Dr. E

26 Training Lessons from 26 Years: Part 4

If you missed them, here are parts one, two, and three of this series.

18. Spend the Time & Money to Learn

This is a huge one. As I mentioned before (#14), everyone thinks they know how to be a strength coach. The truth is, there is an infinite amount of detail that can be seen in every rep of every lift. Learning to recognize these subtle cues requires experience and, more importantly, a teacher. I have been very fortunate to learn from some excellent coaches and mentors in this field. One of the best investments I have made as a coach was attending a USA Weightlifting certification course. Two days of hands-on experience, working with former Olympic Weightlifting coaches, as well as thirty other coaches with various levels of training the Olympic lifts, was an incredible learning experience that no amount of textbooks or videos could duplicate. If you want to become a better coach, invest in yourself and learn from everyone you can.

(With that said, I want to take this chance to thank those in the field who have helped me along the way thus far. Alan Stein (first mentor and helped ignite my passion for this, I can’t thank you enough), Brett Fischer (and his entire staff at Fischer Sports), Frank Renner (If anyone has taught me how to coach, it is Frank – couldn’t have asked for a better mentor), Taylor Kleinschmidt/P.J. Fabritz/Taylor Janowicz (being able to bounce ideas off you guys has helped tremendously), Mike Boyle (the resources he provided, in addition to learning from him for a month was unbelievable), Dan John (if you haven’t read Never Let Go, quit reading this until you do. Seriously, go buy it now.), Dr. Erson Religioso (who has amazing content over at www.themanualtherapist.com), Ben Bruno (your assistance/referrals with my site has helped more than you know), all of the ATHLETIC trainers and physical therapists I have been fortunate enough to work with, as well as my current colleagues – I learn something new from you every day and become a better coach with every bit of it. Thank you all for your help.)

19. Don’t Major in the Minor

Several athletes and coaches are interested in perfecting tiny details, but fail to see larger issues that demand attention. A quote I really like is, “Don’t be too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet.” and I think it’s an excellent way of saying fix the problem and the residual issues will take care of themselves. A good example is training accessories – weightlifting shoes, bands, chains, etc. These are great for the individual who knows what he/she is doing with them, but just frills. If you can’t deadlift at least twice your body weight, don’t worry about adding chains or bands to improve your lockout. Master these movements – squat, hip hinge, push up, plank, and rowing/chin ups to be able to retract your scapula. Once these are under control, then get more creative, but the secret to an effective program is simplicity – do the basic movements, do them well, and progressively increase resistance to improve.

20. Do More Ground Work

A couple months ago, I wanted to incorporate more ground work and became interested in learning more about Primal Move workouts. I found an amazing set of videos at Breaking Muscle by Andrew Read and starting implementing the movements into my own warm up. I noticed a big difference in my lifts with these warm ups – I felt like I got rid of my “old man syndrome” while I was rolling around and working my way up off the ground. I don’t have any research or evidence other than personal experience, but it’s something worth trying if you are looking for a change in your workout.

21. Give it Some Time

Training is an investment, not a pay day – it takes time to see the benefits. One workout is enough to make you a little better, but it takes several to see any real gains. If you are trying a new training program, commit to it for a few months to allow it to work. You can’t expect results if every other week you bounce from 5/3/1 to triphasic to Power to the People to whatever else catches your eye. If a program is going to work, it is going to require time – think big picture.

22. Learn to Schedule, You’re Going to Need it

I’ve worked in private business, professional, and college settings and can say the most consistent aspect of all three is time demands. Your daily schedule will be like Tetris – find the perfect slot for Team A or Person B, then realize Group X needs to get their time pushed back to that day because of Random Event Y… then flip your desk over and shout profanity at your computer screen. Basically, as a strength and conditioning coach, your rank of importance on some one’s schedule is pretty low. For an athlete it goes – games, practice, extra individual work, eating, training. Students are similar but add in their classes, enough time for homework, and group meeting times. Then team coaches have to take in these factors plus weather (if their sport is outside and susceptible) and availability of facilities. Your perfect schedule will get changed every way imaginable and if you can’t roll with it while staying on top of everything, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the mix. Learning to communicate with your athletes and coaches (and doing it consistently) is the best way of keeping everything humming along.

