News & Events

How Do You Define An Athlete? It’s Not What You Think

Without fail, it happens about once every couple of weeks.  I meet a new patient and one of the first things they say is “I am not sure why my physician recommended me to come here. I am not an athlete.”
As the conversation progresses, the patient tells me about how they go to the gym and work out 3-4 times a week and how during the summer they regularly play in a golf league.  But, you’re not an athlete? I think maybe you are.
In this blog, I will explain three reasons why you fit our definition of being an athlete. 

Two men playing paddle tennis in wide angle shot image

I get it.  Normally, when we think about an “athlete”, we think about someone who participates in organized sports, are between the ages of 12-22 years old, or are paid, professional athletes.  
But what about the police officer who (injured his back on duty as a patrol officer) is on patrol?  
What about the (mother of three who is ready to get back to her pre-children fitness level to keep up with her family) stay at home mom who works out regularly at the nearby gym?  
How about the guy who can get a senior discount at most restaurants but lives to play tennis with his buddies three times a week?  
Or how about me? A 41-year-old (at the time of this writing) who enjoys working out a couple times a week, plays men’s league hockey, and has frequent wrestling matches with his kids?
In my eyes, everyone listed is an “athlete”.
Being an athlete is not defined by our age or whether we are in organized sports.  It is a mindset. It is a mindset that you want to perform at your optimal level, regardless of where you are in the cycle of life.
Every single person, traditional athlete or not, is on a performance continuum.

On one side of the continuum you have an injury or pain that is limiting your function and performance.  On the other end of the continuum is when you are feeling great and you are physically performing everything in life you desire to do.

How high your continuum reaches might vary compared to someone else, but you are still somewhere on it.  
I founded Athletes’ Training Center Sports Performance & Physical Therapy with that continuum in mind so that we had solutions for anyone who wanted to shift their place on the continuum to the far right. We don’t just see professional athletes or 12 to 22 year old athletes who are in organized sports.
We see so many more “athletes.”
Here are 3 easy ways to know if you are our kind of athlete:

1. You value feeling good and performing at your best 

2. You want to be challenged in a way that helps you reach your best

3. You want an environment where like-minded people come striving to get better
Help us continue to be the destination where athletes and their families could turn to get unmatched rehabilitative care, training, and service by commenting below in our feed or sharing this link with a fellow athlete. 
Thanks for reading! 
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS, President and Founder 

Featured Success Story – Donald Chamberlain

Meet Donald. He’s 38, a basketball player, an avid shoe enthusiast, works three part-time jobs and is committed to reaching his fitness goals. 

Donald’s Story

Donald, how did you hear about Athletes’ Training Center?
“I saw a commercial while I was at work and I was convinced this was the place to help me reach my goals. At the time I was playing on an all Native-American traveling, basketball team. I wanted to improve my vertical, get stronger, quicker and improve my stamina. I came in for a free trial, met my coaches and after that, I was hooked and came to workout three days a week for 23 straight months.
Then, I took a 7-year break and really didn’t do anything fitness wise.
And with 7 years of not doing anything, I started to notice a decline with my strength. That’s when I knew that I had to start back up with my fitness routine again, and I knew just where I wanted to go.”
Can you tell us about where do you work?
Currently, I work 3 part-time jobs at Chesterman Company (Coca-Cola), UPS and the Cheesecake Factory. I am called a sweeper at UPS where I throw up 50-150 lbs of materials. I have really noticed a difference with my strength there. 
What goals do you have set for yourself?
Currently, I am working toward squatting 500 lbs, improving my 10-yard dash and benching 300 lbs. I’m a very committed person, so once I have my mind set towards something I have to achieve it. 
What do you want people to take away from your story? 
“I’d say for anyone who is thinking about working out and making a positive change with their fitness routine, you just have to get started.  There are days where I don’t want to come in, I really dread it. But, that feeling once I am done with the workout – it is simply rewarding. When I wake up the next morning sore I knew it was worth it. It’s tough, it is a lot of work, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without challenging myself and by working with the coaches at Athletes’ Training Center.
Now fitness is a part of my life again. I passed my 500th workout session at Athletes’ Training Center! I couldn’t do what I loved without getting back in shape. Fitness is just a part of my life now and it’s been rewarding. 
We have had the pleasure of working with Donald for the past year and a half. In that time he has reached the milestone of accomplishing 500 workouts. Today, he is still working towards his 500 lb squat goal and his bench goal of 300 lb.  
Donald is committed to staying healthy and wants to continue to get stronger.

