Another year in the books.  Another year of change.  Last year was filled with new learning experiences, challenges and more growth for Adams Performance.  Here is a quick outline of what changed followed by what I learned.

Adams Performance moved locations to Phoenix Fitness and Martial Arts.  A change in facility has been great for business, as AP clients gained access to top of the line equipment, an open floor facility and more freedom to play around with new programming options.

I started to offer consulting services for the gym members at Phoenix and it has allowed me to maximize what I can offer as a fitness and rehab professional.  The groundwork is being laid for a new model here in Richmond.

My practice as a clinician continues to move towards delivering fast, measurable change with manual therapy techniques and movement exploration to cement improvment.  I really believe the future of fitness and rehab is blending movement variability with a focused strength and conditioning program for patients and clients.  

And now for what people actually care about…what did I learn and what am I going to do about it?

1. Corrective exercise is total nonsense and magic all at the same time

The phrase corrective exercise is so overused in our industry.  I don’t care so much about the semantics, but I do care about why we are doing it in the first place.  Often it is a gimmick to convince patients we are magically fixing their issue.  It’s usually sold as a basic, monotonous program completed over 4-6 weeks to see results.  Do I use wall slides, diaphragmatic breathing, sidelying external rotations, etc?  Sure I do.  But I  use it to produce intra-visit change that allows a training effect to be achieved.   Here is an example of what I’m talking about.  If we are not working on getting stronger, the exercise better allow us to at least modulate pain, improve tissue healing, etc.  Speaking of “correctives”…

2. The warmup is “corrective exercise,” but really it is just movement variability

I have moved towards lumping most unloaded, motor control exercises as a warmup in the training program.  A patient gets treated no different that a fitness client.  This may be manual therapy, motor control work and very little strengthening in the early phases after surgery.  This transitions to a more dynamic warmup that is likely triplanar, and this preps the system to adapt to new stressors in the fitness program.  Variation in angle, speed and duration of movement should develop improved range of motion, less pain and improved performance.

3. Movement challenges make a lot of sense, I should probably do some of that

The next fad in fitness will be a return to exploratory movement and child-like play in the gym.  This has already become reality at some facilities, and movement challenges between coaches and trainees is ever more popular on Instagram and social media.  And I think this is great.  It seems to build a more robust ability to move well.  Deadlifting 2X+ bodyweight, completing AMRAP challenges, and crazy conditioning blocks will stick around.  But athletes and trainers will become more focused on keeping training fresh with the influences of yoga, free running and gymnastics.  This type of practice is a major weak point of mine both professionally and personally, and I hope to learn from other great coaches to improve my system this year.

4. If you complain about the fitness and rehab model being stagnant, shut up and do something about it

We can live in a frustrating world as healthcare providers.  If you don’t like your reality, no one is going to change it for you.  Educate your referral sources on what you do and how it delivers better outcomes and happy patients.  Network with like-minded individuals.  Pursue entrepreneurial  opportunities that make you money and provide a creative solution.   Put your head down, work hard, and when you are sure you can make a difference, do it.  You don’t get to call yourself doc if you can’t step up to the plate and provide better outcomes in a way that your consumer values.  The cream will only rise to the top if the public can determine what the watered down nonsense at the bottom is.  That’s on us.

5. No continuing education is perfect, and you are an adult.  Keep what makes sense, builds from quality evidence, and works.  Forget it if it sucks.

The past year provided me with a number of opportunities to consider accelerating my balding when reading Twitter arguments.  Yes, there are a number of groups that sell a product.  I believe the FMS folks are improving our understanding of human movement.  The Dunning group provides great technique for manipulating and dry needling.  EIM teaches incorporating evidence from top researchers directly into clinical practice.  And they make a bunch of money doing it.  Good for them.  Any of my students know that I teach skepticism and attention to ethical practice.  But just because someone sells a con ed product I may not agree with does not make me want to publicly tear them down.  It makes me want to explore their product, keep what makes sense, and forget what doesn’t fit what I do.  If we stop attacking each other and act like adults we might convince the public that we are the best at what we do.  Keep an even head, stay passionate and let’s get better at what we do.