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           Jill Knipp, Owner, CPT, MES, RKC, PM1, NKT, CK-FMS, RB


Over the past 25 years I have worked with many hundreds of diverse clients, ranging from 14 to 85 years old, who have entrusted their health and fitness to me. It is my life’s passion to assist other people in reaching their very best physical condition so they can truly enjoy life at any age. My 94-year-old mother always said, “As long as you have good health, everything else is secondary.” These are wise words to live by.


So what in the world do all of those acronyms mean? More importantly, what do they mean to those with whom I work?


Really, I’m not interested in stacking a bunch of letters behind my name, but on the other hand, they do represent a lot of time, effort, and dedication. When asked what I do for a living I usually say, “I’m a certified personal trainer” or “I’m a certified kettlebell instructor”. However, I really do so much more than that phrase would suggest. I'd like to elaborate on and demystify some of the techniques I’m using on a daily basis with my clientele. Let’s start at the beginning!


CPT = Certified Personal Trainer 1992. Back in the day this was the only designation I needed.  I studied some books for a few months, attended three days of lecturing and hands on training, and passed a written and practical test at the end of the training. I loved what I was doing! I began my journey leaning toward a bodybuilding style of teaching.  Muscle hypertrophy was what my clients wanted. A collection of body parts, trained in an isolated manner, to create the most defined musculature we could achieve.


Did those muscles function seamlessly together?  Not always.  So I could see some deficiencies in my approach and as with any profession, I realized I must grow, learn, re-learn, evolve, change and improve my perspective, stay up on the latest research…..basically keep an open mind so I didn’t get stuck in the same paradigm for every person. I also started noticing a new type of client coming to me. Baby boomers who had put a few miles on their chassis and now were sporting various injuries, or even worse, new scars from surgeries to the knee, shoulder, and back. What to do???? Please read on!


MES = Medical Exercise Specialist 1995. Here is a great solution for the clients who present me with what is called ‘Post Rehab’ or ‘Post Physical Therapy (PT)’ needs. These are folks who have injured themselves, maybe have had surgery, and then are referred to 8+ sessions of PT. After they’re released from PT, they’re told to resume their regular activities and they feel unsure of where to begin.


A Medical Exercise Specialist is trained in post PT protocols which offer continuity from rehabilitation to full activity without re-injury to the surgery site. Post surgically the risk of a new injury has increased because Physical Therapy focuses mainly on the surgically involved body part…. that’s the scope of their responsibility.  Physical Therapy may not focus on compensation patterns that have developed to accommodate the injury. That is my scope of responsibility…to focus on the whole body along with the injury site and to spy compensation patterns that need to be eliminated. My post rehab protocols can last another 4 – 12 weeks after Physical Therapy depending on the condition. 


This journey into the MES world opened up a whole new curiosity for me. Helping people who were struggling with nagging injuries and movement problems became my new passion. I also found that the information and skills gleaned from the post rehab protocols gave me a huge insight into training regular folks with no injuries. It just made me a better trainer all around. The big takeaway from MES is that sometimes WHAT NOT TO DO is just as important as WHAT TO DO! Less can be more.


RKC = Russian Kettlebell Certified 2005. This journey began from a need of my own.  I had foot surgery on both sides of both feet at the end of 2003. During recovery, I was trying to find something I could do barefoot to strengthen my feet and balance skills. It had been a fairly long road of dysfunction to get to that surgery and I had developed some interesting compensation patterns of my own. I couldn’t imagine going back to running or even a lot of walking right away.


I thought maybe martial arts would work because of the barefoot aspect but in my internet search I found an article about kettlebell training… I found a local studio that was having a beginner workshop and that was it! Hooked!


Here is what I found:


1)      A method of training all aspects of fitness with one tool. The kettlebell allows my clients to train strength, cardio, and flexibility, all without impact in one neat package.  


2)      The RKC system of strength developed by Pavel Tsatsuline.  Amidst the physical challenges of the actual certification process, the volume of information I gained from my experience with this organization is unrivaled.


3)      An efficient all around training tool to replace almost every other piece of equipment in the gym. In other words…a great “at home” training system. Missing training sessions was a thing of the past as long as there’s a kettlebell in the picture!


PM1 = Primal Move 1 2013. “Primal Move was born out of the necessity of working with injured athletes or average clients who did not enjoy moving anymore; pain and discomfort had stopped them from enjoying movement. When pain is present, many goals fall into nothingness, and especially playfulness of movement is the first category that becomes impossible” Peter Lakatos, founder of Primal Move.


Primal Move is a play based system of movement. It involves primal patterns of movement such as rolling, rocking, creeping, and crawling. The terminology we use in structuring a movement “play” session includes mobility, stability, strength, speed, power, agility and quickness, integration vs. isolation, variety, practice vs. workout, flow, and the very important concept of breathing synchronized with your movement. Most of the PM session is spent manipulating body weight while on the floor. Some movements involve more upright posture, but think about a 10 – 11 month old baby, and you can pretty much get a mental picture.  One thing is for sure, at some point in the PM session, there will be laughter!


