Recapping Dean and Tony’s Boston Workshop (Includes Best T-Shirt Ever Made)

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Now that I’ve had a good 24-36 hours to decompress my brain, I wanted to take a few moments and share some of the shenanigans that went down last weekend at Cressey Performance.

As many of you know, my good friend and brotha from another motha, Dean Somerset, came to town for a few days along with roughly 20-25 personal trainers, strength coaches, chiropractors, and general fitness enthusiasts for our Boston Workshop that he and I hosted at Cressey Performance.

Stealing a line from Dean’s synopsis of the weekend over on his own blog, “it was without a doubt one of the best, most switched on groups I’ve ever had the chance to speak in front of, and everyone was really engaged, quick to volunteer, laugh, get their hands dirty, and make it a great experience for everyone.”

On Friday for all the attendees who came in a day early and had nothing better to do than sit at their hotel room watching re-runs of Games of Thrones on HBO we had the one and only Eric Cressey (THE Cressey behind Cressey Performance) come in and speak to the group on “Elbow Shizzle.”  His title not mine.

One of the main take home points was that when it comes to the elbow, especially with regards to the UCL, you have to take into consideration what’s going on up the kinetic chain – specifically the brachial plexus – in order to make any drastic progress with regards to tissue quality and eliminating pain.  The ulnar nerve starts up near C5-T1 and is often impinged in that area.

In many ways, an “elbow snafu” might not have anything to do with the elbow in the first place!  It’s imperative to look up (and down) the kinetic chain to rule other possibilities out.

Too, it’s important to take into consideration congenital laxity – especially in the baseball population – to dictate treatment and how one’s strength and conditioning program will flow.  The LAST thing you want to do is to excessively stretch someone who scores high on the Beighton Laxity score.

Afterwards, for those who wanted to stay, move around a bit, and play with all the toys in the facility, we had “open gym” where people could get a workout in and break a sweat. I may or may not have played Tiesto.

I played Tiesto.

Because I was at the facility playing host Lisa, my girlfriend, was kind enough to pick Dean up at the airport along with Guillermo who flew in all the way from Mexico to attend the event.  No sooner than everyone walked through the door and dropped their bags did we hightail out of there to walk down to my neighborhood bar and grill to get our grub on.

The best part of the night was that after the fact, when we left the restaurant, walked outside, and waited to cross the street, some dude drove by with all his windows rolled down BLARING the theme music from Star Wars.  It was pretty much the most baller thing I’ve ever witnessed, and I couldn’t help but think to myself, “that dude’s got his shit together.”

Dean and I were up early Saturday morning and I want to say that he pwned roughly 600 mg of caffeine before we even got to the facility.  A tip of the hat to you kind sir!

After a few house warming words and greetings, Dean started things off with discussing the big rocks of assessment. What an assessment actually means, what to look for, and what kind of assessment should be done.

Do we just stand there creepily like a Mr. Smithers and stare?  Is there any place for a movement based assessment?  Are all assessment created equal?

At the end of the day, it’s about gathering as much information as you can to better ascertain what YOU as the fitness professional will do to get your client the most efficient (and safest) results possible.

I followed suit by breaking down the CP assessment.  I was adamant that what we do at CP isn’t necessarily what I feel everyone should be doing, but that they kind of should (hint, hint).

I divided the assessment process into three parts:  static (posture, single vs, bilateral stance), isolative (hip ROM, shoulder ROM, Thomas Test, adductor length, 1,2,3,4 I challenge you to a thumb war, stuff like that), and integrated (movement based:  squat pattern, lunge pattern, push-up pattern, etc).

The entire afternoon was then spent going back and forth with the attendees demonstrating the different assessment that Dean and I utilize and then allowing them to practice on one another to get a better feel for everything.

And, I managed to do all of this without taking my shirt off, which is saying something.

Saturday night a bunch of us met up for an all-you-can-eat meat fest at Fire and Ice in downtown Boston.  Ben Bruno even made a cameo appearance!

Here’s a pic that I Tweeted as a frame of reference of how glorious this place is:

Sunday was lined up in much the same way at Saturday was.  Things kicked off relatively early – 9 AM – with me discussing “corrective exercise,” and what the even means.

I broke down the Law of Repetitive Motion and spoke to how that equation helps set the stage for how we can go about addressing any imbalances, weaknesses, and even pain.

The main point I hit home, however, and something I feel serves as the “umbrella” for ALL corrective exercise was this:

Correct movement is corrective!

Sure we can do the song and dance where we wrap eight different bands around someone, have them stand on a BOSU ball, and juggle a bunch of oranges………but what are we really accomplishing here?

