Archive for May, 2012

As someone who has followed the fitness industry for a few years, I can honestly say that I never really appreciated the work that went into putting out a product. Better yet, I had no appreciation for the work that goes into putting out a quality product. That all changed over the last few months as I have had the pleasure to watch two of my good friends Todd Bumgardner and John Gaglione release The Supreme Strength System.

Today, Todd has been nice enough to answer a few questions concerning not only the program, but also some general health and fitness questions as well.

1) Without giving too much away,  just tell us, in your own words,  a little about Supreme Strength and what people can expect from it.

TB: Supreme Strength is a comprehensive training system. It’s the culmination that everything John and I have done and learned since we started training. Of course, we don’t do the same things we did when we were 13, but that’s when I started training with a similar system. The final Supreme Strength product, however, is the best strength and power program I’ve ever done or trained anyone with.

 It includes three and four-day training programs–each fourteen weeks long. It comes with a power program, four mobility programs, a soft tissue maintenance guide, exercise modification guide, testing guide and three exercise indexes.
Honestly, it ended up being far more than we expected. We were really pleased with the outcome.
2) So now that you have told us a little about the program, let me ask you the important question. How has the response been from the public? What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?
TB: The response has been overwhelming. People all over the globe have invested in Supreme Strength–including people as far away as Australia. It’s really been a humbling experience. I’m just a guy from Central PA that teaches people to use their bodies and lift things. To think that John and I have had such an impact already is amazing.
3) From reading the program, the thing that jumped out to me was the depth you guys went into and explanation of literally everything. So basically my question is, Why include the Why?
TB: Great question. We’ve looked at a lot of the strength and conditioning products on the market and we found one resounding theme–not enough explanation! Personally, I hate it when I’m told to do something and I’m not given an explanation.
You know what I mean?
I hate seeing–bench on this day, squat on this day and do these reps. It’s all well and good, but I think it’s important for people to know why something is going to make them better. It’s much easier to relate to, as well as commit to, a program that you understand.
4) Some athletes or weekend warriors may read the program and be scared off by the fact that you guys have such a heavy power lifting influence and that it may not be for athletes. What do you have to say to that?
TB: I won’t deny the powerlifting influence. Coach Gaglione and I have each competed in powerlifting–he’s actually getting ready for a competition right now. We’ve each been using Westside Barbell inspired templates since we began lifting–for me, it’s been since I was thirteen years old.

People need to understand, though, that getting better as an athlete means getting stronger. Strength is the prerequisite of all other physical qualities–speed, power, agility and endurance. Everyone wants all of the other physical qualities–everyone wants to be fast or have great endurance–but skipping out on developing higher strength levels drastically limits a person’s ability to enhance other athletic qualities.
We stayed so heavy on the strength for a couple of reasons: it’s what we’re best at and it’s what people need. There are plenty of programs out there with a million and a half speed drills, but not enough focused on building strength. We saw a need and we wanted to deliver something great to meet that need.
5) I know we talk about this all the time. assessment of our clients. You aren’t the first person to put out an online program but since I know you strongly believe in the individual assessment, did you have any hesitation about putting out a product to the masses in which you wouldn’t get to do an assessment on each person?
TB: Wow, that’s an excellent question. I can think of at least fifteen times when I called you to ask how you would assess something, and it’s really shaped the way I assess people.

