Do you – Learn at Chicago Functional 3 Day Summit


I’ve always enjoyed attending the functional training summit.  I’ve been to the Providence RI a few times and the experience has always been of incredible value. It’s a prime occasion to hear individuals who are leading the field of sport performance, fitness and rehabilitation speak on the latest issues, research and findings. It’s also another opportunity to see old friends, meet new people and reconnect with old mentors.  The event is one that i always look forward to. However recently, this custom has been a difficult endeavor.  It seems as if the organizers of the event (Perform Better) and the higher ups at my work team up together to make sure I’m unable to attend these summits.  Mini Camps, training camps, organized team activities  are just some of the obstacles that prevented me from being part of Perform Better’s rich learning experience.  I’m always dumbfounded when I look at my work schedule and the functional training summit side by side. Fortunately, this year I got a little break.  Extenuating circumstances have allowed me the chance to continue to do the things I enjoy the most. Which is  socializing and learning from performance specialists, fitness gurus and let’s not forget our meatheads.   This year I will be traveling to Chicago for the 3 day Functional Training Summit and there are no camps to hold me back.   

 My feeling with presentations at summits is that it’s best to be prepared for the talks otherwise you find yourself lost in some of the information that’s being delivered. It also helps you to adopt and implement some of the new concepts back at your facility.  Generally, I prepare for these conferences by making a note of all the key speakers.  However, this year there was such an abundance of great presenters I decided that it would be best to select presentations based on the following criteria:

  1.  What will this piece of information do for our athletes?
  2.  How relevant is the information to our philosophy of training?
  3.  How feasible is it to implement these strategies in to our training program?
  4.  How much or little do I know on the topic?
  5. How much have I heard from this speaker?
  6. How well will I be able to digest abstract concepts during the presenters time period?

With this criterion I was hoping that it would make the selection process easier. I have a bias toward going to presentations by Michael Boyle whether they are applicable to my needs or not.  This year I decided it would be more valuable to focus on content rather than speaker.  Let’s look at the selections for Thursday.

1st lecture:  

Out of the the four speakers ( Thomas Myers, Michol Dalcourt, Martin Rooney, Jason Brown) I chose Michol Dalcourt presentation on vector variability training.

What will this piece of information do for our athletes?

  • ·   The first time I heard from Michel Dalcourt was in Providence R.I. a few years  ago when he presented on a topic called integrated strength training.  I still believe that many of the concepts I learned from the presentation still have had lasting impacts on my frame of thought and training philosophy.  The concepts I learned were different from the traditions that I was accustomed to. So when I arrived back with this great information I found it difficult to implement his ideas in to my program.  This year my focus is to make sure his strategies can be incorporated in to our program. He advocates a holistic approach to training.  Instead of isolated movements, there is a focus on integrated movements.  I find that many training systems today are beginning to look at the whole rather than the parts. Whether it’s the assessment or the actual training there’s a conscious effort to understand the sum of the parts rather than the part itself.  Any programming ideas from Michel will be of great benefit as we move toward this line of thinking.

How relevant is the information to our philosophy of training?

  • ·  I’m not sure I can answer this question now. I’m assuming his presentation has to do with horizontal vectors and vertical vectors and how they translate to on the field performance. I’ve always been interested in how introducing more horizontal impulse training to my training routine.  I realized that most of the work we do in the weight room especially when it comes to lower body training is vertical in nature. The forces we place in the ground are rarely horizontal.  However sprinting and speed activities are generally horizontal in nature.

How feasible is it to implement these strategies in to our training program?

  • ·   That’s what I am here to learn. Hopefully Michel can teach me.

How much or little do I know on the topic?

  • ·   I can definitely say that I don’t know too much on this particular topic.  As I take a look at his slides I see concepts like
  1. 1.       Hydraulic amplifier effect
  2. 2.       Mechanotransduction
  3. 3.       Wolf’s law
  4. 4.       Fascial architecture
  5. 5.       Fascial net
  6. 6.       Pre – Stress
  7. 7.       Double bagged theory
  • ·   I’m not exactly sure where he’s going with this but I am certain it will blow my mind.

How much have I heard from this speaker?

  • ·   The last time I heard him speak was almost 4 years ago.  I haven’t had the chance to hear or read his material since then.  So this will be a really good learning experience for me.  

How well will I be able to digest abstract concepts during the presenters time period?

  • ·   1st presentation means maximal attention.  Had some good sleep last night. Resisted all  external and internal pressures to paint the streets of Chicago blue and Orange. 

2nd Lecture

Of the four speakers (Lee Burton, Thomas Myers, Mike Boyle and Brian Grasso) I choose Thomas Myers on Fascial Fitness.

What will this piece of information do for our athletes?

