Brett Bartholomew is a Strength & Conditioning Coach at Unbreakable Performance Center in Los Angeles, CA. Brett is also a partner in the company as well as the Director of Performance for all professional sports and oversees the programming and coaching for athletes across all sporting domains. Brett has worked with Olympic, professional, amateur, collegiate & high-school athletes in over 23 sports world-wide, including Olympic athletes from Canada and China, world championship rugby teams, members of the United States Special Forces, NFL players from all 32 teams including 10 Pro-Bowlers, UFC fighters such as Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, and Luke Rockhold as well as world championship (Winky Wright) and amateur boxers.
In this episode, we discuss:
Learning to Prepare Athletes
Assessing Athletes Physically, Mentally and Emotionally
Connecting with Your Athletes
Getting Your Athletes to ‘Buy In’
Communicating and Coordinating
Using Life Experiences to Improve Your Coaching
and much more!
In addition to his experience working with athletes, Brett has also worked extensively with organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and with corporate wellness employees/ leadership from industry leaders such as Tesla, Google, Intel & Franklin Square.
Prior to working with Unbreakable, Brett served as the lead strength and conditioning coach for the NFL & Combat Sports Programs at EXOS (Formerly Athletes Performance Institute) and also led and designed programming for the MLB/MiLB and Military programs.
In his experience in the collegiate setting- Brett managed the performance programs and delivery of 10 different sports at Southern Illinois-Carbondale, as well assisted the Cornhusker football team at University of Nebraska-Lincoln during the ’09-10 off-season.
Brett obtained his Bachelors in Science degree in Kinesiology at Kansas State University, and his Masters of Education in Science from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he studied and wrote research on the topic of motor learning and athletic development. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S) and member of the NSCA as well as a featured domestic and international speaker on a variety of performance related topics.
Full Transcription of Our Podcast with Brett Bartholomew
Corey Beasley [00:00:01]: Hey guys, is Corey Beasley with fight camp conditioning. We are on the phone here with Coach Brett Bartholomew. Brett, how are you doing?
Brett Bartholomew [00:00:07]: Doing great Corey. Thanks for having me.
Corey Beasley [00:00:09]: Of course, man. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. I know you’re super busy.
Brett Bartholomew [00:00:14]:Yeah, no problem. It’s my pleasure.
Corey Beasley [00:00:14]: So Brett, this for everybody who listening we got coaches, athletes, trainers, different people that are listening. Just give everybody a little a 2 cent of who you are and what you’re doing?
Brett Bartholomew [00:00:25]:Sure. So I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, been in strength and conditioning about 13, 14 years now. In terms of actually training athletes, got into coaching and training young started as an athlete myself. My sports were baseball, football and boxing. And just like many of us had a passion for physical development and how far you can push your body, especially growing up in a state where strength and conditioning was so highly emphasized. So got my undergraduate degree at Kansas State University in kinesiology, went onto graduate school and my master’s degree in exercise science with an emphasis on motor learning at Southern Illinois University during that time. That was an integral time for me as a coach because putting that situation where I was in charge of eight teams not only assisting with a football and basketball, but also in charge of the Olympic sports as well, all of their programming, all their coaching, so on and so forth. Also interned in athlete’s performance down in Pensacola, Florida immediately after college and volunteered at the University of Nebraska. So all those stops and a lot of years of kind of unpaid work, but that kind of apprenticeship really laid the foundation for later and now what became on a kind of a varied practice. I work with fighters, Special Forces, military NFL football. I’ve worked with a major league baseball players, just a wide range of individuals. So giving me plenty of opportunities to learn, screw up, refine practice and everything like that. So now my main job is the director of performance that I’m breakable. I’m also part owner with Jay Glazer, Lindsey Berg and Ryan. And then I have my own company Bartholomew strength, which is my LLC where I do a lot of a consulting work, speaking work both domestically, internationally, and working on some other projects as well. But my main job is as a coach, I usually coach around anywhere from three to six groups a day, try to handle the administrative stuff on the back end and try to juggle being a husband as well.
Corey Beasley [00:02:32]: So all of that experience. I mean, you have a quite a bit of impressive experience with a lot of different athletes. A lot of time with a lot of different bodies, a lot of different goals. I mean that all of that experience adds up and like you said, I think you made a lot of mistakes, but you’ve learned a lot of things. You’ve probably shattered a lot of people and all that experience really does make huge difference as you’re moving forward right?
