IYCA Summit – Diary of a Fitness Seminar Addict

This weekend we attended the International Youth Conditioning Association Annual Summit.  This is the third IYCA Summit in a row that I have attended, and I go back year after year for good reason.

The Speakers

Every IYCA summit that I’ve attended has featured a really great lineup. This year was no different.

We are all lucky enough to learn from people like Eric Cressey, Wil Flemming, Dave Jack, Toby Brooks, Dave Gleason, Melissa Lambert, CJ Easter, Mike Robertson, Corey Taylor, Ben Bruno, Jim Kielbaso, Dave Schmitz, Ryan Ketchum, Pat Rigsby, Pamela MacElree, and Chris Mohr.

As you can see, there are some real all stars and subject matter experts on the list. Having all of these big dogs in one place made this a really educational experience.  Some of the time slots had multiple speakers also, so unfortunately I had to miss a few speakers, but that’s extremely common with great seminars.

IYCA Hang Training Team - Tom Hurley, Steve Long, David Kittner, Jared Woolever
Hang Training Team – Tom Hurley, Steve Long, David Kittner, Jared Woolever

The Content

Dave Jack, who by the way is one of the greatest men on earth, was the host for the event. He is AMAZING at keeping a positive vibe throughout the event, introducing each speaker, and telling great stories that tie everything together.  Like I said, Dave is great, and the best MC that I could ask for.

The lecturing started with Eric Cressey.  If you don’t know Cressey you need to.  This guy is one of the smartest in the industry, and offers tons of online education to help us all get better.  His topic was on mobility, and as always, EC dropped some serious knowledge bombs. Although Eric is a genius he kept the pretty user friendly at the same time.  I’m not sure if I’m getting smarter, or EC is getting better at explaining things in terms that “us normal people” can understand, but it was a great talk, that kept me focused the entire time.

Wil Flemming talked about power training. Wil explained a bunch of great ways to help youth athletes increase power.  Wil is much more than just an Olympic lifting coach and he definitely showed us that with this presentation.

After lunch, Toby Brooks enlightened us on the details of understanding research studies.  This talk really made me think about the validity of what we call fact. Toby is a genius, and a major contributor the IYCA curriculum and success of the IYCA as a whole. Not to mention a great guy!

Dave Gleason spoke about evaluating and assessing youth athletes.  Honestly, I used this time for a few meetings with other attendees.  I learn a lot when on the road, but it’s also a great time to brainstorm with other like-minded professionals. I got a lot of stuff done in two hours, and although I missed two great presentations, I’m sure the impact of those conversations will be huge as time goes by.

Jim Kielbaso’s topic was “Making Speed and Agility Training Useful, once again, I was still in meetings at this time, and I heard that I missed a great presentation.  I know I’ll get a chance to see Jim again soon, and I’m excited to learn for him when the time comes.

Dave Schmitz always brings the energy, for each IYCA Summit and this year was no exception.  Dave knows more about bands than I know about all topics combined.  Dave is a really smart guy, and knows how to make training fun.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dave present and not be chomping at the bit to try out a cool new exercise on Monday.  Dave keeps it fresh and fun, while brining a smart background to his methods.  Also, we were lucky enough to be able to sit down and brainstorm with Dave about Smart Group Training, and how we use his RBT bands in our systems.  After a few hours of plotting and scheming, we laid out a killer resource that gives you the ability to use our systems with nothing but RBT bands.  If you want SGT quality with the versatility and fun of bands, check out this resource.

Check out SGT with Bands

Ryan Ketchum and Melisa Lambert shared a spot. Melisa educated us all on the mental side of training youth athletes.  This is a MAJOR part of training that I think people lose focus on, or never even try to improve on at all. When it comes to training youth athletes, the mental side of training is more important than almost any population.  The things you say and do as a coach can have a lifetime of impact on a youth athlete so educate yourself and make sure you are having the best impact possible.