Shin Splits, How to Reduce Your Risk – 3 Strategies

I have two words for you.  Two words which give runners everywhere nightmares.  “Shin splints”. Most people are familiar with this diagnosis; and if you have had them before, you know that they are highly irritating!

In this blog, I want to talk about three strategies you can use to help reduce your risk of developing shin splints symptoms. 

1st: Buy a Good Pair of Running Shoes

Just like anything else shoes break down and need to be replaced. How often they need to be replaced depends on how far you are running in a week.

As a general rule of thumb, running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, which means you can’t simply replace them once a year (if you are averaging 50 miles a week).

2nd: Slowly Ramp up Your Running Distance

Have a plan for building up your running distance. If you want to run a half-marathon this summer, but have not been putting in any miles during the winter, you should not start off running 30 miles a week.  You should instead begin by building up your walking tolerance, move to walk/run intervals, then build your running distance from there.

Going from spending most of your time sitting on the couch and binge-watching Netflix straight into hardcore run training is a sure fire way to end up with a case of shin splints.

3rd: Stretch Your Calf Muscles 

Finally, make sure you stretch out your calf muscles before and after your run. When stretching out your calves, it is important to ensure you stretch out both of the major muscles which reside there, your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

The gastrocnemius is stretched when your toes are pulled toward your head with your knee straight as this muscle spans across the knee. In order to stretch the soleus, you must have your knee bent as this muscle stops short of the knee.

soleus stretch

gastrocnemius stretch


Each of these three strategies can play an important roll in helping you to avoid shin splints and helping runners everywhere to get a better night’s sleep!



If you or someone you know is already dealing with this condition, then set up an appointment today to be seen by one of our physical therapists.  There are many strategies to help speed up recovery!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT

How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefit 1

We can all probably imagine what an off season training program looks and sounds like. It is probably something like this scenario:

You walk into your training facility and you are greeted with the familiar sound of weights clanging off of platforms and the ‘sweet’ smell of sweat in the air. You see someone in the corner desperately trying to catch their breath after setting a new personal best. All the while you can barely hear your own thoughts and the conversations of people talking around you because someone is blasting their favorite “pumped-up” Pandora station.

This scenario just comes with the territory of many off season training programs. Off season training programs are no secret to athletes and to sport coaches, but what about the benefits of in season training programs?

Today, we will reveal the 1st of 3 benefits of training while in season and why it is important to continue to train during this time.  

A well-disciplined, dedicated athlete has already conditioned their body to be ready for the season. But it never ceases to amaze us coaches that once their season starts the athletes suddenly stop their training programs all-together. It is understandable as their schedules fill-up with games and practices.

But as their season progresses, they start to notice that their muscles become sorer with each game and they begin to lose the advances they made during the off-season. Why is it that?

With all the work that athletes’ put in during the off season, it is assumed that everything that they worked on should carry them through their season, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

Why In Season Training? 

During our in season programs we turn the intensity level down. An athlete should be able to devote at least two hours a week for in season training outside of their sport practices, just ask any Division 1 or professional athlete or coach. The answer to feeling and playing your best all season long, is to incorporate a strength and conditioning program!

With that in mind, let’s look at the first benefit of training while in- season. 

Benefit 1)

Maintain off season gains

During the off season, athletes are building valuable strength and power to improve their performance. It wouldn’t make sense to work so hard on your speed, power, and strength development during the months leading up to your season and then completely stop doing those exercises that gave you the advances you needed. 

That is why the goal of in season training is not to improve upon those adaptations, but rather to maintain them.

“Some strength, speed, and power abilities can decrease in as little as two to three weeks, so if you refrained from in-season training for months you will for sure fall behind your opponent later in the season.” – Trenton Clausen

Because of this, the length of sessions and exercise volume (number of repetitions performed) can be reduced. Perfect for the busy in-season athlete! 

