Home 2019 September

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/12/19

I hope you're hadving a great week. Here's a little recommended reading and listening to keep it rolling.

Complete Coach Certification - Mike Robertson launched this excellent continuing education resource for trainers last week. I just finished working my way through it and it was outstanding.

Models of Skills are Important - Lee Taft interviewed Dan Pfaff for this podcast, and it was absolutely outstanding.

Shoulder Assessment and Treatment with Eric Cressey - Speaking of podcasts, I was a guest on the Squat University Podcast recently. I talked a lot of shoulders with the host, physical therapist Aaron Horschig.

An Alternate Approach to Summer Ball: The Rise of Private Facility Training - This article from Aaron Fitt at D1Baseball.com highlights how many athletes are taking non-traditional approaches to summer development for baseball. Aaron shadowed a training session with Duke pitcher Bryce Jarvis at Cressey Sports Performance.

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The overhead view in a pitching delivery can enable you to see certain things that can’t be appreciated from other perspectives. Foremost among these is the ability to differentiate between thoracic rotation (upper back motion) and horizontal abduction (shoulder motion). 👇 In this image taken just prior to stride foot contact, @gerritcole45’s pelvis has already rotated counterclockwise toward the plate while his torso is still rotating clockwise. This is the hip-shoulder separation throwers seek for generating big time velocity. 🔥 However, when a thrower lacks thoracic rotation - or gives up thoracic rotation too early (usually by chasing arm speed too early in the delivery) - he’ll often resort to creating excessive horizontal abduction (arm back) to find the pre-stretch he wants to generate the velocity he covets. This is not only an ineffective velocity strategy, but it also can increase anterior shoulder and medial elbow stress - all while leading to arm side misses, accidental cutters, and backup breaking balls. 🤦‍♂️ Over the past few years, I’ve heard of a few pitchers being advised to work to increase the horizontal abduction in their deliveries. I don’t think you can make this recommendation without the overhead view, and even then, it’s likely taking a distal (arm) solution to a proximal (trunk and timing) problem. 🤔 I covered hip-shoulder separation in the pitching delivery in great detail in a free presentation I gave away earlier this year when we launched our podcast. You can still get it at the link in my bio.👊👍 . #Repost @astrosbaseball @get_repost_easily #repost_easily ****** Like H-Town in the summertime 💯

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Building a Better Throwing Program with Alan Jaeger

We're excited to welcome highly regarded pitching consultant Alan Jaeger to this week's podcast to discuss long toss and both performance and rehabilitation throwing programs. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How Alan became known as “the long toss guy”
  • How experience as a young junior college arm led him to developing his throwing strategies
  • How Alan defines long toss and what the specific priorities of a quality long toss session are
  • How long toss facilitates self-organization of the body and intuitive feel for how to throw the ball efficiently
  • How stretching it out and working back to your partner with conviction gives pitchers the variance they need to remain athletic and free on the mound rather than repeatable and robotic
  • What big mistakes Alan sees in athletes’ daily catch play as well as the programming of their throwing sessions
  • How Alan liked to structure throwing for pitchers on 5- and 7-day rotations
  • Where Alan sees room for improvements in rehabilitation throwing programs
  • How the conversation about long toss has evolved over the last 20 years, specifically in professional baseball
  • How some MLB organizations still resist long toss, but why young front office phenoms are playing an influential role in transforming baseball into a more progressive era
  • How understanding a player’s background gives great insight into how they’ll function at a high level
  • How players can learn to respectfully say no to complete overhauls in their abilities and be prepared to stand their ground to preserve the longevity of their career
  • You can follow Alan on Twitter at @JaegerSports  and on Instagram at @JaegerSports.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

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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Why the Overhead Angle Matters in the Pitching Delivery

The overhead view in a pitching delivery can enable you to see certain things that can’t be appreciated from other perspectives. Foremost among these is the ability to differentiate between thoracic rotation (upper back motion) and horizontal abduction (shoulder motion).

In this image taken just prior to stride foot contact, Gerrit Cole's pelvis has already rotated counterclockwise toward the plate while his torso is still rotating clockwise. This is the hip-shoulder separation throwers seek for generating big time velocity.

However, when a thrower lacks thoracic rotation - or gives up thoracic rotation too early (usually by chasing arm speed too early in the delivery) - he’ll often resort to creating excessive horizontal abduction (arm back) to find the pre-stretch he wants to generate the velocity he covets. This is not only an ineffective velocity strategy, but it also can increase anterior shoulder and medial elbow stress - all while leading to arm side misses, accidental cutters, and backup breaking balls.

Over the past few years, I’ve heard of a few pitchers being advised to work to increase the horizontal abduction in their deliveries. I don’t think you can make this recommendation without the overhead view, and even then, it’s likely taking a distal (arm) solution to a proximal (trunk and timing) problem.

