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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 6/19/17

I hope you all had a great Father's Day! It was my third one as a Dad, and I was fortunate to get in some reading and viewing during nap time so that I had material for this week's recommended resources! Check them out:

ASMI Injuries in Baseball Course - Mike Reinold just made this great course available online, and it's an absolute steal compared to what you would have to pay to travel and attend it. There's some excellent information from some of the top baseball sports medicine professionals in the world, so I'd call it "must watch" for anyone who trains or treats baseball players. It's on sale for $100 off through this weekend.  

Why are there so many MLB hamstrings injuries? - Lindsay Berra of MLB.com tackled this big injury topic with some help from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida's co-founder, Shane Rye.

4 Ways to Build Confidence for Powerlifting - I loved this article from Tony Bonvechio, who works with the women's powerlifting team at CSP. So few people pay attention to the mental side of lifting success, but this article delves into it nicely. I'll add another recommendation to go with it: Rookie Reminders is an interview withs several successful powerlifters on all the things to remember before your first meet. Picking the brains of those who've competed before you is one more way to build confidence in this regard. 

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Fitness Professionals: Competency vs. Fit

I have written several times in the past about how whenever the time comes to expand our staff at Cressey Sports Performance, we only hire from our internship program. In hiring, the goal is to get someone who is both competent for the job and a good fit for your culture. We can teach that competency in an internship, but just as importantly, an internship give us 3-5 months to evaluate whether an individual is the right fit from a personality standpoint. We actively involve our current staff in hiring to make sure that they're the ones helping to shape this culture. I can't recall exactly, but I believe I initially heard the competency/fit discussion in a book from Richard Branson and his hiring practices at Virgin.

This is an important lesson for all businesses, but particularly in the fitness industry. Many of your clients aren't intrinsically motivated to exercise; they probably don't get as excited about rolling out of bed and getting to the gym as us fitness nerds do. Rather, they may be more extrinsically motivated by a gym culture that makes exercise more palatable or even fun. If you hire someone who hurts your culture because they aren't a good fit in one way or other, your clients suffer.

What fitness professionals might not realize, however, is that the competency and fit consideration is also something that potential clients are considering in their mind (whether they recognize it or not) before they hire a trainer.

As an example, I am not a good fit if you are a ballerina. I might have all the knowledge that you need for a successful the design training program, but I don't look the part, nor can I speak the language.

Likewise, if I weighed 350 pounds and looked like an NFL offense lineman, I probably wouldn't be a good fit for the baseball players I train. The giant meathead persona actually turns a ton of them off. No matter how confident you are, being a bad fit overshadows that intellectual preparation. 

I also wouldn't be a good fit at Mark Fisher Fitness. My personality isn't theatrical enough, and I'm not the most creative or extroverted guy in the world. My skill set really wouldn't translate, especially since a lot of Broadway performers aren't really interested in throwing a baseball 95mph.

"Fit" was something I had to overcome in my initial work with baseball players. Because I only played up until 8th grade, I had to ask a lot more questions and do a lot more listening. I had to strap on the catcher's gear and catch bullpens. And, I had to work harder to become wildly competent on the actual training side to overcome the fact that I'm technically a baseball outsider. It's worked out well, but I often wonder if success would have come a bit more easily if I'd be a guy who played baseball all the way through college.

I think "fit" is also the area where many fitness professionals really struggle as they work to market themselves. The accomplished bodybuilder who wants to attract general population fat loss clients may have all the knowledge needed to be successful, but if he plasters his website with shirtless pictures of himself, he comes across as a "me guy" who could never understand the needs of a 45-year-old mother of two. And he might not realize this "look" terrifies some of those potential clients - even though this marketing pitch might work if he's trying to add other bodybuilders or fitness competitors as clients.

Likewise, a guy who loses 300 pounds to get to a fit 180 pounds might appeal to this more-easily-intimidated demongraphic, but not be a good fit at all for the competitive bodybuilder. Everyone has different wants, needs, and perceptions.

This quick observation has three key takeaways:

1. Competence is always of paramount importance, but it will be hard to show off your competence if you aren't a good fit.

2. We all have huge blind spots of which we aren't aware. Just as you strive to always work to improve your knowledge base and skill set, you should actively seek out people you trust to give you honest feedback about how they view your marketing message and how you present yourself.

