StrongFirst For Clinicians

March 7, 2018


The First StrongFirst for Clinicians Course 

 February 17-18 I taught the very first StrongFirst for Clinicians course in Atlanta, GA. I had an excellent group of ten clinicians and coaches who were looking to bridge the gap between clinical work and strength and conditioning. I am not the first person to discuss this kind of work. I am a strength coach and clinician and I always viewed clinical work and strength and conditioning as being along a spectrum. They are intertwined if you will. Treating people for common musculoskeletal injuries needs to be an interdisciplinary effort with a seamless line of communication between clinician and strength coach. If you are both, great! If you are a clinician but you are not a strength coach, this becomes even more important for you to understand. The underlying principles of strength and conditioning are how you treat these types of injuries. The degree of stimulus will vary depending on the person you are working with, but the rules still apply. This is where the old saying, “training is rehab and rehab is training” becomes very relevant. This is my way of taking all the things I have learned in both clinical work and strength and conditioning and continue to spread the ideas behind Clinical Strength.


The goal of the course is to give clinicians a fundamental understanding of some kettlebell and barbell exercises that can be used to look at any position you can put a person into. They can be a diagnostic, a rehab exercise, and a way to drive adaptation through organized training. We cover the kettlebell deadlift, swing, arm bars and theTurkish Get-Up, press, squat, and carries. We also cover the barbell deadlift and press. With these exercises alone you can give someone a lifetime of training adaptation. It based in principles of human movement and the amount of stress you apply will vary depending on the reason you are using the exercise. 


Do you want to assess someone and their current abilities? Use the exercises with light or no load and take a look at the tendencies of the patient. Speed them up or slow them down. You can get a lot of information regarding posture and position and the capabilities of a person with just these exercises. 


You need to help a person rehab a tendon, muscle, or joint injury? You can cover about any part of the body with these exercises or variations. Isometrics, eccentrics, full range of motion. It can all be accomplished with a handful of straightforward strength and conditioning exercises. You can continue to up the intensity a variety of ways as the person recovers and even give them an organized way to think about the strength and conditioning for whatever their pursuit may be after they have made a full recovery. Strength and conditioning is a tool to improve mechanics and efficiency under load and to expand work capacity to make you more resilient and robust for whatever activities you enjoy. You shouldn’t be constantly injuring yourself performing your strength and conditioning. 


The last piece is being able to help coordinate a long term plan with either the patient or the patient and their coach. You should have a seamless relationship between all the people involved in the training process. You should be able to easily identify inefficiencies in any exercises a person may perform in training and help them improve their mechanics and help them over roadblocks or nagging injuries. As a clinician, you should be helping people get back to training and moving towards independence, not tell them to quit training and that you will take care of them. Even if the person you are working with is not interested in strength training, you can use these exercises or variations of them to easily see tendencies in their day to day movement that may have led them to seek your services. It will also provide an opening to talk with them about organized training, no matter how small of a scale they are interested in using, and its importance in a long and independent life with more quality. 


To learn more about this course and future courses, go here:


To check out any of my ebooks about improving your limiting factors, go here:


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