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push press

The push press is a useful barbell movement for building overhead strength and power. It helps develop muscles in the shoulders, chest, triceps, hips, and quads, in addition to a variety of other muscles that are recruited to help stabilize and create momentum for the movement. Push presses also increase power development, which is a very important athletic ability since power enables the body to quickly generate force and be explosive.

CrossFit Games athlete Scott Panchik walks you through the steps of the push press, common mistakes to avoid, and how to recover post-workout.

How to Push Press

Scott outlines the proper progression for the push press with these eight steps. Getting down the right technique should always be the first step before adding more weight.

  1. Gripping the bar: You’ll notice on the barbell that there’s a smooth area and a rough area. Grab the rough part of the bar at about a thumbs length in from the smooth area.
  2. Bring the bar into a front rack position.
  3. From the front rack position, make sure your elbows are slightly in front of the bar.
  4. Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
  5. Engage your core.
  6. Bend your knees and hips slightly to dip down. This will be used to help build momentum.
  7. Quickly extend your legs and explode up. Once your hips are in full extension, push the barbell overhead.
  8. Get your elbows straight and hold the barbell overhead for a second before bringing back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As with any movement, there are certain mistakes to avoid while doing the push press.

  1. Pressing the bar too early- Only press the bar overhead after getting into a full extension. Focus on dipping and then right as you get into extension, press the bar up.
  2. Chin hit- Make sure to get your chin out the bar’s path. It’s common for people to hit their chin while driving the barbell overhead. Tilt your head back so the bar comes close, but doesn’t touch your chin.
push press recovery

How to Recover from Push Presses

Push presses are going to require some heavy work from your shoulders. Scott utilizes the Marc Pro on his shoulders after doing a push press workout. He puts one pad on the front of his deltoid and one on the back. He does the same placement with the other lead wire on the opposite deltoid. Then, he brings the intensity level up to get a good contraction on both shoulders. Tip: make sure to get into a relaxed position with your arms. Putting a pillow under your arm is the ideal position to be in while using Marc Pro on the upper body.

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university of delaware

Credentials: PhD, ATC, FNAK, FNATA, FACSM, RFSA, Professor, Director of Athletic Training Education, Editor-in-Chief, Athletic Training & Sports Health Care

At the University of Delaware, Dr. Kaminski directs the professional Athletic Training Education Program and has recently established the University of Delaware’s entry-level Master of Science degree program. Dr. Kaminski is the only athletic trainer in the United States to simultaneously hold fellowship status in the National Academy of Kinesiology, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, American College of Sports Medicine, and the Research Consortium of the Society of Health, and Physical Educators.

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

The profession has always been in my blood. In fifth grade, I started working as a manager for our high school football team. By the eighth grade, I had learned taping techniques and started getting involved with flexibility exercises and rehab protocols with athletes, something that continued throughout my high school career.   

Every month, my high school football coach received the Cramer’s First Aider.  He would always share it with me, and it was how I started learning about Athletic Training as a career.

What does a day in your life look like?

I left the University of Florida in 2002, and have mostly stepped away from the clinical aspect of athletic training. My days are now embedded in my roles as an educator, administrator, and researcher. I teach upper and lower extremity assessment, which are foundational classes for Athletic Training students. I also teach a course titled Evidence-Based Sports Medicine that is fundamental in teaching athletic training students the importance of evidence in supporting their clinical practice.   

What research are you currently conducting?

My research has been focused on two primary areas: repetitive head impact in sports and ankle injuries.

My research with repetitive head impact has been primarily with soccer, where players can use the head to advance the ball. My primary focus now is with youth soccer players and protecting them from any dangers that may be associated with the purposeful heading of a soccer ball and to eliminate the “Bobblehead Effect.” Additionally, I have worked with the United Soccer Coaches to create an on-line educational program for youth coaches called “Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer”

I have also researched ankle injuries and ankle instability throughout the years. I am the co-founder of the International Ankle Consortium and this year, we celebrated 20 years of the biennial International Ankle Symposium.

Since the start of your career, what are the biggest shifts you have observed in athletic training?

There has been a shift in thinking with injury prevention. Athletic trainers are doing a tremendous amount of work in the area of injury prevention. Evidence has grown so much demonstrating that interventions can be beneficial with athletes to prevent injuries including advanced taping & bracing techniques, strength training, and enhanced performance assessments. 

In addition, there have been shifts in athlete recovery. Years ago, it was all about practice and game repetitions with very little commitment to recovery from training and competition. The aspect of athlete recovery, not just in the athletic training world, but in coaching, has changed and now the importance of recovery and ways that it can be enhanced are practiced and refined.  Athletic trainers have had to expand their toolbox to include evidence-based practices, and apply them to help athletes recover better.

Why did you have your students read Gary Reinl’s book, ICED!?

We need to be practicing athletic training based on the best available evidence. Our profession gains more credibility when we use the best evidence. Now the evidence is showing that icing may not be the best practice in all situations. Gary Reinl has done some remarkable work to raise questions about a treatment that has been a mainstay of the athletic training profession for many, many years.

This work has opened people’s eyes about icing. Gary’s book cuts against just using ice because that is what we’ve always done! From this book, our students learn to look at different perspectives and why we need to constantly ask questions in our line of work.

How has the Marc Pro been integrated into your classroom practices?

university of delaware

We teach about the Marc Pro device in our Therapeutic Modalities classes and have purchased several units for our students to gain exposure and experience working with them. Our staff athletic trainers are beginning to utilize Marc Pro devices in their acute and chronic injury treatment protocols and their familiarity with the abundance of uses is growing.  We are looking are also looking to integrate the Marc Pro into a clinical trial research project involving the acute treatment of ankle sprains.

What advice would you give students about recovery?

