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Managing Stress in Basketball



trey burke michigan game tying shot lil wayne 570x381



Trey Burke’s heroics may not have been the only thing that led to Kansas’ loss to Michigan in the 2013 Sweet 16.

A scientific study by a group of KU researchers confirms what many might have already assumed: Stress — both on and off the court — affected the Jayhawks during the most crucial point of the season.

After testing for hormone levels in athletes, KU researcher Matt Andre and coinvestigator Dr. Andrew Fry believe they’ve taken a crucial first step in researching the physiology of basketball players.

So what did they find out about KU’s players? And could this change how basketball is played for years to come?


* * * * * *

Initially, KU forward Jamari Traylor was afraid of his cotton ball.

When strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy first told Traylor and his teammates they’d be popping a cotton ball in their mouth every Thursday to collect saliva and check their stress levels … well, Traylor’s imagination went a little crazy.

“We were just all thinking, ‘Man, what if we’re tired, but the cotton balls say we’re not tired? Coach is going to go harder on us,’” Traylor said with a laugh. “Crazy stuff like that.”

In actuality, Hudy wasn’t looking for a way to pick on her players — or even immediate results.

After consulting with Fry — a professor in KU’s department of health, sport & exercise sciences — Hudy had volunteered her basketball players to be part of a funded study that would test their hormone levels for each week throughout the season.

The testing was simple: Put a cotton swab in your mouth for two minutes, let the saliva soak in, then drop the swab in a tube for sampling.

KU’s players were tested for 27 out of 30 weeks, starting with the preseason and ending two weeks after their Sweet 16 exit. This season-long study provided comprehensive data on hormone levels in basketball players that had never been published before, even by professional teams.

When the season was over, Andre spent 4-6 hours studying each individual player’s samples, starting an uninterrupted process that included spinning them in a centrifuge.

The final goal was this: Find out the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio of each player for each week — a number that would determine when KU’s players were stressed the most.

Cortisol levels have been a recent hot topic in sports study, as at a base level, the hormone is catabolic, meaning it tears down muscle.

Because each person has a different baseline, however, cortisol is best tested when compared to a person’s testosterone level.

“If testosterone plummets and cortisol is up, then you have a problem … mood, performance, everything,” Hudy said. “But with cortisol down and testosterone up, you could rule the world.”

Andre was about to find out that the Jayhawks did have times when they were rulers of the world … just not during the most important stage of the season.

Continue reading this article by clicking HERE 


Inside Tracker

 You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure

Stress is Stress


slide courtesy of Eric Oetter, BSMPG 2014



Chronic Psychological Stress Impairs Recovery of Muscular Function and Somatic Sensations Over a 96-Hour Period

Stults-Kolehmainen, Matthew A.1,2; Bartholomew, John B.1; Sinha, Rajita2

Abstract: Stults-Kolehmainen, MA, Bartholomew, JB, and Sinha, R. Chronic psychological stress impairs recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations over a 96-hour period. J Strength Cond Res 28(7): 2007–2017, 2014—The primary aim of this study was to determine whether chronic mental stress moderates recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations: perceived energy, fatigue, and soreness, in a 4-day period after a bout of strenuous resistance exercise. Undergraduate resistance training students (n = 31; age, 20.26 ± 1.34 years) completed the Perceived Stress Scale and the Undergraduate Stress Questionnaire, a measure of life event stress. At a later visit, they performed an acute heavy-resistance exercise protocol (10 repetition maximum [RM] leg press test plus 6 sets: 80–100% of 10RM). Maximal isometric force (MIF), perceived energy, fatigue, and soreness were assessed in approximately 24-hour intervals after exercise. Recovery data were analyzed with hierarchical linear modeling growth curve analysis. Life event stress significantly moderated linear (p = 0.027) and squared (p = 0.031) recovery of MIF. This relationship held even when the model was adjusted for fitness, workload, and training experience. Perceived energy (p = 0.038), fatigue (p = 0.040), and soreness (p = 0.027) all were moderated by life stress. Mean perceived stress modulated linear and squared recovery of MIF (p < 0.001) and energy (p = 0.004) but not fatigue or soreness. In all analyses, higher stress was associated with worse recovery. Stress, whether assessed as life event stress or perceived stress, moderated the recovery trajectories of muscular function and somatic sensations in a 96-hour period after strenuous resistance exercise. Therefore, under conditions of inordinate stress, individuals may need to be more mindful about observing an appropriate length of recovery.


