Thursday 10 August 2017

Product Review: Charlie Weingroff's T=R 3

                I just finished watching Charlie Weingroff’s DVD T=R3 (Training=Rehab) last week. Charlie is a Physical Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Coach who works for Drive 495, Nike and Canada Basketball. He is also an elite powerlifter.
                In 2012 when I started to “look outside of the box” with regards to my schooling & education Charlie was one of the first people that I was recommended to by my friends from the University of Waterloo Strength & Conditioning Club. I started following Charlie’s work then, bought his first DVD in 2013 and have continued to follow him ever since. I have a lot of respect for him and have learned a lot from him in regards to rehab & training. Regardless of whether or not you agree with him you can’t deny the influence he’s had on the fields.

Some of the great takeaways from the DVD were

1) I loved Charlie’s opening analogy of a snowglobe – representing a performance team (ie doctor, PT, strength coach, psychologist etc). The person at the top of the snowglobe – be it an owner, manager, or consultant has a broader view of the operation as a whole and how everything interconnects. Yet the individuals at the bottom of the snowglobe – the doctor, the PT, the strength coach etc have a better view of each of their own respective areas.

2) One of the things I’ve always loved about Charlie’s work is how he preaches networking and working together with other individuals to fill other pieces of the puzzle. In his 4 windows of success (which he’s talked about in other interviews and presentations): Equipment, Technical & Tactical, Biological Power, and Movement he goes over how everyone from the guy designing a golf club, to a skill coach, to a strength coach to a PT can make a difference in health & performance.

3) Going in hand with #2 Charlie discusses 4 main components to his evaluation
- Movement: can the joints get into the right positions
- Output: what you are physically capable of on your best day
- Readiness: what you are today compared to your best
- Sensory systems

4) During the DVD Charlie also went over a lot of great info on motor skill acquisition, learning and coaching. A lot of it referenced Nick Winkelman’s brilliant work. I’m not going to steal their thunder – go read Nick’s research (a lot of it is on Research Gate) and buy the DVD.

5) In the past Charlie and I had differing views on the FMS. In this DVD Charlie said that the FMS is not an injury predictor but it still can be used to see if joints are “nice” and can get into the desired positions – and I totally agree with both points and that perspective.

One concept he discussed is the idea of having your own movement screen (if you don’t believe in FMS) that also looks at active vs passive movements, eliminates joints and changes positions. For instance – if someone can get to 110 degrees hip flexion on their back but can’t bodyweight squat deep is that a mobility problem or a skill problem?

6) The biggest thing I’ve liked about Weingroff’s work – and what I’ve carried into my practice … is the idea of being able to give people an effective training stimulus while dealing with injuries and/or mobility limitations. This DVD does a greater job of expanding on that.

7) One component of Charlie’s DVD that I feel a lot of my colleagues who are into pain science would appreciate is the concept of incorporating low-load movement variability into a warmup. While I still am more cautious of certain movement patterns when they’re under high load situations and/or are symptomatic in people …. we should be able to move our spine around a little bit without fear of our back blowing up.

Following in this thread Charlie makes a great point that there’s no such thing as a bad movement or bad exercise unless you categorize what it’s for and the cost/benefit ratio involved.

8) In the DVD Charlie goes into great detail on the differences between concurrent training (using examples from Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning and Westside Barbell) and block training as far as their advantages, disadvantages and how to properly apply them. Having had a superficial knowledge of block training I found this section interesting and full of information.

Side note: Do not make the same mistake I did and try to rush through the DVD set in a few days. Take your time.

9) One of the great points Charlie makes is the concept of “lowest system load” in training. While this may seem contradictory to what’s said above some exercises do carry a higher risk/benefit ratio than others.

While I see some people on the internet harping about why certain strength coaches do/don’t do certain exercises we have to remember that strength coaches are the ones who are responsible for keeping their athletes fit & healthy. Strength coaches are liable if an injury happens in the weight room. In that situation I don’t know about you but the biomechanics guy in me believes in exercises with the best risk/benefit ratio which again depends on the goal.

10) To finish off the DVD set (before bonus content) Charlie does a full subjective and objective assessment using the SFMA on one of the attendees. The section of this that stood out to me was the idea of making sure there isn’t something orthopedic or medical going on that’s contributing to a person’s pain. While this may seem common sense to us in the rehab world I have heard very scary stories of personal trainers who tried to “treat” their clients pain when they had serious medical issues going on that never got looked at until it was too late.

                Anyways my review has gone on long enough and I don’t want to steal Charlie’s thunder. All in all I quite enjoyed the DVD and would recommend it for anyone in rehab or S&C.

                Tune in next Monday for next week’s article “3 out of the box applications of Interval Training for health.” 

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