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Acumobility Self Care for the Neck – Part 2

Today, I've got the second video in my series on how we utilize the Acumobility Ball to perform self myofascial release in the upper extremity - and, in particular, the neck. As a reminder, the crew at Acumobility have been kind enough to provide my readers with 10% off by using the coupon code cressey at www.Acumobility.com. Today, we'll talk about the scalenes.

I'll be back soon with another video to keep this series going.

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Acumobility Self Care for the Neck – Part 1

In a recent Instagram post, I discussed how big of a fan I am of the Acumobility ball, and I got a lot of questions about how we integrate it for upper extremity and neck self-care. With that said, I wanted to kick off a series this week with a look at where we start when it comes to implementing this tool. The good folks at Acumobility have been kind enough to provide my readers with 10% off by using the coupon code cressey at www.Acumobility.com.

To kick things off, let's talk about functional anatomy and self myofascial release for the sternocleidomastoid (SCM):

I'll be back soon with a new video to keep this series going.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/12/18

I hope you're having a good week. I'm shifting this series to later in the week because I'm doing more of my writing on Sundays these days, so look for Thu/Fri "round-up"posts from here on out. Here are some good reads from around the 'net over the past week:

EC on the Seams Legit Podcast - This is a two-part interview I did with Nick Friar. We discuss baseball development and our work with (among others) Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, and Noah Syndergaard.

8 Lessons from Lab Assisting for PRI Courses - Miguel Aragoncillo offered some awesome insights on how to make the most out of your attendance at continuing education events.

What Your Doctor Never Told You About Arthritis - This was a good guest post from Dr. Michael Infantino for Tony Gentilcore's site.

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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How to Use the Acumobility Ball for Upper Extremity Health and Performance

I'm a big fan of utilizing the Acumobility Ball for self-myofascial release. You just need to be very careful to not work too intensely around the more delicate structures of the neck. The good folks at Acumobility were kind enough to set up a 10% off discount for my readers; you can get it by entering the coupon code cressey at checkout at www.Acumobility.com.

Check out this five-part video series on how we integrate this great tool:

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Performance Programming Principles: Installment 2

As I promised back in November, I've decided to dedicate a regular series to the principles that govern a lot of our program design at Cressey Sports Performance. Here's the second installment:

1. A few positional breathing drills can be a game changer, but don't let them take over the training session.

Positional breathing drills have really surged in popularity in recent years, largely thanks to the great work of the folks at the Postural Restoration Institute. Forceful exhalation in certain positions can both activate certain muscles and inhibit others. Take, for instance, TRX Deep Squat Breathing with Lat Stretch.

We're firing up several muscles of exhalation: rectus abdominus, external obliques, serratus anterior - and toning down our lats, rhomboids, lumbar extensors, and calves (to name a few). It's not uncommon for folks to get up from this exercise after 30 seconds and feel dramatically different.

That said, as is often the case in the fitness industry, if a little is good, then a lot must be better, right? It didn't take long for us to find the zealots who are spending 30 minutes doing positional breathing at the start of every training session. It's somewhat analogous to the folks who foam roll for an hour every day.

You're better off doing 1-2 breathing drills at the start of a warm-up (and possibly as a cool-down) and then following it up with good resistance training technique to make those transient changes "stick." Patience and persistence always win out over short-term "overindulgence."

2. Follow these two great Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) strategies.

SFMA was one of the better courses I've taken in the past few years, and two programming principles they discuss really stand out:

a. Chase dysfunctional, non-painful patterns first.

Let's say someone walks in with a cranky shoulder that's limited into internal rotation: a dysfunctional, painful pattern. If you just throw caution to the wind and stretch that shoulder into internal rotation, more often than not, you're going to flare things up even further.

Let's say that individual also has a pronounced scapular anterior tilt and very limited thoracic extension and rotation. If you do some soft tissue work on pec minor and work in some thoracic spine mobilizations, there is a  very good chance that when you go back to retest shoulder internal rotation, it'll be improved and pain-free. Sometimes, the best way to get from A to B is through C or D.

b. Find and address areas were passive range-of-motion far exceeds active ROM.

