Random Thoughts From Europe

I began writing this earlier this month, as we’re in the middle of 5 games in 5 days, but I surprisingly found a few minutes of down time every so often to put together my last few months of thoughts that I just jot down in Google Keep.


As we try to disseminate the information that we are bringing in this summer with Canada Basketball, it is becoming more apparent that relying on HRV alone is better than nothing, but not entirely complete.
What we are seeing with Omegawave, that provides HRV as the basis for the cardiac system measures, systematizes results that indicate regulation on one side (cardiac, ANS, and CNS) but perhaps not another.  Following measurements from only 1 variable set can become misleading, and I have seen major mistakes in only using 1 parameter in working with online clients.  That being said, I think if I had done a better job or at least identifying earlier the smallest meaningful difference of the HRV score, we wouldn’t have been buried.
Ultimately in measuring Readiness, the bigger picture beyond HRV and Omegawave is that all measures as well as the vision and gut of the coach should go into the blender in creating a decision on training intensity or prediction of performance.  Any one measurement will have limitations.

We have been fairly successful 2 weeks in now into our European tour in measuring Omegawave in the AM before breakfast.  We’ve crossed multiple time zones, multiple countries, and had a multitude of plane and bus rides.
Others have voiced concern that this randomness of “body clock” and constraining variables make measuring HRV impractical.  I find that the “body clock” and constraining variables are exactly why we should know how they are affecting the body and if any of the variables can in fact be changed.  The challenges make the readings even more important to be aware of.
I am coached by Val that we should be measuring simply before activity and then read and react to what you see along with everything else involved.

While Omegawave is the big piece to our measurement model in terms of the physiological systems’ current state of regulation, we are using the FMS as the current state of the neuromuscular system post-adaptation.
The FMS is what the body is comfortable doing uncoached, and Omegawave likely will let us know if someone is on the way to being boxed into a neuromuscular expression that is chronically inefficient.
I’ve come to categorize these two approaches in the following……
FMS = neurological, long-term adaptation, daily intervention
OW = physiological, short-term adaptation, long-term intervention

I don’t know when I first realized this, but in lower body strengthening moves, I don’t spread the floor apart when I squat, pull, swing, etc.
I remember years ago, and it was probably from Dr. McGill, resonating with the description of imagining you are standing on a paper towel and trying to rip it in half.  In my mind, if I try that right now, it feels like ABDuction, a frontal plane movement.
Maybe it was around the time I started to learn DNS where the appreciation of the ball and socket joints of the shoulders and hips lend less to frontal plane movement and more towards transverse plane movement.  But I find the verbal cue of dial out the floor, right foot/hand clockwise, left foot/hand counter-clockwise to simple feel more connected and powerful.
They feel totally different when you intend to actually spread frontally vs. dial.  I imagine most people were dialing anyway because it almost feels impossible to squat if you are isometrically ABDucting.  The ball and socket nature of the joint lends to the hip flexing and posteriorly gliding/spinning into the hinge or squat.
I like to use Dial out the floor instead of Spread.

Here is something else we are seeing this summer.  Non-contact injury can be about over-exposure.  Movement inefficiencies or injury mechanisms are not considered impactful in testing, so there isn’t a musculoskeletal construct predisposing to injury.
Part of implicating exposure can be the general nature of twitch of the athlete.  Fast-twitch athletes may not be able to withstand particular volumes of training not because they are not fit or dogging it but it’s just the nature of their cellular metabolism.  I wish we were doing more, but internal load measurements might give a window if you see a split among athletes that are explosive vs. less explosive.
Exposure should be linked to Preparedness.  What can the athlete deliver now with the current set of adaptations?  This is something I hope we can get better at over the next couple years.

I am still sticking to reading multiple books at the same time: 1 for me, 1 for you, and 1 to escape us both.
For you is a rehab or training book.  To escape is a comic book.
And for me is a self-help type of book.  I’ve read a few of his books already, and John Maxwell is just a big favorite of mine.  Maxwell has a very Christian tint to his messages, but it is very comfortable to look past and hear his teachings.

If someone has less pain, moves better, or performs better after an efficient time period, and your methods are not published in a legitimate journal, you’re not a bad person.
You’re good at what you do.
Let others suck if they so choose.
At the same time, it’s probably a good idea to have plausible explanation for your work that probably should extend beyond arbitrary.

