Athletic development specialists dedicated to the art and science of excellence in movement

Notes from 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Arizona State Clinic: Part I

Last weekend we attended the annual National Strength and Conditioning Association Arizona State Clinic in Phoenix.  As with last year, host Nick Winkelman brought an amazing speaker lineup for a variety of topics.  This post is the first of two installments, with the information below covering the morning session.  Stay tuned for Part II.

For a review of last year's clinic please go to Part IPart II, and Part III

Alwyn Cosgrove: Training the Executive Athlete

*(side note: Alwyn's wife Rachel was on my team at RKC San Diego)

*Importance of mindset…two stories

  • Two shoe salesman in area where no one wears shoes.  One is worried because no one wears shoes.  One sees opportunity because no one wears shoes!
  • Open new gym in area where there are lot of gyms (= afraid because everyone has done it) OR in area with no gyms (= afraid because no one has done it)…All about mindset

*Mindset requires daily practice…like showering

*“My team!” not “my staff”

*Calls himself the weakest trainer at Results Fitness

*“Investing in yourself always pays the best interest” - Ben Franklin

*If you are a coach/trainer and don’t pay someone to coach you, it means you don’t believe in what you are selling

*Keys about executive athlete – At some point loses motivation through general fitness or weight loss.  Need accomplishment goals.  Most worked out whole life and were former athletes (no matter how long ago)

*Eastern European countries have phase-out programs for high level athletes…that doesn’t exist in USA (see, ESPN special on bankrupt athletes)

*Flaw in coaching model – Lose clients if you help them achieve goal (what’s next???)

*Martial arts belt system – creates motivation

*5-10ks, sprint triathlons (“get to cross finish line 3x”), mud runs (“Badass”) – ways to create motivation in executive athlete during their time crunched lives

*Seeking built in social support – join as individuals but become friends

*People are arriving in worse shape than they used to – average FMS score in 2000 (~13 to 15) .  Now under 10 (yes, the FMS has been around for even longer than that….)

*Trainers are competing with P90x…goal oriented and low time commitment

*“If you don’t know where you want to go, where you are, and how long you have to go, it really does not matter what you want to do” Alice in Wonderland

*With new clients, stimulus of learning new exercise is sufficient

*Trainer who lacks confidence in stage 1 will crush clients just to keep them interested

*“0” on FMS – outside “my swim lane” ---pain could be cancer

*FMS scoring – how Results Fitness does it…

  • 1 – soft tissue work needed
  • 2- corrective exercise
  • 3 – cleared to overload

Components of executive athlete training session

  1. Range of motion, activation, movement prep
  2. Core
  3. Power and athleticism
  4. Strength
  5. Resistance training
  6. Metabolic training

*Core training

  • goal is to control core when extremities are moving
  • loaded carries are the part most people are missing

*Suspension training = death of the stability ball

*Why train power and athleticism in general population = People fall at full speed!!!

*When there is a power demand there is improvement in cardio

*Deadlift is only exercise you load before getting full range

*Choose incline pushup, not girl pushup, for those who can’t do regular

*Need exercise progressions…otherwise client will just figure out to buy heavier weights

*If you as a trainer crush someone’s legs in a workout and they can’t walk upstairs, their life has gotten worse because you are in it!!!

*Everyone likes that sore feeling at first but it is not sustainable!

*Self limiting exercises = exercises with built in spell check and abort system; Takes the focus off reps and onto perfect form

*Never too late to turn things around dramatically!!! Don’t ignore the evidence!  


Chris Frankel: Functional Conditioning...Energy System Training

*No one understands energy systems very well

*People look for things that validate their positions or they draw the wrong conclusions

*Force production and endurance operate on continuum.  Not mutually exclusive

*All heart rates not created equal

  • Occluded flow (heavy carries) versus pulsative flow (Endurance work)

*FMS = best thing for movement.  If you don’t have movement then all other things go to waste.

*Sometimes FMS score is OK, but you still need to change behaviors

*Flexibility, speed, strength, accuracy, adaptability, endurance

*Do they finish the workout by default or design!!???

