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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 6/20/16

Happy Monday! And, to all the Dads out there, I hope you had a great Father's Day. Here's some good strength and conditioning content from around the web as a belated gift:

Physical Preparation Podcast with Greg Robins - Mike Robertson interviewed Cressey Sports Performance coach Greg Robins, and not surprisingly, it came out great. 

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Lifting - Part 2 - Another CSP coach, Tony Bonvechio, continues with this excellent two-part series on invaluable training lessons he's learned.

How I Accidentally Raised a Professional Athlete - This awesome ESPNW article was written by Edie Ravenelle - who happens to be the mother of long-time Cressey Sports Performance athlete Adam Ravenelle. Adam has trained with us since he was in 8th grade, and won a national championship with Vanderbilt before being drafted by the Detroit Tigers.

Cressey Sports Performance on Snapchat! - CSP just started up a Snapchat account; you can follow us at CresseySP.

cspsnapchat

Top Tweet of the Week:

toptw

Top Instagram Post of the Week:

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Hip Extension, Core Stability, and the Split Squat

Here's another teaser from Mike Reinold and my new resource, Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement. While the Bulgarian Split Squat (also known as the Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat) has always been viewed as a "generally safe" exercise, it does require good hip extension range-of-motion that you can't just always assume is present. Check out this video to learn more:

Also, don't forget, the introductory $30 off sale on FST: Optimizing Movement ends this weekend.  Click here to learn more.

FST-DVD-COVER-OPTIMOVE

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 6/14/16

Here's some recommended strength and conditioning reading/viewing to get your Tuesday started off on the right foot:

How Neural Tension Influences Hamstrings Flexibility - This Mike Reinold video is an excerpt from our new resource, Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement. It's on sale for $30 off through the end of the week.

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Lifting - Part 1

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Why Physical Therapists are Movement System Experts? - I thought this was an excellent article from my good friend and colleague, Eric Schoenberg. I collaborate with Eric on a weekly basis with various rehab cases and he's an outstanding therapist and even better friend.

Top Tweet of the Week:

lomoquote

Top Instagram Post of the Week: (this week's come from the @CresseySportsPerformance account):

 

Another exciting 1st Year Player Draft in the books. Odds are looking pretty good that we break into triple digits in '17. #cspfamily #mlbdraft

A photo posted by Cressey Sports Performance (@cresseysportsperformance) on

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Chicago Seminar Announcement: July 31, 2016

I just wanted to give you a heads-up on one-day seminar with me in Chicago, IL on Sunday, July 31, 2016.

Cressey scapula

We’ll be spending the day geeking out on shoulders, as the event will cover Shoulder Assessment, Corrective Exercise, and Programming.  The event will be geared toward personal trainers, strength and conditioning professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Agenda

9:00AM-9:30AM – Inefficiency vs. Pathology (Lecture)
9:30AM-10:15AM – Understanding Common Shoulder Injuries and Conditions (Lecture)
10:15AM-10:30AM – Break
10:30AM-12:30PM – Upper Extremity Assessment (Lab)
12:30PM-1:30PM – Lunch
1:30PM-3:30PM – Upper Extremity Mobility/Activation/Strength Drills (Lab)
3:30PM-3:45PM – Break
3:45PM-4:45PM – Upper Extremity Strength and Conditioning Programming: What Really Is Appropriate? (Lecture)
4:45PM-5:00PM – Q&A to Wrap Up

Location

TC Boost Sports Performance
600 Waukegan Road
Unit 108 
Northbrook, IL 60062

tcboost

Continuing Education Credits

The event has  been approved for 0.7 CEUs (7 contact hours) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Cost:

$199.99

Note: we'll be capping the number of participants to ensure that there is a lot of presenter/attendee interaction - particularly during the hands-on workshop portion - so be sure to register early, as the previous offering sold out well in advance of the early-bird registration deadline.

Registration

Click here to register using our 100% secure server!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Questions? Please email ec@ericcressey.com.

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Optimizing Movement: Understanding Good vs. Bad Stiffness

With this week's release of Mike Reinold and my new resource, Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement, I wanted to give you a little sample of what it includes. Here's a three-minute excerpt from one of my webinars on the concept of relative stiffness:  

This new resource is on sale for $30 off as an introductory discount; you can learn more HERE.

