Ask Mike Reinold Show

Learning More About Strength and Conditioning

On this episode of the #AskMikeReinold show we talk about some of the ways that physical therapists can learn more about strength and conditioning. To view more episodes, subscribe, and ask your questions, go to mikereinold.com/askmikereinold.

#AskMikeReinold Episode 228: Learning More About Strength and Conditioning

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Show Notes



Transcript

Mike Reinold:
All right. I like this question today. I’m going to preface this. I like this question because we actually get this question a lot. And I saw this a lot online recently, but from Stacy from Florida says, “Hey Champion, I’m a PT student, and I’m wondering what the best way to learn more about strength and conditioning is? Many of my classmates are taking the CSCS test, but is that enough? Thanks in advance.”

Mike Reinold:
So the CSCS is from NSCA, the National Strength and Conditioning Association has a certified strength and conditioning specialist. It took me a second, is that right? I was like staring at the letters. I’m like, I know it’s … You get every buzzword in there, certified and specialized in the same word, so you are a special certification. It’s the CSCS which is, I would say like the gold standard to show that you have that next level concept of strength and conditioning. And I think the primary reason why it’s the gold standard is unlike some of the personal training certifications is I think you need at least a bachelor’s degree. Or do you need a master’s degree or just bachelor?

Dan Pope:
Bachelor’s.

Mike Reinold:
So I think that’s the differentiator between me from the personal training certifications and the CSCS is CSCS you also have to have that bachelor degree. So theoretically you have a little bit more exercise science background, I don’t really know if that makes you a better coach, but I think that’s the difference between them. Raise your hands, who here has a CSCS on this call? All right. So everybody but Lisa. So good. That’s a good sign. So as a physical therapist, we have four physical therapists here that are. Is Scaduto a CSCS? I don’t remember. So we all did it. I think this is a good question.

Mike Reinold:
I’m going to just throw this straight to the physical therapist and say this, do you think taking the CSCs gives you enough knowledge or it doesn’t give you enough strength and conditioning knowledge to be a better physical therapist? Who wants to start with that?

Dave Tilley:
Yes.

Mike Reinold:
All right. So tell me Dave, why you thought the CSCS made you a better physical therapist?

Dave Tilley:
I’ll say yes with an asterisk, because I think there’s another part of it. So yes, because it gives you a very comprehensive overview of strength conditioning, like baseline knowledge. So energy systems and different types of contractions and the physiology behind muscle growth and hypertrophy, which is super important. I felt as though that was not provided to me in my physical therapy education to the best that it could have been.

Dave Tilley:
But that being said, there’s two halves to this, one is the academic knowledge of strength conditioning. And then I think the other half is the practical on the floor, coaching on the fly, which Diwey should definitely be the one to speak to. But I learned more, I guess, equally as much as I did from just being around strength coaches at Champion shadowing. I remember going to Cressey’s really early on. I was like one of the only physical therapists at the seminar, and I learned so much on just coaching and cuing and progressions. And like you have to be able to kind of be in the trenches on the fly. It’s not enough to just know the academic knowledge, nor is it just enough to know how to coach somebody and not know why you’re doing something. So I think both are very valuable.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. I think that’s an excellent response too. It’s kind of staggering to me too why we don’t have the equivalent of a CSCS preparation course within every physical therapy program. Maybe that’s why our field still stinks at loading, and some advanced level things. Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t agree more. I think the baseline knowledge that you get from the CSCS about just exercise science and physiology, it’s hard to get elsewhere. I don’t know who else wants to answer that from the PT perspective on how much the CSCS help them or didn’t help them or whatever. I don’t know, Len, Dan?

Lenny Macrina:
I think Dave did a good job. I think getting that book knowledge is good. I did take it in 2004, so it’s been 16 years since I took it. But getting that baseline-

Mike Reinold:
The earth was flat at that time?

Lenny Macrina:
It was still flat. I rode my dinosaur to the test.

Dave Tilley:
I was like 11 years old when that happened.

Mike Reinold:
I think I took mine before that, so I’m totally making fun of you, but like I think I’m more, did you use your number two pencil with the bubbles?

Lenny Macrina:
Probably. I sat next Tim Todd and he was taking a test as well.

Mike Reinold:
I noticed he’s been working on his calves, like Pope is on the Pope Calf Program, [crosstalk 00:05:57]

Dan Pope:
He’ll never make it.

Lenny Macrina:
No, I think you get good base. I actually had a conversation last night with a student that I was interviewing for a potential internship with us. And I told him if you want to get the CSCS, that’s great. I think use it in some kind of practical way, because it’s going to allow you to engage clients and talk to people and have to interact with people and do that small talk thing. It’s going to also have to get you to program for people and see how they respond to your programs and how to progress, regress and how to modify on the fly. It’s going to allow you to coach them, and how to work on technique.

Lenny Macrina:
And I told them I felt like the best students that come to us in Champion are those that are either CSCS, that are doing personal training or personal trainers or previous athletic trainers who understand how to interact with injury and interact with people and to be able to coach it and progress and regress. So kind of long-winded, but I think there’s value to it in a basic way, but then you have to use it practically in programming and talking to people and the small talk aspect that comes along with it. I think it’s valuable as a PT student coming to a clinic like us and probably other clinics too.

Mike Reinold:
So I’m going to go out on a limb here, that kid didn’t make the cut, did he?

Lenny Macrina:
Well, we’ll see.

Mike Reinold:
Awesome. That’s good. Dan, I mean, I think we covered that pretty good. Any other thoughts from your perspective? I know Dan worked a little bit more in the strength and conditioning field than most of us did prior to becoming a physical therapist, which I think happens quite a bit. So I think your perspective might be kind of helpful in that too, but like what are your thoughts just based on your strength and conditioning background?

