Chris Gorres is a Washington D.C. based athletic trainer who works with established and up and coming in players in the NBA, NFL, and MLS. Chris partnered with Oguchi Onyewu, who currently plays for Philadelphia Union after playing in European soccer leagues, to form Onyx Elite. The facility has the full range of training facilities working with high school and college athletes. in addition, they work with regular athletes and the general population too. He also travels around a great deal training professional athletes in the DC area.
Their team at Onyx Elite consists of Corey Broadnest- their head coach who previously worked with Chris training kids and athletes in the D.C. area. They then brought in Christina Gramm who has a background in dance, but who is does a really good job in helping improve their programs for kids and create fantastic customer experiences. The other members of their staff help round out the training, sports science, and energy that helps deliver results.
VertiMax: Can you tell us how you developed relationships with professional athletes in the DC area, and how you incorporate the Vertimax into their workouts?
Chris Gorres: Sure, I started out as a regular personal trainer back in 2008. I was just working at a health club assisting with weight loss programs and fitness programs.
I have always had a background in sports science; I eventually wanted to work my way into training athletes. I started out training some local athletes and then eventually got introduced to some of the guys on the Washington Redskins, I done a great job and was invited to be a part of the staff in 2012, then it just grew from their with referrals from other athletes who enjoyed working with me.
Vertimax was something that I used from the beginning because it was a tool that not a lot of people really knew about, due to the fact that the Vertimax mimicked their sport it also translated onto the field far more than the traditional weight lifting program.
It was also something that they really enjoyed doing, we would still lift weights that’s not to say that we didn’t do that but we added the Vertimax element.
When the Vertimax Raptor came out that was a game changer for me as now I could bring the Vertimax with me onto the field and really mimic the movements that an athlete could make and not just try to get stronger in the weight room.
VertiMax: Can you tell us more about the professional athletes that you work with?
Chris Gorres: Yes, so for example Lorenzo Alexander is somebody that has changed his career, he came into the NFL as a Defensive Tackle weighing over 300lbs and now he is a linebacker just under 240lbs, not only did he lose weight but he also changed positions. Last year he was the NFL Probowl MVP.
He is someone that was in the running for Defensive Player of the Year at a young age of 33 years old, it was some what of a renaissance that we have never seen in the NFL before, even after suffering an injury like Eliz Frank which is usually a career ender in the NFL.
He was able to come back and Vertimax was a huge part of what we have done with him being able to load his body horizontally and work on that ankle mobility to get him back to doing explosive movements on the field, as you know in the NFL that is what it is all about, it obviously worked for him.
It’s also worked for athletes like Yael Averbuch who is a soccer player with the FC Kansas City in the NWFL, she is a player that is one of these technical players, very good on the ball, not very athletic and that has been her thing her whole career.
She has been in and out of the US Women’s National team and now … again at the young age of 31 years old she is one of the fastest girls in the league after training 2 or 3 years with the Vertimax as the staple part of her program amongst other things.
I have a lot of athletes who are experiencing somewhat of a renaissance as we’ve been able to reload their body, get rid of some of the nonsense stuff that they were doing, but they were doing it because that is the way it has always been done.
For example, we squat but we do it in a different way, we do it with a single leg, we do it with dumbbells in your hand instead of a barbell on your back to make it more functional, then we mix slow moving high mass movements with very fast moving low resistance movements with the Vertimax, so whenever we are able to mix up the training on that force/velocity curve we see much better results on the field.
That is really impressive actually, from what I hear a Defensive Tackle goes from over 300lbs to 240lbs now he is In the Pro Bowl, that’s pretty impressive. Obviously not all of that is 100% attributed to Vertimax but it has been a major force in the training regime.
Chris Gorres: I don’t train Olympic lifters, I don’t train body builders, I don’t train track and field athletes. A lot of the athletes that I train equate team sports with decision making as a difference between being a great athlete or a great player and a good player, it’s around the decisions you make.
You can’t mimic decision making in a weight room but when we get them out their onto the field and mimic some of the situations and some of the tactics that you would actually see in a game to the point where there is movement and the reactions to the situation, it is instinctual then we can actively load those situations with the Vertimax… that can be the difference between being a step ahead or a step behind.
Its being able to load the decision making process and the movements within the decision making process not just to progressively load in the weight room exercise.
VertiMax: Yes we have heard a from other trainers that the Vertimax allows you to mimic the movements during training on the playing field so much so that the initial resistance increases explosiveness that is required during the game.
Chris Gorres: Yes absolutely.
VertiMax: That obviously is a huge benefit, you mentioned weight lifting, do you see a trend away from the more traditional training methods to a more intense focus on Vertimax or products similar to Vertimax in the future? obviously in doing so that would reduce the potential injuries and still build strength and explosiveness.
Chris Gorres: Number one and the most important thing and probably the reason that I am able to build a great relationship with so many of my professional athletes is that they understand that I am not about the program.
