Originally posted on www.elitefitnesssystems.com
Introduction – Ken Kinakin
The 2005 SWIS Symposium was held at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel & Conference Center in Mississaugo, Ontario. The SWIS began on a nostalgic note with a review of some of the more colorful speakers of the past. Despite the solid lineup, year after year, the SWIS symposium has yet to make a single dollar. And as a result, this “Best of SWIS” would be the final symposium, and hopefully the final year its founder loses money.
There was a hint of sadness as Dr. Kinakin reiterated some of his favorite moments, knowing that there were only two more days to create such memories. But what a couple of days they would be! This lineup included some of the worlds’ experts in training nutrition and rehabilitation. It was star-studded to be sure, and the promise that this would be the “best of” was right on the mark.
Dr. John Berardi – The Best Supplements & Diets to Lose Fat & Gain Muscle
What can we say about the now DR. JB? This guy is a stud. Not only does he have an amazing outlook on nutrition and supplementation, but it’s all covered by peer-reviewed research as well. Oh, and did we mention he’s as smooth as Eric Estrada?
We all know that JB knows a ton about nutrition, and 99% of his recommendations can be found somewhere here on T-Nation between his articles and posts. However, his discussion about eliciting change from his clients is very cool.
Dr. JB began by discussing the importance of goal setting and outcome measurement necessary to keep clients motivated. After all, it’s this motivation that helps maintain compliance on any nutrition or training program.
We, as program providers, must understand that we have to re-educate people; helping them to understand the realities of good and bad behaviors. Combing this re-education with system of incremental goals (baby steps) will maximize client acceptance and compliance.
Rather than focusing on cutting Calories, JB explained that a “diet displacement”, whereby clients replace bad food choices with better food choices, is necessary for long-term adaptation and results.
Ever the philosopher, Dr. JB made an interesting point with the question; why do we as trainers/coaches get clients to READ up on nutrition? This is like going to a lawyer who then tells you to read up on your legal issues, or a mechanic who gives you books about your engine problems. In other words, when people come to you for a diet, don’t be a bonehead, just give them the program.
Although we tend to miss the hardcore biochemistry, this talk from JB gets a thumbs up for its applicability and effectiveness.
Lorne Goldberg – The Best Hockey Conditioning Program
Lorne is recognized as a Guru of hockey strength and Conditioning, having worked for at least 5 different NHL teams. He showed video of the training circuits he puts his players through, based on the premise that the average on-ice shift last 30-60 seconds. Sandbags are used heavily in this type of training to their versatility and awkward nature. Cleans, presses, and dragging were some of the exercises used, because they recruit the large muscle groups as well as core and stabilizers.
Lorne maintained his traditional emphasis on uneven loading to work the core, while working primary muscles. Along with Lorne’s experience, the highlight of his talks is the abundant use of video to see exactly what the athletes are doing. The topic may seem a bit esoteric, but you have to remember that it took place in Canada -eh!
Dr. Rob Rakowski – The Best Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation for Weight Training Injuries
Rob gave a very interesting presentation showing how his Applied Kinesiology model can help patients in his clinic. By utilizing chiropractic adjustments, paired with triggering specific reflex points on the body, he can enhance and promote proper nerve function. His subject on this day was the one and only Dave Tate.
We all know Dave is in the process of getting himself healthy, so it was cool to see Rob doing his thing. Through a mix of specific chiropractic adjustments and hitting reflex points, he significantly increased the strength and motor control in Dave’s right shoulder. It was also cool to hear him adjust a 300# man over a PA system; Dave’s spine sounded like it was going to snap in half!
Finally, don’t think this guy is just smoke-and-mirrors; some of his clientele include former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, Yao Ming and multiple wrestlers from the WWE. Nothing to scoff at, if you ask us.
Joe DeFranco – The Best Speed Development Program
Joe DeFranco was definitely a lot different than most of the previous presenters we’d seen up to this point. His presentation wasn’t based on scientific literature and he didn’t use a lot of big medical words.
And he blew us away.
This guy is no frills, and no BS.
Joe literally wrote the book on the 40 yard dash (which has been updated with a NEW second edition -available on his website), so it’s only natural that he’d share his expertise on this subject.
His discussion revolved around the premise that people looking to improve sprinting speed are basically looking to improve either stride length or stride frequency. In his experience, kids after puberty begins have a very hard time improving their stride frequency; instead of beating their head against a wall, they should focus on improving stride length via proper strength training and flexibility training.
For flexibility work, we’d all like to have the time to stretch every muscle group to optimize our health and performance. However, we all know this isn’t always the case. Joe has simplified it down for his kids so they stretch the hip flexors, pecs and hip rotators on a daily basis to improve flexibility and open up the body to improve stride length. This static work is done nightly and in the morning if possible, while he follows a more dynamic warm-up prior to training.