Brett Bartholomew [00:03:02]:Without a doubt. I think that’s important to get across to people, especially in today’s age where information is that they’re ready people can look up anything they want and instead having examples of exercises, programs, routines, all those things. But just because you can absorb the information or digest that I should say doesn’t mean it’s fully absorbed. A lot of times people just try to replicate the programs or because they read something, they think they know it. I really can’t emphasize enough that unless you’re out there coaching day in and day out and putting yourself in that position to really learn it and take a note and apply it at the highest level, you’re doing yourself and the people that you work with and injustice. I say that the last thing that people in our profession should be scared of is getting your hands dirty. And it’s something that we just see with interns that some might see on social media that might see everywhere where people think that just because it’s sat behind a computer or flipped open some bullets and all this kind of stuff that they’re knowledgeable or especially degree certifications, you need to have your license, this sort of occasions you need to do your due diligence research and read the journals. But none of it means anything if you’re not practicing on a daily basis. And vice versa if people are always just practicing and not staying up on the research and not following best practices. And I see more of that. I think now more than ever, despite all that information. So it’s interesting you can’t be scared of failure for sure.
Corey Beasley [00:04:28]: Yeah. Well I was talking with one of my clients the other day and he owned a huge company and we were kind of talking just about mentalities and different things like that. And I really don’t think it’s that different from industry to industry. But what we were talking about specifically was just how the people used to be an intern or an apprentice with someone for years and years. And then they would learn the craft, they would go through mistakes, they would ask questions, they would do that type of work like you’ve done in the past. And then before they ever got the opportunity to maybe open their own shop or whatever it is that they were doing, but that was very commonplace. And I think these days a lot of that’s been lost.
Brett Bartholomew [00:05:09]:Yeah, without a doubt with that. I think its part of Western culture too, especially here in America. People are in such a rush to get a job. I mean, the most common question I get at on social media, whether it’s my Instagram, Twitter, or anything like that is, Hey, how do I start working with NFL athletes or UFC providers and things like that. And it’s funny because they see me doing that now, but what they don’t see, what they don’t realize is one, I only post a fraction of my experiences. I try to post something on social media everyday just because of the amount of people that have told me it helps them and gives them stuff that you want. So I feel like I have a responsibility to do that. I mean, I just started really doing Instagram three months ago. I post things here and there, but very infrequently I don’t blog. Twitter and Facebook like I do here and there and at Twitter probably the most frequently. But my point is back when I was interning or back when I was coaching the youth group and athlete’s performance now, EXOS and all that stuff, these mediums weren’t as mainstay as they are now. And the ones that work, I wasn’t on it. So people need to worry less about training pro athletes and training and worry more about training. Who’s in front of them. And that’s the biggest thing is there’s this how do I get this job? Do the job that you have right now and do it really well. And if you’re not passionate about that, you’re doing it as a stepping stone and then you kind of got to be concerned. When I worked with youth athletes, my goal was never to, Hey, you know what, I’m going to work with youth athletes. And that’s a stepping stone to pro athletes. No way youth athletes were, we’re a big part of my development because it’s so much harder to teach a kid that has no idea or any context of what you want him to do. How do you perform a skill than it is to refine a skill in a professional athlete and not as a large part of where my coaching development took place is sitting here and saying, why can’t I hit balance on one leg or do it in your do this and what do I need to try? And let me grab whatever I could. And so then when I read people’s information later on coaching progressions or teaching progressions, I be like, yeah, I agree with what they’re saying because I’ve done that and I did you had at work or no what this guy is saying doesn’t make sense. I’m not sure that this guys coached anybody. And so I think that that’s a huge thing that people got to keep in mind.
Corey Beasley [00:07:37]: Well, I think a lot of doors will open up for people only when they do a good job with the people standing in front of them first. And it’s amazing how they refer their friends or people hear about them or you kind of develop a kind of lost the words. But if you do a great job, people know and if you bad job. People know more.
Brett Bartholomew [00:08:03]:Without a doubt. That couldn’t be more true. And it’s a lot more simple than people think they just don’t want to take the time to do it. And they feel rushed. They feel like, I’ve got to get into this position. I won’t have an opportunity. I’ve got to give them an out position or I won’t have an opportunity. And the reality is you didn’t have any opportunities. If you don’t do very well and you don’t make the most of it, but it’s a rush culture.