When I suggest that if you only follow research, you are only doing what someone else did 2 years go, it doesn’t mean you are so presumptuous that you are ahead of the literature.  This may be the case, but that’s not the suggestion.
What it means is that you are confined to 1) doing what someone else did, which doesn’t quite sound like a very autonomous or genuine thing to do blindly, and 2) it’s quite possible since the time of the data collection and publishing, a lot of things have changed.
It should also be recognized that some great things are never published; some people don’t care to publish them; some things are so non-linear and multi-variant, that they will look like quite foolish within traditional parametric or non-parametric procedures.

The Energy Crisis Theory is actually an interesting segue from all-things-research/evidence-based.
The Energy Crisis Theory itself is, if nothing, plausible.  It makes perfect sense, and there are dozens of pieces that link key realities , and causes and effects, but there comes a point where the Theory may not be proved.
None the less, I’ve seen no better graphical representation of the Energy Crisis Theory than in Rizopoulos and Kostopoulos’ books and videos.  And no one has seen a more complete representation and dissemination of anything-trigger point related published than in James Dunning’s Dry Needling courses.
So I struggle with is individuals suggesting trigger points don’t exist or even your pain science heroes say they are a North American cultural myth.
So despite the dozens of studies that indicate, at worst, that what someone might call a trigger point is “something,” and the clear manual and non-manual therapies that change perception and palpatory qualities, what then is it?

In treating headaches and oral-facial pain, perhaps there is some legitimacy to referred pain in this area, even if you insist on not calling it a trigger point, that the trigeminal nerve backtracks to the trigeminal cervical nucleus

Trigeminal nerve feeds back trigeminocervical nucleus, which then feeds to and from C1-4.
We can then look to Chan Gunn’s interpretation of garbage in-garbage out through the entire neurological chains.
This stuff just makes sense and shouldn’t be offensive unless the anatomy is found to be wrong.
Anything can be anything.  Indeed anatomy often lies.
But in this case, I think it explains why we see something positive as a backside confirmation to why something interesting or odd actually worked in the first place.

I think when you can categorize a manual therapy or any neuroceptive approach to
1) change perception of pain,
2) change or progress change of your standard of motor control, and
3) recover to your standard of ideal physiological state,
you’re really onto something that is worth practicing and getting better at.
This likely knocks out quite a few approaches, but it probably more condemns an incomplete view of the rehabilitation and training processes than the efficacy of an approach.

I’ve been tinkering around with my 1-arm technique as I progress through Simple and Sinister standards.
Some of the things I have against me are smallish hands, a very wide torso, and a lot of girth in my chest.
The hands are whatever.  I’m not the only one in the world with small hands, but it becomes very challenging to keep my wrist with the larger bells.
What I was finding was that if I were to project the bell straight at the lockout of the 1-arm swing, I really had to work to compress my upper chest with horizontal ADDuction.  Letting it swing where the arm would go naturally mobile, I was way outside my hips, which then caused me to have to bring it back medially to get in the hole.
For years I internally rotated my forearm as I threw into the hole, and as I recently got into very high reps of swings, I was definitely turning out, and then turning out the other way at the top.  If I did not use my off-arm to counter the movement, it was very wrong.
So I am no longer leading with my thumb and actually giving in with a little elbow on the way done to whip it more.  Right now, I don’t think I’m swinging as hard, but I am definitely not rotating at the edges of the swing.
This all leads me to question if 1-arm ballistics is even a viable training option for someone with my body type for these reasons above.
I don’t know the answer.

I think there are 2 ways to employ Box Jumps in a program.
One is with low to moderate heights with an emphasis on landing mechanics.  This landing would be identical to the take off.  I don’t know that foot contacts is as critical here.  I would be very liberal with this approach in-season for a jumping athlete.  It’s almost a warm-up or stimulative load.
The other with the moderate and above heights and external load with the goal of plyometric training.  In this approach, I would still insist on the landing being mechanically sound and recoverable to make another jump.  This landing technique has more leeway than the landing for mechanics, and reps would be much more critical.  In my mind, this is not a regular in-season approach, but what in-season means is always different for everybody.
I would never use box jumps for a metabolic goal.  This is not to be confused with a 20s, 30s, or 60s jump test.  There is no box here, and it is a 1-shot test.  It is not a training approach.

By definition, what most people call corrective exercise is GPP if we use Verkoshansky and Siff’s definition from Supertraining.

