Guest Blog Post SFAS Coach Chris Serrao

Posted: October 2, 2019 in Uncategorized
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Prologue: In eighth grade, my basketball crew and I were weekly regulars at Strength, Fitness, and Speed under Mr. Wieth. We would go to work on our vertical leaps, speed, agility, quickness, and strength. During one of our training sessions, I noticed one of my teammates slacking. He was just there going through the motions, and even laid down on a bench in the middle of a workout to rest! Being the (physically larger) leader that I was, I walked up to him, sat on him, and told him he better get his butt in gear. Immediately after, Mr. Wieth (jokingly) said, “Chris, if you ever need a job, you know where to find me!” Just five years later, finishing my freshman year of college, I showed back up at Strength, Fitness, and Speed and took him up on that offer.

 

As a sophomore in high school, I experienced physical therapy firsthand. I spent several months in and out of physical therapy for different ailments – shoulder pain, multiple bouts of low back pain, and chronic neck and upper extremity pain. This experience left me with a desire to pursue a career in the PT field.

Because of these ailments, I eventually stopped participating in high school sports. Instead I focused on the physiology and coaching aspect of sports and performance, which soon became my passion. To this day, many of my high school friends still comment on “that huge book” I would carry around from class to class. That book was my first personal trainer’s certification book. I often studied this material when I likely should have been studying for my actual classes!

Since high school, I’ve worked constantly to increase my knowledge of the human body and sport performance. I have since graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, received a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist title, and am currently enrolled in Pitt’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Having this advanced knowledge has increased my abilities to improve our athletes’ success in many aspects at Strength, Fitness, and Speed.

A good example of how my education has helped a developing athlete comes from one of the hardest workers at the gym. He is currently a senior football player, though has now become enthralled with the sport of powerlifting. While I would mainly train him and his team for football, we always found ourselves talking about how to better set-up for the bench press, his current personal record lifts, or tips and cues for the deadlift. I was able to help coach him through his first powerlifting meet in Summer of 2018 where he broke the PA state teen record for the bench press. He is currently in-season for football, though will continue to compete in the off-season and push his limits of powerlifting, hopefully breaking more records along the way.

Another example involves a current Division II football lineman that I have worked with for many years. His first few sessions in high school, we realized we had a lot of work to do on footwork, quickness, and coordination. After many seasons of him working with the team at SFAS, he was able to land a starting lineman job at his high school, and soon begin to get offers from different colleges to play there.

While intensely training for his time in college, this athlete began to suffer from low back pain. He began to see a physical therapist, while continuing his training with us. The physical therapist had him performing rehabilitation exercises to strengthen and coordinate his core and proximal musculature.

Meanwhile, we continued his return-to-sport training and strengthening. With my education on his limitations and impairments, we spent time all the way up until he had to leave for camp working on getting back into playing shape. He is currently a freshman at a Division II school and is redshirting this year to continue his rehab, get a good jump on his education, and prepare for the rest of his football career.

While I could never take credit for any of the hard work that these athletes put in, I like to think some of my knowledge, coaching, and motivation has guided them toward the amazing success that they have had.

About the Author:

Chris Serrao
Sports Performance Coach
SPT, CSCS, Sport Performance
Coach Chris is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist that is currently enrolled in The University of Pittsburgh’s Number 1 ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy program. He received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Pitt in 2018. Throughout his life, Chris played basketball, volleyball, and football, though eventually found his niche in the weightroom, now competing in powerlifting competitions across the country. He boasts lifts of a 555 pound back squat, 355 pound bench press, and 615 pound deadlift and uses his strength and athletic background to better train athletes of all ages and skill levels.

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