Corey Beasley [00:08:33]: My next question was going to be, how long have you been doing this?
Brett Bartholomew [00:08:37]:In terms of coaching in general, or specifically athletes or what?
Corey Beasley [00:08:41]: When were you in college right?
Brett Bartholomew [00:08:46]:Yeah, Kansas State. So that was in 2004. And so I started working with fighters more in exchange for my own fighting. And so I was like 19 years old, really had just gotten into college and a local boxing gym opened up. And I started fighting just to kind of I needed something different now that I was done with baseball and football and in a new Avenue in my life. And I always liked boxing, but there were no real boxing gyms really where I grew up. Unless I wanted to drive 35, 45 minutes. We lived in Omaha, Nebraska, which is a relatively big city, about a million people, but we lived way out in West Omaha and they get down to the South part of town. It was more than a hike. And so that just wasn’t what was around me at the time, despite always having that interest but found this gym and start doing it. And the owner of the gym was like, you’re pretty decent at this. Would you ever want to compete? And I said, sure. As much as I can. I work two jobs in college and was focused on getting my degree and what have you. So I started doing golden gloves and things like that. And in exchange for the gym dues, I was going to a college for human performance, so asked me to train some of the other fighters and kind of consult in terms of physical development at the time I knew the physiological principles, I had no idea the level of coaching that I know now. So I maybe pulled the wool over some people’s eyes, but in reality look back at it. I did pretty well I thought on a push pull squat, don’t chase specificity and just started doing that and then it just skyrocketed from there a lot of this was influenced when I was 15, I was hospitalized for a year. I had my heart, kidney and liver issues related to my lack of knowledge and training. I just used to over train like a mad man. It was my way of dealing with depression as a teenager since a lot of my friends got into heavy drug use in high school and my parents are going through divorce. So I turned to what was my only outlet when I was younger, which was just training and exercise and we’ll get to an extreme. And I ended up hospitalized and myself. And so that was my really my first wakeup call the way back at 15 of the first books that I read were boys athletes complete conditioning for football the book of Nancy Clark sports nutrition guide book. Because I had to learn how to regain that weight healthfully in order to get my life back. And so once that got me out in the hospital, and I mean I was in a cardiac arrest ward, it was very serious ordeal. But once I got out of the hospital and kind of armed myself with this knowledge and rebuilt my body, it was easy to know the path I was going to go down. And that’s happen human performance. So all in all coaching 13 years coaching professional athletes and higher level athletes. I got thrown into really young. So at eight years like I got plopped into an EXOS system or athlete’s performance system where like the minute you went in there, you’re assisting with these groups or with those groups as an intern. And then when I there I got thrown into coaching kids athlete quiet. It was just a very special time in the development of that company where if you were there you got thrown into the fire early. I mean I was coaching some NFL guys at 24, 25 and it was sink or swim like you were either going to do really well or you were going to get exposed early. And I think that excited me because to learn if you’re a fraud early on if by putting yourself in really high risk situations and coaching high profile athletes does you a lot of good either rise to the occasion or you realize I am just not cut out for this. And I love a good challenge. I loved it every day. And so 13 years in total about, you know six to eight coaching, high level pro guys, things like that, depending on how you want to look at it or phrase it and just continue to roll forward ever since.
Corey Beasley [00:12:43]: So Brett and talking specifically about combat guys, so wrestlers, grapplers fighters that kind of, those athletes, not in specific because those are what the site’s geared towards. You going through what you went through at 15 that has to make a huge impact when you’re talking with somebody guys. Because from all the coaches that I’ve talked with overtraining, overreaching, doing too much, too often, too intense for these guys is very commonplace.
