The Top 5 Strength and Conditioning Coach Instagram Accounts to Follow NOW

Social media has many downsides…but a huge upside is that it’s easy to get exposed to all sorts of new ideas.  We eagerly and avidly look for strength coaches all over the world to learn from. We’ll explore lots of channels but Instagram is probably the easiest medium to use when searching for new content.  We decided to make a list and highlight a few people who are doing an awesome job and worthy of your follow.

What we considered when making our list –

  • Actual experience in the field programming and coaching athletes or reviewing and creating research related to strength and conditioning.
  • Someone who has a specific athlete population that they work with, but it’s obvious their programs and techniques would crossover to other athlete types.
  • Fitness models are not strength and conditioning coaches. They are not on our list.
  • We appreciate creativity, but not gimmicks, when it come to exercise creation and selection.
  • While we love when a coach is someone who is keeping him or herself fit…we put more stock in coaches who consistently get OTHER people to perform better, improve their fitness and become more resilient.

This is not a ranking of best to worst, just our top five. So, without further adieu, here is the Movement Guides Top Strength and Conditioning Coach Accounts to Follow in 2019:

  1. Michael Drach Training – I freaking love Michael Drach’s feed. Just about every time he posts something I’m like, “dammit, why didn’t I think of that?!!” His videos are mostly of athletes performing extremely explosive movements with before and after video illustrating the effectiveness of his techniques. He’s even created a new plyo movement called the Drach Jump. Used to improve rate of force development it’s a movement you’ve got to try. If you’re looking for some awesome ideas to improve speed, power and plyometric abilities you MUST follow this guy: https://www.instagram.com/michaeldrachtraining/
  2. Eric Cressey – Unless you’ve been living in a hole, you probably already know about Eric Cressey. If you don’t already follow Eric, slap yourself and then hit the follow button on his account. Eric is a strength coach who is better at physical therapy than physical therapists. He is the most prominent strength coach in the world of baseball, but his posts and teachings are applicable to just about any athlete or provider who deals with athletes. We especially love his take on the athletic development of young athletes. He is not afraid to call out the ridiculous youth sports culture that has taken over the United States. If you believe kids should be playing the same sport year round and spending thousands of dollars going to “showcases” give Eric a follow so he can educate you. https://www.instagram.com/ericcressey/
  3. The “Glute Guy”, Bret Contreras – Did you know there is a guy making a healthy living off of teaching beautiful women how to improve their back sides? Well there is. His name is Bret Contreras and before you scoff, the dude has a PhD and is the successful inventor of The Hip Thruster. Bret has produced some remarkable research and he posts really interesting and applicable training related charts and training methodologies. We love that he treats himself as a lab rat. Also, it’s pretty much impossible to disagree with anything he posts as it’s all evidence based and practicable for real world implementation. Is his feed filled with gorgeous women in bikinis? Yes, but don’t make that the reason you do or don’t follow him. It’s also full of some of the most well informed training advice on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bretcontreras1/
  4. Chris Beardsley – If you are ever super curious about a specific strength and conditioning topic and want to know what the research says, follow Chris. Chris writes the most in depth, robust literature reviews on all things S&C that we’ve found. His website www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com is where all of his work is available and it is mind boggling. I go here often when I want to feel small and unintelligent. You should feel good that people like Chris exist to make sense of complicated and often contradicting research. If you are a coach, therapist, trainer or anyone who prescribes or programs exercise for other people, this feed and his website should be referred to frequently. https://www.instagram.com/chrisabeardsley/
  5. Fearless Miranda, Miranda Alcaraz – Miranda and her husband have created the online fitness community Street Parking. It’s gaining traction as a reputable fitness program for those who mostly workout or train at home. Miranda is an incredible athlete and cut her coaching teeth in the CrossFit world. Now, Miranda has evolved away from CrossFit with her Street Parking business. She is inspirational to women (and men) around the world as she practices what she preaches, offering up motivation as well as sound general preparedness programming. My wife follows this program and I join in from time to time. I’ve found their programming fun and challenging. So, if you’re looking for a new home workout program check out www.streetparking.com and follow Miranda on instagram. https://www.instagram.com/fearlessmiranda/

We hope you take the time to follow these impressive coaches (and us, follow Movement Guides too!). Also,check out our other blog where we list the Top Physical Therapy Instagram Accounts to follow in 2019.

Thanks for reading!

Kyle Sela, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Co-Founder

Movement Guides, Inc.


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The Top 5 Physical Therapy Instagram Accounts to Follow in 2019


Movement Guides Top 5 Physical Therapy Instagram Accounts to Follow in 2019

People ask us all of the time, “who do you recommend I follow online for legit physical therapy content?”  This got us thinking that maybe putting a list together would be helpful.