"Social garbage in,
Musculoskeletal garbage out."

- Charlie Weingroff

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BSMPG 2014 Highlights - Patrick Ward


Click below to see highlights from our 2014 BSMPG Summer Seminar featuring Patrick Ward.

More highlights are set to come in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

A special thanks again to our SPONSORS! 




patrick ward







Topic: From Data Collection to Application: The Evolving Role of the Strength Coach

From 2006 to 2012, Patrick Ward ran his own sports performance training facility in Phoenix, AZ, where he worked with athletes across a variety of sports, including golf, volleyball, football, soccer and other world-class athletes training for international competition. Patrick earned a Master of Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania in 2007, holds NSCA and CSCS certifications and is a licensed massage therapist. Currently Patrick works within the Nike Sports Research Lab in Portland, OR, where he works with some of the greatest athletes in the world and helps Nike collect sports performance insights.

Patrick maintains an active blog,, where he frequently writes about his thoughts and ideas in the world of health and human performance.


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What the Leaders are Reading - Neil Rampe


We asked the leaders in Sports Medicine and Performance Training what they are either currently reading or have read and here is what they said!

See complete (and ever growing) list of suggested reading at the BSMPG LIBRARY. 




Neil Rampe  BSMPG


Arizona Diamondbacks




Should Strength and Conditioning Professionals Attempt to Incorporate “Everything” into Their Training Program Design?


by Robert A. Panariello MS, PT, ATC, CSCS


strength training


In a recent conversation with my good friend Hall of Fame Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach Johnny Parker he commented on his recent visit to a D1 University where in discussions with this University Head S&C Coach regarding the review of the football team’s weight room program design, it was stated that approximately 80% of the program design placed emphasized toward athletic performance and approximately 20% placed emphasis on “prehab” and injury prevention. A breakdown of this football training program design revealed a 50%/50% split of the program exercise volume for both athletic performance and prehab/injury prevention and not the assumed 80% to 20% originally stated.

Coach Parker and I had previously spent time together at a D1 University to present on the topic of program design for the S&C staff at this institution with an emphasis on football program design. We also observed and made recommendations during the football team’s participation during their off-season training.

During our first “classroom” session with the football S&C staff, they were asked to list in order of importance; the exercises they felt should best be incorporated in their football program design. The top 2 exercises listed were the squat and the Olympic lifts. A breakdown of this particular D1 football program design revealed that approximately 10% of the total program volume was dedicated to the squat exercise performance and approximately 12% was dedicated to the Olympic lifts. Just as in Coach Parkers recent visit, you could imagine the surprise of this D1 football S&C staff when the actual numbers presented were very far below the program design perceived squat exercise and Olympic lift volume of work. These examples of the misconception of the actual work performed occur more often than assumed. Why does this incident of perception vs. reality of program design exercise (athletic performance) volume occur? Before I proceed I would also like to mention that these two D1 programs have excellent Head S&C Coach’s and staffs. These S&C coaches have the respect of their players, football coaching staff, and university administration. They are very organized and run outstanding and successful programs, i.e. conference championships, bowl game appearances, etc.

Why does Perception vs. Reality in the Program Design occur?

With all of the available training information presented at conferences, in books, articles, and videos, as well as the gazillions of internet articles and blogs, etc. available, the S&C Professional is faced with a significant dilemma, which exercises to include and which exercises to omit from the athlete’s training program design. What appears to transpire is that the S&C Professional attempts to include everything they can in their program design i.e. as many exercise’s as possible for athletic performance and prehab/injury prevention. This seems to occur because the S&C professional is faced with the concerns of (a) if I don’t include all of these exercises am I cheating my athletes from being the best that they can be and (b) If I don’t include everything in our training program design and my competition does, do my opponents now have an unfair advantage over our players?

This trend also occurs in the field of rehabilitation as I have witnessed less experienced physical therapist’s and athletic trainer’s who will appropriately add more advanced exercises as their patient’s/athlete’s condition progresses, yet do not remove the easier basic rehab exercises performed at the initiation of care. As this tendency continues over time the total volume of work performed by the patient/athlete may become excessive and may lead to the risk of overuse type pathologies.

With regard to the S&C program design, how does the S&C Professional determine which exercises to include and which ones to omit?