3. This might be the most important thing: you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be a good fit for everyone. If you try to be everything to everyone, you'll wind up trying to ride a bunch of horses with one saddle. Having a few clearly defined "niches" usually is your best bet, and if you choose to expand into other niches, you're probably better off hiring someone who's a good fit for it. As I've said before, when it comes to long-term business development, look at this chart - and always try to trend down and to the right.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 6/14/17

We're 2/3 of the way through the MLB Draft, so I haven't had much time to write up new content. I'll have some video content later in the week, though. In the meantime, here's a little recommended reading from around the strength and conditioning world:

Manual Therapy: Neither Panacea Nor Gateway to Despair - Physical therapist Doug Kechijian discusses the current "state" of manual therapy in the health and human performance worlds and shows us that "it depends" is yet again the most important answer to just about any question we can ask.

Time Management for Personal Trainers - Eric Bach and Daniel Freedman wrote up this great post on how those in the fitness industry can get more efficient.

Deadlift Grip Considerations - I meant to include this in last week's edition, but completely forgot. As usual, great stuff from Dean Somerset.

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week 

 

These are the 110-pound dumbbells. It's on Instagram, so it must be true. #cspfamily #twinning #benchday

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The Dose-Response Relationship and Strength and Conditioning Progress

Like most competitive powerlifters, when I want to lift some really heavy weight, I bench press with a good sized arch in my lower back.  It shortens the range of motion, allowing me to press more weight. This positioning actually makes my shoulders feel better, but it's surely not "healthy" to take my spine into these more extreme ranges of motion while lifting a bunch of weight.

You know what else? I probably spend a grand total of 30-45 seconds per week in this potentially injurious position. The dose is incredibly low, so the response just has never been there (and I'm going on 14 years of doing it). I'm sure my likelihood of staying healthy is a bit higher because:

a) the rest of my training features a ton of variety
b) I don't arch to this extreme on every bench press rep
c) I’m able to reverse that lordotic curve just fine (I'm not locked in that position)

If a kid has a bowl of ice cream as a treat once a week, it’s no big deal. If he has it for every meal, that’s a problem. But what if he has only one bite of ice cream at each meal? Over the long haul, it probably isn't a huge deal. And what if the ice cream is watered down? Or plain vanilla instead of cookie dough? "Dose" is a function of a number of factors - and while you can "give" on one or two, it's hard to "give" on all of them and not wind up with an overweight kid.

There are countless parallels to this in strength and conditioning. Some exercises may be a bit more dangerous than others.

On the exercise selection front, back squatting and conventional deadlifts probably should be used sparingly (if at all) if you've got chronic low back pain.

In terms of training technique, everyone should try to avoid deadlifting with a rounded lower back, but many lifters "get away with it" because they exposure to this dangerous pattern is so limited.

A high-volume training program can be an amazing stimulus to kickstart new gains, but used to excess, it can be a problem.

Frequency wise, if you go high volume seven days per week, you'll break down, too.

From an intensity standpoint, testing your one-rep-max in every training session would be a great way to destroy your joints and make sure that you actually get weaker.

The point is that many different factors influence the "dose" of training you impose on your system, and that dose yields a very specific response. Understanding this complex relationship of programming variables and training techniques is paramount for yielding successful training outcomes.

However, this discussion should also bring you to an important realization: you usually can't comment on someone else's training program or technique unless you have knowledge of all these variables and their training history. Each situation is completely unique, so we should all resist the urge to be Monday Morning Quarterbacks. Seek to understand the processes at work instead of just judging the outcomes.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/29/17

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you're enjoying the long weekend with friends and family and, more importantly, honoring those we celebrate today. Here are some good reads from the fitness industry over the past week:

EC on the ABCA Calls from the Clubhouse Podcast - I was on a podcast interview with Jeremy Sheetinger, Alan Jaeger, and Kyle Boddy to discuss arm care and the long-term development of pitchers.

Hit Makers - I just finished this audiobook from Derek Thompson up and really enjoyed it. I found the following quote to be really logical, yet insightful: "A reader's favorite subject is the reader." 

Lateral Hip Shift During a Squat: What's Going On and What to Do About It? - This is an excellent post from Dean Somerset, who touches on all the different reasons that you might have a hip shift during your squatting, whether it's body weight only or under significant loading.

