Management Of The Barbell Athlete Course








Are you being shopped?

Injured barbell athletes (CrossFitters, powerlifters, and weightlifters) are shoppers. 

These patients will “trial” several PTs before they get what they want. 

So what are they looking for? 

They are not looking for core exercises. 

They are not looking for hip mobility exercises.

They are looking for someone to tell them “what’s wrong.”

They are looking for a PT to help them improve their mechanics.

They are looking for a PT help them adjust their training volume and intensity.

Essentially, they are looking for a PT to consolidate everything into a simple plan with weekly progressions, 2-3 corrective exercises, minor adjustments to their barbell mechanics, and modifications to their training volume and intensity. 

If you’re a PT who relies on exercises to solve pain, this is only 25% of the solution for barbell athletes.

This approach translates to minimal to moderate outcomes…and barbell athletes continue to “shop around” for a PT who “gets them.”

I’ve worked with elite and novice barbell athletes and this is the most common story.

If you’ve been “shopped” before or want to avoid this happening to you, you need to register for my “Management of the Barbell Athlete” CEU course. 

One of the biggest leaps you can make with barbell athletes is understand the basic mechanics of barbell movements, such as the snatch and clean & jerk.

I’m going to walk you through:

  • How to perform and analyze the back squat, front squat, deadlift, and overhead shoulder movements.
  • How to adjust mechanics to alleviate tissue stress and allow healing
  • How to fine-tune volume and intensity with injured barbell athletes
  • How to gain the confidence to manage barbell athletes

You’ll walk away with an “all-in-one”, easy-to-follow approach with managing CrossFitters, powerlifters, and weightlifters. 

If you work with these athletes or want to work with them, this course is perfect for you.

Do I need to take off my clothes?

“I’m not going to physical therapy! They’re going to ask me to take off my clothes.”

I had dinner with friends lately and one person mentioned they were hesitant to go to physical therapy because they were afraid they had to take off their clothes.

After a few laughs, I reassured her this is not the case and PTs work around their comfort level.

Patients have often no idea of what to expect. They rely on the internet or friends and family experiences to help prepare for a session. 

As a sports PT, one of the best things you can do at the start of the evaluation is describe in detail what they can expect throughout their course of care to put them at ease…

…and not have to worry about taking off their clothes.

Something so simple can make all the difference in their experience.

I get these same type of questions from prospective attendees of my upcoming Barbell Course.

This week, someone asked, “I’ve never done CrossFit, powerlifting, or Olympic lifting. Do I need to have experience in weightlifting to attend the course? Will the course be too advanced for me?”

Whether you compete in Olympic lifting, you are a recreational gym-goer or you have never touched a barbell, this course is perfect to help you 1) get comfortable moving under a barbell and 2) develop a toolbox to help your active patients. 

At the start of the course, I’ll be sharing an easy framework to evaluate and demonstrate proper deadlift and squat performance. 

Combined with my barbell-specific movement evaluation, you’ll be able to determine 2-3 core impairments to address within 5 minutes.

This is will streamline your evaluation and confident with your plan of care projection. 

Most sports PTs get stuck here:

-They perform too many special tests because they’re not confident about the actual cause so they continue to search for things that “might” be contributing to the pain

-They tell barbell athletes to take time off to help with healing…when in reality we all know this is the worst possible thing to do

-They give 5-8 exercises hoping that at least one of the exercises makes it feel better.

What if you could streamline your movement evaluation to less than 5 minutes, perform 1-2 special tests to confirm, develop a customized plan of care week-by-week, and choose only 3 exercises with CONFIDENCE?

Imagine the time and energy saved across multiple patients in the same day, week, or month. 

The question is not, “Do I need to have experience in weightlifting to attend the course?” 

The question is, “How much do I want to improve my confidence in movement evaluation, corrective-exercise design, and plan of care creation to help increase my clinical outcomes?”

Much like patients who don’t want to come in because they think they have to take their clothes off, sports PT have the same concerns with courses. 

If this is one of your concerns, you NEED to attend my Barbell Course. 

I’m excited to help you develop your skills and confidence with managing barbell athletes next month (virtually or in-person in San Diego, CA).

I wouldn’t do it

Before you “mobilize” or “manipulate” an athlete, READ this case study…

Joint manipulation (or mobilization) is a great skill to use with athletes who are in pain and those who need a little “tune-up” before a competition.  

As I’ve worked in professional sports with some of the best athletes on the planet over the last decade, I’ve seen cases where joint manipulation was used improperly and led to poor outcomes in the worst case scenario.

Here’s one…

Mandy, a professional Olympic weightlifter, sought treatment for lumbar and SIJ tightness five days before a national qualifying event. 

She reached out to a local PT clinic for treatment. The healthcare professional offered manual therapy, corrective exercises, and education. 

At the end of the session, in addition to lumbar and SIJ grade 5 mobilization in supine and side-lying, the healthcare professional performed a supine grade 5 hip distraction bilaterally. 

The next day, the athlete complained of hip pinching and was unable to complete full squats due to the discomfort. 

The athlete originally came in complaining of lumbar tightness and developed hip pain after treatment. 

Mandy was able to compete but did not feel 100%.

In cases like this, grade 5 manipulations are warranted but if athletes are not used to this treatment, avoid them during their competition weeks. 

The lesson learned is to avoid aggressive or unfamiliar techniques for an athlete who is about to compete. 

Less is more and there is no need to be aggressive in such a critical time. 