And this isn’t to downplay things like spending time coaching people on how to engage their core or working on glute medius activation.  That stuff certainly needs to be addressed sometimes.

But while I’m admittedly biased – I am a strength coach – I think there’s a lot to be said about grooving more efficient patterns (squat, hip hinge, lunge, push-up) and getting people strong(er).

Getting people stronger can be corrective.

After a quick lunch break Dean took over with some brand spankin new material and covered a topic he titled VooDoo: Hacking Anatomy for Immediate Results.

Again, stealing for Dean’s own review of the weekend: “My talk came up at the end, all about how reactive core training can improve flexibility without taking joints through a range of motion (aptly titled “Voodoo”). We discussed the importance of breathing for upper body and lower body limitations, and went through how to get reactive stabilization from breathing drills and specific core training directives to help improve specific limitations.”

To cap things off we had an expert panel Q and A which, along with Dean and I, also included Ben Bruno, Jim “Smitty” Smith (of Diesel Strength), and Mark Fisher (of unicorns, ninjas, and Mark Fisher Fitness).

On Monday Dean and I took a few attendees through a small group training session that started with a “flow” warm-up, and then we proceeded to deadlift their faces with a bunch of angry my-mother-never-loved-me-and-I-punch-kittens-in-the-face-for fun music blaring in the background.

Three guys broke PRs HERE, HERE, and HERE (this one includes one of the best celebratory fist pumps ever).

Afterwards Dean hung out at CP to observe the madness and wore what’s arguably the most epic t-shirt ever made.

For those having a hard time seeing the fine print, here’s a screen shot:

And since that’s pretty much the most absurd and funniest note to end on, I’ll stop there.

It was an amazing weekend, filled with amazing people.  And I’m truly honored that so many people took time out of their busy schedules to come hang out and (hopefully) get better.

Dean and I will most likely be doing this shindig again.  Maybe we should do a worldwide tour!

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  • Adam Rees


  • Kreg Henritzy

    The Gentilcore Performance shirts need to be on sale. Make it happen, Tony!

  • Ben

    Great post, Tony! You need to do a workshop in the Bay Area!

  • Vincent Brunelle DC

    Great info passed through that room over the weekend, hope to continue some online nuggets soon.

    Vincent Brunelle DC FMS SFMA

  • Brent


    Please do a worldwide tour…or just a Seattle one….or tape the damn thing! 🙂 I just took the FMS level 1 and 2 certs. and while it was the bees knees I really think it only scratches the surface of assessment and I aint no knowledgable enuf to go beyond this yet.

    ps – You may have touched on this…or smothered it to death in a previous blog post (that I cant find), but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the FMS misses (do you guys use it at GP?) I’ve gone through Assess and Correct and now the FMS and while I like integrated assessments like the FMS, I’m wondering how important it is to isolate down joints A&C style (i.e. if someone can get a 21 on the FMS, wouldn’t you expect crazy awesome isolated assessments, ergo go lift heavy things and stop worrying about it?)

    So in summation, tape your damn seminar for us travel challenged folk, and make me not love the FMS as much as I do. and GO!

    • TonyGentilcore

      Well, chances are we’re going to do another one up in Edmonton later this Fall. So maybe you could make that one?

      As far as the FMS, we use bits and pieces of it at CP. Unlike most assessments, which start more general and then go specific, we go the opposite way with out baseball guys. We HAVE to start a bit more specific – look at shoulder ROM, etc – and then move into more general movements like the OH squat, lunge pattern, and what not.

  • Guillermo Muñoz Mireles

    Start the worldwide tour in Mexico! In Cancún, so everybody gets a little vacation;)

  • Michael Ward

    Damn! 2 of those deadlifts looked like speed work!!! You guys are good!

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  • Hayden

    Yes! Worldwide tour!! Please come to Australia!!

    • TonyGentilcore

      I’d love to come to Australia – and that “may” be in the works for later next year (2014). Stay tuned……

      • Hayden

        You’re kidding! That would be awesome

      • Gav

        We’d love to have you come to Australia Tony!

  • Bob Gorinski

    …need to get up there and meet you guys!

  • ronellsmith

    I say the next such event is held in Texas…or Vegas.


    • TonyGentilcore


  • Bryan

    I had the Ray Bourque fist pump all planned out! Thanks for the phenomenal weekend! Minds have been blown with all the knowledge bombs you two were throwing out there! Btw your facility is amazing! No wonder you guys produce the athletes you do there! I think i did stuff there I never could have anywhere else! Top notch!

    • TonyGentilcore

      Thanks Bryan – and thanks for the recommendation t hit up Comic Con Boston. Awesome event! Please feel free to come visit CP anytime you’d like!