I’m a very big believer in individual assessments, and it was something that I had to let go of a bit when putting together Supreme Strength. However, we came up with several strategies to individualize the program.
First, there are three and four-day program options. Depending on scheduling and how someone prefers to train, they can pick from one of these programs. I’ve done the program each way and I saw great results each time.
Second, we came up with an exercise modification guide. It’s an amazing resource. It describes how to plug and pull exercises within the program to best fit an athlete’s fitness level and movement quality. It also outlines how to use exercises to work around injuries. This manual made me feel great about the program. If a movement isn’t going to fit for a coach or an athlete, they have a solid bank of other options.
Third, each phase of the program includes mobility fillers. These are mobilizations and active stretching exercises done between lifting sets. These are great for addressing predictable movement deficits and imbalances. Many of my assessments are designed to figure out what fillers I’ll need to use. Since we developed a great filler system for the program that addresses the big, predictable issues people have, I feel better about not personally assessing everyone that uses the program.
6) Many of my readers are fellow chiropractic school students who like me, take our lifting and workouts very seriously. Taking it one step further, you and I have discussed on multiple occasions the idea of a non traditional, multi-disciplinary setting in which we combine the strength and conditioning, manual therapy, and rehabilitation. In your eyes, as a strength and conditioning coach, what are you looking for in our side of things either when looking to refer out or possibly bringing someone in to work out of your gym?
TB: First and foremost, I want to work with a manual therapist that is a team player. Results and health supersede any individual ideology–so working with an ideologue that won’t break a given paradigm wouldn’t work for me. I like thinkers that match a tool to a person not try to use the same tool on everyone. It goes back to our discussions on individualizing programs based on assessments. I’m not a manual therapist, but I think treatment should be individualized as well.

Say you have two practitioners that each use the ART and Graston soft-tissue techniques. One applies the same technique every time, Graston then ART, no matter the person or the issue. The other practitioner, however, treats the whole person. Examines neuromuscular control, takes training and nutritional history and orders X-rays from a radiologist. After this work up, the practitioner decides that the patient needs stability training above all else. He starts the patient on a program and refers back to me.
So I guess what I’m saying is I would want to work with a guy or gal that has a system–not one that functions under strict paradigm–and likes being part of a team.
7) I have started getting some emails from students asking me for advice or guidance on how to get themselves out there and “build a brand” hahaha (Sorry, I still laugh when I say that). Since this is an area I have always come to you with questions, can you possibly shed some light on this subject?
TB: Wow, haha. I’m still not sure I’m the best guy to come to with this question. I’m still working on figuring this out.

The only thing I can comment on is putting out quality work and being a social human being.
Basically, don’t suck at what you do and be nice to other people and you usually make friends. These friends tell other people that you’re great and all of a sudden you are getting attention from people.
And never sell  yourself short. I took a shot in the dark and sent an article into T-Nation as a no name dude that only had one article published before. It worked out, now people actually recognize Beyond Strength Performance. It’s also why Supreme Strength will be successful.
A big thank you to Todd for taking the time for this interview. Just like I expected, very thought-provoking and helpful responses!
For more information about The Supreme Strength Program please click here

A few months back I listened to a presentation given by Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition. Even though much of the presentation was about diet and nutrition, I would venture to say the psychological aspect of the doctor (or therapist or coach)/patient relationship was what resonated with me the most.

The lessons:

1) Blame yourself.

2) Own the ones you got wrong.

I know, I’m being a Debbie D

But what does this all really mean??

Quite simply, it’s about taking just as much credit for the people you couldn’t heal/treat/train/understand as the ones who “get it” and get better. I think it is in our nature to remember and discuss our success clients (whether for business or our own ego) and learn from them BUT what about learning just as much from the ones who you couldn’t help?

The truth is that if you are good at what you do (and sometimes even if you aren’t) you will get some people healthy,stronger, out of pain, or skinnier. I think the saying goes, ‘Even the sun shines on a dog’s ass…”

Do we learn from the people we help? You bet.

Should we learn just as much, if not more from the people we couldn’t help? For sure.

You see, it’s easy on our ego to just blame the client.

She didn’t come in consistently .That’s why she didn’t get better.

He wouldn’t do his home care exercises.

He just won’t stop eating pizza.

We could go on like this forever.

What about flipping the switch and owning it?

I didn’t communicate well enough with her. That’s why she didn’t come in consistently.

I didn’t make an immediate change with the in-office rehab exercises. Therefore, he didn’t see the value in doing them on his own.

I didn’t give him  another tasty, healthy options to replace pizza with, so he continues to eat it.