  • ·   When I started working in the field of strength and conditioning there was already a strong interest in fascia, it’s various properties and how it relates to performance. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to understand how much of an impact I could make on an individual in terms of improved mobility and corrective exercise by improving my knowledge on Myofasicia. I’ve read Anatomy trains  and it gave me a great perspective.  However I never really knew if I was effectively applying those concepts into my practice. This presentation by Thomas Myers called Anatomy Trains and Training i’m hoping will allow me to make positive changes to my warm up and allow me to develop some new corrective strategies especially when we talk of improving mobility.

How relevant is this information our training

  • ·   There is not a day when our athletes are not rolling, being rolled or working with a specialist on trigger points and fascia.  Thus the information gained from this presentation will be very valuable to our athletes. I’ve heard in the past of the “limitations” of foam roll and the complexeties involved in treating fascia. I’m hoping to learn more of this to improve the effectiveness of our training system for our athletes.

How feasible is it to put into our training program?

  • ·   I am definitely saving that question for Thomas Myers.  I’m hoping that he will put forth some innovative ideas on what kind of approach can a strength and conditioning coach have when it comes to training and myofascia.

How much do I know about the subject?

  • ·    I read Anatomy Trains one and a half times.  To be honest I think to fully understand the book you need to read it at least three times. Considering I’ve only done half that amount then it’s safe to say that I could probably do some more reading on the subject and a lot more learning from speakers like Thomas Myers.

How much have I heard this speaker present?

  • ·   This will be my first time hearing Thomas Myers speak in person so I’m excited to see him present.

How well will I be able to digest some difficult concepts within that period of time?

  • ·   Considering this is the second  presentation, I can’t imagine it will be too hard for me to be attentive.  I think a presentation like this is a perfect 2nd choice because your all warmed up from the 1st presentation.

3rd Lecture

Of the four speakers (Lee Taft, Gray Cook,  Al Vermeil, Thomas Myers) I choose Thomas Myers again

  • ·   I’m not exactly sure I understand the difference between fascial fitness and Anatomy Trains and Training.  However, I consider any piece of information I can get from Thomas myers to be of incredible value. He pretty much owns the fascial arena and this is still an area that I’m really trying to understand more about.

4th Lecture

 Is where I’m going to have a bit of some decision making to do. (Mike Boyle, Brian Grasso, Lee Burton) I choose Lee Burton.

What will this piece of information do for our athletes?

  • ·   I find implement corrective strategies in a group setting to be very difficult. My experience in group training is that when numbers increase you lose the opportunity to work on individual weaknesses.  I’d like to see his approach to corrective exercise and maybe I can get some ideas on how to effectively apply those ideas to our training methods.How feasible is it to implement these strategies in to our training program

Very relevant. Everyone gets screened as part of assessment and they all receive corrective exercise routines to perform post workout or practice. Though I still don’t find this approach to be enough.

How much or little do I know on the topic?

  • I know some information. I receive my FMS certification this past year and I’ve read Movement. I’d like to become more experienced at executing sound strategy.

How much have I heard from this speaker?

  • I’ve heard Lee Burton present several years ago on the same topic. It was a hands on lecuture. Looking back I didn’t walk away with quite as much as I thought I would.

How well will I be able to digest abstract concepts during the presenters time period?

  • ·   This is a tough time. That 2 pm – 4pm slot is always difficult for me in general. I’m just gonna have to load up on some energy drinks or coffee.

5th Lecture

Going with Martin Rooney

How relevant is the information to our philosophy of training?

Improving speed, strength and decreasing the risk of injury is always the focus of our training system.  Any piece of information by Martin can be of great importance. Besides injury prevention it could be argues that speed is the most important element in sport performance.  We are always looking for way to improve speed no matter what level.  If I can take away half a second off my athlete’s time to get from point A to point B I have increased his chance of success tenfold. This information could potentially provide us with a new insight to improving speed on the field.  

How feasible is it to implement these strategies in to our training program?

  • ·   We spend quite a bit of time focusing on sprint techniques and methods to improve speed. So it is very feasible that we would be able to add innovative, efficient and effective ideas in to our training system.  

How much or little do I know on the topic?

  • ·   I know my methods of training for speed include form running and sprinting techniques in the field as well as training in the weight room.  Any piece of information that I can take away that will be more efficient and effective than those that we already employ will be of great value.

How much have I heard from this speaker?

  • ·   I don’t know that I’ve heard Martin speak in public. I’ve seen his videos and I always enjoy his energy. 

How well will I be able to digest abstract concepts during the presenters time period?

  • ·   I’m relying on Martin Rooney to close it out for me.  I’m not gonna lie. The reason I chose Martin for the last is I know he can finish out with a bang.

Alright gotta get going.. Next post will probably be the three presentations that had the most impact on me.







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