Posts Tagged ‘Core-Tex’

ACL and Knee Rehab Exercises with the Core-Tex

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Ways to use the Core-Tex to assist in the rehabilitation process for ACL and other knee injuries. The unique motions of the Core-Tex provide excellent proprioceptive stimulation to the rehabilitating limb.

Review of Mike Boyle’s book: Advances in Functional Training

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

(Due to a server crash, this post is being reposted after originally being posted on April 17th, 2010)

I have certainly known of Mike Boyle for many years. His name often came up in discussions and articles on strength and conditioning as well as functional training. Mike is as well known for calling it like he sees it as he is for his contribution to strength and conditioning.

Up until a couple of years ago, Mike and I had never met. I wasn’t sure what kind of guy he was going to be when we did finally meet because I can’t say that I’ve always agreed with everything Mike’s ever written. But who wants an industry of clones?

In the summer of 2007 I had arranged a meeting with Chris Poirer of Perform Better to show him a pre production prototype of the Core-Tex™ at the Perform Better Summit in Long Beach, CA. I sent Mike an email because I knew he was going to be presenting there and asked him if he would be available to take some time to look at the Core-Tex and give me his opinion.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mike gets approached all the time by people with products and ideas (because I certainly do). Even so, Mike got back to me right away and graciously agreed to spend some time with me between his presentations.

When I finally got to meet Mike, it was a pleasure to see that he just one of the guys. Like so many of the great educators in our industry, Mike had no ego and was genuinely interested in hearing more about the Core-Tex™. He didn’t have to do this since he didn’t know me but he extended me a professional courtesy. And to me, that was a class act.

When I got Mike’s book, Advances in Functional Training, I took it on a plane to England and read it cover to cover. This book is probably the most comprehensive book out there right now in respect to the amount of content it covers on the various components of functional training.
We all know that some people believe that functional training equates to circus acts-which of course it is not. This book covers the full continuum of what functional training really is and leaves out the circus acts.

I often speak in terms of training for function versus functional training because for me functional training denotes a mode or method of training and training for function denotes and objective. The content covered in Mike’s book falls right in line with training for function.
Mike has spent a lot of years in the industry. Yet he is humble enough to readily cite those that have influenced his approach to training and states his reasons for following the training principles he adheres too.

Since the functional training continuum covers everything from restoring normal movement patterns to maximizing sport performance, there is a tremendous amount of information to cover. A book could be written for each aspect of training for function along the continuum. As comprehensive as Advances in Functional Training is, it couldn’t possibly cover everything along the continuum in the depth that each topic requires.

But that is not bad thing. Because what Advances in Functional Training does is give the reader a full appreciation of the many aspects of function. And there is no shortage of content in this book (314 pages).

For example, my professional strengths are focused more around the assessment process and corrective exercise. Therefore, it’s not often that I get to work with clients as they move toward the more advanced end of the functional continuum. Mike’s book serves as a great resource to me for identifying some of the critical variables that need to be part of the training progressions.

The term “soup to nuts” keeps coming to mind when I read through this book. The book begins with where all training should begin-the assessment process. It then takes you through the continuum with appropriate progressions right up to athletic preparation. Mike not only does a great job at guiding us through the functional continuum, but he highlights critical areas where injury and common training pitfalls take place.

A minor criticism of this book is the lack of direct references from the research literature. Although Mike does give credit to other authors and practitioners, I don’t recall reading any direct citations of the literature. Doing so would have strengthened the delivery of many of the concepts in the book.

Advances in Functional Training really is a comprehensive look at a topic that regularly stirs debate from trainers and coaches with different training philosophies. Mike Boyle has made some tremendous contributions to our industry and with this book he provides ample evidence and rationale for a functional training approach.

Published by On Target Publications (January 11, 2010)

What’s your balance got to do with your pain?

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Are you as amazed as I am by some of the feats that performers of Cirque du Soleil can pull off? Is this a God given talent or thousands of hours of practice? I am sure it is both.

Balance is one of those physical traits that are subject to the, “if you don’t use it, you lose it” principle. It is also a trait that can be dramatically improved upon when progressively challenged.

Balance plays a critical role in athletic and life performance. Great athletes have exceptional balance that allows them to quickly change direction, effectively recover from movement errors and position their bodies in ways that maximizes performance and minimizes the risk of injury.

Balance also plays a key role in our everyday safety. This is clearly evident in the unfortunate frequency of falls and injuries to the senior population. What is even more unfortunate is that many of these falls can be prevented.

But balance is not just about avoiding falling over. It’s also about helping us find the most stable or safe position when our environment around us changes. How quickly and effectively we react to those changes can be the difference between a shot of adrenaline and a herniated disc in the back.

Balance equates to control. Lack of balance=lack of control. And like a car unable to stop properly or control its steering accurately, the body with poor balance is an accident waiting to happen.

Regardless of our age, we all have the same basic mechanisms that give us balance or help us restore balance. These can be thought of as information gatherers that tell our muscles what to do. These information gatherers include:

* Vision
* Inner ear
* Stretch receptors in the muscles
* Movement receptors in the joints
* Touch and pressure receptors on the skin (particularly the soles of the feet)

The difference between great balance and not-so-great balance is dependent on two main factors:

1. How fast our nervous system receives and processes the signals from our information gatherers
2. How quickly and efficiently our muscles act on that information to make the appropriate adjustments

The wonderful news is that both of these factors can be improved upon. Doing so will improve performance for some and reduce the risks of injury or falls for others.

Balance training goes way beyond standing on one leg statically or standing on one leg while performing other movements. Single leg standing probably falls in the area between beginning and intermediate balance work. Standing still on one leg is closer to the beginning scale and moving your upper body while on one leg would be more toward intermediate.

Beginning balance training might include just standing still with the eyes closed to remove the outer visual references from helping. Another beginning balance work might be to tilt the head back. Doing sore moves the contribution of the inner ear for balance. Combining these or doing these on one leg would certainly increase the level of difficulty.

Intermediate balance training might include active one-legged exercises such as lunges or directional changes on one leg. Intermediate balance work might also include maintaining static stability while supported on an unstable piece of equipment such as a wobble board or physio-ball.

More advanced balance training might include explosive work on one leg such as hopping. Adding dynamic movement to the unstable apparatus will increase the level of difficulty significantly. For example, doing squats while standing on a BOSU ball or lunges on a balance beam.

The Core-Tex(TM), a new piece of equipment that I have developed works on reaction. This type of equipment challenges you by taking you out of balance within a limited area and requiring your nervous system to immediately react to that dynamically.

Balance exercises should enhance musculoskeletal stability and improve performance for sport or life. Therefore, never progress yourself until you have demonstrated a proficiency at a less challenging level. Frustration, compensation (and even humiliation!) will result if you don’t progress properly.

The Core-Tex buzz continues…..

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

This past week I was invited by one of the top orthopedic groups in San Diego to give a demonstration of the Core-Tex for their physical therapists. As mentioned in a previous post, the fitness industry is chomping at the bit for the Core-Tex to be available. And it will be soon.

But this was the first demo for physical therapists only. What was supposed to be a 15:00 introduction and demonstration for 6 therapists, turned into an hour and half with about 20 more therapists, assistants and several patients getting in on the act.

The Core-Tex is one of those pieces of equipment that you just can’t ignore. If you see it, first you see the fun. But then through exploration and a little instruction, the incredible therapeutic value becomes apparent.

This group liked it so much they are interested in doing a study using a population with a specific lower extremity injury and comparing the benefits of the Core-Tex to an existing protocol. Obviously, it is very rewarding when others see the value.

We believe the Core-Tex has as much value to the rehabilitation field as it does to the fitness and sports performance fields. If you have any questions on the Core-Tex or would like to be on the Core-Tex interest list, email:

The Core-Tex is a hit!

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

I just recently attended the IHRSA convention here in San Diego.  IHRSA is the largest fitness equipment trade show/convention in North America.  This show was the first time that I publicly demonstrated the invention that my good friend Olden Carr and I developed.

The Core-Tex was an amazing hit.  I couldn’t believe the response we got. Olden and I had been working on this project for many years never really giving it the effort it deserved.  We recently picked up the pace and had a pre-production prototype ready for this show.  And was it worth it!

We should have units available for retail in mid May.  Watch for the Core-Tex to be rated as one of the most innovative products for 2008.

If you want to see a couple of video clips of me using it, you can find them here on the Function First web site.