Home 2008 November (Page 2)

Random Friday Thoughts: 11/21/08

1. This is my first post on the new blog, so apologies in advance if:

a) the font style or color is out-of-whack

b) it comes up in Portuguese (meaning that you’d have no idea what I am saying, anyway)

c) your computer freezes up on account of the complete and utter awesomeness that you’re beholding with the new site

Kidding aside, it’s been a royal pain in the butt thus far and I’m just anxious to have it done so that I can just go back to writing.

2. Believe it or not, as some of you probably have noticed, I haven’t blogged for a full week. There was just a ton of stuff to get gone for the new site as well as loads of other projects on my plate.

Interestingly, though, it was by far my best week of training since the spring. I had a great front squatting session on Tuesday, and although Wednesday was supposed to be a day off, I got antsy later in the day. So, I did a little sprint work – and it felt great. So, I figured what the heck: I might as well test my vertical jump and broad jump. I wound up jumping a personal best of 34.7 inches and then tying a personal best on the broad jump with 114 inches. As a cooldown, I wrestled a grizzly bear and then did walking lunges in the parking lot with an intern over each shoulder. Those whippersnappers will learn!

Random digressions aside, it’s very clear that this blog is completely counterproductive for my strength, power, and physique goals. In fact, I’d say that is roughly on-par with distance running as a competing demand for my attention and physiological recuperation. I’m going to take one for the team and keep writing, though; winners persevere.

(and in case you folks didn’t pick up on it, that was a joke)

3. Here is a cool study:

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: Is there a Role for Polyunsatured Fatty Acids and Antioxidants?

Essentially, this is a survey of all the available research on the topic, and here is what they determined: “Only one trial was found that investigated the efficacy of PUFAs and antioxidants on tendinopathies. The findings suggest that some (low level) evidence exists to support the supplementation in the management of tendinopathies. Any conclusions based on this one article should be reached with caution. Subsequently, there is a distinct and clear need for well-planned randomized controlled trials that aim to investigate the efficacy of supplements in the management of tendinopathies including those of the rotator cuff.”

Meanwhile, we spend BILLIONS on NSAIDs, cortisone shots, and surgeries. Don’t you just love the medical model? While these options are certainly warranted in some situations, we’re studying for the wrong test by ignoring the role of PUFAs and antioxidants in the treatment of tendinopathies.

Chances are that the NIH won’t soon fund anything to look at this, though, as they are too busy doing the 38,736th study in history on creatine.

4. A good cartoon, in light of the week ahead:

5. Speaking of turducken, is anyone looking forward to listening to John Madden on Thanksgiving as much as I am?  I mean, this is quite possibly the greatest broadcasting spectacle in football history, as Madden will be bouncing off the walls try to slip in as many Brett Favre references as possible - even if Favre and the Jets don't play until the following Sunday.

And, Frank Caliendo as Madden is awesome.  They played this on the airplane on the ride back from Georgia a few weeks ago and everyone on board was laughing hysterically.

6. Another interesting study that ought to make you think:

Lumbar Intervertebral Disk Degeneration in Athletes

Basically, the researchers found that college baseball players and swimmers were 3.23 and 2.95 times more likely (respectively) than their non-athlete counterparts to have disk degeneration. And, there was a clear association between disk degeneration and lower back pain.

Now, here is something to consider…I would be willing to bet that if you took these athletes and actually trained their “cores” the right way, they would be better off long-term than the nonathletes – in spite of the amount of disc degeneration that’s present already. I feel very strongly that multidirectional lumbar stability goes a long way in overcoming any structural flaws – from vertebral fractures (spondylolysis) to disc issues; there are a lot of structurally jacked up backs out there that are completely asymptomatic.

To me, it’s the folks who do nothing that are most at-risk of debilitating back pain long-term. When s**t hits the fan for them, they are playing behind the 8-ball, as they’re older and completely untrained. So, they are starting from scratch when it’s the hardest to start from scratch. Food for thought.

In the meantime, pick up a copy of Combat Core and save yourself. It’s the best “core training” program out there.

7. That last thought was pretty heavy with techy stuff, huh? Did it blow your mind? You know, kind of like it blew your mind when David Hasselhoff talked to that car – and the car actually talked back?