As well, this presentation gave great insight into Joe’s specific exercise selections. When analyzing sprint technique, Joe breaks it down into three simple phases:
- First step
Now, while this might sound “rudimentary” to elite level sprint coaches, this works perfectly for training athletes. Next, all his strength training exercise choices coincide directly with these phases. Here’s the “method behind the madness,” if you will:
- First step = Starting strength exercises with minimal stretch-shortening cycle contribution Exercise Choices – Box Squats and Deadlifts of all varieties
- Acceleration = Mixture of quad, hamstring and glute recruitment Exercise Choices – Step-ups, reverse lunges, and Bulgarian squat variations
- Top End Speed – Heavy posterior chain recruitment Exercise Choices – Glute-hams, RDL’s, reverse hypers, etc.
We could go on and on about this presentation, but needless to say if you are interested in becoming a strength coach or becoming a better strength coach, Joe is a great guy to learn from. In fact he’s putting on a seminar at his new facility on December 10th, so if you get the chance check it out. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.
Friday Night – Training Toronto Style
Barr-bie hooked us up with fellow T-Nationer Kerwyn Chandroo Friday night for a training session at Kerwyn’s personal training facility. While touring his place, you come upon this wall of all the people Kerwyn has trained and the before-after pics are jaw-dropping. Not only does this guy walk-the-walk as a competitive bodybuilder, but his trainees kick ass as well: How often do you walk into a gym and see hot two females banging out EASY sets of 10 on pull-ups? Not too often. It’s great to meet another T-Nation member who is helping people achieve their goals.
As well, Mike got his ass handed to him by a pair of blast straps. If you haven’t tried these things out yet, they can literally torch about every muscle in your body. He was toast after doing 3 sets of push-ups, but asking for more punishment he got his abs ripped apart by a single set of ab fall-outs. He was still wimpering about his abs hurting 2 days later. Sissy.
Charles Poliquin – The Best Assessment Tools & Eating Programs for Fat Loss
This presentation has confirmed what we’ve always suspected; Charles knows pretty much everything. While he’s a world-renowned strength coach, he’s also an underrated nutrition expert. It was this latter topic that yielded the basis for most of his talk, and the highlights included:
-consume healthy fats with each meal
-for omega 3′s use fish oils not flax oil
-if you can buy fish oil from the local drug store, it’s low quality and filled with contaminants
-krill oil is the best source of omega 3′s
-lower carb diets are preferable for maintenance of muscle mass with fat loss
-the simplest suggestion for someone to lose fat is to eat a meat and nut breakfast (it’s just what it sounds like)
-his clients can eat anything as long as it used to crawl, fly, swim, OR if it’s green
-he has seen the best results for fat loss with a caveman-type diet
Another fascinating part of the talk was the discussion about individual skinfolds representing the hormonal milieu of the body. For example, a high umbilical skinfold correlates with a high cortisol level.
In addition to information derived from individual folds, the thickness of different sites can be compared to get a ratio of how anabolic or catabolic a person may be. This is also the first time I have ever heard of a cheek skinfold being used, but it was pointed out that this is often the first place that you can see fat loss! Ouch.
One of the highlights of Mikes’ day was watching Barrbie shamelessly beg Charles for a job at his new performance center in Boston. Whaddya think Charles?
Charles Staley – The Best New Weight Training Program Design Concepts
After reading the report on the T-Nation website, we were really geared up to hear Charles talk at the SWIS. However, that damn Chris Shugart stole some of Charles’ thunder on this day, as he covered a lot of similar topics. Regardless, we’re not going to cover it again, since Chris did such a great job before.
If you’d like a full report on Charles’ talk, check it out here: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=796941.
Consistent with the DeFranco Jersey style, Dr. Bilella tore it up and didn’t make apologies. In fact, if you saw him speak, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is the guy DeFranco sends his clients to for nutrition work (http://www.nutritiontreatmentcenter.com).
He began with a definition of the newly popular term Nutrigenomics. This is the process of nutrients having an effect on our metabolic programming, by affecting genetic expression. In other words, nutrients have more than their traditional passive role when it comes to our health and performance.
Other important tips Dr Bilella uses when dealing with clients include:
-Determine their level of commitment to change. If they say anything less than a 9 out of 10 send them to someone else.
-Read the book “The Diet Cure” by Julia Ross (this is mandatory for all of his clients)
-Understand that facts don’t motivate, emotion does
-After the initial assessment and follow-up, your client must know 3 things: I am in the right place, I am worse off than I thought, I hope he/she (the practitioner) can fix me
-Get spouse to come in, get them to rate their level of commitment to helping their significant other in achieving their goals (if it’s anything other than a “10”, watch out!)
-Maintain strong positive wording (“I feel strongly…”), as opposed to weak (“My best guess…”)
-Keep mileposts for success (baby steps) as opposed to simply end goals. That way the client can see that they are making progress throughout their experience.
Overall it was an excellent presentation from someone who definitely walks the walk!
Dave Tate (with Jim Wendler) – The Best Assessment & Exercise Program to Eliminate Your Weak Points In The 3 Powerlifts
Dave, much like Joe, isn’t going to wow you with his knowledge of scientific literature or his “medical” vocabulary. Regardless, he knows strength inside-and-out, and better yet he knows how to coach. Big difference. In case you’ve been on some remote island for the last 5+ years, Dave has squatted 935 pounds and benched 610 pounds; most of us could double our current bests and not make those respective numbers. When someone like this speaks, you listen.
