All the best recommendations come word of mouth.
Tom Brady first heard about Alex Guerrero from teammates Willie McGinest in 2006. Brady, who had already won three Super Bowls, was suffering such painful elbow tendonitis that he was unable to practice. Guerrero has a background in traditional Chinese medicine and massage and had a reputation for using physical therapy help athletes recover faster from injuries.
Brady says Guerrero worked on his forearm muscles and biceps, releasing tension on the tendon through targeted deep force massage. “Alex did it one time, and I was like, ‘What? The last ten years of my life I’ve been in pain, and now, after he’s worked on my forearms, biceps, and triceps, there’s no more pain in my elbow?’ It clicked for me right away,” Brady told Men’s Health for our September cover story.
From then on Brady went to Guerrero when ever he felt pain and the relationships was cemented when Guerrero helped Brady rehab after he injured his ACL in 2o08. “At that point, I said, Alex is going to do everything. Alex is going to care of me.'” Guerrero effectively became Brady’s hybrid personal trainer and physical therapist. Over the years the two men formed a close friendship that evolved into a business partnership as well when in 2013 they opened a small gym, the TB12 Sports Therapy Center at Patriot Place next to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
Guerrero says his job is actually pretty easy because Brady always wants to work hard. “I never have to amp Tommy up to train. If anything, I need to remind him that he has to dial it back.” What’s most different about Guerrero’s approach to fitness is his emphasis on hands-on deep tissue treatment for the major muscle groups every workout. He believes that this optimizes the muscles to perform and recover better. He also prefer to use resistance bands rather than free-weights because they allow for more functional movement training.
Guerrero also mote that there’s a misconception that band work is easy and not real strength training. “People might look at Tom and think that he’s not that strong, but he’s functionally very strong. It’s not all about having the biggest muscles, especially if you’re playing quarterback.” Guerrero calls the collective benefits of his approach muscle pliability. “The goal is to tell your body how you want it to function,” he says. “The deep tissue work and specific movement training hardwires your body for sustained excellence.” It’s working for Brady.
Pliability is a term Guerrero coined with Brady and that irks exercise researchers because it doesn’t have extensive scientific evidence to support it. (Plus Guerrero has over-hyped some nutritional supplements in the past and so anything he does is scrutinized closely.) And, in truth, researchers are still studying the complex communication circuit of communication from your brain to your muscles (and vice versa) and learning more about how the sensory aspect of manual therapy may influence it. However, Guerrero and Brady firmly believe their unorthodox methods will eventually become more mainstream which is why they’re opening a 10,000-foot TB12 gym in downtown Boston and hoping to expand nationally next year.
“I absolutely know 100 percent that it works, and the reality is I’m just a client who lives by the teachings,” says Brady.