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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 11/9/19

I hope you had a great weekend. Here's a little reading and listening material to kick off your week!

EC on the Inspiring Lives Podcast - I joined the crew at Athletic Greens on their podcast to talk coaching and business.

10 Assumptions You Should Stop Making About Your Clients - This might be my favorite blog post my business partner, Pete Dupuis, has ever written, as he covers a lot of common misconceptions of gym ownership.

Training the Hypermobile Client - I've features multiple articles about training hypermobile individuals on this site over the years, and Dean Somerset puts out some good information to complement those materials (you can find them here and here, if interested).

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One of the first things some individuals notice when they come to observe at @cresseysportsperformance is that we often pair “big bang” strength and power movements with lower intensity drills that might train mobility, balance, or arm care. As an example, we might pair a prone trap raise with a deadlift, or a hip mobility drill with a bench press. We call these low-intensity inclusions “fillers.” Truthfully, though, I’m not sure that this name does them justice, as “filler” seems to imply a lack of importance. In reality, I think these drills have a profound impact on improving each client/athlete’s session. Here are five reasons why.👊 . . What are some fillers you like to use and why? Please share your comments below!

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The Biggest Mistake in Program Design

Today's guest post comes from former Cressey Sports Performance intern and current Boston Bruins Head Performance Coach Kevin Neeld. It's timely, as he's a co-creator of the new Optimizing Adaptation and Performance resource that was just released. I've reviewed it and it's outstanding; definitely check it out HERE, as there's a $50 off introductory discount in place this week. -EC

My programs look at a lot different now than they did ten years ago. This is true despite my “big rock” principals and general exercise progression-regression strategies changing very little.

The evolution of my programs has come largely from acknowledging my own biases, recognizing parallel paths to the same training adaptation, and generally trying to avoid the major program design mistake of training the sport, not the athlete.

[bctt tweet="All athletes competing in the same sport do not have the same needs."]

This may seem like a simple statement, but the overwhelming majority of training programs are designed based on the demands of a sport, and not the specific needs of the athlete.

More Than Just Exercise Selection

My first exposure to this concept came early in my career when athletes showed up with a unique injury histories that required finding substitutions for exercises that provoked past injury symptoms.

This is certainly a step in the right direction, but effective program design involves a lot more than just picking exercises that won’t hurt.

Simply, exercise selection does not determine the physiological adaptation; loading parameters do.

The table below displays several common loading parameters, and the adaptation stimulus each creates within the athlete.

The same exercise can be used to groove a specific movement pattern, develop muscle size, increase maximum strength, and improve power.

Using movement-based assessments in conjunction with injury history to find exercises the athlete can perform correctly and safely is an important foundational step, but it won’t dictate the athlete’s training outcome.

Acknowledge Individual Goals

Each athlete trains for a different reason.

Some want to get bigger and stronger. Most want to get faster. Some simply want to be healthy (i.e. durable).

A general program with well-thought out phase progressions may lead to improvements in each of these areas, particularly in young and untrained athletes.

However, a general program is unlikely to optimize the development of the qualities the athlete is most interested in improving.

Several years ago, I started asking myself a simple question: “How would my approach change if my entire career depended on the success of this one athlete?”

Prior to wrestling with this question, I had overlooked opportunities to further individualize training programs because I over-emphasized logistical constraints to athletes following different programs within the same group, and frankly, I didn’t realize the results the athletes were getting weren’t as significant as they could be.

Consider two athletes that both have a 12-week off-season. One has a goal of putting on size and strength, and the other just wants to get faster. Will the same program lead to optimal improvements in both areas?

Unlikely.

Fixating on the Destination, Ignoring the Starting Line

Every time I’ve added a new assessment or test to my intake process, I’ve learned something.

For example, early on I thought all that was required to get an athlete to perform an exercise well was good coaching and a little practice.

When I first started implementing movement assessments, it became immediately apparent that athletes had wildly different structures and movement capacities, and that certain athletes simply could not get into optimal positions to perform specific exercises correctly.

Of course, unique characteristics don’t only apply to movement capacity, but to all physical qualities. This became really apparent when I started analyzing team/group test results using aggregate scores.

Aggregate scores combine performance in different tests of the same quality to create a score for that quality. For example, if a testing protocol involves 3-RMs in three different exercises (e.g. Trap Bar Deadlift, Pull-Up, and Bench Press), performance on the three tests could be combined to create a single “Strength” score.

With an appropriately comprehensive testing battery, these aggregate scores provide a very simple and effective tool for identifying the athlete’s performance profile, and communicating areas of need to the athlete.

The graph below presents four different athlete profiles. From left to the right, each column represents performance in Movement Capacity, Speed, Power, Upper Body Strength, Anaerobic Conditioning, and Aerobic Conditioning.

