When I heard about the Bullet proof Knees and Back seminar that Mike Robertson put together and released on DVD, I jumped at the opportunity to pick up a copy and learn from one of the top strength coaches in our industry. Mike is one of the best when it comes to getting clients/athletes healthy from nagging injuries and then working with them to improve athletic performance.
The product is extremely thorough covering functional anatomy, hands on assessments, tons of coaching cues for the exercises that Mike uses and he also goes over program design. Furthermore, all the information in the dvds are research and evidence based so you are getting the latest and most effective ways to attack knee and back pain.
One of the most valuable parts of the seminar is that you get a chance to assess movement in a practical manner. Its one thing to sit down and listen to a lecture about what to look for regarding movement assessments and a whole different experience to get to assess a person on-screen and let your eyes get used to seeing specific issues with Mike guiding the whole process.
In addition to the detailed static and dynamic assessments that Mike explains both in lecture and the hands on session, the coaching and cues for the exercises that he uses for low back and knee pain is extremely informative.
Many of the exercises aren’t new but its the detail in coaching them, exercises such as tall kneeling and half kneeling rows or pallof presses and getting clients into proper hip extension position to engage the hips and lower abs/obliques.
Here are my three “A HA” take home points from the seminar.
1. Respecting the assessment process in regards to how the athlete/client likes to move. Instead of trying to figure out everything, m observe what patterns the client uses to execute movements. For example in prone hip extension if the back extensors or hamstrings “light up” instead of the glutes make a note of it instead of jumping to conclusions right away.
Mike also does dynamic assessments in addition to the isolative assessments to get a complete picture on how someone moves.
For example if some tests tight in isolated ankle dorsiflexion the overhead squat test should also show if someone has ankle mobility issues as well. Based on the isolative dorsiflexion test with legs straight and knees bent you can start to figure out if you need more soft tissue work to address the calves or the soleus.
2. The goal of balancing stiffness of muscle groups to decrease pain which works in conjunction with the comprehensive assessment. Once you know what muscle groups are stiff and doing too much and what muscles need to be strengthened then you have a plan to attack the imbalances and get the client out of pain. There are many ways of attacking the issue of quad dominance. For example, using SMR techniques and hip dominant single leg movements and hip mobility stuff, Mike likes to use the hand grenade approach and attack an issue with as many tools as possible.
3. The importance of diaphragmatic breathing and the effect it has on posture as well as core activation.
This is something that Charlie Weingroff has also talked about as well in regards to core training. Basically you should be able to do a front plank and side plank and breathe into your belly aka diaphragmatic breathing. If you can’t do this you don’t as Charlie puts it “own your core”. The standard is a 2 min front plank and 90 sec side plank.
Mike discusses the same thing regarding breathing into your belly and also talks about the negative effects chest breathing has on posture and issues with the neck, upperback and forward head postural stuff.
Proper breathing patterns is a topic that many coaches and PT’s have started to delve into and needs to be considered when dealing with comprehensive program design of the client.
If you’re a strength coach you need to have the Bullet Proof Knees and Back Seminar in your training library.
Check it out here.