Bulletproof Knees and Back Seminar Recap

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.

Hi Mike,

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!

Why I Don’t Know it All

Top 10 Questions for Mike Robertson


Leave Comment

  1. Mike,

    I have always been an early adapter of your programs; as one of the early users and believers in “Bullet Proof Knees,” I have been more than a little interested in changes or modifications to the ankle/knee/hip/back program. Do you intend to make any amendments or modifications to that program in that material? If so, can you make that available to existing users without purchasing the entire program. I was particularly disappointed with the dvd associated with BPKs. It would be very useful (at least for me) to see exercises and movements performed and critiqued as in M2 or in AMD. I will look at the related posts which I see above…maybe they are a bit more helpful. In addition. the you tube post on hips is a fragment that promises something useful, but is incomplete. These posts are looking more like marketing than education.

    • Don –

      Thanks for the feedback!

      I do intend to amend/edit/update BPK at some point in time, but I honestly have no clue when. It’s not that high on my priority list as I have other projects I’d like to finish first. There isn’t a ton I’d change, in all honesty – it would be more refining than anything else.

      When/if I update it, there will be a discount for current purchasers, but there’s no way I could offer it totally free. This isn’t a digital product, and even if it were, should I not be compensated for my continued learning? Or for continuing to develop the materials?

      As for the YouTube clips, they aren’t there to be super insightful – merely to show those who are interested a bit of what we covered.

      Finally, with regards to marketing, you’re absolutely right – that is marketing! I’m not ashamed to say that.

      Don’t forget that at the end of the day, this is what I get paid to do. I give away a ridiculous amount of FREE information via my blog, articles, podcasts,, newsletters, Q&A on Elite FTS, etc. I won’t apologize for promoting or marketing my products when they come out. I hope you understand.

      All the best

  2. Mike,

    It was amazing having you in Vancouver.

    I learned a lot.

    Knowing, understanding, applying, teaching and mastering are all different levels of learning.

    Looking forward to the DVDs even though I was at the seminar, I know I will get more out of it by watching it again.

    Rick Kaselj of http://ExercisesForInjuries.com


  3. Hey Mike,

    Great post. The seminar was amazing. I can’t say enough good things about it.
    You do a great job with all your products but to work with you in person and be able to have you there to help us understand makes such a world of difference.
    I also have to say you strongly impressed me as a presenter. Your public speaking skills amazed me-there are a lot of smart people out there but being able to present it well puts you head and shoulders above.

    I’m really excited for the DVD version- which I know reviewing will help me understand a lot more and keep the points well engraved in my mind.

    I hope you market the hell out of this product! The DVD will be a fantastic investment It will not only give everyone advanced techniques but show them how to do the basics at a high level that is rarely seen or taught. I can’t believe how incredibly difficult the split squat can be done when performed correctly and the amazing benefits.

    Thanks for coming to Vancouver I’m glad I made the trip and I hope to see you again.


  4. Well you didn’t take that picture of Vancouver when you were here, that’s for sure!!

    Thanks again for coming up Mike. It really was a fantastic learning experience. I fully stand by everything I said in that testimonial. I left the gym on Friday and came back Monday a better trainer.

    Fantastic seminar.

  5. Mike,
    one of the best seminars I’ve been to and I definitely took away WAY more than I thought. Can’t say enough about the quality of everything that was presented on, especially the application of your training into real world situations.

    I had a lot more than just a couple of a-ha moments over the weekend.

    Thank you for an awesome seminar!


  6. Mike,

    It was great to have you in Vancouver. Kari and I definitely took a lot away from the bulletproofing seminar. You’ve helped us refine our assessment protocol, and brought awareness to some compensation patterns that my clients were getting away with (e.g. non-vertical shins). There were also some fine points in exercises that I hadn’t been coaching; great attention to detail.

    On a side note: EQI’s ROCK!! I’ll be up for a rematch next time.

    Thanks again,


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