Home 2008 February (Page 2)

Smith Machine Salaries

As of July 1, 2006, the IHRSA reported that there were 29,000 commercial fitness centers/health clubs in the U.S. Now, this is a few years old - and we're in a growing industry (this number had more than doubled since 1995). So, just for the heck of it (and because I'm not going to search around too hard to find the new info), let's say that there are 32,000 now - plus another 3,000 hotel gyms. Next, assume that of these 35,000 exercise facilities in the US, 80% have purchased Smith machines; that's 28,000 Smith machines in the country. I've seen these retail at anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 - so let's just say that retail at $1,500. Figure a 30% profit on each one, and here's what you get: 28,000 x $1,500 = $42 million $42 million x 30% = $12.6 million Let's assume that these gyms replace their Smith machine, on average, every three years. $42 million / 3 years = $14 million $12.6 million / 3 years = $4.2 million So what does this tell us? Smith machines are a $14 million/year industry in the U.S alone. There may be 42 people in the U.S. grossing six figure incomes from Smith machines alone. Scary thought.... Now, just imagine: leg extensions are even more popular than Smith machines. Scary thoughts, indeed.
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Troubleshooting End Range Shoulder Pain

Q: I have pain in the front of my shoulder just at the end of my range of motion on rows. I thought rows were the universally safe exercise when it comes to shoulder health? A: Normally, they’re a very safe bet – but as with any exercise, if performed incorrectly (or not matched to individual tolerances), they can cause problems. This scenario most commonly occurs when the humerus goes into end-ROM extension, but the scapula stops retracting. Generally, this early end to retraction occurs secondary to a tight pec minor, which gets people stuck in protraction and anterior tilt. When you keep forcing extension on a fixed scapula, the humeral head translates forward in the joint capsule – and you can develop anterior shoulder laxity over time. A strong subscapularis can help to resist this anterior pull. However, if your pec minor and infraspinatus/teres minor are tight, subscapularis is weak, and you’re forcing end-range a bit too hard, it’ll irritate you sooner than later. This is why it’s so important to ensure that the shoulder blade move back AND down as you row. You’ll be in trouble if the scapula tilts anteriorly as you approach end-range. Obviously, there are a ton of other factors at work with shoulder function, but this is a good Cliff’s Notes version to what’s going on with you. Eric Cressey


Click here to purchase the most comprehensive shoulder resource available today: Optimal Shoulder Performance - From Rehabilitation to High Performance.
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Help Charity, Help Yourself: Great Sale for a Great Cause

I used to think that I had the coolest job in the world – until I met Sarah Neukom and learned about what she gets to do every day.

Don’t get me wrong; helping athletes get leaner, stronger, and faster is a lot of fun. I’m thrilled that we get to instill positive diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits in people that will sustain them for life. I love the fact that my writing, speaking, and coaching has CHANGED some lives.

To be honest, though, my responsibilities don’t hold a candle to Sarah’s; she gets to SAVE lives.

You see, Sarah is a Development Office for Jimmy Fund Special Events. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Jimmy Fund supports cancer research and care at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and it’s become synonymous with the word “charity” in the city of Boston.

The events Sarah organizes – from autograph signings with the Red Sox to ice cream festivals – directly fund the services that save thousands of lives each year. And, to take it a step further, Sarah’s enthusiasm for her job and passion for helping others is contagious. In fact, the first time I heard her talk about how much she loves her job, all I could think about was what I could do to help.

Fortunately, I now have that opportunity. You see, like many other athletes who run the Boston Marathon for various charities, Sarah is hitting the pavement to raise funds for Dana Farber. Normally, runners with charity associations are required to raise $3,000 to run, but given Sarah’s job, the bar has been set even higher: $8,000!

Now, I might be able to lift heavy stuff and jump high, but you can be sure that I’m no endurance athlete. As such, I’ll stick to fund-raising support and leave the support running to others…

So with that in mind, here’s the low-down on what you can all do to help me help Sarah and, in turn, save a lot of lives. This week, Mike Robertson and I are going to give you 25% off on ANY of our products if you make a tax-deductible donation of $25 at the following page:


Once you’ve done so, forward your donation confirmation email to me at ec@ericcressey.com and tell me which product you’d like for your discount. We’ll get you a discount code for your purchase. The products included are:

The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual
Magnificent Mobility DVD and/or Manual
Inside-Out DVD/Manual
Monster Mobility Pack (MM + I-O)
Building the Efficient Athlete DVD set ($25 donation saves you $50!)
Bulletproof Knees Manual

You might be wondering: why don’t Mike and Eric just donate a portion of the proceeds from all sales for the week? The answer is simple: if you buy from us, it’s not tax deductible. We’ll eat the difference instead of making you eat it; we want to encourage you in your philanthropic efforts.

Of course, if you already have all our products, or just aren’t interested – but want to make a donation anyway – forward your confirmation email on anyway and I’ll get something good sent out to you to make it worth your while.

For more information on Sarah’s efforts, you can check out www.SarahSaidSheWould.com.

And, by all means, please pass this along to others.

All the Best,


PS – Here’s that donation link again
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Save Your Shoulders: Learn Your Push-Ups

Q: I have a 9-years old daughter whom I try to challenge from time to time to do things like push-ups, chins, pull-ups, etc. She was showing me the pushups the way their PE teacher teaches them, I tried it after that and felt it was very uncomfortable on my shoulders (granted I have nagging shoulder problems for last couple of years). Here is the technique she does it with: - palms are little wider than shoulder width - fingers are internally rotate - so they face each other, and she said that they are taught that "thumbs should be under their chest" - which makes elbows flair out in such a way that upper arms are perpendicular to the body. She said that there was no discomfort, but isn't that a similar position to the "bodybuilder" type of bench press which, I think, you and some other respected coaches pointed out as detrimental to the shoulder health? A: I probably spend 15-20 hours per year teaching kids how to do push-ups correctly when they're ages 15-18 because misinformed physical education teachers have taught them (or allowed them to practice) incorrect form like this. The torque at the glenohumeral joint is markedly elevated and scapular stability very compromised with the elbows-out technique. This is just another example of how the best coaches are needed at the youth levels.
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Should You Always Lift Your Heaviest?

Q: I have a question for you in regards to your Off-Season Training Manual. In regards to writing programs and actually doing them, how important is lifting the heaviest weight possible always? I am for the first time getting out of progressive overload style progression and I like the layout of High, Medium, Very High, Deload. I have already started to incorporate this into my training program. At the same time, I am fuzzy on exactly how to figure out how much weight I should be putting up week-in, week-out. With progressive overload it was pretty easier. If I did the weight one week, I move up the next. I have read through the entire thread and you've only mentioned that you should always be using the heaviest possible weight. Maybe I'm over thinking this, but in my mind adding weight while removing volume is essentially the same amount of work. i.e. If I drop a set when moving from high to medium, but add 10lbs to the working weight, am I really even doing a medium amount of work? Regardless, I guess any general advice on your strategy in regards to actual weight on the bar management would be good. A: You have to listen to your body. No, you aren't going to PR every time you walk in the gym, but it is still important to get some work in. I've often said that programming is 75% in advance, and 25% on the fly. You need to learn to roll with the punches and listen to your body. Additionally, it's important to learn to understand how rotating your heaviest compound exercises plays into this. You'll see that in the programs in the book, you change every other week. More advanced lifters can change weekly. Novice lifters can go 4-6 weeks without plateauing. Understand where you fall and act accordingly. Eric Cressey
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