Yeah, that was crazy.

Anyway, that's all for this week.  Did you miss me?

Have a good weekend...

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Solutions to Lifting Problems

It's happened to all of us at one point or another. You show up to the gym, anticipating a great training session, or even just another solid day of lifting. However, once you start adding plates to the bar, it just isn't there. The weights feel heavy. And, you just can't find your groove. Stubborn ass that you are, you keep adding plates, looking for a PR. And, of course, you get buried under your first heavy attempt — or just fall short on the target number of reps. It might be that you didn't get enough sleep last night, or that your girlfriend broke your heart. Hell, maybe there was just a little too much gravity for you in the gym that day. Regardless, your training partners are calling for the staple removers (because you got stapled), shovels (because you got buried), and spatulas (to get your pancaked ass off the floor). Do you hammer through it and try again? Or, do you just call it a day and get out of there? Continue Reading...
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(Abbreviated) Random Thoughts: 11/14/2008

It's going to be a quick one today, as I've been down with the flu bug over the past few days and have a lot going on... 1. Tony's out of town and Pete's out of the office today, so I'm the lone captain of the Cressey Performance ship. 2. It looks like we're going to be making the big switch over to the new website this weekend. So, the next time you want to come back to read this blog, you'll be able to just do it at http://ecressey.wpengine.com. We will probably be down for at least one day this weekend. My fingers are crossed that it'll all go smoothly. 3. The good news is that the new site will be more aesthetically appealing and easy to navigate with a nice little search feature. There will also be a live mariachi band and balloon-tying clowns. 4. Congratulations to all the Cressey Performance athletes who signed letters of intent this week, plus two guys who just committed this past week: Justin Quinn (Rollins) and Kevin Brown (Bryant). 5. I'm not sure which is dumber: the man powered treadmill or the cheesy 1980s fruit aisle music in the background of this video. 6. Here is the second part of this week's newsletter. That'll do it. Have a great weekend.
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Why Wait to Repair an ACL?

Q: I was just curious: why would surgeons have waited so long to repair Brady's ACL? It seems that it would be ideal to do the surgery as soon as possible after the injury to give him more time to rehab and come back. A: It actually has less to do with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and more to do with the associated injuries he (presumably) had. It's widely speculated that he ruptured both the ACL and medial collateral ligament (MCL). A MCL will heal on its own, in most cases, so they'll give it 4-6 weeks to do so before going in to do the ACL reconstruction. Had he experienced a lateral meniscus tear, though (as is common in traumatic ACL injuries), they'd have gone in pretty quickly. ACL injuries that also include the lateral meniscus are typically much more serious and potentially career-threatening. With all ACL ruptures, they'll usually have folks wait at least a few days to allow the swelling to go down. In some cases - particularly with really deconditioned individuals, they might opt for a period of physical therapy prior to the surgery to strengthen the surrounding musculature, reduce swelling, and ensure full knee extension ROM to improve post-op outcomes. If you're interested in learning more about knee function and injuries, Mike Robertson has actually pulled together some great stuff with his Bulletproof Knees Manual. It's definitely worth checking out. All that said, best wishes to Brady for a speedy recovery. Us Pats fans look forward to seeing him back on the field.
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Warpspeed Fat Loss

In my newsletter earlier this week, I introduced you to Danny, a Cressey Performance client who had made some awesome progress on the Warpspeed Fat Loss diet over the course of 28 days. In reality, though, there’s quite a bit more to that story. You see, Danny had actually made a lot more progress than that since December of 2007 when he really committed to kicking a** and taking names. As was the case on Monday, a picture is worth a thousand words; here are the ten-month progress pictures:

