Providence Perform Better Summit

If you’re looking to penetrate the Strength & Conditioning Industry or simply wanting to meet a bunch of like-minded folks, then the 3-Day Perform Better Seminars are definitely for you. In an effort to be brief, I’ll simply roll through my experiences over the weekend as many individuals don’t quite realize how these weekends go. I’m very glad I already attended the One-Day Seminar a couple of months ago which included Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Todd Durkin. This freed up time for me to watch other presenters.

Friday

8:00

My friend Sam Leahey picks me up and together we head to the seminar. Poor Sam had to chauffeur me around all weekend and a couple of times he had to knock on my door to wake me up as I was completely zonked out. It was difficult for me to adjust to the time zone changes! He was a good sport as he’s super laid-back. He’s also full of integrity. I can’t say enough about my friend Sam. Great guy!

9:00

I got to the seminar and ran into a bunch of friends; Nick Tumminello and his girlfriend Allie McKee, Joe Sansalone and his girlfriend Neghar Fanooni, Nate Green, and Joe Bonyai. I felt right at home! It’s good to be around like-minded folks.

9:15

I attended Jeff Anderson’s lecture on the Biomechanics of the Spine. I thought that this presentation was great! I’m going to write something up that incorporates some of the things he spoke about but suffice to say, sitting is really bad for you!

10:45

Participated in Al Vermeil’s hand-on practical on Speed. Al is hilarious! For those who have never seen him speak, the guy is about as unique as they come. From his random “In my day” rants, to his creative analogies, to his hilarious stories, I’m pretty sure you’ll never see a speaker quite like him. I was pleased to see that much of Al’s work was influenced by the late Charlie Francis, a man for whom I had much admiration.

12:00

While speaking with Nick Tumminello, Allie McKee, and Alwyn Cosgrove, I am introduced to a guy named David Jack. This guy is awesome! High energy, very knowledgeable, and super friendly. Got some great free advice from Alwyn regarding my career. Ran into my friend Martin Rooney and talked shop for a little bit.

1:00

Filmed a quick video in a conference room with David Jack and his friend for a possible Men’s Health video showing some of my glute exercise progressions. Hope they post it somewhere! Ran into Jeremy Frisch who showed me how he performs Static Lunge EQI’s. Tried them out and love them. Here’s what he taught me:

Static Lunge EQI

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4QF4Cpapj4&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&border=1]

I should mention that in a true EQI you gradually sink deeper into the stretch throughout the duration of the set.

2:30

Went to Al Vermeil’s lecture on Speed. More great stuff. Was in the very corner of the room and fell asleep for a few minutes. Thought I was inconspicuous. When I woke up, David Jack and Dewey Nielsen had taken pictures of me sleeping. In my defense, I only got three hours of sleep the night before due to the time differential and my flight arriving after midnight. So lay off me!

4:00

Watched John Berardi’s lecture on Nutrition and Injury Recovery. John is such a great presenter and may in fact be the most kind and professional individual in the industry! His lecture was great.

5:30

Attended Thomas Plummer’s presentation on Secrets of Success. Thomas is hilarious, motivational, and knowledgeable about our industry. What else could you ask for?

6:30

Went back to the hotel, showered, got dressed, and headed back to attend the Perform Better Social. Got to meet Brett Jones. Asked him about correct Chop and Lift technique and he gave me a couple of pointers. Talked with my editor Nate Green for a while. Spoke with Al Vermeil about my glute exercises. Was very surprised that he not only saw value in them, but also knew the specifics in regards to proper form execution without ever having performed the movements. Great coaches have a sixth sense about movement. He asked me to email him links to my exercises; I still need to do that. Hung out more with Nick and Allie.

9:00

Went to the StrengthCoach.Com Social event hosted by Mike Boyle and Anthony Renna. This was a wonderful event. Got to meet up with a bunch of my strength coach friends including Anthony Renna, Tim Vagen, Shon Grosse, Charlie Weingroff, Dewey Nielsen, Robert Dos Remedios, Brad Lambert, Elsbeth Vaino, Dan Gableman, Bruce Cohn, Bruce Kelly, Sean Skahan, Max Prokopy, Steven Head, Sam Leahey, Joe Bonyai, Nick Tumminello, Joe Sansalone, Allie McKee, Robbie Bourke, John D’Amico, Cedric Unholz, Ray McCarthy, Chris Brown, Kevin Carr, Adrienne Norris, Henry Lau, Greg Streblow, Alwn Cosgrove, Mike Boyle, Kara Fed, and Nate Green. This was an amazing event! Had an excellent conversation with my friend Shon Grosse.

