It’s Thursday morning after the cert and my forearms are healing. It kinda makes me sad.
Stone loading does quite a number of the soft (virginal, in my case) skin of your forearms. I came home with two three inch long scrapes, badges of honor, that everyone wanted to know about.
“What did you do to your arms?”
I felt like Caine from Kung Fu after he moves the brazier to leave the temple, a dragon and a tiger permanently branded into his forearms. I had a mark that set me apart and spoke of my accomplishments. Oh well, that’s just ego and ego never lasts long.
What’s fortunate is that I carry things from this weekend that will never fade. The camaraderie I spoke of last time is something that’s not going anywhere any time soon. As we return to our lives we might not contact each other as often, immediate priorities come to take precedent, but all it takes is the effort. Send a text, an email, make a phone call and we’re reconnected. A bond has been formed.
The other thing that I carry from this weekend is knowledge. It’s funny, that’s the primary reason we went but it’s taken three blog posts to get to it. And that’s not to diminish its importance either. It’s just that there’s so much to be gained from a cert like this and the unexpected benefits are as notable as the expected.
And as expected, Elliott does not let you down. On Thursday, as I hung out in Elliott’s office, I was struck by all the books. Stacks and stacks of books on all kinds of subjects. Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions under a book on qigong by Yang Jwing Ming. Books on politics, economics, psychiatry, physiology, kinesiology all jumbled together in neat stacks on shelves and on the floor, everyone of them within easy reach, everyone of them well worn and obviously read.
A conversation with Elliott is a wild ride of interconnections. He truly is holistic. It’s not just some cheesy ad word he uses to broaden his audience. With wit and precision he can draw an undeniable link between childhood trauma and why you’re stuck in your dead lift. He understands how all aspects of our lives are connected and can even draw you the map to show you how.
If you’re wondering whether I’m going to go into detail about what was covered in the course, I’m not.
That’s proprietary information and if it’s important to you I suggest you make the next cert.
What I will tell you are the generalities.
If you’ve followed any of Elliott’s Strengthology stuff then you should be aware of “The Four Layers of Strength.”
Physical strength is only the first level. Beyond that lies physiological, psychosomatic and presentable strength. Each layer takes us deeper into ourselves allowing us to first identify and then remove our weaknesses. This not for the faint of heart.
A perfect example of this is a colleague from South Florida, a successful trainer with a growing business, a powerlifter and a strong Type A personality. Frequently this type of guy is a blow hard. He knows what he’s good at and that’s what he focuses on. He’s addicted to his own success and actively avoids failure.
Not this guy. Rarely have I seen someone so committed to improving himself. Every imbalance, every imperfection was noted, cataloged and recorded for future improvement. He was persistent, determined and aggressive, a warrior in every sense of the word. These qualities, usually found frightening in modern society, he aims inward. It’s his own weakness he seeks to destroy.
Outwardly he’s compassionate. He builds up everyone around him, not in the marshmallow soft, New Age way that has become the modern standard but with spine and spirit. In short he’s a leader. One who inspires those around him to greatness—through example.
And it is this quality that is Strengthology. Strengthology builds strength because it requires strength. Strength to look inward, face your fears, identify your weaknesses and then go after them.
After general introductions and the “get to know you” part we had a guest lecturer, a local chiropractor Elliott has been seeing who specialises in C-1 adjustments. C-1 is the very first vertebrae of your spine and it’s what your skull sits on. If it’s “out” it can affect your entire nervous system and consequently all aspects of strength and performance. See? Holistic.
After the lecture we covered some basic assessment techniques to determine if your or your client’s C-1 is out. Not all chiropractors do this type of work, so if you’re interested or want more information go here.
After that we went into the gym and got our hands dirty. Elliott showed us a comprehensive assessment system we could take home and begin using on our clients right away. I have been using it to great effect.
The assessment looks at the client from all angles assessing both structure and movement. Using these protocols we can identify imbalances and spot future problems before they happen.
Not one to send us off half cocked, he then showed us stretches and how to write programs that we could use to alleviate those imbalances and empower our clients to begin correcting them.
As trainers we truly are the front lines of the health care industry. We see clients before they go to the doctor, “Hey Dave, my shoulder hurts when I press overhead. What should I do about it?”
We prescribe the protocols (read exercise) that keeps them out of the doctor’s office in the first place. It only makes sense that we should be more acute in our assessments and empowered in our ability to affect real change.
This is what the first, physical, layer of strength in Strengthology is all about.