Pearls of Wisdom From Gray Cook
by Patrick on April 21, 2010
“This weekend I attended the Perform Better Clinic here in Phoenix, Arizona. All of the speakers were excellent. Gray Cook was a real treat. I have seen Gray speak numerous time…s at various clinics over the past few years. However, this was the first opportunity I actually had to speak directly with Gray. He was incredibly generous with his time and spent about 20 or 30 minutes talking with us after the clinic had ended. We talked about a variety of topics such as breathing patterns, corrective exercise, dry needling trigger points, and manual therapy.
I thought I would share some of the pearls of wisdom Gray dropped on us that day:
* Tightness in a muscle covers up instability somewhere else.
* Durability and performance are not measured the same way.
* Assessing flexibility as a risk factor for injury is inconclusive, because flexibility is not movement oriented, and is intent on discussing the remedy (stretch the tight muscle), without discussing the problem (why is the muscle tight in the first place?). We must take other factors into consideration – movement, nervous system, fascia, etc…
* Working on any link in the chain other than the weakest link will not fix the chain.
* If you can’t do a proficient deadlift or single leg deadlift, you have no business doing a kettlebell swing.
* Once your client can do a perfect segmental roll, immediately get them up into quadraped and then 1/2 kneeling so that they can “own” it. Don’t waste time doing more rolling.
* If a client has a problem rolling that centers around poor neck mobility, you may want to check their eye function.
* The brain is 2% of our body weight and 20% of our total energy consumption.
* Corrective work needs to be done in a proprioceptive rich environment and challenge the client to “work it out”. This was an important one for me to see firsthand, as I am obsessive about exercise technique, and Gray was really specific about putting someone into a position that he wanted them to be in, and then challenging them to maintain that position. The second they got out of that position, he stopped them, let them re-group, and then continue to try and “work out” the problem.
* The transverse abdominus is always firing to some extent, whether we are moving or not. Clients with poor transverse abdominus firing will use a “high threshold strategy” to create stability, by contracting their outer core muscles to a greater extent, as the inner unit (transverse abdominus, diaphragm, lumbar multifidi, pelvic floor muscles) are not doing their job.
* One of the best ways to improve transverse abdominus and inner unit function is to teach diaphragmatic breathing.
* During exercise, if the client goes into a high threshold strategy and alters their breathing to an upper chest breathing pattern, stop the exercise, and regress down to an exercise that they can perform with proper breathing.