The mantra of PM as stated in our instructor manual, “Moving more is not better. Moving stronger is not better. Moving faster is not better. Moving better is better, and we aim to move stronger, more, and faster when we have mastered better.”



NKT = NeuroKinetic Therapy 2013. NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) founded by David Weinstock is a system of manual muscle testing based ‘Motor Control Theory’. ‘Motor Control Theory’ tells us that the brain learns from previous experience….particularly failure. The brain self adjusts and adapts motor learning according to circumstances of the moment guided by the limbic system (desire).


Our brain recognizes movement patterns rather than specific muscle function.  When our bodies are injured or traumatized, in order to keep moving through our daily activities of life, the Motor Control Center (MCC) in the cerebellum quickly reorganizes our movement patterns. If one muscle in the movement pattern fails to do its job, then the MCC finds another muscle to do it. The muscle that jumps in to help complete the movement pattern can very often become painful….it’s now doing its own job AND the job of another.


NKT is a sophisticated assessment and treatment modality that addresses the cause of dysfunctional movement and coordination problems at their root……in the MCC.  A skilled NKT practitioner identifies and resolves dysfunction of overactive and underactive muscles in the neuromusculoskeletal system resulting in improved movement patterns and elimination of pain. The net result is that your body comes back into balance, moves better and more efficiently in a pain free environment.


NKT assesses and resets muscle and soft tissue imbalances ultimately resolving pain patterns and symptoms, including chronic pain. It literally takes the guesswork out of traditional approaches, and it is fast.


A typical NKT assessment is done in a 30-60 minute session fully clothed on a comfortable treatment table. It’s non-invasive and doesn’t involve painful treatment techniques. The only pain involved is the pain you bring to the table. It’s not uncommon to leave your first session in significantly less pain. Your NKT intervention is then followed up with you participating in your healing by doing simple homework therapy on yourself.


FMS = Functional Movement Specialist 2013. A Functional Movement Screen sets the baseline for evaluating fundamental movement patterns. This non-biased baseline allows asymmetries and dysfunctions to be efficiently identified. Research has shown us that untreated, these asymmetries and dysfunctions can increase the risk of injury by 3.5 times.


The FMS is comprised of seven movement screens that require a balance of mobility and stability. The patterns used provide observable performance of basic, manipulative and stabilizing movements by placing clients in positions where weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries, and limitations become noticeable by a trained Functional Movement Specialist.


The screen only takes about 10-15 minutes and can point the Functional Movement Specialist right where to begin with corrective exercise strategies. These strategies may be as simple as corrective breathing or can be much more involved. In most cases, the correctives can be worked right into the client’s regular fitness regime. The goal of the screen is to expose movement dysfunction and/or asymmetry for the purpose of reducing risk of injury during regular activities.


Many people, including high level athletes, are able to perform a wide range of activities, yet are unable to execute the movements in the screen. Those who score poorly on the screen are using compensatory movement patterns during regular activities. If these compensations continue, sub-optimal movement patterns are reinforced, leading to poor biomechanics and possibly contributing to future injury.


RB = Restorative Breathing 2013. Can you imagine what life would be like with a fully oxygenated brain?


Did you know there are an estimated 600,000,000,000 neurons in the brain? Each neuron is connected to at least 1-4 muscle fibers. If you’re not fully oxygenated, here are some interesting facts.


Breathing is the most important foundational physiological function. At birth, we take our first breath and the end of life is signaled by a long exhalation. Every minute throughout life, we breathe, sometimes easier, sometimes with more difficulty.


If breathing is a challenge, we compensate, increasing the rate or depth of breathing. With greater effort, heart rate and blood pressure may increase. We may further compensate by altering our body posture, assuming a forward head and strained neck position. Shoulders, mid-back, and low back can compensate for lack of efficient breathing. Chronic neck and back pain may also result, but the system compensates since breathing has the priority.


How we breathe is monitored automatically by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Constant instantaneous adjustments are made to heart rate and respiration rate. With every inhalation, there is an increase on heart rate and accompanying each exhalation, there is a decrease in heart rate.


Anatomical, physiological and psychological changes can cause inefficient, shallow, fast, breathing. Inefficient breathing requires more energy and can result in poor unrestorative sleep and performance. Inefficient breathing can prevent children and adults from realizing full physical, intellectual, and emotional potential.


Restorative Breathing, which emphasizes nasal breathing, retrains the ANS. It restores the biomechanics, physiology, and physics of breathing on a conscious level to affect the subconscious.


Why does this matter? We breathe 20,000-25,000 times daily. If we mouth breathe (which is faster than 6-8x a minute), our brains have diminished oxygen levels. When we retrain orselves to utlize nasal breathing, inhalation gets air to the lungs and oxygen to the blood and naslal exhalation gets oxygen to the brain and muscles. Exhalation removes waste!


The Restorative Breathing system is easy to learn and takes just a few minutes a day. Over time use of the RB system will reduce physical pain and anxiety, and improve sleep, cognition, and general brain and muscle function!


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