In my last newsletter, I told you that this wasn’t just about “Hooray for Danny” or “Horray for Warpspeed Fat Loss” – although both definitely deserve all the credit in the world! Rather, I’m a firm believer that anytime someone is successful, you have to look at what they’ve done right – and these are the three things so important for Danny’s success.
1. Danny got involved with a great training crew. I don’t care who you are: a training crew will always yield better results. Danny actually lifts quite a bit with our staff nowadays. Hell, with all he’s learned, he’d be a great addition to our staff!
Obviously, I firmly believe that our job is to hammer on technique in a coaching-intensive set-up early on when someone trains at CP. However, I think that our longer-term responsibility is to create the most motivating environment possible in which to carry out our programming. Additionally, Danny had a great “crew” at home in the form of a very supportive wife who helped him on the diet side of things. It always helps to have someone along for the ride at home; I’ve seen a lot of people “sabotaged” by unsupportive family members. 2. Danny’s goal from the get-go was always performance. The physique stuff took care of itself when he just focused on getting stronger with each session and attended to his nutrition. Along the way, he got his first 300-pound bench and deadlifted well into the 400s. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: train for performance, put the right stuff in your mouth, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the physique improvements you see. It’s a theme that resounded in my Maximum Strength book. 3. Danny realized that you can always get a training effect in spite of injuries. When he first came to us, Danny had been dealing with some pretty significant neck spasms. In fact, when we went to work on some bench press technique the first night, he was pretty nervous that 95 pounds on the bar would trigger a spasm. Toss in a testy lower back, shoulder, hamstrings, and adductor strain, and you’d think that Danny would have been on the shelf for months. In reality, he didn’t miss a training session, as he appreciated that there was always something he could do to get better around those issues – and get better he did! These factors for success are just the tip of the iceberg, and they'll be different for everyone.  However, it's important to recognize them early-on and use them to your advantage, as getting leaner, stronger, faster, and healthier isn't always peaches and cream. The Truth About Unstable Surface Training: An Athletic Trainer's Perspective
“As someone who has both rehabbed injured athletes and trained healthy people for over 18 years, I can honestly say that Eric Cressey’s The Truth about Unstable Surface Training is a breath of fresh air."Being a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning coach has afforded me a unique perspective in the training world. I have watched personal trainers, strength coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists use and abuse unstable surface training. "Eric has combined his in-the-trenches experience with research to uncover the truth behind unstable surface training. This book is a must-read for anyone that trains, rehabs, or coaches, people in anyway. Yes, that means Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, Personal Trainers, and Strength Coaches. "I hope that this book will help to 'stop the madness' of a training fad that has gotten out of control and help to support the proper uses of unstable surface training. "I know I will be referring this work to my network of athletic trainers, strength coaches, physical therapists and personal trainers.” Keith Scott, MS, CSCS, ATC Certified Athletic Trainer, and Strength and Conditioning Coach www.BackToFormFitness.com
Click Here For More Information.
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The Truth About Shoulder Impingement: Part 1

Shoulder Impingement….Yes, We Get It.

Roughly 10-15 times per week, I get emails from folks who claim that they have "shoulder impingement.” Honestly, I roll my eyes the second I read these emails.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not making light of their pain. It’s just that it drives me crazy when doctors throw this blanket statement out there. I will be completely and 100% clear with the following statement:

Shoulder impingement is a physiological norm. Everyone – regardless of age, activity level, sport of choice, acromion type, gender, you name it – has it.

Don’t reach up to touch that mouse on your computer; you’ll aggravate your impingement and your supraspinatus will explode!

And, don’t scratch that itch on the back of your neck; your impingement will go crazy and your labrum will disintegrate!

Don’t believe me? Check out research from Flatow et al. from 1994.

Yes, this has been out since 1994.

So, the next logical question is: why do some people have pain with impingement while others don’t?

In reality, there are several factors that dictate whether or not someone is in pain, including:

1. Tissue quality – the most “impinged” structures are more likely to break down in older age than they are in earlier years.  Younger individuals can regenerate faster even when overall stress on the tissues is held constant, so how you handle a 50-year-old with "impingement" is going to be somewhat different from how you handle a 15-year-old with "impingement."

2. Degree of elevation – the more one abducts or flexes the humerus, the greater the degree of impingement. This is why folks need to start in a more adducted (arm at side) position early on in rehab.  Those that impinge early in their arc tend to be dealing with subacromial impingement, whereas those who hit it at the absolute top tend to be more AC joint impingement.


