Interview With Our Jon Runyeon

We have a diverse team of physical therapists, massage therapists, naturopaths and strength coaches on staff at Tensegrity. They each bring something unique to our team and are a huge part of what makes Tensegrity, Tensegrity. We would like to introduce you to our very own, Jon Runyeon (Strength and Conditioning Coordinator).

When did you first decide to become a strength coach and why?

 “When I was in high school, I was a competitive Olympic weightlifter and I was well known in the community. I was approached by my high school principal to see if I would be interested in lending my expertise to some of the high school teams. 

So my first job as a strength coach was in high school teaching the high school women’s volleyball team and basketball team. I was asked to do it because of my knowledge and because I was a good lifter, so I got an opportunity and started coaching, and I realized right away that I loved it. And it fits who I am since I am a natural-born educator. Coaching is the same as being an educator, and the best coaches are great teachers.” 

Where did you go to school?

“I did both my undergrad and masters, as well as the start of my Ph.D. work all at the University of Oregon.”

“I originally fell into Tensegrity after coming off a season of rowing (I was a white-water river guide for 17 years) out in Idaho and my right elbow was giving me some issues and grief, and I had asked a colleague if they knew of any good Physical Therapist in town. He told me about this new couple who just moved to Eugene that he thought I would love. 

How long have you been at Tensegrity?

I hit it off with Sean right away, and within two months of seeing Sean, and he asked if I had any interest working at the clinic. I remember saying, “You know I am not a physical therapist, right?” Sean replied that is exactly why he wanted me to join the team. He knew about my background in anatomy and my years of coaching experience, and he thought I could bring something that would complement what the physical therapists do. 

Since I am not trained in a specific modality, I look at everyone with a blank slate and take a hypothesis-driven approach. I started working at Tensegrity in 2007 as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. After about 9 years, I decided to take a two-year hiatus from, but now I am back with the clinic a few days a week.” 

What do you think makes Tensegrity stand apart from other clinics?

“First and foremost, I think there is a great community here of clinicians, massage therapists, naturopaths and strength coaches who work in different ways to help patients achieve their goals and get back to where they want to be. 

The other part is the focus on evidence-based approaches, using these objective measures we have to not only help people understand what disfunction they might be dealing with but then also to try something for a few weeks and reassess. Whether that is by testing using the gait analysis, the Biodex, the EMG, and then we ask the question “Is what we are doing actually making a difference?” and holding ourselves accountable.”

What do you like most about being a strength coach?

“Empowering people. It is so awesome when someone gets stronger and feels the changes themselves and realizes that the effort that they put into will reap great rewards. It is cool to see people change, and move better, and feel better, and gain confidence.”

What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned since working at Tensegrity?

“Always keep an open mind and remember there are always people that know something you do not know, and there is no one way.”