Here are the best physical therapy Instagram accounts to follow in 2019.  A few things we took into consideration:

  • We put a ton of weight into actual experience in the field through both practice and research
  • Our list definitely has a sports medicine and sports performance bend to it. Physical therapy is a very broad field but both our followers and us are very interested in performance and fitness so our list reflects that.
  • We do not care much about how many followers someone has and no points are given for posting crazy, random exercises that no one is going to do.

Don’t read as a ranking of best to worst, just our top five. So, without further adieu, here is the Movement Guides Top Physical Therapy Accounts to Follow in 2019:

  1. Achieve Fitness Boston – These guys create some of the best fitness and movement related graphics we’ve seen.  Lauren and Jason Pak are the brains and brawn behind the posts as they are the creators and models in the the posts. They identify common flaws that most people make in the gym and give simple, easy to follow solutions with corrective exercises and appropriate progressions and regressions. Give them a follow on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/achievefitnessboston/
  2. The Barbell Physio – Zach Long is the Barbell Physio. He is an unbiased, influential leader in the performance physical therapy space who is able to express his opinions in a straight forward and humble way. He teams up with some of the best minds in the business and actually practices what he preaches. It’s been especially interesting in the past year to watch Zach transform his own body and fitness level to better mach his online namesake. As someone who has been using and speaking about hollow body progressions for core training since 2013, I especially love when Zach includes Pamela Gnon (@pamelagnon) into his posts. She is an incredible gymnastics coach and the two of them demonstrate amazing ways to improve core control and strength. Zach can be found teaching courses around the country on a variety of topics and you can also get a ton of great educational materials from his www.thebarbellphysio.com website. Follow Zach Long on instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/thebarbellphysio/
  3. Mobility WOD – The OG of online physical therapy advice, Kelly Starrett continues to put out great content year after year. Mobility WOD is still very relevant. He doesn’t know it but Kelly was a MAJOR influence on my post DPT school continuing education and likely a major influence for everyone on this list. He was really the first physical therapist to reach online global prominence by teaching people how to take care of their own bodies while simultaneously beating themselves up with CrossFit and other athletic endeavors. He is an accomplished author (Becoming a Supple Leopard and Deskbound) and got everyone in the fitness world to think like a PT. Test, attempt to make a change, then re-test. He is the reason you see people smashing their glutes on lacrosse balls and using monster bands around their hips and shoulders. Check out the instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/mobilitywod/ or just go straight mobilitywod.com to get all of Kelly’s great content and ideas for self preservation.
  4. Michael Reiman, PhD – Michael Reiman is well known in the physical therapy world. He is a renowned Physical therapist and researcher out of Duke University and lucky for all of us he is starting to get active on social media. Dr. Reiman is a PhD, physical therapist, manual therapy fellow, athletic trainer and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.  He doesn’t have a big following yet, but you’ll notice that his growing list of followers includes some of the most prominent and popular accounts in performance training and therapy. I’ve really been enjoying his summation of research articles that are coming out. He is keeping people current on what is being published but has the history in the field to give it all perspective. So, if you want to follow someone who is actually producing much of the research we all talk about add this account to your list of follows: https://www.instagram.com/michaelreiman/
  5. Chris Butler, MPT, CSCS – Chris’s posts are legit. He takes on common injuries and rehab processes and gives evidence based guidelines on how to tackle them. His posts have a consistent look and feel which makes following along easy and you know what to expect.  Chris works with quite the variety of athletes and you’ll see that he finds simple ways to challenge even the most elite and fit. Realistic, practical, evidence based all while being cutting edge. Follow Chris at: https://www.instagram.com/cbutlersportspt/

We hope you take the time to follow these impressive therapists (and us! You should follow Movement Guides too!) and check out our list of the top strength coaches to follow right now.

Happy New Year!!

Kyle Sela, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

C0-Founder

 Movement Guides, Inc.

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The Shoulder Rules – 2 Simple Concepts to Keep you Pain Free and Reaching New Performance Heights

The Shoulder is Complicated and training it is often Painful

The shoulder girdle.  It’s complicated:  3 true joints, 1 muscular joint, little inherent stability, much inherent mobility all mixed together with over one billion (I counted) exercises. A perfect storm is the result leading to pain, injury, confusion and frustration for a whole bunch of people who just want to train, work out and perform better.
If you have current shoulder issues, want to prevent future problems or break through a training plateau, I want to lay out two simple concepts that can help you with your strength training.  The concepts are simple, but the execution is not.  I treat some extremely fit and athletic people and most of them struggle with one or both of these rules…especially when you add fatigue or heavy loads into the picture.
FYI: shoulder blade = scapula

The Shoulder Rules:

  1. When your elbow is near or moving towards your body, bring your shoulder blade back and down into the “set” position. (think Big, Open chest)
  2. As your elbow moves out away from your body, provide the force from your shoulder to externally rotate it.