I covered hip-shoulder separation in the pitching delivery in great detail in a free presentation I gave away earlier this year when we launched our podcast. You can still get it by subscribing below:

Join our mailing list to receive podcast updates and my free Hip-Shoulder Separation presentation!

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Offseason Planning with John O’Neil

Episode 25 of the podcast features a collaborative effort between Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts Director of Performance John O'Neil and me. We go in-depth on the topic of planning out an effective baseball offseason for high school, college, and professional players. This week's episode is brought to you by Joovv Red Light Therapy. The research on the wide-ranging health benefits of red light therapy are compelling, and Joovv is at the forefront of delivering this technology to improve your health and performance. Head to www.Joovv.com/eric and enter coupon code CRESSEY to get a special gift with your purchase.

Show Outline

  • How John and Eric model their training programs to optimize an individual’s off-season
  • What John’s off-season training priorities are when working with high school, college, and professional athletes
  • How having a single sport high school athlete impacts off-season training
  • What factors high school ball players should consider when deciding to play fall ball
  • Why consistency is the most important aspect of a training program and how John emphasizes this message to his youth athletes
  • Why health and performance are not mutually exclusive in the world of performance enhancement
  • How coaches can find success with athletes by identifying the duration of time they have them, honing in on low-hanging fruit in their development, and working backward to drive favorable changes in their abilities
  • What training qualities John focuses on developing early in an individual’s offseason and how these strategies are progressed as an athlete transitions to being in-season
  • Why building a robust aerobic base is of high priority early in the off-season and how this idea transforms into more power related development as the off-season progresses
  • How John conceptualizes his sprint progressions for athletes
  • Why off-season training slowly builds athletes to move more explosively as they approach the season and how John specifically translates general motor potential into skill specific activity
  • What a typical professional off-season training program looks like
  • How John and Eric model off-season training programs around throwing programs to make sure their baseball players are prepared for all facets of their sport

You can follow John on Instagram at @oneilstrength and Twitter at @oneilstrength, and reach out to us at cspmass@gmail.com for offseason training inquiries.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

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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3 Thoughts for Getting the Glutes Going

Recently, I box squatted for the first time in a few months - and the posterior chain soreness I felt got me thinking about the functional anatomy in play, particularly with respect to the glutes. Here's what's rattling around my brain on that front (warning: functional anatomy heavy nerd post ahead).

1. People think of the gluteus maximus too much as a hip extensor and not enough as a posterior glider of the femoral head.

The gluteus maximus is an important prime mover of the hip - especially into hip extension. However, it's also a crucial stabilizer. The other hip extensors - hamstrings and adductor magnus - have inferior attachment points lower down on the femur.

Meanwhile, the gluteus maximus actually inserts higher up - right near the femoral head.

The result is that when you extend your hips with the hamstrings and adductor magnus, the head of the femur can glide forward in the socket and irritate the front of the hip. When you get adequate gluteus maximus contribution, it helps to reduce this anterior stress. In many ways, the glutes work as a rotator cuff of the hip (while the hamstrings and adductor magnus act like the lats and pecs, respectively).

2. Glute activation can be a game changer with respect to chronic quadratus lumborum (QL) tightness - but only if you perform exercises correctly.

Shirley Sahrmann and her disciples have frequently observed that whenever you see an overworked muscle, you should always look for a dysfunctional synergist. A common example at the shoulder is a cranky biceps tendon picking up the slack for an ineffective rotator cuff.

Quadratus lumborum fits the bill in the core/lower extremity because its attachment points unify the pelvis, lumbar spine, and ribs.

When it shortens, it pulls the spine into lateral flexion and the lumbar spine into extension. In other words, it can give you "fake" hip abduction and hip extension - both of which come from the glutes. Whether you're doing mini-band sidesteps, side-lying clams, or loading your hips in a pitching delivery, you need to make sure the movement is happening at the ball-socket (femoral head - acetabulum) rather than at the spine. And, when you're doing your prone hip extension, supine bridges, hip thrusts, and deadlifts, you want to make sure you're getting true hip extension and not just extra low back arching.

3. The eccentric role of the glutes in the lower extremity might be their most key contribution.

When heel strike happens, it kicks off the process of pronation in the lower extremity. This pronation drives internal rotation of the tibia and, in turn, the femur. There is a lot of ground reaction force and range of motion that must be controlled, so much of it is passed up the chain because we simply don't have that much cross-sectional area in the muscles below the knee. Because it functions in three planes of motion, the gluteus maximus is in an awesome position to help by slowing down femoral internal rotation, adduction, and flexion.

If you're looking to learn more about how functional anatomy impacts how you assess, coach, and program, I'd strongly encourage you to check out Mike Robertson's new Complete Coach Certification. I've had the opportunity to review it, and it's absolutely fantastic. You can learn more - and get a nice introductory discount - HERE.

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