FST-DVD-COVER-OPTIMOVE

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 6/7/16

I'm a day late with this weekly recommended reading/viewing list in light of the Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement launch yesterday. Fortunately, though, that launch led to our first piece of highlighted content!

What Goes Into Optimal Movement Quality? - Here's a quick excerpt from one of Mike Reinold's webinars in our new FST resource:

Don't forget: you can pick this resource up for $30 off HERE during our introductory sale.

Strength Faction Eric Cressey Q&A - I did a call with the Strength Faction a few weeks ago, and this was the summary of some of the big takeaway points. Most of it has to do more with business and personal development than training.

Top 5 Coaching Cues - This was great stuff from Mike Robertson. He highlights five coaching cues that I find myself using all the time, too!

Top Tweet of the Week:

tweet6616

Top Instagram Post of the Week:    

 

I'm going to geek out a bit for the fitness professionals and rehab specialists here, as there are some good coaching lessons on this prone trap raise: 1. Don't force range of motion: he runs out of true posterior tilt (scapulothoracic) movement and tries to get extra ball-on-socket (glenohumeral) motion. 2. Forward head posture: much better to not allow the head positioning to be off the edge of the table. 3. Incorrect arm angle: the arm should be up at 135 degrees (line of pull of lower traps), not out to ~100 degrees, as we see here. This is very common in athletes who a) want to stay in scapular anterior tilt, b) can't shut their lats off, and/or c) are really kyphotic (rounded upper back). 4. Elbow flexion substitution: shortens the lever arm of the resistance, and in conjunction with #3, lets the athlete think they're actually in the right line of pull. Good movement has to be conscious before it becomes subconscious. And, arm care is as much about the "how" as it is about the "what." #cspfamily #armcare

A video posted by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on

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Now Available: “Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement”

I'm psyched to announce that my newest project is now available. This collaborative resource with Mike Reinold is called Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement.

FST-DVD-COVER-OPTIMOVE

As with the previous three installments in this series, Mike and I heavily emphasize the collaboration of the rehabilitation and strength and conditioning worlds. The resource is available in both online-only and DVD formats, and includes a combination of webinars and lab sessions.

Through June 19, Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement will be available at a $30 off launch discount, and you can also get even bigger savings if you choose to purchase the entire "Functional Stability Training" bundle.

IMG_4827-2 

Click here to learn more and purchase!

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Building a Bigger Deadlift with the Right Grip Width

When it comes to deadlift technique, one thing I find myself coaching individuals on all the time is their hand position - and this is especially true with the conventional deadlift. Learn more in this deadlift technique tutorial with a specific focus on the grip set-up:

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/30/16

Happy Memorial Day! Thanks to all those present and past who have served to protect our freedoms.

Here's some recommended reading to check out once all the barbecues and family time have settled down later today.

44 Lessons I've Learned Along the Way - If you're involved in the fitness business (or any business) and haven't seen one of Pat Rigsby's epic lists, you're missing out! 

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5 Things I Wish Someone Would've Told Me About Coaching - This is must-read material for up-and-coming coaches and trainers, courtesy of Mike Robertson.

What You Should Know About Sleep - Chad Waterbury doesn't post often, but when it does, it's always a good read. Check out this article about sleep quantity and benefits.

Top Tweet of the Week:

armcare

Top Instagram Post of the Week:

 

I hate having to wait for equipment. #packed house #cspfamily #justmeandtank

A photo posted by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on

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Counterintuitive Coaching: More Loading, Better Learning

It goes without saying that in the overwhelming majority of cases of resistance training technique coaching, adding weight makes it harder to teach an exercise. In other words, we want to deload the movement as a regression, as many trainees get into "panic mode" when you put external load on them. A deadlift that is ugly at 135 pounds is definitely going to look even uglier at 315 pounds. 