The most important aspect of recovery is understanding the basic physiology/anatomy of how the body works on its own following injury and training to “heal itself”.  When you have a profound understanding, you can apply those foundational concepts to injury and recovery interventions. You can then ask, “What are these devices, exercises, or interventions going to do to supplement, promote, and advance normal healing?”

What is your favorite part about your work?

The relationships you have with your students both past and present. Being involved in the successes (and sometime failures) and watching them grow and mature into heath care professionals is truly enjoyable and special.

You may also be interested in:

Athletic Trainer Spotlight | Carla Gilson of Georgia Tech

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You only get out what you put in.

What you put into your body considerably effects what you get out of it. When you eat high quality foods, you get high quality performance. Food is fuel, it’s how our body gets energy for all the processes that go on inside us 24/7. That’s why the right nutrition for athletes is so important. Athletes expect a lot from their bodies, so they need to be extra conscious of what they put in. When it comes to nutrition for athletes, these are the top five categories that have been gaining a lot of attention lately.

The Top 5 Trends in Athlete Nutrition

1. Plant Based Diet

nutrition for athletes

Plant based diets have been a hot topic of discussion lately. More and more athletes are adhering to a plant-based lifestyle, and if you saw the Netflix documentary, The Game Changers, you already know that some athletes and scientists believe this is the optimal diet for health and athletic performance. With the availability of plant-based protein powders such as pea protein, hemp protein, and pumpkin seed protein powder, staying away from meat as an athlete is not as hard as you may think. Plant-based means that a majority of your food comes from plant sources. While some people may choose to go fully plant-based, you don’t have to. It’s more about consciously making the decision to incorporate more plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.

Choosing plant-based foods has been linked to a reduced risk for chronic health issues and diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Furthermore, since plant-based foods are easier for your body to digest, you get a natural energy boost. Your body has more energy to expend on other functions instead of trying to digest food. For athletes, this can create a valuable increase in performance.  

2. Probiotics

nutrition for athletes

Another great way to improve your digestive system is by adding in probiotics. Probiotics introduce good bacteria into your gut, which helps restore the balance of gut bacteria. Additionally, probiotics help increase the absorption of protein, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. After exercise, there are a ton of free radicals throughout your body. Antioxidants help fight off these free radicals, so the more antioxidants you can get into your system, the better. As most of us know, it’s also important to consume protein post-workout if we want to effectively recover muscles and increase muscle mass. The more protein you can absorb into your body, the more benefit you can get.

Probiotics have also been shown to improve your immune system and can reduce bloating, nausea, and intestinal inflammation. Keep in mind that there are many different kinds of probiotics available, so make sure you choose a strain that fits with your personal needs. Some common ways to add more probiotics into your diet include a probiotic supplement, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut.  

3. Recovery Foods

Recovery continues to be a popular topic of discussion. It used to be more of an afterthought, but these days it’s become an integral part of athletes’ training programs. With people pushing themselves harder each day, recovery has become a necessity. Eating the right foods plays a significant role in how quickly you’re able to recover. Tart cherry juice, turmeric, sweet potatoes, eggs, salmon, and spinach are some great examples of foods to eat to improve recovery. Techniques like stretching or active recovery with Marc Pro are also wonderful ways to enhance your recovery.

4. Alternative Flours

nutrition for athletes

Many people are kicking refined flour to the curb. Refined flour has been linked to diabetes, digestive issues, slowed metabolism, and can lead to weight gain, stress, and headaches. Not only has refined flour been stripped of its nutrition, on top of that, artificial ingredients and additives are used to give its distinct white color.  White refined flour creates a spike in insulin levels followed by a crash, which isn’t good for your body or mind. Health conscious people are now eliminating or limiting refined flour and using alternatives such as almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa flour, or chickpea flour. These alternative flours are nutrient dense and can provide many health benefits.

5. Low Sugar

High sugar diets have been linked to various health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. People with high sugar diets also have a higher risk for cancer and depression. Not to mention, blood sugar swings cause big fluctuations in your energy levels, which leaves your body drained. Sugar can also interfere with the absorption of protein.

Eliminating sugars altogether isn’t necessarily the best option for athletes. After all, sugar is the quickest way to replenish depleted glycogen stores after a workout. Just be aware that refined and natural sugars are processed differently within the body, which is why many athletes choose natural, unprocessed sweeteners such as honey, pure maple syrup, or whole food sources such as fruit. Either way, lowering your overall sugar intake can have big benefits for your health.

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Ray Knight, Head Athletic Trainer at the University of the South, shares how he has seen a reduction in injuries by eliminating ice and developing a fresh recovery protocol.

university of the south

Ray Knight is in his 18th year as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Tigers. Knight serves the Tennessee Athletic Trainers’ Society as the chair of the Honors and Awards committee. In 2008, Knight was honored as the TATS Eugene Smith/Mickey O’Brien College Athletic Trainer of the Year Award.

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

I played many different sports in high school including baseball, cross-country, and football. However, I knew that I was not athletically gifted or talented enough to play sports in college, so I shadowed the athletic trainer at my high school. Shortly after, I realized that athletic training was a good way to be part of the team even when you are not playing.

How many student-athletes are at the University of the South?

We have a total of 550 student-athletes with 24 varsity teams.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

If you are an injured athlete and you are not able to participate in the sport that you love, an athletic trainer needs to do everything possible to help you return to play. An athlete needs to commit to treatment and doing rehab every day. In our athletic training room, the treatment component includes using the Marc Pro to help speed up the healing process.

What sports do you typically work with?

Most of the time, I work with the football team. However, I have a hand in all 24 sports that are part of Sewanee athletics.

Do you typically see similar injuries across all of the sports you work with?

university of the south

We see many different types of injuries including ankle sprains, shoulder injuries, ACL tears, pulled muscles (especially hamstrings), and back injuries.

Someone once told me, “If you can take care of the ankle, knee, and shoulder, you can be a pretty good athletic trainer.” A lot of the injuries that we deal with include the ankle, knee, and shoulder, so knowing how to address these areas appropriately is key.