Red and green bars represent position averages and best performances, respectively.


Should these athletes follow the same program?

This process is extremely important for two reasons.

First, the athlete may not be communicating the most optimal training goal.

Athletes express training goals for different reasons. Ideally, the goal would be based on identifying a limiting factor that is preventing the athlete from earning an opportunity to compete at their desired level.

But frequently training goals are arrived at much more arbitrarily. For example, an athlete may want to get bigger and stronger because they have a friend (or older sibling) that is stronger.

Or they say they want to get faster…because that’s what everyone says, even if it’s not their most pressing need.

A comprehensive testing process can help illustrate the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses so decisions about the best training target can be discussed with better context.

Second, the athlete may not possess the fundamental physical capacity to make optimal progress in their desired training goal.

This comes back to a very straight-forward idea: even if the destination is the same, the starting point is not.

In the most simplistic terms, expressing speed requires creating high amounts of force, quickly, in efficient movement patterns.

If an athlete wants to improve speed, but lacks sufficient strength, creating a program that emphasizes improvements in the athlete’s ability to produce force will be the most effective “speed training” program for that athlete.

Alternatively, an athlete with above average speed but severely limited movement capacity may have the right “engine” to be fast, but can’t get into the optimal positions to express that engine’s capacity within efficient sport movements.

As a third example, another athlete may have above average strength and appropriate movement capacity, but simply can’t apply force quickly. This athlete will benefit from a program that emphasizes speed, power, and rate of force development.

Finally, an athlete may simply be under-trained and benefit from a more general program that addresses multiple qualities of need.

This may seem like a hypothetical scenario, but these are the exact cases presented in the graphs above.

Top Left: Lacks sufficient strength.
Bottom Left: Lacks sufficient movement capacity.
Top Right: Lacks speed/power
Bottom Right: Under-trained

Wrap Up

Optimizing an athlete’s training progress requires having an individualized target, and an in-depth understanding of the athlete’s current capabilities. It’s only with a clear vision of both the starting point, and destination that the most effective path can be determined.

The biggest change to my training programs came when I stopped thinking about how I could design the perfect program, and started asking how I could design the best program for a specific athlete to achieve a specific goal.

I’ll leave you with the question that still guides my program design decisions today: “How would your approach change if your entire career depended on the success of this one athlete?”

To learn more about Optimizing Adaptation and Performance from Kevin, Mike Potenza (San Jose Sharks), and James LaValle (authority in nutrition and supplementation), head HERE. It’s on sale for $50 off as an introductory discount, and I’d highly encourage you to give it a watch.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/28/19

I hope you had a great weekend. It's that time of the week again! Here's a little recommended reading and listening to kick off your week:

Optimizing Adaptation and Performance -This is a new resource from Mike Potenza (San Jose Sharks), Kevin Neeld (Boston Bruins), and James LaValle (authority in nutrition and supplementation) that provided some excellent insights for any health and human performance professional. I was fortunate to receive advanced access, and it's been fascinating. It's on sale for $50 off this week as an introductory discount.

EC on the Complete Sports Performance Podcast - Lee Taft interviewed me to learn more about how I got into the baseball niche, and what important considerations are present with this population.

Is Authenticity Overrated? - Pete Dupuis is my business partner at CSP-MA, and he's got a keen eye for culture in light of how ours has developed over the years. This writeup on authenticity fits right into that world.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Refining Rehab Approaches with Eric Schoenberg

We're excited to welcome physical therapist Eric Schoenberg to this week's podcast. Eric has extensive experience working with individuals from all walks of life, but specializes in working with baseball players. He'll serve as the physical therapist at the soon-to-open Cressey Sports Performance location in Palm Beach Gardens, FL starting on November 1 as well. In this episode, we discuss the typical challenges baseball players can see movement-wise, as well as how the rehab process can be improved across all populations.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Marc Pro. Head to www.MarcPro.com and enter the coupon code CRESSEY at checkout to receive 10% off on your order.

Show Outline

  • How Eric has evolved as a physical therapist since graduating from PT school
  • How learning to never settle for mediocrity and working to be more familiar with the world of strength and conditioning through CSP has allowed Eric to advance his physical therapy career
  • How being a high quality physical therapist involves appreciating the art of physical therapy as much as the science of the field
  • How Eric became an early adopter of Shirley Sahrmann’s work on movement system impairment syndromes
  • Why young physical therapists and health professionals should work to create their own philosophy for analyzing movement proficiency and how having a model for analyzing movement can help them make better decisions for their clients
  • Why has Eric deviated from the standard time-restricted, semi-private PT model and instead adopted a one-on-one, private model
  • Why the rehabilitation world should move away from its generalist perspective and encourage practitioners to specialize and refer out to others who have more experience rehabilitating a specific injury
  • Why experts need to drop their ego and be open to working with other professionals across the scope of health and human performance
  • What the most common movement impairments Eric sees in baseball players are
  • Where the biggest mistakes occur in the interaction between rehab specialists and strength and conditioning coaches
  • How being a father has influenced Eric’s perspective on youth athletics, the little league experience, and lifelong movement health
  • What big mistakes Eric is seeing in post-op baseball cases
  • How Eric manages transitioning athletes from being completely in the rehab setting back to training at full health over the course of the rehab process
  • What research Eric has been studying to continue to advance his career, and what books he recommends to all health professionals

