Home Blog (Page 256)

Healthy Athletes are Better Athletes

Have you ever wondered why elite pitchers like Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens don’t pitch year-round? Simple. They need an off-season to address the imbalances their sports create, and correcting these issues requires a combination of time (rest) and appropriate weight training and targeted flexibility work.

Unfortunately, nowadays, many kids don’t usually get a true off-season. A Little Leaguer getting elbow pain from throwing year-round is no different than an adult with a desk job who gets carpel tunnel syndrome from typing too much. Truthfully, the Little Leaguer is worse off, as there is more force and velocity to each his movements and his body is still developing and vulnerable to injury.

Further, believe it or not, specializing in one sport too early on can actually impair a child’s development within that sport. According to Brian Grasso, founder and executive director of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA):

Sport coaches who require young athletes to participate in one sport for extended periods of time are actually shooting themselves in the foot with respect to future ability. To learn complex skills associated with baseball, for instance, a young athlete will be restricted to what they have been exposed to and can neurally call upon in terms of practical athletic intelligence. A young athlete who has been exposed to baseball only, likely will lack the athletic dexterity necessary to perform advanced skills in that sport.

Eric Cressey
www.EricCressey.com

Revolutionize the way you approach the most crucial training period this year.

Want to hear more? Shoot your questions here.
Read more

Should Your Heels Touch?


In your opinion should the heels touch the ground lightly during a bounce drop jump. I've heard 'yes' and I've heard 'no' from several coaches and I'm trying to form my own opinion on the subject once and for all.


I think it's a must. Very few athletes have the eccentric strength to land completely on the balls of the feet. You're also putting a lot of undue stress on the Achilles and patellar tendons and limiting your ability to cushion with the hip extensors. You're also really increasing the amortization phase, therefore killing the very elastic response you're trying to train.

A lot of people will argue that it's counterintuitive in light of the sprinting motion, but I don't see that argument as holding water. Vertical displacement is centimeters in sprinting, but meters in bounce drop jumps, so you're comparing apples and oranges in terms of ground reaction forces. I use different short-response tactics for using just the balls of the feet.

Also, what would you conclude if a subject's countermovement jump (30") was identical to his bounce drop jump (30") off of each of the 12", 18", and 24" boxes. Finally, how would you proceed with the subject's training if they decreased to a 29" bounce drop jump off the 30" box? Thanks for the wisdom; your manual is a great resource.


Could just be accumulated fatigue, but I'd train him with a mix of reactive and strength work - with slightly more of an emphasis on reactive work. Stay at 24" for his bounce drop jumps in training and retest every fourth week.

Eric Cressey
www.UltimateOffSeason.com

Is your off-season integrated with the right active recovery strategies?

Have similar questions for Eric? Direct them Here.
Read more

Powerlifting Set Progression

I have been following your high, medium, super high and deload weeks concept that you outlined in your Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual (which is awesome btw) and I was wondering if the way i am implementing it for powerlifting is ok.

On the high weeks i usually do 4 sets of anywhere between 6-8 reps for my second exercise, on medium weeks i drop it down to 3 sets, on super high weeks i go up to 5 and then on deload weeks i go down to 2 sets.

would it be a better idea to say do 4 sets of 6-8 on high week, 3 on medium week and do something like 3 sets of 6-8 along with 1-2 sets of 15-20 either same exercise i am doing or different. Do you think that is to much volume?

Thanks for the kind words. You're on the right track with fluctuating the number of sets you do from week to week. I also like to vary the loading on the first assistance exercise depending on the day (we'll use lower body days in a Westside-influenced template as an example).

DE Squat: First assistance might be a deadlift variation - sets of 3-6
ME Squat: First assistance might be a heavy single-leg, rack pull, front squat, GHR, etc - sets of 6-10

Example of first assistance movements over the course of a month:

Week 1 (high):

DE Squat: 4x3
ME Squat: 4x6

Week 2 (medium):
DE Squat: 3x3
ME Squat: 3x6

Week 3 (very high):
DE Squat: 5x3
ME Squat: 5x6

Week 4 (deload):
DE Squat: 2x3 (with 5RM)
ME Squat: 3x6

Eric Cressey
Read more

Back from a Great Weekend in Chicago

Last weekend, I had the privilege of speaking alongside some of the best in the business at the Perform Better Three-Day Summit in Chicago. It was a great opportunity to meet up with several old friends who also presented, and also experience a few that I hadn?t had the good fortune to see until now.