Lowering the weight is just one regression we can use to optimize technique. Other strategies include changing the exercise (e.g., trap bar deadlift over conventional deadlift), shortening the range of motion (e.g., rack pull vs. deadlift), eliminating fatigue (e.g., dropping a few reps off each set), tinkering with the base of support (e.g., split squat instead of lunging) and deceleration components (e.g., reverse lunges instead of forward lunges). I went into detail on these options and several more in an older article, 11 Ways to Make an Exercise Harder.

DLBottom-272x300

Sometimes, however, there are exceptions to these rules. In particular, I'm speaking to the idea that in some cases - as counterintuitive as it may seem - adding weight can actually improve your ability to clean up a movement pattern. Here are a few examples:

Anterior Counterbalance - The best examples to which one can look on this front are the goblet squat and plate-loaded front squat. You can see individuals who have brutal squat patterns that are quickly cleaned up just be giving them some external loading in one of these positions to facilitate an easier posterior weight shift and better core engagement.

Truth be told, this same set-up can be used to improve lateral lunges, too. And, it can also help to explain why some lifters have much better front squat technique than with the back squat.

Olympic lifts - There is definitely a sweet spot for teaching the Olympic lifts, which require a higher speed of execution and "feel" of tension against external load. If you're teaching them to a more trained athlete with a decent foundation of strength and power, just putting a 5kg training plate on each side of the bar almost never works. The weight is so light that it's very easy for them to slip into bad patterns like curling the weight or cutting the lower body triple-extension short. Bumping those 5kgs up to 10 or even 20kg bumper plates can make a big difference in syncing everything up.

Deadlifts - While lowering the weight is usually essential for improving deadlift technique, one issue you may encounter is that at very light weights, if you don't have bumper plates, the plates have a smaller diameter. In other words, lowering the weight below 135 pounds may actually increase the range of motion of the movement. This is easily corrected by elevating those smaller plates on a riser (two aerobic steps works well) or going to a rack pull. However, if strength is adequate, just going to 135 is often the easiest correction, even if it means you need to knock a few reps off the set.

elevatedDL

Medicine Ball Work - If a medicine ball is too light, an athlete will do one of two things. First, if it's a rotational drill, he'll use too much upper body work and not engage the hips correctly to create powerful rotation to transfer up the chain to the upper body. If it's an overhead stomp variation, he'll usually hold back because if the medicine ball is too light, it'll rebound excessively off the floor and hit him in the face before he can react to it. For this reason, we'll never do overhead stomps with anything less than 8lb medicine balls - and that would be with absolute beginners. Most folks do best with 10-12-pounders.

Turkish Get-up - I've evolved in the way that I teach the Turkish Get-up in recent years. In the past, I would teach it unloaded - and would always notice that lifters - especially hypermobile ones - would manage to slip into their faulty patterns really easily without external loading. Adding a kettlebell - even if it's only 4-8kg - can make a huge difference in keeping trainees more "compact" and under the kettlebell. Effectively, they guard against vulnerable positions that wouldn't be noticeable if they didn't have to support a load overhead.

Reactive Neuromuscular Training (RNT) - Popularized by physical therapist Gray Cook, RNT involved using resistance to pull individuals into their dysfunctional pattern in order to increase proprioceptive awareness and build-up antagonist co-contraction. The athlete (or patient in the clinical realm) acquires the kinesthetic awareness to avoid the dysfunctional pattern, and the strength and motor control to resist falling into it. Perhaps the most well known example of adding resistance to teach a good pattern is in using a band to drive valgus (caving in) at the knee during single-leg patterns.

Weighted Baseballs - We've used weighted baseballs as part of our throwing programs since 2008 with great results. The reason isn't just to get contrast between heavy and light to increase arm speed via post-activation potentiation, but also because using weighted implements can actually help to improve arm action and clean up mechanical faults in certain individuals. If a pitcher has a very long or deep arm action, weighted ball throws can help to shorten it up. If a pitcher has a short deceleration pattern (including a big whip-back), doing some weighted ball holds can teach and train a longer, more joint-friendly pattern.

Wrap-up

There are just seven examples of how increasing external loading can actually facilitate teaching, but there are undoubtedly many more that you may already be using on a daily basis without even realizing it. There are many different ways to clean up movement, so don't ever rule anything out! Feel free to share additional strategies on this front in the comments section below. 

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