It was 1998 when I discovered Paul Chek's Scientific Back Training by accident. I saw his video on squatology advertised and, being a certified, squat training information FREAK at the time I decided to order it and then realized the entire course was available for not much more than the one video. I need the continuining ed credits for my personal training cert anyway.
When I got through the tapes I was another person. I couldnt beleive this one guy could be so smart and answers to so many of the questions I had about my body, my injuries and how best I needed to go about training my clients.
THis was the beginning of the 'functional training' era of PT and I was so happy to found Chek when I did.His corrective exercise approach was light years ahead of everything else I was reading and his understanding of anatomy,physiology,neuromuscular connections, biomechanics and orthopedics and his multi-interdisciplinary approach to getting the best results was mind boggling! Plus he was a total stud athlete who walked his talk to the Nth degree and that always counts big time with me. He was self taught for the most part but brilliant in his passion for finding real answers and totally devoted to the cause. He had scads of time in with clients and really fixing people, making them strong and preventing more injury at the same time. Just what I wanted to do.He was a neuromuscular therapist and worked on bodies all the time and knew just how badly muscles could behave and tweak a person if the root causes werent not found and fixed. His appreciation of Vladimir Janda so early just shows how smart he was.
At the time I was a 'regular' personal trainer, focusing on performance enhancement via bodybuilding, powerlifting,cardiovascular and nutritional techniques. After getting certified by Chek I entered a new realm of training people, one that sought to seek out potential injury sites, balance them out to avoid injury( pre-hab) with corrective exercise program designs as well as heal people's( and my own ) overuse injuries with a combination of stretching, strengthening,soft tissue work and repatterning movements. All focused on the seven functional primal patterns ( squatting,lunging,pushing, pulling ,bending twisting and gait).
I knew that with a knee that would only bend 90 degrees and a sport( powerlifting squatting) that required one bend the hip below 90 degrees that this could cause some orhtopedic problems. I didnt really know how badly I was screwing myself til I saw those tapes. And yet I still ignored it trying hard to fix the imbalances while still loading my badly bent frame waaaay past what any reasonable person would do. Passion is not reason and I have always had more of the former than the latter.
And then in 2000 there was no ignoring it and what Chek had fortold in the tapes had come true for me. My aggregious length tension imbalances torqued my spine until it could stand it no longer and it broke. Years and years of compensations, imbalances, scar tissue and inflammation would all be required to be addressed; full time now and heavy lifting was OUT. Probably forever but definitely for the immeditate present. That's when I discovered that as much as I loved squatting with a barbell I loved walking and working MUCH more. Oh yeah, and NOT being in ridiculous amount of searing pain.
And Chek's methods gave me the blueprint, showed me exactly what I needed to do to square and plumb myself. Which muscles I needed to stretch, which ones I needed to strengthen and how to go about it. Which I did, like I do everything, in total earnest.I watched and read and studied that series until I had it mastered and then I took his High Performance Core conditioning series and his Advanced Swiss Ball Methods for rehab course. All excellent but none so much as that first Scientfic Back training course. ANd an approach I still use to this day and one that is paying off big time for me.
Had I used my brain and stopped squatting and deadlifting so heavy earlier it would have been much better but hey, what can I say ;0))
They informed my methods and my approach with my clients and are very much responsible for me getting so many people's backs, shoulders and knees better and avoiding surgery.Or being able to come bask ASAP after surgery. Also, being able to trouble shoot potential problem areas ahead of time with his basic CROM assesments and using the same length/tension balancing approach to keep people as square and plumb as possible.
Watching him speak so articulately and deeply about his subject impressed me as it did in 1998. The guy is sharp.And the info holds up very well.I know his soft tissue approach has made a world of difference for me and my clients. The idea of using soft tissue modalities to releive trigger points which would postively affect length /tension force couples in the body is very cool.
more than one way to open up a tight flexor or faciliated muscle.
The introduction of the kb as the exercise tool of choice to utilize all those primal patterns(almost all at once) was the next step in my physical evolution and healing. THe more i used the single kettlebell movements as the cornerstone of my movement patterns the more the body 'reorganized itself' in a natural way that doing isolated movements,with bodybuilding type methods never could.
Not to say that they weren't ( aren't ) needed. One needs isolation sometime,especially post injury or surgery. But isolation ( as Chek states too) need to transition into integration or it stagnates ones progress. IMO the KB is a superior tool for the average person( or the previously injured person) to transition to as opposed to barbells or dbs. They would be next after kb work ,imo.
Back to the video series, I still have a lot of remembering to do.