Home Blog (Page 258)

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

The Smartest Pug Alive

My Lower Back Pain and the Fitness Professional blog was quite possibly my most popular ever. I received dozens of emails and comments in response – and most of them were to express shock or disgust about the lack of regulation in the fitness industry. It’s even worse than I hinted, though… Josef Brandenburg, a great trainer based in Washington, DC, wins the award for the best reply to my initial blog – because he sent along a picture of his pet pug. This isn’t just any ordinary dog, though; this pug – Calhoun J. Pigglesworth, III – managed to become a certified personal trainer thanks to the lovely world of online education. The scary part is that just from hanging around Josef, he’d still probably be one of the better trainers around. You can find out more about Josef at www.thebodyyouwant.com. "In my ten years in the fitness industry, I have been to many seminars and conferences – but the Building the Efficient Athlete Seminar was by far the most informative and comprehensive event I have attended in as long as I can remember. The amount of knowledge you get when you combine Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson is unparalleled. The seminar was filled with great classroom information, hands-on assessments, and on-site training tips. I highly recommend this DVD set to any coach, trainer, or athlete who is looking to get a leg up on the competition." Mike Hanley, USAW, RKC Marlboro, NJ www.BuildingTheEfficientAthlete.com
Read more

Maximum Muscularity: Kickstart Your Day

You're going to watch SportsCenter anyway, right? Why not jump on a treadmill or bike for 20-45 minutes while taking in the "Plays of the Week?" On the other hand, if infomercials and cooking shows suit your fancy, then we recommend you shell out five payments of $49.95 for "Saggy Man Breasts for Dummies;" you probably aren't cut out for Maximum Muscularity. This activity is, of course, optional and by no means needs to be done indoors. Intensity should be kept at 40-60% of heart rate reserve. At this low intensity, the majority of energy will be derived from plasma fatty acids (i.e. broken down from adipose tissue) (1) and will give your metabolism a brief kick in the pants without sacrificing precious lean body mass (1). Prior to these low-intensity sessions, one can utilize stimulants (i.e. caffeine and ephedrine) and other fat mobilizers (i.e. yohimbine). These implements will enable you to maximize adipose tissue lipolysis without worrying about any unfavorable consequences in terms of insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal, as these sessions will not be followed immediately by carbohydrate-laden meals. The half-life of caffeine is broadly defined as 3-7 hours, depending on dosage and activity (exercise decreases this time period) (3). Assuming that you are leaving adequate time (i.e. 5 hours) between your morning java wave and any carbohydrate-containing meal, consumption of caffeine in the morning should not be problematic. Also of note, researchers have noted a 3-4% increase in metabolic rate in the 2.5 hours following ingestion of 100mg caffeine (4). We don't know about you, but we're all for maximizing our metabolic rates during the time of day where lipolysis is highest! Stay tuned as this series unfolds! Eric Cressey www.EricCressey.com
Read more

Introduction to the Maximum Muscularity Series

Typically, whenever a trainee aspiring to improve his physique utters, "I want to gain muscle and lose fat...", he is immediately greeted by eager critics from opposite ends of the spectrum. First, there are those experts that pounce on the opportunity to suppress such a bold quest. They proclaim that such a task is doomed for failure, and simply respond with an unscientific, "You can't. Choose one or the other." In contrast, there are those that say that such a mission is rather simple. While the former cynics are just downright ignorant, the latter faction is just as useless, offering no other advice than one must train hard and eat right. Uh, duh! With that in mind, we'd like to introduce a plan that we feel will lead to what many call the Holy Grail of Bodybuilding: Maximum Muscularity. The term "Maximum Muscularity" elicits a beautiful vision of the classic physique of someone like Arnold or Serge Nubret. Maximum Muscularity isn't just about being ripped...yet of beanpole proportions, nor is it just about being huge--yet uncomfortably rotund. Rather, Maximum Muscularity is fusion of the two: being Ripped and Huge; it's about becoming a walking, super-sized anatomy chart. It's about pushing the envelope of one's capabilities to add muscle and lose fat. In a broad sense, the ultimate goal of Maximum Muscularity is to gain muscle mass and lose fat mass. However, the principles of Maximum Muscularity also apply to gaining muscle while keeping bodyfat constant OR to losing fat while maintaining all hard-earned muscle--both scenarios involve a drop in percent body fat. The context in which you view the aforementioned goals is paramount to the realization of these favorable scenarios. Rather than asking "How do I gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?", we ask you to ponder, "How do I gain muscle and lose fat in the same training period?" Our reasoning is very simple; at any given moment in time, the body is either in a state of anabolism (i.e. tissue-synthesizing: muscle or fat gain) or catabolism (tissue-destroying: breakdown of triglyceride, glycogen or protein stores). This is not to say, however, that one cannot control the shift from anabolism to catabolism or vice versa at various times throughout the day. With the Maximum Muscularity protocol, you will do just that. This approach departs from the traditional Bulk and Cut scheme to which so many trainees adhere. This plan is especially well suited to those individuals who tend to store fat easily and gain more fat than muscle during traditional bulking cycles; it can and should be applied year-round and for long-term purposes. In short, there is absolutely no need to deviate from the Maximum Muscularity plan, as it is easily adapted to suit any physique goal and provides great versatility. Gaining muscle and losing fat in the same training period is the culmination of diligent training and dietary practices. Paramount to achieving this lofty goal is the creation of a superior anabolic state and enhanced insulin sensitivity through various dietary and training measures. From a nutritional standpoint, you'll be paying specific attention to nutrient timing and energy intake to capitalize on and manage your body's hormonal milieu in order to promote muscle gain and fat loss. Likewise, your training protocol is of paramount importance to providing the anabolic and metabolic stimuli necessary to accomplish such a mythical feat. That said, stay-tuned as this series unfolds. a special thanks to Tim Skwiat who co-authored this series Eric Cressey www.EricCressey.com
Read more

