What School Does Not Teach….

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” –Albert Einstein


A little down time with the Master.

I had the honor of meeting Gray Cook in person again at the Perform Better Personal Training Summit in Long Beach, CA in August 2010. He is not only one of the most influential and humble fitness professional and physical therapist I know, he is also the type of thinker that challenges existing dogmas in the rehab and fitness industries that could get him burned at the stake as a heretic.

Since I am working on my pre-requisites to go into the physical therapy program at Cal State Long Beach, I thought he could give me an inspiring insight on what to expect as a student.

From what I understand in physical therapy school — or any type of trade school or four-year university — the program teaches you one topic, wraps it in a box, and puts it away somewhere after you have passed the course. For example, you take one course in abnormal biomechanics, and it is put away in one category when you are done. You take a course in PNF and neuromuscular stretching, and it is put away in another box when you are done. And so on with other courses.

Courtesy of umflint.edu.

What the program does not teach you is how to put all of these information together and apply it in the real world, according to Cook. It is up to you to put them together to solve different and unique problems, or follow the standard hospital or insurance protocols to play it safe and earn your paycheck. Unfortunately, many students who come out of these schools thinks that they have learned all they need to do their job. However, what they have become are robots programmed to follow the existing protocols established by the current medical and insurance standards.

I am fortunate to have read and applied the works and philosophies of Gray Cook and other well-respected health and fitness professionals, such as Anthony Carey of Function First and Thomas Myers, author of “Anatomy Trains.” Their teachings go beyond what any school teaches and do not necessary follow a status quo to achieve a goal. They were able to combine the different aspects of exercise, biomechanics, injuries, work ethics, business and philosophy into a system that both physical therapists and personal trainers can use for almost any given situation, whether it is working with clients or patients or improving their business.

So what’s did Gray say when I asked him what I should do when I attend PT school?

“Just sit back, smile and shut up.”

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