Home 2009 July (Page 2)

Pain with Horizontal or Vertical Pushing?

Last week, I published a post on shoulder issues with overhead pressing, and got two good comments as replies: 1. In HS I separated my AC joint during the first game of junior year. I played the rest of the year with out letting it heal, and to this day I have still have shoulder issues (college ball didn't help the issue much either). It seems my shoulder allows me to overhead press/push press/jerk and incline press, but flat bench is out of the question unless I'm using DBs. Is this typical of this type of shoulder injury, or am I an outlier and most individuals show the same symptoms as yourself? Granted we each have different injuries but same local area. 2. I have pain doing flat bench presses with barbell and upright rows. Decline barbell press is also sometimes uncomfortable, but incline press and overhead press is working fine. This is actually pretty typical of acromioclavicular (AC) joint problems.  Folks will have problems with exercises like full-ROM bench presses and dips, as they force full humeral extension. Decline bench pressing requires less humeral extension on the eccentric than regular bench pressing and dips, so that would explain the decrease in symptoms. That said, overhead pressing will usually be okay because it doesn't require so much humeral extension (nothing past neutral).  However, some folks will have other related problems (e.g., rotator cuff injury during the AC injury), so both horizontal and vertical pushing movements may become problems. So, obviously, not all shoulder problems are created equal.  However, a lot of the time, they can be treated with similar means: good scapular stabilization movements, a focus on thoracic spine mobility, and dedication to strengthening the rotator cuff and improving soft tissue quality.


Click here to purchase the most comprehensive shoulder resource available today: Optimal Shoulder Performance - From Rehabilitation to High Performance.
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The Two Year Mark

Today marks two years to the day since Cressey Performance opened.


Looking at some relatively recent research, you'll find that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that 34% of small business start-ups are no longer in existence two years after their inception.  So, the logical assumption is that we're automatically more awesome than at least 1/3 of the small business world (we stole their lunch money and gave them wedgies, in fact). Kidding aside, you don't just start a business so that you can "not fail."  You do it so that you can thrive - and CP has done just that.  I owe a huge thanks to our clients and staff for all their dedication to helping making CP what it is today: a place where.... ...an Olympic boxer can share a stability ball with Pete in the office while getting awkwardly close to another man's meatloaf lunch


...it's considered perfectly acceptable to foam roll in catcher's gear.

...ladies and 68-year-old men alike bang out pull-ups like nobody's business.

...the average lifespan of a medicine ball is about seven minutes.


...it isn't uncommon for old clients to come back, handcuff Tony, and leave him for dead (out of love, for the record).


Interestingly, we haven't spent a penny on advertising over the two years; the business has grown purely by word of mouth.  Is it any wonder when you can see stuff like this almost every time you enter the facility?

Thanks again to everyone involved for making my job so fun and for sharing my vision.

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Random Friday Thoughts: 7/10/09

Here I sit at my desk on a Friday morning in an empty, 100% quiet Cressey Performance.  I'm not sure that's ever happened before - and it won't last long, as clients start rolling in about 23 minutes from now.  In other words, there goes my opportunity to create a well thought-out, organized, and relevant blog post.  Let the randomness begin. 1. Here's an interesting journal article looking at those with functional ankle instability also presented with delayed trunk reflexes.  In other words, if you've had an ankle sprain without thorough rehabilitation, it relates to a later onset of trunk muscle activation.  This closely parallels a lot of the stuff I covered in The Truth About Unstable Surface Training E-Book, as unstable surface training has been tremendously effective in correcting the proprioceptive delay we see in the peroneals following ankle sprains.


I guess you could say that this is one more "yea" vote in favor of the whole kinetic chain concept.  Mess up an ankle and you very might be dealing with a knee, hip, or lower back issue sooner than later.

