I wanted to write this piece in May, but something told me to hold out for a bit. If I held out, I’d have more evidence than needed to get convey my point. As anticipated, there is now overwhelming evidence to support the idea that trying to emulate a “pro” training routine while inevitably land you on the injured list. Let’s get down to business.
Most everyone who reads my rants knows I’m originally from the NYC metropolitan area and have been living in Boulder, Colorado for the last dozen years. I have been formally trained in fitness by Sam Iannetta. If you don’t know who he is, google him. That will give you all you need. The reason I’m pointing all of this out is to establish that we’ve been doing our thing in Boulder for the last decade virtually undetected. Our clients are more than aware of how valuable we are to their well being and ongoing functionality. Those who aren’t aware of what we do and how effective our system is, are the coaches of local youth, collegiate and professional sports teams. Simply put, do the strength and conditioning coaches at Colorado University, barely 3 miles from our facility, know that the most qualified corrective exercise specialists in the country are literally right down the street from them? If they knew that we could fix nearly all of the athletes that they continue to break, would they utilize us as a tool to enhance the education of their athletes? This past May, Jordan Webb, senior QB of the CU football team, ruptured his ACL in spring practices. Bummer, right? His injury came during non-contact 7 on 7 drills. Let me repeat that. A senior quarterback blew out his knee in non-contact drills in spring practice! Totally unacceptable. This injury, and many like it, are occurring due to poor technique in the weight room. There, I said it. I just threw all the coaches under the bus. I remember reading last year that CU was bringing in a new strength and conditioning specialist. I thought to myself, “cool, let’s see what’s different about this guy.” I read the article that outlined how this particular individual had a background in “functional training.” Great! I thought. That’s exactly what those poor kids need up there. Get away from the traditional powerlifting weight room model and start training functionally. The problem is that this new guy is doing the same old stuff as everyone else. The result, more injuries. Major injuries.
That was May, let’s get to the present. This past week alone, NFL training camps have opened across the country and players are reporting for camp and are beginning their initial workouts. You don’t begin contact or even practicing with pads on until more than a week into it. However, there have been a significant amount of major injuries occurring in non-contact drills on the field. When guys are blowing their ACL, (Broncos starting center, Eagles starting WR) or screwing up their hips, (Seahawks star WR, Ravens starting TE) or even just spraining their ankles so severely that they have to get carted off the field, (Broncos star free agent DB), these injuries are looked at as unfortunate or untimely. Media outlets say things like, “The Broncos caught the injury bug early this year.” We are beginning to accept these types of injuries as common when in fact they are not. Poor weight room technique. That’s all there is to it. These athletes are not training functionally and are paying the price for it. How many more injuries to key players will take place before someone says, “what’s happening off the field that’s contributing to these injuries?” Well none actually, because I just said it. I truly believe that if you take a contact athlete, and beat the crap out of them in the weight room and then they go out and get the crap beat out of them on the field, they’ll eventually break. And when they do it’s bad injuries, every time. These athletes need true Functional Training, not the watered down version you find out there in magazines or on youtube.com. High contact, high impact athletes need corrective exercise to withstand the brutal nature of their sport. That’s the only way to prevent season ending injuries in non-contact drills. Will the Denver Broncos contact us and bring in one of our specialists to analyze their system and see where the dysfunctions lie? We’ll see. If they’re smart they will. Hall of Fame player, John Elway, is now the head honcho for the Broncos. He makes all the football based decisions and is more or less the chief when it comes to all that. He’s a Stanford graduate. I’d like to think that he’s smart enough to utilize an asset that’s literally right in his back yard. We’ll see.
Let’s look at it logically. Does it make sense to you that if athletes are sustaining season ending or in some cases career ending injuries, in non-contact drills, that the off season strength and conditioning program is strengthening and conditioning the athletes involved? These athletes are assuming that their off season strength and conditioning programs will suitably prepare them for the rigors their bodies will face due to the intensity of the contact in their sport. Not to mention withstand the duration of a full season. The only answer is NO. It doesn’t make sense. In fact, this recent wave of serious injury in training camp is more evidence that the current model has failed. Sam and myself can see clearly what the problem is and are highly qualified to design and instruct a program for any NFL athlete that will not cause injury. Our programs actually prevent injury! That’s a revolutionary concept in sports today. Everyone is so concerned with sports performance, that they are over looking the key component. Injury prevention.
I am not trying to be disrespectful to anyone out there who is currently training high caliber, high impact athletes. All I’m saying is that we’re better at assessing the underlying discrepancies in every athletes movement pattern that will ultimately lead to these major injuries. I feel that much of what we’re seeing in the NFL currently is preventable. As far as the injuries taking place in non-contact drills at least. Proper weight room technique combined with individualized corrective exercises will make a stronger athlete that’s actually harder to break.
If you want the current paradigm of injured athletes to diminish, then you MUST call in the pros. If you care about your athletes being on the field instead of on the sidelines injured, you MUST ensure that what they are doing in the weight room isn’t setting them up for major injury on the field. All of these things have been taking place everyday at Functional Fitness in Boulder, Colorado for the last 11 years and counting. Do your homework and look us up. Or deal with more of the same in the future. For more info on “Functional Training” check out www.functionalfitnessusa.com. For more info on intelligent exercise and injury prevention follow @Rich1ill. Thank you.