I was thrilled to finally catch an Al Vermeil presentation, and only wish that I could have picked his brains for a few days more! Todd Wright of the University of Texas was fantastic as well; as a fellow basketball training ?junky,? I?d been looking forward to meeting him and learning more about his stuff for years. And, to top it all off, I probably learned as much in a few ten-minute ?asides? with Bill Hartman over the course of the weekend than I have in any day-long seminar I?ve attended in the past year!

Needless to say, Chris Poirier and the rest of the Perform Better crew do a tremendous job of putting on fantastic shows; I?d highly recommend checking out one of the two remaining three-day summits on the 2007 schedule. Long Beach, CA is in a few weeks, and then they?ll be in Providence, RI (with me speaking) June 20-22. For more information, check out Perform Better?s website.

Eric Cressey
www.EricCressey.com
Read more

Naked Nutrition

A few months ago, Mike Roussell sent me the preliminary version of his new project, The Naked Nutrition Guide. Mike went out of his way to contact several industry notables to go over this manual with a critical eye, and this feedback ? combined with Mike?s outstanding knowledge of nutritional sciences ? resulted in a fantastic finished product. There are bonus training programs from Alwyn Cosgrove, Nate Green, and Jimmy Smith. The guide was officially launched on Thursday; check it out for yourself:

The Naked Nutrition Guide

Don?t delay; the first 500 to purchase are invited to a teleseminar Q&A session with Mike.

Eric Cressey
www.EricCressey.com

Will Your Athletes Be Ready for Next Season?

Read more

Five Resistance Training Myths in the Running World

To some, resistance training is the Rodney Dangerfield of the running community; it gets no respect. To others, it’s like Tom Cruise; runners think it might be useful, but it just doesn’t make any sense to them. And then, there are those to whom resistance training is like Abraham Lincoln; it’s freed them from being slaves to ineffective programming.

As a performance enhancement specialist who has a lot of “Abe” endurance athletes under my tutelage, I’d like to take this opportunity to bring the Rodney and Tom runners in the crowd up to speed. With that in mind, let’s look at the five most prominent myths present in the running community with respect to resistance training.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: this Cressey guy is just another meathead who doesn’t run telling me what to do. We’ve had lots of pigheaded guys like this over the years, and none of them understood us. They were all like this guy.

Myth #1: Runners don’t need to resistance train.

I figured I’d start with the most obvious of the bunch. I had been under the impression that – now that we’ve done a ton of resistance training research over the past 20 years – that this wasn’t still a myth at all. Then, just last month, one of my marathoner clients brought in a copy of a popular running magazine; it included a “debate” that featured two experts arguing over whether or not runners needed to lift weights.

Huh?

This is what some people within the running community have taken from over two decades of dedicated resistance training research from some of the most brilliant scientists in the world? I thought back to the hundreds of hours I’d spent working in the human performance laboratory at the University of Connecticut as I worked for my master’s degree; time and time again, our research had proven unequivocally that resistance training was important for making and keeping people healthy, strong, fast, and lean. Had all our efforts been in vain? At that moment, if someone had told me that the Easter Bunny isn’t real, I might have lost it altogether.

Just to recap: we know resistance training is good for general health, as it:

1. Enhances endocrine and immune function (which are compromised by endurance training)
2. Maintains muscle mass (also negatively affected by endurance training)
3. Improves functional capacity in spite of aging by maintaining maximal strength and power (both of which decrease with prolonged endurance training)
4. Builds bone density (something many runners lack due to poor dietary practices, but desperately need in light of the high risk of stress fractures)
5. Enables us to more rapidly correct muscle imbalances, as evidenced by the fact that resistance training is the cornerstone of any good physical therapy program (and I’ve never met a runner without imbalances)

So, I think that the answer is somewhat clear. It’s quite obvious that runners are a superhuman race that is not subject to the normal laws of physiology like the rest of us.