Melissa Lambert
Ryan Ketchum
Ryan Ketchum

Cory Taylor and CJ Easter split time, and since speed and agility training is my weakest link I decided to see CJ. I also know, like, and trust CJ so that played a role also.  This was CJ’s first national presentation and he killed it!  He broke it down and made things simple, which is the sign of a great coach.

C.J Easter
C.J Easter

After Cory and CJ, Pat Rigsby and Pamela MacElree split time for the next presentation. Pat is the man of course, but since he is my personal business mentor, I decided to see if Pamela needed any help.  Teaching kettlbells to groups is no easy task so I wanted to see if I could lend in hand in PMacs hands on presentation.  Pam went over some great kettlbell basics, and had things so tight; there

was no need for me to do anything but watch and learn.  Great stuff from Pamela once again; she is a true kettlebell guru.

Pamela MacElree
Pamela MacElree

Chris Mohr and Ben Bruno spoke late in the afternoon. I decided to see Ben Bruno since I’ve seen Chris speak quite a few times, it was Ben’s first big lecture, and Ben was talking about Large Group Training Program design, which happens to be something I’m pretty passionate about J Unfortunately, Ben had some technical difficulties and his PowerPoint wouldn’t work. He rolled with the punches and knocked out a really great presentation anyway, which spelled out an easy to administer program.  He went into great detail on how he lines up his supersets when training youth athletes.  He also, went over some cool exercise selections, that were big impact exercises, and easy to coach at the same time.  Ben’s laid-back presentation style was easy to follow, which made for a great educational experience.

Ben Bruno
Ben Bruno

Mike Robertson finished up the event with another great presentation. I never have anything but great things to say about my bro Mike Robertson.  Mike has been to my training what Pat Rigsby has been to my business.  Mike is on the cutting edge when it comes to top quality training as much as anyone out there.  He spoke about the 7 R’s of training:

Release, Reset, Readiness, Reactive, Resistance, Regeneration, and Recovery

I’m a huge fan of this approach, and have been using it for a while, due being lucky enough to be mentored by Mike.  One of these R’s has been missing from Large Group Training, and after dinner with Mike, I think we have found a solution to the lack of Resets in LGT. There will be LOTS more to come on this subject in future posts so stay tuned.

Mike Robertson
Mike Robertson

Three Takeaways

I’m a professional coach:  CJ Easter explained that he is a professional coach. He coaches athletes, he coaches trainers, he coaches in the weight room and on the field, he c

oaches nutrition, and much more. The way that he said it really made me think. I do a lot of things, but really they all revolve around coaching others. I love to make people better, and the fitness and performance field is the arena in which I do it.

Landmine One Leg RDL: Ben Bruno gave some great examples of exercises that he uses in his coaching. One of them I loved was the Landmine One Leg RDL.  He explained that balance is a big issue on the single leg RDL’s with youth athletes, so he uses this landmine version to help with stabilization.  I think this is a great idea and I can’t wait to add it into our single leg RDL progressions.

Even Mike Robertson Draws a Line: Mike told a great story that I think most “corrective people” need to hear.  He explained that he was recently at a pretty advanced Postural Restoration Institute workshop, and had a major realization.  They were basically going over a case study of how they fixed the issues with a particular client. Long story short, in order to have fixed that clients issues, he needed to sit in a empty room with special glasses on for 20 minutes 5 times per day.  Mike said that when you start getting into stuff like that, you have probably crossed the line a long time ago.  I agree. If you a trainer or strength coach, there are some things that you may not need to spend time learning. Some things you just refer out, and spend time focusing on things that you can learn that will have more impact for you as a coach.  If you are a clinician, feel good knowing that people like Mike and myself, and going to send you a lot of patients, so we can coach clients.

Overall it was another really great IYCA Summit.  If you missed out, you can still check out the IYCA East Coast Event later this year in June.

Also, make sure you stay up to date with the IYCA by visiting their facebook page at

IYCA – Facebook Page

and the website at

IYCA – International Youth Conditioning Association


I couldn’t think of a good tie in for this picture of Jared, but I had to post it.  Please post comments on what Jared is pondering below 🙂

Just for the heck of it :-)
Just for the heck of it 🙂