Our job is to help athletes perform their best with the lowest risk of injury. 

In the event you are able to work with novice or local athletes at an event or on the week of the event, proceed with caution and perform “tune-ups” rather than a traditional hour-long PT session in the clinic. It’s a different timeline which requires a different approach. 

If you’re unsure of how to work with barbell athletes in cases like this or you want to refine your approach, you NEED to register for my barbell course.

I’ll provide weightlifting progressions, modifications, and how to treat athletes leading up to big events. 

You’ll walk away with confidence and a fresh perspective on managing athletes at all levels.

For the first time ever

This has been a longtime coming…

…per numerous requests, my “Management of the Barbell Athlete” course is now open to ALL healthcare and fitness professionals!!!

That means physical therapists, athletic trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, personal trainers, CrossFit coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, and more…

After working with multidisciplinary teams at the world’s largest events, I’ve seen the benefits of working together to manage athletes.

Imagine having a network of high-performing healthcare professionals who have specialities that complement your strengths. Think of the outcomes you could create in your community!

If you’re a sports PT and have a CrossFitter that is nearly out of pain but needs support in the gym modifying their full week of workouts, what if you worked with a CrossFit coach who was on the same page as you. 

You could create the daily rehab plan with contraindications and the CrossFit coach could build workout with progressions that are created from impairments based on a barbell-specific movement analysis.

If you’re a fitness professional working with a powerlifter who has back pain and doesn’t want to stop training, what if you had a healthcare professional who understands athletes and will do everything to keep your athlete on the platform without stopping. 

These are the relationships and systems I’ve created in San Diego and I’m excited to share it with fitness and healthcare professionals in-person or virtually at my upcoming “Management of the Barbell Athlete” 2-day CEU course. 

I don’t plan to offer this in the future…so this is your one-time opportunity to take advantage and develop a system to collaborate with professionals in your community.

In the 2-day course, I’ll review:

  • A top-down movement analysis for the squat, clean and jerky, and snatch that fitness and healthcare professionals can align – a central communication framework
  • Breakout sessions to determine the main source of the athlete’s pain – ankle vs hip vs shoulder mobility restrictions
  • Progressions and modifications for pain management – when to add more load

Overall, I’ll share an easy-to-assess barbell athletes, provide modifications for lifts, and programming modifications to keep athletes in the gym.

You’ll be able to evaluate and manage a barbell athlete…even if you’ve never touched a barbell!

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to working with CrossFitters, powerlifters, or Olympic lifters, you’ll develop the skills and foundation to manage barbell athletes at all levels.

What to look for in the assessment

“What do you do differently when evaluating barbell athletes?”

This is a great question I had from a sports PT I personally mentor.

The barbell athlete evaluation is simpler than you think. 

I perform the EXACT same seven movement tests BEFORE I perform a regional test for pain. 

For example, if I have a barbell athlete who has pain with snatching, BEFORE I evaluate their scapulohumeral rhythm or posture, I perform a 7-part total body movement screen.


If you dive into the painful region, you lose sight of the CAUSE of the pain. 

You NEED to start with a head-to-toe evaluation of the athlete FIRST.

Then, determine the athlete’s three main impairments that are leading to their shoulder pain (ie, wrist mobility, lat length, hip mobility, ankle ROM, etc).

Once you determine the three most important impairments (within 5 minutes of the evaluation typically), you can proceed with the diagnostic testing to determine the amount of tissue irritation. 

The 5-minute movement screen combined with diagnostic testing will help you determine the projected timeline to heal. 

Next, you’ll need to know the athlete’s training full training regimen to make the biggest impact on their healing, which I’ll cover this topic on my next email to you in the next few days.

I’ll be covering all this and more during the first session at my Management of the Barbell Athlete course.

I’ll walk you through the 5-minute total-body movement screen to quickly and easily identify the three top tier impairments. 

This will save you the constant headaches and doubt that comes from working with unfamiliar or challenging athletes.

If you want to streamline your evaluation process, be confident with your prognosis, and get more active patients or athletes on your schedule…

…register for my Management of the Barbell Athlete course.

What to ask in their history

Now that we’ve covered what to identify in a movement assessment of barbell athletes (CrossFittters, powerlifters, Olympic lifters)…

The next key step is to do a deep dive in to their weekly training regimen. 

You need to identify the total volume and intensity of stress applied in a week. 

Below is an outline of questions I typically ask:

– What type of exercise do you do in week?

– How many days do you exercise per week?

– How long is each training session?

– How hard or intense is each training session?

Once you know these variables, you can now identify where they are applying too much or too little stress across their week or month. 

Combined with the top three impairments you identified on the movement screen, you can now narrow down the main problems leading to the athlete’s pain. 

Next, you’ll need to run through special tests to identify the source of pain to map out tissue healing guidelines, which I’ll cover in my next email. 

I’ll be covering all this and more during the second session at my Management of the Barbell Athlete course.

I’ll walk you through the key elements of the subjective and objective sections of the initial evaluation of a barbell athlete.

This will streamline your process and give you more time to do the thing you love…

…getting outcomes with direct treatment and designing rehab plans. 

If you want to spend more time treating, less time guessing, and have consistent outcomes with athletes…

…register for my Management of the Barbell Athlete course.

Management Of The Barbell Athlete Podcast Episode

Here’s a podcast Dr. Chris put together describing the barbell course and how the course will help your patients in the clinic.
CLICK HERE to tune in!