A Clinicians Story With ‘The Duffin Movement Systems’ & The ShouldeRök

My Background, I am a Chiropractor and have been in practice for over 26 years I specialize in movement restoration and rehabilitation based on the Neurodevelopmental Model using a variety of Movement Assessment tools that look for Dysfunction. I have been a Martial Artist for 31 years, lots of different styles but primarily Wing Chun Kung Fu. Only in the past few years have I gotten interested in Powerlifting thanks to an introduction to Marty Gallagher from some friends in Kettlebell world.

The importance of the background is to bring to light, that I had a lot of tools at my disposal and a lot of great coaches. But, for some reason there was a disconnect between my 4 worlds: Clinical Practice, Martial Arts, Kettlebells and PowerLifting. Chris at the DMS was able to tie all of that up for me and help me end two years of pain and frustration. 

Part 1: My Shoulder Dislocation and Two Years of Frustration to Recovery


I had just set a national record in my age weight class for a raw squat for 420 lbs. My shoulder was a little tight so I planned to keep the bench light and murder the Dead Lift. Unfortunately, my shoulder gave out on the bench at 275 lbs., a weight I could rep for sets of 5 in training. That was it for me that day and for a long time to come. At the time of the injury I was in a bit of pain but mostly in shock as to why this had happened. I really didn’t get the answer to that until just a few weeks ago at the Duffin Movement System certification (More on that later).   The only input I did get was from Kirk Karwoski who said, “Your God Damn Wrist were bent!”

I went to the emergency room immediately afterwards X rays were normal. My Chiropractic buddy had reset my shoulder and I just needed some meds to sleep at night. I began seeing my Physical Therapist, the esteemed Mike Davis DPT and did some dry needling and breathing work to get mobility. Then we did all of the DNS and SFMA correctives. Six months later I am given the green light to lift again. I continued my rehab exercises and began to get under the bar again. I had no issues with the squat or deadlift and I would bench with just the bar, military presses were done with Kettlebells only.

My shoulder still hurt at this point as well. Most of the time I was at a 1 out of 10 but at night it was always a 3. Just annoying enough to stop me from sleeping. I figured it would get better as I continued to work through it. So, I started to gradually add weight to the bar. In about 3 months into the program I had 185 lbs. on the bar and heard a pop and click and felt a lot of pain. It actually hurt worse than the initial injury, even though I didn’t dislocate it this time. For the next few weeks simple task like lifting a cup of coffee hurt.

This time I went to a Chiropractor friend of mine so I could get a referral for an MRI. We both were fairly certain I must have torn my Labrum. Fortunately, MRI revealed very little damage, just a pinhole tear in my Supraspinatus tendon.   Well the protocol at this point was one month of rest and back to rehab.

After resting and before I started anything I wanted to talk to a clinician I have really grown to admire for his intelligence and candor. So I called Philip Snell and asked his opinion. We reviewed some myofascial and Cross friction work to release some things and get things to fire which I did and felt much better. In the course of our conversation we talked about how he and our mutual friend Dr. Craig Liebenson have been working with Chris Duffin. The name meant nothing to me at the time, but Phil said I really needed to check him out, so I did.

I went to the Kabuki Warrior site that evening and started watching the various interviews and demonstrations and within a few weeks Chris was talking about his ShouldeRök and how it helped his shoulder. Instinctually, I knew this was going to be a big help. His explanation of Diaphragmatic engagement and stabilization made a lot of sense. Seeing Phil in the video was also a good selling point too. I purchased it right away!

Upon Receiving the ShouldeRök, Chris sent an email with some youtube videos explaining the development of the tool as well as exercises to implement for preparation. I had to laugh because, these were the same exercises I was already doing. Which made me think, ‘This Duffin guy might know what he’s talking about!’. He states these were the exercises he was doing but until he started using the ShouldeRök the pain never went away. I can vouch for that. After a few short weeks of using the ShouldeRök my pain went from a 3 to 1. A few weeks later my pain was gone even at night!

Part 2: Why the Duffin Movement System Certification and Why did my Shoulder Dislocate in the First Place

As noted previously with my background, that I had a lot of tools at my disposal and a lot of great coaches. But, for some reason there was a disconnect between my 4 worlds: Clinical Practice, Martial Arts, Kettlebells and PowerLifting. Chris at the DMS was able to tie all of that up for me. His opening statement addressed this, “You shouldn’t have to do a Movement Screen to find the underlying dysfunction, you as a coach or clinician should be able to find that using the three lifts. After all, we are Powerlifters.” Amen! “You should be assessing breathing while your client is talking to you”. A very Dr. Karl Lewit like concept.

Personally, I was really hoping on a breakthrough for the bench over the weekend. I had pretty much given up on ever benching over 135 lbs again. The simple cue I got about Pinky placement changed that. I was trying to bend the bar without proper lat engagement. I was gripping the bar incorrectly and was not able to get the stability for power needed to do that lift. That is why my wrist were always bent and why my shoulder gave out.

Now I am back at the bench and recently did 3 sets of 5 with 195. That would have been impossible last year. There were many other cues and lots of great coaching for all 3 lifts. The concept of wedging the Dead Lift was a lot different than how I have been taught in the past but I will be able to adapt I am practicing Wing Chun without the same trepidation and pain I use to have during our Chee Sau and Lop Sau drills, which are very demanding shoulder activities. I am working with my patients with even a deeper understanding of the diaphragm, breathing and stabilization under load.

My take away point whether you are a Clinician, a Trainer or a guy or gal who likes to pick up heavy things this seminar will provide a better understanding of the body and give you some very unique tools to get you to your goals. This is what I call Evidence Based Training. Duffin is truly the Mad Scientist of Powerlifting.