In case you’re not picking up on my sarcasm, please go splash some cold water on your face and knock back a bit of Gatorade to get some glucose to your brain. Then, reread those five points from above (which are just the tip of the iceberg, for the record). Ask yourself:

1. Do I have an endocrine system?
2. Do I have an immune system?
3. Will I get old? Do I do things that require strength and power?
4. Do I have bones?
5. Do I have muscle imbalances?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, I would seriously recommend that you consult a psychologist instead of a running coach, as you’re obviously dealing with a serious case of denial.

Runners are just like the rest of us. You may wear shorter shorts, but you still put them on one leg at a time. You need resistance training.

And, if the general health benefits aren’t enough, consider these research findings:

-A University of Alabama meta-analysis of the endurance training scientific literature revealed that 10 weeks of resistance training in trained distance runners improves running economy by 8-10% (1). For the mathematicians in the crowd, that’s about 20-24 minutes off a four-hour marathon – and likely more if you’re not a well-trained endurance athlete in the first place.

runners-760431_960_720

-French researchers found that the addition of two weight-training sessions per week for 14 weeks significantly increased maximal strength and running economy while maintaining peak power in triathletes. Meanwhile, the control group – which only did endurance training – gained no maximal strength or running economy, and their peak power actually decreased (who do you think would win that all-out sprint at the finish line?). And, interestingly, the combined endurance with resistance training group saw greater increases in VO2max over the course of the intervention (2).

-Scientists at the Research Institute for Olympic Sports at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland found that replacing 32% of regular endurance training volume with explosive resistance training for nine weeks improved 5km times, running economy, VO2max, maximal 20m speed, and performance on a 5-jump test. With the exception of VO2max, none of these measures improved in the control group that just did endurance training (3). How do you think they felt knowing that a good 1/3 of their entire training volume was largely unnecessary, and would have been better spent on other initiatives?

-University of Illinois researchers found that addition of three resistance training sessions for ten weeks improved short-term endurance performance by 11% and 13% during cycling and running, respectively. Additionally, the researchers noted that “long-term cycling to exhaustion at 80% VO2max increased from 71 to 85 min after the addition of strength training” (4)

The take-home message is that running is more than just VO2max, anaerobic threshold, and a good pair of sneakers; it’s also about localized muscular endurance and nervous system efficiency. And, you can’t have strength endurance unless you’ve got strength. Build a solid foundation and you’ll be a complete runner.

Myth #2: Machines are just as good as free weights.

Next time you’re running, I want you to ask yourself how many times you’ve been seated and moving in a fixed plane of motion while you run. If the answer isn’t a resounding “NEVER,” then you probably ought to get your head examined.

Resistance training isn’t just about “feeling the burn” in your muscles; it’s about grooving connections between the muscles and the nervous system that tells them what to do. When you plop down on a machine and work through a fixed line of motion, you’re allowing your nervous system to get lazy, so to speak; it doesn’t have to recruit any stabilizing muscles to ensure that you move efficiently. Machines turn you into a “motor moron” and ingrain muscle imbalances that can negatively affect your running efficiency and lead to injury. Let’s take a look at an example to illustrate my point.

When you do a dumbbell lunge, your body has to generate force in single-leg stance – and in order to generate force optimally, you need to have what is called “frontal plane stability.” With the lunge, this refers predominantly to the ability of the adductors (inner thigh muscles) and abductors (outer thigh/butt muscles) to co-contract, working together stabilize your thigh so that you don’t tip over. By doing a lung correctly, we can teach these muscles to balance each other out properly, and in doing so, improve running efficiency and prevent problems such as lateral knee pain, anterior hip pain, and lower back pain (just to name a few).

A look at the status quo, however, shows that most women will try to train their adductors a
nd abductors with those inner and outer thigh machines that you’d only expect to see on a trip to the obstetrician. Unfortunately, the adductors and abductors NEVER work in isolation like this, and they never work in a fixed line of motion. The adductors and abductors don’t just move the thighs in and out; they also have subtle effects on rotation of the femur, so when we’re “stuck” into one plane of motion, we promote dysfunction.