What shifts have you seen in athletic training throughout the years?

There has been a major shift for athletic trainers to move from icing to not icing. RICE is not the preferred treatment anymore. Active recovery is the answer.

Shifting away from icing has really changed what we do at our school. We know that ice is not going to help an athlete get better, so we no longer give ice bags out for injuries.

Do you use ice for recovery?

No. It is my preference that an athlete does not ice. We have to educate student-athletes about the change and shift in paradigm with icing. They are trained in the concept of ‘ice, ice, ice’.

It is my job to educate them on new technology that we believe in. I am constantly educating them on why they should use the Marc Pro over ice.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

In 2013, I worked training camp with the Tennessee Titans. Later in the fall, I had a football player suffer from a bicep contusion. I followed the treatment plan for the player that I was taught in school—ice massage, pulsed ultrasound,  and electrical stim. But, the player was not getting better with weeks of this treatment. I called the athletic trainer at the Tennessee Titans to find out some other ways to treat this injury, and he recommended that I don’t have the player ice.

He then sent me a video with Gary Reinl and Kelly Starrett. The video made me curious and piqued my interest about the idea of ‘not icing.’ So, I bought Gary’s book, ICED!, and spoke with Brandon Aiken, another athletic trainer, about icing. After all of this research, I thought, “Gary might be onto something by not icing injuries.”

And now, we have a no ice policy.

How many Marc Pro units do you have at the university?

We have purchased 10 units since 2013.

What is the protocol for using a Marc Pro in your athletic training room?

Our first line of defense is to put a Marc Pro on the athlete. Initially, we typically have the unit on the athlete on for 30 to 60 minutes.

We then give the athlete a unit to take home. A student-athlete will take a photo of where to place the electrodes so they know where to place them for later. We tell the athlete that the Marc Pro should be on for 2 hours that night to encourage healing. The next day, we re-evaluate.

How has the Marc Pro helped your athletic training staff?

Having the Marc Pro units allows us to spend more time with other athletes. We can focus on everyone and provide a better level of care.

What is the most difficult aspect about being an athletic trainer?

For me, it is juggling spending time with every sport and juggling giving every athlete undivided care.

How do you handle athlete injuries?

Everyone wants to play the sport they love. When an athlete is injured, there is fear that the athletic trainer is going to say that they cannot play their sport.  But, we are here to help them. If athletes follow our plan, we can help them get back to play in a safe manner.

Athletes trust me and believe my recommendations.  The athlete has to know that you care about them before they will trust you. I truly care about the athletes as people and want to help them in any way that I can.

What is your favorite part about working with athletes on a daily basis?

Each day is a new day. You never know what is going to walk through the door. That is my favorite part. You work with someone and you give them resources to get better. You want to know if the athletes are improving each day. I love the day-to-day progress that we see with the athletes.

Why Athletic Trainers are Leaving Ice in the Cooler

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Carla Gilson of Georgia Tech

Andy Bliz of the University of Buffalo

Ronald Linfonte of St. John’s University

eric cressey

Eric Cressey, CSCS is president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance, with facilities located in Hudson, MA and Jupiter, FL.  A highly sought-after coach for healthy and injured athletes alike, Eric has helped athletes at all levels, from youth sports to the professional and Olympic ranks, achieve their highest levels of performance in a variety of sports.  Eric is perhaps best known for his extensive work with baseball players, with more than 100 professional players traveling to train with him each off-season.

Could you share more about the athletes you work with?

While we work with athletes from a variety of sports, we are best known for our work at Cressey Sports Performance with baseball players. We work with players from all 30 Major League teams. Overall, our clientele ranges from ages 12 well into adulthood.

You have written 5 books and published over 500 articles. What topics do you like to research most?

I like to share information in many areas in the strength and conditioning sphere. Most of my work has been related to baseball in terms of corrective exercises, skill acquisition, and development. I also use my powerlifting background to help guide some of my research and thought processes.

What injuries do you see most commonly?

In baseball, the main goal is to keep arms healthy. We see all different types of injuries. In the pitching world, most of the injuries are upper extremity in nature, so we spend a lot of time taking care of elbows, shoulders, and necks.

What is your philosophy in regards to strength and conditioning?

There are always two diagnoses: a medical and movement diagnosis. The medical diagnosis describes the pathology of the injury. With the movement diagnosis, I have to look at the person in front of me and ask, “What is the movement issue that led to the injury?”  Movement inefficiencies can lead to pathology.  I try to treat each person as an individual when reviewing both diagnoses. And, sometimes, there may be no medical diagnosis in someone’s history, so you’re either digging deeper or pinning your approach almost exclusively on the movement aspect of things.

What shifts have you seen in strength and conditioning throughout the years?

I have seen shifts in the field and shifts in people.

In terms of the field, more strength and conditioning specialists are very specialized in the field and only work with a specific population. Obviously, my specialization is baseball and other overhead throwing sports. You’ll see folks in hockey, football, soccer, and a host of other niche opportunities.

In terms of the people, I think the average athlete we see on Day 1 is now less developed than when I started my career. I think this is due to early sports specialization with young athletes. When an athlete specializes too soon in a specific sport, that athlete’s movement variability goes down substantially. I am a big believer in kids playing as many different sports, for as long they can.

How were you introduced to the Marc Pro?

corey kluber

I had heard of related products to the Marc Pro in training rooms and college strength and conditioning centers. I was originally stubbornly resistant to try the Marc Pro. I viewed it initially as a passive modality and my mindset has always been to encourage athletes to move in order to heal themselves.

My interactions with Corey Kluber changed my mind. I have worked with Corey for more than a decade, and he’s one of the most regimented, hard-working athletes you’ll meet. Corey does absolutely everything we ask of him in a program. And, he was an avid Marc Pro user (has used it after every time he’s thrown for years). With the Marc Pro being such a meticulous part of his recovery routine, I started looking into the benefits of the device further.