If you are able to do just these two things with any strength lift, body-weight movement, catch or sustained position, you will likely stay healthy, perform better and decrease any current shoulder pain with your lifts.

Now let’s dig in deep to each rule.

  • Rule 1. When your elbow is near or moving towards your body, bring your shoulder blade back and down into the “set” position.

The elbow is the best indicator of where your shoulder is positioned.  The higher the elbow is, the more the shoulder has elevated.  The more the point of your elbow is out to the side (pointed laterally) the more the shoulder is internally rotated, etc.  So, as the rule states, when you are performing a movement and your elbow is near your side you need to bring your shoulder blade back and down.

In the sports medicine and strength and conditioning worlds, this scapular position is often called the “set” position.  The idea here is that we need to place the shoulder in an optimal position so that we don’t put too much stress on any one part of the shoulder and that our muscles and joints are in the optimal place to perform.   What typically happens with inexperience, mobility issues or poor control is that as the elbows move towards the body (i.e. top of the pull up or bottom of the push up) the shoulder blades tip forward as well as up towards the ears putting a great amount of stress and strain on the front and top of the shoulder.  This is bad.

Picture yourself at the bottom of your push-up position; your shoulders should be pulled back away from the ground and also down away from your ears.  This is good.  Same goes with the pull up. As you near the top of your pull up, the elbows are coming towards your side, so your shoulder blades need to be pulled back and down.  Get it?

  • Rule 2. As your elbow moves out away from your body, provide the force from your shoulder to externally rotate it.

This rule deals with what muscles you want to be activating while your elbow moves away from your body and then being able to sustain that shoulder position under the load.  This will happen while pressing the bar away in a bench press or overhead press.  It could also be while you lower yourself during the pull-up, press yourself up during push-ups or while sustaining an overhead barbell or dumbbell position. To imagine this in another way, if you were holding a dumbbell, as you pressed away from your body the thumb would rotate out to the side and your palm would face you.  There are a couple reasons why this is important and advantageous.

1. This can help avoid the onset of or decrease shoulder pain.  There is not a lot of space between the ball and socket shoulder joint and the hard protective shelf above it, called your acromion process.  By externally rotating your shoulder during overhead movements, you maintain more space between these structures which decreases the pinching of the soft tissues in this space.  That pinching is often called “impingement” and can be the cause of that all too common, non-traumatic shoulder pain.  (want to improve your shoulder mobility to prevent and treat impingement? Check out this self myofascial release tool)

2. This creates a more stable shoulder. The external rotation will take out the slack of the connective tissue at the joint capsule increasing the static stability.  The external rotation of the humerus (long bone of the arm) also facilitates an improved socket position by aiding in upward rotation of the scapula (shoulder blade).  This also improves stability by turning your shoulder socket into a backstop for the ball of your joint to rest on when pressing or sustaining loads above shoulder height.

This concept is much easier to learn and apply when dealing with “open chain” exercises, so I recommend that these types of movements be used first when learning proper form.  “Open chain” exercises allow your hands to move freely and independently so the applied rotational force will cause rotation of the shoulders and of your hands which is easier to see and feel.  For instance, a vertical press with dumbbells will be easier than with the barbell.  This will also force the shoulders to work independently and help identify and correct any strength or mobility imbalances.

In Summary

These shoulder rules sound pretty easy to follow. However, they are often very challenging if you lack mobility, control or if you throw fatigue and heavy loads into the picture.  You can probably think of a movement or exercise that this may not apply to, but for most strength and body weight movements these two rules will keep you safe, help break through plateaus and decrease pain.  Remember, retooling a movement may result in a temporary decrease in performance but in the long run performing movements the right way will always get you closer to your genetic potential.

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Lunge. Like. This.

​There are enough articles about performing the squat form to fill the library of congress.  Why? Well, the squat is a highly technical move that many people struggle with.  As humans we are capable of moving extremely heavy loads into very deep positions with the squat and given how different our builds and abilities are there is a lot to write about and consider.

The lunge, however, is another technical movement that is performed commonly in most strength and conditioning programs. And rightly so, this movement is similar to many things we do every day in life and sport.  Performing it with safe and efficient form while improving strength with this movement will have a ton of carry over into the things in life you want to do well.  There are few articles about the lunge and how to do it well so let’s dive in.

