Monday, December 21, 2009


Mike Boyle has a great post up on his blog!

Be Safe

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

M.E.L.T. Method

I took a class recently called M.E.L.T., which stands for Myofascial Energetic Lengthening Technique, and it is the brain child of Sue Hitzmann, and exercise physiologist from NYC.

Here's a description taken from Sue's site..."The M.E.L.T. Method® (MELT) is a revolutionary approach to pain-free longevity that helps you stay healthy, youthful, and active for a lifetime. This patent-pending, pro-active self-treatment technique is backed by science and acclaimed by thousands of devoted MELTers."

"New research has revealed the missing link to pain-free living: a balanced nervous system and healthy connective tissue. These two components work together to provide whole-body support, protection, and mind-body communication. Exercise physiologist and connective tissue specialist Sue Hitzmann has transformed groundbreaking neurofascial science and hands-on therapies into a one-of-a-kind treatment method called MELT."

One of my secret weapons when developing athletes for Division 1 college football programs and the NFL has been working on the fascia system as part of the living matrix.

So what can M.E.L.T. do for you? Well the techniques "hydrate and lengthen connective tissue, re-balance the nervous system, promote healing and detoxification, decompress the neck and low back, improve core stability, mobilize joints, stimulate organ function, increase flexibility." Can you use any of those. Umm...yeah!

Here's a link to Sue's site. I HIGHLY recommend buying the Hand and Foot treatment kit. It will make a HUGE difference in making you feel better on a daily basis.

Be Safe

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bench Pressing

Dave Tate from Elite FTS put up a great article on his site about effective spotting, after USC running back Stafon Johnson who was lifting in the USC weightroom, apparently lost control of the bar while doing a bench press( he was being spotted at the time). It landed on his neck and he was reportedly spitting up blood. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where surgery was soon performed.

I've had the pleasure of being a strength coach for many years,have spotted thousands of athletes, but I've never heard of such a serious accident. It's certainly not common, and let's hope we don't hear of it again.

Goodluck Stafon...FIGHT ON!

Be Safe and be Careful

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Acelerated Muscular Development

Smitty from Diesel Crew has come out with what I think is an awesome workout program for firefighters. (I own most of the Diesel products along with this one)

Smitty has an exceptionally well put together program with TREMENDOUS value!

The Accelerated Muscle Development Program!

The program is a 16-week muscle building system developed by bodybuilder and strength coach Jim “Smitty” Smith. It's actually 3 E-Books, Accelerated Muscular Development, Combat Core and Accelerated Corrective Strategies.

The Corrective Strategies Manual that comes with the program is alone worth the price of the entire product. Add all the BONUSES and you have a program you'd be crazy not to invest in.

I don't know any other program out there that puts an emphasis on the importance of posture, which goes right along with my idea of program design.Posture correction should be a very important part of the workout simply because most individuals (including firefighters) are beat up and many have had or are dealing with some kind of injury due to compensations that weaken tissue and affect posture.

I absolutely loved the ,"Quick Reference Guide", which includes a section titled,"What do I do Next? I want to get started NOW!...Brilliant!!!

Personally I like to cut through the BS and get to work. Smitty obviously understands the concept and is probably of the same mentality so...he gives it to you straight.You're able to open the e-book and get started immediately...though I would recommend that once you get to the meat and potatoes that you go back and take the time to read everything in order to get the best out of the program.

If you've read this blog at all you know that I don't endorse SHIT products. My integrity is very important to me and if I tell you I use or recommend a particular product it's simply because I use it or believe that it has value to you the firefighter.

This is one of those products!

Be Safe

Friday, June 5, 2009

Changes II

ADAPT athlete dynamic warm up

Egoscue Postural Correction Routine
-Gravity Drop
-Static Wall
-Sitting Floor
-Static Back

Prone Y’T’s & W’s/ Glute Bridge, Alternating Front Plank

1 Lower Body Exercise
1 Upper Body Exercise
1 Core

Energy Systems Training ( using 1:3 Intervals)

Foam Roll./ Static Stretch

That's it. It takes care of all your training needs and doesn't burn out your adrenals. The job is stressful enough.

Be Safe!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Building the Firefighter from the Ground Up

Here are Vern Gambetta’s ideas on how to build the athlete from the ground up. I simply substituted the word firefighter for athlete.

No one system is emphasized to the exclusion of another.
No one method or physical quality becomes an end unto itself.
Each firefighter is a case study of one.
Be real – Avoid artificial restraints and positions.