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week 

 

No spatula needed. #friedegg #promove #farmfresh

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Washington, DC Seminar Announcement: September 17, 2017

I just wanted to give you a heads-up on one-day seminar with me in Washington, DC on Sunday, September 17, 2017.

Cressey scapula

We’ll be spending the day geeking out on shoulders, as the event will cover Shoulder Assessment, Corrective Exercise, and Programming.  The event will be geared toward personal trainers, strength and conditioning professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Agenda

9:00AM-9:30AM – Inefficiency vs. Pathology (Lecture)
9:30AM-10:15AM – Understanding Common Shoulder Injuries and Conditions (Lecture)
10:15AM-10:30AM – Break
10:30AM-12:30PM – Upper Extremity Assessment (Lab)
12:30PM-1:30PM – Lunch
1:30PM-3:30PM – Upper Extremity Mobility/Activation/Strength Drills (Lab)
3:30PM-3:45PM – Break
3:45PM-4:45PM – Upper Extremity Strength and Conditioning Programming: What Really Is Appropriate? (Lecture)
4:45PM-5:00PM – Q&A to Wrap Up

Location

Beyond Strength Performance NOVA
21620 Ridgetop Circle
Suite 100
Dulles, VA 20166  

Continuing Education Credits

The event has previously been approved for 0.7 CEUs (7 contact hours) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and we expect it to be approved for this one shortly (application submitted).

Cost:

$149.99 early bird (through August 17), $199.99 regular (after August 17)

Note: we'll be capping the number of participants to ensure that there is a lot of presenter/attendee interaction - particularly during the hands-on workshop portion - so be sure to register early, as the previous offering sold out well in advance of the early-bird registration deadline.

Registration

Click here to register using our 100% secure server!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Questions? Please email ec@ericcressey.com.

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New York Seminar Announcement: August 20, 2017

I just wanted to give you a heads-up on one-day seminar with me in New York on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

Cressey scapula

We’ll be spending the day geeking out on shoulders, as the event will cover Shoulder Assessment, Corrective Exercise, and Programming.  The event will be geared toward personal trainers, strength and conditioning professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Agenda

9:00AM-9:30AM – Inefficiency vs. Pathology (Lecture)
9:30AM-10:15AM – Understanding Common Shoulder Injuries and Conditions (Lecture)
10:15AM-10:30AM – Break
10:30AM-12:30PM – Upper Extremity Assessment (Lab)
12:30PM-1:30PM – Lunch
1:30PM-3:30PM – Upper Extremity Mobility/Activation/Strength Drills (Lab)
3:30PM-3:45PM – Break
3:45PM-4:45PM – Upper Extremity Strength and Conditioning Programming: What Really Is Appropriate? (Lecture)
4:45PM-5:00PM – Q&A to Wrap Up

Location

Solace NY
38 East 32nd St.
New York, NY 10016

Continuing Education Credits

The event has previously been approved for 0.7 CEUs (7 contact hours) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and we expect it to be approved for this one shortly (application submitted).

Cost:

$149.99 early bird (through July 20), $199.99 regular (after July 20)

Note: we'll be capping the number of participants to ensure that there is a lot of presenter/attendee interaction - particularly during the hands-on workshop portion - so be sure to register early, as the previous offering sold out well in advance of the early-bird registration deadline.

Registration

Click here to register using our 100% secure server!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Questions? Please email ec@ericcressey.com.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/15/17

I skipped a week of this recommended reading installment, but I'm happy to report that it allowed me to stockpile a little extra content for you. So, here are six recommendations instead of my normal three:

Why a Pro Approach Will Fail When Coaching the Youth Athlete - Former Cressey Sports Performance intern John Dusel wrote this great post for Nancy Newell's site.

4 Steps to Deeper Learning - My good friend Mike Robertson wrote this up with up-and-coming strength and conditioning coaches in mind, but the lessons really apply to any industry.

Does Diet Soda Cause Strokes and Dementia? - As always, the crew at Examine.com cut through the noise and give you the low down on recently published research.

The Truth About Kids and Resistance Training - I received a question the other day about whether resistance training was appropriate for kids, and I quickly "referred out"...to myself! I wrote this article up eight years ago and it's still right on target.

The San Antonio Spurs, Made with 100 Percent Juice - This is a nice shoutout to Brian St. Pierre for his nutrition work with the Spurs.

