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About Mike Barwis

A world-renown strength and conditioning coach, Mike Barwis has trained thousands of Olympic, professional and collegiate athletes throughout his 25 year career in elite athletics. In addition to creating the Barwis Methods Holistic Human Performance System, Mike also spent years meticulously designing the Barwis Nutrition line to help the world’s best athletes achieve their maximum potential.


Mike is currently the Senior Advisor to the New York Mets. He was formerly a consultant to the Miami Dolphins and formerly the Director of Strength and Conditioning for the University of Michigan where he was directly responsible for the development and implementation of the strength and conditioning programs. In 2003, Barwis assumed the responsibility for the Mountaineers football program, while maintaining his position with the Olympic sports. During his tenure at West Virginia University he designed and implemented programs for all of the Mountaineers 21 varsity sports.


Barwis has coached 38 National Strength and Conditioning (NSCA) All-Americans and was one of 10 coaches to receive the Bronze Award from the NSCA certification commission. He has trained over thousand of collegiate, Olympic, and professional athletes in over 40 sporting events.


Mike earned his undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology from the School of Medicine at West Virginia University and his Master’s Degree in Athletic Coaching with an emphasis in strength and conditioning. He also completed anatomy and physiology coursework at Temple University. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the NSCA, BMI as a Barwis Methods Master Instructor and CPR and AED certified.


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INTRODUCTION


Mike Barwis (born June 6, 1973) is a world-reknown strength & conditioning coach and entrepreneur. He is presently the founder and CEO of Barwis Methods; he is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the NSCA, is NASE certified, BMI as a Barwis Methods Master Instructor, and is CPR and AED certified. He presently serves as the Senior Advisor to the New York Mets and is the founder of two 501c3 tax-exempt non-profits -- Athletic Angels Foundation and the First Step Foundation. Barwis has coached 38 National Strength and Conditioning (NSCA) All-Americans and was one of 10 coaches to receive the Bronze Award from the NSCA certification commission. He has trained thousands of Olympic, professional, national, and international competitors and medalists in over 40 sporting disciplines including in baseball, football, ice hockey, wrestling, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, motocross, cycling, men’s and women’s cross country, downhill skiing, boxing, tennis, swimming and diving, men’s and women’s gymnastics, crew, men’s and women’s bodybuilding, judo and rifle.


Barwis began his professional career began in 1993 at West Virginia University’s Department of Athletics; he was appointed the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic sports in 1998 before assuming the responsibility of the football program in 2003. During his 14-year tenure in Morgantown, WV, he designed and implemented programs for all of the Mountaineers' 21 varsity sports and Olympic sports -- while writing and teaching the master’s curriculum on physiology at West Virginia. His last five years with the Mountaineers were widely considered to be the golden era in WVU athletics. In Winter 2007, Barwis joined football coach Rich Rodriguez at the University of Michigan to serve as the Wolverines’ Director of Strength and Conditioning. He remained in Ann Arbor until deciding to start his own company in 2011 -- Barwis Methods -- to focus on holistic human performance. From there, Barwis developed numerous verticals and formed a partnership with the New York Mets


Barwis has been published in numerous journals, magazines, newspapers; has written several books; and has produced several videos. He is the star of the Discovery Channel’s hit TV show “American Muscle,” which features his work with professional athletes and people with disabilities -- presently airing worldwide. Barwis is widely recognized as a leading authority on the neuromuscular systems and bio-mechanics. He is commonly sought after as one of the world’s most desired experts for helping elite athletes prevent and recover from sports-related injuries and surgeries. People also come from around the world seeking help from Barwis, as he remains one of the foremost experts on helping those with injuries and disorders affecting their neuromuscular system such as Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Muscular Sclerosis (MS), strokes and others.


As a consultant, Barwis helps teams and organizations assess their athletes’ biomechanics, work with their medical staff and strength staff to enhance scientific training protocols, and helps design/redesign facility layouts. He also aids in eliminating athletic imbalances and in assessing soft tissue and neurological issues. Often, Barwis works directly with team owners and general managers, advising on beneficial high-level organizational adjustments. The "Barwis Methods" businesses founded by Barwis include a wide variety of services and products that are either designed or influenced by his expertise. Such services include training for elite athletes of all sport varieties, combine training, personal and group training, diet and nutrition programs, injury recovery programs, corporate consulting and wellness programs, motivational speaking and more. Products developed by Mike include nutritional supplements, training and athletic equipment of all types, durable medical devices, athletic gear and apparel, flooring, graphics and other items.