3. Acromion type – flat acromions have significantly less contact area with the rotator cuff tendons than hooked or beaked acromions. These structures may change over time due to…

4. Bone Spurs – bone spurs on the underside of the acromion will increase the amount of impingement.

5. Strength of the rotator cuff – the stronger the cuff, the better its ability to depress the humeral head and minimize this impingement

6. Scapular stability – the more stable the scapula, the more likely it is to posteriorly tilt and upwardly rotate effectively when the humerus is raised into the zones of greater impingement. This scapular stability includes adequate length of the downward rotators (pec minor, levator scapulae, and rhomboids) with adequate strength of the upward rotators (lower traps, serratus anterior, upper traps).

7. Thoracic spine mobility – the posture of the thoracic spine dictates the position of the scapulae, which in turn affects impingement as noted in #6.  Assess and Correct is an awesome product for improving thoracic spine mobility - and you can also find some good drills in my recent post, Shoulder Hurts? Start Here.

8. Increased internal rotation – Certain movements that lock the humeral head in internal rotation increase the degree of impingement during dynamic activities. It’s why some people can’t bench press early-on in their rehabilitation programs, yet they can do dumbbell bench presses with a neutral grip pain-free. It’s also the reason why upright rows are a stupid exercise, in my opinion.

9. Breathing patterns – think about what happens when someone has poor diaphragmatic function and becomes a “chest breather:” the shoulders shrug up, and you get extra tightness in the levator scapulae, scalenes, pec minor, and sternocleidomastoid (among other supplemental respiratory muscles). In the process, the degree of impingement can increase.

10. Other issues further down the kinetic chain – I could go on and on about a variety of issues in this regard, but it’s impossible to be exhaustive – so I’ll just give an example. If someone has poor core stability in the sagittal plane that is manifested in an inability to resist the effects of gravity during a push-up, the hips will “sag” to the floor. As this happens, and the upper body remains strong, the scapulae are shifted into an anterior tilt –which increases the amount of impingement on the rotator cuff. So, weakness and/or immobility in other areas can certainly predispose an individual to shoulder problems.

This can also be carried forward to pitchers. We know that shoulder problems are more likely to occur in throwers who have poor lead leg hip internal rotation, as it causes the stride leg to open up early, leaving the arm “trailing behind” where it should be.

Speaking of pitchers, a phrase that has been coined with respect to the “unique” kind of impingement you see in them is “internal impingement.” In next week’s newsletter, I’ll discuss the different kinds of impingement – and why it’s still a cop-out diagnosis for any health care professional to just say you have one or the other rather than tell you explicitly what dysfunctions need to be addressed.

Click here to purchase the most comprehensive shoulder resource available today: Sturdy Shoulder Solutions

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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FFL Week 10: Warner Comes Up Big

Going in to Monday night's game, I was trailing by 16 points with only my QB, Kurt Warner, still to go. He didn't disappoint, putting 25 points on the board with 328 yards passing and three touchdowns. After this, he had this to say about being a part of my fantasy football team (he refers to it as the "franchise" and the "organization"): With Warner and God on my side, there's no stopping me. It doesn't quite explain my 5-5 record, but even deities have bye weeks. And, for those who missed it, check out this week's newsletter. The follow-up on Thursday is going to be just as good.
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The Mainstream Media Lag

I've gotten several emails over the past week from folks who read the following article in the New York Times: Stretching: The Truth You know what the questions were? I'll tell you (paraphrased): "Didn't you already talk about this in your Magnificent Mobility DVD?" Yes, as a matter of fact; we did. And, the MM DVD was filmed in November of 2005. You know what else? With just a cursory glance at our references from peer-reviewed journals for MM, I found two separate studies supporting these facts from - believe it or not - 1999. Sorry, folks; the New York Times is far from revolutionary. This news is at least nine years old - and even older when you consider that there were guys in the trenches experimenting with dynamic flexibility for decades before the research even came to fruition. This same "delay" kicked in about a year ago when everyone went crazy when we finally "discovered" in the mainstream media that lactic acid was not the cause of muscular fatigue. I actually first heard this in 2004 back in a Muscle Physiology class in graduate school at the University of Connecticut. This review by Robergs et al. at the University of New Mexico was what opened a lot of people's eyes.
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Random Friday Thoughts: 11/7/08