Want a White Collar To-Do List? Start With Some Blue Collar Work - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, shares some insights on the entrepreneurial side of fitness.

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week

 

I guess this struck a chord with some people.

A post shared by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on

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Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 7

I didn't get around to writing up one of these blogs in the month of April, so here's an edition for May. Before I do, though, I should give you a quick heads-up about a one-day business mentorship my business partner, Pete Dupuis, and I are running at our Massachusetts facility on June 16. We did a casual social media announcement and have already sold out 15 of the 20 spots, so don't delay if you're interested. This is a great fit for anyone who owns a gym or aspires to do so. You can learn more HERE.

1. Let other people make the mistakes for you.

I posted this Tweet a little over a year ago, and it got quite a bit of love.

I'll venture a bold assertion: the fitness industry is really bad in this regard. Maybe it's the combination of:

a. competitiveness we get from former athletes

b. stubbornness we get from being willing to endure brutal training protocols ourselves

c. a lot of people jumping into entrepreneurship simply because they like to exercise, not because they really understand what goes into running a business

Whatever it is, the most successful gym owners I know are the ones who have reached out to people who've failed (sometimes miserably) before them to learn their lessons. The ones that struggle to have this success seem to always fail for the same old reasons, not new ones.

I'm sure this is common in many industries, but the fitness industry has got to be pretty high up there. I think that's why Pete and I are in a good place to teach the aforementioned mentorship. We've been screwing up and learning from it for ten years now! 

2. Don't criticize what you don't understand.

A few weeks ago, there was a highly publicized arm injury in Major League Baseball. I got calls/emails from three separate major media outlets asking if I could comment on how mismanagement may have contributed to the problem. I politely declined all the interviews.

It's not my place to pass judgement on anyone else without having full knowledge of a situation - and even then, hindsight is always 20/20. I choose to try to stay unconditionally positive and work on finding solutions instead of pointing out more problems. Moreover, being a Monday Morning Quarterback will invariably come back to bite you in the butt; the fitness and strength and conditioning fields are a very small world. Stay positive.

3. Use "impostor syndrome" to your advantage.

In a recent Facebook Q&A, someone asked about "times when you've experienced, and how you've handled, impostor syndrome. I say that because in the past, when it's crept up on me, I've specifically thought 'I wonder how Cressey handles this.' Because we all do, I wonder how even undeniably successful and accomplished coaches process it."

Wikipedia defines impostor syndrome as "a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a 'fraud.' The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be."

Here was my response: "There are actually a ton of founders of big companies who are massively pessimistic about their businesses. Noam Wasserman writes about this in The Founder's Dilemmas. I think it parallels a lot of high level athletes like Jordan, Kobe, etc. who are insanely critical of themselves and always looking to improve on something. So, my response would be that I am very hard on myself and my businesses, and always looking for ways to improve. My feeling is that it's normal and probably even healthy to second guess yourself - but only if you direct that mindset toward continuous improvement, as opposed to wallowing in frustration."

As is often the case, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. I just choose to use it to make me better instead of dragging me down. 

4. If you want to really learn something, teach it.

I've been to a number of seminars over the years and repeatedly heard the phrase, "The hardest day is Monday." In other words, the hardest part of the educational experience is knowing how to apply it after a weekend course is over. 

This is why we often use Cressey Sports Performance staff in-services as opportunities of our coaches to share - or teach - what they learned to the rest of their staff. Three things happen in these instances:

a. The attendee is forced to go back through his notes and "reiterate" the most important points.

b. The attendee has to learn how to take complex topics and make them understandable to an informed audience (our staff) before they go to a less informed audience (our clients), so there is a progressive simplification of things.

c. The rest of the staff helps to clarify how these new principles fit in our overall programming and coaching philosophies. They'll call BS if they see it, too.

Effectively, being forced to teach new topics shortly after you've learned about them serves as an audit that allows you to get to the useful, applicable information as quickly as possible. If you're looking to improve your approach to professional development, start teaching more!  

