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Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training – Installment 37

This edition random thoughts from around the field of health and human performance is long overdue. Because of this week's sale on my Medicine Ball Master Class (30% off at www.CresseyMedBall.com), we're going to hone in on medicine ball work.

1. Above all else, medicine ball work is awesome because of the crazy frequency at which it can be trained.

One of the overlooked features of medicine ball work is that it's almost purely concentric in nature. Aside from a bit of quick preloading, there isn't a ton of deceleration work involved - and that means it's extremely rare for athletes to be sore after participating in medicine ball drills. To that end, you can train rotational power very frequently and athletes won't feel banged up.

In many ways, this parallels what you see with tennis players, baseball players, soccer players, and football quarterbacks, and a host of other rotational sport athletes. They can participate in high velocity rotation almost every day and not break down. All we're doing with medicine ball work is moving a bit further up on the force side and down on the velocity side of the force-velocity curve - and that probably actually makes it safer.

2. If the technique looks terrible, the first step is to lighten the weight of the medicine ball.

Let's get this out of the way: throwing medicine balls isn't lifting weights. You don't get bonus points for going heavier; rather, the intent is to move a given load as fast as possible to optimize power output. For most folks, in the context of rotational power work, the appropriate load is 4-8lb. Very rarely will you see someone throw a 10- or 12-pound medicine ball really fast. The reason is simple: gravity creates a vertical path for the resistance (up/down), while we're trying to project the ball horizontally (this is one key advantage of Proteus, but that's a conversation for another day).

Beyond just the plane/load mismatch, you'll often see athletes' technique falter when the load gets heavier. Rotationally, the head often dives in front of the body as the center of mass is projected away from the load (and outside the base of support) as a way to counterbalance the load of the medicine ball. This prevents us from staying back ("head behind the belly button"), which is key for us to work into the front hip. If the head has already drifted too far forward, front hip pull-back can't take place.

In overhead stomp variations, you can typically work much heavier with medicine balls without compensations - especially with bilateral variations. Once a staggered or split stance goes into place, though, athletes will often "run away" from the med ball: they laterally flex the spine away from the medicine ball. In doing so, they make it impossible to work into the front hip.

3. Experiment with "layering" your medicine ball drills.

An approach I’ve used more in the past year is “layering” medicine ball drills. Essentially, you transition from basic to advanced over the course of a few sets. Each progression builds on the key competencies fine-tuned in the previous sets. In this video example, the progression is:

1️⃣ Rotational Med Ball Scoop Toss

2️⃣ Shuffle to Rotational Med Ball Scoop Toss

3️⃣ Change of Direction to Shuffle to Rotational Med Ball Scoop Toss

4️⃣ Double Play Rotational Med Ball Scoop Toss

The possibilities are endless as long as you know where to begin and where you’re trying to end up - and you appreciate which athletes are actually ready for the progressions. Additionally, you can improve them even more by working in fillers between sets to address whatever movement limitation is the bottleneck to their performance.

If you're interested in digging in deeper on the topic of rotation, I would strongly encourage you to check out my new Medicine Ball Master Class. I created this new resource in collaboration with Athletes Acceleration and it includes over 50 exercise demonstration videos, as well as my rationale for including them. Just visit www.CresseyMedBall.com to learn more. It's on sale for 30% off the normal price through Sunday at midnight.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Daniel Ponce de Leon

We're excited to welcome St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon to the latest podcast. Daniel speaks to his wide-ranging college baseball experience, reflects on the minor league development that brought him to the big leagues, and tells the story of a life-changing head injury that occurred on the mound (which is also the subject of his new book, One Line Drive).

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

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 - 10 FREE travel packs - 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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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: High Performance Nutrition Principles with Brian St. Pierre

We're excited to welcome Precision Nutrition's Brian St. Pierre to the latest podcast for a discussion of the essentials of high performance nutrition programs. Brian discusses the perks and drawbacks of several current nutrition trends, and highlights strategies one can employ to "tune out the noise" and get down to key foundational principles.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

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 - 10 FREE travel packs - 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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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: The Next Generation of Biomechanics with Scott Selbie

We're excited to welcome Dr. Scott Selbie, the CEO and co-founder of Theia Markerless, to the podcast. In this episode, Scott discusses the history of biomechanics as it relates to injury prevention and performance enhancement in the baseball world, and reflects on the benefits and shortcomings of the current technology being utilized in this regard. Scott is one of the brightest minds leading the charge to make sure that the data coaches use is of the highest quality and utility. We've started using Theia at Cressey Sports Performance - Florida and have been blown away at its potential, and are excited at how it's helping us help athletes to feel and perform better.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

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 - 10 FREE travel packs - 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!