2. For the second year in a row, I'll be speaking at Fantasy Day at Fenway Park.  If you're looking for a good time to benefit a great cause (The Jimmy Fund), click here for more information.  The event is July 18. 3. Random fact: when preparing for the new DVD, Mike Robertson and I realized that Magnificent Mobility has sold in over 50 countries.  Apparently, the Norwegians and Indonesians really dig Mike's smooth Midwestern drawl. 4.  Speaking of Mike, check out this great blog post from him: The Starving Artist That's all for this week.  Have a great weekend!
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Turning off the Stupid…

Some of you probably already know that one of the reasons I became a "shoulder guy" was because my right shoulder is a piece of garbage thanks to my youth tennis career.  I was scheduled for a surgery back in 2003 for your classic internal impingement issues: partial thickness tear of my supraspinatus, bone spurs, and - while I never had an athrogram - presumably some labral fraying, too. Anyway, long story short, I had six months before my surgery was scheduled, so I tinkered with my programming with a "what the heck" mindset, and wound up fixing up my shoulder to the point that I could cancel the surgery.  About the only things that I had to give up were: 1) the crazy kick serve I used to use on the tennis court (and, to be honest, tennis as a whole; powerlifting seemed more fun anyway) 2) overhead pressing I haven't picked up a tennis racket since 2003.  And, until last week, I hadn't done any overhead pressing.  Can you tell where this is going? Of course, I see intern Roger doing some push presses, so I figure I'll give it a shot.  I did some easy sets of 5 at 155 last week, and it didn't bother the ol' tater.  I was pretty pleased. So, idiocy coming out in full effect, I decide to overhead press with Tony the next week - and this time took it up to 200 pounds.  Aside from feeling hopelessly weak because I hadn't trained the movement for about seven years, it felt reasonably good for the rest of the day on Monday. If you're any good at predicting the end of those "choose your own adventure" books, you can probably guess that my shoulder hated me on Tuesday - and still doesn't feel too hot at 10:42PM on Wednesday night. It's "nothing to write home about" pain that I know will be gone in a day or two. Still, it really cracks me up. If one of my athletes came to me with this injury history, he wouldn't overhead press for another day in his career.  In fact, my overhead throwing athletes with no injury history don't overhead press at all just because they are at a greater risk of this and I don't want to take any chances.  Apparently, though, in the walnut sized brain that rattles around inside my skull, my shoulder is in some way "special." This brings me to my point of the day.  Beyond providing thorough assessments, good programming, constant motivation, and a positive training environment, our primary job as strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers is, very simply, to help athletes turn off the stupid. Sadly, the hardest person to coach is oneself.  I'm off to throw a bag of frozen green beans on this shoulder and chow down on some humble pie.
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You Ain’t Got No Meat — Build Up Your “Mirror Muscles”

Feel like swallowing some bitter truth today? Okay Spunky, first strip down to your Power Rangers shorts. Now grab a compact from your girlfriend's purse and sashay over to the full-length mirror on the back of her bedroom door. Face away from the full-length mirror and use the smaller mirror on her compact to eyeball your backside — your entire backside from the top of your shoulders to several clicks south of Glutesville. Personally, I'd also use one of those cardboard boxes with a couple of pinholes in it, the kind that kids use during solar eclipses to keep from going blind, because what you see might scar you emotionally and physically. Continue Reading... - Eric Cressey
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Building Vibrant Health: Part 3

Today is the third part of a guest blog series from Eric Talmant.  In case you missed them, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Building Vibrant Health: Part 3

By: Eric Talmant

I am a human being.  I am a white Caucasian.  I am a male.  I am an American citizen.  I have blonde hair and blue/green eyes.  I am 68 inches tall and weigh 175 pounds. I am a protein-type.  In my ANS, I am parasympathetic dominant.  In my oxidative system, I am fast-oxidative dominant.  My endocrine system is adrenal dominant.  Overall, my dominance is fast oxidative.  Therefore, my Metabolic Type® is fast oxidative.  Broccoli is not a good food choice for me.


