Home 2008 September (Page 2)

Random Thursday Thoughts: 9/11/08

1. Hopefully you all can take at least a few minutes out of your schedule to remember those who were lost in 2001 and their families. (and we’re all sending good vibes your way, Steph) 2. I'll start off with a bang; high-heels for babies and children is the single-most moronic thing I've ever seen. If a grown woman wants to absolutely destroy her lower extremities by wearing heels, that's her choice. However, putting a baby in a pair of high heels as she's learning to walk is certifiable. Be careful watching the interview with these people, folks; you will actually get dumber. Oh, and Britta Bacon? That’s seriously your name? Are you a water filter or a pork product? 3. I finally got around to checking out Alwyn Cosgrove and Mike Roussell’s Warpspeed Fat Loss e-book. This thing is fantastic; I’m annoyed with myself for waiting this long to open it up after they sent it my way a while ago. I’ll actually be doing an interview with Mike on this very topic next week in my newsletter, so stay tuned – or check out Warpspeed Fat Loss yourself in the meantime. 4. Maybe if we didn’t give out drugs so easily, they wouldn’t be contaminating our drinking water. I never heard of teaching people to eat right and exercise leading to pollution... 5. Great quote from an email exchange I had with pitching specialist Ron Wolforth the other day: “I have truly been blessed in having peers who are truly cutting edge and who are more interested in getting it right than being thought of as right.” 6. Speaking of Ron, I just confirmed this past week that I’ll be presenting two one-hour lectures and a hands-on portion at his Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp in Houston on December 12-14. If you’re a baseball coach or you train baseball guys, definitely check this event out; there is going to be a lot of great information and thinking outside the box. 7. Just a quick heads-up: if you have questions about the Maximum Strength program (or any of my products, for that matter), please post them HERE instead of emailing me. I figured a comprehensive thread over at T-Nation would be a good way to get everything in one place. And, for those of you who have purchased Maximum Strength, don't forget to check out the online FAQ page to which we allude in the book. Have a good weekend! I'll be dominating Pete in Fantasy Football this Sunday/Monday.
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The Empty Can

Q: A trainer at my gym was telling me that the best way for a bodybuilding competitor to perform lateral raises was to execute them in or slightly behind the frontal plane and in the "empty-can" hand position (he said this is good for long-term shoulder health since he claimed it would strengthen the supraspinatus) while leaning slightly forward. Do you think this recommendation is conducive to long-term shoulder health, or would it lead to excessive wear and tear and potentially create impingement problems? Or is it a case of this being perfectly acceptable for some populations and a nightmare for others? If it is the latter, who can perform them this way and who should avoid them? A: I disagree wholeheartedly. The empty can is a provocative test; it's what we do when we want to see just how angry an injured supraspinatus is. If you want to keep the supraspinatus healthy, you don't need to make a dedicated effort to strengthen it. You need to strengthen the muscles that position the scapula so that there is more clearance through which that tendon can pass under the acromion process. These would include lower trapezius and serratus anterior. Strengthening the muscles of the rotator cuff will help to depress the humeral head as well. There is also a definite role for thoracic spine mobility (as I wrote about in a previous newsletter) in this situation, as it helps dictate the positioning of the scapulae. Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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I Love Emails Like This…

Over a year ago, I wrote an article called Are You Doing Stupid Stuff in the Gym? In that article, I made a somewhat bold statement that seemed to ruffle some feathers: "I've said it before and I'll say it again: any healthy male under the age of 50 can deadlift 400 within two years of proper training — and most can do it even faster than that." Several people took issue with it, but as they say, opinions are like a**holes; everyone has got one. We proved that two years was a conservative estimate for a lot of folks when my business partner Pete pulled 400 after just 364 days of lifting. Anyway, it's been a while since this statement of mine received any attention, but I just got this email the other day: A while back you wrote an article on T-nation, and in it you wrote your belief that anyone could achieve a 400-pound deadlift in two years of training. Anyway, here's another point of data to support that. I started working out July 06. I attempted my first DL that October and didn't start deadlifting regularly until February 07. I used a measly 215 lbs then. I made tremendous progress initially, hitting 385 in August 07. Then I stalled for a long time. In February 08 I made a slight gain to 390 then went cold again. I took a long break from DLing then started on the Coan DL program 7 weeks ago. Finally, 3 weeks ago I pulled 400 for a double, and this week I got 405 for a single. That's been a goal of mine and I'm pumped to have finally achieved it. Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea what kind of program this guy used to get to where he is, but it only took him 18 months from when he first started deadlifting regularly. Again, I'm not saying that your deadlift is the absolute measure of your progress or efforts, but I'd say that it's a reasonable consideration for those who are healthy and training regularly. Get your deadlift up with Maximum Strength.
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FFL Week 1: The Continued Education of Larrabee

Today marks the first installment of my Tuesday Fantasy Football recap. I know this is a strength and conditioning/fitness/nutrition blog, so I’ll do my best to keep it at least loosely related to fitness. No promises in this regard, though. Kevin Larrabee’s learned a lot in his few weeks as a Cressey Performance intern. He understands the importance of glenohumeral internal rotation for baseball players, can teach a good box squat, and has even managed to put a few inches onto his vertical jump. We’re even hoping that Kevin will soon realize that if you get stapled on bench press attempts at 300, 285, and 280 (in that order), that it’s probably better to cut your losses and move on to your assistance work rather than having another Spike and attempting 280 again. But, I digress... This weekend, Kevin learned that you should never, ever, ever, ever, ever mess with EC in the realm of fantasy football. Here was the basic theme of Kevin’s weekend of football: Yes, folks; he got bent over. (and for the record, you shouldn’t rerack weights like this) I mean, Tony Dungy didn’t even think Joseph Addai needed to play the 4th quarter to get me the win. In fact, my defense (Tennessee) outscored Kevin’s two running backs and quarterback combined. It was bittersweet, though, as New England fans (myself included) lost our quarterback (Tom Brady) for the season as Kevin lost his pride and #1 overall draft pick. Unfortunately for Kevin, unlike Brady, he doesn’t have a supermodel at home to console him. I guess those Star Trek reruns and Dungeons and Dragons sets will have to do. Congrats to Jason SChuman for posting the high score of the week. And, yes, that “C” was intentionally capitalized. 1-0. You’re next, Pete.
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Core Training Improvisation