Dave’s presentation revolved around proper performance of the squat and bench press. He’s discussed both in his “Squatting from Head to Toe” and “Bench Press 600 Pounds” articles, but seeing him live is even cooler because Dave is a hella-funny guy. Hell, we would both pay full admission to one of his seminars just to hear him tell stories! But, we digress; here’s a brief overview of his discussion:
- The best way to squat is on a box. As well, if you aren’t training beginners to squat on a box, you’re making your life 10x harder than it needs to be.
- Simple cues to improve your squat include:
o Arch the upper back
o Flare the knees hard
o Push out on the sides of the feet
- Use training “indicators” to figure out if you are making progress or not. This could be as simple as a squat, bench or deadlift for a powerlifter, or it could be key assistance exercises that help build these lifts. When you’re making progress on these lifts, chances are you’re making progress on the big lifts as well.
While we’re all for reading his articles, if you are serious about strength, get your ass to an Elite seminar. There’s nothing like being coached by the best, and you’ll immediately have an idea of what you need to improve.
Ken Kinakin and Guests – The Best Assessment, Treatment & Rehabilitation for Weight Training Injuries
This was a somewhat hodge-podge session with a variety of speakers discussing the latest recovery modalities. We’ll cover the ones we thought were coolest briefly:
One of the Trigenics guys gave a brief 20 minute discussion on this cutting-edge technique. For those of you familiar with chiro or ART, you know the benefits they provide because they focus on not only the skeletal system but the myo-fascial system as well. Trigenics can be the third piece of the triangle so to speak, as it works to “restore” proper function of the nervous system. One example was the “Trigenics Challenge,” a female who had suffered from frozen shoulder for almost 5 years and couldn’t abduct her humerus past 90 degrees. After about 5 minutes of work, this woman had full abduction in her right shoulder (180 degrees). Pretty cool stuff, and it could be the “missing link” in a lot of peoples’ recovery/rehab/injury prevention programs.
Kin Kinakin showed off this cool tool that he uses to help restore scarred fascia to a more normalized state. Many people using ART could possibly employ this modality, as ART can be very hard on the thumbs, fingers, hands and forearms. With the percussoner, Dr. Kinakin stated he could work on the entire length of the iliotibial band without absolutely destroying his hands. It cost 900 bucks, but could be worth it if you are a health-care provider or very serious about your performance.
Matt discussed his use of the Omega Wave system for training the athletes on the Leafs. The Omega Wave system analyzes on a daily basis how you are adapting (or not adapting to training). This “fine-tuning” allows you to figure out what the optimal training/load volume are for you, as well as if you should even be training that day. In this case, the proof is in the pudding: The Leafs not only strength train more frequently than any other team in the NHL, but they also boast the strongest player in the league as well.
While we don’t believe that you can always rely on a machine to tell you when and if you should train, it’s another cool tool to have in the tool box, especially if you have any extra $20k or so burning a hole in your pocket.
Jim Wendler – Random Discussion
If you want to get stronger, you need to listen to Jim. We could leave it at that, but let’s just summarize a few points we discussed over the course of about 2 hours.
- A lot of times, less is more. Just because you CAN do a whole bunch of exercises doesn’t mean you should. Why do 8 lifts when you can get the same training effect from 3 or 4? All you supposed “hard-gainers” out there that are taking 2-2.5 hours to do 10 lifts need to heed this all-to-simple advice. As well, know what’s weak, make it strong and you will get stronger.
- Missing lifts sucks. We’ve never understood missing lifts; not only does your form have to erode if you miss, but it’s not good psychologically. The best Olympic lifters in the world hardly ever miss lifts, so why should you? If nothing else you’ll have an amazing level of confidence each and every time you step on the platform.
- Don’t do what everybody else does. A true “Westside template” doesn’t include work with blast straps or overhead presses, but Jim will tell you bringing up HIS weakpoints made his bench sky-rocket. Just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should. Again, find YOUR weakness, train it, and you’ll get stronger. Are you starting to see a theme here?
Just like Joe and Dave, this guy is a wealth of real-world, applicable knowledge. If you are interested in getting stronger, go to an Elite seminar and learn from the best. We think so many people are interested in the minutae of training that they really miss out on the big picture; doing a few things really well (like squatting, benching and deadlifting) is not only great for powerlifting, but will take your physique to new-found levels as well.
The 2005 SWIS seminar was amazing not only for the presentations, but meeting the presenters as well. Dr. Kinakin does an amazing job of bringing the best in the world together, and hopefully he will continue with SWIS events for many years to come.
Finally, for all you coaches, trainers and trainees that are reading this: If you are serious about improving the strength or physique of you or your clients, you need to go to these types of seminars. Seriously, you learn more in 2 days than you normally would in 2 months. As well, it’s amazing for networking and actually getting to meet the people you are reading about. As we’ve stated before, Joe DeFranco has a seminar coming up on December 10th, we’ve got word that Elite is going to be starting up a new set of seminars in December, and the DC Test Fest is coming up on January 14th. Trust us, you won’t regret it.