Factor in that the lunge also trains the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and core stabilizers extensively at the same time, and you’ll realize that it isn’t only safer than these machines; it’s also offers more bang for your buck. Why do five different exercises when you can get even better results with just one?

runner-864861__340

Myth #3: Yoga and Pilates “count” as resistance training.

This was another great information tidbit a client brought in after a conversation with an endurance training coach who is actually quite popular locally. I have to say that I was really surprised when I heard:

“He said that we need to resistance train, but it didn’t matter if we used free weights, used machines, or took yoga or Pilates classes.”

After I finished choking on the gum I was chewing, I explained the concept of progressive overload to my client.

When we resistance train, it’s important that we – over time – gradually increase the load that is imposed on our system; otherwise, our body doesn’t really have any reason to adapt in a manner that will be favorable to use getting stronger, faster, or leaner.

Now, how do we make a class that is body weight-only harder? I’ve never seen anyone wear a weighted vest to yoga class, so – as Mike Boyle has pointed out – gaining weight is your only option. After all, the most overweight people always sweat the most during yoga, right?

Obviously, I’m being facetious – but I’m proud to say that it’s with good reason (although I’ll probably never date a yoga or Pilates instructor after this article). When you lift with free weights, you always have the option to provide progressive overload to your system; there is no “ceiling” effect when you get proficient handling your body weight.


Myth #4: Super-slow training is valuable.

About a year ago, I had a phone conversation with a noted triathlete coach who had previously worked with one of my clients, Jon (who completed his first Ironman this past July). When I took over Jon’s training, he was a mediocre endurance athlete with a VO2max of 50.6 ml/kg/min., with anaerobic threshold occurring at 60% of VO2max (laboratory test). After six months of training with me, Jon’s VO2max had improved to 73.1 ml/kg/min, and his anaerobic threshold didn’t occur until an impressive 80% (anaerobic threshold is now generally believed to be the best predictor of endurance performance; the higher the percentage, the better). It’s also important to note that during this time, Jon’s max heart rate remained constant; normally, it decreases when an endurance athlete does a lot of longer duration steady-state training. When this coach got wind of the results, he just had to know how the heck we had gotten such staggering results. My response was essentially:

“We got him to go faster instead of longer, incorporating more threshold runs and sprint work. And, probably more importantly, I told him he had to stop lifting like a sissy. He got a lot stronger and more explosive on compound free-weight movements, and it clearly made a big difference.”

His response: “Wait, you mean you don’t use super-slow training? Free weights are dangerous! Endurance athletes aren’t conditioned to handle high-speeds and heavy lifting!”

I had to cover the mouthpiece on the phone because I was laughing out loud. For the next ten minutes, I explained to this coach that the last time I checked, the most successful endurance athletes I’ve known are the ones who go the fastest for a set distance – not the ones who can run the longest. Anybody can go forever; just look at the people who jog at a snail’s pace for years and years and never look or perform any differently. Jon got out of his comfort zone by moving faster, desensitizing himself to zones above his normal race pace, and – perhaps most importantly – by taking his training serious with heavy and explosive resistance training. Super-slow training has no place in this picture.

In layman’s terms, if you train an athlete slowly, that athlete will be slow in competition; specificity of training is more important than we think. If you want to run a marathon, you don’t do all your training on a cycle, do you? Of course not! It wouldn’t be specific for you!

runner-690265_960_720

In scientific jargon, super-slow training doesn’t work due to a phenomenon called “asynchronous recruitment.” We all have slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers, and it’s to our advantage to activate as many of them as possible when we resistance train in order to truly reap the benefits that our nervous system and muscles can offer. As you may already know, slow twitch fibers are always recruited first; your body won’t also call upon the fast twitch fibers in your muscles unless it really needs help with a challenging task – like the last few reps on a set of five squats. Once we’re a bit experienced with resistance training, in order to recruit fast twitch fibers (which can actually be converted to slow twitch fibers to enhance endurance performance), we need to train with at least 70% of our maximal strength on a particular exercise in order to build strength with classic “repetition work.” The more experienced one gets, the higher this percentage goes; really experienced lifters won’t get stronger below 85-90%, in fact.

