Total Performance Screening Process

One of the variables of program design is current athlete ability. How well do they move? Are there any asymmetries between the two sides of the body? How high do they jump… how fast do they run… these are some of the questions we attempt to answer before putting an athlete through any workout regimen. We have created a systemized screening tool that is in no way nationally accredited or certified. But, for our situation, we feel it is the best and most accurate method (at this time) to determine current athletic ability with new clients. 

General Questionnaire: 

This is the first portion of our screening process. This is our chance to get to know the athlete in more ways than one. After the basic screening questions like health history, injury history, current height and weight, and past training history, we like to establish the “why” behind their training. “What brings you to TP today?” Not only does this show the athlete we care, but we use it is a reference point for those who stick around for the long haul. We often lose sight of goals through the mundane routine that can be life. Referencing goals set from the beginning gives the athlete and coach a chance to refocus. 

Functional Movement Screening (FMS)

The FMS is a screening tool used to determine musculoskeletal dysfunction for someone who currently isn’t showing symptoms of dysfunction. The FMS claims to be a predictor of injury, however studies have had mixed results showing the test’s ability to do just that. We use 6 of the current 7 screening methods as a way to test for asymmetries, motor control, and mobility. We do not use the FMS to predict injury. It is a systematized way to set a benchmark of movement ability that we can refer back to, and see if our programming cleaned up the movements. Also, inability to complete certain movements without asymmetry between limbs or pain will determine what exercises go into their program. For example, an athlete that scores poorly on the “Straight Leg Raise” will not be allowed to complete loaded hinge patterns like the RDL. We will prescribe corrective exercises to help the movement, and as they progress through the correctives, they will then be exposed to the RDL. 

Basic Human Movement Ability

Beyond the FMS, we like to get our athletes moving in space. How well do they before basic human movements like the: squat, hip hinge, horizontally press/ pull, vertically press/pull, rotate, laterally bend, and trunk strength. These movements require multiple joints to work in unison to complete the movement. If there is a lack of motor pattern ability, muscular “tightness,” or force leaks, we will be able to more accurately prescribe exercises that target these areas of dysfunction.

Performance Testing

This is the last portion of the screening process. The previous activities acted as a minor warm up for these upcoming tests. Due to the nature of performance testing, we also require our athletes to complete a modified dynamic warm up for athlete safety. Tests include: counter movement jump, static squat jump, broad jump, 10 yard sprint, and the 5-10-5 drill. The size of our facility limits our ability to measure speed outside of acceleration ability. Gaining mass while jumping higher and longer, and running faster  often times tells us that we are doing our job with our athletes. 

In the Future

After collecting data from these screens, and testing the results of our programs we will be able to make these tests more appropriate to our population of athletes. Including things like body composition, 40 yard dash times, possibly a force plate :) will allow us to increase the individualization of athlete programs. This in turn will produce greater results in the gym that will transfer to their sport. 

Thanks for your time!

Coach Nate Garcia 


Instagram: tp_strength

Consistency: The True Variable in Training

Too often in my young coaching career I have seen people excited to get started in the gym, only to have that flame of excitement quickly burn out. Too often have I been asked to create a program for people looking to get back in shape, or train for a sport; only to check in after a few weeks, and find out they have completed the first work out… and that’s it. There is no secret formula to finding success in your training. There is no magic program that will create the results you are looking for if you do not dedicate the time to the program. When it comes down to it, the only way to get faster, stronger, more fit, is to stay true to the process. 

