not all) are more societal comparative.  Meaning they’ll lean more towards comparing themselves to other women.

And don’t play it off as it that’s not true ladies!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out with my girlfriend walking around the city and out of nowhere she’ll blurt out something like “That girl should not be wearing that!”  When was the last time you heard a guy do that?  Never.  NEVER!!!!!!  Crocs don’t count.

But back to my main point.

As an example I once had a 50+ year-old female client get flummoxed whenever she trained at the same time as a 22 year-old ex-Division I decathlete.  She’d routinely compare herself to the younger woman and wonder why she didn’t look like her despite being twice her age!  Mind you, she looked amazing!  She’d always get compliments on her work ethic and physique – but sadly they fell on deaf ears.

To help combat this mentality, as a coach I continually make an effort to not place precedence on physique or weight goals, but rather performance goals – especially with women.  Of course if someone’s goal is to lose weight for health reasons or they’re a physique competitor, I’m all for it. Their training will reflect that goal. 

However, I often find that by stressing performance based goals like being able to perform their first unassisted, bodyweight chinup or squatting 1x their bodyweight for reps or being able to conquer their first Tough Mudder, it sets a much better tone moving forward.

In general I find that strength is an often UNDER-stressed quality pursued by women (and men), and I LOVE when a woman finally has that “light bulb” moment and recognizes that strength is a beautiful thing and something to be revered and embraced.

When that happens, cool things follow.

 

 

The Funny Things Our Patients Say

Today’s guest post comes from frequent contributor Trevor Winnegge.  Trevor shares a great, and fun, article on some of the funny things our patients and clients say!  I thought it would be good to mix it up and have a fun article on here!  Even better, I threw in a funny pic of a dog that looks like it is laughing, what a week (photo credit)!  More importantly, Trevor just starts the discussion, please comment and share some of your “Funny Things Our Patients Say” too!

 

The Funny Things Our Patients Say

Funny Things Our Patients SayAs I Listened to my partial medial menisectomy patient describe his injury to another patient, I had to chuckle to myself. “I blew out my knee. The doctor had to do a complete reconstruction of my meniscus and cartilage.”  It was this statement that lead me to think of the funny things we, as physical therapists, hear on a day to day basis. And it inspired me to write this guest post today.

 

Rotor Cup

Anyone who has worked in an outpatient setting treating shoulders has no doubt heard this one. Instead of a patient saying rotator cuff, we hear “rotor cup”, “rotatory cup”, “rotor cuff”.  It always comes up and puts us therapists in an awkward position. Do we correct them and say “it is actually called the rotator cuff”? We run the risk of the patient thinking we are rude for correcting them. However, if we use their words and refer to it as “rotor cup”, now others in the room or in society think we are crazy. I always tactfully correct, but still laugh to myself when I hear it.  This never gets old.

 

Broken

Just last week, I evaluated a patient with a fractured fibula. Upon evaluation, I ask the patient “So how did you break your ankle?” I was quickly corrected not once, but twice by the patient. First, they said “I didn’t break my bone, I fractured it.” Well then, I stand corrected. So much for putting it into laymans terms for the patient. What came next was even more priceless, “And it wasn’t my ankle, it was this bone here (pointing), the fibia”. Ahh yes, the fibia. My mistake.

 

Simply the worst

Another of my favorite patient quotes is “the doctor said it was the worst (insert injury here) they have ever seen.”  Some patients like to glorify their injury, and wear it like a badge of honor. Telling people the doctor has never seen worse is a good way to glorify it for sure.

 

These are just a few of the MANY funny things we hear on a daily basis from our patients. I encourage everyone to comment on this post with their favorite patient-isms. This should be a fun post! I look forward to reading all of them!

About

Trevor WinneggeTrevor Winnegge PT,DPT,MS,OCS,CSCS  has been practicing PT for over 13 years. He graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelors in PT and a Master of Science Degree. He also graduated from Temple University with a Doctor of physical therapy degree. He is a board certified specialist in orthopedics and also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is adjunct faculty at Northeastern University, teaching courses in orthopedics and differential diagnosis. He currently practices at Sturdy Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Associates in Attleboro MA, where he treats many orthopedic and sports medicine patients.

 

Assess Don’t Assume

SFMAI was fortunate last week to swing by and watch my friend Mike Voight teach the SFMA in Boston.  I met Mike’s co-instructors Josh Satterlee and Brandon Gilliam and was impressed with the course.  I have been SFMA certified for some time but I wanted to hear Mike’s take on the system.

I wanted to share with everyone a key theme that was presented that I thought was worth expanding on and sharing.  During one of the introductory presentations, Josh talked about how important the assessment process was and without it, we are just guessing.  This goes along with what I always say, “assess, don’t assume.” [Click to Tweet]

One of the points that was made was that sometimes we get lucky.

Perhaps your client can’t touch their toes and you instruct them to stretch their hamstrings.  Now this person can easily touch their toes.  Take a guess what you are probably going to tell the next 50 people that can’t touch their toes to do?  Probably stretch their hamstrings, because it worked so well on that first person!

We have all been guilty of getting stuck in our box of techniques.  Every time we go to a new seminar or learn something new on the internet, we try it on everyone.  Perhaps we get lucky and hit a bullseye on a few of those people.

We all know there are dozens of reasons why you may not be able to touch your toes, and realistically, hamstring flexibility is not often the reason!  You can’t recommend hamstring stretching unless you have identified that this is the specific reason why your client can not touch their toes.

Don’t be guilty of being stuck in your box of techniques.  Just because it works on one person, doesn’t mean it will work on the next person.  Everyone is unique and has unique needs.

Don’t get stuck in your ways.  As Josh said, chiropractors are great at mobilizing already mobile people and physical therapists are great at stabilizing already stable patients.  I thought that was hilariously accurate!  It really comes back down to your assessment.  I do use the SFMA but also many other assessments techniques (you can see some of them in my Functional Stability Training system).  They help guide me towards what my client needs, I’m not satisfied with being lucky, neither should you.