In the coming weeks we will release the line up for the 2012 Central Virginia Sport Performance Seminar. The first to be announced is Mike Robertson. Mike currently operates IFAST, a sport performance facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Although he has become known as a “corrective exercise guru,” Mike’s knowledge of preparing athletes is top notch and we are very excited to have him on the docket in 2012.
DR: Mike, thanks for taking the time to do this interview, I know you’re very busy these days. What’s new over at IFAST?
MR: Yeah it’s crazy right now! We’re actually in the process of expanding – going from 2,250 square feet to almost 4,700 square feet, so lots in the works!
When it’s all said and done we’re going to have one half that’s geared towards our semi-private, small group group, and the other side will be all turfed out and geared towards bootcamps and speed and agility training for our young athletes.
DR: You’ve gotten a reputation as being a mobility/rehabilitation guy. But most people aren’t aware that you’re actually an accomplished powerlifter. Has your training shifted away from powerlifting into something entirely different?
MR: Actually, it’s quite the opposite!
I started off as an athlete, and moved into powerlifting as my athletic career was wrapping up. I competed for 5 years and loved every minute of it.
When I moved down to Indianapolis, I took a job where I was doing in home personal training and it just took an inordinate amount of my time. I really just didn’t have the time or energy to compete.
When I moved on from there, I opened IFAST, and well, the hours probably weren’t any better! As much as I love coaching, it’s really hard to work a 60 hour week and then still find the time to push your own body to the limits.
Things have settled down a bit now – I’m not pulling anywhere near those hours, so I’m actually looking to do my first meet in almost 6 years this November. I’m lighter than before but I haven’t lost too much strength, so it will be an interesting ride!
DR: One of the biggest issues people have with corrective exercises is where to put them into a program and when. How do you approach a client who is a trainwreck when it comes to movement dysfunction, postural issues, etc…?
MR: I think too many people think of “corrective exercise” as only foam rolling, mobility drills, etc.
In my estimation, corrective work is the entire program! In other words, all those things are part of a holistic program – after you get someone moving and feeling better, you need to cement that newly improved posture and alignment via strength training exercises using the big movement patterns (squat, deadlift, presses, pulls, etc.)
If someone is an absolute trainwreck, I have no issue blowing them up and starting over. I will take them down to the most basic regressions I have for a movement pattern, and slowly rebuild them from there. While it’s incredibly effective, I find it’s hardest on the athlete due to the psychology of the whole thing – it’s hard to admit they’re not bulletproof and need this “little” stuff to get better.
DR: Any areas of research or training that have you really interested right now?
MR: Over the last two years I feel like I’ve really grown with my understanding of energy system training (EST), and I can thank Joel Jamieson for his work in that regard because he’s really got it figured out.
I’m definitely not Joel, but I’m a hell of a lot better than I was a while back!
Beyond that, I’m trying to broaden my understanding of some of the major joints in the body – currently I’m working on elbows, ankles and the t-spine/rib cage.
I wish I could only read training and anatomy related stuff, but as a businessman, I have to focus on marketing/advertising/business stuff as well. I’ve been reading more and more of this, as I feel our gym is top-notch, but it doesn’t matter if no one knows about you and no one trains there!
DR: Being in graduate school, I’m starting to read much more research now on various topics. The amount of information in these journals is incredibly overwhelming. How do you yourself look at research? For me personally, I always find it difficult as often times it’s easy to find research that supports completely differing ideas.
MR: Yeah research can be a tough nut to crack!
As you move on through your degree, you’ll also get better and better at figuring out what studies are of high quality and those which aren’t quite up to snuff.
My big thing is when I get started on a topic, I start with a Pubmed search and just read as much as I can on one topic. If you’re a geek like me, you can spend hours upon hours staring at abstracts on Pubmed!
And you’re absolutely right – there’s a ton of conflicting research out there. I think this is where practitioners come in to play; I think once you’ve spent enough time in the trenches, you can start to blend what you’re doing with what the bulk of the research supports.
DR: What’s next for you? Any big plans scheduled in the next few years?
MR:Well obviously the IFAST expansion is the next “big” thing – that’s really going to determine a lot of things going forward.
As far as Robertson Training Systems goes, I have a ton of projects I want to work on and complete – my low back manual, some strength programs for the masses, and two webinars that I think people will really enjoy.
At the end of the day, I’m always going to be pushing my envelope, so stay tuned for some kick-ass stuff in the future!
DR: Thank for your time, Mike. It’s been a pleasure!
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