With super-slow, we’re stuck with a protocol that forces us to use less weights because we have to do a lot of reps – and at a very slow tempo. This load falls short of the crucial 70% mark – and definitely far short of the 85-90% mark. And, believe it or not, we don’t even getting all our slow twitch fibers contributing! Instead, through asynchronous recruitment, certain fibers simply “turn on” and “turn off” during the set; the weight is so light that they can actually take breaks while their “helpers” pick up the slack in the meantime. I’m not making this stuff up!

Don’t forget that super-slow is traditionally performed on machines, too, and we already know that machines are about as useful to an athlete as a screen door would be for a submarine.

Myth #5: Runners should avoid heavy weights and dynamic lifts.

Once we get endurance athletes lifting weights, we always have to deal with the contention that because they’re endurance athletes, they should only do higher-rep sets because they just need to train muscular endurance. Originally, that works fine, as you’re really just learning the exercises and conditioning the tissues for what is ahead. Unfortunately, as the athlete gets more experienced with resistance training, it becomes readily apparent that not all reps are created equal.

There are three ways that we can develop tension in our muscles (basically the goal of any resistance training exercise):

1. The Repetition Method – This is the classic approach most gym-goers use. Do a bunch of reps, and as you fatigue, the muscle tension accumulates; the last few reps are what make the big difference.

2. The Maximal Effort Method – This is an approach where the load utilized is heavier, so the tension is “automatically” applied to the muscles. You just have to work against it. This method – which uses rep ranges of 1-6 – is great for building muscular strength and teaching your nervous system to recruit more muscle fibers.

3. The Dynamic Effort Method – This approach uses non-maximal loads, but
the focus is on lifting the weight as fast as possible. Jump squats are a good example of dynamic effort training, which teaches the nervous system to recruit muscles faster. Additionally, some dynamic effort training can teach your tendons to store more elastic energy (like plyometrics). If your tendons work more efficiently, your running style is more relaxed, reflexive, and “springy,” as you don’t have to “muscle” every stride.

With all this said, it should become clear that you can’t pursue the maximal or dynamic effort methods with sets of 12-15; you have to use different rep ranges and loading parameters if you want a truly effective resistance training program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Won’t I gain body fat if I cut back my running volume and replace it with resistance training?

A: No! Contrary to popular belief, resistance training is extremely valuable for burning fat – primarily due to something known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” (EPOC). This is just a fancy way of saying that after any exercise session, our metabolisms are elevated significantly. Research has shown that EPOC directly related to how intense our exercise sessions are; the more intense the effort, the more metabolic “debt” we accumulate. For this reason, activities like sprinting and weight-training – both of which are much more intense than steady-state jogging – have a ton of merit in “battling the bulge.” Amazingly, a single bout of resistance training can elevate the metabolism for more than 48 hours – and favorably affect endocrine and immune status in a manner that is conducive to fat loss. If you want to be lean, you have to lift weights!

Additionally, you rarely see ultra-endurance athletes with very low body fat percentages – and it’s largely because all the mileage they do leads to higher levels of cortisol and lower levels of testosterone in the body. This endocrine fluctuation leads to a loss of muscle mass (which burns a lot of calories) and an increased tendency to store body fat. Fortunately, resistance training has been shown to have favorable effect on testosterone levels chronically (good for men and women…trust me). By keeping your hormonal status in check by including some resistance training, runners can get faster and leaner!

Q: I have limited time to train; wouldn’t I be better off just running if time is limited?

A: Obviously, this would depend on how you define “limited” – but it’s been my experience that runners can always “make” time to run, but will only “try to find” time to resistance-train. Generally speaking, you can bang out a run here and there without much time preparation, so it’s best to schedule your 2-3 resistance training sessions ahead of time. Additionally, in some cases, you can incorporate some body weight resistance training exercises as part of your warm-up – but this certainly won’t cover all your needs.

runner-579328_960_720

Also, don’t forget the study I cited earlier about the group of endurance athletes who saw appreciable gains in performance by replacing 32% of their running volume with resistance training. If you run six days a week, try moving to four runs and two lifting sessions – and watch your times improve dramatically.