Brett Bartholomew [00:13:14]: Without a doubt. I’m going to be honest with you. That’s I’ve done a lot of these podcasts and that’s one of the best form of questions based off of an experience that I’ve shared that I’ve had. So without a doubt, I’ve probably not even thought of it like that, but my experience certainly does influence that. I think it influences it. One from a relational standpoint, you know as well as I do, if not better, that fighters are very unique personalities and oftentimes have a lot of internal struggle, internal struggles, and I’ve overcame a lot themselves. And it’s funny. Fighters are one of the only athletes I’ve ever worked with regardless of sport that have kind of an internal sense of whether you’re like them or not or whether you understand them or not. I’ve never seen that before we met when I interacted with fighters. I’ve always been able to come this tense as far we like each other. Do we understand one another? Just the way I communicate and the things that I tried to just relate to them on face, tend to pick up a sense of, have you ever been in a ring? Have you ever overcame struggle? Do you understand me? When I started working with UFC fighters specifically, I remember somebody was like, you have got to just be so aggressive. How do you do that? And I’m like, actually, there’s some of the most loving, awesome individuals I’ve ever been around. Like Julianna Pena specifically. I work with her quite a bit, and everybody just talk to me about Julianna. And they’re like, like she’s a little wild one? And I’m like, that girl couldn’t be more sweet. And it’s just funny that perception of fighters. And it was the same with me, like I box and people would think I’m an aggressive person. And I said there’d be like, guy is this kind of nothing to do with its chest. It’s a physical manifestation of chess and you have the utmost respect for your opponent. And if you don’t, you’re going to get knocked on your ass sooner rather than later. And you’re going to learn. And your listeners can relate to this. I remember the first few times I went into a ring and if there was a misplaced sense of aggression, it was more of your internal fear of your self-failing, not being necessarily being afraid of another person or wanting to hear another person. But I’d go in there and I remember my first fight. I mean I fairly remember it, but I just went in there swinging wildly and thank God I was in good shape. I ended up knocking the guy out, but it wasn’t like I wonder, hurt the guy just when I was so nervous and so filled with emotion, you just start rolling as a fighter at our gym, a high level guy at the time came over and goes, what are you listening to before you fight? And I was like, I’m listening like DMX, Eminem I collapse. I’m doing double-unders and my hoodie on the jump rope. Why would you do? Isn’t it a good thing to get up. And I goes, no. I sleep and I listened to classical music and I focused on visualization and relaxed. And I’m like, but aren’t you supposed to be aggressive? He’s like, you’re supposed to be aggressive in the passion that you have and that you take towards your preparation, aggression and the ring or the octagon will kill you. And I just remember ever since out stand point I never looked at it the same. So it’s made it easy to relate to fighters. Going back to your original question based on some personal struggles I had overcome early in life and then also just understanding what that’s like to a degree in those competitive situations.
Corey Beasley [00:16:43]: Now, Brett, when a new guy walks in your doors, girl, guy, fighter, wrestler, doesn’t really matter. When a new athlete walks through your doors and says, Brett, I need you to help me. Where do you kind of start with those kids?
Brett Bartholomew [00:16:58]:I think the first thing I try to do is just listen and formulate really great questions. I used to be too concerned with telling them about what I do and what they can expect with the training and all of that and trying to almost validate it right off the bat and now more so I just tried to really get an insight as to what they’re looking to achieve and what they’ve done in the past to try to achieve it. And you know, hone in on those aspects after that, I tell them about how my training reflects what they’re looking for. So you’ve had problems and you feel like you don’t have strength in later rounds. Well, great our program is focused on building a strong foundation of power and strength and then making sure that you can express that over a longer period of time. How do we do that? It all has to go in with our periodization and program design, so I’ll make sure and tend to research a little bit, then I’ll relate and then I try to reframe everything for them. So I try to get an idea of what their biases may have been in the past and why they’re that way. How does their personality feed into that? I think that’s a big thing that most coaches miss they’ll build test physical capabilities, whether it’s vertical jump for overall power expression or any kind of Go test or VO2 tests and get an idea of anaerobic, aerobic capabilities, anything like that. But not many people actually sit down and I’ll do a personality profile where I want to know where they’re from. I want to know how many siblings they have. I want to know about their parents or their background kind of almost like that old school disc assessment or strength finders. I’ll try to get an idea of what drives this person uniquely so that I can better communicate with them in a streamlined fashion. And so the biggest thing that I could inculcate in anybody listening is learn to ask better questions because you really got to be able to create an overall composite of your athletes if you want to be able to maximize your interactions with them and the training with them.
Corey Beasley [00:18:54]: Well, and all that relates to their buy in. I mean, if an athlete doesn’t buy in into your program or you, like you’ve been talking about, you may as well just throw the towel, because they’re going to give you a half ass effort throughout the sessions and question a lot of things that you’re doing or not trust you 100% and that ultimately is going to hurt them, right?
