I figured a write-up/summary of my Bulletproof Knees and Lower Back seminar in Vancouver this past weekend might interest some of you, so here goes.
I was really lucky to get hooked up with a lovely gal named Kari who was kind of like my tour guide the whole weekend. She volunteered to drive me around and help me out, which was really huge. I probably saved hundreds of dollars on cab fare alone, let alone the headaches of having to deal with cabbies all weekend. Thanks a ton Kari!
I also need to say thank you to Rick Kaselj for bringing me in. Rick put on a fantastic seminar, and as you’ll see, the facilities were awesome. We had access to a lecture hall, a full gymnasium, and even a weight room/performance center with platforms and power racks. Awesome!
This was a two-day course, and focused on training the client or athlete that is suffering from knee or lower back pain. More importantly, I wanted to really emphasize both the evidence that I use to support my training methods, along with some in-the-trenches stuff that they could take home and use immediately.
The weekend started on Saturday morning with a general overview of my philosophy on training, as well as functional anatomy. If you guys know anything about me, you know how I feel about anatomy – it’s crucial. If you’re serious about this whole training/coaching thing, you owe it to yourself to understand the anatomy.
We talked about all the pertinent joints, as well as the muscle groups at play. Rather than just bantering on and on about origins and insertions, though, I did my best to discuss their roles, as well as why this was important with regards to knee or lower back pain. All weekend, the attendees had free access to ask me any questions they had, as well as how my lecture was pertinent to training their clients/athletes.
After lunch, we came back and really focused on the assessment side of the equation. We discussed the various types of assessment we use (static, isolative dynamic, integrated dynamic, behavior, and sport-specific), evaluated some people on the fly, and most importantly, had them evaluate people themselves. I could sit there and lecture to them all day, but it doesn’t always make sense until you jump in and start doing things yourself.
I think this is always enlightening as well, as many coaches have never been assessed themselves! When you have someone else evaluate you, you get a critical set of eyes to help you improving your own training.
Sunday started off with a lecture on program design. We started with a general overview of my thoughts/philosophies, and progressed to more specific things they need to consider when writing programs for the client/athlete with knee or back pain.
To wrap up this section, I showed them how to avoid overwhelm and figure out an ideal program based off the assessment. Rather than make the program creative, it helps to make it routine – take the exact limitations you learned from the assessment, and address them on as many levels as possible within their training. After all, there’s a lot more to addressing glute function than simply having them do some glute bridges pre-workout!
After a brief intermission, we started what I feel like was the most eye-opening section of the course – the actual training. We finished out the morning with some foam rolling, dynamic mobility drills for the ankles, hips and t-spine, and then worked through a lot of core training progressions. I hope people realize how important mastering both tall- and half-kneeling can be to improving their posture, alignment, stability and performance.
Nando’s was the choice once again for lunch, and I followed up with my “I’m speaking again in the afternoon and I need more coffee” coffee. We came back and focused on refining the attendees performance of the major lower body lift progressions – squat/quad dominant, deadlift/hip dominant, and then single-leg training.
While I’m pretty sure I didn’t teach them anything “new,” we can always take the basics and refine them, making them better and better. If nothing else, I hope I showed them how even the most basic “tools” in their toolbox can be more powerful when properly applied.
We finished up the weekend with a brief discussion on what each person learned, as well as what they’re going to work on when they go home. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it, but I realized that I want to continue to work on my understanding of breathing and the diaphragm, and that’s also something I’m going to work on in my own training.
We had an amazing group, and I think that made a world of difference. They came me open minds and were serious about getting better. I know they are going to take a lot of these ideas and start applying them immediately, and their clients are definitely going to get better as a result.
I know I said this before, but I’ll say it again: If you were in attendance, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to continue learning.
But what if you weren’t there? Well, luckily for you I brought my good friend and videographer James Dunn along for the ride, and we’re working on editing the materials as we speak. The entire series will be for sale in the coming weeks/months, so if you’d like to take the course yourself, definitely stay tuned.
To wrap up, I’d like to finish off with a totally unsolicited testimonial from an attendee. I was really moved when I read this, and I just thought it would be appropriate to place it here.
I just wanted to drop you a quick email to thank you again for a fantastic seminar up here in Vancouver. I’ve been to quite a few different talks both in Europe and over here over the last 2 years and last weekend stood out head and shoulders above any other course I’ve taken. Your systematic approach to both your training and the weekend really helped me get the most out of the course.
Best thing about the weekend; it was basics at its best. Without a shadow of doubt I found this weekend to be the most valuable learning experience I’ve had yet, even though at an individual level I didn’t learn anything new. I just learned how to do everything I already know better, way better. For me at least, you put everything together. It’s like I already had all the jigsaw pieces and then you came over, rotated a few, moved one or two around and then it all fell into place.
There is just something so honest about your approach to training. It’s seriously refreshing.
I hope that I get to take another of you courses in the upcoming months or years. Maybe I’ll even manage a trip over some time next year…I have to come get my water bottle back anyway 😉 (Note from MR: I had no water the first day so Cian loaned me his!)
Thanks again for taking the time to come up northwest. If you could convince one or two of your colleagues to do the same that would be fantastic!
While I’m always super-critical of myself and always think about what I could’ve done better, I feel like this seminar was my best yet. I know I can do better, but then again, it’s often more about the journey than the destination.
A few final notes/thoughts about Vancouver and the weekend in general:
- When you’re presenting, ALWAYS ensure you have your Mac–>PC projector converter. Definite rookie mistake, and this cost me almost the entire afternoon Friday.
- It was 40 in Vancouver all weekend. I came home to single-digits in Indianapolis. I hate winter.
- Best part about the west-coast? UFC’s are over at 10 pm. This is crucial.
- Pretty sure I drank more coffee this weekend than I did in the entire 7-10 days leading up to it. Pretty sure this was a PR performance on my part.
Ok, that’s enough for today. I hope you all enjoyed my little recap and have a great weekend!
All the best
P.S. – Here are some videos that Rick has posted on YouTube – I haven’t had time to review them so hopefully I don’t sound like a total turd 😉
P.P.S. Here are two blog posts that Rick put up during/after the seminar. Thought you might enjoy them as well!