I can tell you first hand, this process is not fun. To be frank, it may drive you nuts for a little while. Since hearing Dr. Berardi’s presentation, I stopped blaming my patients. It’s not their fault anymore. After all, it can’t be our fault they got better yet their fault they didn’t. It just doesn’t work that way. At least if you are true to yourself, it shouldn’t.

I think this ‘mind switch’ is something you all should give a try. See if it makes you better at whatever you do.

Have a great day!

Some Monday Randomness…

Posted: May 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hey guys,

With Bored (get it??) exams rapidly approaching, I will keep this post short and sweet…

1) I have recently fell in love with hummus. I had always enjoyed it as a healthy condiment, but in Chiro school, the brand they carried tasted like garbage so I stopped eating it. I thought I just didn’t like hummus, but I realize now, it was just the brand.

Without naming names, this is the brand I don’t like

Anyway, here are two awesome and healthy alternatives that I have been using regularly:

  1. I now add a heaping tablespoon of regular (or garlic) hummus to my salad every night. In addition to apple  cider vinegar and a tiny bit of olive oil, the hummus adds something heavenly to the dressing. Instead of packing on the fat and calories with your typical creamy style dressings, I have found that hummus adds that creamy texture without any associated guilt and self-hatred that we usually get from unhealthy meals.
  2. If any of you out there are fans of deviled eggs like I am, you will love this next little trick. Instead of removing the yolk of the egg and mixing it with mayonnaise and then replacing this mixture back in the egg white, replace the mayonnaise with your favorite hummus recipe. This will add the flavor and creamy texture of the mayonnaise without the extra fat. Try it and thank me later!

2) If you have not seen this already, my buddy Todd Bumgardner posted an interview with ‘The Glute Guy’ last week. Bret Contrares certainly knows his way around a set of cheeks, and proves it in this interview. Todd actually asked me if I had any questions I would like to ask Mr. Contrares and some of that is also included in the article. Overall, it’s a fantastic read so check it out here.

3) How many times have you heard the big-wigs in the Strength and Conditioning community talk about how people need to lift weights and gets stronger because it will carry over into their everyday life? I know I hear it all the time.

Well, I am proud (and embarrassed) to report that strength training may have saved me from serious injury this weekend. Let me explain:

My friends who know me understand that I am in no way, shape, or form an outdoors person. I don’t hunt, fish, or do anything of the sort. This past weekend, it was my buddy Sean’s bachelor party in which the main event of the day was airsoft. For those of you who don’t know, airsoft is like the new and cooler version of paintball where people passively take out all anger on each other by shooting each other with bb guns. The airsoft bb’s hurt less than regular bb’s but will still leave quite the mark.

Anyway, we were playing in the woods when I came across a hunting lookout spot about 15 ft up a ladder in a tree. To make a long story short, I got up to the top, got shot immediately, and was out of the game.

This is where it gets interesting. As I was on my way down the ladder, I slipped and was well on my way to meet mother earth rather quickly. Luckily, as I was slipping, I managed to grab ahold of something and basically do a pull-up back onto the lookout floor. It was like a scene from Cliffhanger.

All jokes aside, without that grip strength and pull-up ability, I may not be laughing about this right now.

4) Finally, check this story out. For all of us out there who think school is hard and it takes too long, you may feel a little silly after reading that.

Sometimes a bit of perspective is nice.

Ok, that’s all for today. For my friends taking boards this week, good luck! Hopefully, it’s the last one ever!

To everyone else, I’ll get back with you next week!

Some Monday Randomness…

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

1) I just got back from a great weekend in Auburn, Massachusetts where I attended a FAKTR seminar. For those curious, FAKTR stands for Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehab.

It was led by Dr. Greg Doerr, a soft tissue savant and taping wizard. Someone once actually told me he is a ‘Chiropractic God’. I tend to agree. Add this to the fact that he is from New Jersey and you may just have the perfect fist-pumper  human being. (See what I did there?)