Brett Bartholomew [00:19:12]:Without a doubt. And that goes into about a year ago I decided to write a book to that very point and it’s something I’m working on now and hopefully we’ll be done by the end of this year. It’s called building buy-in. Well that’s part of the title. That whole title is conscious coaching and it talks about how building buy in through relationships can enhance your training. And if it goes into that very fact is essentially trust. The reason we don’t call it trust it’s an already established term in the industry and you do have to build it and trust is an emotion and it’s not something that is passively received. You have to build it from the ground up. And that comes from you listening. That comes from you. Communicating. That comes from time and patience. And I find that again, like you mentioned earlier, it’s just like when people, you don’t want to rush into their career or do X, Y and Z, they don’t focus enough on the root principles of what moves people and motivates them. And so that’s really what the book is focused on hand in more and more into the science behind the art. A lot of times people will say, well, it’s the art of coaching and then there’s the science of coaching. No, there’s a science to the art. There’s a reason that people interact. And reflect and discuss and communicate and behave the way that they do. And for you to understand that like is critical in coaching, development in athlete relationship management.
Corey Beasley [00:20:38]: Absolutely. Well, even the guys that I know that speak quite a bit all around the world and people meet them and they’re like, wow, they’re so charismatic or they have such a way with people. And nine times out of 10 when I’ve met those people they’ve worked incredibly hard at learning how to present, how to deal with people, how to relate, how to communicate well, and they worked their tails off at that, not just because they’re good at it, typically.
Brett Bartholomew [00:21:10]:Yeah. All of that doesn’t come by accident and that’s the biggest thing is communication is intentional communication is one of the most powerful weapons that coach can have in their arsenal. But how can you communicate effectively if you don’t listen appropriately and you don’t know the questions to ask and you don’t know how to uncover certain fears. How do I uncover certain biases on uncover any of those aspects? It’s no different than performance profiling. How can I write somebody a program that is worth a damn if I have no idea about how they express power or what their relative or maximal strength level capabilities are? These things are synergistic in nature. And I just think a lot of people for too long have ignored the psychosocial properties of performance. I think they’ve just looked at the physical pieces and then wondered why this doesn’t happen or why their athletes don’t do what they want. And the answer is fairly evident. You’d probably have an uncovered the right things. You probably haven’t built the right trust. You probably don’t have shared values. And if you do, you haven’t communicated those or expressed those appropriately.
Corey Beasley [00:22:21]: So, Brett, if you get an idea of where that athlete’s at. You do a little bit of an assessment and a lot of different ways an athlete walks through your door to train that day. What’s a typical hour look like when they come in and see you?
Brett Bartholomew [00:22:40]: Yeah, so a typical hour we’ll start with top tissue, any kind of self my facial release starting from the foot all the way up the body. I’m trying to identify certain trigger points or mobility restrictions that they have and just work through those. We’re really trying to set up foundation and cornerstone for our appropriate movement. Does it another time that I’ll use to try to leverage it with conversational strategies and just get to know them and learn a little bit more about their body. After that we’ll get right into movement prep and I call it movement prep as opposed to warm up because this is something that did EXOS definitely imparted in me. It’s a whole categorization of training within itself. So the right movement prep encapsulates, some form of activation whether that’s glued activation or just killer activation in general, looking at the shoulders, the torso, the hips, just getting the key stabilizers really fired up. I’ll use a lot of modalities, different modalities for that, whether its body weight, things like whether it’s playing single leg bridges, anything like that. Or I’ll use kind of kettlebell corrective strategies, whether it’s a plank with a kettlebells, pull through, anything like that have told me like press out anything that just really gets everything fired up. And then after that we’ll go into their dynamic flexibility. So that that’s what we consider our traditional or currently traditional warm up where we’re doing a lot of different calisthenics, dynamic stretches, really just trying to elongate the tissue and get to the core temperature warmed up. And that’s something that people missed, that the warm up is oftentimes the most powerful and the most forgotten as a reason fighters shadow box. And do those things and we’ve got to bring that into the weight room and performance side as well because really you look at force conduction, power transfer, all of those things are set through it. An increase in core body temperature and neuromuscular signaling when they perform these movements. So choose that for those purposes as well as mobility and stability and getting those movement patterns got up. And then finally a little bit of