The Elite Training Workshop Recap: Napa 2012

This New Year has been very busy for me especially with my continuing education schedule.  There were several opportunities for me to take classes early this year and stop number two on this education train took me to Napa California for Pat Rigsby’s  Elite Training Workshop.  The level of presenters was top notch.  Dave “The Band Man” Schmitz, Mike Robertson, Robert dos Remedios and BJ Gaddour all gave quality information that could be used right away to help enhance our training protocols and help our clients excel.

Bummed you didn’t go? Don’t worry, as always here are the hi-lights from the event; soak it in.

Dave Schmitz: Getting Better with Bands

Pat was building up “The Band Man” all afternoon Friday and his Saturday presentation did not disappoint.  Dave Schmitz ran us through an early-morning resistance band stretching routine to prime our hamstrings, adductors and upper body.  Once we were loose he touted the key benefit of band training was its ascending resistance training effect.  When the resistance increases along with the range of motion it creates a very unique neuromuscular response and when the muscle returns to its resting length it must decelerate the band tension.

According to Dave, 95% of athletic related injuries are caused by the body’s inability to decelerate the force properly.  Dave states that bands are the “best way to neuromusculary enhance deceleration.”  Performing movements like squats, lateral walks and thrusters teach the legs to decelerate the resistance appropriately with the decreasing eccentric load provided by the band.  This can have a great carryover to sports where you need to decelerate appropriately and use the energy to stop suddenly and change directions.

Bands are cost-effective, portable and can be integrated into any training program for flexibility, strength and conditioning uses.  Dave mentions you can use them during your stretching and mobility warm up, during your strength training sessions or you can group five to ten exercises together and do them for repetitions or time for a great conditioning workout.  Grab a few bands and add them into your workouts and see what happens.

Mike Robertson: Fact and Fallacies of Corrective Exercises

Mike Robertson is very well known in the strength and conditioning field especially when trainers are looking for information about sports performance and corrective exercise programming.

Mike’s topic focused primarily on the myths and truths of corrective exercises.  His definition of a corrective exercise states:

[Corrective exercise] is a holistic approach where an assessment is used to determine specific weaknesses and/or limitations of the athlete.  This assessment drives the programming process, where a systematic and progressive approach is used to reduce the likelihood of injury and improve performance. 

Wow that was a huge meal to swallow, what does it all mean?

Mike made it clear to the audience that when thinking of corrective exercises we should not specifically think of them as only certain movements, nor should we over think how they should be implemented.  He stated that any movement can be considered a corrective exercise:

  • Foam rolling
  • Mobility Drills
  • Strength Training
  • Core Training
  • Static Stretching
  • Etc.

Corrective exercises should be “whatever the client or athlete standing in front of you needs in order to stay healthy and improve performance.”

Mike recommends an initial client assessment, paying careful attention to areas that have limited mobility like the ankle, hips and thoracic spine.   After the assessment, “developing adequate mobility is first and foremost” when designing a program.  Next the program should have components to train both strength and stability which the two are separate entities and should be trained as such.

Generally speaking, Mike states that strength comes from bilateral lifts and stability comes primarily from the unilateral lifts.  Mike quoted Eric Cobb who stated, “Strength training cements your posture and mobility.”  If you have good mobility and correct posture then strength training can help reinforce these two assets.  However, the same thing applies with poor mobility and posture.  Adding strength to lacking mobility and posture will not help these problems get better overtime.

Mike’s formulas for success is based on gaining adequate mobility of lacking joints, and then work the stability of the joints before you can start to load it more to increase the strength.

This was a great topic and one that I will continue to keep in the forefront of my mind and for my athletes.

Robert dos Remedios: Cardio Strength Training

If Robert dos Remedios is ever in your area you owe it to yourself to hear him speak.  Not only is he entertaining but he knows a ton about conditioning programming.  Robert comes in with the attitude that you are “either getting better or getting worse” and naturally we should always be striving to get better in all areas of our lives.

As trainers we have [hopefully] gotten away from the notion that steady state cardio is the best to lose weight, burn calories, decrease body fat etc. but most of the general population still subscribes to it.  Gyms are still filled with cardio machines and people are still on them reading books and talking about last night’s episode of “Mad Men.”  Some of us get into dead-end conversations with clients and loved ones over the topic and it is enough to run your head into a wall.  It seems like Robert has been in the same positions as we have and that is why he has a ton of references to back up what he does to produce better results.

Within his research Robert found:

  • Steady-state cardio is very inefficient at burning calories
  • The body adapts very quickly to workloads and actually burns less calories for the same amount of work when adaptation occurs

In a study by Tremblay et al. two groups were tested.  Group 1 did 15-weeks of interval style training burning 13,614 calories and Group 2 did 20-weeks of steady state training and burned a total of 28,661 calories.  The overall results show that the interval group had 900% greater subcutaneous fat loss when compared to the steady state group in five less weeks and in less than half the caloric cost.

He concluded that for optimal fat loss, strength training intervals that are anaerobic in nature are best.  These training sessions are characterized by short, high intensity bouts of exercise followed by structured rest periods.

Robert basically states that you can pretty much use any type of training movement in an interval fashion just be cognizant to allow for proper work to rest ratios.  If there is not enough rest allowed then it is not true interval training, you will not be able to push yourself without adequate rest and then the training session basically turns into a steady state training session.

Robert likes approximately five different full body exercises, 20-40second work intervals and varying rest intervals of either positive, (1:2) neutral (1:1) or even negative rest intervals (2:1).   Robert concludes that this type of training suits 99% of people whose main goal is to lose fat, look better and have more energy.

BJ Gaddour: Metabolic Training

BJ Gaddour is known for his boot camp training programs and certification.  He gave the crowd a very complete presentation of his system and included many hands-on demonstrations of the exercises he likes to use with his clients.  To be fair to BJ I had to leave his portion of seminar early to attend a work matter so I cannot give a fair evaluation of his presentation other than he had many different slides outlining his system and exercises that go along with it.


If you want to learn more about BJ and his boot camp system check out his Website.

For only being its first time around, Elite Training Workshop was a huge success giving the audience exactly what they were looking for and more.  The information I received exceeded my expectations and I hope to attend more of these workshops in the future.