The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® is based on a technology that William Wolcott collected and developed.  Since 1987, health care professionals have used this technology to determine individualized nutritional requirements and diet plans.  We have learned that various reactions take place daily and thus help to define the individual processes behind metabolism.  Adaptation, metabolic efficiency, and (ideally) good health are made possible with energy by way of the Fundamental Homeostatic Control Mechanisms.  Bill Wolcott's Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® combines and uses all twelve Fundamental Homeostatic Control Mechanisms.  They are the elements that define who we are metabolically. We will first begin by discussing the three basic Metabolic Types®.  Each type corresponds to a specific diet, but bear in mind that it is simply a starting point.  We will discuss the fine-tuning of this diet later on. The protein type means one of two things: either the parasympathetic branch of the ANS is stronger and more dominant than the sympathetic branch, or your cells burn carbohydrates too quickly meaning that you are a fast oxidizer.  When the parasympathetic branch dominates, it causes the metabolism to be too alkaline.  A high protein intake will acidify the already too alkaline metabolism, strengthening the sympathetic branch, and bringing it closer to balance with the already dominant parasympathetic side.  If your oxidative system dominates, the protein will slow down the high oxidation rate (fast oxidizer) and will alkalinize your too acidic metabolism.  In my case, I am parasympathetic dominant within my ANS, and I am a fast oxidizer within my oxidative system.  HOWEVER, my oxidative system is the one that drives my metabolism.  THEREFORE, I need plenty of protein to slow down my fast oxidation and alkalinize my too acidic metabolism.  We will discuss taking the Metabolic Typing® Test later. Protein types obviously do well on a diet high in protein but specifically those proteins that are high-fat proteins.  These are known as "high purine" proteins and include foods like dark meat, chicken and turkey, red meat (buffalo, elk), lamb, organ meats, and seafood such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, mussels, sardines, scallops, salmon, and tuna.  It is important to note that the mercury content in seafood has now made it a less desirable choice.  Always choose fresh fish over frozen and wild over farmed fish.  If you eat fish more than a few times a week, it might be a good idea to run an Internet search on the latest information concerning mercury and fish.  Another good idea would be to go HERE and use the mercury calculator.


Most protein types also do well on whole fat foods in the form of milk, cream, eggs, cheese, and cottage cheese.  They are free to use raw, organic butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, natural cold-pressed oils (flax oil), fish oil, and raw nuts and seeds.  The best carbohydrate sources are greens and non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, cabbage, cucumber, Brussels sprouts, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.  All carbohydrates are high starch, medium starch, or low or non- starch, and as such do turn to sugar in the body (remember the insulin stuff?).  The higher the starch content, the bigger the potential problem is for the metabolism of fast oxidizers because they tend to burn carbs too quickly.


A good macronutrient ratio for the protein type would be 70/30 percent.  The 70% should come from high purine proteins and allowable fats and the 30% comes from carbohydrates.  A good place to start would be 40% protein, 30% fat, and 30% carbohydrates.  I have to emphasize that this is just a recommendation for a starting point.  My diet actually consists of closer to 30% protein, 50% fat, and 20% carbohydrates.  Again, we will discuss the fine-tuning of this diet in a later article, but for now this (40% protein, 30% fat, 30% carbohydrate) is the starting point for a protein type. If a protein type ignores the requirement for a high amount of protein and fat at each meal or snack, and in contrast opts to eat freely of carbohydrates, the following are likely: -the body will compensate by breaking down muscle tissue for protein -adrenal and thyroid glands will not function properly -the parasympathetic branch of the ANS will be strengthened -the body will produce excess insulin, directing the body  to store fat instead of burning it for energy -fat storage will increase due to the cells being unable to efficiently carry out oxidative processes -all of the above will result in a drop in metabolic rate


The Carbohydrate Type:  As a general rule, if you are a carbo type than you need a diet made up of relatively small amounts of protein and fats compared to carbohydrates.  The tendency of carbo types to metabolize food slowly is the main reason why large amounts of proteins and fats (especially the high purine ones) are to be avoided.  Higher amounts of carbohydrates are needed to speed up the naturally slow oxidation rate of the carbo type, which will balance your too alkaline metabolism by acidifying it.  The other possibility is the higher amount of carbohydrates will help to strengthen the parasympathetic side of the ANS, which tends to be weaker than the sympathetic side in the carbo type, and will alkalinize your too acidic metabolism. Carbo types usually do well on a relatively low protein, low fat diet.  This will enable them to feel energized both mentally and physically and stay on an even plane emotionally.  Too much protein and/or fat will either leave them feeling tired and sluggish, or hyper, wired, and irritable.