neuromuscular facilitation via rapid response work or mid ball or jumps, pole goes, anything like that. So that’s really what we tend to look at there. After that we’ll get into the strength training routine. The split selection depends on the length of the time they’re with me, their needs and do that overall week or micro cycle looks like. Sometimes we have to take it day by day, week by week, because fighters as you know how wildly variable schedules. Sometimes if it is camp and it’s an eight weeks focus kind of training camp prep, then I have an idea and I always start with the principle general to more specific type of loading strategies. So we’ll do the strength training. That could be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the day and the focus. And then finally we’ll do some energy system development at the end, focus in on one of three major energy systems. Sometimes we might do those things separately. If a fighter comes and they’ve had a long day of sparring and technique practice, I may just focus on the strength and if I can get an hour with them, I love it because that turns out being about 45 minutes of focus strength work, which is my opinion. And I’d go and ask for anybody to do agree with me here, but that the research is fairly conclusive in this. And plus just if you work with fighters you can’t really ignore this. You fighters in general are not nowhere near as strong or as powerful as they could be. And there’s always somebody listening. It says, Oh, well what about a guy like Uriah Hall or this person or that person? They’re pretty powerful. How are you going to say they’re not powerful? People forget that in the world of performance, we’re talking about relative strength and power. Just because somebody has a physical anomaly and very explosive or very athletic does not mean they’re anywhere near what they could be if they had focused training and not often gets lost. I don’t understand people kind of metal in my new shoes with that. But none of us are anywhere near what our full potential is. So even if somebody comes to me and they’re immensely powerful, I still need to get them stronger because as far as I know, the laws of physics still heavily apply to fighting like force to knock a lot of people out when it’s married together appropriately. So there’s a lot of those aspects we try to hit and so I think the ability to produce those high levels of force and power are equally as big of a concern. So those are the things that we focus on within that timeframe.
Corey Beasley [00:27:08]: I think that’s important when they’re married together appropriately, I think is the term. And I’ve had so many different people out to our gym for workshops and attended so many workshops or events and from at least what I see, people tend to gravitate towards a specific aspect of fitness or strength or performance and call it their own right. And that’s how they brand themselves. That’s how they train their people, that’s how they train themselves. Maybe it’s a way that worked really well for them as an individual. And so they think everybody needs that. And then people don’t seem to see the rest of the image or the picture, that’s just one piece of the puzzle, so to speak, but they don’t see the whole puzzle.
Brett Bartholomew [00:27:55]:Yeah. And that’s the whole piece and that again, goes into what I call conscious coaching. And it’s something that kind of a movement that I’m trying to start is people that coach and had seen the big picture. And get past the myopic nature of performance. Like I don’t think any of us ever become masters’ coaches. I know that terms thrown around a lot, but I think it’s evident that people don’t become masters level coaches over the long-term because things that work for one individual part not going to work for everybody. And it’s like Ernest Hemingway said it and I always talk about it in my presentations. We are all apprentices in a craft in which we’ll never become a master. And it’s important that people realize that what is important is that you’re conscious of everything around you in the world of performance and that you’re aware. We have this high level of awareness. So that was the big namesake for the book is conscious coaching is like, Hey, be a guy that gets it via guy that we have. Somebody refers a fighter to you. They know they’re not going to be worried about this guy coming back, like some big block of steel that can’t move or conversely, some guy that doesn’t do any train training and just becomes a conditioning junkie, they should know that I’m sending him to Corey. Corey is conscious of all those aspects of performance. I don’t have anything to worry about my fighter’s going to come back well-developed appropriately. And so that’s a big piece of that. And exactly what you just spoke to there.
Corey Beasley [00:29:21]: Now kind of go on a separate from performance a little bit. Because I think the points that you hit, I agree. That’s kind of how I run my hours as well. A lot of different coaches that I’ve interviewed, the same stuff. Which is awesome. I love hearing that because it just kind of it helps just kind of confirm I think what everybody’s doing and that you’re hitting the right checkpoints, so to speak. In addition to that, they also have skill training session. So they got standup stuff. They’ve got groundwork, MMA, Boxing, Jiu Jitsu there’s a million different things out there and a lot of these guys are bouncing from gym to gym. For you and the athletes that you’re working with, how are you communicating with those other coaches so that the kids are staying healthy?