When I start training a new athlete, I do not immediately throw them into the gates of hell. A lot of coaches enjoy this, as I have come to find out. We attempt to build mental toughness via excruciatingly difficult/ pointless workouts before establishing some sort of training base, and before looking at the needs of the athlete. Besides the science behind this flawed practice of training, if I am looking to establish a consistent routine with this athlete, absolutely destroying them will more than likely prevent them from coming in the next day… and the next… and the next. Once they have recovered from your “session from hell” they have now missed 5-7 days of training time (probably). That is anywhere from 5-14 hours of training volume that could have accumulated, instead they were laying at home, struggling to walk. So, they come back in and we are starting from zero again. Here is your chance to make up for a pointless workout. Instead of going into the session with a mindset of training homicide, we can test the athlete to see where the athlete currently sits physically, and mentally. Run them through an evaluation! Everything from past medical history, to contralateral asymmetries, and work capacity. From there we can create a program that may not challenge YOU as a fitness junkee, but it will challenge your athlete appropriately.  Your athlete is now coming in 3-4 days/ week consistently with adequate rest between sessions, and after a few weeks some big changes have already begun to take place. Here is where a good program has merit, but that is a conversation for another day.

This same principle holds true for general population folks as well. If you haven’t run 5 miles in 5 years, or you haven't squatted your high school max since high school, do not attempt to do so on day 1. If you do not injure yourself, your body will be in recovery mode for years to come (that’s a joke, but really your body will scream at you). Then we see the same pattern, “I’m too sore” or “I’ll come back in a couple of days.” Before you know it, we haven’t exercised in 7 days. When you are unsure of how to begin,  ask a professional like myself for help. We must establish a routine that appropriately challenges your current fitness level. 

However, not all of the blame can fall on the misinformed fitness coach. If you want to accomplish health goals, or get better at your sport, YOU have to spend the time in the weight-room. Whatever program you decide to run, the common variable is consistency. Whether you come in 1 day per week or 7, the volume of training will accumulate, and change will take place.  

Thanks for your time!

Coach Nate Garcia 


Instagram: tp_strength

The Importance of Skill Levels

This may seem like an obvious title, of course skill level matters in anything we do in life. Do you expect the same work output from a seasoned professional compared to the wide-eyed intern? The world in the weightroom is no different. As I scroll through social media, an obvious title considering skill level is often neglected when training people. Too often are people thrown in the fire and expected to perform without a negative consequence, and if the individual happens to fail they are often labeled weak, and/or lazy. This is not the case for most situations, and the actual cause for failure is a poorly executed program that failed to be modified to the individuals needs. 

I want to exclude military/special forces training right now. I do not have any experience working with armed forces, and the purpose of their training is to weed out people in order to find the elite of the elite individuals. In my line of work, I am not trying to weed anyone out of the program. The goal for the population I most often work with is to get them to a baseline of performance in order to better prepare them for the rigors of their sport, and future training. With that being said, the population I most commonly work with is the novice population, whether they are young athletes, or general population groups that haven’t spent a lot of time training. 

The phrase “baseline of performance” can be generic, but I believe every coach should attain to get their clients to their baseline before creating a more specific program can be implemented. For example, if an athlete struggles control their landing from a jump I am not going to demand them to land a jump and immediately perform second jump. They do not yet possess the ability to efficiently absorb force from the ground, which means they would not be able to redistribute that force in any controlled manner. There are certain thresholds that individuals must cross before reaching that next level of training. Once they check these boxes, I can confidently increase intensity, variability, etc. 

In the beginning, adaptation is almost guaranteed. Taking someone from 0, and performing any training, you will see great improvements almost immediately across all areas of ability. After a few years of consistent training, those big jumps of improvements have disappeared and one must be particular with their variables in order to accomplish their goals. Accumulating 10+ years of training and so on, the improvements become dependent on a person's ability to plan their variables appropriately to peak for performance, and continually push past their current ceiling. The focus shifts from generic capabilities to emphasizing exactly what the client needs in order to get the best possible performance. 

Be careful scarrowing the internet, looking for new methods of training for you or your clients to perform. One, you don’t know the context of the content unless you communicate with the creator of the content; only then can you pass judgement of the content. Two, know how to dissect what you are looking at in order to decide whether or not you should include the modality, or some variation of it in your training. Three, know the current status of the client being trained! No one should get hurt when training, so when creating a program for anyone, take into consideration these three principles and disaster will be avoided. 

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions, please reach out to us!

Instagram: tp_strength (Coach Nate)

Phone: 914-486-7678