It would have been very easy to leave this weekend totally overwhelmed and feeling dumber than when I got there. Luckily, I have rationalized my thinking in the past, and actually left feeling really good. Now, I just need to sit down and figure out exactly how this will fit into my arsenal of tools (this will probably take like 50 years) and we will be all set!

Add all the above good news to the fact that Dr. Doerr has been gracious enough to allow me to do a clinical externship with him, and I’m feeling even better! Oh wait, I have National Boards in two weeks, I don’t feel so good anymore.

2) Big shout out to Ben Bruno who was gracious enough to include my last article in his “Good Reads” blog post this past Friday. I don’t know Ben personally, but I connected with him a few months back. How did I do it?

I was reading online one day and thought to myself, “This guy is good!” I then sent him an email saying just that, and I guess the rest is history? In all seriousness, it is very nice for a someone to think highly enough of your work to include it on their page. Ben is a young guy doing great things and if you have not heard of him, you are certainly behind the curve!

3) I received a message yesterday from a fellow student who is a few semesters below me at NYCC…

Hey Justin, I have been reading some of your articles and I can honestly say I really enjoy them. You have kind of inspired me to start writing myself in order to build my brand like you have. I’m sure it is going to take a lot of practice. I was also going to ask, if you had any ideas where I could start looking for some good sources….. Thank you for any insight that you have

All I can say is ‘Wow.’ AND I feel like Donald Trump if I am actually building a brand(this was never my intent). What’s next, a golf course? Maybe a clothing line?

sweet hair bro

But seriously, I’m not sure if there is anything better than having someone take the time to write that. It is honestly a great feeling when I can help someone (especially a fellow student) and actually inspire them.

4) For those of you who wait by your computer nervously, hoping and praying on my next post… I may be studying for my (hopefully) final National Board exam for the next two weeks, so I can’t promise any posts. However, I will do my best!!

That is all.

Have a great day!

You have to feel bad for Derrick Rose who was lost for the entirety of the playoffs this past weekend after tearing his ACL. You can watch it happen here.

This is your classic ‘non-traumatic ACL injury’ as Rose was simply building blocks of dysfunction the entire year until something this unfortunate happened. I have written about this concept in the past here. This was a downward spiral with an inevitable ending. Just look at his injuries this season (in order):

  1. Turf Toe
  2. Bad Back
  3. Groin Injury
  4. Sprained Ankle
  5. Torn ACL

Seemingly, the only thing they all have in common is the fact that they are from the waist down.

I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on the injury:

  • Derrick Rose just signed a 5-year, $95 million dollar contract with the Bulls. Listen, I have no idea how the Chicago Bulls organization works, but it would be safe to say they wanted their star on the floor when it mattered most. Many of my fellow students (myself included) often talk about how one of our goals is to work for a pro team at some point. I think this is the part that we also need to consider. When this much money is at stake, medical decisions can become a bit more complicated.
  • Throughout Derrick’s rash of injuries (he played in only 39 of the 66 games this season), I wondered how he would score on a Functional Movement Screen. I have also talked about this in the past here. I then realized that the FMS stops once pain is present. Still, like many of us out there, I am curious as to what kind of treatment Derrick received from the onset.
  • Dr. Dave Altchek, a world-renowned surgeon in NYC had this to say about the injury,“There is no evidence that wear and tear, or that kind of issue, playing too much, really has any correlation with ACL injuries in any sport that we’ve ever studied.” Altchek argues that too much playing could actually make a player less susceptible to the injury that Rose sustained in the opening round of the playoffs, because he might lack the type of explosiveness it takes to blow out a knee ligament.

I know I’m just a lowly chiropractic student on the bottom of the food chain, but I have to respectfully disagree. For the life of me, I just can not understand how playing too much would make someone less susceptible because they “lack the type of explosiveness needed to blow out a knee ligament.” He also went on to say that ACL tears, far more common in female athletes, are scary injuries in that there’s little explanation for how to prevent them.