Ultimately, I want to optimize an athlete’s blood flow and stimulate the lymphatic system. Movement is always ideal, but not always convenient to get in. The Marc Pro offered a ton of convenience and was a lower “buy in” from athletes who already had busy schedules that might not have been able to accommodate another training session – even if it was recovery oriented. In short, I liked the fact that it was a somewhat passive modality that allows you to actively recover. It also served as a great complement to other recovery initiatives we utilize, ranging from nutrition to manual therapy.

What is the protocol for using a Marc Pro?

We use the Marc Pro for proactive recovery and also for athletes coming back from injury. We have found that it is also impactful to combine in conjunction with manual treatments.

Typically our athletes are using it at the end of the day when it’s most convenient for them. They can just use it as they relax or eat and it is logistically easier than trying to use it right after practice. We know that recovery methods need to be absurdly easy for the athlete. The ultimate goal is for the athlete to recover, and to recover often.

What is the most difficult aspect about your position?

Geographic logistics. Late in the season, I haven’t seen a lot of our athletes for six months, and I wish I could be everywhere to check in. Unfortunately, I can’t be in 200 places in the U.S. to help all of our guys!

What advice would you give athletes about recovery?

There is a recovery hierarchy. People want to go for the sexy stuff. But the foundation is most important like sleep, nutrition, and an appropriate training stimulus. People like to make really advanced solutions to simple problems, but if you are only sleeping 3 hours a night and eating sugary cereal for breakfast, the fanciest of devices won’t help you recover.

What is your favorite part about working with athletes on a daily basis?

The relationships. You get to work with amazing athletes – and it’s an honor that they trust you to be part of their “team.”

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ATC Tip: How to Efficiently Get Student Athletes Back to Play

This guide was created as a tutorial for new Marc Pro users to get started with their device. After reading (or watching), you will have an understanding on how to set up and use your unit. You will also get some additional tips and best practices for improving your results.

Make sure to also read the user manual for important FDA information.

What’s Included? 

Everything you need to get started is included with your Marc Pro or Marc Pro Plus device.

Setting up the Unit:

Plug the gray lead wire into Channel A and the black lead wire into Channel B.

Insert the pins on the opposite end of the lead wires into the base of each electrode.

Refer to the user manual for some guidelines on where to place the electrodes. The electrodes do not need to be placed precisely as shown in the user manual. The goal is to produce a strong, yet comfortable muscle contraction, so you can feel free to move the pads to achieve this. 

What’s the aloe gel for? If your skin is dry or you want to improve conductivity, place a pea size amount of gel on your fingertip. Apply directly to the black sticky side of the pads or to the skin where you are going to place the pads.

Turning On/Off the Unit:

Marc Pro– Turn the dials clockwise until they click and the screen turns on. Continue moving clockwise to turn up the intensity. To turn off the unit, turn the dials counter clockwise until they click again and the screen turns off.

Marc Pro Plus– Press the power button at the top of the device. Select either LOW or HIGH for each channel. Turn the dials clockwise to increase the intensity. Turn the dials counter clockwise until you hear the click to turn the unit off. Press the power button at the top to fully shut off the unit.

Using the Unit for Recovery & Conditioning

Marc Pro & LOW setting on Marc Pro Plus

  1. Once you have the unit set up and ready to go, select the muscle(s) you want to target. Use the user manual for pad placement guidelines, but remember that the main goal is to produce a significant and comfortable contraction in the target muscle or muscle group.  If you need to move the pads around an inch, half-inch etc., do so as this may produce a better contraction. Or if you want to target an area that is not listed in the user manual, place the pads on the densest part of the tissue or on either end of the muscle. Make sure the target area is contracting. 
  2. For the best results, make sure you are in a comfortable, relaxed position.
  3. Turn on the unit and dial it up to an intensity that produces a good muscle contraction. Don’t worry about what the number says on the screen, it’s more important to do what feels good. Be sure not to resist the contractions, as this will counteract what the device is trying to do (moving nutrients and waste without causing fatigue).
  4. Use for 30-45 minutes a few times a week to see good results. For even greater benefit, try using the device every day or for longer sessions at a time (ie. 1-3 hours). Since Marc Pro is non-fatiguing, you can use it for as long or as often as you need. If you are dealing with a specific issue or weak link, try using the device as much as possible.

Using the Unit for Pain Relief

HIGH setting on Marc Pro Plus

  1. Refer to the user manual for placement tips. This setting will not produce a muscle contraction, instead it delivers a buzzing sensation to joints. The signal runs between the two pads of each lead wire, so it’s important to surround the area in pain with the electrodes. For joints, it’s best to sandwich the area in pain with two electrodes. For the back, it’s best to make a tight square with the pads around the spot of pain.
  2. Select HIGH setting and turn up the intensity so the sensation feels comfortable, but strong. As you get used to the sensation, continue to turn up the intensity. The higher you can get the intensity, the longer lasting the pain relief benefit will be.
  3. Use for 30-45 minutes. You can use it multiple times a day if needed, but make sure to move the pads around slightly to prevent skin irritation.  

Electrode Care

The electrodes are reusable for 20-25 uses. Once they start to lose their stickiness, they won’t conduct as well and will need to be replaced. To prolong their life, use them on clean skin and place back on plastic sheet and into the plastic bag.

Charging the Unit

The battery icon on the top of the screen will show a low reading and beep when it’s time to charge the unit. The battery will last a long time, but when it does need to be charged the unit must be turned off. Only use the charger that came with the unit. Using the wrong charger will damage the unit.

Need some additional help getting started? Schedule a coaching call with one of our product specialists.