Anyway, my feeling is that from a body composition, health, and performance standpoint, you need to make time for two lifting sessions per week regardless of how much you run.

Q: Won’t resistance training will interfere with my running?

A: Great question – and the answer is no, provided you schedule your running sessions appropriately. Ideally, you would lift on days that you don’t run, or pair your lifts up with your tempo (sprint) sessions in order to “consolidate” your most intense training and allow for better recovery.

There is some research to show that running efficiency is impaired slightly for up to eight hours post-exercise, but you should be fine if you lift and run on separate days. I always prefer that my athletes lift before they run, though; you always want to do your speed and power work before you move on to endurance training.

Q: Won’t resistance training make my muscles bigger? I don’t want all that weight holding me down!

A: Endurance training by its very nature is not conducive to muscle growth (especially in a female population with lower testosterone levels). The sheer volume of exercise makes it difficult to get in enough calories to support muscle mass gains, so the effects of resistance training are largely confined to muscle density (tone), strength, and overall efficiency rather than actual increases in muscle size. If it was so easy to get “bulky,” there would be a lot more bulky people walking around!

Closing Thoughts

All this information won’t be of any use if it isn’t put into action, so now is the time to either modify how you’re lifting, or start lifting in the first place. At the very least, you need to complement your endurance training with two resistance-training sessions per week – and preferably three.

Just as running is more fun with a partner, so is lifting, so find a few buddies to hit the gym with you. In our facility, time and time again, we’ve seen athletes make much better progress when they’re training in small groups and pushing each other to get better. Plus, for those of you who might be a bit intimidated at the thought of joining a gym, some training partners can do a lot to ease your worries.

At your fingertips, you have an opportunity to dramatically improve performance, overall health, and the way your body looks and feels. There’s no time like the present to turn that opportunity into a reality.

References
1. Jung AP. The impact of resistance training on distance running performance. Sports Med. 2003;33(7):539-52.
2. Millet, GP, Jaouen, B, Borrani, F, Candau, R. Effects of concurrent endurance and strength training on running economy and .VO(2) kinetics. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Aug;34(8):1351-9.
3. Paavolainen, L, Hakkinen, K, Hamalainen, I, Nummela, A, Ruski, H. Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. J Appl Physiol. 1999 May;86(5):1527-33.
4. Hickson, R. C., B. A. Dvorak, E. M. Gorostiaga, T. T. Kurowski, and C. Foster. Potential for strength and endurance training to amplify endurance performance. J. Appl. Physiol. 65: 2285-2290, 1988.

Read more

Q&A: Adductors and Medial Rotators

I just finished watching Building The Efficient Athlete and I'm really amazed by the quantity of info on it! Unfortunately, one thing really bothered me. Adductors: how can they be MEDIAL rotators? Don't they go from ischiopubic ramus to the linea aspera? Hence it rotates laterally (unless there's something I'm ignoring).
The adductors are a tricky group of muscles; consider that there are five adductors (longus, brevis, magnus, pectineus, and gracilis), so you've got several different points of attachment. They work in all three planes of motion, and their function can actually change depending on the degree of hip flexion present. Most important thing to remember is that the external rotation of the gluteus maximus during hip extension is counteracted by the internal rotation of the adductor magnus as it helps to extend the hip.
After that, I'd just like some extra geeky info on some details :) The posterior fibers of the external oblique, the ones that are good for posterior pelvic tilt: What is their origin/insertion/fiber orientation so that they can do this without effect on the rib cage?
They still attach on both the rib cage and pelvis, but do so in a manner that doesn't pull the rib cage forward like the rectus abdominus. Think of the path of least resistance being a straight line; the rectus is a straight line from pelvis to anterior ribs/xiphoid process.
Could I get more detail on the mechanisms of the rotator cuff? Specifically, how do the infraspinatus and teres minor pull anteriorly?
Think "glide," not pull.
Assuming you have "perfect" posture, should you have calluses under your foot? I have pronator's calluses (under 2nd and 3rd), and am wondering if they should diminish assuming I get closer to this "perfect" posture.
Everyone has calluses - some people are just more pronounced. Correlating what you find with dynamic assessments is the key; that way, you're uncovering inefficiencies before they become pathologies. They might get a bit better. Eric Cressey www.EricCressey.com Do you have similar questions? Direct them here. Experience the Event that took 30 Trainers, Coaches, and Athletes to the Next Level...
Read more