As athletes and as performance coaches, we understand that it is difficult to know the right training program, frequency, and duration to continue performing at your best with training in-season. I would recommend that you find a strength and conditioning professional that knows exactly what to do and has experience training high level athletes during the in-season.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we reveal the 2nd and 3rd benefit for training in season. 

How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefits 2 & 3

Written By, Performance Coaches:

Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance
Mike Servais – CSCS, USAW-L1, Performance Coach
Gus Thiel BS, NASM-CPT, FMS-L1, Performance Coach 

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Winter Block – Testing Results

Our athletes have been training hard with us these past 12 weeks during Winter Block and as a group they have seen major improvements
Winter Block 2017-2018 
“Average Improvements” 
*These stats are an average from all of our Jump Start and Total Performance athletes
Vertical Jump: + 1.6 inches
Overhead Medball Throw: + 1 feet 5 inches
Medball Shot Put Throw: 2 feet 2 inches
10 Yard Sprint: – .07 seconds
Pro Agility: – .14 seconds
300 Yard Shuttle: – 1.3 seconds
Top Athletic Improvements:
*These stats are from our top performing athletes from Winter Block
Vertical Jump: + 6.5 inches
Overhead Medball Throw: + 7 feet 4 inches
Medball Shot Put Throw: 12 feet 3 inches
10 Yard Sprint: – .38 seconds
Pro Agility: – .74 seconds
300 Yard Shuttle:  – 7 seconds

Wouldn’t you like to see these same results for your athlete? 

Our Spring Block begins February 12th!
Our athletic development programs focus on meeting the goals of each athlete. We accomplish this by utilizing a comprehensive evaluation to gain valuable information to develop a custom program that is progressed to meet the athlete’s specific goals.

At Athletes’ Training Center our athletic development programs offer the most comprehensive performance enhancement training in the Midwest.

  • We are the first and only facility in the area that integrates medical research and strength and conditioning research into all of our programs making injury reduction a top priority.
Learn More  about our programs. 

What Everybody Ought to Know About: Concussion Protocol Evolution

Around 2004, while the head athletic trainer at a Class A high school in Lincoln, NE, I had the good fortune of being part of a research study that was looking at the use of a computerized tool for assessing concussion. The name of the program was ANAM and it assessed things similar to what we know today as ImPact.  In watching football players take this test after sustaining a concussion and comparing it to their baseline, I started to notice something that made me sick to my stomach.

Kids were not recovering in the 7 day window which we used at the time as the standard for clearing them to play again after concussion.

Especially freshmen and sophomores.

Concussions Early 2000’s.

Dr. Lori Terryberry-Spohr, a phenomenal practitioner and researcher at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, was instrumental in helping me understand what this program was finding and why it was starting to concern me.   I was noticing athletes were still symptomatic even after returning to play.  They were struggling with quick and accurate decisions – which is something essential to playing sports effectively and safely.  I was starting to question how I was handling concussions and wondered if we needed to start doing things a little differently.  The other athletic trainers in my school district were wondering the same thing. 

I was starting to question how I was handling concussions and wondered if we needed to start doing things a little differently.  The other athletic trainers in my school district were wondering the same thing. 


At the same time, the national landscape was changing drastically in regards to managing concussions and in a very short amount of time we are where we are today.  No longer do we rate concussions in severity and no longer do we use a variety of grading scales that vary from liberal to conservative. You either have one or not.  Terms like bell rung, dingers, and stuns are not used any longer.

Concussions Today

All sorts of technology exists to aid athletic trainers and other sports medicine practitioners with concussion management.  There are state laws in place with the hope of protecting young athletes from continuing play after sustaining a concussion Nebraska LB 923.  Most importantly, we have much better approaches to return to play and now return to learn.