The carbo diet should include liberal amounts of carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  It is important to note that a low protein diet does not mean a no-protein diet.  It is equally important to note that in a future article, I will be outlining the typical diets that the Russian Olympic weightlifters used in the late 70's and 80's.  If you think that all of these guys were ingesting 1.5 grams or more protein per pound of bodyweight, or lean bodyweight, or whatever it is these days that the latest guru is recommending, then think again.  I hardly believe that we can argue with the success that the Russians, Bulgarians, and eastern Europeans enjoyed in Olympic weightlifting during this time period.  Actually, for most carbo types, it will be necessary to include protein in most meals. However, they need to focus on the leaner, lighter meats, and lighter seafood.  Ostrich, very lean red meats, chicken and turkey breast, and lighter seafood such as catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, perch, and sole are good examples. Carbo types also do well with low fat dairy products.  Just like the protein type, however, the best carbohydrate sources for carbo types are vegetables with low or moderate levels of sugar and starch.  Since the carbo type's system converts carbohydrates into energy slowly, they can handle starchy or sugary foods just fine, and certainly better than the other two types.  As with anything though, just be careful not to overdo it. A good macronutrient ratio for the carbo type to follow is sixty percent to forty percent, with the sixty coming from carbohydrates and the forty coming from proteins, oils, and fats.  A good place to start would be twenty-five percent protein, fifteen- percent fat, and sixty- percent carbohydrates.  A good example of a carbo meal would be a 3oz or so chicken breast with baked potato and steamed broccoli or a mixed-greens salad with olive oil and vinegar.  Again, remember that this is just a general starting point for carbo types, and that we will discuss fine tuning your macronutrient ratio or personal fuel mix in a later article. Unlike protein types, carbo types can sometimes eat carbohydrates by themselves without experiencing any "ill effects" such as weakness, lethargy, or an energy crash.  If a carbo type goes against their recommendations and eats a large amount of protein and fats with inadequate amounts of carbohydrates, the following are likely to occur: -fat storage will increase due to the cells being unable to efficiently carry out oxidative processes due to a shortage of glucose from the carbohydrates, the body will tear down or catabolize its own muscle tissue in order to obtain the necessary fuel to function, DESPITE the fact that you are eating "adequate" amounts of proteins and fats -adrenal and thyroid glands will not be able to function properly -all the above will result in weight gain due to decreasing the metabolic rate


Finally, we have the Mixed Type.  They fall somewhere between the protein types and the carbo types on the metabolic scale, if you will.  It is a mixture of the two types, which have more clearly indicated metabolic imbalances.  Now, within the mixed type are two subtypes.  The first is referred to as the A-mixed type, or actual type.  The actual type displays characteristics that are neither protein type nor carbohydrate type dominant.  They tend to have "average" appetites, feeling hungry at traditional mealtimes.  They are not hungry between meals much, if at all. The second mixed subtype is the R-mixed type, or relative type.  Instead of displaying traits that are in the middle like the A-type, the R-type exhibits strong traits from both sides.  However, neither trait dominates the other.  The protein type traits that are expressed are counterbalanced by the amount of carbohydrate type traits, offsetting each other.  R-types fluctuate between sometimes having a ravenous appetite and other times not feeling hungry to the point that they could skip meals. Because mixed types do well on the widest range of foods, they are the least likely among the types to have a problem with weight.  They need to consume a good mixture of protein type foods and carbohydrate type foods. This means balancing both high and low purine proteins with both high and low starch carbohydrates including legumes, vegetables, fruits, and grains.  The mixed type does best on the typical "balanced" meal.  This will accomplish two things.  First, it will support both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic sides of the ANS.  Second, it will keep their cellular oxidation rate, which is neither too fast or to slow, in balance.