SI Joint Relief

Eric, My SI joint have given me major problems for the last 3-4months. I have received some fairly effective treatment from my Chiro but need to get some tips on corrective exercise. I own your Magnificent Mobility DVD. What movements should I avoid/focus on?
Try this: Foam Rolling, then X-band Walks Supine Bridges Birddogs Warrior Lunge Stretch Static - 15s/side IT Band Stretch Static - 15s/side Calf Mobilizations High Knee Walks Pull-Back Butt Kicks Cradle Walks Overhead Lunge Walk Walking Spidermans Scap Pushups There are a lot more I'd use with you, but these are the ones on the DVD. Stay away from anything that involved twisting/rotation.
As far as rehab is concerned I understand i have to: Go for walks. Activation work for abs/glutes. Improve length/tension relationship of hip related musculature. Strengthen multifidi ETC
Etc? Yikes. Don't worry about isolating multifidi; you can't do it. I would recommend you do the following daily: Side bridges Supine bridges Birddogs Avoid Crunches. Start with Isometrics for abs/lower back and slowly progress and avoid hyperextension at all costs.
With regards to weight training I am thinking: Now machine work. Leg ext/curls/GHR light front squats. => BW one legged movements Dynamic Sumo deads Oly squats power squats Any tips for me?
A lot of single-leg movements, and glute-emphasis pull-throughs are good. Can't really say much about squats and deadlifts without seeing your form. Eric Cressey 10 Minutes to Better Flexibility, Performance, and Health
Read more

Fixing the Flaws: Weak Posterior Chain

Big, fluffy bodybuilder quads might be all well and good if you're into getting all oiled up and "competing" in posing trunks, but the fact of the matter is that the quadriceps take a back seat to the posterior chain (hip and lumbar extensors) when it comes to athletic performance. Compared to the quads, the glutes and hamstrings are more powerful muscles with a higher proportion of fast-twitch fibers. Nonetheless, I'm constantly amazed at how many coaches and athletes fail to tap into this strength and power potential; they seem perfectly content with just banging away with quad-dominant squats, all the while reinforcing muscular imbalances at both the knee and hip joints. The muscles of the posterior chain are not only capable of significantly improving an athlete's performance, but also of decelerating knee and hip flexion. You mustn't look any further than a coaches' athletes' history of hamstring and hip flexor strains, non-contact knee injuries, and chronic lower back pain to recognize that he probably doesn't appreciate the value of posterior chain training. Or, he may appreciate it, but have no idea how to integrate it optimally. The best remedies for this problem are deadlift variations, Olympic lifts, good mornings, glute-ham raises, pull-throughs, back extensions, and hip-dominant lunges and step-ups. Some quad work is still important, as these muscles aren't completely "all show and no go," but considering most athletes are quad-dominant in the first place, you can usually devote at least 75% of your lower body training to the aforementioned exercises (including Olympic lifts and single-leg work, which have appreciable overlap). Regarding the optimal integration of posterior chain work, I'm referring to the fact that many athletes have altered firing patterns within the posterior chain due to lower crossed syndrome. In this scenario, the hip flexors are overactive and therefore reciprocally inhibit the gluteus maximus. Without contribution of the gluteus maximus to hip extension, the hamstrings and lumbar erector spinae muscles must work overtime (synergistic dominance). There is marked anterior tilt of the pelvis and an accentuated lordotic curve at the lumbar spine. Moreover, the rectus abdominus is inhibited by the overactive erector spinae. With the gluteus maximus and rectus abdominus both at a mechanical disadvantage, one cannot optimally posteriorly tilt the pelvis (important to the completion of hip extension), so there is lumbar extension to compensate for a lack of complete hip extension. You can see this quite commonly in those who hit sticking points in their deadlifts at lockout and simply lean back to lock out the weight instead of pushing the hips forward simultaneously. Rather than firing in the order hams-glutes- contralateral erectors-ipsilateral erectors, athletes will simply jump right over the glutes in cases of lower crossed syndrome. Corrective strategies should focus on glute activation, rectus abdominus strengthening, and flexibility work for the hip flexors, hamstrings, and adductors. Eric Cressey www.BuildingtheEfficientAthlete.com
Read more