11:00

Extended the party. A lot of us just weren’t willing to throw in the towel. Went to a local bar that had a band playing. Took Neghar Fanooni’s camera and shot a video clip of Robert Dos Remedios and Dewey Nielsen going crazy on the dance floor to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Had an amazing time with Joe S., Neghar, Joe B., and Sam Leahey. These folks were a ton of fun! Left the bar at around 1:45 and went back to the hotel.

3:00

Finally crashed out

Saturday

7:00

Sam picks me up, it’s raining like crazy! Sam’s crappy little car was hydroplaning. He was driving Bruce Cohn, Joe Bonyai, and yours truly. We all thought we were going to die. Ran into Kevin Larrabee from Fitcast (Kevlar) before the presentation. As promised, he gave me a Spike (Biotest product). It tasted so good when it hit my lips! Seriously, Spike is amazing. I knew that if Kevlar and Tony Gentilcore liked Spike so much then there had to be something to it. The Spike revitalized me and was much needed. Was hoping to talk more with Kevlar as he seems like a really cool dude but didn’t get the chance with so many people around.

8:00

Planned on going to Sue Falsone’s hands-on practical but ran into Martin Rooney and talked for a solid hour straight. The best thing about Martin is that he gives you the impression that you’re his best friend. I’m sure everyone walks away from Martin thinking, “Wow, I really relate to that guy.” We spoke about exercises, training theory, evolution, and the effects of being over-emotional when it comes to learning. I think that Martin and I could talk for five straight hours and not skip a beat. Martin is such a passionate, knowledgeable, hard-working, and inspiring individual. He even gave me some good advice pertaining to my career that was in accord with what Alwyn told me. Awesome!

9:30

Attended Eric Cressey’s hands-on practical on Medicine Balls. Eric is extremely bright and went over shoulder stretches, warm-ups, and med-ball exercises.

11:00

Watched Greg Rose’s lecture on the Golf Swing. I have to say, this was the presentation that impressed me the most this weekend. I didn’t know who Greg Rose was before this weekend but I found out that he is a co-founder of Titleist Performance Institute and a heck of a smart guy. The TPI folks have the golf swing boiled down to an absolute science. They analyze videos of an individual’s golf swing and can quickly detect everything wrong with it. They have names for each problem…S and C postures, reverse spine angle, early extension, restricted trail leg, scooping, chicken winging, death grip, palm grip, under the plane/over the top, casting, steep swing plane, fat divots, etc. Each of these issues leads to pain at a certain joint. I was very intrigued to say the least.

12:15

Had lunch with Nick Tumminello and Allie McKee. I really enjoy my friendship with this couple. I got to hang out with them a bunch in Kansas City last month and we picked up right where we left off. They are great people and Nick and I are always discussing training theory. It’s cool hearing what’s on Nick’s mind and then reading about it a few weeks later on TMuscle or wherever else Nick’s work appears. He’s all over the place! Nick is always kind enough to introduce me to his friends in the industry; the man has a lot of connections and is well-respected by everyone. I can’t remember the name of what I ate, but it was called something like “The Death Burger.” A burger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Can’t get much better than that!

1:15

Attended Sue Falsone’s lecture on the Thoracic Spine. Was very impressed! Sue is extremely knowledgeable, humble, and professional. I really like Sue! The t-spine may be the most overlooked component of fitness assessment. She also talked about Costal and Diaphragmatic breathing with is important to understand.

2:45

Attended Greg Rose’s hands-on practical on the Golf Swing. More awesomeness. Let’s just say that most golfers don’t have the requisite ankle, hip, and t-spine mobility necessary to allow them to swing a golf club correctly. Although I’m a big fan of corrective exercise in general, there may be no other sport where corrective exercise is more warranted than golf.

