Home Blog Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 47

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 47

Written on July 5, 2013 at 6:28 am, by Eric Cressey

Thanks for CP coach Greg Robins, here are this week's list of tips to fine-tune your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.

1. Use old wrist wraps to rig up chains.

While there are some very solid products out there to rig up chains for deadlifts, sometimes you just don’t want to spend the cash.  In my case it is especially true when you only need them once every four months or so. Some people may get by just fine draping the chains over a bar, but I find they tend to move around and fall off too often when using them for reps.


There is one very simple solution. You can use an old set of wrist wraps (or new ones, if you prefer), to hold the chains in place. It works out great, and is as easy as just tying the wrap around the top of the chains. If you find yourself having a similar issue getting the chains to stay in place, give this a try next time you pull against chains!


2. Avoid elbow hyperextension on pressing exercises.

Many people, especially females, have significant joint laxity. When a joint has the ability to reach undesired ranges of motion, you will often find that folks use this end range as the preferred method of getting “stable.” Instead of actively holding positions, they will continue to move until they run out of room, and rely on a les than ideal positioning.  As an example, check out this picture of one of our boot camp clients on her first day doing push ups.


Without assessing for this, or keeping an eye out for it, you will find many clients performing push-ups and other pressing exercises like this. Now that you are aware of it, fix it! If you notice them hyperextending the elbows, coach them to stop at neutral!

3. Consider these tips to make Turkish get-ups less tedious.

I like the Turkish get-up. It’s a great exercise, and it makes its way, in some form or another, into most of my programs. The only issue I have with it is that it can be very tedious. While the mind numbing length of doing multiple reps per side is one turn off, there is also another issue. Due to its drawn-out nature, many of our athletes will hit one rep with great technique and then rush through the next 2 or 3. While keeping an eye on every rep and ensuring proper technique is one solution, it isn’t always feasible, especially in a semi-private setting. Instead, consider these alternatives:

a. Program a single repetition per side: I like working the get up with only one rep at a time. It allows you to go heavier, which has the benefit of forcing you to be strict with your positioning. If you go heavy enough a single rep can easily last over 30-45sec. That length has a similar time under tension to other, more common, rep schemes. When you consider there are fourteen steps to a complete get up, doing one rep is actually a lot more involved than it may seem.

b. Litter the get-up within other exercises: One thing I love to do is start and end other exercises with a Turkish get up. Some examples include doing the first half of the exercise and continuing into an overhead carry. When you reach your desired carry length you can perform the other half. Another option is to perform a certain amount of overhead presses in the standing position, half kneeling position, or floor presses in the supine position.

4. Eat more raisins.

Raisins are chalked up to be a “kid snack.” However, they are a pretty darn good option for the active population as well, especially athletes who may be looking to bulk up with a convenient, calorically dense option. Raisins provide a great source of readily usable energy for intense training sessions. Furthermore, they are an excellent source of anti-oxidants. Furthermore, they are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Not to mention they provide a decent amount of fiber as well.

As noted in Jonny Bowden’s book The 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth, the grapes raisins originate as are often highly saturated in pesticides. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to look for organic varieties. Next time you are looking for a good source of fast acting carbohydrates, consider eating a handful or two of raisins!


5. Stay basic and specific when you’re unsure how long you have an athlete.

With all the information available today, it’s easy for us to jump ahead to more complex training protocols. There is no shortage of excellent programming out there, formulated by some of the brightest minds in strength and conditioning. However, many of these programs are not the right choice for the majority of the population.

While these methods have evidence to support their effectiveness, they are often used with highly trained individuals, and carried out over an extended/known period of time. In the private sector of S&C you aren’t always sure how long you’ll have an athlete.

Before you hop into contrast training, tempo training, or any other complex method, consider tapping out your potential with a more basic approach first. In many cases your end goal will be most greatly improved with a more basic approach that is specific to your desired outcome.

Take this recent study, for example. The School of Health Sciences, at The University of Ballarat in Australia studied “The Acute Effects of Conventional, Complex and Contrast Protocols on Lower Body Power.” The study looked at three different approaches to improving peak power output. The traditional approach included only counter-movement jumping. The other two included a mix of jumping and resistance training. The result favored the traditional approach for an acute improvement of peak power. This isn’t to say the other approaches wouldn’t be superior long term, but as I stated before, often times you will not have an athlete long enough to make changes with a more complex approach.

