Home Blog 5 Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 3

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 3

Written on May 18, 2012 at 8:30 am, by Eric Cressey

Here are this week’s random tips to get you headed in the right direction with your workout routine and nutrition program, with assistance from Cressey Performance strength and conditioning coach Greg Robins.

1. Take a preventative approach.

Often times nagging pain, injuries, and adverse health effects are an issue of negligence. It is is important as a coach, athlete, or weekend warrior to take a preventative approach to keeping your body healthy. There is no shortage of information on how to deal with various joint pain, or why its important to do “this” to prevent “that”. At Cressey Performance, we take a preventive approach to keep our athletes on the field, but the ball doesn’t stop there.

A common example is resistance training among older women to prevent bone degeneration. A recent study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that younger women, in their mid twenties, who participated in a 12-week resistance training program showed significant increases in the hormones responsible for new bone growth. This isn’t revolutionary, but the take home point is to promote heavy lifting long before signs of degeneration begin to present themselves.

Similarly, anterior knee pain is a hot topic with active individuals. This pain can be debilitating, especially as an athlete or someone with a more active job / lifestyle. Another recent study conducted at The University of Cincinnati found that an intervention with four daily close chained kinetic exercises among military recruits (undergoing rigorous training) greatly reduced incidents of knee pain when compared to a control group who did not. Military personnel underwent daily physical training for 3-4 hours per day, including endurance marching, military field exercises, running, weapons and foot drill, and strength and conditioning. If as little as four exercises were able to help these individuals, imagine what they can do for you.

2. Eat more fish – and preferably ones that did cool stuff like this while they were still alive.

3. Wear a pedometer for a day.

If you talk to a lot of people “in the know,” non-exercise physical activity (NEPA) is an often overlooked factor contributing to fat loss success (or failure). Some people just move all the time, whether it’s because of their occupation (e.g., manual laborer) or the simple fact that they are constantly fidgeting. It might surprise you, but this NEPA can really help get you lean – or keep you there.

One quick and easy way to get a feeling of where you stand on this front is to simply wear a pedometer for a day.  I did this about two years ago and discovered that I actually walk about four miles in eight hours of coaching at Cressey Performance.  That’s a lot of calories burned!

Just like writing down everything you eat can force you to consider what you’re putting in your mouth, wearing a pedometer can motivate you to take some extra steps each day.  Give it a shot; you may be surprised at how many or few steps you take each day.

4. Count your blessings.

Being happy, and finding fulfillment in your life and training, can be as easy as remembering all that you already have. Stop stressing about what you don’t have, and focus on the many things you do have. Take five minutes and write down everything you are grateful for. Every morning start your day by reading through your list, and add to it as you see fit. Doing so will give you a positive start to each day. Try it out!

5. Be more specific with your “conditioning.”

The term conditioning is grossly misunderstood. The lack of understanding, in consideration of the demands of an individual within their chosen sports or activities, has led to many asinine training protocols developed by misinformed coaches and general people alike. An elite powerlifter may not be able to run a six-minute mile, but they are perfectly conditioned for their sport. Likewise, a baseball pitcher has no business doing extensive distance running when they a play a sport that involves covering as little as 100ft of total ground per outing (if that). More appropriately, they need to develop the energy systems conducive to producing explosive movements repetitively for the amount of time they spend on the mound. This will differ within the position as well: Starters, long relievers, closers, etc.

Using resources such as “time motion analysis” is a great place to investigate the actual demands placed on an athlete in a given sport. You can access A LOT of these through a basic google search. As a team sport coach, take a critical look at what you assign as “conditioning” work to your athletes during practice. In this day and age, many kids are participating in strength and conditioning programs outside of their practice and game schedules. Assuming that they are receiving intelligent programming, you do not want to interfere with their training by having them do additional work that is detrimental to their progress. Solutions: stop the ridiculous amounts of distance running and “suicides,” and instead form a relationship with their strength and conditioning coach.

For you weekend warriors: Your approach to conditioning will be as specific as your main goal. Many general fitness people are kind of across the board on what they are trying to accomplish. With that in mind, try to keep a similar stimulus in your conditioning work to what the rest of your training for that day is. For example, place sprint work with adequate rest on heavy lifting days, place more aerobic work on off days, and include a day of high intense intervals with shorter rest later in the week after training.

Co-Author Greg Robins is strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA. Check out his website, www.GregTrainer.com, for more great content.

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  • Jon

    Hi,

    Do you happen to know what the exercises and stretches were which were performed in the military study?

    Cheers,

    Jon

  • I like #4 in particular. Many of us are very fortunate in our lives and don’t really appreciate the things we have. We’re always searching for that golden nugget. Family, friends, and health should be enough to make people happy.

  • John

    What were the exercises and stretches in the military recruit study?

  • Jon and John – don’t have the study right in front of me, but will get them for you when I am back home (I’m traveling).


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