Brett Bartholomew [00:30:06]:I wish if I had a formula down. Some coaches are better than others. Then that’s a big pain for kind of strength and conditioning. And I use that word choice carefully, but also I think it’s appropriate. I worked with fighters and I’ve talked to their coaches and everything seems to be on the same page. And then the next thing I know that coach has a fight or run five miles that morning before the strength training session on an empty stomach because that’s what he made another fighter do, who he happened to win a world championship with five years ago. And otherwise I’ll have guys that they understand what we’re doing from a strength and conditioning standpoint and we’ve talked about, Hey, they can’t do any other weight stuff after the outside of this or any other kind of true working out. If I had some fight specific practice sparring or road work and I come back and find out that some guys took them through some kind of crazy band routine. They just fried the guy. So all of a sudden my max strength session or power session has done. I think that what’s going to have to happen in the world of fighting is improved education for first string that conditioning coaches and we’ll just call him technical tactical coaches to coincide and work better they need to understand the value of recovery. They need understand performance. We are the conditioning coaches or are just one piece of the puzzle and granted our work with the fighters may not win them the fight, but I could certainly lose them if it’s not maintenance appropriately. Like, I can have a fighter that’s a physical but technically, but tactically just may not be proficient and he can get his butt kicked. But vice versa if you do have somebody that is very proficient technically and tactically and we do stupid stuff in the weight room where we don’t manage their preparation or recovery appropriately, they’re going to get beat. And so it’s a very polarizing profession. But at the same time, technical tactical coaches are still coaches need to understand that we’re an ally and this isn’t who’s the main show who are like somebody trying to take the fighter away from them like it’s a flight team or a reason. So there’s some fighters and camps and things that are better than others. My experience has probably been 50/50, to be honest. 50% of them have really gotten in and been adherent and hadn’t come to me when they really need something that they’ve heard some of the work I’ve done with guys and said, Hey, this person needs what he got. And then other ones will say, Hey, we hear it, we’ve heard about your reputation, but we’re still kind of skeptical. We don’t know yet. We’re still going to do our thing. And I just let him know now I’m like, guys, unless we’re on the same page, I can’t do this. I can’t do it for my position in this career. You don’t want to do it for yours. So unless we have a vested interest in working together, it’s probably not a good fit. And it’s tough. I was just at a conference recently that was geared towards both the strength and conditioning coaches and fight coaches or technical tactical coaches. And one of the first lectures on recovery started at right at six o’clock and the strength coaches were all there by and large. It was a very small population and then walking late and comes a number of fuel coaches and fight based coaches. And you’re sitting here like this is about your fighters guys. This is the current research and the science of how to make them better. Like, why are we here on time? And you guys are walking in late when more often than not you guys become kind of the issue. And so it’s not a finger-pointing game, it’s just something where people got to realize they’re on a team and they can’t be self-conscious about who that fighters working with and if they’re the main man behind it, like who cares? As long as the fighters arms raised at the end.
Corey Beasley [00:33:52]: Yeah, absolutely. Brett, you kind of alluded to it and we hadn’t talked much about it, but talking about recovery, and this will probably be the last thing that we talk about, but what are some ways that you monitor the recovery of your athletes throughout the week, throughout the weeks?
Brett Bartholomew [00:34:11]:So there’s kind of a best case scenario and budget scenario and being in the private sector, I’m in the budget scenario, we don’t have much of a budget so you get things like Omegawave and even a bunch of bio force, heart rate, HRV kind of monitors you, although we are going to start using more of those here in a little bit, but we don’t have a whole lot of the toys. What I will do is we’ll do a jump mat testing and kind of getting an assessment of where their central nervous system is week to week, day to day. So we’ll just get a basic just jump mat out. We’ve established a force profile with them in terms of, or just even a jump profile looking at what the normative data is where they do a counter movement, jump, non-counter movement, and all those things. So we can get a decent baseline. And when they come in every week, we’ll help them do that on a Monday, relatively cold. So we want to see just kind of where they’re at. Not trying to set a PR, but just kind of come in and let me know and let’s see how you feel. We also do wellness questionnaires, so I simplify it. I drew a one to five scale. I know the traditional practices, one to 10. But I had a lot of fighters and people that just felt like, I don’t know the difference between a seven and an eight is kind of murky and yada. So I just simplified it and I said, Hey, from a soreness standpoint, how well you slept, how you’re eating, a willingness to train standpoint, where are you at? And please give me a measure of the thing. And the typical question I get off that, well then what do you do with that data in regards to specifically the wellness questionnaire, but simple if I look at the wellness questionnaire and it’s listed with a bunch of threes and belows and then