A Simple Cressey-ism from Tuesday Night

"Horizontal stripes, white clothes, carbs, and aerobic exercise are a recipe for being fat. Vertical stripes, black clothes, protein, and lifting/interval training make a lean casserole." Eric Cressey
Read more

Fixing the Flaws: Weak Neck Musculature

The neck is especially important in contact sports such as football and rugby, where neck strength in all planes is highly valuable in preventing injuries that may result from collisions and violent jerking of the neck. Neck harnesses, manual resistance, and even four-way neck machines are all good bets along these lines, as training the neck can be somewhat awkward. From a postural standpoint, specific work for the neck flexors is an effective means of correcting forward head posture when paired with stretches for the levator scapulae and upper traps as well as specific interventions to reduce postural abnormalities at the scapulae, humeri, and thoracic spine. In this regard, unweighted chin tucks for high reps throughout the day are all that one really needs. This is a small training price to pay when you consider that forward head posture has been linked with chronic headaches. Eric Cressey www.BuildingtheEfficientAthlete.com
Read more

Lower Back Pain and the Fitness Professional

Some amazing statistics for you: • 80% of Americans have lower back pain at some point in their lives. • At any given moment, 31 million Americans are experiencing back pain. That’s roughly one out of every ten people you encounter every day! • More than 50% of all American employees have back pain each year. In fact, back pain is second only to upper respiratory infections as a leading cause for doctor’s office. • Each year, Americans spend more than $50 BILLION on back pain – and this estimate is very conservative, given that not all associated costs are easily identified. Now, consider that the basis for modern physical therapy is exercise. However, we can’t send everyone to physical therapy for every minor ache and pain – so fitness professionals need to pick up the slack. To that end, Dr. Stuart McGill – the world’s premier spine biomechanist – has published several fantastic books and countless journal articles dealing with how to train for Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance. Unfortunately, while you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. In January, I spoke to a crowd of roughly 115 fitness professionals in Atlanta. When I asked how many of them had heard of Stuart McGill, five hands went up. This past weekend, my first lecture in Maryland was attended by 90 fitness professionals; three hands went up to acknowledge that they had heard of Dr. McGill. Want to know who four of these eight people were? • Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Chuck Wolf – the three other presenters in Atlanta • Brett Jones – one of the other presenters in Maryland Factor me in, and you see that if you had read Dr. McGill’s work, you stood a 60% chance of being a speaker at one of these two highly respected conferences in the fitness industry. Go figure: the ones who have put in the legwork to read and get better are the ones who are presenting instead of just attending. Funny how that works, isn’t it? The truth is that we exist in an extremely unregulated industry. On one hand, it’s a bad thing, in that all trainers quickly get a bad rap because their incompetent weekend certification trainers are ruining spines with sit-ups, hyperextension machines, and leg presses. However, on the other hand, it makes it that much easier to differentiate yourself as being top-notch. Do you want to be the one hurting people or helping them? Two investments every trainer should own if they want to be in the top 10% of their field in a matter of one week of reading and viewing: Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance Building the Efficient Athlete Eric Cressey
Read more

Fixing the Flaws: Weak Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO)

The VMO is important not only in contributing to knee extension (specifically, terminal knee extension), but also enhancing stability via its role in preventing excessive lateral tracking of the patella. The vast majority of patellar tracking problems are related to tight iliotibial bands and lateral retinaculum and a weak VMO. While considerable research has been devoted to finding a good "isolation" exercise for the VMO (at the expense of the overactive vastus lateralis), there has been little success on this front. However, anecdotally, many performance enhancement coaches have found that performing squats through a full range of motion will enhance knee stability, potentially through contributions from the VMO related to the position of greater knee flexion and increased involvement of the adductor magnus, a hip extensor. Increased activation of the posterior chain may also be a contributing factor to this reduction in knee pain, as stronger hip musculature can take some of the load off of the knee stabilizers. As such, I make a point of including a significant amount of full range of motion squats and single-leg closed chain exercises (e.g. lunges, step-ups) year-round, and prioritize these movements even more in the early off-season for athletes (e.g. runners, hockey players) who do not get a large amount of knee-flexion in the closed-chain position in their regular sport participation. Eric Cressey www.BuildingtheEfficientAthlete.com
Read more
Page 1 256 257 258 259 260 265
LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series