Next week, I will wrap up the series with my big four rules of training.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES


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Random Articles You Should Read

Unlike my typical Articles & Videos posts, which I try to focus on recent writings, today I want to share some of my favorite blog posts/articles/etc. I’ve come across. Most will be from T-Nation, so if you aren’t following that site, you are missing on some great resources. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. How to Build Pure Strength – Bryan Krahn interview with Jim Wendler (I’ve recently become a big fan of his 5/3/1 method).
  2. 101 Tips for Being a Great General Manager – From Jeffrey Keller via Michael Boyle.
  3. 12 Thoughts for the Preseason – Great post by Alan Stein, though it may be a little early for preseason talk for basketball, still good for mindset.
  4. 40 Years of Insight, Part 1 – I have a coaching crush on Dan John. I think everything he writes is awesome and have yet to read an article of his without thinking of something new.
  5. 40 Years of Insight, Part 2 – With that said, I’ll try to limit the number of his articles on this list. But honestly, go buy “Never Let Go” asap, it’s the best training book I own. Everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it as well. He should be paying me for this plug…
  6. Don’t Say Can’t – Another post by Alan, only this is more of a selfish plug. I had the pleasure of meeting Alan at a conference about 4-5 years ago when I was still pretty new to the field, and we spent several hours discussing training techniques. I walked away with a mentor and he walked away with a new training idea – my 60,000 pounds in 60 minutes challenge – which became my first recognizable contribution to the field, and this is one of several articles he mentions it (thanks again Alan). If you’re a basketball player or coach, make sure to check out StrongerTeam.com for some of the best basketball related material available.
  7. 21 Best Fitness Business Tips – From Pat Rigsby via Mike Boyle.
  8. In-Season Baseball Strength & Conditioning Part 1 and Part 2 – Cressey is an encyclopedia of strength and conditioning information, especially with baseball players.
  9. Step-by-Step Approach to Coming Back From an Injury – Tim Henriques provides a good resource for coaches trying to help athletes with recovery, especially handling the mental side.
  10. How Will You Use Neurodynamics – One of many great posts by affiliate and friend of the site, Dr. E. Honestly, I was going to list about six consecutive posts from Dr. E, but thought that could be overwhelming. So here are four.
  11. 9 Random Training Tips – Ben Bruno puts in more hours creating new exercises, writing up articles, and just being a weight room maniac than should be humanly possible.
  12. 4 Problems. 4 Solutions – Good article by Chad Howse that expands beyond the gym.
  13. Who is Your Daddy and What Does he do? – It’s an article all about Arnold, how can it NOT be on this list?
  14. Work the Entire Back Side of the Body at Once – Here’s that maniac part of Ben Bruno shines through.
  15. The Secrets – Another great list article by Boyle.

As you can tell, I have a relatively small group of authors as my “go-to” people for articles, and I am sure I have missed, skipped, or forgot several others. This is simply meant to be a good list of articles I’ve read over the past year or so that stood out in my mind. Any others that you have and would care to share, please feel free to email or send them to me on Twitter.

All the Best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

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Articles & Videos You Should See 5-4-12

I know it’s been a while since I put one of these up, so I figured it’s time. The following are some excellent articles and videos from around the internet regarding training, nutrition, & sports performance.


Deadlift or Squat: What’s the Diff? – This is an interesting article by coach Michael Boyle on how the line between squats and deadlifts has blurred. Also a little bit of a shameless plug as I was with Michael when he was working on this article and demonstrated the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (cough*third video*cough).

50 Tips for Fat Loss – Charles Poliquin is one of the greats in the industry and does an excellent job compiling information & research into concise articles. There’s a quote I am fond of that I feel describes this quite well – “A great surgeon invents an operation only he can do. A truly great surgeon invents an operation that everyone can do.” The idea of taking the complex and making it simple is a difficult art, however Charles excels at it.

A Complaint Free World – I am interested to see where Dr. E is at right now with his goal to goal 21 days without complaining. If it works, I’m going to buy one for myself and every athlete I work with. 21 days without hearing a complaint? I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

101 Tips for Being a Great General Manager – Coach Boyle makes a second appearance on the list (mainly because I couldn’t find the original source). Many of the tips have carryover from managing a business to simply managing relationships. Whether they are professional, personal, or other, relationships fail if you take them for granted.

The Story of Me and Food – Speaking of relationships, this piece comes from a friend of mine, Katie Sullivan. She is an amazing young woman I had the pleasure of getting to know during college and is currently an NPC Bikini Athlete…and oh yeah, going to freaking LAW SCHOOL. Holy crap, if you want to learn from a smart person who knows the importance of time management, look no further. This piece is more for women and coaches who work with female athletes, as image issues are a very real and troubling problem that some studies say affect up to 8 million Americans annually (90% of which are women).

PJF Performance Random Facts – Another close friend of mine, P.J. Fabritz, is a young, intelligent and passionate strength coach who wrote this interesting piece (albeit lighthearted). If you don’t know him yet, don’t be surprised to see his name coming up more often.


Bridge Rollouts – I was going to just post the YouTube link, but Ben Bruno does an excellent job describing the exercise and what’s going on. Ben’s limitless creativity never ceases to amaze me and I look forward to trying these out.

