Just Get Strong

This is me a few years ago at a Powerlifting meet in Hagerstown.  That’s what I look like with 440 lbs. on my back.  I share this, first, so you know I practice what I preach!

Dr Berry Wesminster meet Holds Title 420

Hello, my name is Dr. Donald Berry. I am a chiropractor and Strength Coach practicing in Frederick now for 30 years.  My treatment approach has evolved over the years through my association with some of the greatest Chiropractors, Physical Therapist, and Trainers.  This all happened because I picked up a Kettlebell.  In 2005, after 20 years of Martial Art training, I began to have hip pain.  I was 45 at the time and thought I might have to quit training because of the pain. 
This is me and my Kung Fu Teacher Sifu Randy Williams at my Instructor ceremony.

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I did a little research and found out about kettlebells. “A cannonball with a handle” is how they were described.  Pavel Tsatsouline, the former Russian Spetsnaz instructor who reintroduced the kettlebells to America, calls kettlebells “Russia’s secret weapon in the strength world.”  He described the exercises as “Yoga with Iron” and that really appealed to me.  One of the many fallacies I held true was that strength training would make me slow. It didn’t.  Instead, training with kettlebells relieved my pain, greatly increased my strength, mobility, and martial art performance.  

was so happy with my results I researched what it would take to become a kettlebell instructor.  The task was daunting. Potential Instructors are required to perform Deadlifts, Squats, Swings, Turkish Get Ups, and master the dreaded snatch test.  This test requires you to snatch a 24 kg (53 lbs.) kettlebell overhead 100 times in five minutes.  It was a three-day event that would change my life.  There were over one hundred participants, and I expected to be surrounded by muscle freaks, but instead, they were strength geeks.  Incredibly strong and incredibly intelligent men and women were there as students and teachers, I was surrounded by greatness.  

It was at this event many things I had learned in school were debunked, it was a true paradigm shift.  The saying goes, “The Truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.”  That is where I was.  I was introduced to the physical therapist, Grey Cook’s work on the Functional Movement Systems evaluation and corrective exercise program, https://www.functionalmovement.com/.  At the time, Cook was the Head PT and Strength Coach for the Colts.  Also, I was introduced to the Joint by Joint concept from Mike Boyle the head strength coach for the Red Sox, Bruins, and Boston College. 

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The Joint by Joint Concept expresses the idea that your back pain – or any musculoskeletal pain – might not necessarily be coming from the area of pain, but from a failure of the joints above or below that are not functioning optimally.  The movement system allows us to find the culprit.  Of course, we treat the site of pain, but we treat the system with corrective exercise strategies based on that assessment.  So, each treatment plan is individualized not based on symptoms only but faulty movement patterns as well.


Once the pain is minimalized then what? 'Just Get Strong!' As Dr. Charlie Weingroff, another important influence in my life would say. A word about Dr. Charlie Weingroff';


Charlie spent 12 seasons of professional basketball, highlighted by his time as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach and Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. along the highlights of his tenure in Philadelphia was being part of the medical staff that ranked 1st in the NBA in Player Missed Games in the 2005-06 season. Dr. Charlie Weingroff philosophy is that "Through rehabbing patients, he subscribes to a movement-based approach popularized by the works of Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Val Nsedkin, Dr. Pavel Kolar, and Louie Simmons. In training athletes and clients, he champions the principles of the Functional Movement Screen and sound, evidence-based training principles. Some of the methodologies Charlie is formally trained in include DNS, ART, Dry Needling, Graston, FMS/SFMA, TPI, and StrongFirst."https://charlieweingroff.com/" So now, because we want to keep you out of the doctor’s office and get you back into the game of life, we take those rehab exercises and step up the intensity and complexity of the training. It’s what makes you “Anti-Fragile.”


Why just Get Strong?


  • Getting strong makes you more resilient, less likely to get injured, and recover better if you do.

  • As we age, we lose muscle – a condition called Sarcopenia.  We can fight back with heavy lifting.

  • Osteopenia and osteoporosis are conditions of bone loss associated with age that can be improved by weight training.

  • Do it for your Brain! John Ratey, M.D. a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard states, “The effect that exercise has on the body is a mere side effect compared to what it does for the brain.” 


Bottom line, strength makes the quality of our lives better, but which exercises are for you and how to perform them safely and effectively? Well, that is my job.


Donald Berry, D.C. NASM, SFG

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