Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thin Line Between Good Trainers & Physical Therapists?

I had the opportunity to attend the PESI seminar in Rocky Hill, CT on Monday which was titled "Evaluation & Management of Common Shoulder & Knee Injuries in Competitive and Recreational Athletes". The presentation was conducted by Kevin Laudner, PhD, ATC and he covered an extensive array of shoulder dysfunctions and patella disorders in active people. By the way...I want to thank Jody and David for taking the time to chill with me during lunch break and talk shop.

The room was filled with 42 physical therapists, 9 ATC (athletic trainers), 2 personal trainers, and 1 nurse (and a partridge in a pair tree--sorry). During the end of the presentation, I concluded that there really isn't too much of a solid line between a "good" personal trainer and a licensed physical therapist. Most therapists in the room tried the new exercises and techniques just like a trainer would at a fitness workshop. ***Starry-eyed 'n all***
New exercises are usually grasped and the concepts (or why's) for them...well..they are "loosely" recorded in memory.
I think the line between a good fitness professional and physical therapist is somewhat turning grey because of the great research and information that spews out from really great professionals in our field. I have to thank guys like Eric Cressey, Bill Hartman, and Gray Cook who really do a good job of educating and informing us in the field of corrective exercise and athletic training. I think its because of them and numerous others that I haven't mentioned that is allowing personal trainers to become more of a crossbridge from the therapy world to the fitness side.

Here are some random thoughts about the topics and presentation that I think most personal trainers will find interesting:

- One simple technique that can be practiced by clients who are chained to a desk or computer, and have forward head posture, is simply to stretch the levator scapula several times a day.

- The serratus anterior and pec minor are as important to the upper segment of the body as the glute medius is for the lower half of the body. I truly believe that most joint injuries stem from a dysfunctional "nucleus" site, which when targeted and strengthened, will help alleviate most symptomatic pain and subsequent kinetic chain dysfunctions.

- Shoulder function has been shown to improve 15% if thoracic extension is practiced regularly. This I covered in my Stronger Shoulders DVD 3 years ago.


- Posterior shoulder tightness commonly causes the scapula to protract; hence, that's why we see so many asymmetrical elevated shoulders in dominant sides (i.e. painters, pitchers, tennis players, etc)


- The Sleeper Stretch is the new king in treating posterior shoulder tightness:



- Most physical therapists in the room were excited to see the foam roller used in treatment of shoulder issues. I wondered...personal trainers have been using them for the last 5 years.

- The scapulae is the "mother-ship" of the upperbody. At least 12-13 muscles attach from it and therefore, if you piss it off...you will lose. Treat it right.

-Rank of importance for shoulder health: mid and low traps over upper traps every time.

- When performing corrective exercise for some areas, working to fatigue is actually a good thing. Fatigue ensures that compensations and weaknesses will appear and also simulate real life activity (# swimming strokes, # pithes, etc).

-Empty can exercises were popular years ago, but no differences has been shown in EMG studies between "empty" can and "full" can (thumb up).

- Surgery doesn't damage proprioception. When tension in ligament & tissue returns (rehab), proprioception returns back to normal.

- In the personal training realm, I'll take perturbation over unstable surface training.

There is so much more I can randomly comment about, but I think most trainers will benefit from attending workshops that may be geared towards physical therapists or others involved in the medical community. Use them to reaffirm what you know or have learned, or use them to discover and network.


One last comment I will leave with you:


"If you don't look to improve yourself, your competition will."


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