The more interesting point is all of this new information has streamed, really flooded, into mainstream media and the households of America.  Yet I still have to endure the verbal lashing from a parent when I explain why their athlete can’t finish the game and will probably be out for a minimum of 2 weeks. I still have to drum like the Energizer bunny advocating on behalf of the kid whose parents refuse to associate the decline in school with the concussion their athlete sustained months earlier.  I still have to read doctor’s notes clearing kids a day later.  

Yes, I said doctor.

I still have to drum like the Energizer bunny advocating on behalf of the kid whose parents refuse to associate the decline in school with the concussion their athlete sustained months earlier.


The good news is the greater majority of athletes, parents, and practitioners get it now and this has led to some really great multidisciplinary approaches to helping athletes recover from concussion.  A great example is the team of providers in Omaha that participate in Concussion Focus.  My colleague Josiah Parker leads that team.  He has immersed himself in knowledge and practice techniques to provide post-concussion physical therapy and for the small percentage of cases that don’t resolve normally he can make all the difference in the world for their recovery.

Obviously I did the best I could back then based on the information we had at hand.  I also feel extremely grateful the kids I sent back out did okay.  Today, though, I know so much more and am appreciative for all of the resources that exist for kids in relation to concussions.

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC Director of Marketing & Operations

Question:  Do you know which sport has the second highest incidence of concussion (next to football)?


10 Things We Treat Besides Shoulders

As anyone knows who has ever been in one of our clinics, our physical therapists including myself like to chat it up with our patients.  I feel like in the 9 years of Athletes’ Training Center being open I have talked with patients on just about every topic…many times over.  
Therefore, most things do not tend to catch me off guard.  However the other day during a conversation with a patient of mine, I heard something I was not prepared for.  
Without going into much detail, I have seen this patient and his wife for multiple problems including the one I am treating him for right now. However, about a year ago he did not come to Athletes’ Training Center after his knee replacement.
At first when I started seeing him recently for this new problem, I didn’t ask him where he went or why he went to a different rehab facility for his care. But for some reason, today seemed like the right day to ask.
 His response completely caught me off guard…
He said, “my surgeon told me that you guys just do shoulders and that I would be better served at his physical therapy clinic.”
I do not think I have been speechless since my wedding day, but I was at that moment. 
My mind was racing. Is this seriously how we are seen in the physician community and in the Omaha community? 
Hearing this news, I feel compelled to speak up and destroy this stigma.
But, I NEED your help in doing so. I will get to that part in a minute.
The truth is I do see how this surgeon could have thought all we see is shoulders. The fact is we do see a lot of shoulders (over 800 new cases last year) and our shoulder patients do amazing and that word travels. BUT we see so much more than just shoulders! 


Top 10 Things We Treat Besides Shoulders:


1. Knee Replacements

How could I start the list off any differently?  After all, it did motivate this blog.  

I completely understand that when people (physicians and community) see our name, they see “athlete” and think we treat 10 to 18 year old’s who play sports. Being an athlete is not an age. It’s a state of mind. Our knee replacement patients come because they know they aren’t going to be treated like some recliner loving geriatric.  We will challenge and push them to strive for new heights.  That’s being an “athlete”.


2. Lumbar Fusions

We are seeing a greater number of young adults (<40 years old) having lumbar fusions. 

I personally attribute a lot of this trend coming from bad lifting technique and coaching as young athletes which is then continued through into adulthood.  Our lumbar fusion patients are getting back to running, exercising and lifting weights with a great understanding of how to properly protect their spine for the rest of their life.



3. Tommy John Injuries and Reconstructions

This is the fastest growing epidemic in baseball throughout our country right now and Omaha is no different. 

Right now as I write this, we have 3 surgical reconstructions and 11 sprains hoping not to have surgery.  This injury and surgery is pretty specific to athletes who play sports like baseball and we know baseball.  On our staff, we have 5 people who played college baseball and 2 more that have consulted for Division 1 and/or professional teams. Having a team with that knowledge and knowing how to apply it makes our Tommy John patients know they will get better.

4. Post-Concussion Syndrome 

Concussions have been a hot button topic in sports at all levels but they also happen as frequently in car accidents and job site injuries. 

Most people do not realize that prolonged concussion symptoms can be treated in a specific rehabilitation program.  This is our fastest growing service and I attribute that to the revolutionary results we have been getting through our program. Learn more about our rehabilitation concussion program here. 