I look at the junk profile data, which is kind of the riff poke at the central nervous system. I know that I may need to reduce the load or the volume, I prefer to reduce volume with fighters because that’s something they already get enough of. I’d rather have their nervous just kind of like if you and I are going to go train today, you say, I didn’t sleep well let’s make this a quick one. And I likely aren’t going to hit a high volume session. What we’re going to do is probably hit a couple of explosive lifts and then general prep and some basic exercises and maybe in this six to eight range or eight to 10 real light and get out of there. And even though eight to 10 can be perceived as high volume. When I talk high volume I’m not just talking about repetitions, I’m talking about total load volume. When you look at sets. So somebody can hit two sets of eight to 10, that’s not necessarily high volume. Especially if you’re only doing a few exercises. Whereas the true high volume can be like, Hey, five by five, three by 10, anything like that over the course, many different exercises. So we’ll reduce the volume, we’ll focus a little bit more on, on recovery techniques if we can do some breathing sometimes. And some people may think I’m crazy for this, I even prefer to alter the music in the weight room. I think I’m really big on subconscious influencers of performance and music therapy and just music in general can drastically influence not only our stress levels, but our heart rate and all kinds of different responses within the body. There’s a fascinating Ted talk on the topic. I believe it’s called the research or the science of nightclubs and it just talks about, and this is just one piece, but everything from nightclubs to coffee shops anywhere you go knows that they know what they’re doing when they play certain music selection almost. That’s the point that they said that certain clubs, when they play rock music, they see that more beer is ordered when they play electro music or house music, more mixed drinks are ordered. And even certain grocery store outlets will choose certain types of music to influence purchasing behavior and buying behavior. So pretty fascinating stuff. And so I’ll try to wind it down and we’re not listening to Drake today or whatever you guys want to listen to. We’re going to turn this on some pretty low key music. I just want you to get your lifting. Let’s get some soft tissue and let’s get you hydrated. Let’s get some food in your system and then get home and get some sleep. Try to take a 30 minute nap. So jump mat wellness questionnaire surveys. I make them track. We have a workout cards that they’ve got to track and log their weights day to day. So I’ll try to look at the trends there. I’m messing more and more with push band technology. We can’t afford a Tendo unit or a gym aware. So push is a great device that even though it looks at movement speed as opposed to bar speed, it still gives us something to go off of. So trying to get that link in where some of our athletes right now and it’s something I’d definitely recommend and yeah, so I try to take from all avenues and not look at just one of them, but see how these things sync together so that I can better manage the conversations and sessions as we progressed.
Corey Beasley [00:39:17]: Well, Brett I think that is a wealth of information to people to digest. I mean you have a lot of points that I think if everybody went back and reviewed this again, there’s a lot of resources and things that I think people can look into more. What do you got coming up in the next few months an event that people can check out?
Brett Bartholomew [00:39:38]: Yeah, July is one of the biggest month for me just getting my football guys ready for training camp. And then I’m about to kick off a bunch of speaking kind of tour. So I’m going to be in Chicago speaking on purification for program design for that’s a private summit, but I’m going to be doing some more widespread stuff in China. Also at the Australian strength and conditioning association, speaking on how psychology and different subconscious influencers impact performance. So those are the next few speaking events. Loren Landow and I are also considering putting together a clinic in Denver. August 20th. We’re still finalizing the details there. You can check out my social media which is @coach_BretB on Twitter and Instagram for more details on that when we do announce it. We’re looking at kicking up more with our good buddies and we’re looking at doing an annual one to two day clinic together up at his place in Denver with Dr. Andy Galpin from Cal State Fullerton as well. Just trying to find, trying to find more ways to get practical, no nonsense advice in the hands of more coaches. I think we all like going into clinics and seminars, sometimes feel like we can be left with kind of esoteric, subtle suggestions with no real kind of what are you doing? Can you show me a type stuff? And Loren and I really pride ourselves on being able to give people those things. So keep an eye on that. And then I should be launching my site here pretty soon as a way where people can keep a more detailed touch of what I’m doing and consolidate kind of my philosophies, products and companies I believe in and speaking events and things like that. If anybody’s interested in having me out. So that’s just going to be called Bartholomewstrength.com and should be released sometime before September. Working on that now, just trying to ways that you can get more information out to more people and do whatever I can to help move the industry forward.
Corey Beasley [00:41:40]: Well thanks so much for sharing your info with us and new experiences. Hopefully everybody we’ll go back, review this stuff and be able to apply some of the tips that you gave them. I appreciate it.
Brett Bartholomew [00:41:51]:No, thank you Corey. I really appreciate the opportunity. You’re doing great work.
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