1. I'm driving down to Connecticut today, and then going the rest of the way to Long Island for the Major League Strength Coaches Clinic this weekend. I'm excited to present, talk shop, see some old friends, and make excessive use of the phrases: a. "You have to train ass to throw gas." b. "You can't steal second with your foot on first." c. "Is this thing on? Oops! Did I say that out loud?" If you couldn't make the event, you're still in luck; you can pre-order the DVD of the seminar HERE. 2. Last weekend, my girlfriend and I moved all our tupperware to a new cabinet. I have to say: it's changed my life. There's no more cramming containers and lids into a small drawer - and there's no more searching for the long-lost-lid for the weird shaped container that doesn't seem to match. I haven't felt this free, yet organized, since I switched from boxers to boxer-briefs. And, for the record, yes, I just became the first person in history to liken tupperware to male reproductive anatomy. If you ever need a reminder that this blog is all about trendsetting, just bookmark this post. 3. I had a pleasant experience voting on Tuesday - right up until the point at which I went to leave, and I was accosted by a 70-something-year-old women at the door insisting that I take an "I Voted" sticker. It got me to thinking on my walk home from the polls... If 122.3 million people voted in 2004, and they expected 2008 to be even better, we'll assume 130 million people voted. I'm writing this three days early, so the final numbers will surely be slightly different - but being exact isn't important for my point. Let's assume that each one of those stickers costs American taxpayers a penny. That's $1.3 million in stickers! Assuming a salary of $35,000 per teacher, you could hire over 37 teachers nationwide with that money. And, I'm guessing that those 37 teachers would do more good than 130 million stickers that likely went directly to the trash. That said, by the time the 2012 election rolls around, I may very well be on the presidential ticket with the campaign slogan, "Stickers are SO 2008." 4. Twitter seems to be the new rage these days. I'll be honest: I don't know what it is, and the word "Twitter" really evokes the same kind of emotions from me as the "anal leakage" warnings on the old Olestra packages. Plus, I have to say that the minute-by-minute Twitter updates some people give are flat-out stupid: Fred is twittering. He's going to get a drink of water. Fred is twittering. The water wasn't cold, so he got some ice from the freezer. Fred is twittering. The freezer made his nipples hard, and he's strangly aroused. Fred is twittering. Is thirst a more important sensation than his nipple arousal? Fred is twittering. Maybe if he spent less time on the internet, he might kiss a girl sometime before he dies. Seriously, Fred; nobody cares. If you can twitter that much, you really aren't important enough for any of us to give a s**t. 5. I got so busy this week that I literally forgot what day it was - and got a parking ticket (street sweeping) at 12:30AM on Wednesday morning. And, just when you thought I couldn't get any more confused, Bill Gates decided to reformat the Hotmail set-up to make me feel hopelessly inadequate once again. Seriously, Bill - was it really that important? For those of you who are visual learners, the following two photos should sum up my Wednesday. Please note that in both photos, I would be considered the "kickee" and not the "kicker." 6. It's nice to see that researchers and pediatricians have finally upped their recommended daily Vitamin D intake to 1,000IU+, particularly for those in northern climates during the winter months. 7. Speaking of Vitamin D and sunlight, want to know the easiest way to recognize a pro baseball player in New England in November? The tan line! 8. As I'm sure you noticed, there was very little to do with fitness in this week's blog. Fortunately, I can assure you that you burned at least two calories while reading it. Nice job, skinny. Have a good weekend.
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The Truth About Unstable Surface Training: An Athletic Trainer’s Perspective

“As someone who has both rehabbed injured athletes and trained healthy people for over 18 years, I can honestly say that Eric Cressey’s The Truth about Unstable Surface Training is a breath of fresh air. "Being a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning coach has afforded me a unique perspective in the training world. I have watched personal trainers, strength coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists use and abuse unstable surface training. "Eric has combined his in-the-trenches experience with research to uncover the truth behind unstable surface training. This book is a must-read for anyone that trains, rehabs, or coaches, people in anyway. Yes, that means Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, Personal Trainers, and Strength Coaches. "I hope that this book will help to “Stop the madness” of a training fad that has gotten out of control and help to support the proper uses of unstable surface training. "I know I will be referring this work to my network of athletic trainers, strength coaches, physical therapists and personal trainers.” Keith Scott, MS, CSCS, ATC Certified Athletic Trainer, and Strength and Conditioning Coach www.BackToFormFitness.com Click here to get your copy of The Truth About Unstable Surface Training.
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