USA Professional Development Tour

By Joey Hayes

As a coach I pride myself on being at the cutting edge for elite sports performance. It’s been my experience that the professional teams and coaches in the USA are usually at the forefront when it comes to sport science and human performance, naturally it makes logical sense to visit their country on a frequent basis to stay abreast of the current research, techniques and methodologies.

My first stop in the USA was a week long workshop on the programming considerations for EMS usage with elite athletes. As part of our ongoing equipment purchases for USP PIT Facility-I purchased an EMS for our USP athletes to utilise.  As far as Im aware USP are the only private facility in Australia to have access to a powerful medical grade EMS Machine.

Compex EMS Machine
Compex EMS Machine

EMS is very popular with European athletes (Justine Henin-Hardenne and Hermann Maier to name a few) and has been researched extensively (and on athletes, not sedentary subjects) with very positive results.

I believe that EMS can be of great use to athletes, whether it is for increased strength, power, speed, or recovery.

Benefits of EMS

  1. Preferential recruitment of fast-twitch fibers
  2. Increase in muscle strength
  3. Increase in muscle mass
  4. Increase in jumping height (power)
  5. Improvement in running speed
  6. Increased recovery
  7. Prevention of atrophy

All USP Athletes are able to access this powerful machine. Although athletes are required to purchase their own adhesive pads to minimise the risk of disease and skin to skin transmissions. (Email Jess at to arrange for the purchase of your EMS pads.

Stop Number 2. Catch up with Todd Durkin at Fitness Quest 10 Training facility. Todd is one of the best coaches in The USA today. His facility based in San Diego was one of the most professionally run performance training businesses I had the privilege of visiting. We discussed the future of the sports performance coaching business. You can check out Todd’s article would you sell your dog here:

Todd Durkin Fitness Quest 10 Facility San Diego
Todd Durkin Fitness Quest 10 Facility San Diego

Stop Number 3. I travelled to Las Vegas to meet up with Annette Hull-a Level 3 FST or Fascial Stretch Therapist. Annette also an experienced massage therapist has clients fly in from all over the world. Including pro footballers, golfers, and bodybuilders! So what exactly is fascial stretch therapy and how does it help you?

Annette Hull Fascial Stretch Therapy FST Las Vegas
Annette Hull Fascial Stretch Therapy FST Las Vegas

Fascial Stretch Therapy™ (FST) is a unique manual assisted technique that was created for athletes in 1995. It’s been used successfully at the Olympic, professional and collegiate levels. More rehab and training professionals are integrating FST into their protocols and regimens to improve outcomes.

FST is primarily a table-based assisted stretch technique that adheres to 10 principles:

1. Synchronize breathing with movement, and

2. Tune the nervous system to current conditions. In FST, post-training or post-event recovery assisted stretching to regain lost flexibility commences with the tempo of breathing suited to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This type of breathing is slow breathing in which a person inhales pre-stretch and exhales during the stretch. The rhythm sets up a natural tempo of breathing that improves results by reducing patients’ tendency to unnecessarily guard or hold the area being manually stretched as long as pain is avoided.

Fascial Stretch Therapy

Conversely, a stimulating pre-event assisted stretch may be done with faster breathing and a more intense PNF contraction to lightly stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and warm-up an athlete for an event (1,2). Therefore, the nervous system may be tuned to align with your client’s goals and conditions.

3. Follow a logical anatomical order. My experience as a professional dancer, martial artist and flexibility specialist has taught me that following a particular anatomical order of tissue layers when stretching produces the best results.

In general, assessing and stretching the joint capsule for specific planar hypomobility yields better outcomes in assisted stretching like FST. This makes sense because the joint capsule and surrounding connective tissue share the same basic neurological genesis. Since many athletes develop hip capsule adhesions and concomitant hypomobility, better outcomes have resulted from releasing the adhesions and restoring mobility to the joint before addressing the myofascial regions (1,3).

Fascial Stretch Therapy
Fascial Stretch Therapy

After the joint capsule and shorter, single-joint muscles become more flexible, you can stretch longer, multi-joint muscles more effectively as the layers of muscle and connective tissue are released (1).

4. Achieve range of motion (ROM) gains without pain. The philosophy of “no pain, no gain” isn’t part of FST. Instead, you get better results by avoiding the pain response.

Dramatic increases in functional flexibility and performance can be reached when you conduct FST sessions in an environment of quiet relaxation and trust. Under these circumstances, your tightest athletes and other clients can achieve flexibility gains between 50 percent and 100 percent after the first or second assisted stretch session.

5. Stretch fascia, not just muscles. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system that forms a continuous 3-D matrix of structural support across the entire body.

Much more than an organ of support, fascia is also a sophisticated communication and information network involved in all physiological systems (4). The condition of the fascial planes–their alignment, whether they’re freely mobile or adhesed, and locked long or short–is equally important than the isolated muscle, in terms of gaining more usable flexibility, along with strength and optimal function (1,5).

6. Use multiple planes of movement. Using multiple planes of stretch movements is important, especially when working the hip joint. Although the hip’s ball and socket design gives it the potential for 360 degrees of motion, many assisted and self stretch programs don’t actualize enough of this ROM.

Fascial Stretch Therapy Hip Flexors
Fascial Stretch Therapy Hip Flexors

In FST, multiple ranges of movement and circumduction during assessment and treatment address all joint capsule and myofascial regions that may be adhered, contracted, or hypo- or hypermobile (1).

7. Target the entire joint. A joint capsule is made up of fascia that encapsulates the joint and fuses with the ligaments that connect the bones to each side of the joint. Anatomical dissection shows that there’s a superficial layer of fascia covering these parts like a jacket under the skin. Deep continuous paths of fascial tissue connect the joint capsule to the ligament and bone, go on to the tendon and muscle, continue to the next tendon and bone, and proceed to the ligament and capsule of the next joint (1,5).