The Bench Press is a viable regression for the Trunk Stability Push-Up.
The TSPU really has nothing to do with performing push-ups.  We will see plenty of individuals get a 1 on the TSPU or even have pain and be coached into very competent elevated push-ups or push-ups on knees or other lateralizations.
The TSPU is more a commentary of can the body maintain the ideal spine during pushing and pulling motions.  So if you have a 1, the easy way to confirm mobility or control is throw them on their back with knees to 90/90, and if that spine position is what you would score a 2 or 3, then they have clearly proved that the body CAN get into the right position to absorb and adapt to stress.  So they CAN be coached.
At this point, you might also check t-spine and hips in the half kneeling position to see if you can find challenge, success, and change.
If not, static stability options of planks, etc.  Are they hard?  They will be hard as they proved it already by scoring a 1.  Can they nail it?  Maybe, but let’s say no.  So they are not getting better in changing control as per progressing to your ideal test.
What’s left?  Dynamic Stability and Strength.  For people who are terribly weak like our younger or female athletes just need to get strong.  If the spine can stay neutral, which you should clearly know by now, the weak link of the motion is the load.  The spine  just can’t stay neutral under the 2 or 3 position with we should probably assume is a level required for handling the types of loads we need to get strong and fit in training.
Bench Press the hell out of them for a few weeks and retest the TSPU.   This will be a common weak link in the 2/3 on hips, shoulders, and rotary, and a 1 on the TSPU.
Strength can solve a lot of things.  In this case it can solve the TSPU, and this is clearly along the progression of motor control.

I will be presenting the training program that we’ve used at the Roddick-Grunberg School of Tennis later in the Fall in China, and for our testing, among other things, we used the USTA standards just so our kids could match up to the rest of the country.
The USTA’s standard for aerobic fitness is the 1.5 mile run.  We don’t hear a lot about this as a test from the best coaches, and certainly professional tennis is not a learning model of fitness compared to soccer, rugby, and winter sports.
With the type of training that amounted to an aerobic focus in an accumulation phase and then progressing away from it, every kid ran at 11:00 or better, every girl was to 10% or above in the USTA standards for age, and every boy was top 30%.  Some of the boys had been training with me longer had much higher scores in the anaerobic measure and can handle some legitimate wheels on the bar in the Olympic Lifts.
It seemed as of last year to be a very viable indicator, and most importantly, every athlete brought it on the track.
I’m struggling to come up with reasons why the 1.5 mile test is a bad idea for this population.
As the program grows, we’ll probably also use Girard’s model, which is simple intervals of a spider agility test, which we use for 1 repetition (take best of 2) currently.  The NAVTEN test includes ball striking, which I do not favor given that if someone sucks at ground strokes, it will affect performance of this test.  I want to learn if this fitness quality is the limiting factor.  We’ll probably already know that the kid can’t play.

As I study more of what Andreo Spina is trying to tell us, the more it make sense to deliberately dose non-centrated movement into stable systems post-injury.
This is probably one of the biggest changes I’ve made in how I think over the last year or so when it comes to movement training.
I think as we progress back into training, we are following these doses of appropriate stress into mobile joints, even if not wildly going outside of neutral under limit loads, which I do not agree with, nor do I think Spina is suggesting.
But when we train with great mechanical movement for strength, endurance, and power, there are the stable joint systems that we intentionally control motion to provide for stable segments for the mobile levers.
But if we have an injury in one of these joint systems, and we have primed the nervous systems to be free of threat, I think dosing progressive loads into those motions, which in turn creates neurophysiological processes that guide tissue to realign in the directions that the patterns of training dictate.
Now I think this can come with a cost of neurological fatigue, and this isn’t to be ignored.  I respect it as a cost of doing business.  Otherwise, how would the MCL for instance return a quality of tissue with alignment to resist valgus force again.  I agree that while we are very good at priming tissue to change, patterning into positions of load and stress and force is something that I was missing.
I think this approach is very in line with an alternate interpretation of the Core Pendulum Theory, in this case for tissue physiology, rather than neurological control, which I originally surmised.
I think what’s important here is that this model brilliantly fits into the Functional Movement System, just as any excellent and viable method does.  In this case, the motions that change tissue quality towards resiliency may appear antagonistic to the indicator movements of the SFMA and FMS.  However, they are not, as they are very complimentary in recognizing that these movements are creating neurophysiological adaptations where the FMS measures baseline neuromuscular performance.  I think we need them and other physiological baselines IF the body shows it CAN get in the right position to absorb and adapt to stress.
It’s not dosing bad movement.  It’s creating tissue that doesn’t break when or if bad movement occurs.  We have plenty of room for this approach along with training great strength and power.