Lunging is more difficult than the squat in some respects but easier in others.  Knowing how the movements differ from a stimulus standpoint can help you understand when and how to program lunges more effectively and why the body responds differently during recovery.  This knowledge can also help select or avoid a movement when rehabbing from an injury.
How lunges are more difficult than squats:

  • The split stance of the lunge puts the rear leg in a less powerful position than the front leg so the potential to lift larger loads is diminished compared to squatting.  The lunge emphasizes single leg strength to a greater extent than squatting.
  • The shape and size of the base of support created by the split stance demands more lateral balance than the squat.  When was the last time you saw someone fall to the side when squatting?
  • If doing a lunge that requires stepping forward (as opposed to a drop step or static lunge) momentum is likely to shift weight to the forefoot of the stepping leg causing the heel to elevate and the knee to travel too far forward.  This puts increased pressure through the patella (knee cap) often causing pain. This weight in the forefoot with heel elevated position takes the hamstrings out of the picture putting increased demand on the quadriceps with less “help” from the hamstrings.
  • There is increased demand on the hamstrings if done correctly.  At the bottom of the lunge the front foot should not be anywhere near the glutes.  This means there is likely not more than 90 degrees of knee flexion which keeps more tension in the hamstrings throughout the movement. At the bottom of the squat the knees are usually bent much more than 90 degrees if moving through full depth.  This deep knee flexion puts slack in the hamstrings rendering them unable to contribute to the movement at that point.  So, with respect to the hamstrings the lunge places a higher demand on them then the squat.

How lunges are easier than the squat:

  • The split stance position makes it easier to stabilize the pelvis allowing for a more upright torso position.  Meaning, maintaining good neutral spine position and lumbopelvic stability is easier when lunging.  Why this is easier is due to the rear leg applying a forward force to the pelvis and the front leg applying a rearward force to the pelvis essentially cancelling each other out and stabilizing the pelvis in an upright position (this point could easily be an article in and of itself).
  • Depth of lunges are limited by the back leg (knee hits the ground) so there is less hip mobility required unless you are performing some type of lunge variant.
  • As mentioned before the stance does not allow a person to lift as much weight as when squatting.  So, with lighter potential loads, a more upright torso and easier lumbopelvic stability the lunge is easier on the spine than squatting.
  • There is less demand on the adductors when lunging.  During the squat, both femur need to spread away from each other to allow the pelvis to drop low between them (knees out).  This puts a large eccentric load on the adductors and why a squatter feels sore on the inside of their thighs when pushing themselves.  This dramatic drive out does not happen when lunging, hence the lunge is easier on the adductors.

Those are few ways the two movements differ.  We could go on but let’s stop here and move into how to perform the lunge correctly.
Just as there are many different squat variations, there are many different lunge variations but for this article we are focusing on the basics and establishing sound principles.  With that said, an important thing to keep in mind is that no matter if you are lunging by stepping forward or reverse the form at the bottom position should look the same.

I like to start people off lunging by teaching the drop step (AKA reverse) lunge first.  The drop step tends to prevent the front knee from traveling too far forward and more resemble the squat pattern that most are more familiar with.
To Perform the Drop Step Lunge:

  1. Start with feet together in a narrow stance with feet under your hips and pointed forward.
  2. Take a large step back but keep the bulk of your weight in the front foot.  The step was large enough if when that knee hits the ground it is behind the hip if looking at someone from the side.
  3. When taking that large step back keep your “core” engaged so that your lower back does not overextend – this will be a challenge for those with tight quads and hip flexors and can actually be a great dynamic stretch of those muscles if brace your core to resist spine extension.

4.The knee of the front leg should be positioned somewhere from directly over the ankle to over the midfoot during the entire movement.  Another way to think of this is that when looking from the side the shin is vertical to just forward of vertical. If the shin is forward of vertical too far the heel will come off the ground and if the shin behind vertical the front leg is unloaded and too much weight will be in the back foot.

The front leg should be doing most of the work.

  1. The knee of the front leg should also be pushed out to the side slightly.  This will help “screw” the foot into the floor, prevent the knee from collapsing in, clear space at the front of the hip and also engage the glute muscles to a greater extent.  The knee is pushed out enough if when looking down at the foot the inside 2-3 toes are visible.  That knee position should be maintained on the decent, transition and rise up of the lunge.  I will often see the knee dive inward during the transition from down to up so really focus during that time.
  2. After stepping back into the lunge, kiss the back knee to the ground under control and return to the start position by driving up through the front foot (think about pushing through your heel) and bring your back foot forward even with the front foot.  We recommend doing 5 reps per leg before switching.  This allows self-corrections of the movement during the set whereas alternating every rep can make it difficult to feel the subtle changes needing to be made.

Tweak to then perform the forward or walking lunge safely:

  1. The main difference here is that momentum forward will need to be controlled and reined in so that knee doesn’t travel too far forward putting weight only in the forefoot.  To accomplish this take a large step forward but then drop the hips straight down.
  2. Again, the bottom position of the forward or walking lunge should look no different than the drop step lunge.

These concepts should get anyone lunging or teaching the lunge on the right path.  Of course there are million way to perform this movement differently but it’s always best to master the fundamentals before progressing into other types.

In summary, while it does not get near the attention of squatting the lunge should be a part of EVERY strength and conditioning program.  Be aware of how and why it’s different than the squat and use that as an advantage when programming for yourself or others.  Be patient with the reps, think about where your weight should be (especially in the lead foot) and where the knees should be positioned in relation to the feet and hips.

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What if Grandma Could squat? 

What if Grandma could squat?  I mean it, what if Grandma could drop her hips, bend her knees and get her ass on and off any seat in the world?  What if her doctor didn’t tell her not to squat because it’s bad for her knees?  What if he wouldn’t tell her that because she wouldn’t be complaining about her knee or hip pain?  What if Grandma was strong?  What if Grandma stayed strong?  Like strong enough to squat down, grab her granddaughter, stand up and walk away as if it was no effort at all.  What if Grandma turned into Great Grandma and could still squat?  Great Grandma could squat down onto the toilet with no help, no hand rails and no worries about her weak hip or ailing back.  What if Great Grandma didn’t have a weak hip or ailing back because Great Grandma can and does squat, on the regular?  What if Grandma and Great Grandma stayed independent? 

I know, Grandma does not squat because Grandma gets pain when she squats.  Grandma does not squat because she’s old and old people don’t squat.  Grandma doesn’t squat because she doesn’t know how.  Grandma doesn’t need to squat.  Grandma doesn’t have the energy to squat.  It’s not safe for Grandma to squat.  Besides, even if we taught Grandma to squat she would forget how and no one is there to make sure she’s continues to do it safely. 

What if that’s bullshit? What if Grandma did squat?  What if every day Grandma woke up and did 10 perfect squats down to toilet seat height?  What would happen to Grandma’s strength? To her confidence? Bone health? Mobility? Quality of life? Independence? Longevity?  You know what would happen?  They’d all fucking improve.  Grandma would incur a whole host of benefits.  No fractured hip, no walker, no help getting up the stairs, no life alert bracelet.  So why doesn’t Grandma do this? Why doesn’t she squat?  Hell, why doesn’t everyone squat? 

As things stand, it’s honestly good that everyone is not performing the squat for fitness, longevity, health and independence.  This is because the elderly, the young and the middle aged all really suck at squatting with any type of proficiency.  And squatting poorly will not reap the great rewards of fitness, longevity, health and independence. Squatting poorly will no doubt cause pain, dysfunction and a decrease in quality of life.  So, really when the doctor tells Grandma and Great Grandma not to squat because it’s bad for your knees, he’s partially right.  However, what he should tell Grandma and Great Grandma is not “you should not squat” but “you should not squat LIKE THAT!”

So what gives?  How do we fix this dilemma?  How do we get the masses of Grandmas and Great Grandmas to squat well so that they may live well?  There are certainly not enough strength coaches, physical therapists, and personal trainers available to even teach your Grandma and mine to squat well, let alone continue to follow them over time to ensure they continue to squat correctly.

Until now, this dilemma did not have a solution but the people at Movement Guides, Inc feel a solution has been created.  It’s called the SquatGuide™ and it’s helping people move correctly and get functionally stronger all over the United States.  Yes, grandma  can use the SquatGuide and in no time be happily getting on and off the toilet safely without a raised seat or hand rails. 

The device is the first of its kind in that it prevents the user from going into a poor squat pattern while facilitating the user to squat correctly.  The user must control their own range of motion and body weight.  The device is adjustable and portable.  It is not too large or heavy and best of all not that expensive either.  It’s solidly constructed, made in the USA and invented by a physical therapist and US Army Veteran.   

The  SquatGuide™ is used in physical therapy clinics, strength and conditioning facilities, as well as in homes across the country.  While this article focuses on how it can help Grandma, it is just as effective at training young athletes and inexperienced people looking to improve their fitness and to move properly prior to starting a strength or resistance training program.   

There is an answer for long term independence with a focus on a one of the most basic movement tasks in life.  The Squat. 

SquatGuide™

Move. Like. This.™

www.MovementGuides.com

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