*Don’t want to crush every workout

*Condition within specific movement domain while maintaining or improving patterns

*Perception/RPE – Driven by central nervous system (critical temperature); respiratory perception

*It’s ALL metabolic – Managing fatigue, prevent reduction in output

*Simplest solutions are often the cleverest but are often wrong!

*Chemistry before physics

*Very few movements take place in actual planes

*Active straight leg raise – not a hamstring stretch (pelvic stability, hip disassociation)

*Continuum of aerobic and anaerobic – will not hit max aerobic uptake unless you hit anaerobic metabolism

*Capacity = when am I out of anaerobic pathways?

*As diaphragm fatigues it sends message to CNS to occlude blood flow

*The more you can elevate aerobic contribution, the more we can improve anaerobic performance

*Pendulum is swinging back to recognize value of aerobic work (moving away from HIIT)

*If someone moves badly, don’t do a lot of reps

*Train the chassis and the engine simultaneously

*Value of skipping  - amazing how many people can’t skip (see, The Value of Skipping as a Locomotor Development and Assessment Tool and Case Study)

*Backward skipping – teaches soft landing and hard takeoff

Long term development...

  • Rate of gain is related to gain duration.
  • Final performance is inversely related to rate of gain (improve drastically at start, but long term performance suffers)
  • Length of max performance is inversely related to rate of gain (slower gains at start yields better long term performance)

Amanda Carlson-Phillips and Danielle Lafata: Modern Diet Trends: A Review of the Evidence

*Is what’s modern really so modern?  Many diet trends repeat themselves under different names

*Diet – Manner of living or to lead one’s life (Sanscrit definition)

*Can we get to the point of focusing on diet for health, vitality, energy, performance, and reducing inflammation?

*Primates diet – started as plant based but added more calories with hunting

*Take good principles from each diets…

*Paleo – based on optimal foraging theory

  • Gets people to question; we were eating like this till mid 40s
  • “If you can shoot it and eat it, it will be good for you.”

*Paleo for athletes
-helps them eat more cleanly
-but do they have enough fuel on paleo? No
-need to add carbs for longer duration activity

Stage I – pre workout; non-Paleo foods OK
Stage II – during exercise – high GI carbs OK
Stage III – after exercise – CHO/protein ratio 4.5-5:1
Stage IV – 4-5:1 CHO/protein ratio (might be too high for non-endurance athlete)
Stage V – normal Paleo

*Women preserve muscle mass better on high protein diet

*High fat diet - Not all fats created equal

*Fueling movement versus restricting foods

*Too low CHO – impair recovery, inflammation, lower muscle glycogen, elevated cortisol

Intermittent fasting

  • Somewhat natural
  • Part of many religions
  • Many types
  • Common theme – shrink eating window, expand fasting window; minimize chances to cheat
  • Be careful what you eat on nonfasting days
  • Is it practical?  No doubt that IF can work, but is it worth the cost? (Missing meals with other people?)
  • Judo study – no loss of performance but impaired recovery (implications for how IF can be periodized into training plan)
  • Alternate day fasting – facilitates adherence; cardiac health improved
  • Overall – lacking definitive research on IF but the current evidence is compelling
  • Effect of fasting on brain’s reward system – Reward system drives us to high sugar foods.  Hard for people to resist high sugar foods when in fasted state

*Summary – get us to look at diet for what it is…hydration, mind/body connection, portions, macornutrients matter, restore balance, clean it up, come back to earth to fuel your needs

*What works for you may not work for your client

*Coming in future – effect of genetics on food needs

*Are we dieters or eaters?

*Some people see food as a hobby – Like to try new diets just to try them

*But why do we have to put a label/title on everything?  Keep the big picture!




Many thanks for posting your notes from Alwyn Cosgrove's talk. The workshop in NJ sold out, and there's no other way to get the info. I sincerely appreciate this, and there are, no doubt, others as well.

Best Regards,
Marc Andresen, RKC

Alwyn C.

Glad you found it helpful, Mark.  

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.