Last weekend, Perform Better allowed us an amazing chance to hear some of the greatest men and women in our industry share their wisdom with us. Among those who stood out from the rest were Martin Rooney, Todd Wright, Ingrid Marcum, Todd Durkin, Gray Cook and Thomas Plummer. From their many ideas a few underlying concepts surfaced, functionality and self-improvement.
Gray Cook was by far at the fore front of being functional and how to improve it. We all know components of physical fitness include strength, endurance, power and speed. But Cook suggests starting with the more basic components of posture, balance, alignment and coordination. With this base the body will be better able to handle the traditional fitness components and improve function within the body. How is it that we should train these? Cook mentions using balance beams, bottoms up kb exercises, farmer’s carry, Indian clubs, jump rope, bear crawl, turkish getup and overhead carry. These exercises build the mobility and stability within the body necessary to handle training strength, endurance, power and speed. When it comes to the latter areas of fitness push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts, push press, sprints and agility or obstacle courses are used. Cook said by simply moving the body in different positions can make a big difference. But keep it simple. Ingrid Marcum touched on this in her hands on. Our warm-up was moving across balance beams and crawling, another basic movement we should all train. Agility and obstacle courses incorporating a lot of these ideas could be a fun way of training our clients to keep them engaged while improving their balance, posture, alignment and coordination.
Moving the body can change the functionality and composition of fascia. Todd Wright took some of Cook’s ideas and the growing idea of fascia into account when developing his concepts of Development On the Ground and Vertical Core Training. Wright puts his athletes in positions such as a lunge, plank, crab walk position or spiderman and has them move in all three planes of motion. Take the lunge for example, while holding the position one or both arms move back overhead, in a side bend and through horizontal rotation. By moving the body in all three planes of motion the body increases stability and mobility in all possible directions. Many of these positions cover the corrective exercises we use. Fascia is the 3-dimensional tissue that is in all parts of our body and movement keeps it from turning to “glue”. Moving it as much as possible helps to keep it lose so why not move in patterns of functional development and in all planes of motions? A simple warm-up can now address many aspects that are hurting or could hurt our clients. Load the positions and you can great unique core and power exercises.
A lot of the presentations I saw were on personal development. Rooney, Durkin and Plummer discussed improving ones abilities in order to provide more for the clients. It wasn’t improving our cueing or exercise selection but our mentality. Our time with clients is about making them feel great and inspiring them by showing them what they can accomplish. As Rooney said, “Don’t make people tired. Seek to make them better than before they met you.” To put it another way, “Become the coach you always dreamed you would have had.” How do we do this? According to Plummer this would be through selling a solution to a problem and projecting people into the future, not just selling our time. We can only provide this service if we also seek to improve ourselves and become better at our craft. Plummer talked about keeping balance in 4 areas, everything training, personal development, business skills and family/community. Don’t push yourself to far but when the time comes one must “surge” in order to accomplish a task. At that point creating an imbalance in the areas is fine because your time is being dedicated to an important task. Working on build your image, social media, write a book or personal speaking. One of the first things we can do to improve ourselves is make a list of 5 things that move your soul. Now plan your future. Where do you see yourself in 3, 5, or 10 years? Spend time writing about your passions. See people that challenge your ideas. Do things that take you outside your comfort zone.
Overall, Perform Better was a great time and a wealth of knowledge. It taught me to keep things simple and to really move the body to keep it healthy. It taught me that in order to get better at my craft I need to set aside time each day and put time into the things, “my future self would thank me for.” We all learned a great deal now we need to apply it.