The PPSC and Humility

There is something positively contagious about learning something new. An impulse to open up and share new knowledge with the world. Everyone should know about X, and there is no reason you should not apply X, immediately! Flash forward to when you open your mouth and tell someone (my wife) and you come out sounding nerdier than Steve Urkel, shoving his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose.

I probably have those pants and suspenders tucked away somewhere in my house.

Today, I talk about my experience learning the tenets of the Pain free Performance Specialist Certification.

Learning about shit I care about. I stopped in at an event in Kaysville Utah.

Something that has been my forte for a long time. Fitness is my forte. The human body and anatomical stuff. It’s physiology and a depth to understanding human movement.

I wish I could tell you how many continuing education events I have been to. And I’m afraid to guess how much money has been spent on attending these seminars/certifications/continuing education. Not that I hate spending $$ on events, but there have been so many ‘meh’ events and seminars, that they all end up looking and feeling similar to past events and it can feel like a waste.


Recently, I’ve been walking into these places feeling like my knowledge, related to strength and conditioning, is sufficiently full. An air of confidence after spending so much time diving into material, putting fitness into practice and working with clients. And after attending so many events, I can’t tell you how many times I have been taught how to dynamically warm up or asked how to define mobility (hint: flexibility does not equal mobility). It can be exhausting and tiring.

At the same time you can be reminded, that you know nothing and to keep working to fill up your proverbial glass.

The PPSC was a great experience. I showed up and fell into a group of 15-ish people in attendance.

With my lack of knowing anything about the course material, I came out of it better understanding their systemized approach to warmup sequencing (day 1) and baseline recipes for developing exercise programs (day 2).

I’ll start from the top.

As a trainer, developing exercise programs can be time intensive. Especially if you sit there, pouring over spreadsheets, combining the perfect testing protocols into a fully customized program developed specifically for a particular client.

We develop a person’s exercise program around theoretically optimizing physical, mental and emotional potential while training in an environment that decreases injury risk.

The PPSC’s primary message was pirmarily to empower people. Not just clients, but anyone and everyone who wants to improve their health (GAINZ). I connected tightly to this mantra because my belief is that a major role of a fitness professional is to empower clients to expand their own success. Not to beat them down. Not to limit them. But to fully appreciate the expanding depth of movement a person can achieve. Whether your goal is to get stronger, leaner, put on weight, lose weight, lift heavier, walk faster, tie your shoes again, jump higher….whatever your desire, a true professional will guide and believe in you, until they are proven wrong. And being the weirdo I am, I tend to appreciate the failure as much as the success. Because that teaches patience. You say, ‘I can’t’, I say ‘Not yet’.

There is a clear difference between the role a fitness professional and someone who writes workouts. And you can FEEL the difference!

When developing a program for an individual, fit pros typically develop an exercise split, with a particular training goal for each day. Diagnostically, the PPSC does a good job in reminding us to keep our day’s key performance indicator(KPI) in mind.

Let’s say today, we train lower body. And in training lower body, we develop our program around Susie’s squat. Our Key Performance Indicator(Again, KPI) is her squat pattern. And coming into each session, it is our responsibility to get you focused, tuned in and prepared to crush today’s KPI, despite your best effort to distract, confuse or stall(some clients are better at it than others).

After we assess a client and develop a program, there are a few things we discover that could hold the potential of a client back from improving a movement. These are called linchpins(eg, in Susie’s squat pattern, she tends to round her back as she approaches the ground). The linchpin is the biggest limitation to a client’s KPI (In coaching up Susie, it might be that she needs to discover how to brace during her squat).

The linchpin gets as much attention as it needs as it relates to that day’s training goal. The most attention is served in relating whether the pattern demonstrated is good enough to train that day’s KPI.

Another concept was the Pillar. The pillar is a symbol. When looking at a pillar, there is a top, bottom and middle. In anatomical terms, it is a combination of the shoulders, the spine and the hips. The top and bottom of a pillar relates to a person’s shoulders and hips. The midsection of the pillar, is then related directly to the spine.

Shoulders and hips are the top and bottom of the pillar, the spine is the middle!

The PPSC dives deep into pillar integrity. We were taught bracing techniques in primal movement patterns, functional strength patterns and it was beat into us so much that we were not thinking about it by the end of the weekend. It was the expectation.

Pillar importance: With movement in the spine, come leaks in strength and power. In a baseball swing, your hips and feet transfer power up your kinetic chain, and your spine serves as a bridge for power expression. As this concept was introduced, the crowd was met with demonstrations of pillar maintenance (4 pt and 6 pt crawling, dead bugging, planking, squatting, hinging, etc.). It became a staple for correction. It was so ubiquitous and overarching that I began repeating the phrase over, and over, and over, upon my first day of training sessions post-seminar.

This was only the tip of the iceberg. It was looking at the dessert on neighboring tables at a restaurant instead of looking at the menu before eating dinner. To me, this in itself was a hell of a reminder of why I fell into this stuff. I love learning this stuff and it helped reignite my flame.

I’m not sure how long it will take to dive in, but if you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Because you give a shit about nerdy exercise stuff.

In subsequent posts, I’m going to dive deeper into day 1 and day 2.

A teaser for Day 1:

I’ll dive into the PPSC’s 6-phase dynamic warmup pre-training sequence. A sequence of warmup that amps you up and readies you to get a swell swoll session in, lasting 10-16 minutes per session!

The six phases of warmup:

  • Phase 1 – Self myofascial release
  • Phase 2 – Bi-phasic positional stretching
  • Phase 3 – Corrective Based movement
  • Phase 4 – Stability based activation
  • Phase 5 – Foundational Based activation
  • Phase 6 – Central Nervous System Stimulation

Thanks for letting me dump some knowledge.

Peace like geese,

Mike Goose


Published by mikeg00se

I like to adventure, paint portraits of goats and love family stuff.

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