Home Newsletters A Review of the 2008 Indianapolis Performance Enhancement Seminar DVD Set

A Review of the 2008 Indianapolis Performance Enhancement Seminar DVD Set

Written on January 17, 2008 at 1:24 pm, by Eric Cressey

Last week, I was fortunate enough to get a free copy of Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman’s 2008 Indianapolis Performance Enhancement Seminar DVD Set. To be honest, the word “fortunate” doesn’t even begin to do the product justice; it was the best industry product I’ve watched all year.

The DVD set is broken up into six separate presentations:

1. Introduction and 21st Century Core Training

2. Creating a More Effective Assessment

3. Optimizing Upper Extremity Biomechanics

4. Building Bulletproof Knees

5. Selecting the Optimal Method for Effective Flexibility Training

6. Program Design and Conclusion

To be honest, I’ve already seen Mike Robertson deliver the presentations on DVDs 1 and 4 a few times during seminars at which we’ve both presented, so more of my focus in this review will be on Bill’s presentations because they were more “new” to me. That said, I can tell you that each time I’ve seen Mike deliver there presentations, he’s really impressed the audience and put them in a position to view training from a new (and better) paradigm, debunking old myths along the way. A lot of the principles in his core training presentation mirror what we do with our clients – and particularly with those involved in rotational sports.

Bill’s presentation on assessments is excellent. I think I liked it the most because it really demonstrated Bill’s versatility in that he knows how to assess both on the clinical (physical therapy) and asymptomatic (ordinary client/athlete) sides of the things. A few quick notes from Bill’s presentation that I really liked:

a. Roughly 40% of athletes have a leg length discrepancy – but that’s not to say that 40% of athletes are injured or even symptomatic. As such, we need to understand that some asymmetry is normal in many cases – and determining what is an acceptable amount of asymmetry is an important task. As an example, in my daily work, a throwing shoulder internal rotation deficit (relative to the non-throwing shoulder) of 15 degrees or less is acceptable – but if a guy goes over 15°, he really needs to buckle down on his flexibility work and cut back on throwing temporarily. If he is 17-18° or more, he shouldn’t be throwing – period.

b. It’s important to consider not only a client/patient/athlete looks like on a “regular” test, but also under conditions of fatigue. There’s a reason athletes get hurt more later in games: fatigue changes movement efficiency and safety! This is why many tests should include several reps – and we should always be looking to evaluate players “on the fly” under conditions of fatigue.

c. Bill made a great point on “functional training” during this presentation as well – and outlined the importance difference between kinetics (incorporates forces) and kinematics (movement independent of forces). Most functional training zealots only look at kinematics, and in the process, ignore the amount of forces in a dynamic activity. For example, being able to execute a body weight lateral lunge with good technique doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be “equipped” to handle change-of-direction challenges at game speed. In reality, this force consideration is one reason why there are times that bilateral exercise is actually more function than unilateral movements!

d. Bill also outlined a multi-faceted scoring system he uses to evaluate athletes in the context of their sports. It’s definitely a useful system for those who want a quantifiable scheme through which to score athletes on overall strength, speed, and flexibility qualities to determine areas that warrant prioritization.

DVD #3 is an excellent look at preventing and correcting shoulder problems – and in terms of quality, this presentation with Mike is right on par with their excellent Inside-Out DVD. Mike goes into depth on what causes most shoulder problems and how we can work backward from pathology to see what movement deficiency – particularly scapular downward rotation syndrome – caused the problem. There is a great focus on lower trapezius and serratus anterior strengthening exercises and appropriate flexibility drills for the pec minor, levator scapulae, and thoracic spine – as well as a focus on the effects of hip immobility and rectus abdominus length on upper body function.

To be honest, I think that DVD #4 alone is worth far more than the price of the entire set. It actually came at an ideal time for me, as I’m preparing our off-season training templates for our pro baseball guys – and flexibility training is a huge component of this. Whenever I see something and it really gets me thinking about what I’m doing, I know it’s great. Bill’s short vs. stiff discussion really did that for me.

Bill does far more justice to the discussion than I can, but the basic gist of the topic is that the word “tight” doesn’t tell us much at all. A short muscle actually has lost sarcomeres because it’s been in a shortened state for an extended period of time; this would be consistent with someone who had been immobilized post-surgery or a guy who has just spent way too long at a computer. These situations mandate some longer duration static stretching to really get after the plastic portion of connective tissue – and this can be uncomfortable, but highly effective.

Conversely, a stiff muscle is one that can be relatively easily lengthened acutely as long as you stabilize the less stiff segment. An example would be to stabilize the scapula when stretching someone into humeral internal or external rotation. If the scapular stabilizers are weak (i.e., not stiff), manually fixing the scapula allows us to effectively stretch the muscles acting at the humeral head. If we don’t stabilize the less-stiff joint, folks will just substitute range of motion there instead of where we actually want to create it. In situations like this, in addition to good soft tissue work, Bill recommends 30s static stretches for up to four rounds (this is not to be performed pre-exercise, though; that’s the ideal time for dynamic flexibility drills.

DVD #5 is where Mike is at his best: talking knees. This is a great presentation not only because of the quality of his information, but also because of his frame of reference; Mike has overcome some pretty significant knee issues, including a surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Mike details the role of ankle and hip restrictions in knee issues, covers the VMO isolation mindset, and outlines some of the research surrounding resistance training and rehabilitation of knee injuries in light of some of the myths that are abundant in the weight-training world.

DVD #6 brings all these ideas together with respect to program design.

I should also mention that each DVD also includes the audience Q&A, which is a nice bonus to the presentations themselves. The production quality is excellent, with “back-and-forths” between the slideshow and presenters themselves. Bill and Mike include several video demonstrations in their presentations to break up the talking and help out the visual learners in the crowd, too.

All in all, this is a fantastic DVD set that encompasses much more than I could ever review here. In fact, if it’s any indicator of how great I think it is, I’m actually going to have all our staff members watch it. If you train athletes or clients, definitely get it. Or, if you’re just someone who wants to know how to keep knees, shoulders, and lower backs healthy while optimizing flexibility, it’s worth every penny. You can find out more at the Indianapolis Performance Enhancement Seminar website.

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All the Best,


  • Nitesh

    hi Eric..I guess u hv intercgnged DVD#’s a bit..Knees on DVD 5 or 4???..Btw like ths blog a lot..very informative..thnks

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