This repetition of fascial connections can span the entire length of the body and affect different areas. For example, tightness in the sole of the foot can cause symptoms or pain anywhere through the fascial tracks of the back, up to the base of the skull. Since the joint and its capsule are located in the deepest part of the fascial tracks, the condition of the joint capsule determines the condition of the fascial tracks that cross over and connect the joints (1,5).

It’s suggested that almost 50 percent of a healthy person’s lack of joint ROM is due to tight joint capsules. Therefore, it’s important to keep these structures optimally mobile (6).

8. Use traction. In physical therapy school I learned the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) principles about joints and the muscles that cross them–compression facilitates or stimulates contraction and joint stability, while traction inhibits or relaxes them. Connective tissue responds to underactivity, overactivity and age by contracting. Recent research shows that fascia contains myofibroblasts, which supports the aforementioned observation (3).

Fascial Stretch Therapy Glute Stretch
Fascial Stretch Therapy Glute Stretch

Traction makes assisted stretching more comfortable for patients. And teaching patients how to perform self-traction aids compliance to home programs (1).

9. Facilitate body reflexes. Research demonstrates that using specific PNF techniques during stretching yields the highest ROM gains in the shortest amount of time (2). My own unpublished research shows that assisted PNF contract-relax stretching using non-traditional and individualized parameters of intensity, frequency and duration, combined with using multiple table straps to passively stabilize the stationary limb, results in better and longer ROM than traditional PNF techniques (7). I call this particular assisted stretch technique “undulating periodized contract-relax PNF.”

10. Adjust stretching to client goals. Tailoring stretching regimens to a client’s specific needs produces better results.

For example, consider professional football players. These athletes come in at least twice per week for assisted stretching to regain flexibility they lose during the season and to speed recovery through enhanced blood and lymph flow. In the offseason, we work more on increasing the plasticity of players’ connective tissues to reverse connective tissue thickening and scar tissue formation. Some football players, such as cornerbacks and wide receivers, are more “fast twitch” and reactionary to stretching, and need more oscillating, undulating movements to condition the nervous system for FST.

Fascial Stretch Therapy Psoas
Fascial Stretch Therapy Psoas

FST sessions should be adjusted daily to the conditions at hand. Pre-game assisted stretching should consist of 20 minutes of fast, undulating movements to get players limber up to 30 minutes before training or an event. Two days after a game, players should receive 1-hour sessions to regain lost flexibility.

While more research is needed to help clinicians practice evidenced-based therapy, FST should be considered a viable manual technique in the sports and rehab marketplace.

Stop number 4: Firing Guns with SERT, SAS, SWAT Teams in Las Vegas for an understanding of the intricacies of preparing special forces agents workshop. Many people may not realise that I have prepared many SAS and SERT candidates for their training. So this workshop was ideal to broaden that knowledge base. The seminar on Supplementation for elite performance, cognitive function and mental performance was brilliant!

Getting a closer understanding of physical preparation for SWAT, Military, Tactical and SAS Troops.
Getting a closer understanding of physical preparation for SWAT, Military, Tactical and SAS Troops.

Whilst undertaking the SWAT special Ops seminar they had a mind blowing section on New Performance Enhancing Supplements-termed Nootrophic Supplements which they have been using with their military personal-think assassins-that require long periods of sustained focus and concentration as well as fine motor control.

Brain Candy Performance Enhancing Supplements
Brain Candy Performance Enhancing Supplements

Brain Candy:

Helps to Increase Confidence

Reduce Social Anxiety

Improve Mood

Stimulates GH release.

Alpha GPC Performance Enhancing Supplements

Alpha GPC Performance Enhancing Supplements

Alpha GPC:

Increase Explosive Power

Stimulate GH Production

Enhance Cognition

Power Drive Performance Enhancing Supplements
Power Drive Performance Enhancing Supplements

Power Drive:

Rocket Fuel for the Mind
Neural Recovery Formula

Nootrophic supplements are legal ways to enhance cognitive performance-formerly used for alzheimers patients to increase socialisation, brain power, through processing…Think of the movie Limitless but with no adverse side effects…These Next Generation supplements-work by increasing the permeability of the blood brain barrier. Don’t worry they do not have any ingredients banned by asada or wada. If you would like to purchase these nootropic supplements please contact Jess at

Stop Number 5 Meeting with Sam Queen in Celebration, Florida. Sam Queen is considered the godfather of functional medicine and blood chemistry. His clients consist of elite athletes and members of the general population that have suffered from Cancer and auto-immune diseases. It was great to finally meet my blood chemistry mentor face to face.

Sam and Betty Queen with Joey Hayes in Celebration Florida
Sam and Betty Queen with Joey Hayes in Celebration Florida

Stop 6 Catching up with Coach Ken Vick at Velocity Sports Performance California. Ken’s clients consist of many pro NFL, NBA and MLB players as well as many junior and developmental athletes. It was great to share notes and see some of his interesting exercise progressions.

Joey Hayes and Coach Ken Vick of Velocity Sports Performance California!                    Joey Hayes and Coach Ken Vick of Velocity Sports Performance California!

It was a great chance to meet up with like minded individuals who share the same passion for their profession as what I do. I was humbled when Todd Durkin said, “Joey, do you know how many coaches I’ve had come and visit me from Australia?…None…That tells me you’re legitimate..that tells me that you are the real deal…your athletes are very lucky…

How many other coaches would sacrifice their holidays and travel half way around the world to further their education and professional development”…

It’s funny I never ever thought about it like that…after all, it’s just’s just what I do…it’s who I am and its what I will continue to do until the day I move on!

All the best,

Joey Hayes