Name
Email
Read more

CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Developing Pre- and Post-Throwing Routines with Tanner Allen

We're excited to welcome physical therapist Tanner Allen to the podcast. In this episode, Tanner and I discuss the common mistakes we see baseball players make during both the pre- and post-throwing periods. And, we provide some strategies for optimizing your preparation for throwing sessions, and well as improving recovery after they're done.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Owens Recovery Science. Head to http://www.OwensRecoveryScience.com and use discount code CresseyBFR through June 12th to receive $100 off a certification course!

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Owens Recovery Science. Owens Recovery Science is a single source for clinicians looking to learn and implement personalized blood flow restriction exercise and rehabilitation into their practice. Don’t know what BFR is? Looking to learn more about it? Go learn from the ORS crew via their one-day, in-person certification courses, read their blog at OwensRecoveryScience.com, AND, be sure to check out the Owens Recovery Science podcast where Johnny interviews BFR researchers from all over the world, and he and the educational team take some deep dives on specific topics, all with the practicing clinician in mind. Use discount code CresseyBFR through June 12th to receive $100 off a certification course!

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!

Name
Email
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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Lessons Learned from Orthopedic Surgery

I’m flying solo for this week’s podcast, as I wanted to spend some time discussing my recent knee surgery and some of the lessons I've learned over the past four months of rehab. These lessons are applicable to a wide variety of sports medicine scenarios beyond just the baseball world.

Before we get to it, though, a special thanks to this show's sponsor, Owens Recovery Science. Head to http://www.OwensRecoveryScience.com and use discount code CresseyBFR through June 12th to receive $100 off a certification course!

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Owens Recovery Science. Owens Recovery Science is a single source for clinicians looking to learn and implement personalized blood flow restriction exercise and rehabilitation into their practice. Don’t know what BFR is? Looking to learn more about it? Go learn from the ORS crew via their one-day, in-person certification courses, read their blog at OwensRecoveryScience.com, AND, be sure to check out the Owens Recovery Science podcast where Johnny interviews BFR researchers from all over the world, and he and the educational team take some deep dives on specific topics, all with the practicing clinician in mind. Use discount code CresseyBFR through June 12th to receive $100 off a certification course!

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!

Name
Email

I’m flying solo for this week’s podcast, as I wanted to tackle an incredibly important topic in the world of baseball development: early sports specialization. Before we get to it, though,

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Jimmy Nelson

We're excited to welcome Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson to the podcast. In this episode, Jimmy discusses the impact college baseball had on him; shares insights learned from extensive rehabilitation experiences; speaks to converting from starting to relieving; and reflects on the recovery approaches that have served him best.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Owens Recovery Science. Head to http://www.OwensRecoveryScience.com and use discount code CresseyBFR through June 12th to receive $100 off a certification course!

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Owens Recovery Science. Owens Recovery Science is a single source for clinicians looking to learn and implement personalized blood flow restriction exercise and rehabilitation into their practice. Don’t know what BFR is? Looking to learn more about it? Go learn from the ORS crew via their one-day, in-person certification courses, read their blog at OwensRecoveryScience.com, AND, be sure to check out the Owens Recovery Science podcast where Johnny interviews BFR researchers from all over the world, and he and the educational team take some deep dives on specific topics, all with the practicing clinician in mind. Use discount code CresseyBFR through June 12th to receive $100 off a certification course!

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!

Name
Email
Read more

Cressey Sports Performance – Florida Job Posting: Strength and Conditioning Coach

It's very rare that we post career opportunities publicly for Cressey Sports Performance, but with the growth of our Palm Beach Gardens, FL facility, the time has come.

To that end, we'll be hiring a strength and conditioning coach to join the CSP-FL team beginning September 1, 2021 (although we would bring on the right person sooner than the fall). This position will primarily be involved with the strength and conditioning training of professional and amateur athletes (particularly in the baseball realm), but will also include daily work with general population clients and post-rehab cases.

Responsibilities for this position include:

  • Strength and conditioning coaching in both semi-private and personal training formats
  • Performing assessments
  • Writing programs
  • Participating in staff and intern educational in-services

Qualification Requirements:

  • Experience working with athletic populations, particularly baseball
  • Willingness and ability to collaborate with sports medicine professionals
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Proficiency in written communication and with Microsoft Excel
  • Familiarity with social media platforms
  • Nationally recognized certification
  • Desire to work as part of a team

Applicants can submit resumes and cover letters as a single PDF document to CareersatCSP@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is May 31, 2021.