I am about the athlete, so when they come to work with me they know that they are going to get a program that is customized just for them and just for their needs, so that is always going to include some weight room stuff, we will never transition to the point where we are totally out of the weight room, we are always going to have some kind of strength component because that is important however saying that the Vertimax has become a tool that is used just as much as traditional weights, whether it be barbells or dumbbells because we have to make sure that the results translate to the field or it doesn’t matter.
Especially for the youth athletes, we can use the Vertimax to load them in so many different ways whether it be vertically or horizontally and then start to teach them some of the movements that we want them to do on the field.
VertiMax: So within your regime you are seeing the Vertimax training being able to almost make it second nature? the muscle memory and repetition training is such they have done it so many times with so much more resistance that they are so much more faster and more explosive?
Chris Gorres: Yes. I use Vertimax for literally everything, the full spectrum, somebody that is coming off ACL rehab to somebody who is training for the World Cup it is something that I use with everybody and all ages too.
VertiMax: Recently a customer told us a story about their son who had injured his ACL. He started using Vertimax during the rehabilitation process, and went from =a nobody to being able to help his team win the season and got a scholarship to go to college. He went from being an average player, to playing Division 1 football.
We're curious to hear how VertiMax has helped you develop some of the relationships with younger athletes. How does Vertimax allow you to begin teaching them the importance of biomechanics to young kids?
Chris Gorres: Yes, young kids need to be more aware of their bodies but there is not a young kid that gives a crap about biomechanics, but kids don’t come to me to because they want to be more biometrically sound. Kids come to me because they want to use the same equipment that De Angelo Hall is using or Chris Ledunn is using.
When I get a high school athlete they are not going to be able to squat as much as Lorenzo Alexander can squat, so they might see that in the weight room saying “I can’t do that” but they see some of my professional athletes using the Vertimax and they can actually use the exact stuff that their Olympic heroes are using so there is that coolness factor that “Hey everybody can use this and I am doing the exact same workout as the women’s world cup champions are doing”, so that’s the stuff that the kids like, “Oh cool we get to use the Vertimax today or they are asking me “Hey when are we going to be doing the Vertimax again?”, that is something that the kids are always asking about.
They love it; there is a coolness factor to because it is something that the Pro’s are doing that they can also do.
VertiMax: It is that simple.
Chris Gorres: It really is that simple, I don’t think a 13 year-old kid, is going to come to me and say, “I really want to work on force flexing.
VertiMax: Probably not they probably don’t know what that is.
Chris Gorres: Exactly, they don’t care about the biomechanics but it is cool that they can do the same workout that the NFL guys are doing or the NBA guys are doing.
Chris Gorres: Yeah a lot of it now is through referrals, I’ve been able to build a good name for myself and put myself in a place where I can be a trusted resource for parents and athletes in doing so a lot of them have reached out.
I have limited my time with youth athletes but my team in Richmond are great, they work with youth athletes everyday and they do a great job keeping them engaged, for us we want to make the sessions fun, we want to make the sessions engaging so that they come back, they have a good experience, they feel that they did something today.
With something like the Vertimax we always contrast sets, we do resistance sprint, we will contrast that with a free sprint, or a jump with a free jump, so now they are feeling and experiencing that immediate result, that immediate post activation potentiation that is something that is really cool to them.
They feel that they are moving faster; they feel that they are jumping higher and that gets more excitement into their session, it builds more fun into the session and that is what keeps them coming back. For us there is two parts to what we do, there is the science part of it which Vertimax absolutely delivers on and then there is the experience part of it, the fun part of it that keeps them coming back and again Vertimax does a great job of delivering an immediate result it is something that you can immediately feel that is working.
VertiMax: Do you find that Vertimax changes the way that you interact with younger athletes?
Chris Gorres: I don’t think it changes the way that we interact as we do a great job building a relationship with our kids on a more personal level than just training but I think that there is definitely an excitement about using Vertimax to work on some of the things that they want to work on.
VertiMax: Can you tell me a little bit more about how you build relationships and establish a rapport with your clients? What goes into evaluating where they want to go, and how you can get them there?
Chris Gorres: Obviously there is the regular parts where we ask them all their health history in questionnaires, then we try to figure out “What is it exactly that you want to get better at?”
Not just I want to get stronger and jump higher, what is the moment in sports that you feel that you want to work on, I want to get to that ball, I want to win headers at corners, I want to be able to closeout on a shooter a lot faster.
We can pinpoint those moments that so that they feel that this is what they want to improve on and we can attack those moments where we can load them with the Vertimax Then I am going to take the Vertimax off and I am going to put you in that exact movement and then they are going to get exactly what they asked for.
Our program is not Golden Coral Buffet where you come and sit down and we serve you whatever we serve you, you get to order exactly what you want and we prepare it exactly the way that you want it. So the next time you see that situation on the field you are going to feel faster and feel that you are more competent and that translates to helping them see “Ok wow something I am doing is working, you understand what I am talking about, you gave me exactly what I was asking for” and then that gives us a little bit of credit then we use that credit to get them to on other aspects of their game then we can start to talk about biomechanics.