Typically, mixed types do not feel the need for snacks.  In theory, any type of snack will work.  However, we are looking for those snacks that work the best.  Individual trial and error is the only way to tell for sure, but just remember to be cognizant and aware of how you feel after eating a particular snack.  Good snacks will obviously satisfy their appetite, provide energy and a feeling of well being, and not leave them craving sweets.  Dairy foods are optional for mixed types, simply because dairy works well for carbo types and not so well for protein types.  The lower the starch content in a carbohydrate, usually the better it is for all types, mixed included.  However, most mixed types will be able to get away with those carbohydrates that contain more starch and are higher on the glycemic index. Those mixed types that have blood sugar problems should avoid wheat and wheat products as much as possible.  Wheat breaks down into sugar faster than any other grain, resulting in excess insulin.


A good macronutrient ratio for the mixed type to follow would be 50/50%.  Shoot for 50% of your calories from protein and fats and the remaining 50% from carbohydrates.  It is recommended that mixed types start with the majority of the 50% coming from protein rather than fat.  Essentially, we are looking at 30% coming from proteins, 20% coming from fats, and 50% coming from carbohydrates.  This would be the recommended starting point for a mixed type.  Like the other types, try to eat at regular intervals, and try to be consistent with meal times and snack times from day to day.  Most importantly, try and get a good balance between protein type and carbohydrate type foods.  It is not necessary that you equally divide food between the two groups and each and every snack and meal.  However, at the end of the day, be sure that your overall food intake was close to equal and that all types of proteins and carbohydrates were eaten.  A good example of a mixed type meal would be 4-8oz of lamb with roasted potatoes, broccoli, and a mixed green salad. Now that we have identified the various Metabolic Types®, system dominance, and the proper starting point for macronutrient ratios of each type, we need to actually take the Advanced Metabolic Typing® test and start putting all of this knowledge to practical use.  In the next article, I will discuss options for taking the test as well as the test itself.  It consists of sixty-five questions that have no right or wrong answers and has been used for over twenty years yielding a high degree of accuracy. Once you have taken the test and identified your Metabolic Type®, we will discuss the techniques and ways to fine-tune or customize your diet to your own highly individual needs.  It is truly empowering to finally come to understand exactly what foods and food combinations will allow you to function and perform optimally in every aspect of your life.

About the Author

Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a Certified Metabolic Typing® advisor and Functional Diagnostic nutritionist.  Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test,  U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test, and the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone Profiles to name a few) and dispense hormones. Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet.  He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that. His best equipped lifts are a 683 pound squat, 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift in the 75K weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485 pound squat without knee wraps, 290 pound bench press, and 635 pound deadlift. He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet, which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009. Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems.  He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site, EricTalmant.com.


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Newsletter 162

Tis the Season...for Spondylolysis? I've written previously about the prevalence of spondylolysis (lumbar fractures) in young athletes - and particularly those in rotational sports.  You can read my in-depth newsletter on the problem HERE.  It's a huge problem in young athletes; I'd estimate that I've trained more than 15 athletes since 2006 through their entire 12-16 week back-bracing periods.