4:15

Watched the Presenters Q & A session. Was great to hear different speakers offering their views on different questions. The best question that came up was “What comprises the core?” What’s your answer?

5:30

Headed back to the hotel, showered, got ready, then fell asleep. Sam woke me up by pounding on the door. If not I would have slept for a couple of hours!

7:30

We went to dinner with a bunch of folks; Bruce Cohn, Joe S., Neghar, Joe B., Dan G., Henry L., Kevin C., and the other Kevin. I was all riled up and talked too much at dinner. I get excited talking to younger guys in the industry and try my best to point them in the right direction. Most of these younger guys are already going in the right direction as they’re involved with Mike Boyle in one capacity or another.

10:00

Extended the night and went bar-hopping with Joe, Neghar, Kevin, and Kevin. Joe and Neghar are such a great couple! They are extremely fun, very professional, and very much in love. They are very knowledgeable fitness folks who have their own facility called Optimum Performance Training Institute in Maryland. I’m very envious of them as their happiness and energy is contagious. Left at around 1:00 I believe.

2:00

Finally hit the sack.

Sunday

7:00

Was woken up again by Sam pounding at my door. This awarded me the “Most Annoying Friend” award for the weekend. Headed to the Convention Center.

8:00

Watched Thomas Myers’ lecture on Anatomy Trains and Myofasical Meridians. This was the lecture that everyone wanted to see. The visuals were quite spectacular. I find Thomas’ accent very intriguing…he sounds like a mix between John Malkovich and a robot.

9:30

Attended Thomas Myer’s hands-on practical. Was impressed that Thomas actually had a pretty decent overview of strength & conditioning although he was persistent in telling us that this isn’t his field and that he’s just trying to give us some different ideas.

11:00

I intended on attending Lee Taft’s lecture on the Feet in relation to speed, but instead I met with Carl Valle. Carl has been highly critical of my work so I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk shop with someone who has much more years of experience than me as it relates to the world of Track & Field. We spoke for a couple of hours. Carl is very knowledgeable and well-versed in training theory.

1:00

Filmed a quick video with Nick Tumminello for an upcoming blog of his.

1:15

Left to the airport with Sam.

There you have it folks! That’s how my weekend went. As you can see, these summits are very exciting and action-packed! Where else do you get to hang out all weekend and talk shop with guys like Martin Rooney, Alwyn Cosgrove, Nick Tumminello, Carl Valle, Al Vermeil, Brett Jones, Nate Green, Joe Bonyai, Jeremy Frisch, Sam Leahey, David Jack, Bruce Cohn, Bruce Kelly, Joe Sansalone, Dan Gableman, Elsbeth Vaino, and Shon Grosse?

I was so busy talking to others that I barely got to speak to guys like Charlie Weingroff, Anthony Renna, Dewey Nielsen, Robert Dos Remedios, Seah Skahan, Kevin Larrabee, Sue Falsone, John Berardi, Timothy Vagen, and Lee Taft.

Just to give you an idea as to how versatile these summits are, I really didn’t get to speak much at all to Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Gray Cook, Lee Burton, Greg Rose, Jeff Anderson, John Brookfield, Aaron Brooks, Steve Cotter, Michol Dalcourt, Todd Durkin, Chris Frankel, John Graham, Brian Grasso, Bill Parisi, Fraser Quelch, Chuck Wolf, Todd Wright, Thomas Myers, and Thomas Plummer. As you can see, the depth at these seminars is top-notch!

7 thoughts on “Providence Perform Better Summit

  1. Jeff Cubos

    Great summary.

    Here’s hoping someone organizes a PB Summit up north here in Canada (PB folks, if you’re reading this and want to get it done, I’m your man!).

    Also want to echo your sentiments on Sue Falsone. Pow-wowed with her last month and have nothing but great things to say about her.

    Hope all is well Bret!

    Reply
    1. Bret Contreras

      Sue’s the man! Err, I mean, Sue’s the woMAN! Jeff, if you want to talk to them about anything just call the Perform Better 1-800 number and then ask to be transfered to Chris Poirier.

      Reply
  2. allimckee

    Awesome Recap Bret! Reading it made me feel like I was right back in the weekend again :) It’s always a pleasure hanging out with you!

    Reply

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