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Talking Shop: Mike Robertson’s Five

Written on June 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm, by Eric Cressey

Eric Cressey:

If you had to pick five things our readers could do right now to become better lifters/athletes/coaches/trainers, what would they be?

Mike Robertson:

1. Start getting some soft tissue work done!

As Mike Boyle says, “If you aren’t doing something to improve tissue quality, you might as well stop stretching, too.” I firmly agree with him on this point, and while it may cost a few bucks, it’s going to help keep you healthy and hitting PR’s. This could be as simple as foam rolling, or as extreme as getting some intense deep tissue massage or myofascial release done. I’ve tried it all and all of it has its place.

2. Don’t neglect mobility work!

Ever since we released our Magnificent Mobility DVD, people are finally starting to see all the benefits of a proper warm-up that includes dynamic flexibility/mobility work. However, just because you understand the benefits doesn’t mean squat if you aren’t doing it! Take the time to get it done before every training session, and even more frequently if need be.

3. Understand functional anatomy

Again, you and I (along with many others), have preached this for quite some time, but I’m not sure enough people really understand how the human body works. Hell, I think I do, and then I get into some of these intense anatomy and PT related books and find out tons of new info!

Along these same lines, if you don’t understand functional anatomy, you really have no business writing training programs, whether they’re for yourself or for others. That may sound harsh, but for whatever reason people read a couple copies of Muscle and Fiction and think they can write programs. I’ve fixed enough broken people to know that very few people can integrate the functional anatomy into what amounts to functional programming (and no, that doesn’t include wobble boards, Airex pads, etc.).

Train your athletes at the next level.

4. Train to get stronger

While I’m all for all the other stuff that goes into training (proper recovery, mobility work, soft tissue work, conditioning, etc.), I think too many people want all the bells and whistles but forget about the basics. GET YOUR ATHLETES STRONG! Here’s the analogy that I use: performance coaches are asked to balance their training so that the athlete: a) improves performance and b) stays healthy. What I see right now is a ton of coaches that focus on all this posture and prehab stuff, but their athletes aren’t really that much better anyway. You have to work on both end of the spectrum.

Think about it like this: Let’s say you have this huge meathead that’s super strong but has no flexibility, mobility or conditioning, then throw him on the field. He may last for a while, but eventually he’s going to get hurt, right? You haven’t covered the spectrum.

But what’s the opposite situation? We have the coach who focuses on posture, prehab, etc., and the athlete has “optimal” muscle function but is weak as a kitten. Are you telling me this kid isn’t at a disadvantage when he steps on the field or on the court? Again, you haven’t covered the spectrum.

In other words, feel free to do all the right things, but don’t forget about simply getting stronger; as you’ve said, it’s our single most precious training commodity.

5. Keep learning!

I’m not going to harp too much on this one; simply put, you need to always be expanding your horizons and looking to new places for answers. There’s a plethora of training knowledge out there, and what you don’t know can come back to haunt you. I believe it was Ghandi who said, “Live like today was your last, but learn like you will live forever.” That’s pretty solid advice in my book (and hopefully the last quote I’ll throw in!)

Eric Cressey

For more information on Mike Robertson check out his blog and his website.

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