Hakeem Olajuwon Scoring Skills – This was in Bill Simmons most recent article and after viewing it, I was reminded why I love basketball. The Dream Shake with the up & under made Hakeem one of the three greatest centers of all time in my mind. Not to mention, the guy is 7 feet tall and moves that smoothly! My start in coaching was with the Coconino High School Boys Basketball Team in Flagstaff, AZ and there are a few athletes I worked with who will be entering their senior seasons there. Josh, Jake, Jason, and Bam-Bam (aka Andy), I’m telling you to watch this video and learn the up & under from the best. Good luck next year guys.

As always, if I can ever be of assistance to you or your program, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

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Introducing Dr. E and The EDGE

As I have mentioned, there are a lot of exciting changes coming to Henley Sports Performance, and one of the biggest is the partnership with Dr. Erson Religioso III. Dr. E is an Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapist and the creator of The EDGE tool for assisted soft tissue manipulation. If you have been following the site, you’ve likely seen a few links to articles or videos Dr. E has posted on his website, www.themanualtherapist.com. Today, I would like to officially announce the partnership between Henley Sports Performance and The Manual Therapist. Dr. E has taken the time to answer a few questions for my readers about The EDGE and OMPT in general.

I need to be honest, I’ve been looking forward to this partnership ever since I received my EDGE in the mail. It’s an amazing tool that I use all the time on myself. Can you explain who should be using The EDGE and relate it to the other soft tissue manipulation tools on the market? 

Dr. E: Thanks Drew! This is an exciting opportunity! I designed the EDGE to be used by any health professional who is licensed to perform soft tissue manipulation on a client. The practices acts may vary from state to state, but that includes physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, and osteopaths. Some in the Sports Performance world have purchased it for self treatment, which is fine, but I always recommend being evaluated by a health professional, particularly one who specializes in manual therapy for anything more than self treatment of simple tightness or limitations in movement.

There are definitely a lot of tools on the market, including a direct copy of mine. I originally designed it to be a versatile system, an all in one that was easily pocketable, relatively light, but high quality stainless steel. I believe the price is not the only value you get with the EDGE. The main thing I can offer is a willing evolution and open source community. I am always looking for feedback and evolving the shape/design every 1-2 iterations of it. I can also offer something my competitors don’t, which is regular and updated instructions and videos, even by request on my blog, facebook, and twitter pages. I use it daily, on all types of patients, from head to toe. I also teach courses in it locally in Buffalo, NY, or in house if your facility prefers.

I can say I’m very pleased and impressed with mine. So other than The EDGE, what methods do you use with your patients to facilitate recovery?

Dr. E: I have several certifications which lead to my specialization. I am credentialed in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy, by the McKenzie Institute USA, and also a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. Much of my caseload is spinal, headaches, followed by general orthopaedic conditions. I try to combine the best of what the literature reports as effective and valid, like MDT for the spine, spinal manipulation, and stabilization with what actually works clinically, like soft tissue manipulation. I use both functional or movement based release, and instrument assisted release for “issues in the tissues.”

Other than hands-on work with clients, you work with several universities and students, correct?

Dr. E: Yes, I teach for 3 doctor of physical therapy programs, D’Youville College (my first alma mater before doctorate), Daemen College, and State University of New York at Buffalo. I also teach and mentor post-graduate physical therapists for the Orthopaedic Manual Therapy Fellowship programs at Daemen College, the McKenzie Institute USA, and Evidence in Motion. In addition, I am working on starting up a certificate in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy at D’Youville College, and also teach continuing education courses in Neurodynamics, Spinal Manipulation, Comprehensive Soft Tissue Manipulation, and Temporomandibular and Craniofacial Pain.

You also run your site and maintain an incredible YouTube channel (which can be found here, it is an amazing resource for anyone who works on the human body and improving movement). Is there anything I am missing?

Dr. E: Well, I have a consultation practice within Rose Physical Therapy, owned by my good friend and former mentee Dr. Terry Rose, DPT, MS, FMS, FAAOMPT. We work very synergistically and have a blast daily! Both of us decided to go out on our own after working in management positions for 10+ years just about 1 year ago. The businesses are both doing well!

It seems as though much of your work is improving tissue quality to correct imbalances, deficits, etc. What can individuals do to maintain healthy tissue quality? 

Dr. E: It is! Although “issues in the tissues” are just one part of the problem. We look for dysfunction in the entire neuromusculoskeletal system. That being said, movement is key. The average person bends forward thousands of times a day. They also spent much more time sitting than standing. Get up and move! Try not to sit for more than 30-45 minutes. Get up and backward bend at your waist 10 times/hour. Sit upright, like everyone says their mother told them too (only she slouched too!) If everyone sat upright and moved more often, there would be a lot less general headache, neck, and lower back pain.

For the athletes, train globally and functionally. Seinfeld actually said it best “Lifting weights only makes you better at lifting weights.” Rest appropriately. Static stretching has pretty much been disproven to decrease injury, and some studies show may possibly decrease performance. However, early evidence shows dynamic stretching may be effective. Get screened by an FMS expert for injury risk assessment. Go to a manual therapist for evaluation at any signs of pain that can’t be helped with movement or form correction. Hydrate often!

