Functional Training Summit Recap

I spent the weekend in Long Beach CA attending the Perform Better 3 Day Functional Training Summit listening to some of the best coaches in the world share their knowledge and insights. It was an amazing experience to hear some of the coaches I’ve looked up to for years live and in person and to get to shake their hands and tell them how much I’ve appreciated their influence over the years.  If you’re in the fitness industry I can’t recommend going to one enough – it will fast forward you’re learning curve like few things will.

Here are some of the highlights from the weekend…

– Gray Cook had a great quote: “Core strength is movement specific”. You can do planks and side planks until the cows come home but lose that core strength when you move if you have mobility problems in the hips or upper back. You can also have good core strength with one type of movement and lose it with another. For example, you may be able to maintain a strong core during deadlifts or squats and then lose it when you do single leg squats or single leg deadlifts.

– I also got a chance to talk to Gray about my Barefoot Pedaling concept, specifically if clipless pedals and shoes contribute to overuse injuries in cyclists. He said that I was spot on with my assessment of the situation and that he personally rides mountain bikes in his Vibrams. He also confirmed the idea of spinning circles being the wrong advice and that the human body is designed to push better than it can pull. I told him about 5:10’s (not sure I’d go for a trail ride with just Vibrams between my toes and the rocks) but I was very glad to hear from the man himself that I’m not crazy and that flat pedals are a better choice for most riders. The Barefoot Pedaling Revolution is going to pick up a notch now that I know I’m 100% right about the concept.

– Todd Durkin had an amazingly inspirational presentation and the quote I took away from it was “when you’re scared you know you’re operating in the right stratosphere”. This applies to so much, both on the trail and in real life. Obviously you don’t want to be stupid about it but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is an important part of living a full life.

– Dr. Ed Thomas had a great demonstration of how to use Indian Clubs. These are a tool I’ve been using for a few years and I’m going to do a blog post on them soon. They are a great way to rehab bad shoulders and develop injury resistant shoulders. If you don’t know what they are then Google them – they’ll blow you’re mind.

– Mark Verstagen had a great presentation on Barefoot Training and how to integrate it into your training. The big take homes for me were to use a tennis ball to roll out the bottom of your foot and a Stick or Tiger Tail to roll out the muscles on the front of the lower leg before and after each training session. Your feet get jacked up by wearing shoes all day so do something to help counteract that when you start Barefoot Training.

– I heard Gray Cook, Brett Jones and Lee Burton all say something to the effect of “don’t try to fix a medical problem with a fitness based solution”. Basically, if something hurts find out why because it may need medical intervention, not an exercise. You can do more damage than good by ignoring that advice.

– Dave Jack gave a great talk about going from Good to Great and what really stood out to me was that it requires three things: 1) Intention 2) Consistency and 3) Time. There is no shortcut to greatness.

I’m sure that there were some other things that will come back to me as I go back over my notes but I wanted to share these gems with you guys today. Hope fully there was something there that speaks to you as well, I know that I sure got a lot from them.

-James Wilson-

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James Wilson
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson