Every week, my newsletter subscribers get links to some of the goodies that I’ve come across on the internets.
Here were the goodies that my peeps got their learn on from this past July.
If you want to get a copy of my weekend learning goodies every Friday, fill out the form below. That way you can brag to all your friends about the cool things you’ve learned over the weekend.
Biggest Lesson of the Month
Maximize proximal before spending time distal. I’ve just seen too many patients where we applied some type of axial intervention, which led to profound changes distally. Position governs all. Thank you for making me realize this daddy-o.
Quote of the Month
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. ~Robert Kennedy
My boy Scott Gray put together a rock solid post on diagnosing an ACL tear. I’ve been very big as of late on filling the differential diagnosis hole in my game, and this one was beyond helpful. I wish I had heard of the lever test last year when I had a guy pop his ACL in-game.
I’m still making my way through this beast. It’s a thesis, but the references and explanations of the science behind breathing, position, and recovery is outstanding. Not only that, but changing your recovery position has had a profound effect on improving my clients’ conditioning.
So proud of my guy Eric Oetter, who put this incredibly practical guide to load management together with the brilliant Tim Gabbett. EO is doing phenomenal things with the Grizzlies, and this provides a small insight into his process.
Short answer – It depends. I have a coworker who I discuss with the problems of this argument. I’m an avid meat eater because gainzzz, and it turns out that makes the difference. If you aren’t listening to Ronda Patrick by the way, you’re welcome.
This Rhonda Patrick joint talks about all the wonderful things lactate does for us. This molecule always gets a bad rap, but did you know in brain injuries (concussions, TBIs, etc), it’s one of the few substrates that is capable of providing our brain fuel? This was a very fascinating hour in which I learned a great deal.
What if I told you that there was a way you could keep eating what you are eating yet still lose fat and gain muscle. Would you do it?
If so, then this is your study. By simply restricting the eating window to 9-12 hours in mice, and having them eat earlier in their day, these bad boys lost some major weight. He did a similar study in humans as well. He goes into detail about this and more. Both the paper and the podcast are quite interesting
I’ve been on a little Rhonda Patrick (#bae) kick as of late. In this interview, Dan Pardi talks about all things sleep, circadian rhythms, and more. If you can maximize sleep duration, intensity, and timing, you are winning at life. Never thought of sleep described in this manner.
An oldie, but a goodie. I’m taking my time with this one because it’s a big book and filled with so many practical applications. This book inspired me to check my email, and respond, less frequently. He’s given me so many ideas on streamlining my life. You’ll love the tips he has for elimination and automation. Incredibly practical.
Given that I’m pretty green at being a PT mercenary, this website has been gold for me. If this doesn’t inspire you to consider travel PT, nothing will. The money is real, and it seriously feels like I’m on vacation all the time.
I recently had to prepare for a salary negotiation, and just reading a few chapters from this book made the process go exceedingly better than I anticipated. Negotiating, like many things, is a skill. This book will teach you the fundamentals to a skill that will benefit so many aspects of your life.
As y’all probably know, I am a major hip hop head. Like, pretty much all that I listen to. I found this cat on Spotify while at the gym, and was blown away. Has fire lyrics over insane samples. Listen to the joint called “Moses” which features Twista and Bun B. Un…be…lievable
I’ve lately been trying to read something a bit less technical right before bed to help me fall asleep (which has been working well btw). First book I chose was this gem by the creator of XKCD, Randall Munroe. He basically goes through and answers ridiculous questions in the most scientific manner possible. It’s a brilliant combination of interesting and funny.
My favorite so far? “What would happen if you had a mole of moles?” #deep
Not only has a lack of sleep been linked to many big bad diseases, it also contributes to poor performance.
Behavior change through education and persuasion is hard enough as is. We are all resistant to change, namely because our current habits and routines require Herculean willpower efforts to break. This problem is especially true in non-conducive environments.
It’s hard to eat healthy when your family cooks fried foods and orders pizza for dinner every night.
It is these situations where we just have to make the most with what we have, and that’s exactly what I spoke about on one of my best friend’s podcasts, Doug Kechijian.
Before we go into the content, let me tell you a bit about Douglas, my younger-older brother.
I was the first person who arrived in town, and it was up to me to take care of the rental car.
We had five bros to get to the class, so I needed to find something cozy that could fit everyone and their luggage to and from the class and Phoenix airport.
So I’m looking at some midsize SUVs, a couple sedans, trying to find the right car that I could fit everyone in.
Then I saw this:
Doug and I had never met before, and he was the first person I had to pick up. He asked “what will you be driving?”
I said “you’ll know.”
So there I am, picking Douglas up in this Dodge Challenger flarin’, hip hop blarin’, shade-wearin’, and straight up stuntin’ in that AZ heat. The car was a great ice breaker towards realizing how likeminded we both were.
All the other guys we had to pick up were flying into town every couple hours. For the hell of it, we made the 20 minute drive back and forth to the airport in that Dodge Challenger. We ended in clown car fashion, but it was totally worth it…Well, for me at least. I got to drive that beast!
It was in those hours, that weekend, that coziness, that these two cats who didn’t know each other developed a long lasting friendship. I am fortunate to say that about every single one of those guys in that picture.
Doug is simply one of the most intelligent, grittiest, interesting, and eloquent individuals I know. He is without a doubt a thought leader in the fields of physical therapy and performance. Each time we hop on our 2+ hour call to catch up, I always become a better clinician, coach, and person. He is a wealth of information, served our country with distinction, and a great human being. I am honored to call him my friend, and you guys should know who he is.
He’s also a really good agent, as he’s gotten me two of my most recent jobs!
So please, check out his site, follow his killer twitter, watch him demonstrate exercises shirtless on Instagram, see him in NYC, and do all you can to learn from this guy.
Why am I pointing this one out? Because I’m going to be there. I want to learn all that I can from these guys. As should you.
So if you are a reader of mine, go to this seminar and we can get together for some grub and discussion. I plan on being around the Bay Area for a little while (there’s National Parks to be hiked after all), so please attend and support my dear friends.
A 16 game losing streak. Worst record in the league. 8 rookies. We were in dire straights.
Could we fix it in 2 hours?!?
The NBA travel schedule is one of the hardest in pro sports. 82 games in a season plus playoffs. Several back-to-back games that require time zone changes, late nights, early mornings, and playing nightly at a high level.
And a high level of sleep deprivation.
Fortunately, many NBA teams, including the one I worked for, take whatever measures possible to ensure our guys get enough sleep. They modulate flight times, stay in the best hotels, and use their unlimited budgets to improve sleep quality.
We call that soft where I come from.
My domain—the NBA D-league. Home of the worst schedule in professional sports.
I can’t even call it a nightmare because you don’t sleep enough to hit your REM cycle.
75 is the number of continuing education classes, conferences, home studies, etc that I’ve completed since physical therapy school.
Though the courses are many, it was probably too much in a short period of time. When quantity is pursued, quality suffers. Sadly, I didn’t figure out how to get the most out of each class until the latter end of my career.
Yes, the content was great, but these classes stood out for a different reason. You see, instead of just doing a little bit of prep work, I kicked it up a notch. I extensively reviewed supportive material, took impeccable notes, and hit all the other essentials needed to effectively learn.
I was prepared, and because I was prepared I got so much more out of these classes than my typical fair. The lessons learned in those courses stick with me to this day.
For the stuff you really want to learn, I’ll encourage you to do the same. Here is the way to get the most out of your continuing education. By the time you are done reading this post, you’ll understand why I now recommend a more focused learning approach and fewer courses.
I shipped off to Boston to attend my first ever BSMPG summer symposium. And it was easily one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. There was an excellent speaker lineup and so much of my family. Art Horne really put on a fantastic show.
If you haven’t been to BSMPG before, put it on your to-course list. It is one of the few courses that has a perfect combination of learning and socializing. I hope to not miss another.
Instead of my usual this person talked about that, let’s look at some of the big pearls from the weekend.
Why Sapolsky Doesn’t Get Ulcers
In one quote Robert Sapolsky summed up my current foundational premise to rehabilitation and training:
“The stress response returns the body to homeostasis after actual or potential threats.” ~ Robert Sapolsky
Regardless of what your malady is, it can probably be linked back to the stress response gone awry. The specifics become irrelevant because the stress response occurs nonspecifically.
This response works best against acute crises. Guess how we screw it up? Chronic stressors.
Human stressors are quite different from other species’ as we have the capability of inducing this stress response psychosocially. Gazelles on the Serengeti don’t have to worry about student loans.
We can see how chronic stress becomes an issue when you look at what occurs in the stress response:
Glucose travels to the bloodstream to mobilize energy.
Increased cardiovascular tone, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Decrease long-term building projects such as digestion, growth, and reproduction.
Increase immune system activity
Sharpen cognition, alertness, and pleasure
If the stress response perpetuates, other systems fail and break down to continue to support the need to reduce potential threats. We see a shift in the homeostatic set-point toward elevated levels of the above.
Although we all must deal with stress in some way, why is it that some people tolerate chronic stress better than others? It’s all in how one copes. The following is needed to successfully deal with stress:
Aka good training. But how do we build up individuals to continually better tolerate further challenging stressors?
Here is where my man Eric Oetter dominated the conference.
When chronically stressed, the aforementioned stress response takes high priority in all our systems, including nervous. Immune molecules smudge our various homunculi, dopamine floods the system to reward outputs, and myelin solidifies neurological pathways to perpetuate it.
Breaking a chronic stress cycle involves habit alteration.
To be able to effectively create newly favorable habits, movements, or pathways, attention is key. This piece is something we lose in a stressed state; as prefrontal cortex activity decreases. This is why salience is so important.
To return to a favorable homeostatic environment, we enlist Eric’s three P’s:
Prime brain activity via the aerobic system. It boosts brain power, especially if done before an activity.
How: Work between 120-150 bpm for 15-30 minutes prior to motor skill learning. Do something you enjoy so you do not become overly stressed by the activity itself.
Sleep is a big deal. According to one of the speakers, Vincent Walsh, we sleep 37% of our lives. Yet we only work 19% of them. We sleep so damn much that it should probably be taken seriously.
Sleep helps us remember by helping us forget things. The sleep cycle replays our day; keeping the important pieces and discarding the unnecessary.
This discarding is the pruning that Eric referred to, and it occurs by glial cells. Glia is what smooths out new neural connections.
How do we get good sleep?
Respect the chronotype – keep your normal sleep-wake cycles.
Take naps – 26 minute naps are bomb.
Banish blue light – cut out 1-2 hours before bed, as blue light from electronics tells the suprachiastmatic nucleus in the brain that it is light out.
Become a sleep environmentalist – No caffeine after 12, no meals 3 hours before bed, sleep in a cool room, etc.
If you can’t access to the prefrontal cortex, you will never hit the cognitive stage of motor learning.
Chronic stressors inhibit access to the PFC. The PFC is the doorway to variability, which is something unwanted during a stress response. Automaticity is king.
Getting the PFC allows all systems to be freely expressed. How do we do it?
Monitoring (omegawave, bioforce HRV, etc).
Remove the “neurolock” via redirection and respiration (hint hint– PRI)
Energy systems development.
Respect the Thorax
This section will channel my homie’s James Anderson and Allen Gruver. Can’t go a place without getting a PRI fix.
What keeps the spine and sternum oriented right despite the thorax counter-rotating to the left? The answer would be airflow. A hyperinflated left chest wall pushes these areas to the right.
Thoracic movement is determined by this position as well as timing/coordination of gross movement patterns. We can observe how the thorax is driven through what the extremities are doing.
If you look at the baseball throw, we ought to see alternate positioning on each arm. For example, if the right forearm is in supination during a part of the throw, the left arm ought to be in pronation. This reciprocal arm function promote the thorax rotating in one direction. It’s a PNF thing.
If the arms go in the same direction, the thorax must extend or flex. Since sport is usually extension-driven, we can guess which direction one will go.
Vince Walsh gave an excellent talk on the brain. He thinks we miss lots of talent because we look predominately at physical prowess.
Physicality is only one piece of the puzzle. Some individuals may develop excellent decision-making skills later on in their careers that may trounce athleticism.
Your ability to make right choices and avoid wrong ones is necessary for success, and is a trainable skill.
To know how to train it, it is important to understand the three types of decision-making:
Physical – What to do and not do (e.g. gun slinging)
Mental – e.g. poker playing
Temporal – e.g. playing chicken
Vince predominately used computer simulations to train these decisions, but it seems plausible that these tests could be applied to any type of training. Perhaps something like a reactive agility test could help improve physical decision making as an example. You just have to be creative.
A Cautionary Note on Data
Al Smith said some of the most profound words this weekend. He spoke to caution us on data.
Data does not always tell the individual story, as it can lead to less individualized training or rehab. It dehumanizes both our clients and us. This statement made me think quite a bit to those folks who champion evidenced-based everything.
Perhaps instead of measuring everything, one must first ask if there is a problem with what one is thinking of measuring.
Another cool thing Al Smith showed us was the cynefin framework; a sense making model in which acquired data precedes framework.
Depending on what a situation can be categorized in, one would expect to utilize different thought processes.
Simple – predictable relationship between cause and effect (use best practice)
Complicated – predictable relationship between cause and effect that’s not self-evident (use good practice)
Complex – A system without causality (use safe-fail experiments)
Chaotic – A completely unpredictable system (Use novel practice)
Where does training fit? Where does rehab fit? We may be using incorrect methods in particular situations.
You can learn more about the framework here, it’s definitely something I hope to explore more in the future.
“Too much exercise is not normal hominid behavior.”
“This CT scan was not drawn by a commissioned artist.”
“If you think that’s a tight pec you better check pressure in the air.”
“10,000 hours can’t always undo 100 dumb ones.”
“Frank Netter shut down the left AIC.”
“Deny PNF and you are messing with the system.”
“We’re all barking down the same tree. We just like to complain.”
“No plan survives the first contact with the enemy.”
“Changing the answer is evolution; changing the question is revolution.”
“If you live in mediocrity you eventually think it’s good. You don’t know what good is.”