There's a reason a lot of gymnasts and dancers retire with stress fractures in their lower backs; they have a lot of passive range-of-motion, but not always much motor control to stabilize those ranges of motion. This is why it's important to have assessments that test both passive and active ROMs (straight leg raises and supine vs. standing shoulder flexion are great examples). And, you need to have training initiatives that build control in those passive ranges.

3. Check out the Acumobility Ball.

I posted this on my Instagram and thought it might be of interest. The Acumobility Ball has been a game changer for us. You can save 10% on it at www.Acumobility.com with the coupon code cressey.

Here's a little example of how we'd use it on the pec minor/coracobrachialis/short head of biceps attachments on the coracoid process.

4. There's nothing that says you have to progress or regress programming - and there are many different ways to make lateral moves.

As few years ago, Charlie Weingroff coined the term "lateralizations" for times when you don't progress or regress an exercise, but rather, move laterally.

An example would be something along the lines of going from a standing 1-arm cable row to a split-stance 1-arm cable row. There really isn't any change to exercise complexity, but it does give the trainee some variety in their programming.

I'd say that lateralizations are the most useful with adult clients who don't have crazy lofty fitness goals - and therefore aren't interested in taking on a ton of risk in their training programs. They might not crave being sore all the time from all the innovative new exercises you can throw at them. Lateralizations can keep training fun via novelty without adding a steep learning curve.

Additionally, remember that exercise selection isn't the only way to progress or regress the challenge to the athlete or client in front of you. You can increase or decrease volume, alter the tempo, modify the load, or adjust the rest intervals.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 12/2/18

Happy New Year! Thanks for your support of EricCressey.com in 2017. I've got some great things in store for 2018. Let's kick it off with some content from around the 'net.

David Joyce on The Physical Preparation Podcast - David Joyce delivers a wide variety of great content - from sports science to culture building - in this podcast with Mike Robertson.

Often Overlooked Elements to Success in Personal Training - Dean Somerset presents some excellent recommendations for the up-and-coming personal trainer.

The Success is in the Struggle - The good folks at the Personal Trainer Development Center selected this article from me as one of their top 20 articles of 2017. I figured that made it worth of "reincarnation."

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week

 

I don’t compete in powerlifting anymore. Life as a husband, dad, and owner of multiple businesses is hectic enough that competition was pushed out. And, my shoulder doesn’t love back squats these days. Still, I lift a lot, get out and sprint, do interval training, and even mix in some rec softball and pick-up beach volleyball. This isn’t just because it’s hard-wired into my brain’s perception of a “normal day,” but also because I firmly believe that every training session allows me to evolve as a coach and have more empathy for our athletes. 👇 Understanding how to modify your own training when you’re super busy at work or sick kids kept you up all night gives you an appreciation for how athletes feel when you ask them to get an in-season lift in after a weekend with four games. 🤔 Getting in a lift after a late cross-country flight makes you appreciate that it might be a better idea to score an extra few hours of sleep – rather than imposing more fatigue – in the middle of a road trip. Putting yourself through 8-12 weeks of challenging training with a new program allows you to experiment with new principles to see if there are better methods for serving your athletes. 🤔 You don’t get these lessons if you don’t continue to train throughout your professional career. At age 25, I had no idea what our 35-year-old athletes felt like after training sessions. Now I understand it on a personal level – but more importantly, I’m keenly aware that our 45-year-old athletes probably have it even harder, so I need to ask a lot more questions and do a lot more listening in that demographic. 💪 If you’re a strength and conditioning coach, the gym isn’t just where you work; it’s also where you experiment and learn. Don’t miss those opportunities to grow. #sportsmedicine #sportsperformance #strengthandconditioning #cspfamily #powerlifting #benchpress

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The Best of 2017: Product Reviews

To wrap up my “Best of 2017″ series, I’ll highlight the top product reviews I did at this site in the last year. Here they are:

1. Complete Sports Conditioning - This resource from Mike Boyle is top notch, and he does a great job of simplifying complex topics for up-and-coming strength and conditioning coaches. Since it was the most popular product I reviewed this year, I reached out to Mike to see if he'd be up for running a quick promo sale for my readers, and he kindly agreed. From now through January 3, you can get $100 off on the resource. No coupon code is needed; just head HERE.