# 1 Have a road map - Start with a plan, execute it, and evaluate it
# 2 Think big picture – Understand the movement constants
# 3 Learn to use the ground efficiently - Start with gait
# 4 Fundamental movement skills must be mastered before specific firefighting skills can be acquired and advanced training undertaken
# 5 Train Linkage - Train toenails to fingernails
# 6 Train the core as the center of the action
# 7 Build a work capacity base appropriate for your job
# 8 Train sport-appropriate - You are what you train to be
# 9 Think Long-Term - Training is cumulative
# 10 The individual firefighter is the focus - Recognize, train and rehab the individual

Be Safe

Friday, May 1, 2009


I spent the week in Seminole County Florida teaching the IAFF’s Peer Fitness Trainer Class. I always love going to teach in Central Florida. The firefighters are great and there is no better hospitality anywhere for us as instructors…something I appreciate very much…Thank You!

It was a lot of fun trying to deliver some information that will hopefully make a difference to them. The conventional way of thinking is difficult to break…the firefighter conventional way of thinking is almost impossible to change but this group I sense is different and was ready for information not regularly presented to the average firefighter. They’ll be years ahead of their peers when it comes to training information, which in the end will give them the tools to survive.

It's always a pleasure to teach with my buddy from Fairfax County Fire Dept, Ron Gemsheim, and one of the reasons I chose this class.

Thanks to the guys and gals from South Trail, Longwood, Sanford, Seminole County, Orlando, Midway Fire District, Deltona, Kent Washington and Central Jackson County Fire In Blue Springs Missouri.

Everyone is taking the final test as I write this and we’re hoping for a 100% pass rate.

Good luck guys… keep in touch and talk to you soon.

Time to go home after a quick detour and get on my surfboard.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009


If you’ve been training for any amount of time you know that the typical firefighters workout goes something like this. Ten minutes of a warm up on the treadmill, and an hour workout with the weights, followed by “cardio” either after the workout or more likely on a day off.

If you are to survive the battle with the red devil and the many injuries that can occur as a result, your idea of “training” has to change. Start thinking longevity, and injury prevention instead of hypertrophy.

To survive and ensure your longevity you’re going to have to change and reinvent your training.

Here are the components you must have in your program as a firefighter.

* Mobility/Movement Preparation/Injury Prevention: Isolate, innervate and intergrate muscles and movements.

* Corrective Exercise: I like to use corrective exercise for firefighters because if you talk to any firefighter they’ve suffered some kind of injury on the job. I also like to use postural realignment here.

* SPE (speed, power and elasticity): Yes firefighters need all these.

* Core Training: Firefighter core training is about learning how to stabilize and not about getting a six pac.

* Resistance Training: This is an important component but must be complimented by the other important parts of a program. You need to focus on the job function using the whole kinetic chain.

* Energy Systems Training: The ability to do higher levels of work on the fire ground without fatiguing.

*Regeneration: How many firefighters pencil in recovery and regeneration into their program design? NONE! If you have a training strategy - you also need a recovery and regeneration strategy period. The job too demanding to think it’s going to take care of itself.

Next time I’ll give you a sample workout.

Be Safe

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Strength & Power

Strength and Power Sessions for firefighters is simple.

Once in the weight room it is important to understand that it is not strength to support strength, but strength to support movement.

We need to train at the speeds, loads, and movements
pertinent to the firefighter job.

Be Safe

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why ?

Why are you following a particular program or workout?

Does it follow a "system"?

Does it have an injury prevention component built in?

What kind of flexibility program are you following? Are you even following a flexibility program?

Are you doing energy systems work?

Are you still on the same hypertrophy program you were in High School?

Are you doing any restorative exercise?

Why are you doing what you are doing? If you're not sure it's time to start looking at your program design.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Things I Use and Like.

TRX Suspension Training System.

Probably one of the best Firefighting conditioning tools available.

Easy to setup anywhere (mine travels with me when I head out of town), it's cheap, and gives a great workout!

Be Safe

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Last Piece

After six weeks I was pain free but at the end of the day, I usually felt like a pretzel, and many times woke up feeling unrested and stiff.

One day I was in a Dr.’s office and picked a Natural Solutions magazine while waiting. There was an interesting article titled,” The Ultimate Workout”, by Katy Santiago. Katy is a trained biomechanist, who developed Restorative Exercise™, a science-based system of diagnostic and prescriptive exercises, designed for the realization of optimal wellness.

I summarily dismissed the workout as a new age namby pamby workout. I didn’t read it at first but my wait time increased and so I decided to read the whole article. When I finished I was surprised that it was so similar to my philosophy of the body and exercise.

According to Katy, the routine helps undo, in just minutes a day, the most common (unhealthy) posture habits and increases circulation and mobility to muscle systems not regularly used to keep optimal range of motion”... just what I needed.

I performed the routine at the end of the day, and found that I slept better. It’s like it erased all of my postural problems before bed.

I enjoyed her routine so much I ordered her DVD programs,(order her Restorative Exercise Institute-In-A-Box)based on her Restorative Exercise system. I HIGHLY recommend it. I found her foot and spinal alignment program to be one of the best DVD’s I had seen that dealt with corrective exercise.