5. ACL Reconstructions

ACL injuries have been around and will be around as long as people continue to be active in life or sports. 

Coming back from this surgery may be one of the longest and most arduous processes.  Having a facility that allows patients to sprint, decelerate, cut, and jump has been immensely helpful in getting our patients back safely. Learn more about our ACL bridge program. 


6. Foot and Ankle Injuries


Jones fractures, ankle sprains, Lisfranc injuries, lateral ligament reconstructions, high ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and turf toe are injuries we rehabilitate on a regular basis.  Having a properly functioning foot and ankle is pivotal for our patients to get back to physical activity, recreational or competitive.

7. Hip pain

Hip pain does not discriminate on age.  We have see hip pain in kids as young as 10 years old and as old as someone in their late 60’s.

Helping someone recover from hip pain is an art because of how many things affect the muscles around the hip and the alignment of the hip.  I am glad we have a couple hip artists on our team to get these people better quickly.

 8. Herniated Discs 

Disc herniations are such a pain in the butt.  No….literally the pain often shoots into the butt.  

Disc herniations happen because the body does not transfer force well through the low back using the core. Knowing how to exercise the core, how to lift weights properly to preserve the discs, and how to manage the risk factors for re-injury is something all of our patients receive.

9.  Achilles Tendon Injuries and Repairs

Most people do not injure their Achilles doing sedentary things so why go to a rehabilitation facility that treats mostly sedentary people?  Being able to powerfully sprint, cut, and jump are the goals many of our Achilles patients have. We have a belief that we want our patients to perform all of those things under supervision and in a controlled setting to establish success and confidence.  Having 3,500 square feet of turf in each facility certainly helps us meet our patient’s needs for those things.



10. Everything Else That Involves A Muscle, Tendon, Bone, Ligament, Exercise, or Sport 

I know #10 might sound a little over the top, but the reality is, there is not a diagnosis or a body part we do not rehabilitate and do so to a high functioning level.  I want to make sure our physicians and our community knows this without a doubt.
So as I mentioned, I NEED your help.  If we have had the pleasure of treating you for anything outside of a shoulder, will you please leave a comment below?
Let’s break this stigma together!
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS, President and Founder

Core Competencies in Athleticism and How They Carry Over to Hockey

Hockey players, in my opinion, are some of the greatest athletes in the world. They have amazing coordination, precision balance, superior relative body strength, and cunning agility.  But what most parents think is that these athletic traits are totally groomed on the ice.
The reality is that could not be further from the truth.  Those skills and traits have to be developed off the ice before they can transfer on the ice.  Sport specific skill is ALWAYS developed from a foundation of fundamental movement skills or what I call athletic core competencies.
If a player skips out on learning these core competencies, they will never reach their potential on the ice.  If fact, USA Hockey supports this exact thinking when they adopted the ADM model which focuses on long term athlete development (LTAD).  The LTAD model is rooted in establishing a base of athletic movement skills then using those to not only develop further athletic skills but also hockey skills.

The Core Competencies of Athleticism:


1. Squatting 

Wait, I know what you might be thinking. Squatting as in putting a bar on the back and squatting? No.  Before we do that, we have to know how squat down and stand up without falling over backwards, caving our knees in, or overly leaning forward.
Learning how to perform a correct squat helps our hockey players understand what an athletic, ready position is, teaches them how to turn their core on so they have balance when they are moving, and helps them better control the recovery position during the hockey stride.

2. Lunging 

Lunging is a movement that requires single leg strength, balance, and core control which are key traits our players need.  In skating, the feet are constantly split apart whether it is in skating forward (front lunge), skating backwards (lateral lunge) or crossing over (cross-over lunge).  
If a player can develop these abilities off the ice, it will reflect on the ice with longer, more efficient strides.

