After spending a decade as a professional soccer player in Russia, Igor Stepanov decided he needed to change careers. He wasn’t injured and he hadn’t had any problems in the league. “I didn’t feel I had went my way,” Igor explained. “I just decided I wanted to work with athletes instead of being one.”

To build experience, Igor began working with athletes as a fitness trainer. Over the next few years, Igor focused on working with athletes in clinics in Moscow. Currently, Igor works at a professional football club, PFC CSKA Moscow as well as elite athletes. The team is currently fifth in the Russian Premier League.

As he worked with professional athletes, Igor began looking for a system to help guide his treatment and training program. That’s when he discovered Gray Institute.

maria lasitskene

Gray Institute Gives Igor the Systematic Approach He Was Looking For

A logical and practical person, Igor was eager to find an educational approach that was similarly systematic. He wanted a “very serial system that had principles with a very clear and logical structure.”

One of Igor’s contacts was connected to Gray Institute and invited him to take a Gray Institute course, Chain Reaction®. After one class, Igor was hooked.

“The logical process of [AFS] was very simple to me. There weren’t conflicts between the information. I started to work better.” Eager to learn more, Igor enrolled in GIFT, Gray Institute’s highly respected fellowship program.

Instead of treating his athletes with a universal approach, Igor began treating and training athletes as individuals. He stopped using the same, formulaic approach, and his recommendations varied from athlete to athlete—based on their unique needs and physiology.

Additionally, his knowledge of Chain Reaction empowered him to solve smaller problems at a higher level of detail and solve cases with greater efficiency.

With an increased understanding of the body’s natural Chain Reactions, Igor could communicate more fluently what he was telling his athletes to do and why, noting “when patients or athletes see the result, all the questions are gone.”

AFS Helps Igor Rehabilitate an Olympic Gold Medalist

Igor began to build a reputation for successfully training professional footballers and athletes. This led to him working with and training Olympic athletes, including a handball team, basketball, soccer, alpine, and track and field athletes. One of the most widely known athletes he works with is track and field athlete Maria Lasitskene.

A seasoned professional high jumper that Igor describes as “the Michael Jordan of track and field,” Maria was preparing for the 2020 Olympic Games when she injured her hamstring.

“It was a typical injury,” Igor explains, “but there was a lot of pressure from social media and athletic organization [to recover]. No one believed that we could cope with it.”

Russian news reported that traditional treatment methods wouldn’t have allowed her to heal in time for the Olympics. The only way forward was an individualized approach.

Igor worked with Maria, using Gray Institute principles “from beginning to end.” By working with Igor and using AFS principles, Maria recovered enough to compete in Tokyo. After a stunning 70-day recovery, Maria won a gold medal (achieving her best results of the season). After the Games, Maria went on to win the Diamond League and is set to become the top track and field athlete this year.

Igor knows that Gray Institute shaped his approach and influences the trajectory of so many professional athletes. “It’s Gray Institute treatment, also. I sent a message to David [Tiberio] saying thank you, [the victories are] yours, too.”

RELATED: Rob’s Story: Treating and Training Elite Athletes Using AFS

igor stepanov

Gray Institute Should Be Your Go-To Resource for Elite Treatment and Training

In the future, Igor wants to continue to build his experience and expertise with professional football clubs, and to push himself to work outside of his comfort zone. His commitment to AFS, however, remains intact.

“If you use [Gray Institute’s] principles and strategies to create techniques based on this foundation, you can work very well. I would encourage you to consider GI as a whole system, not just a company with exercises. You have to think about the principles all the time, otherwise it doesn’t work.”

Take Your Career to the Next Level With Gray Institute

If you, like Igor, are ready to continue pushing yourself to achieve better results, learn more, and serve the highest level of athletes, you’re in the right place. Gray Institute has been at the forefront of an individualized, truth-based approach for decades, and are ready to equip you for what comes next in your career.

To learn more about our courses, Applied Functional Science, or the GIFT fellowship, please visit our course catalog, or reach out to us to speak with a member of our team for an individualized recommendation about which course is right for you.

We look forward to speaking with you!



Rabiner, I. (2020, August 9). How the doctor of the football team saved the Olympics for Lasitskene. Sport Express. Retrieved from