Double Arm Getups are pretty fun.

One of the most offensive things I hear from other coaches is when they describe why they do things in the weight room, which amount of ludicrously poor form and wild intensity, is because “Coach (the Head Coach) likes it when we really get after it,” or something along these lines.
Literally as I type this, my mouth is open, and I am shaking my head.
These are like smart coaches at the college level who at think at some point knew this approach is trash, but they wind up doing it so long that they actually believe this is good training.
I don’t know who looks at this crap and is like, “Yes, yes, this is exactly what we need to be doing to get better.”
I find myself saying, “Okay, I get it.  But if that is the rationale you have for training, I’m not sure I know how to help you.”

When we see literature that says Sham needling is just as good as Non-Sham, consider these realities.
In the studies that suggest this, they consider Sham to be needles in places other than the traditional acupuncture points.  By definition, this would be Sham acupuncture.
They compare the results to those needle sites with random or “close-by” sites, and the measurables are comparable, positive as well.
1) Most of the literature on needling is through acupuncture procedures, which is not the same of Therapeutic Dry Needling in terms of location of treatment and intent/justification of the clinician, and
2) maybe (and it’s not maybe) just putting a needle somewhere into the body with some intent is what needles really do, and the acupuncture points don’t matter as much?

Sticking with trigger points as I have dedicated much of 2014 to improving my understanding and training on this topic, many point to Melzack removing TrP from his Neuromatrix model as support against their existence or viability.
In fact, the only reason Melzack removed Trp from his visual model was to decrease clutter.  He has been quoted that is why he removed them and in terms of saying Trigger Points are a fact and an impressionable component to the Neuromatrix.
But your pain science heroes never told you about that, did they?

  • August 24, 2014

Leave a Reply 8 comments

Tyler Reply

The perspective of training the nervous system to move and stabilize the body in a way that absorbs stress well while also training tissues to buffer when bad movement occurs is facinating. Would this approach only be useful in rehab or as a preemptive measure? Would love some examples of movements/exercises you would perform to aid in tissue remodeling that would seem antagonistic to good movement.

victor Reply

Thank you very much Charlie, this was very helpful. When you measure using the Omegawave and it gives their HR training zones for the day, which HRM do you use on yourself and your athletes to train them? Also, do you use Power Plate? Any feedback you can share on how you use this tool?

Charlie Reply

Tyler – Right now, I think to apply the principles to movements that support the specific technique of sports where we see overload with good form, such as elbow valgus in throwers and ankle sprains in field sports.

Charlie Reply

Victor – We did not train this summer given the schedule. I may look back and regret this decision, but we shall see.
With a larger body of work, I would like to see how these HR stack up against more traditional measures.

The only way I would recommend using Powerplate is draping over it for percussive and vibratory soft tissue mobilization.
It is to be avoided at all costs in the vertical training positions in my opinion.

Aaron Reply

Thank you for posting these “random thoughts” Charlie. Very rarely do I get insight into what my mentors are currently working on. Very interesting stuff.


Jukka Reply

Excellent stuff as always! Had to read it twice to get a hold of even some of the concepts and ideas. This left me wondering though:

FMS = neurological, long-term adaptation, daily intervention
OW = physiological, short-term adaptation, long-term intervention

Wouldn´t OW be the tool for daily intervention? In other word it measures readiness daily (or even more often if needed) and training can be modified accordingly if needed. FMS on the other hand would be the tool for long-term intervention. If someone has asymmetries or 1 on of the screens the corrective exercise plan rarely gets us to the point we want overnight. Did I get something wrong here or backwards altogether?

And I´d be curious to hear your opinion on OW in general? Gettting coached by Val most likely provides some insights that only few people can offer.


Charlie Reply

Jukka, it’s all semantics.
Joint position will force me to limit exposure to patterns where that joint position is necessary for safe adaptation. That is a daily decision.
I can manage long(er) term approach to acheive a landing point of the Omegawave measures that have a great allowance of daily error.

Jukka Reply

Thanks for the reply! Although it isn´t a big distinction it did clear up some things. For example you wouldn´t want to bang the athlete with heavy overhead pressing if shoulder mobility is less than adequate.

I though that the OW is the tool for making daily decisions for training load but FMS does clearly has a role as well and is a lot more than just a “monthly check up”.

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