Well, courtesy of I did some  on my own searching. This is what I found (and I apologize to my readers because I usually try not to quote research, but this is a special case):

Brophy et al. ACL Injuries: Etiology and Prevention. Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Reviews 2010. 18(1): 2-11. This paper found something a bit different from Dr. Altchek:

First, the article states the following, “Neuromuscular activation during pivoting, decelerating or landing from a jump may predispose an individual to ACL injury by increasing ACL strain values due to abnormal posture and alignment.”

Next, the article states that external rotation of the knee decreases ACL strain (neuromuscular control on the hip abductors anyone??). It also states that adding an impulse to a 15 degree flexed knee vs. 25 degree flexed knee caused a greater strain on the ACL in the less flexed knee. (I must mention that this specific information was ascertained from cadavers just for the sake of full disclosure. Have no fear, there is much more evidence on ‘live’ subjects later.)

In agreeing with Dr. Altchek, females are at a higher risk for ACL injury for the following reasons: (1) landing with the knee in more extension (2) more valgus through the stance phase (3) higher quad activation and lower hamstring activation.

This quote is directly from the review, “There is strong evidence that prevention programs can lower the rate of ACL injury (especially in the “at risk” athlete).”

Here are some general findings from Brophy et al. on ACL prevention programs:

-The use of ACL injury prevention programs focusing on basketball, skiing, soccer and handball showed an overall reduction of severe ACL injuries from 60 to 80%.

-An 89% reduction in the rate of ACL injuries was achieved in a prevention study in 2 Division I basketball programs (over an 8 year period of changing player technique) by stressing knee flexion upon landing, using accelerated rounded turns and deceleration with multistep stops.

-An 87% decrease in ACL injuries was found by implementing a proprioceptive balance training program in 600 semiprofessional and amateur soccer players which consisted of a 20-minute training program divided into 5 phases of increasing difficulty. This study occurred over 3 complete soccer seasons.

-A prospective analysis of 1263 athletes in various sports who completed a neuromuscular training program revealed the ability to reduce serious knee injuries – the incidence of injury in the untrained group was 2.4 to 3.6 times higher. It was also noted was that 5 untrained female athletes sustained ACL injuries and no trained females sustained an ACL injury.

-A reduction of 62% of serious knee injuries was achieved among trained individuals in a “guided discovery” technique in Vermont, aimed at recognizing potentially dangerous skiing situations and responding quickly to unfavorable conditions.

-The development of the Santa Monica PEP ACL Prevention program achieved an 88% overall reduction of ACL injuries in two groups of female soccer players (14-18 years old and 18-22 years old). The program consisted of a 20 minute warm-up protocol to proceed the normal training session. As a result 2 ACL tears occurred in the trained group and 35 were reported in the control group (2).

The above studies were found by Brophy et al. and showed the strongest evidence for ACL prevention programs. It is also important to note what “effective” programs consist of: proper landing technique (landing softly with knee and hip flexion, avoiding genu valgum, strength training focused on increasing hamstring strength, hip abductor strength, and proper deceleration technique.  

Conclusion: To be fair, I realize that just about anyone can have an opinion and find “research” to back it up. It would not surprise me at all if Dr. Altchek has some of his own research proving exactly what he stated in the article. I obviously tend to side with the research based on my beliefs on injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Also, I think we should all take the quotes and news article with a grain of salt. I realize how certain things can often be taken out of context or that a reporter may only use the quotes that will create a stir. I would assume this reporter interviewed Dr. Altchek for a good amount of time yet only decided to use two or three ‘juicy’ quotes. If that was the case, mission accomplished.

All that being said, I will continue to advocate ACL prevention programs for the general population and athletes alike. Better yet, if it were my child, I certainly would not leave it to chance and just assume that  non-traumatic ACL injuries happen totally by accident.

Proper Assessment. Proper Training. Proper Treatment.

This is what I believe in, no matter what the top surgeon in NYC might say.

Thank you for reading!