More importantly, how do you think manual therapy and sports performance/strength & conditioning work together to reduce overuse injuries and maintain physiological balance? Athletes and people in general perform better when we are free of pain and in a state of homeostasis, what do you notice is lacking from individuals and their exercise programs?

Dr. E: I would say the average consumer or patient ends up on the wrong end or even the top of the bell curve. There is a bell curve in all professions.  What is lacking in both avenues, rehab and performance training is a “no pain no problem” attitude. Dysfunction and poor movement does not always equate to pain until it’s too late. In an ideal world, a physical therapist would screen at least annually, similar to a primary care physician. If we had “well visits” most likely a lot of overuse and postural based muscle imbalances could be prevented.

What is lacking in both professions are really science based programs and 1:1 personal sessions that base the patient’s or athlete’s program on them as individuals. It requires commitment on both ends. Training, and rehab, which are really just aspects of the same thing, but on different ends of the spectrum, require both parties to participate. Goals take work and there are no magic cures.

My colleague said at the FMS course that your average physical therapist doesn’t take the patient far enough. Referrals work both ways and once we get our patient pain free, it is certainly appropriate to send them on for further strength and/or performance training with a qualified trainer if you as a therapist do not have the facility, time, or training to do so. Both professions can learn a lot from one another!
I couldn’t agree more. It’s important for therapists and strength & conditioning professionals to have connections that allow the transfer of patients. I have been fortunate to work with excellent physical therapists and athletic trainers with whom I was able to transfer care with ease.  When an athlete I trained gets injured, I send them directly to the medical staff and once they are able to return, the PT/ATC trust me to correct the underlying problem. Without effective communication and transference of patients, there would be a lot more recurring injuries.
Thank you again for taking the time to inform my readers on your side of the industry. Keep the great information coming Dr. E!

Please be sure to visit Dr. E’s website at www.themanualtherapist.com and all the resources he provides. You can also see his most recent posts here, in the sidebar to the right. 

In addition to this new partnership, I am proud to announce I have successfully completed my NASM-CES certification and will provide details on the credential and my thoughts of it in the future. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or requests, please feel free to contact me at any time.
All the best,
Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES
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Articles & Videos You Should See 11-14

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend for the holiday and showed their support for all those in our armed forces for their sacrifices they have made to allow us to enjoy our way of life. Here are this week’s Articles & Videos You Should See.
Resistance Training vs Static Stretching – In sports where flexibility is at a premium (swimming, gymnastics, baseball pitchers, etc.), it can be difficult to convince athletes to participate in weight training. They fear that the strength gains somehow come at the cost of their flexibility. This study will give you something tangible to get them into the weight room.
This Christmas Help an American Business – This is NOT a sales pitch of any sort. It is actually a great message and way to give during this holiday season that not only provides a service to your loved ones, but also helps others in your community by supporting local businesses. I will certainly be incorporating this into my holiday shopping this year.
The One Arm Press – I’m a big fan of unilateral training, especially single arm presses (great for hitting the core as well as smoking your shoulders). I’m not saying they should be in every program, but Dan John does a good job describing his method and use of the exercise.
Technique Highlight: SLR with Traction – An…interesting technique for improving hamstring flexibility and ROM of the hips. But Dr. Erson Religioso makes a point of reserving it for clients or athletes you’re sure can handle the technique. I’ve always been intrigued by the use of traction in therapy and this is another reason why.
Thoughts on the FMS Level 1 – Another appearance by Dr. E, this time his thoughts after attending the Functional Movement Systems seminar. I have used some of the aspects of the FMS in assessing athletes, but have not yet had the pleasure of attaining the certification. It is certainly on my list, right after I finish studying for the NASM CES advanced specialization. I liked his recognition that this industry needs the collaboration of all areas – strength & conditioning, physical therapists, ATCs, and doctors – in order to thrive.
The Myth of Symmetrical Programs – Great post by Mike Robertson on program design. To oversimplify it into a single sentence, programs should only be balanced if the athlete is balanced to begin, otherwise the goal is to ATTAIN balance. I highly recommend taking the link regarding row and bench as counterparts, lots of good information in there as well.
Hands On Neutral Spine – If your athletes are having problems with their deadlift technique, specifically rounding the back, Tony Gentilcore provides a great training tip. Have the athlete slightly bend the knee, then lower their shoulders until they rest with their hands on their knees. From this position, have the athlete lower their hips and shoulders at the same rate.
Volleyball Practice Warm Up and Strength Training – Great video by Joe Bonyai. I especially liked the mobility drills he has throughout the clip and would recommend most sports (not just volleyball) utilize them in their programs.
All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW




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