Our guest today is Dan Fichter, owner and operator of WannaGetFast, a sports performance facility in Rochester, New York. He is one of the leading experts in applying clinical neurology into athletic rehabilitation and sport performance applications. Dan has been mentored by a variety of elite coaches, therapists, and neurologists, and has trained numerous professional athletes and Olympians across a variety of sports. He has been a multi-time guest on the podcast, with one of the most popular episodes of all-time being a joint discussion with Chris Korfist on “DB Hammer” training methods (an old-school classic).
It’s somewhat of a “woke” term to mention the nervous system in training, as Matt Cooper said on a recent podcast. Although it is easy to pay homage to the nervous system as the ultimate controller of training results, it is much more complicated to actually observe and specifically train the CNS. This is where people like Dan Fichter are awesome resources in regards to being able to take the complex inter-disciplinary work on the subject, and tie it into simple methods we can use in our own practices.
On today’s show, Dan runs through a wide swath of nervous system training topics, centering on isometrics, as well as their role in light of long term athletic development, crawling and the nervous system, infinity walks, as well as his keys to a good warmup from a neurological perspective. There was a huge amount of practical training gold in this episode.
Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.
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Timestamps and Main Points
7:00 The top 3 things Dan learned from Jay Schroeder that have stuck with him over his years as a coach, particularly that of isometric exercise and intention
13:30 How isometrics specifically help create a condition for the body to solve a functional problem
20:30 How Dan’s exercise distributions have been altered over time (isometrics, bodyweight and traditional lifts)
27:00 Where Dan fits on the “5 minute hold” to shorter isometric hold spectrum
31:30 Questions on, “are isometrics alone enough to help an athlete overcome their injuries”
34:45 Crawling and links to neurology, as well as why it’s important to crawl in an extended posture position and the head up
39:45 How sensory stimulation precedes motor output in athletes, and the importance of stimulating athletes on a sensory level
47:00 The power of infinity walks in empowering an athlete on a neurological and sensory perspective, and how this can tie into, and be complexed with, other athletic skills
54:45 Things that Dan finds essential in the warmup process for his athletes
56:25 The electrical ramifications of tapping the heel in an athletic movement
“As Jay says, “everybody is fast, and everybody is strong, they just can’t display it””
“Every step you take, the body finds the easiest and safest path, to complete the task”
“When it comes to neurology, you have to hit it perfect, and when you hit it perfect, magic things happen”
“Jay used to say this all the time “water will find the crack””
“One of my most favorite things I’ve learned from Jay’s was “quick style” exercises; my favorite exercise is a towel curl press, where they curl (the towel) up, they press it over their head, they pull it down, and then they extend their triceps, so there is everything about upper body movement in one exercise, and as Jay says, it’s recovering you while its training you”
“When you get into studying the brain, it’s a flexion/extension synergy”
“When you trace a complex movement, your cerebellum lights up like it’s nobody’s business”
“For a 10 year old, I have them hold isometrics as long as they can… the younger you are the longer we’ll hold it. The older you are,