The take away is that you need to identify what you want to give an athlete by training with you. When he or she is only under your guidance for a short period of time, make that item a priority, do it often and do it well. That item may not be very specific to their sport, but the training needs to be specific to that item. In order to get an acute change in a certain quality your best bet is to give that quality the most attention.

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10 Responses to “Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 47”

  1. Randy Long Says:

    Totally agree with last one. I had 2 young basketball players early this summer, 14 &16. I trained them mainly on push presses, one leg jump rope, Triple Hops (hop over 2 6inch steps, then explode up to 42″ platform), lateral defensive slides w/ 10lb resistance band around ankles. Mixed in a little deadlifting and sled pulling/pushing. They added 4″and 6″ , respectively, to their vertical jump in 3 wks, before starting summer camps. That meant 16 yr old went from rim-grabbing to dunking at will, at 6ft even.

  2. James Cipriani Says:

    I love the idea of adding a get-up to start and end an exercise.

    You have A LOT of great tips and “tricks,” Greg. I have also found that the genius is in their simplicity.

  3. Jean Soileau, MPT Says:

    Hey Eric, good post. I am a PT and work in an outpatient ortho and sports med clinic. In response to your elbow tip I’d like to add that this holds true for the knee as well with squats leg press etc. we refer to this as resting on the ligaments as when they get into this range they can actually “take a break” from muscular contraction and let the joint support itself by ligamentous structures. This “break” phenomenon may be why you would see this in less conditioned individuals. However, the fact of the matter is they are actually cheating themselves two fold. First strength and endurance of the musculature surrounding these joints in the last 15-30 degrees of ROM is crucial to muscular stability which is essential to people with hyper mobility. It prevents hyper mobility from becoming instability (yes there is a difference and motor control is key). Second it causes excessive stresses placed on the ligaments that are more than likely already lax if such hyper mobility is present. This could cause further laxity of the joint and this combined with the inability to stabilize with neuromuscular control can lead to significant injury.

  4. Eric Cressey Says:

    Agree 100%, Jean!  Thanks for the contribution.

  5. Mayo Holloway Says:

    Great idea,I like getups but they do tend to get drawn out like you say and I like your implementing them into other exercises.The T.U.T or Extended Tension with the heavier weight is smart Eric,Thanks.

  6. tim Says:

    Eric- what would you suggest in regard to countermovement jump traing programming sets,reps and variations. Would you use this training at lower volume for in-season training to maintain power, or is it to hard on the cns

  7. Greg R. Says:


    Counter movement jumps (CMJ) are the most stressful form of jumping, and really any training for that matter. The key here is “less is more.”

    In my opinion they have little place in an in-season program. They are used to develop performance on the field. Their effectiveness lies in their very direct relationship with sport movements. With that in mind, an athlete is already performing them during the season.

    Their most effective placement would be at the end of a training cycle, prior to the completive event or season.

    Looking at it from the perspective of the strength –> speed continuum they fall very close to the absolute speed end of that spectrum; often they are considered a “speed-strength” activity.

    Many programs will move from the strength side to the speed side over the course of an off season, with elements of the entire continuum present in some fashion through out the training cycle.

    The volume of these movements would depend upon the athlete and his or her sport.

    Hope that helps.

  8. Gary Anderson Says:

    Love your work ans teaching it is invaluable. I have a question that I hope doesn’t show my ignorance too much. Why use chains on the deadlift as opposed to adding more plates? I have started doing deadlifts about 8 months ago and really love the exercise, thanks to your tutelage on the right way to do them. Thanks.

    Gary Anderson

  9. Eric Cressey Says:


    Give this a read; it should answer your questions: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/accommodating_resistance

  10. Personal Trainer Glendale ca Says:

    Talking about things we miss in observing our clients like the hyperextended elbow is checking or asking the client if their toes are scrunched. I have had two clients in the last year that had knee issues because of so much stress at work that they scrunched their toes all day and even while walking and working out.
    The problem is that we can’t see their toes so we don’t check them.

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