3. Skipping

Yes, I said skipping.  Skipping is not a skill that we naturally develop (trust me I can show you plenty of videos of kids AND adults that can not skip) but it is a skill we need.  Skipping teaching us how to move our arms and legs in a reciprocal manner.  
Reciprocal arm and leg movement is essential in the skating stride but it is also critical in the hockey shot.  Follow me on this, if I am a right handed shot, I have to be able to generate force and control with my bottom right hand while balancing and stabilizing my body on the left leg.  If we know how to skip, we can later teach how to apply force in that movement. Great building block!

4. Hopping

Hopping is defined as taking off and landing with the same leg.  Hopping is another great way to develop those intangible traits of balance, leg strength, and core control while teaching the athlete how to start using their arms to help develop power in their legs.

5. Balance

Balance is one of the key traits we need and it is also a core competency that needs to be specifically worked on.  Balance is not just standing on one foot which is definitely needed for skating.  Balance is being able to control our body over our foot or feet.  In nerdy science terminology, we call it keeping your center of mass over your base of support.  Balance happens in skating, changing directions, shooting, and keeping opponents from knocking us off the puck.
So those are the foundational core competencies in starting to build athleticism.  If players especially between the ages of 7-13 years of age can develop these skills along with others consistent with their age, they will be so much more advanced on the ice. How does your player do with these skills? Try them at home and see!
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS, President and Founder


Email Travis to sign up for a FREE Trial of our Full Service Dryland Training Program



How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefits 2 & 3

The importance of off season training is no secret to athletes and sport coaches, but some don’t fully understand the importance of in season training. Training during an athletes in season provides valuable time to maintain off season gains, reduce the risk of in season injury and aid in faster recovery from practices and games. 

In our previous blog, How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefit 1 Trenton ClausenMike Servais and Gus Thiel discussed the 1st benefit of training while in season – maintaining off season gains.

Today, we will dive into the 2nd and 3rd benefits of training while in season and why it is paramount to continue to train during this time.

Athletes train hard in the off season to ensure they are at their best by the time the season rolls around, but once their season arrives they suddenly stop training as their schedules fill up with games and practices.

As the season wears on they might start to notice that their bodies become more sore with each game and their nagging aches and pains just won’t go away.

Why is it that? With all the work put in during the off season they should feel great all season, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way. The 2nd benefit of training while in season is to aid in reducing the athlete’s chance of sustaining an injury. 

Benefit 2)

Injury prevention is another key factor that we work on in our in season training programs. We must continue maintaining our strength to prevent soft tissue injuries. We can do this through strength training and active recovery methods such as self-myofascial release (i.e. foam rolling), stretching, icing, and rest.

If we are able to maintain our strength and tissue quality during the season we will fend off injuries that can be prevented and keep us on the field of play.

“Athletes that work to maintain their strength, muscle tissue quality and joint health during the season are less susceptible to injuries because their body is more prepared to handle the stresses of the season.”

– Mike Servais

Benefit 3)

The final benefit from training in season is the ability to recover faster from games and practices. Over the course of a long season, athlete’s bodies take a beating. But fear not! A proper in-season program will not make an athlete feel worse!

In fact, getting back in the gym will allow athletes to address this issue by performing soft-tissue work (using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, etc.) to restore muscle tissue quality.

Maintaining tissue quality is vital for joint mobility (ability for a joint to move) and stability (ability to control joint position).

“Always remember that training in season doesn’t mean that your workout program should be put on the back burner. Be smart about your in season programs and your body will thank you later!” – Gus Thiel 


Here at Athletes’ Training Center, we want our athletes to be at their best once the season starts. However, it takes discipline and dedication to maintain peak performance throughout the year. We will make sure you feel your best come game time!

Tip: Interested in our in season programs?
Ask about our maintenance memberships or our Free Trial Sessions!

Written By Performance Coaches:

Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance
Mike Servais – CSCS, USAW-L1, Performance Coach
Gus Thiel BS, FMS-L1SP, Performance Coach 

Introducing our Full Court Program!

We are excited to announce the launch of our Full Court Program designed specifically for basketball players! 
full, court, programIf you play basketball, you want the best chance possible to earn playing time, make the team or achieve whatever your goal might be.  You already know you have to spend hours in the gym at practice and dedicate yourself to working on your skill set. You have to be a good teammate, listen to your coaches and stay healthy.  If you are like most of the kids in our program, you know the importance of being strong, jumping higher, and being fast.

