Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 46
Written on June 21, 2013 at 8:45 am, by Eric Cressey
In a collaborative effort with CP Coach Greg Robins, here are this week's nutrition and strength and conditioning tips.
1. Be aware of unwanted movement at the shoulder with thoracic mobility drills.
2. Chow down on some brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap because – for some reason – they are the scapegoat for some kids hating vegetables. Personally, though, I can think of a lot of vegetables that taste far worse! And, what you might not know is that their harvest season is defined as June-January, so now is the perfect time of year to start crushing them.
It's best to avoid boiling them, as it reduces some of their nutritional value. Fortunately, though, I think baking them makes them taste much better. Just cut off the stem and any loose leaves, then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven until they soften up a bit. I like to splash them with balsamic vinegar, and you can even add some parmesan cheese, if that tickles your fancy. Give them a shot!
3. Use these variations to make side-lying clams more effective.
4. If your calves are cramping with sports, fix your back and get your glutes going.
In a recently published study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a history of lower back pain predicted calf cramping in professional rugby players. In light of this finding, here's a little theory of mine..
a. Most rugby players are in heavily extended postures with huge anterior pelvic tilts and excessive lordosis.
b. Those folks in these postures never effectively use gluteus maximus as a hip extensor.
c. If you can't actually use your hip extensors to extend your hip during sprinting, you'll have to acquire the motion elsewhere – and that likely means extra push-off at the lower extremity: plantarflexion.
d. Your calves are plantarflexors.
So, if you lose your glutes (and anterior core, for that matter), you're going to overuse calves, especially in conditions of fatigue. Yes, it's a theory, but I'd be very curious to see if calf cramping was also predicted by postural assessments at the lumbopelvic region. In the meantime, to be safe, if you're having calf cramps (and even if you aren't), get your glutes turned on and anterior core engaged.
5. Use a plyo box to help out with your self-myofascial release.
As I mentioned in one of my presentations in our new Functional Stability Training of the Lower Body DVD set, when we do soft tissue work, it's good to have a combination of diffuse (foam roller) and focal (lacrosse or baseball) options to get to all the areas we want. Unfortunately, we can't do everything we need to do on the floor, so we'll often use a stretching table to make accessing the "undercarriage" a bit easier.
Sometimes, though, the table has too much "give" to it, and it cancels out the density we get from the medicine ball. A good alternative is to use a plyo box, which is a lot firmer. And, if you want a more focal option than the medicine ball, you can use a softball or baseball.