Perform Better Pre-Con 2011

Applying the Model to Real-Life Examples

An audio discussion with Gray and his publisher, Laree Draper
(click to listen or right-click to save)

The Perform Better Summit’s Pre-Conference Workshop (Chicago, June 23, and Long Beach, August 25) is an opportunity for me to really stand up and be in front of a group for about four hours. It’s an excellent half-day, specifically designed to help people who don’t have a huge background in the Functional Movement Screen see how easily programming happens once you have the movement screen numbers. For the people who have FMS certification, it’s equally beneficial because many times people go to a FMS workshop and wish more time was dedicated to corrective exercises. You and I discussed this when we were laying out the book, Movement—a lot of people do not understand the difference between corrective strategy and corrective exercises.

Corrective exercises are simply a chosen technique right for this person at this place to hopefully change movement and increase mobility or improve stability. That is just an exercise. But the strategy—the philosophy, the architecture of your philosophy—has to be based on principles. This is where we get into the rules of why we attack this movement pattern before that movement pattern, and why we hold somebody back from loading or causing impact on this pattern as opposed to that pattern.

The philosophy that drives corrective exercises is more important than having a large menu of corrective exercises. Often people who go to the FMS workshop ask for more exercises. When we sit down and talk, we discover they are not actually interested in more exercises; they are interested in the strategy Lee and I use to apply the screen. How did Lee know to do that pattern or how did he change that guy’s toe touch in a matter of seconds? How did he know to go right there for T-spine mobility?

People often ask the wrong question, not realizing what they want is the strategy and not the exercise. Many people have seen me practice, and they are sometimes awestruck at how few corrective exercises I use. I use them all, and we’re building a huge library on our website for people to pick from, but I default back to probably less than 30 maneuvers, all focused around improving one movement pattern of the Functional Movement Screen: chops and lifts, single-leg deadlifts, quadruped diagonals, rolling.

The whole scope is that we are not trying to take people away from their workouts. The entire purpose of this pre-conference is to show that doing a movement screen does not mean giving up normal training to become a corrective exercise junkie, even though many of the schools that apply corrective exercise have probably created overkill.

I use correctives just like a supplement to help your nutritional uptake—as long as I have to but not a bit longer. If we can use corrective strategies to get a person moving better, we come into our element as a trainer, a physical therapist, a strength coach or a consultant as we help people not only correct, but then maintain a minimum movement capability without correction. This means we redesign the workout on the backend so it helps attain fitness goals, athletic aspirations or whatever activities or endeavors a person wants to entertain. At the same time, it maintains a minimum level of movement competency and does not let special interests undo one particular movement pattern that may not be rehearsed as often as the others.

A great workout should keep us free of imbalance and generally mobile and stable. If it does not, it’s lacking in something. Thus, it may take corrective strategies to get a person over the hump and get everything back in line, but we hope to quickly remove those at some point and then use our knowledge of exercise. This would be a good time to find that little dialogue on self-limiting exercise in the Movement book. Read the last two articles, My Preference for Old Stuff, and the forthcoming one, Why We Move Poorly, and you will really see how injecting self-limiting exercise after having cleared up somebody’s movement is a great way to lock it in, make them adapt and help them move better.

In the four-hour pre-conference, I quickly overview the movement screen to make sure everybody in the room is on the same page because we have both certified and non-certified people in attendance. Once there, I quickly do a fly-by of the 10 principles since I can’t assume everybody in the audience has read the Movement book. To those coming to the pre-conference who have not read the book, get busy, put on some sunblock, get out in the sun, take it to the beach, do whatever, but if you can, read the book before you come. You will get more than your money’s worth.

As soon as we review the screening philosophy and the principles, we take a 20-minute break and in that break a few of my instructors knock down two screens apiece, which the participants are invited to watch. I ask the observers not to ask questions or interrupt the process: You may be interested in what’s happening; I’m going to handle that in a second.

After the break, while those screens are being input into a score sheet that we project onto the screen, we bypass the projector and shine a camera on another person getting screened as we project the image on our screen in real time. I ask the screening participant a few questions about preferences, goals, training and any past issues I need to know about, and I take what the workout, hobbies and activities, aspirations and the  movement profile, and program a corrective agenda and a conditioning agenda. I delete a few of the things the person has been doing that has been counterproductive, and I add a few correctives.

We have a lot of fun in the pre-conference once we get everybody’s scores posted on the screen, because we bring each screened individual up on the stage and literally create program on the fly in less than 10 minutes. We go from the youngest, most robust athlete in the room to the most physically challenged personal trainer, to the oldest person in the room to the person who has a heck of a lot of athletic mileage—we go all over the place. We get every body type, every background—as many as we can fit into the last hour and a half of the workshop—and demonstrate how programming can really fit so much better when we have a movement profile and the opportunity to have a conversation about workout habits, preferences and the like.

The addition of a movement profile takes a 10-minute investment of time. It does require you to do a movement screen, but those numbers provide navigation points when creating a program and getting deep into program design. We must have had six or eight exercise or rehabilitation professionals come up on stage—these are people who do what I do for a living. I would venture to say without being cocky that each one of them had at least one Aha moment, a ‘Oh man, I never thought of that!’ Having an objective analysis and really, really articulating where the limitations are, then going right to the corrective that embodies the greatest restriction or incompetency is absolute money.

We get to do two more of these—Chicago, June 23, and Long Beach, August 25. I hope the readers get an opportunity to come visit or send a friend, somehow to participate in this, because this is where screening gets fun. People ask me questions about the specific tests and the different types of correctives, but really, showing people the advantage we have when we have a movement profile on a score sheet as we move into program design is what I am passionate about—we really having some enlightening moments.

Come join us for a really neat, fun four hours and we will show you the excitement part of movement screening.

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Comments

  1. really unfortunate that I could not work these conferences into my schedule this year I follow your work in the area of movement profiling and would love to see some of it first hand. Hopefully in 2012.

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