West Virginia (1993-2007)


During his 14 years in Morgantown, WV, Barwis became renowned for the aforementioned success in the various sporting disciplines and gained the most notoriety with the general public for his five years working directly with the Mountaineers football team remains one of the school’s most prominent eras, featuring four conference titles (including one outright Big East championship in 2005) and eight NFL draft picks (including one first-round selection and three taken within the first full day of respective draft coverages).


In 2005-06, West Virginia produced its first consecutive 11-win seasons in school history. The 2005 team also provided the school its first prominent bowl-game win. West Virginia was matched up against the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs (SEC Champions) in the Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers took a surprising 31-21 lead at halftime and set a BCS record of combined points in a first half of BCS game. They held on to defeat the Bulldogs 38-35, securing the school’s highest finish in the AP and Coaches polls (5th place) since 1988.


A year later, West Virginia played its way to the Gator Bowl and defeated Georgia Tech 38-35, locking up a secondstraight top-10 finish in both polls.


In Barwis’ final year at West Virginia, the Mountaineers started the season as the No. 3-ranked team and reached a ranking of No. 1 in the nation in the Coaches Poll on November 25. They finished the season with a third-consecutive 11-win season after winning the Fiesta Bowl over the Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners had no answer for the speed of the Mountaineers and succumbed to their prowess, 48-28.


When asked of the incredible success of the various Mountaineers athletic programs, Barwis said, "We're kind of the pioneers of the most progressive strength program in the country. We (West Virginia) were the strongest team in the country the last four years -- best conditioned, the fastest, most balanced, best body awareness, and most explosive."[5] Former Head Coach Rodrigez once stated that Barwis's role as strength and conditioning coach may be more important to a football team than offensive or defensive coordinator when out of season. " In a lot of ways, it's even more critical because there are about five months where he has them by himself," Former WVU head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "He basically has them all summer, and there is a good bit in the spring where he is in control and we can't have any contact with the players. He is an extension of the coaching staff, and we expect the same effort and same intensity in the weight room as we have on the field."[7]


Michigan (2007-10)


After being hired in December 2007, Barwis and then-head football coach Rich Rodriguez "took one look at Michigan's weight room in December and decided to gut it. It was outdated for their needs. Six weeks and more than $1 million later, there were machines in the building that a layman would never recognize." Above the door to the workout room, a sign was posted saying, "Through these doors walks the best-conditioned, hardest-working team in America."


In the spring and summer of 2008, over thirty professional athletes trained with Barwis, including Larry Foote, who said he became, "more explosive, faster and better-tuned as he heads into his seventh season in the NFL." The workouts, referred to by one newspaper as the "Barwis School of Pukitude," were attended by -- among others -- Braylon Edwards, Chris Perry, Jamar Adams, Steve Breaston, Victor Hobson, James Hall, Leon Hall, LaMarr Woodley, Mike Hart, and Ryan Mundy (who had the unique distinction of having trained with Barwis at both Michigan and West Virginia). Hockey players Kevin Porter, Chad Kolarik, and Matt Hunwick also trained with Barwis over the summer. Former WVU players Steve Slaton, Darius Reynaud, and Johnny Dingle also made plans to work with Barwis in Ann Arbor prior to the NFL draft. "'Mike's like an uncle to us,' Dingle said. 'He's a nice friend to have, whatever you need Mike for, he'll do.'"


In Barwis’ first full season with the Wolverines football program, Michigan upset then-ranked No. 9 Wisconsin in Michigan Stadium. The Detroit Free Press reported that, "when they were rallying and Wisconsin was wilting, the Michigan football team couldn't stop praising Barwis.” Michigan won the game 27–25 after trailing by 19 points. "Every player noticed, even when things didn't click, that they were overwhelming Wisconsin." Moreover, "[t]he strength and conditioning program is paying dividends on the field. Michigan has appeared stronger in the second half of all four games than in the first half."


In the second game of the 2009 season, Michigan beat Notre Dame by scoring with 11 seconds left to take 38–34 lead. Sports Illustrated reported about then-quarterback, Tate Forcier: "And like all these Wolverines, he's in excellent shape. After Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen carved up its defense for 118 passing yards and 17 points in the second quarter alone, Michigan seemed to wear down the Irish in the second half. 'I attribute that to conditioning,' declared running back Brandon Minor, who pounded for 106 yards on 16 carries. 'We pride ourselves on that.'"