If you are a parent, you want the same things for your athlete too.  But, you want a little more.  You want to see them stay injury free and you want to see the investment of time and money pay off. 

How to “Bulk Up” Your Fruit and Veggie Intake

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants which help protect us from illness, fight off inflammation from exercise, and promote good health. But, it never ceases to amaze me how many of my fitness members say they fall short on incorporating these “super foods” into their daily meals. 

Today, I will share with you some quick and easy tips on how to incorporate fruit and veggies into your daily routine. How many servings of fruit and veggies should you aim for in a day?

Try to aim for 4-5 servings of vegetables and at least 3 servings of fruit each day. Focus on varying the colors of the fruits and vegetables you eat every day because different colors have different amounts and types of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Fruits & Vegetables – The more colorful the better 

– Red: apples, red grapes, cherries, tomatoes, red peppers, and watermelon

– Orange: carrots, peaches, oranges, and cantaloupe

– Green: green apples, green peppers, pears, cabbage, kiwi, green beans, lettuce, broccoli, and spinach

– Yellow: bananas, pineapple, lemons, corn

– Purple/Blue: grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

Are you among the many people that struggle with finding ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet? Try these tips for incorporating these “super foods” into your daily meals. 

Tips: How can I incorporate more fruit and veggies into my meals?


– Breakfast: Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice, add fruit to cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal

– Lunch: Pack a piece of fruit to eat over your lunch break

– Dinner: Have a piece of fresh fruit or canned fruit as the main entrée

– Snacks: Eat a piece of fresh fruit as a snack or before bedtime


– Lettuce salad: make a bowl of lettuce, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and other mixed vegetables

– Cooked vegetables: get a serving of cooked vegetables with your main entrée at both lunch and dinner

– Snacks: Snack on baby carrots, fresh broccoli, or celery throughout the day

Why is adequate fruit and vegetable consumption so important? Find out more at

Written By: Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance

An Almost Foolproof Way to Relieve “Jumpers Knee” Pain

patellaBasketball season is upon us and with basketball comes the potential for knee aches and pains.  One of the more nagging and painful injuries basketball players can develop is patellar tendinitis, otherwise known as “jumper’s knee”.  I can always pick the players out on the floor who suffer from this injury because they all seem to wear the same brace. 

Though this brace can help certain people with the pain and keep them playing, in my experience other factors exist that continue to cause the symptoms.  In evaluating young basketball players, one of the common findings I have seen is poor flexibility in the quads, hip flexors, and IT band as well as poor mobility in the ankle.  Though other factors exist (including muscle weakness, foot posture, and poor mechanics), these problems can be easily remedied on your own with a couple of simple exercises. 

pretzel_stretchPretzel Stretch 

Step 1:  Lay on your non-injured side with your body in a perfectly straight line.   

Step 2:  Using your hand, pull your heel toward your rear end.   

Step 3:  Pull your thigh back so it is in a straight line with your torso.   

Step 4:  Put your bottom foot on the front, top aspect of your knee and push your top leg back and down toward the floor. 

*Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times 


wall_quad_stretchWall Quad Stretch: 

Get into a half kneeling position and place the top of the foot of the down knee against the wall.  Make sure your torso is straight and tighten the butt cheek on the down leg.    

* Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times 


wall_ankleWall Ankle Mobility Exercise: 

Standing with your feet staggered, place your lead foot roughly 4-6 inches from the wall.  Press the knee toward the wall, keeping your knee over your second toe.  The knee should just barely touch the wall without the heel lifting off the ground.  If your knee easily hits the wall, move your foot back and repeat.   

 *Once you have reached the optimal foot position, hold each for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. 

Good luck and remember, if your symptoms do not improve it’s possible those previously mentioned factors could be coming into play.  If that happens, consult us for a more complete evaluation.

Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS 

Rehab Report – Maurice Watson Creighton Basketball

Listen to the Rehab Report with Travis Manners, Joe Quinn and Nick Handley from Omaha Sports Insider as they discuss Mo Watson’s ACL injury and the future for Creighton Basketball.  afternoon on the #RehabReport at 4:45 on AMSports590 – Omaha Sports Insider.