Schedule Coaching Call


Hairston, the current Women’s Basketball and Men’s Golf athletic trainer arrived at TCU 11 seasons ago after spending the previous four years at Villanova working with women’s basketball and swimming and diving. Prior to her stint with the Wildcats, she attended Bloomsburg University to obtain a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology while working as a graduate assistant. Hairston received her undergraduate degree from Texas Tech and majored in exercise and sport science with a minor in biology.

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

I played volleyball in high school and had to have knee surgery for an injury. I was told I could never play again and needed to rehab with the athletic trainer and immediately became interested in the profession.

I was always around the healthcare and athletic fields. My mom was a nurse and my dad was a coach. I worked as a physical therapy aide for a summer, but found it wasn’t the right fit in terms of the clientele. After that experience, I knew that I definitely wanted to work with athletes. I wanted to work with people who had the mindset to recover and be the best that they could be. That is what athletic training allows you to do.

What is your philosophy in regards to athletic training?

My number one philosophy is if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. I want to be able to treat the athlete and also educate the athlete on the how and why. That way, I can help an athlete learn what to do when out of my care. Then athletes are able to know what their bodies need and how to continue to care for themselves.

What sports do you typically work with at TCU?

Women’s Basketball and Men’s Golf.

What injuries do you typically experience with basketball?

Basketball is now a year-round sport. We see a lot of overuse injuries, mostly lower extremities and overuse. We work hard with our strength and conditioning coach to address these issues on another level too.

What injuries do you typically experience with golf?

With golf, it is a single-side sport. There are the repetitive motions that can lead to various injuries. I tend to see back and lower body injuries as well as shoulder and wrist when changing swing mechanics.

“Athletes like modalities that they can feel working during treatment, like the Marc Pro.”

What shifts have you seen in athletic training throughout the years?

There has been a shift to more manual therapy treatments. There is a lot more direct interaction with athletic trainers and the athletes. There is also a focus on more patient-centered care. Instead of the mindset of ‘How can I treat your injury?’ we are thinking, ‘How can I treat the entire person?’

Many athletes want to ‘feel something’ immediately. They want to ‘feel like’ something is improving.  The athletes tend to buy-in to different treatments and protocols when they can feel something immediately.

Do you use ice for recovery?

People are really starting to look at the research about ice and cryotherapy. Ice has its place for pain management, and I use it to manage specific cases of pain. However, with recovery, the body needs to stimulate the lymphatic system, not halt it. The body was created pretty phenomenally to heal in amazing ways. We can enhance the body’s healing ability with specific protocols and therapies that are outside of icing.

What are your opinions about using NSAIDs for recovery?

The first question I ask when an athlete wants to pop an ibuprofen for pain or recovery is “Why?”. I ask, “Do you need this for your pain or soreness? Are you nervous about how you are going to feel without taking medication for this?”

Giving an NSAID is a decision that is made on a case-by-case basis and made with proper assessment. You don’t want to mask symptoms with an NSAID. You want to promote proper healing and the body’s natural healing methods.

Many people get trapped into the blanket application of different treatments and medications before truly assessing an athlete.

What is the most difficult aspect about being an athletic trainer?

The expectations of all of our student-athletes are so high. Student-athletes have a full-plate. They have lifting, classes, community service, practices, travel, and games.  I have a short window to take care of them and address all of their needs. 

Now, there is also the demand for immediate care. People want injuries to just vanish after one treatment, and that is not realistic.

How are you invested in the student-athletes at TCU?

I am invested in the athletes as people, not just as athletes. When they have a bad day or something traumatic happens, I feel it too. That also goes when something good happens. I celebrate the athletes’ accomplishments and wins. I ride that emotional roller coaster with them while also trying to teach the athlete important life-lessons about resilience and humility.

What advice do athletes hesitate to listen to?

An injury does not just heal overnight. One treatment or application may not solve everything. An athlete may not feel better with just one thing. They all want immediate results. Some things take some time to improve.

I like thinking about benchmarks instead of goals as they try to recover from an injury. A great book is “Burn Your Goals” that addresses this shift in mindset. I think it is important to educate athletes on small benchmarks they can reach throughout the healing process. They need to do the little things to reach benchmarks. Little things like sets of specific exercise to address the root of an injury. When athletes reach different benchmarks, they can progress to the next step in the entire healing process.

What recovery tools have helped you and your team in the training room?

I think about recovery in three different categories: Joint health, soft-tissue quality, and general recovery. With general recovery, we focus on using modalities like compression therapy and the Marc Pro. Athletes like modalities that they can feel working during treatment, like the Marc Pro.

What is your favorite part about working with athletes on a daily basis?

You never know what you are going to get on any given day. There are always different problems, scenarios, and demands from the athletes every day.

I love that I get to spend time with the athletes in the university setting and then as they move on to the next steps in their lives. I get to be a part of the entire process. When I worked as a physical therapy aide, I didn’t see the final results with the patients I worked with. A person would leave, and I wouldn’t know what happened with them.

Now, I get to see when the athlete makes it back to the field. I am part of the athlete’s journey. That is such a fulfilling part of the job. The challenging part is that there is a heavy emotional investment in the athletes. It is both challenging and so rewarding.

What advice would you give to athletes about recovery?

Understanding that recovery is not checking a box. Recovery is a process that you have to be invested in. You can’t do things once and expect everything to be better right away. Plus, you need to work with someone who is educated about recovery and find the tools that make you feel and see results.

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Athletic Trainer Spotlight | Carla Gilson of Georgia Tech

Why RICE is Outdated and What you Should do Instead

scott panchik

Scott Panchik, a five-time individual CrossFit Games veteran, has qualified for every CrossFit Games since 2012. Never finishing below sixth, he took back-to-back fourth-place finishes in 2012 and 2013, missing the podium by just one place each year. Victor of the 2015 and 2016 Central Regionals, Panchik is known for his mental fortitude, always believing he can win while remaining unruffled by setbacks.

We asked Scott 3 questions about his favorite CrossFit workouts and recovery habits:

What Is Your Favorite “Famous” CrossFit Workout?

