This year’s Physical Prep Summit is in the books, and if the early feedback is any indicator, it was hands-down our best year yet.
One thing that really stood out about this year’s event was the level of the attendees. I easily could have picked out 10-15 members of the audience and had them speak at the event.
And I think that’s a great sign – if you’re getting high quality practitioners to attend, then you’re probably putting on a great event.
With a week to settle in and really digest the materials, I wanted to do a recap of sorts for each presentation.
While these may not be the highlights for other people, here were five big takeaways I had from this years Physical Prep Summit.
Takeaway #1 – The Thorax is Crucial
If anyone can make the thorax sound sexy, it’s Bill Hartman!
As always, Bill gave one of the most thought-provoking discussions over the weekend in his talk about the thorax.
He started by showing pictures of various athletes and their rib cages. Whether you’re talking about the straight-ahead speed of Usain Bolt, or the ability to change direction like Barry Sanders, the thorax is a critical driver of human performance.
This presentation really got me thinking about how airflow dictates not only our mobility, but our ability to get into different body positions.
For example if an athlete is very extended (airflow cannot move back), this athlete will be unable to squat or change levels well.
But that’s just the sagital plane. What if someone struggles to move air from side-to-side?
How will that negatively impact frontal plane mobility? And the ability to change directions?
The bottom line is this:
If you can’t drive airflow, you can’t move – period.
This was a fantastic talk, and one that definitely has kept my wheels turning.
#2 – Diversity of Thought is Key
Doug Kechijian is a guy whom I was ecstatic to bring in.
Doug has a really great perspective on training, and he’s one of the best PT’s I know with regards to blending both therapy and performance in his programs.
However, it was a random bullet point from Doug’s talk that really resonated with me:
Diversity of thought is key.
Look, we can all get better from a systems perspective.
Whether it’s understanding anatomy and physiology, writing programs, or executing the lifts, we can all get better as coaches.
But that doesn’t mean we put blinders on and forget about all the other smart people in the world!
We can all learn from other disciplines – whether it’s leadership, motivation, organization, or anything in between, it behooves us to learn from realms outside of just coaching.
This also makes me feel a lot better about all of the random reading that I do.
I would imagine that for every training book I read, I read one book from outside the training world as well.
Not only do I broaden my own knowledge base, but I think you can often take concepts from outside the industry and apply them back to programming and coaching.
#3 – Fine Tuning Thoughts on Protein
Mike Roussell is my go-to guy when it comes to nutrition.
While Mike covered a ton of ground in his presentation, one of the biggest take homes for me was on the topic of protein needs.
I don’t know about you, but I came up in a time where protein was THE macronutrient.
And you simply could not get enough protein. Hell if you could get 50, 75 or even 100 grams per meal, the more the better!
In Dr. Mike’s talk, he put a huge emphasis on yes, meet your protein needs at every meal.
However, there’s really no need to take in 75 or 100 grams of protein per meal. The body can only synthesize about 30 grams at a time, so the extra probably isn’t all that helpful.
What’s more important, though, is to make sure that you are getting that 30 grams at every meal.
Here’s what happens to a lot of athletes:
- Breakfast – 11 grams of protein
- Lunch – 16 grams of protein
- Dinner – 63 grams of protein
As you can see, they might get 90 grams of protein across three meals, but their protein intake at each meal is very skewed.
Ideally, their day would look more like this:
- Breakfast – 30 grams of protein
- Lunch – 30 grams of protein
- Dinner – 30 grams of protein
While both examples are getting approximately 90 total grams of protein, the effects on the body are vastly different.
In a recent research study, participants either used a balanced or skewed approach to meet their protein needs. Those who got that steady dose of protein at every meal saw a 25% increase in protein synthesis!
The big takeaway here (per Dr. Mike) is this:
“The big point in that study was that you don’t necessarily need to eat more protein, but that you can optimize muscle protein synthesis by spreading your protein out so that you are consuming 30g per meal at least 4hrs apart.”
So make sure you’re getting that
BROprotein in at every meal. Your muscles will thank you.
#4 – Teach and Rehearse the Fundamentals
Right now the biggest buzzword in speed and agility training is “reactive” agility.
And for good reason – sport itself is not performed in a vacuum, and you’re always “reacting” to a ball, and opponent, etc..
But here’s the thing – you have to have the movement skills first before you start layering in elements of reactivity and/or chaos!
With regards to Loren’s talk, I think he does a brilliant job of layering in the basics throughout the program.
Whether it’s linear speed or lateral change of direction, he’s constantly working on and addressing the basics.
In some regards, the sessions may look a little “rehearsed” – but I think athletes need this, especially early-on.
Once you’re consistent with your movement and performance, they by all means start layering in reactivity and/or competition into the equation.
Another thing that I really love about Loren is that he takes great care of himself, and obviously works hard on his movement himself.
This is something I think is critical as coaches. The better shape we keep ourselves in, and the more stuff we demo ourselves, the more “street cred” we have with our athletes.
I may not be the biggest, strongest, or most explosive guy out there, but I work to keep myself in great shape so I can show my athletes that I don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.
#5 – The Lost Art of Sprinting
I’ve been a big fan of Derek Hansen for years, but I’m an even bigger fan now.
Not only is he a brilliant coach, but a flat-out great human being as well.
With regards to Derek’s talk, I keep coming back to two key points:
- We aren’t doing enough pure speed work, and
- The work that we are doing isn’t high enough quality.
In every sport, you want fast athletes.
And let’s just put the term “track guys” to bed. The goal isn’t to build a track guy, but rather to teach our athletes to move in the safest and most efficient manner possible.
If you can keep everything else the same, a faster athlete is going to be a more useful athlete.
But how do we do this?
You can’t just hang out in the weight room and push weights. Instead, you have to get out there and actually run fast.
You have to coach technique.
And a critical element here, you have to allow for full recovery.
Remember, the goal isn’t to build conditioning via your sprint work – it’s to actually get faster!
From there, Derek had a number of things that I’m still bouncing around in my head, Here are just a few:
- The role speed development plays on the nervous system as a whole,
- Reiterating the fact that there’s a protective effect on the hamstring when you incorporate high-speed running, and
- How hamstring issues aren’t simply issues at the tissue, but in the brain as well.
Doing the one-day portion of our summit is never easy, as we’re a group of voracious learners and always expect a ton.
I can honestly say, though, that every year we’ve done this – whether it’s Dan John, Boo Schexnayder, Mark McLaughlin or now Derek Hansen – we’ve been thrilled with the amount of information we’ve taken away.
With this year’s summit in the books, it’s time to turn my attention to next year.
And there are a lot of questions looming that I need to get answered.
What month are we going to have it? I’m looking at moving it back to August, as I can bring in some really cool folks at that time of year.
What will the “theme” be? I’ve got some ideas here as well – but no spoilers yet!
And last but not least, who will be our one-day speaker? Again, I’ve got some ideas, but nothing concrete yet.
Regardless, if you attended this year’s event, thank you for your support. I hope you enjoyed yourself and I hope you’ll come back next year.
And to those of you who didn’t attend, I sincerely hope that next year you’ll consider joining us. It’s always a great weekend, and I guarantee you’ll not only have a great time, but learn a ton as well.
All the best