Strength vs Function: Universal Principles

by Gray Cook |  Date Released : 01 Aug 2007

  • Introduction.
  • Let the needed result define function of exercise.
  • The Grand Canyon between strength trainers and functional trainers.
  • Aspirin and Ibuprofen.
  • Assessing the need for functional training.
  • If you are already functional, training becomes rehearsal.
  • Dysfunction.
  • Movement preparation – corrective exercise.
  • Dosage is the difference, the movement is the same.
  • Pro football player vs. 14 year pubescent girl.
  • Movement pattern loss – in brain, not body.
  • Greater range of motion with less weight – same work load.
  • Squatting deeper with bands.
  • Quality of squat most important factor in strength vs function.
  • 14 year old girl with patella femoral pain.
  • Hip not knee problem.
  • Using same band – different dosage.
  • Core and hip engaged – knee lines up with out pain.
  • Fundamental mistake of trainers.
  • Strength trainers do one thing trainers don’t always do – test strength.
  • Lack of standard assessment in PT arena.
  • Assessment based on watching people move.
  • Reebok movement screens.
  • Neurological development.
  • Dangers of avoiding what they can’t do.
  • First step – get back all the lost movement patterns. Then boost strength at them.
  • Show them something they can’t do- then help them get it.
  • I am obligated to remove the negative before I add the positive.
  • Using the positives as a crutch to work on the negatives.
  • Kettlebell challenge – misunderstanding about function.
  • Strength training in full range maintains function.
  • Superset function with strength moves to improve strength moves.

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Gray Cook

About the author: Gray Cook

Gray Cook, a practicing physical therapist, has spent his entire career refining and developing functional evaluation exercise techniques. His interests have led him in two directions. The first was in the field of reactive training techniques starting with his Masters thesis. His work was developed into a journal article that was the foundation of a nationally recognized continuing education course for physical therapists and athletic trainers. The course is offered through the North American Sports Medicine Institute and the information ultimately became a book chapter. Gray’s second contribution was in the form of functional movement screening. This tool is not so much an evaluation for individuals entering rehabilitation as it is a screening tool for individuals participating in sports and fitness activities.

Gray’s first movement screen targeted the athletic population out of a desire to curtail the unnecessary injuries in athletics as a result of poor conditioning and poor flexibility that result in poor movement patterns. He realized that the one piece of information not currently being considered in the field of sports medicine, sports conditioning, fitness and rehabilitation was that movement is represented not by isolated singular movements but by unique patterns of movement that can either work together or against each other in the human system. Cook realized that a system needed to be in place to recognize and objectify these patterns.

Gray has lectured nationally and internationally in the fields of physical therapy, sports medicine and performance enhancement. He has served as a consultant to numerous universities and professional sports teams in all four major sports. Gray’s consulting is not limited to rehabilitation and sports medicine. He is equally sought after for his advice on conditioning and performance enhancement. Gray currently practices physical therapy in southwest Virginia and continues to publish and present topics related to rehabilitation and exercise.

Gray is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist with the American Physical Therapy Association. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Level I coach with the U. S. Weight Lifting Federation.

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