My favorite CrossFit Benchmark is “Fran”
Thrusters 95/65# 

This is truly a total body workout. Thrusters alone are built on the foundation of squatting, pressing and complete core activation. The thruster is also a continuous movement which spikes your heart rate, teaching you how to breathe with the movement. I love that this workout is fast, it builds strength through the barbell movement and requires, body awareness and skill for efficient pull-ups. The time domain for Fran should be around an average time of 6:00, while you will find elite CrossFitters with sub 3:00 times. The intention is to move properly while keeping a high intensity. To modify these movements you could use a lighter pair of dumbbells in place of the barbell for thrusters.  For pull-ups you could substitute with Ring Rows, a banded assisted strict pull-up, or even seated band pull-downs. You could also lower the rep scheme to 15-12-9. Remember the stimulus is high power, high intensity and proper form.

How Do You Recover?

scott panchik

I use the Marc pro A LOT this time of year! I use it at the end of long days and in between training sessions. I ALWAYS have the Marc Pro with me when I travel! I most frequently use it on my low back and feet to help protect against injuries I have had in the past in those areas. I also love the leg flush after long endurance sessions or heavy lifting sessions.

What Are Your Mantras to Help Through Tough Moments?

There are a few of these. I love the 40% rule from David Goggins, “When your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done.” Christin can also tell when I am hurting in a workout and she will write “PODIUM” on a whiteboard and put it in my view.

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athletic trainer tips

When an athlete gets injured, the person bridging the gap between the athlete and return to play is ultimately the athletic trainer. But, with so many athletes to take care of, it’s often difficult to devote enough time to each one. Dr. Kelly Starrett, DPT has some tips to help support athletic trainers in efficiently getting their athletes onto the right path in the recovery process.

“If you’re not physically ahead of swelling within 12-24 hours, you’re behind in the healing process.”

How Tissues Heal

When looking at improving the tissue healing phases, we need to understand that first and foremost, graded movement is the answer. Active recovery is a necessary factor for optimally improving each stage of the process. During the inflammatory stage, movement helps remove the congestion by activating the lymphatic system. For the proliferation and maturation stage, tissues need to be continuously loaded with low grade movement so the collagen fibers know how to align and don’t seal out of scar formation and adhere between the layers of those sliding surfaces.

Marc Pro: Your Training Room Assistant

Marc Pro’s proprietary technology creates non-fatiguing muscle contractions to provide the low-grade movement that is ideal for improving the recovery process. Athletic trainers utilize Marc Pro in the training room, on the road, or as a tool that athletes can bring home to use independently. Kelly Starrett has found that Marc Pro is particularly useful for the following reasons:

“It’s like having another set of hands in the training room. We can treat more athletes faster with the Marc Pro.”

– Pat Giruzzi, ATC Hamilton College

Taking NSAIDs out of the Equation

If we can get ahead of the inflammatory response, pain signals are often attenuated since the tissues aren’t as angry, congested, and swollen. Using Marc Pro allows athletic trainers to get ahead of the swelling, without having to deal with the limiting factors of the usual mechanisms for managing pain, such as ice or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Marc Pro doesn’t blunt the response, so athletes can get maximum proliferation. It allows athletes to decongest, and more importantly remodel. The brain can stay plugged in since we don’t have some of the inhibitory mechanisms secondary to the swelling. Athletes don’t loose any mass or neuromuscular connections, so we have to do a lot less to get things turned back on. Once athletes are ready to return to play, Marc Pro can be used on the new tissues that are being challenged to make sure they stay in healthy condition.

Getting in enough time with each athlete can be difficult. Marc Pro allows athletic trainers to get more treatment into athletes, even when they’re not in the training room. ATCs can do their focus treatment and then hand Marc Pro to an athlete and get them to manage the healing process and facilitate the body’s natural processes independently. The easy to use pads and comfort of the device mean that compliance is high and athletes can use it for hours a day, if needed.  

Be sure to check out this other content for Athletic Trainers:

Why RICE is Outdated and What you Should do Instead

Athletic Trainer Spotligth | Carla Gilson of Georgia Tech

Heather Jackson knows triathlons. She has placed 3rd, 4th, and 5th at the Ironman World Championships, is a 4x Wildflower Triathlon Champion, 9x Ironman 70.3 Champion, and 3x Ironman Champion. And when Heather isn’t training, she is recovering. Learn more about Heather’s training and recovery tips below. 

How Should I Adjust My Hydration Strategy in the Heat? 

“The biggest thing with heat training is to stay on top of your electrolytes- hydrate before you start to feel thirsty. You can also build up your tolerance level with how much training in the direct heat that you can handle. Get out early for training before the heat of the day as the summer starts to get hotter, and then slowly build your time out training in the hottest parts of the day.”

How Should I Get Started in Triathlons?

  1. Find a local fun event that friends are doing to sign up for. This will give you a solidified goal to work towards and from which you can work backwards from to lay out training.
  2. Find local training groups with fun people to help guide your training and keep things fun. Local masters swim programs, local run groups and groups who meet to cycle are all great.
  3. Start training consistently in all three sports but don’t ramp up your volume and intensity too much week to week. Start by developing a base in all three sports and then slowly progress.

What’s a Positive Race Mantra I Can Use?

triathlon training

“When I am struggling in a race or a hard training session, I always think of the mantra, “You GET to do this. Do it for those who can’t.” I have friends or acquaintances who are either sick, or maybe injured, or can’t be training and racing but would give anything to be able to. I think of them if something is hurting because at the end of the day, we GET to do this sport. It’s a privilege and I’m grateful every day that I’m healthy and get to participate.”

How Do You Use Your Marc Pro?

