Strength and Conditioning with Scotty Butcher

The last weekend of February painPRO had the privilege of hosting a Strength and Conditioning course lead by Scotty Butcher. Scotty is a physiotherapist and guru in the strength and rehabilitation world, and he did not disappoint. It was so inspiring to see a room mixed with RMTS, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Kinesiologists and other practitioners coming together, committed to developing exercise prescription for patients. What’s great is that what was discussed is so easily transferable to your day-to-day, hobbies, and workouts.

Strength and Conditioning group photo with scotty1. Strength Traning vs. Endurance Training

The course started with the importance of strength training and it’s physiological benefits. I don’t want to admit it, but, strength training provides a better bang for your buck compared to endurance training. As a distance runner, I tend to focus a lot on volume, training in kilometres, and at times strength training gets left behind. I know from first-hand experience that strength training really improves my endurance and my speed. Running often feels easier and I tend to get less injured. 

2. Build a Foundation 

Scotty talked about creating a foundation of strength for our bodies. We can achieve this through push/pull exercises, hip hinges and deep squats. These basic movement patterns are the foundation for all exercises. I often look to integrate some form of push/pull, bend, twist, squat and lunge when training my patients. There isn’t a movement you can think of that doesn’t involve one or a combination of the movement patterns mentioned above.

Learning strength form for deadlifts 

3. Injured? Focus on Your Foundational Movement Patterns 

After an injury, you do need to take precautions. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a trained professional support you while returning to your pre-injury hobbies. We use a combination of a ‘bottom-up’ and a ‘top-down’ approach. We focus on your foundational movement patterns but also take into consideration the muscles that have been injured simultaneously. It takes knowledge, experience and a trained eye to know what to teach a patient, when to push them and how much to progress them.

What really resonated with me during the course was that a patient may not be able to perform the full movement beautifully or pain-free. When this happens, we can break down the exercise to just the part they can do well and build from that. We do eventually want to load or add resistance for individuals in order to positively stress their body but what we all were able to experience, was that you can still fatigue with just bodyweight while making each repetition meaningful and focused. So, I ask you, if you are doing exercises at the gym, why? What is the purpose of that exercise? What are you trying to get out of it? How does it translate into your hobbies or daily activities? 

4. Continue to Challenge and Condition Your Body; Keep Moving!

Often you hear people say, “I used to be able to do that when I was younger”. It doesn’t have to be that way. We know that with age, our muscle mass decreases and strength is harder to get back. They say, ‘don’t use it, you lose it’ which is so true for all of us. We, as humans, should continue to strengthen and challenge our bodies in various ways and sure, modifications may be required for various reasons but it should not limit our daily activities of bending to the floor to lift something, carrying groceries, playing with grandkids or prevent us from enjoying hobbies. 

So, the take-home message of the course; move! Working on the fundamental movement patterns, or ‘foundation’ and ‘pillars’ as Scotty explained, will support recovery and encourage movement patterns that are a part of our daily living and hobbies.  

Also, a big thank you to Scotty, @thestrengthjedi for sharing your expertise and passion with us.

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