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CFS: CoreFirst Strategies for Optimum Function

Friday, August 1 at 8:00 AM
Des Moines University, Academic Center, 2nd floor, Des Moines, IA, 50312 Show Map



Audience: PT, PTA, OT. OTAs may attend with a supervising PT or OT.

Each student is expected to complete required reading and video reviews prior to the classroom instruction and attend all hours of classroom instruction to receive a certificate of completion. Any exceptions to this policy must be pre-approved in writing by the Directors.



Required Course Preparation

Prior to the classroom portion of this course, all students must complete required course preparation.  The preparation for CFS includes videos, quizzes, and articles.  Plan to spend approximately 2 ½ hours learning this important information.  Once enrolled in a course, required course preparation can be found by logging on to your IPA account and selecting “My Upcoming Courses.”  If you have any trouble accessing the required course preparation please call our office at 970-870-9521 for assistance. Also, please note that approved CEUs may vary depending on individual states’ treatment of Online vs. Classroom Instruction.

Required Equipment

Please bring a Swiss Ball AND a 36″ x 6″ Foam Roll to the course on Saturday and Sunday to ensure full participation in exercise sessions.

The size of the Swiss Ball should allow you to sit on the ball with a 100+ (but not more than 110) degree hip-trunk angle. If you do not own a Swiss Ball or cannot use one from your facility, call Ball Dynamics at 800-752-2255 to order one. Please have a credit card number and shipping address available. If you are unable to bring your ball inflated, please arrive early to have this done. A pump will be available at the course.

Foam Rolls may be ordered from a number of providers including: OPTP at 888-819-0121 or www.optp.com; Perform Better at 888-556-7464 or www.performbetter.com.



Course schedule

Friday 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Friday 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Video review, evaluation, positioning lab, acute care mobility and exercises.

Saturday 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Unsupported sitting evaluation, instruction and lab. Active sitting evaluation instruction and lab. Level One Exercise Session. Standing/active standing evaluation, instruction and lab. Level Two Exercise Session.

Sunday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Moderate lifting evaluation, instruction and lab. Lifting exercise lab. Heavy lifting and carry, and sports cord break-out sessions. Level Three Exercise Session. Push-pull activities. Cervical exercise program.

Scheduling note: Schedule may necessitate changes due to travel restrictions of the instructor. The instructor will discuss any changes at the beginning of the course if applicable.


BET-courseCoreFirst™ Strategies for Back Education and Training presents a methodical and unique functional assessment and treatment program for spine patients. The CFS approach, originated and developed by Vicky Saliba Johnson, PT, FFFMT, FAAOMPT, trains the therapist to directly correlate an evaluation of the patient’s base of support, alignment, and Lumbar Protective Mechanism to the patient’s motor activation and strength response. Building on this assessment, the participant is trained in five principles to enhance efficient posture, movement, and the automatic-not volitional-activation of the core stabilizers. These principles serve as a kinesthetic checklist for patients during ADL such as sitting and lifting. To complete this dynamic approach to active functional rehabilitation, the therapist is trained in a progressive functional exercise program which addresses flexibility, coordination, strength, stability, and functional movement patterns. The course includes an extensive manual with over 200 photos of posture, movement, and exercise.


  1. Learn functional tests which give the therapist true functional outcomes of the education and training process.
  2. Learn principles of acute care, positioning and exercise which empower the patient to be independent in ADL.
  3. Self experience and learn how to train others in the five principles of posture and movement which serve as the foundation for training in all ADL from sleeping postures, sitting, and standing to lifting and push-pull activities.
  4. Assist the therapist in designing appropriate and challenging exercise programs to meet the functional needs of each individual patient.


Amy Holcombe PT, DPT, CFMT, FFMT, RYT (Primary)

Amy Holcombe completed CFMT in 2000 after spending two years in Steamboat Springs. During those two years, she was able to train with Gregg and Vicky Johnson. Amy completed the first Fellowship with Johnson and Johnson Physical Therapy in August of 2000. She has been on the faculty since 2001. Amy opened a private practice in 2005. The clinic treats primarily chronic pain and sports improvement. In addition, she has been guest lecturer for residents of physiatry and active with community development. She is in the process of preparing for the orthopedic certification through the APTA. Amy lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, year old twins and 3 dogs. She spends much of her free time in the mountains of North Carolina.


Bob Le Beau graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1994 with a Baccalaureate of Science in Physical Therapy. In 1997 he completed the McKenzie Institute’s Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (Cert.MDT). In 2004 he was awarded the distinction of Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. He began studying with the Institute of Physical Art (IPA) in 1999, and achieved the status of a Certified Functional Manual Therapist (CFMT) in 2008. In 2009 he was invited to teach as an assistant instructor in the IPA’s FM 1 and BET/CFS . In 2013, he completed the terminal clinical distinction of Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists through the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a memeber of the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy.

Instructor Note

The instructors advertised for the course are the intended instructors. The final number of instructors will be determined by course enrollment. Every effort is made to hold the course with the scheduled instructors. Course refunds or transfers will not be granted based on a change of instructors.

Multiple instructors are scheduled for each course. However, the actual number of instructors at a course will be determined by final enrollment.


2.5 Days, 20-22 Hours.  (Approved CEUs vary by state.)

Note: CFS requires students to complete online videos before attending the classroom instruction. Approved CEUs for this course may vary depending on individual states’ treatment of Online vs. Classroom Instruction. Before registering for a course you should verify approved CEUs with your state licensing board or association. State rules are subject to change. IPA courses are approved for the state in which the course is held.


Break food will be provided during the first break on Friday evening.  The break food is intended to be a snack, not dinner.  No other food will be provided. You are welcome to bring your own snacks if desired.

Lab Clothing

Each participant’s body must be accessible for observation. Please refrain from wearing large or sharp jewelry. Also, be aware that Saturday afternoon and Sunday labs require athletic or work shoes. NO JEANS PLEASE. 

  • Women: Sports top or close fitting T-shirts, and shorts or sweats. 
  • Men: Shorts or sweats and T-shirts.
  • All: Warm-up suits or other clothing worn over the above described attire is advised to ensure comfort between demonstrations, as temperatures may vary in the room.

Course Preparation

This 2 1/2 day workshop is quite demanding and intense.  Please come prepared and rested.  Review the basic anatomy and philosophy of muscle function.  This knowledge will serve as an important foundation for the principles and procedures taught. Be sure to complete the required course preparation listed above.

Recommended Reading

Therapeutic Exercises for Spinal Segmental Stabilization in Low Back Pain, 1st  Edition, Richardson, Carolyn; Jull, Gwendolyn; Hodges, Paul; Hides, Julie.

Registration and Questions


LuAnn Hadlock
Executive director, Institute of Physical Art
43449 Elk Run
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

Des Moines University (DMU) prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend DMU sponsored activities. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this activity, please contact the DMU Continuing Medical Education office at 515-271-1596 or cme@dmu.edu prior to the activity.