Cressey Sports Performance is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship status, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under local, state, or federal laws.

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Spring Styles: 2021 CSP T-Shirt Options

We're long overdue for a new CSP T-Shirt debut, so we figured we'd celebrate with a bunch of options! Some are new, and some are reprints of old favorites. All shirts are $24.99 (or 5 for $100) plus shipping. Just click on the bolded hyperlinks below to add them to your cart.

Black Elite Baseball Development (reprint of our most popular t-shirt ever): XXL, Extra Large, Large Sold Out, Medium, Small

Kelly Green Camo (brand new): Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

Storm Purple Camo (brand new): XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

Royal Blue Camo (old favorite): XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

Red Camo (old favorite): XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

Or, if you'd like to get one of each, you can get five t-shirts for $100 with free shipping. Just add THIS to your cart and let us know what size you want in the comments section of your order.

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Thinking Beyond Diagnostic Imaging

About ten years ago, I was in the operating room to observe my first Tommy John surgery. Much like my time in gross anatomy class during my undergraduate studies, it was an invaluable experience that helped me to appreciate human structure (and, in turn, movement) in a way that anatomy textbooks couldn't offer.

Textbooks typically present a very "neat" anatomy where muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and nerves are predictably positioned. You can imagine my surprise, then, when the surgeon made the initial incision along the medial elbow and it yielded a bunch of "stuff" in the way. The fascia, the intermuscular septum, the ulnar nerve, and a host of other unrecognizable structures make you realize that a) every anatomy course or textbook you've ever undertaken hasn't done justice to what's really going on at the elbow (or anywhere else in the body, for that matter), b) it takes a lot of practice to become a great surgeon, and c) you shouldn't let just anyone cut you open for surgery.

Now, let's fast-forward to the post-operative timeline. After the repair is complete and the patient is stitched up, the elbow is splinted at 90 degrees of flexion for a week. Following that week, the arm is put in a hinged brace that gradually allows more motion over the course of weeks 2-6. After six weeks, the brace goes away. In short, it's quite a bit of time with the elbow in a limited range-of-motion situation as a means of protecting the repair.

Not surprisingly, some patients have a lot of trouble getting back their motion - both from the graft gradually stretching out and the musculotendinous structures regaining their length. We'd be crazy to think that the aforementioned fascia structures aren't implicated in the challenges of regaining ROM, though. And, if they've got a role in limiting ROM, they've certainly got a role in the associated stiffness (and, sometimes, pain) that post-operative patients feel. Here's where a variety of manual therapy interventions - ranging from dry needling to instrument-assisted work - have yielded outstanding results. While some folks like to scream and shout in opposition to this fact, it's hard to refute that manual therapy has endured the test of time to the tune of thousands of years.

Only recently have there been technology advancements that allow us to better understand the role of the fascia system with respect to pain and performance (Bill Parisi spoke to this on our podcast a while back; listen here). In this excellent presentation on Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (along side Dr. Gregory Pearl and Dr. Regan Wong), Sue Falsone shares some great insights in this regard. While the entire presentation is terrific, I'd encourage you to check out the the 1-hour, 36-minute mark, where Sue comments on the decompression that takes place with a cupping intervention:

Now, let's take a step back and think about the big picture of diagnostic imaging. When we have chronic pain that alters movement patterns, we have adaptive changes of the fascial system. While the diagnostic imaging - MRI, CT scans, x-rays - might pick up on the structural defect, it might overlook the compensatory changes to the fascial system (much of which overlays the actual injury) that can't be appreciated by these types of scans. 

When we look at chronic shoulder pain, is the problem only the rotator cuff tear? Or is that problem magnified by the fascia limitations that arise from years of avoiding various ranges of motion (including at adjacent joints) that would normally be accessible?

I've written extensively about having both a Medical and Movement Diagnosis. The truth is that the discussion of the fascia system is probably a happy medium between the two. We may think too much about the injury the diagnostic imaging identifies and too little about the overlying and surrounding tissues. At the other end of the spectrum, we may be too quick to define a movement limitation as joint, musculotendinous, ligamentous, or motor control without first considering the role the fascial system is playing.

What's the most important lesson here? Professionals from all walks of sports medicine need to work together to thoroughly evaluate injuries and movement competencies in order to design the best performance and rehabilitation programs. And, we need to remain openminded to new technology that may make it easier for us to take an even more accurate and individualized approach to each case.

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