Fixing the Flaws: Weak Rotator Cuff / Scapular Stabilizers

I group these two together simply because they are intimately related in terms of shoulder health and performance. Although each of the four muscles of the rotator cuff contributes to humeral motion, their primary function is stabilization of the humeral head in the glenoid fossa of the scapula during this humeral motion. Ligaments provide the static restraints to excessive movement, while the rotator cuff provides the dynamic restraint. It's important to note, however, that even if your rotator cuff is completely healthy and functioning optimally, you may experience scapular dyskinesis, shoulder, upper back, and neck problems because of inadequate strength and poor tonus of the muscles that stabilize the scapula. After all, how can the rotator cuff be effective at stabilizing the humeral head when its foundation (the scapula) isn't stable itself? Therefore, if you're looking to eliminate weak links at the shoulder girdle, your best bet is to perform both rotator cuff and scapular stabilizer specific work. In my experience, the ideal means of ensuring long-term rotator cuff health is to incorporate two external rotation movements per week to strengthen the infraspinatus and teres minor (and the posterior deltoid, another external rotator that isn't a part of the rotator cuff). On one movement, the humerus should be abducted (e.g. elbow supported DB external rotations, Cuban presses) and on the other, the humerus should be adducted (e.g. low pulley external rotations, side-lying external rotations). Granted, these movements are quite basic, but they'll do the job if injury prevention is all you seek. Then again, I like to integrate the movements into more complex schemes (some of which are based on PNF patterns) to keep things interesting and get a little more sport-specific by involving more of the kinetic chain (i.e. leg, hip, and trunk movement). On this front, reverse cable crossovers (single-arm, usually) and dumbbell swings are good choices. Lastly, for some individuals, direct internal rotation training for the subscapularis is warranted, as it's a commonly injured muscle in bench press fanatics. Over time, the subscapularis will often become dormant – and therefore less effective as a stabilizer of the humeral head - due to all the abuse it takes. For the scapular stabilizers, most individuals fall into the classic anteriorly tilted, winged scapulae posture (hunchback); this is commonly seen with the rounded shoulders that result from having tight internal rotators and weak external rotators. To correct the hunchback look, you need to do extra work for the scapular retractors and depressors; good choices include horizontal pulling variations (especially seated rows) and prone middle and lower trap raises. The serratus anterior is also a very important muscle in facilitating scapular posterior tilt, a must for healthy overhead humeral activity. Supine and standing single-arm dumbbell protractions are good bets for dynamically training this small yet important muscle; scap pushups, scap dips, and scap pullups in which the athlete is instructed to keep the scapulae tight to the rib cage are effective isometric challenges to the serratus anterior. Concurrently, athletes with the classic postural problems should focus on loosening up the levator scapulae, upper traps, pecs, lats, and anterior delts. One must also consider if these postural distortions are compensatory for kinetic chain dysfunction at the lumbar spine, pelvis, or lower extremities. My colleague Mike Robertson and I have written extensively on this topic. Keep in mind that all of this advice won't make a bit of difference if you have terrible posture throughout the day, so pay as much attention to what you do outside the weight room as you do to what goes on inside it. Eric Cressey www.BuildingtheEfficientAthlete.com

shoulder-performance-dvdcover

Click here to purchase the most comprehensive shoulder resource available today: Optimal Shoulder Performance - From Rehabilitation to High Performance.
Read more
Page 1 254 255 256 257 258 264
LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series