Now, while July is usually recognized for barbecues, baseball, and beaches (and anything else that's exciting and begins with a "B"), I've begun to recognize it as "back-bracing season."  What gives? Well, for starters, I've seen two new spondy cases come through our door in the past week.  Considering that prevalance is estimated at anywhere from 15-63% in the general population, it isn't a huge surprise.  However, why would more present with symptoms at this time of year? Think about the sports we play in the spring and summer: baseball, tennis, and lacrosse.  And, many soccer and hockey players have been going non-stop since the fall.  In other words, rotational sports have been going on for a long time, and kids are getting more and more detrained - with less flexibility and strength - as these neverending seasons go on. Likewise, as a great article in the Portland Press Herald observed this past weekend, many high school athletes are riding multiple horses with one saddle. In other words, now that they're out of school, you've got kids participating in basketball/hockey (winter) and lacrosse/baseball at the same time - and doing their best to attend fall sports (field hockey, soccer, football) practices.  And, just when they are ready for a day off, they're going to play golf with Dad on Sunday.  When are these kids removing the rotational challenges and preparing themselves physically with good strength, stability, and flexibility training? Anybody who says that the era of the three-sport athlete is dead doesn't know his arse from his elbow.  While early sports specialization has definitely taken off, now, multi-sport athletes are expected to "specialize" in three different sports at once.  They compete all the time, but never prepare their bodies to compete - or play at all. In The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual, I go into great detail on how those athletes who do choose to specialize should do so.


However, in younger populations, a lot of these guidelines don't apply, as they're balancing multiple sports.  They need to hang out with their friends, play multiple sports, and get involved in less organized physical activity.  And, most importantly, they need to participate in strength training and flexibility programs, as these exercise modalities are different than traditional sports because they can be fluctuated on a regular basis to avoid imbalances. I know there are a lot of parents who read this newsletter and are trying to do the right thing for their kids.  It isn't fair to condemn them for signing their kids up for another travel team, as that's the game as it's played with respect to player development and college recruiting nowadays.  However, I would encourage those parents to "undo" some of the early specialization damage by encouraging sons and daughters to participate in training to prepare their bodies for this specialization. Lastly, for those of you who are looking to learn more about low back pain, I can't say enough great things about Dr. Stuart McGill's Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance book.  It's a great investment.


A Quick Congratulations... Just a quick note to recognize CP athlete Danny O'Connor, who moved his professional boxing record to 7-0 last Saturday night.  Check out a great write-up in the Boston Globe featuring Danny, his coach, and some nutcase named Cressey: Punching His Ticket in the Pros
New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts Stuff You Should Read A Sneak Peak at the New Project EC Finally Understands Women Have a great week! EC
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Almost forgot…

PR this morning.  Guess I ought to go for 700 soon, huh?

Have a great holiday weekend!

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Random Friday Thoughts: 7/3/09

1. First off, I want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!  Of course, that doesn't mean much for the 36% of this blog's readers from other countries.  So, to you, I'll simply say "HA!  You have to work today!  Don't you wish you were American?" Oh, wait; I'm seeing 30+ athletes today before heading north for the holiday.  I guess the joke is on me. 2. The wedding is set for October 3, 2010.  I have put it on my calendar for my fiancee to remind me about it on October 1, 2010 in case I get preoccupied, as I've been known to do.  Just kidding, honey! 3. THIS might be the coolest study I've ever seen.  Basically, it said that male patient visits to the emergency room decline immediately prior to, during, and after major sporting events.  And you thought being a soccer hooligan was bad for your health! 4. Keeping with the study theme, check out this study that looked at how fatigue impacted single-leg landings.  Basically, researchers single-leg squatted athletes until the cows came home, inducing fatigue on ONE SIDE - which, obviously, negatively affected landing strategies.  Interestingly, though, they noticed that landings on the OPPOSITE side were also negatively impacted.  In other words, we aren't just talking about muscular fatigue; central fatigue is also hugely important.  Kind of makes you wonder why more people don't drill landing mechanics hard on the UNINJURED side in post-ACL reconstruction patients, huh? For more on testing with fatigue in mind, check out this blog post from Bill Hartman.  And, for more on ACL injury prevention strategies, check out Bulletproof Knees.


5. Different project, but more filming next weekend.  I'm going to enjoy the holiday and then get back to work...lots of work.

Have a great weekend!

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Framingham Boxer Fierce, Flamboyant, and a Fan Favorite

Check out this article on Cressey Performance athlete Danny O'Connor in today's Boston Globe.  Danny ran his professional boxing record to 7-0 this past weekend, and the story talks a bit about our work with him. Punching his Ticket in the Pros
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