“I use my Marc Pro literally every day. If I’m not training, my Marc Pro is usually on. My most common usage is some combination of the attachment pads on my quads, calves, and/or the bottom of my foot. I will train in the morning- either a hard bike or run and then most likely take a nap with my Marc Pro on. It actually helps to put me to sleep, so I’m really doubling up on recovery.”

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injury preventionInjuries are nearly impossible to avoid in sports. With high intensity and high impact activities, injuries can be a fairly common occurrence. However, did you know that nearly half of all athlete injuries can be prevented? Overtraining, also known as overuse, causes a majority of the injuries that occur in sports. But, by taking the right recovery measures, it is possible to prevent injuries that develop due to overuse.

The Key to Dealing with Overuse

Professional and recreational athletes are pushing their bodies harder than ever before. Whether it’s getting ready for the World Series or going for a daily workout at the gym, everyone has goals for what they want to achieve. Reaching goals requires a lot of hard work and consistency, which can ultimately lead to overtraining when injury prevention measures are not a part of the process.

During exercise, muscles break down. When an athlete trains consistently without allowing their body to recover in between, their muscles continue to break down. Eventually, your muscles can’t handle any more stress. Not only can this lead directly to an injury, but it can also lead to improper biomechanics. The best thing you can do for overuse is allow your body to recover. During the recovery process, muscles are able to rebuild and get stronger. Recovery is the key to combating overuse and preventing injuries.

Injury Prevention Strategies

Once an athlete is adequately hydrated, nourished, and rested, the most effective recovery method is active recovery. Active recovery is the process of activating muscles in order to bring blood and nourishment to the damaged tissue, remove waste from the area, produce/release myokines to rebuild tissue, and optimally remodel the new tissue. Muscle activation is the only way to achieve all four of these goals. However, there is a fine line between muscle activation for recovery and muscle activation for exercise, so it’s important to know how much is too much.

Marc Pro is an active recovery tool that provides muscles activation without the fatigue. Over 100 professional teams and countless elite athletes use Marc Pro because it doesn’t fatigue their muscles. Athletes are able to fully and quickly recover so they can stay injury free and perform at their best while still training on a consistent basis. Marc Pro can also be used as a warm up tool so you can loosen up muscles before going into a workout, game, or competition.

“The biggest thing for me personally has been using the Marc Pro on a daily basis.”- Josh Tomlin, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians on using Marc Pro for recovery and injury prevention

“Marc pro is my modality of choice to accomplish that, which means it will reduce fatigue time of my players, keep them on the floor, working at a higher level, for a longer period of time.”- Gary Vitti, Head Athletic Trainer at the Los Angeles Lakers for 32 years

“One of the greatest values of Marc Pro and recovery is it cuts the micro trauma off at the knees. By the time you get to the next workout, you’re recovered and ready to do it.” – John Schaeffer, Olympic & Pro Trainer

“The bottom line is, if you’re recovering better you’re going to perform better. I was looking for the best way to recover and I found that to be Marc Pro.” – Noah Ohlsen, 5x Crossfit Games Athlete

Discover how Marc Pro is Active Recovery Perfected

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What’s the secret to faster post workout recovery? The answer lies within the body’s natural muscle recovery process.  Discover how each stage works and what you can do to make sure your recovery is quick and effective.

The 4 Stages of Recovery

muscle recovery process

There are four main stages that regulate muscle recovery when you’re adequately hydrated, nourished, and rested. Muscle activation, which happens through movement, is vital to each stage.

Stage 1: Delivery of nourishment

To repair damaged tissue, nourishment and supplies need to be delivered to the area so the recovery process can begin. When your skeletal muscles are activated, they send a signal to your smooth muscles that surround blood vessels to relax. Once relaxed, your blood vessels dilate and circulation increases, allowing more nutrients and supplies to be transported to the damaged tissue.

muscle recovery processStage 2: Waste Removal

To keep waste from building up and leading to swelling or further damage, the next stage involves the process of removing waste. The lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste, but it’s a passive system. Activation of the muscles that surround lymphatic vessels is required to push out the waste.

Stage 3: Tissue Regeneration

During this stage of recovery, myokines are produced and released into your body. Myokines are the proteins in the body that drive tissue regeneration. Muscle activation provides the mechanical stress required to produce myokines so that your damaged tissue can be repaired.

Stage 4: Remodeling of Repaired Tissue

After tissue has been repaired, it then needs to be remodeled. When new tissue is formed, it creates a random pattern that makes it hard for the tissue to slide smoothly past one another. The tissue needs to be rearranged in straight lines so it can function properly. Mechanical stress, or movement, allows the repaired muscle tissue to optimally remodel. Failure to optimally remodel the repaired muscle tissue leads directly to dysfunctional movement.

How to Speed the Stages of Recovery

Movement is the natural facilitator for the recovery process. Normal amounts of movement (ie. doing your normal routine, errands, etc.) will result in a normal rate of recovery. However, if you’re training, lifestyle, or age requires you to recover quicker, you will need to do something out of your normal routine. Adding in the right amount of movement, or muscle activation, will speed the process.  This is why active recovery is a popular technique for athletes and is proven to be the most effective way to improve recovery. With traditional active recovery, there are some limitations that can effect your recovery results. Discover how Marc Pro perfects active recovery.

Nutrition can be the fuel or downfall of your progress. The thought in many people’s head is that they can eat whatever they want after a workout. But, there are certain foods that will propel your progress and other foods that will come between you and your goals. Here are the 5 best and the 5 worst foods for muscle recovery.

Best Foods for Muscle Recovery

Below are the best foods to assist in post workout muscle recovery. The key is to make sure you have a combination of protein, healthy fats, and quality carbs for the best results.

