Review-Perform Better Seattle 1 Day Event

Review-Perform Better Seattle 1 Day Event
June 4, 2012 Dr. Phillip Snell

I’m still rolling with the excellent presentations I was witness to in Seattle at the Perform Better 1 Day Event on April 21, 2012!!  Sadly, when I searched my calendar for the upcoming 3-Day evenets I found that I was already booked on the dates of the Providence, Chicago and Long Beach summits. What are the odds!?  The rest of you should be at one of those though.  Here is my take on the event that weekend that featured some real heavy hitters…


As fate would have it, Mike Boyle who was on the agenda, was tied up with spring training in his new job with the Red Sox. While I was disappointed to not meet Mike, the guy who pinch hit for him wasn’t half bad either! Gray Cook stepped in to join Charlie Weingroff, Rachel and Alwyn Cosgrove for one of the most enjoyable, well organized and knowledge filled continuing ed events I’ve attended in many years. The format was an hour of didactic from each presenter, lunch, and then the afternoon was 30-40 minutes rotating between 4 hands-on stations hosted by each presenter. In contrast to the typical neck and back numbing sit-fest that usually is present in a weekend CEU event, this one even managed to allow participants to get a bit of a workout in.


Rachel Cosgrove

Rachel led off with an excellent presentation that chronicled her work with training over the years and her eventual focus on training women and fat loss clients. Participants got a good dose of the psychology that is inherent in managing these clients and keeping them motivated for results. In the afternoon, she led attendees through thoughtful exercise progressions from corrective to high performance and did a masterful job matching the training strategies to FMS scores on the FMS screen. I appreciated the low tech/low space approach of using kettlebells, furniture sliders, resistance bands and TRX suspension trainers to go through some very creative approaches to managing some challenging functional limitations. Keep your eye out for these correctives in the member’s area for in the future!


Charlie Weingroff

Yours truly hanging with Charlie Weingroff and Chris Bathke of Elemental Fitness Lab

Charlie is perhaps the only guy on the speaking circuit who can address 200 people in an 8000 square foot hall without really needing a mic! He brought his obvious passion to breaking down some of the DNS material into the training environment with Understanding Joint Centration. He continually brought the listeners around to the feedforward process of centering of joints to allow for green light from the cortex for optimal and painfree performance. In the afternoon, he navigated that territory using TGU positions, allowing us to feel the difference in loading capacity in centrated vs. un-centrated positions. The sled pulls were especially entertaining in seeing the impact of pulling both with and without shoulder and neck packed positions with several volunteers really getting an excellent take home lesson! 🙂 I particularly liked the simple, elegant demo of toe touching with and without the neck packing. It went like this…

Position yourself with your back to the wall and a foot or so away from the wall. Pack the neck by performing a chin retraction and keeping the neck in neutral, i.e. don’t tip your head down. Bend forward and touch the toes, and wiggle your feet to position yourself where you are simultaneously touching the toes while barely touching your butt to the wall. Return to upright postion and repeat but this time arch your neck up and look at the ceiling. Put your butt against the wall and then try to touch the toes again. Can you feel how much more restricted your toe touch is? Imagine the implications as you try to deadlift and reduce your ability to toe touch. In our challenged patients and clients, this could result in a rounding of the lumbar spine as they try to get to the bar!


Gray Cook

Gray demos the Brettzel 2.0 to assess and correct posterior chain mobility

Gray was his usual entertaining self as he doled out detail after detail from his voracious reading habit. He made a case for the need for a checklist in our approach to assessment and a standardized system such as the FMS so that we can track changes in our patients and clients.I appreciated the sharing of Ed Thomas’s slides showing the evidence of dysfunctional movement in Americans in the 1950’s whereas 50 years prior movement pattern trends in physical education were much better. The example of the military rifleman shooting from a deep squat position in the 40’s and the need to change that training as the recruits showing up for training in later years steadily lost the ability to deeply squat.

Gray is also a thoroughly quotable figure. Below are a few of the gems that issued forth over the weekend:

  • ‎”You will not hear me tell a pt to engage the glutes. I’ll put them in a position where they can’t engage their quads and back and ask them to move.”
  •  ‎”We teach squatting in reverse in the gym…by putting the weight up high and move under it. Babies start on the ground and move their own weight up.”
  • “People are not a bag of parts, they’re a bag of patterns”
  • “That functional movement pattern your client/patient is looking for is not missing, it’s on their hard drive, but they’re having difficulty locating it.”
  • “We’re all in the wrong business because the mark up on duck calls is like 7000%.” (Author’s note: OK, OK, this was later over dinner after enjoying the local ‘cider’)
Later in the break out session, the bear crawl races were good sport and we all got a chance to put the FMS to a quick application to split up into the motor integration challenged group and the mobility challenged group. Correctives for these were eye-opening with some coming from the Kettlebells From the Ground Up DVD. I rushed over to buy my copy but alas the last one sold just as I arrived 🙁  . One of those demoed was the Brettzel 2.0 which you can see below.
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Alwyn Cosgrove

Alwyn was very entertaining too but as a clinician, I must admit I was not excited for his talk on Cutting Edge Fitness Business Principles. However, I wound up taking a single pearl home that I think may ultimately be an excellent adjunct to the FixYourOwnBack site that I’m currently re-tooling. More on that later… Honestly, Alwyn’s gym, Results Fitness offers a fabulous training model for group training environment which captures a lot of the fun energy people seem to like in the Crossfit model, but offering sustainable movement exercise that challenges multiple energy systems while focusing on complex functional movements.

Later, he put us through a challenging 27 minute workout that hit all the basic high points: static mobility, dynamic mobility, strength, speed, power, reaction time and agility along with a nice metabolic challenge as a cherry on the top! Nice way to end the day!  You can see an example of the gym flow at Results Fitness at this video below.


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As it turned out, the day wasn’t over for me, and I had the opportunity to join Charlie, Gray, and Tim Vagen for dinner. As Charlie was co-presenting the following day nearby at Joel Jamieson’s gym along with Patrick Ward, those 2 joined us along with Sounders strength coach David Tenney. Rumours on the grapevine suggest that that event was recorded and will show up as a DVD in the near future so keep your eyes out!  Great meal, great company and a fabulous event. I can’t thank the Perform Better folks too much for putting together a great event, and heartily encourage readers to get out to one of these gatherings in the near future. For a schedule of upcoming Perform Better events, click here!

With Charlie Weingroff and Patrick Ward

David Tenney, Joel Jamieson and Patrick Ward


Gray Cook, Charlie Weingroff and Tim Vagen consider the offerings at Wild Ginger.