2. American Sports Medicine Institute Injuries in Baseball Course - Mike Reinold compiled this great list of webinars from accomplished surgeons and rehabilitation specialists to create an excellent sports medicine resource for those in the baseball world.

3. L2 Fitness Summit Video Series - Dean Somerset and Dr. Mike Israetel released this video of a one-day seminar back in November, Dean offers a nice glimpse into some assessment components that go beyond typical movement screens, and Mike's presentation on hypertrophy mechanisms and strategies was insightful as well. These are some seemingly minimally-related topics, but they did a good job of pulling everything together.

Also in 2017, the Cressey Sports Performance team released CSP Innovations. This resource highlighted a collection of different topics from the CSP staff, so there's something for everyone at a price much cheaper than attending a seminar.

We're back to the regular EricCressey.com content this week. Thanks for all your support in 2017!

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The Best of 2017: Baseball Articles

With baseball athletes being the largest segment of the Cressey Sports Performance athletic clientele, it seems only fitting to devote a "Best of 2017" feature to the top baseball posts from last year. Check them out:

1. 6 Key Factors for Developing Pitchers - In this article, I look at some things I've learned from some of our peak performing pitchers at the MLB level - and how they can help up-and-coming players.

2. Are Pitching Mechanics Really That Repeatable? - We hear the phrase "repeat your mechanics" pretty often, but you'll be surprised at how hard (or impossible) that really is to do.

3. Sports Performance: Study the Majority, and Stop Cherrypicking Exceptions to the Rule - The baseball community loves to try to build theories off of small sample sizes when we all should be looking at the majority to see what works.

4. A Letter to This Year's MLB Draft Picks - There are lots of life lessons in here for more than just baseball players.

5. Overlooked Uses for a J-Band: Part 1 and Part 2 - Here are some innovative ways that we use this awesome piece of equipment.

We've got one last "Best of 2017" list running tomorrow, so stay tuned for the closer!

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The Best of 2017: Strength and Conditioning Features

I really enjoying creating features with multiple installments because it really allows me to dig deep into a topic that interests both me and my readers. It’s like writing a short book, with each post being a different chapter. That said, here were a few of my favorite features from 2017 at EricCressey.com:

1. Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training

Installment 26
Installment 27
Installment 28
Installment 29

2. Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success

Installment 5
Installment 6
Installment 7
Installment 8

3. Periodization for Teenage Athletes - I thought this three-part article from Cressey Sports Performance coach John O'Neil was outstanding. If you work with athletes, it's a must-read.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The Best of 2017 series is almost complete, but stayed tuned for a few more highlights!

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The Best of 2017: Guest Posts

I've already highlighted the top articles and videos I put out at EricCressey.com in 2017, so now it's time for the top guest posts of the year. Here goes…

1. Is a Calorie Really Just a Calorie? - Brian St. Pierre tackled this hot topic in the nutrition world and (unsurprisingly) it generated a lot of buzz.

2. Should You Even Stretch? - Dean Somerset always comes through with great content on the corrective exercise side of things.

3. 5 Tips for Improved Client Relationships - Brett Velon was one of the best interns we've ever had, and it had a lot to do with his amazing ability to build rapport with clients so quickly. He shares some of his tips here.

4. Are You Training Mobility or Just Mobilizing? - Frank Duffy takes a closer look at ways to improve your mobility training.

5. When Precision Tops Effort - John O'Neil discusses the importance of knowing that not all exercises need to be treated like PR deadlifts.

I'll be back soon with the top strength and conditioning features from 2017.

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