Brock Mealer


In December 2007, Michigan offensive line recruit Elliott Mealer was in a car crash that killed both his father, David, and his girlfriend, Hollis Richer. The crash also left Elliott’s brother Brock paralyzed from the waist down. When seemingly out of options -- as doctors said he would never walk again -- Brock took the October 2009 offer of Mike Barwis to help aid in the seemingly impossible rehab. As Barwis described to MGoBlue in 2015, “‘All I wanted to do was help Brock,’ said Barwis, who drew up an ‘unconventional plan’ to rehabilitate Mealer because the conventional hadn’t worked.”


After months of hard work and dedication, Brock -- alongside his brothers -- led the 2010 Michigan football team onto the field for the home opener at the rededication of Michigan Stadium. Brock was the first person to touch Michigan’s famed banner that season. Since then, Brock has gone on to become a motivational speaker and was featured at the 2016 Republican National Convention.


Barwis Methods (2011-Present)


Following the experiences at Michigan, Barwis knew he was destined for something more, telling MGoBlue in 2015 that the assistance he was able to give Mealer, Lindsay Robinson, and Andy Knowlton (all parts of the Michigan family) put him on the path he is presently on.


In June 2011, Barwis opened his first facility under the Barwis Methods name in Plymouth, MI -- a 2,100sf home of weights, cardio equipment, and a 90’ stretch of field turf. That home has expanded to over 22,000sf, and Barwis Methods expanded over the years to facilities in Canton, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; and Port Saint Lucie, FL and off-site training at multiple locations in several states. Barwis Methods presently serves everyone with general population training, elite professional training, its Injury Recovery Program. Additionally, Barwis Methods manufactures and/or distributes all sorts of gear and apparel, equipment and accessories, flooring, durable medical devices, and nutritional supplements designed by Mike himself to compliment the elite form of training provided by Barwis Methods.


Philosophy


Barwis created his own philosophy of strength and conditioning eventually called the "Barwis Methods". This philosophy is a holistic approach to strength and conditioning and is based on scientific laws of medicine such as "Wolff's Law" which states, "The body conforms and adapts to the intensities and directions to which it is habitually subjected." Barwis' background in neurophysiology and biomechanics helped him understand how the body responds and adapts to stimulus and assisted him in creating scientific, personalized and adaptive training cycles for his athletes. The Barwis Methods philosophy of strength and conditioning also incorporates a proper nutritional foundation and aspects of mental and emotional stimulation that generate specific hormonal responses to facilitate maximum performance and adaptations. “There’s no question,” Barwis said. “My job really is to invest in the lives of others and to figure out what they need – not just physically, but also mentally to get them where they need to be. That’s a big part. Getting yourself in the right mental mindset and putting yourself through things that people – and you – don’t think are possible allows you to get to a place before the season starts where you feel like it doesn’t matter what you bring to me. I’ve been through the war without actually fighting in one, and I don’t care what’s in front of me. I’m ready to destroy it.” [6]


Depending on the needs of the athlete related to their current condition and the time of year, Barwis will implement the hypertrophy, strength or power transfer phase of strength and conditioning as he has for years with athletes such as Richard Sherman, Nick Swisher, Ndamukong Suh and countless others. When speaking on the hypertrophication phase, Barwis said, “It’s the first phase where essentially we put a load on the body with a high number of repetitions with very little rest and recovery, which accommodates an increase in mass of the muscles... That’s important because as we increase the mass in the muscle fiber . . . (it) allows us to (maximize everything)."[6]


Charities


Barwis also founded two 501c3 tax-exempt non-profits, Athletic Angels Foundation and the First Step Foundation. He unofficially began the Athletic Angels Foundation in 1996 while coaching in Morgantown, WV to help impoverished children gain access to athletic, academic and mentoring opportunities, leveraging his relationships with athletes and philanthropists to connect them with economically disadvantaged to show them love and respect give them opportunities they would otherwise forever be denied. The First Step Foundation was founded by Barwis in 2014 to help people with neuromuscular disabilities gain and retain access to the Barwis Methods Injury Recovery Program (IRP) as well as to enhance and expand the program to be able to help more people. The IRP uses Barwis' proprietary and revolutionary system, "Neurological Reengineering", to help people regain functional control over their nervous system, assisting their ability to cognitively control their movement.

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