Dan Pope:
Yeah. So I agree with what everyone has said, I guess just to add to that, I think both elements are really important. It’s almost like when we took anatomy and physical therapy school. It’s the first class we took. Didn’t know anything about physical therapy, just learning random stuff. And then a couple of years later, like, man, I wish I could go back and take anatomy again so I can actually put some context to it.

Dan Pope:
What was helpful for me is I actually worked for probably about four or five years before I got my CSCS. I kind of did the same thing for my OCS. I know folks will say bad things about the OCS because they feel like it’s not practical, but I think the CSCS is similar in the sense that you’ve been practicing for years and years, now you have an opportunity to learn more of the science and fine tune what you’re doing and improve that over the course of time. If you just take the CSCS without any sort of practical application, then you don’t really get as much out of it. So I think it can be beneficial obviously, but I think it’s most beneficial when you combine it with some sort of learning or mentoring experience or just going out and practicing this stuff yourself.

Mike Reinold:
That’s quite a good response, Dan, and the maturity level changes, right? Like when you’re actually studying the science, when you’re more mature and you’re actually ready to apply it because you’ve been through the trenches a little bit, you’re probably going to get more of it. We watch Dave Tilley read textbooks on microbiology right now and think he’s insane or just doesn’t have a social life or both, but yeah, I mean, it’s like now that you’re an adult, now that you’re a practitioner, you can go dig into some of those answers a little deeper. I think a lot of times PT students are taking the CSCS thinking that it’s going to either make them more marketable, which I hope that doesn’t trick anybody. Just because you pass the test doesn’t mean you’re a strength coach.

Mike Reinold:
I think they just think like, Oh, I take that and then I’m good. And some of them even seem to think they’re experts at strength and conditioning when it’s funny that Dave started it off with probably the most practical comment here was that coaching … I mean, if you look at the definition of a coach, it’s not about just teaching, it’s about communicating and guiding and mentoring. There’s so much behind it.

Mike Reinold:
Diwesh, why don’t we go to you on this one? As a strength coach and actually as the person that has a lot of our interns that kind of come through our program, I’d love to hear your thoughts on like how can a PT student be better at strength and conditioning in addition to just taking a test? Like what other steps can they take?

Diwesh Poudyal:
Yeah. I think the biggest thing is, again, just practical application of this knowledge. I know like Lenny, Dave, Dan, all kind of mentioned this, but the CSCS basically gives you just enough background information to want to help or to want to get better at what you do. But the rest of the learning comes from actually working with people and being a strength coach. So I think the biggest thing that you can do as a physical therapist and we actually get people like this all the time is we still have people that are practicing physical therapists that come in and join our internship program.

Diwesh Poudyal:
And so I think being an intern somewhere where you get actual strength conditioning principles that are applicable, is super important. That’s tough for you to access, find a mentor in the strength conditioning field, try to pick their brain and learn from them. Just find any way to get practical knowledge that you can actually apply to what you’re doing.

Mike Reinold:
You got to do it, right? You got to do it. I think that’s the key. So if you’re a physical therapy student, I mean, obviously there’s places like us at Champion and in other places like us around the country that have strength and conditioning internships, you can go there and I guarantee you will be a much better physical therapist. If you actually go through a strength and conditioning internship, you’d probably be one of the best physical therapists around if you’re interested in the sport ortho type setting is because you will learn the advance patterning and loading on capacity type things that you get, and that sort of a spectrum.

Mike Reinold:
If you don’t have time to take three months off or whatever, and do a full internship, then, look, put yourself out there. I was pretty fortunate. I got to be involved in a weight room, like in a pro sports kind of level. So like you’re involved in it, but I got good at it because I was in it. I don’t think you’re going to get good at it until you’re in it. Volunteer at night. Or the first thing you should is become an athlete at a gym. Learn by doing.

Mike Reinold:
So go to a gym, like infiltrate, workout, like start training with them. Maybe you can even start like coaching classes on the side or becoming like a bit of a help or something like that. Just observing, volunteering, something like that. But man, it’s about putting it all together. The practical information with the communication and the ability to connect with people, to actually help them achieve the goals is amazing. What happens is as you graduate, you think you learned something from a textbook and then you go to apply it to somebody, and for some reason it doesn’t work and you’re stumped. Like, Oh, what do I do now? Oh, I thought for sure that was going to happen, and it didn’t happen.

Mike Reinold:
What you didn’t realize is there’s so many variables in this world, both from the individual and the environment and all these things put together, all these different variables that you have to be able to flip on the fly. Great thoughts. I think, yes, should you take the test? Yeah, absolutely. Because you’re going to learn a lot about exercise science and do a really good job with that. I think that’s fantastic. But I think as everybody kind of highlighted, that’s probably the foundation, that’s the start. And like the Diwesh said, you probably need to get there in practice, actually doing things as well, putting it all together.

Mike Reinold:
Lots of ways to do that. Hopefully that helps. I don’t think taking a test or getting letters after your name really means much if you don’t know how to apply it. I think that’s kind of the big summary for this episode. Anyway, another great question. Thank you so much. If you have questions like that, head to mikereinold.com, click on the podcast link and fill out the form to ask away. And hopefully we get to your question on a future episode. In the meantime, please head to iTunes, Spotify, subscribe, rate, review, all the other things that you can do nowadays. And hopefully we will continue to do this and provide value for you guys. Thanks again. We’ll see you on the next episode.