Q: I'm about to start Phase 2 of Maximum Strength and I'm wondering if there's a recommended substitute for the bar rollout. The plates at my gym aren't completely round. Should I suck it up and buy an ab wheel or is there something simple I can do instead? I appreciate your time! A: You've got a few options. The first, as you noted, is to buy an ab wheel. They're awesome and we use them a ton at Cressey Performance - and they're very affordable at Perform Better. Another option is to simply set up exactly the same as you would with a bar rollout, but instead, just do an isometric hold at end-range for 10-30s, depending on your fitness level. If you can't quite do it at end-range, just bring the hands in toward the knees a bit and gradually work your way out as your stability improves. Get Maximum Strength!
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Random Friday Thoughts: 9/5/08

I'm actually publishing this at about 11:30PM on a Thursday night, but I guess that's close enough to Friday. It's going to be a busy Friday and then I'm headed to Maine with my girlfriend for a wedding (not ours). 1. Speaking of weddings, congratulations to CP staff member Brian St. Pierre, who got engaged to his girlfriend of 8,726 years over the weekend. At the pace they’re going, they should be married in the spring of 3047. Brian couldn’t out-deadlift or out-bench me – and he surely isn’t going to even come close to me in fantasy football – so he decided to beat me to eternal bliss. Congratulations, buddy. 2. And, on a related note, apparently, 93% of fantasy football participants are white. I’m happy to report that the Cressey Performance Fantasy Football league has, in fact, crossed the double-digit percentile in the quest to end fantasy sports inequality. Our league is actually 10% African-American; Clark is our Jackie Robinson. And, if you really think about it, Larrabee does a mean Terry Tate impersonation, so we’re more like 12%. 3. Speaking of Terry Tate, I'd love for him to track down whoever originally proclaimed that bagels are healthy. Everyone born in the past 40 years knows that white bread is bad for you, and a bagel is just a round piece of white bread with a hole in it. Does the hole make it healthy? No! In fact, it makes it suck more because it’s more deceptive than a regular slice of white bread. 4. I found this article about youth gymnastics really interesting - but probably not for the reason others took interest in it. The quote that caught my attention was: “He added that the coach-to-athlete ratio should be about 6 to 1 in preschool and about 8 to 1 for older athletes.” Amen! I am a firm believer that small groups are an absolute must when dealing with at-risk sports like gymnastics and, specific to my occupation, weight-training. It makes me sick to my stomach when I see one coach supervising 15-20 young, impressionable, untrained athletes. It's the reason why so many cookie cutter facilities just do 30-minute dynamic warm-ups, some agility ladders, and then a little running. They are insufficiently staffed - both in terms of the total number of employees and the knowledge and coaching abilities of those employees. At Cressey Performance, we never go over six athletes per coach - even in our advanced athletes - and generally speaking, it's more along the lines of 3-4 athletes per coach at a time. 5. While on the topic of misdirected training for kids, are these people for real? I seriously hope not, because Brookline isn't far from me, and I'm afraid that I'll get dumber from just being within 50 miles of these quacks. Seriously, treadmills for kids? Why don't you just buy a pet gerbil? You don't have to drop $200K to send them to college, and they won't wake you up in the middle of the night with a diaper full-o-poo. Developmentally, this is flat-out stupid; they shouldn't be on treadmills at all. They should be out playing. If they aren't playing, it's because the parents haven't set them up for success in this regard by integrating them socially. I totally hope that one of these kids meets up with one of the 9-12 year-old beasts that train at CP in our kids' groups; our guys would take their lunch money and then overhead press their dorky treadmills. And ellipticals for kids? Do we really need to show kids how to be too lazy to walk? You know what elite triathletes call the elliptical? The fat girl machine. 6. Last rant, and then I'm done - at least for the weekend: Skateboarder Wanted for Speeding. Instead of trying to arrest/sanction him, shouldn’t authorities be rewarding him for finding an efficient, environmentally friendly transportation alternative in a time of high gas prices and global warming?
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Feedback on Maximum Strength: 9/3/08

It's a busy day at CP and I've got a big fantasy football draft tonight, but fortunately for me, Kevin Cox, age 36, of Denver, CO provided some good blog material for all of you: Eric, Maximum Strength quickly become one of my favorite purchases. Personally, I felt you did a great job of detailing the why's and how's of your program. I found it refreshing to see a book that focused on performance and promised "hard work" rather than promise results in only minutes a day. I was more than happy with my results after 16 weeks. Body Weight: Pre 220lbs, Post 210lbs Broad Jump : Pre 84", Post 97" Bench Press: Pre 230lbs, Post 265lbs Squat: Pre 300lbs, Post 345lbs 3-rep Max Chin-up: Pre 250lbs, Post 265bs Deadlift: Pre 340lbs, Post 405lbs The mobility work and active recovery circuits were awesome. Toward the end of my 16 weeks there were times when I was feeling run down and I really believe staying on track with the circuits, mobility and flexibility work is what kept me in the game. Pick up Maximum Strength for yourself.
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An Epic Battle

Two Words: Bench Off! (Narrated by Tony Gentilcore)
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  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series