Tips from Bill Hartman
Written on January 16, 2008 at 10:59 am, by Eric Cressey
On top of dropping a 45-pound plate on my (now broken) toe on Thursday night and having a pro baseball player staying at my condo, it was the busiest week ever at Cressey Performance. There is, however, a silver lining to this cloud. I don’t need healthy toes to deadlift at my meet next weekend, and you’re going to get an even better holiday sale as a result of my high tolerance for pain and propensity for clumsy self-destruction.
To atone, I’m going to offer a big discount – to the tune of 30% off – on my Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual. Just click HERE and the discount will automatically be applied at checkout. This discount will be in place through December 12, too.
Talking Shop with Bill Hartman
Bill Hartman is a smart dude. Really smart. A lot of you think I’m a bright guy when it comes to kinesiology, biomechanics, and corrective exercise. Let’s put it this way: Bill is the guy I email or call when I’m stumped. Were it not for his sense of humor, I might actually believe that he’s a robot designed to know everything about the human body. He co-created Inside-Out, a great DVD and manual set that I feel is the best shoulder-health-specific product on the market.
This week, however, Bill is extra special because he provided some kick-butt content for my newsletter when life was crazy. In a sense, he’s like the cheerleader who does your homework, but he’s much smarter, more masculine, and doesn’t wear a skirt (at least not in public).
Here are tips 1-7 from Bill:
1. Making true postural corrections and improvement in mobility is a 24-7 endeavor.
Your daily postures and repetitive activities have a far greater effect on your mobility and posture. The body will adapt to what you do most often. If you spend all day in a chair, your body will adapt to that posture. If you perform activities for extended periods of time in a limited range of joint motion, you body will adapt to that limited range of motion. You can use the same premise to make a correction. For instance, if you’re trying to improve your shoulder girdle posture, practice holding it in better alignment for extended periods of time (up to 20 minutes) to promote actual changes in the length and stiffness of tissues.
2. Static stretching as it is typically performed (1-3 reps of 20-30 seconds or whatever) has a very limited benefit.
This type of stretching functions more on the basis of increasing your tolerance to the stretch, therefore range of motion will improve temporarily. I tend to use it for its acute benefits. For instance, if you’re trying to improve glute max activation, stretch the hip flexors first. Range of motion into hip extension will improve and allow greater glute max activation. As far as long-term, relatively permanent changes in range of motion, tissues need to adapt (see number 1) and the nervous system needs to be involved in the changes. This makes strength training a great way to improve range of motion. Emphasize getting strong at the end range of motion with a muscle in the stretched position. Examples would be performing ISO holds at the bottom of a Bulgarian split squat, push-up, RDL, or pullover at the end of your workouts.
3. Exercise tempo matters
Bar speed will affect what type of training effect will result from training. A very fast tempo will increase contribution of the spring-like effect from a tendon much like plyometrics. Slower training tempos will reduce this effect and promote more muscular adaptations. Determining where you lack function, either in the elastic component of the tendon or more of the muscular contributions, will allow you to target training to significant improvements in performance in a very short time.
4. When in doubt, simplify your programming
Most trainees who are training diligently, attending to nutritional issues adequately, but lack progress are typically training at least one level of complexity (or more) above where they should. Reduce either the frequency, the training volume, or the complexity of the periodization scheme or all of the above. Look back in your training journal (you DO have one right?) to where you made your best progress. Start there for clues on how you should progress. Then read #5.
5. Your body can’t differentiate between stressors
Most periodization programs work for a very limited group of people. Any programming recommendations based on professional or Olympic athletes rarely works for the real-world population. Those athletes lived in controlled environments where outside stressors were limited or didn’t exist. We live in a world where we are frequently sleep deprived, have money issues, family and relationship issues. All these stressors are cumulative in respect to how your body reacts to them. Training is also a stressor and is most often the only one we can control. When you feel good, go for the extra weight or reps. When you’re not feeling your best, back it off.
6. Warm-up first before you decide you’re going to have a bad workout
The daily grind can wear on you and many times you don’t feel like training. Your attitude will affect the outcome of you workout. Many times the simple activation of your nervous system with a dynamic warm-up and few warm-up sets will reset your attitude. Warm-up before you allow your brain to get in the way of what may be the best workout of your life.
7. Develop a group of “Go-to” people
It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I’ve learned that I can’t learn everything. There are always others who specialize in certain area of life or training or whatever who have a deeper understanding of certain things. Make friends with them. Take advantage of their specialized knowledge. Share what you know and learn what they know.
About Bill Bill Hartman is a physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in the Indianapolis area. Bill is the co-creator of Inside-Out: The Ultimate Upper-Body Warm-up and a contributing author to Men’s Health Magazine. He is also the creator of Your Golf Fitness Coach’s Video Library, available at www.yourgolffitnesscoach.com. You can contact Bill directly via www.billhartman.net.
We’ll be back with tips 8-15 from Bill later this week.
All the Best,