2016 Perform Better Functional Training Summit Recap

2016 Perform Better Functional Training Summit Recap

Last year I closed Worcester Kettlebell Club to go to the Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit in Providence, RI. I recognize the importance of this event because the end result is returning a more knowledgeable, energized and better personal trainer and coach.

This year’s summit had more personal relevance. I attended with two amazing people who are part of this small fitness business born just over 16 months ago, Laura Turner, DPT and Mary Surprenant. When I attended my first Perform Better Summit not-so-many years ago, I looked around and thought how cool it would be to attend with staff. I made it a goal and we achieved it.

Perform Better describes the summit “for everyone who trains or rehabs clients, patients and athletes.” Attendees include fitness enthusiasts, personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, chiropractors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, firefighters – it’s a collection of people who want to learn from the best in the fitness business. This year’s presenters include the greats (in my opinion) like Michael Boyle, Dan John, Gray Cook, Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove, Martin Rooney, Eric Cressey, Sue Falsone, Charlie Weingroff – it’s a who’s who of the most successful and brightest in the industry. Many of the lectures are offered in a hands-on format where presentations are transformed into practice. Laura, Mary and I had meticulously planned our lecture schedules and were ready to go.

Laura and I completed the Certified Functional Strength Coach program, part of Mike Boyle’s Strength & Conditioning, the day before the PB Summit kicked off. The goal of the CFSC is to create a skilled network of coaches who can deliver helpful instructional exercise demonstrations, provide clear and concise coaching cues, all within a systematic approach to programming. Their goal is to make good coaches great and great coaches even better. We both successfully passed the certification and acknowledged the material we learned can and will be implemented at WKC. It also reinforced how our current system for training WKC members is in line with one of the most successful businesses in the fitness industry.

Here is a recap of my three favorite presentations.

The first presentation I attended was Charlie Weingroff’s “Pick A Plan: Choosing The Best Approach.” Charlie is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Certified Athletic Trainer, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I chose to attend this lecture because Charlie created and popularized the concept of appropriate exercise lateralizations; choosing the most appropriate exercise for the training client at the right time without regressing them. Charlie made a strong point at the start of his presentation that as fitness professionals we need to understand neurology and physiology allowing us to develop our own philosophy. He discussed starting at the finish, developing a systematic approach to getting there through appropriate programming. His concept is something we continue to develop, implement and refine within our Team, Semi-Private and Private Training programs in order to provide the most effective training effect within a safe environment.

Todd Wright from Train For The Game presented “The Foot 101.” Todd is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, the current Assistant Head Coach of Strength and Conditioning for the Philadelphia 76ers and was the former Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Texas Longhorns. Todd reviewed the anatomy of the foot, how important the foundation of the foot is to the entire body and how to perform a basic hands-on assessment of feet. He showcased 25 years of training and 10 years of foot related work with his common and uncommon lunge, squat and jump matrixes and the importance of jumping, skipping, leaping, shuffles and carioca. He stressed as coaches, our goals should be to make people amazing movers! My personal favorite takeaway was Todd’s perspective that there is greater importance in developing relationships with people over being the smartest guy in the room. His presentation gave us more tools to use from assessment through movement preparation and into strength training.

The last presentation I want to review is Nick Winkleman’s “Learning That Sticks: How Analogies Shape Understanding.” Nick was the former Director of Education at EXOS and is currently the Head of Athletic Performance and Science at Irish Rugby Union. Nick is an engaging, flawless speaker, similar to the high standards someone would expect at a TED Talk. Nick’s presentation was about how coaches cue and connect to the client and how the client’s background, environment, culture, generation and motivation is related to their understanding and coaching instruction. Using familiarities, similarities, stories and emotions will generate the outcome you’re looking for. The effective of a trainer or coach’s communication skills will have the most impact on outcome and success. This lecture was a refreshing reminder how powerful connection and communication can be, in fitness or any other aspect of life.

Whenever I return from the Perform Better Summit I feel recharged and my passion for helping others to their best in health and fitness discovers a new high. There is a lot to take in and process over the following weeks – you play around with new ideas and techniques before implementing any of it into client programs. Being around these professionals, networking with peers and meeting new people, it’s an event and environment rich with positive energy and a desire to be better. Laura, Mary and I are already excited for next year’s summit, and we hope our WKC members are too.

Evan Marcantonio

Worcester Kettlebell Club, LLC, Worcester, MA, USA