Establish a Training Philosophy

It is important for the S&C Professional to establish an athletic performance training philosophy. Once this philosophy is established, regardless of the type of philosophy, the S&C Professional should adhere to this philosophy to allow enough significant time for this philosophy to make its impact upon the athlete regardless of all the “outside noise” of additional exercises of which the coach may continue to be bombarded. Now does this infer that the S&C Professional should not continue to strive to progress and improve to achieve the best training program design as possible? Of course not as to do so would be certainly be foolish and limit the positive outcomes of the athlete during the training process. However, with that said the S&C Professional should not ignore the successes of the past.


Continue to read this article by clicking HERE. 




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What the Leaders are Reading - Inigo Mujika & Gerry Ramogida


We asked the leaders in Sports Medicine and Performance Training what they are either currently reading or have read and here is what they said!

See complete (and ever growing) list of suggested reading at the BSMPG LIBRARY. 


Inigo Mujika












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Applying the “High-Low” Training Concept to American Football by Derek Hansen



by Derek M. Hansen 





I spent the better part of the last month preparing for a conference presentation in Boston on “Recovery and Regeneration.” The conference, by the way, was a great event held every year by Art Horne at Northeastern University. If you have a chance, I encourage you to attend the Boston Sport Medicine and Performance Group conference, as you will encounter high quality presenters and a very informed and enthusiastic group of attendees. And, of course, Boston is a great city for sports.

The main thrust of my Recovery and Regeneration presentation was a better approach to the organization of training elements, not scrambling for modalities and cold tubs after poor training methods have been implemented. As part of this discussion I presented the high-low approach developed by Charlie Francis in the 1980’s. By dividing your training into high intensity and low intensity elements, while eliminating the medium intensity elements from your program, you could maximize the adaptation of key attributes in speed and power athletes. A very simple approach with a complex explanation that allows you to easily distinguish between alactic adaptations and aerobic systems geared at improving both work capacity and recovery abilities.

High, Medium, Low - CF Modified 2014

The approach seemed to be well received by the coaches and practitioners in attendance and it generated a lot of discussion. In particular, I engaged in some detailed discussion with a collegiate football strength and conditioning coach who had some great ideas on incorporating a high-low approach with both his off-season conditioning regimen, as well as sitting down with his head football coach about organizing training camp and practice in a similar fashion. I thought this was a great idea. If we could convince football coaches to apply a high-low approach to their practices and specific football preparation, I believe we could improve alactic abilities, enhance recovery and reduce the risk of injury during these sessions.

The approach to off-season strength and conditioning workouts is the easiest part of this equation. High-intensity elements include sprinting, jumping, explosive med-ball work and maximal agility efforts. In addition, explosive lifts and heavier multi-joint efforts can be classified as high-intensity training elements that are performed on the same day. Conversely, low intensity efforts can be undertaken on a separate day, including tempo runs, med-ball circuit throws and passes, body-weight circuits, sub-maximal agility drills, range-of-motion work and other peripheral activities.

Five-Days Per Week Training


It is important to note that on the low intensity day athletes will need an explicit explanation of the magnitude of intensity expected – very sub-maximal – understanding that they will be working continuously, but at a manageable intensity. The work can still be characterized as ‘difficult’ with athletes breathing hard and feeling a burn in their muscles. This is especially true in the early phases of the training program when athletes are adapting to the work rates and volumes. It is not uncharacteristic for athletes to creep into the ‘medium’ zone during these early stages of a training program. The important point is to not increase the training volumes too rapidly during these early workouts, thereby giving the athletes a chance to adapt to the work and assimilate the training within their low intensity zone.


Continue to read Derek's article by clicking HERE 



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What the Leaders are Reading - Coach Boo Schexnayder

We asked the leaders in Sports Medicine and Performance Training what they are either currently reading or have read and here is what they said!

See complete (and ever growing) list of suggested reading at the BSMPG LIBRARY. 








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What the Leaders are Reading - Brandon Bovee

We asked the leaders in Sports Medicine and Performance Training what they are either currently reading or have read and here is what they said!

See complete (and ever growing) list of suggested reading at the BSMPG LIBRARY. 


Brandon Bovee





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What the Leaders are Reading - Eric Oetter

We asked the leaders in Sports Medicine and Performance Training what they are either currently reading or have read and here is what they said!

See complete (and ever growing) list of suggested reading at the BSMPG LIBRARY. 


Eric Oetter




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