3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!

I often get asked about what I do for a living and when I respond that I am a physical therapist many people ask me what kind of injuries I see. My response usually begins with the orthopedic injuries, which everyone kind of already expects, but one area in particular that almost always catches people off guard is when I tell them that I treat concussions.

What can a physical therapist do for a concussion?

That is a great question! Let me share with you the basics on what a concussion actually is.

Concussions: A mild form of traumatic brain injury, which is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. These injuries may be classified as mild but the symptoms they cause can be devastating to the people who are experiencing them.

Symptoms: Dizziness, headaches, poor balance, trouble concentrating, depression from lack of participation ability. Surprisingly, the symptom most correlated with a lengthened recovery is dizziness. For more information on the basics of concussions visit

Now that you understand the basics of a concussion, I promised that I would begin to reveal the three unexpected concussion treatments…and here they are!

  1. Exertion therapy is used to help get the body back to regulating its normal functions like heart rate, and also returning the patient back to sport or work.
  2. Finally, the musculoskeletal piece is used to help with neck or back pain, which often goes hand in hand with a concussion.
  3. Vestibular therapy is used to help address dizziness, headaches, and lack of balance.

In order to avoid getting too long winded, I will be breaking down each one of these three main areas in future blog posts. For now I know this is a very general overview so if you have any further questions feel free to contact me!

Written by, Josiah Parker – PT, DPT

Question:  What do you want to know about concussion therapy?

The Ultimate Power Workout

Time To Train

The combination of medicine ball work and max-effort jumps will create that ridiculous power your are searching for! Plyometrics are drills performed with max-effort in order to increase power output and promote body control. At Athletes’ Training Center we use medicine ball drills and max-effort jumps to make these improvements. Let’s take a look at these two drills in action and see how they can dramatically benefit your workout session.



Medicine Ball Work

The medicine ball drills that we use consist of slams, tosses or throws aimed at teaching athletes how to produce force using their whole body as one kinetic chain. Here are two drills that we use to promote this concept.

medball slam2MB Overhead Slam

Athletes use a counter-movement to transfer energy from their lower body into their upper body and then into the slam. Notice the finishing position for this drill (pictured in the max-effort jump finish position below). More on this later!


medball start throwMB Rotational Throw –

Athletes load the ball to the back hip and then rotate to release the ball into the wall. If done properly, the athlete will feel a weight shift from their back hip into their front side. The releasing (upper body) and accepting (lower body) of force will allow for athletes to produce their maximum power.

Max-Effort Jumps

Max-effort jumps teach athletes how to produce force into the ground in a vertical or horizontal direction. Below are the proper starting and finishing positions when performing any type of max-effort jump.

jump2Start -The athlete starts with arms overhead and on the balls of their feet. (See the finish picture below).

Next, the athlete quickly loads their hips and hands back while keeping the chest up. The knees remain pointed straight ahead and the eyes remain forward.


– Upon landing, hips and hands go back while keeping the chest up. The knees remain pointed straight ahead and the eyes remain forward.The jump is landed as soft and quiet as possible.This is similar to the position right before the athlete jumps. It is also similar to the finish position of the MB Overhead Slam.

As mentioned in Achieving Great Speed is Not Just for Superheroes by Coach Trenton Clausen, force production is a key component of speed. The more force an athlete can produce into the ground, the higher/farther they will jump and the faster they will run. Also, performing plyometric drills will teach athletes how to properly absorb force and decelerate. Absorption of force is a key component in change of direction movement and lowers the risk of injury.

When performing plyometrics, proper body control must be developed before power can be increased. If an athlete does not have sufficient control, attempts to increase power will result in a breakdown in mechanics and ultimately, injury. Similar to a strength training exercise, athletes must master a plyometric movement before progressing to a movement that is more complex.

Written By: Mike Servais, CSCS, USAW-L1SP, Head Performance Coach – Papillion

Question: Do you know which sports are served well by the MB Rotational Throw with a medicine ball?


Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.