So that’s it in a nutshell. Although my pain was at the neck, my real problem was that my hips were out of alignment. In fact one hip was higher than the other, throwing the whole kinetic chain out of sync. Once that began to correct itself with the postural exercise and the subsequent stretching and strengthening of the facial tissue the last piece was doing some restorative exercise which ironed everything out.

I continue to follow the program. For me it’s a habit now and it has actually changed the way I approach the athletes and people I train. Treating the whole body starting with spinal and postural assessments, correcting any dysfunctions and then and only then loading them vertically and horiziontally for performance and life.

THANK YOU Pete Egoscue, THANK YOU Ming Chew, and THANK YOU Katy Santiago.

Be Safe and KEEP MOVING!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Fix

I developed severe neck pain from having a forward head posture, but the truth is that my hips were misaligned throwing off my whole skeletal system and THAT’S what the problem was. The source of the pain and the site of the pain were different and as a result I also started to have problems with my left shoulder. Once the hip jams in an up or down position the shoulder has to react. The neck pain was simply a symptom.

“How did you get that way”. My bout with Chronic Fatigue certainly had something to do with it, as my movement was reduced...and the body needs movement. Sitting too much and lack of overall movement creates a situation in the body where some muscles become weak and others tight.

"Some schools of Chinese medicine…refer to the shoulder and hip joints as the Four Knots and where there is an imbalance of tension or strength in any of the Four Knots problems…can occur…" according to Dr. Mark Cheng of

I started to tackle the problem by picking up Pete Egoscue’s, “Pain Free” book. The Egoscue Method is a unique and very effective program designed to treat musculoskeletal pain without drugs, surgery, or manipulation. It is a process, which involves a series of stretches and gentle “egoscuecises” designed specifically for each individual.

The process strengthens specific muscles and brings the body back to its proper alignment. It allows the body to function the way it was designed—pain free. I incorporated his exercises for neck pain, which primarily dealt with realigning the problem.

Seven days after starting the exercises my pain diminished by about 40%. Four weeks later I was 80% pain free, and six weeks later I was pain free...PAIN FREE!!!

If you would have told me that by doing some fairly simple exercises my battle with neck pain could be relieved, I would have thought you were absolutely crazy.

I also incorporated some other things like, increased H20, systemic enzymes, and facial stretching to the mix from Ming Chew’s, “Permanent Pain Cure”, along with using multiple types of "toys" for myofacial release which helped with tissue remodeling and pain.

If your tissue isn’t healthy and your body is out of alignment doing any strength training isn't a good idea. If you load the body vertically, it will just add to the dysfunction making things worse. So I stopped any strength training and waited the required 10 days per the Ming method.

After 10 days I incorporated Ming’s Strength program, which is meant to lock in the gains made from the facial stretching. It also targets fast twitch fibers along with helping correct lower and upper cross syndromes.

I’ll tell you next time about the final piece of the puzzle.

Be Safe

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Problem

So how did I end up such a mess and in so much pain.

For a while now I’ve noticed I’ve had postural issues. I primarily had a problem with a forward head posture.

It wasn't a painful condition in the beginning because the body is wonderful at adaptation, and compensates. Your head normally weighs about 10lbs. If you have a forward head posture you essentially carry a 20-30 lb weight depending on how forward your head is from the spine. Mine was pretty forward so I was carrying around about 30 lb bowling ball on my neck.

For me it developed into a position of comfort. The problem is that in compensating, some muscles get tight while others get weak. When it gets real bad, it throws the whole skeletal system out of alignment and your biomechanics suffer.

Your joint force increases putting an extraordinary amount of stress on the joints, tissues, even the amount of oxygen your system can take in. If your body is constantly fighting gravity and having to deal with all these issues you can start to develop chronic fatigue which I was also having.

My alignment was so off I was actually having balance issues and was suffering form dizziness.

This all took time and I didn’t develop it overnight.

I’m a firm believer that you and you alone are responsible for your health, which meant it was up to me to try and find the answer.

Since my background is rooted in science, and I live a holistic lifestyle, that’s where I returned to develop the plan that got me pain free.

I’ll tell you about it next time.

Be Safe

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Thanks for all the e-mails asking me to return to blogging. It wasn't that I just got tired, found a new hobby etc.

For the past year I've been suffering from terrible and horrific neck pain. So bad that the quality of my life was severely affected. I became in essence a chronic pain patient.

When you wake up wondering how you're going to get by the rest of the sucks.I had severe pain EVERYDAY for about 13 months. Some days worse than others.

I saw Dr.s, Chriopractors, got x-rays , MRI's, Cat Scans, tried hundreds of different treatments and did everything you could think of with the exception of drinking cat piss...and I would have gladly done so if it would have taken the pain away.

A lovely aspect of the neck pain was the massive migraine like headaches I was getting. No medication seemed to help and when something took the edge off the side effects were just as bad as the pain.

I'll tell you this week what the problem was and then how I got rid of the pain.

Be Safe

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Boyz From The 5th Battalion

Visit and get some real cool apparel.