  1. muscle recovery foodsEggs: Protein has one of the biggest effects on muscle repair. This nutrient helps rebuild damaged muscle fibers so muscles can grow stronger and be ready to go for the next workout. Eggs are a great choice for muscle recovery because of their high protein content. Their yolks also contain healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that support muscle growth.
  2. Sweet Potatoes: Workouts can deplete glycogen stores so it’s important to consume carbs afterwards to rebuild those stores. Sweet potatoes are a quality carb that are full of potassium. They also provide nutrients that help boost immunity post workout. Other quality carbs include oatmeal and fruit.
  3. Salmon: Not only is salmon one of the best foods for muscle recovery because of its high protein content, but its Omega 3 fats and potassium also make it a top pick. Studies have shown that Omega 3 fats can increase muscle protein synthesis and reduce inflammation in the body. Salmon’s high levels of potassium help to replace electrolytes that are lost during your workout.
  4. Blueberries: Fruit is a fast-acting carb that is able to quickly replace diminished glycogen levels and create an insulin spike. Blueberries are full of antioxidants which will help prevent free radical damage in your body.
  5. Spinach: Heavy sweating and dehydration causes a decrease in your body’s electrolytes. Spinach is rich in potassium and magnesium, which are key electrolytes that the body needs to recover. Keeping your potassium levels at a healthy level will help to prevent muscle cramps.

Worst Foods for Muscle Recovery

After a workout, the goal is to repair damaged muscle, rebuild energy stores, and reduce the amount of fat your body stores. The foods below have the opposite effect and should be avoided.

  1. foods for muscle recoveryFast food: Fast food tends to be high in calories, fat, and sodium and deficient in essential recovery nutrients. This can cancel out gains made during your workouts and slow down your digestion.
  2. Donuts: These breakfast treats seriously lack key nutrients needed for muscle recovery. They have no protein and are high in refined sugar and carbs. The fat they do have is not the beneficial kind you would get from eggs or nuts.
  3. Sugary Drinks: Drinking too much sugar after a workout will actually decrease your metabolism. While some sugar after a workout will help quickly restore your energy levels, you don’t want to consume too much. Anything that your body doesn’t use will turn into fat. Be sure to limit refined sugar and instead consume unrefined sugar from sources like fruit.
  4. Salty Snacks: Even though we lose electrolytes while working out, minerals like potassium and magnesium are the more important electrolytes the body needs to recover. Sodium lowers potassium levels and we tend to get enough salt already in the American diet.
  5. Alcohol: Having one drink may not seem like a big deal, but drinking right after a workout will dehydrate you and reduce protein synthesis. Plus, alcohol is full of empty calories that can sabotage your progress.

Muscle recovery is a key component of working out. If your body isn’t able to repair itself from workout damage it will start to break down and your chance of injury increases. Performance is another factor that’s negatively affected. You won’t be able to give your best or feel very good when your body isn’t able to recover. Using active recovery techniques, like the Marc Pro, are proven to be the most effective technique to get your body back to homeostasis. Nutrition is an important piece of the puzzle, but most people who train regularly need additional recovery strategies as well.

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Did you know that your body positioning while using Marc Pro can affect your results? Anytime you use the device you will see benefits, but in order to get the best results, users should make sure that the muscle group being targeted is in a relaxed position. When muscles are able to freely move and contract, more muscle fibers can be recruited. This leads to more benefit and faster results.

Ideal Body Positions for Common Pad Placements

The goal with all body positions is to take pressure off the muscle group being targeted and reduce any resistance to the muscle contraction. Allow yourself to relax while using Marc Pro.

Quad Placement

Pad placements for the quads or global leg flush will benefit from this position. Lay on a comfy couch with your feet out in front of you. Place a pillow or something soft underneath your knees and slightly externally rotate legs.


body positioning tips

Calf/Lower Leg

While targeting the calves or any lower leg issue such as the foot, ankle, or heel, elevate your leg with two pillows. One under the lower hamstring and another supporting your ankles.


body positioning tips

Back/Hamstrings Placement

If you’re targeting your back, hamstrings, or glutes, this position will help provide maximum benefit to your posterior chain. While lying on your stomach, place a pillow underneath your pelvic area to slightly lift the low back. Then, place something soft like a pillow underneath your feet.


body positioning tips

Arm/Trap Placement

When using Marc Pro on your forearms, biceps, global arm flush, or traps, use this position to take pressure off the upper body. Place a pillow or towel between your arm and the side of the body. Then, lay your arm across your lab. You can also hug a pillow to get both arms in a relaxed position.


body positioning tips

Have some questions on body positioning? Contact us by email at or by phone at 855-627-2776.


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build strength for the handstand push-upEven for Crossfit Games athletes, the handstand push-up isn’t a piece of cake. In past years, the handstand push-up was a known weakness for Ben Smith. To turn his weak link around, Ben started utilizing exercises that focused on building his strength for the handstand push-up.

The first step is being able to complete a handstand push-up, which in itself requires a lot of strength and coordination. Once that’s accomplished, athletes can then work on building enough strength to complete multiple rounds and excel at the movement. Ben Smith shares his favorite exercise to build up strength for the handstand push-up.

build strength for the handstand push-upExercise to Build Strength for the Handstand Push-Up

  1. Grab a barbell or a dumbbell for this exercise
  2. Start in an overhead position
  3. Keep midline tight
  4. Lower the weight down to your nose while keeping your elbows in front of you (just like they would be in a strict press)
  5. Once the weight reaches nose level, push back up and out of it.
  6. Repeat

This exercise will help build strength in the triceps and shoulders, which will translate really well over to the handstand push-up.

Building Strength through Better Muscle Recovery

Another technique to help your body get stronger is by incorporating Marc Pro into your training routine. Marc Pro is an EMS device that provides athletes with the ability to recover faster and recover fully. By improving the post-workout recovery process, muscle tissue is able to fully rebuild from the damage that was just done. Better recovery leads to numerous other benefits as well such as injury prevention and improved performance. Unlike other devices, Marc Pro uses a unique technology that won’t fatigue muscles or cause tissue breakdown. To learn more about how Marc Pro can help you, visit our “What is Marc Pro” page.