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Optimizing the Big 3: August 20, 2017

We're excited to announce that on August 20, 2017 Greg Robins will be delivering his one-day seminar, “Optimizing the Big 3″ alongside fellow Cressey Sport Performance Coach Tony Bonvechio. This event, which will take place at our Hudson, MA location, is a a great chance for strength and conditioning professionals to learn from the best. And, it's also been very popular with athletes who have an interest in improving the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

unnamed-3

“Optimizing the Big 3” is a one-day seminar for towards those looking to improve the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Split into both a lecture and hands-on format, the event will provide attendees with practical coaching on the technique of the classic power lifts. Additionally, Greg and Tony will cover how to individualize movement preparation, utilize supplementary movements, and organize their training around a central focus: improved strength in these “big three” movements. Furthermore, they'll touch upon the lessons learned in preparation for your first few meets to help you navigate everything from equipment selection to meet-day logistics.

The value in learning from Greg is a matter of perspective. He has a wealth of knowledge, and has experience stemming from various experiences as a coach and lifter. Greg will effectively shed light on how he has applied movement principles, athletic performance modalities, and anecdotal evidence from working with a wide variety of different populations to optimize the technique, health, and improvements in strength of amateur lifters.

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Agenda

8:30-9:00AM: Check-in/Registration

9:00-11:00AM: Maximal Strength Training Theory – The main lecture of the day will be focused on the principles of how to assess where you (or your athletes) are in terms of training history and how that determines what kind of training loads should be used. Furthermore, this lecture will focus on principles of managing stressors and how to assign proper loading parameters for different level lifters. Last will be a discussion of the cornerstones of training vs. planning, as well as a look at the commonalities and differences of different training approaches.

11:00AM-12:00PM: Managing the Strength Athlete: Assessing and Meeting the Demands of the Lifter – Learn what demands a high amount of volume in the classic lifts puts on the body; how to assess for it in others and yourself; and what you can do to manage the stress associated with these demands.

12:00-12:30PM: Group Warm-up

12:30AM-1:15PM: Squat Hands-on Session

1:15-1:30PM: Squat Recap, Programming Considerations, and Video Review

unnamed-5

1:30-2:15PM: Lunch (on your own)

2:15-3:00PM: Bench Press Hands-on Session

3:00-3:15PM: Bench Press Recap, Programming Considerations, and Video Review

3:15-4:00PM: Deadlift Hands-on Session

4:00-4:15PM: Deadlift Recap, Programming Considerations, and Video Review

unnamed-6

4:15-5:00PM: Final Q&A

Date/Location:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Cressey Sports Performance
577 Main St.
Suite 310
Hudson, MA 01749 

CP579609_10151227364655388_1116681132_n-300x200

Registration Fee:

$149.99 early bird (through July 20), $199.99 regular (after July 20)

Click here to register using our 100% secure server!

Note: we’ll be capping the number of participants to ensure that there is a lot of presenter/attendee interaction – particularly during the hands-on workshop portion – so be sure to register early, as the previous offerings have both sold out well in advance of the early-bird registration deadline.

On the fence? Here is what previous attendees have to say...

"Greg Robins has constructed one of the most comprehensive seminars that I have ever attended. I’ve had the opportunity to not only attend The Big 3, but host it at my gym as well. I truly believe that every coach and/or individual who's interested in mastering the squat, bench, and deadlift absolutely must attend this workshop. Greg is loaded with knowledge and learning directly from him has greatly impacted my ability to coach my clients and athletes."
-Chris Semick 
Co-Owner, War Horse Barbell - Philadelphia, PA

"Attending the Big 3 Workshop with Greg Robins and Tony Bonvechio was the best thing to happen to my barbell training. After taking close to 20+ years off from working with a barbell I decided to attend the Big 3 workshop to receive excellent coaching and guidance in training. In my experience as a healthcare provider (ATC) a strength coach and a kettlebell instructor this course has helped myself and my clients significantly. I was able to relate all the movements to rehabilitation, strength training and kettlebell training I perform with clients and this helps me to give them a better transition back to sport and training. I would happily attend this workshop again to continue to learn and dial in the Big 3 movements. Just one day with these two professionals is not enough time to soak in all the knowledge!"

-Eric Gahan
Co-Owner, Iron Body Studios

"Greg Robins is the epitome of high integrity, an unparalleled work ethic, and a true passion and dedication toward making those around him better. His Optimizing The Big 3 Workshop is no different. After attending this workshop while also being a personal client of Greg's, I've increased numbers in all 3 lifts, and improved my overall strength by leaps and bounds in the process. Greg is the real deal. Don't hesitate - just go."

-Matt Ibrahim
Owner, Movement Resilience

And some video proof...

Click here to register!

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