You can follow Eric on Twitter at @CSP_PhysTherapy and on Instagram at @CSP_PhysTherapy. To contact him directly, you can email eric@diamondphystherapy.com.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Marc Pro, a cutting-edge EMS device that uses patented technology to create non-fatiguing muscle activation. Muscle activation with Marc Pro facilitates each stage of the body’s natural recovery process- similar to active recovery, but without the extra effort and muscle fatigue. Athletes can use it for as long as they need to ensure a more full and quick recovery in between training or games. With its portability and ease of use, players can use Marc Pro while traveling between games or while relaxing at home. Players and trainers from every MLB team - including over 200 pro pitchers - use Marc Pro. Put Marc Pro to the test for yourself with their new "Try Before you Buy" program, and use promo code CRESSEY at checkout at www.MarcPro.com for 10% off on your order.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/21/19

With the crazy baseball offseason underway and us in the thick of construction for the new facility in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, I haven't had a ton of time to write up new content. I have, however, continued to consume a lot of other peoples' stuff! Check out some good reads and listens from around the 'net:

Boo Schexnayder on the Complete Sports Performance Podcast - I thought this was an outstanding interview by Lee Taft with Boo, as they delved into topics like acceleration programming and plyometric progressions. It was a good reminder that one of the best characteristics of an elite coach is the ability to simplify even the most complex topics.

Be Like the Best - Anthony Renna did an amazing job pulling together this compilation of career advice from around the fitness industry. I'm was one of the interviews, and am currently working my way through it - and am picking up some great nuggets myself!

Yoga for Athletes: What Activation and Inhibition Matter More Than Stretching - I got a question about my thoughts on yoga for baseball players the other day, and it immediately reminded me that I should reincarnate this old article from my friend Dana Santas. She does a great job of relating the most important concepts for athletic populations when they undertake yoga.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/14/19

We're long overdue for a recommended reading/listening feature, so here goes!

Does "Feel" Matter with Core Stability Exercises? - I had a good conversation with one of our adult clients on this one just last week, and it reminded me to reincarnate this from the archives.

Ian Kadish on Athleticism, Work Capacity, and Arm Care in Baseball - This was a great podcast from Mike Robertson with my buddy, Ian Kadish. Ian did a great job in his first year as strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Twins in 2019.

The New Frontier in Baseball Rehab: Part 1 - This was a good podcast that serves as an excellent follow-up to my chat with Alan Jaeger a few weeks ago. Alan and Josh Heenan delve in further on the topic of rehab throwing programs on the Robby Row Show.

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Offseason Sale: Save $40 on Sturdy Shoulder Solutions!

The Major League Baseball regular season wrapped up yesterday - which means that the most exciting few weeks of the year at Cressey Sports Performance are upon us. Many pro guys roll back in for offseason training, and there's plenty of playoff baseball to watch every day.

To celebrate, I've put my resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions, on sale for $40 off through this upcoming Sunday (10/6) at midnight. This has been one of my most popular resources of all time, and it's particularly useful if you're planning to work with baseball players this offseason. Don't miss out on this great chance to pick it up at an excellent discount. Just head to www.SturdyShoulders.com and enter the coupon code OFFSEASON19 at checkout to get the discount.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/24/19

I hope you had a great weekend. We were super busy with the fall seminar at our MA location, and yesterday (Monday) was our business mentorship. While I didn't have time to pull together new content, I did curate some content from around the 'net for you.

Even More Complete Shoulder and Hip Blueprint - Dean Somerset and Tony Gentilcore's new product is on sale at a great price. The first installment had some really good nuggets, and I'm working my wife through the second one now; it's definitely living up to the hype as well. It's on sale for $70 off this week and comes with CEUs.

Lee Taft on the Biggest Coaching Mistakes in Speed Training - Lee Taft was a guest on Mike Robertson's podcast and he went through a ton of the most common challenges coaches face when teaching movement skills.

Tackling the Cranky Local Football Coach Conundrum - I spent all day yesterday hearing Pete Dupuis talk during our business mentorship, so you'd think that I'd be tired of him by now. Nope! This content is that important to coaches in the private sector.

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*PROGRESSION PRINCIPLES* 👇 Here are some principles to guide your strength training progressions. Keep in mind that there might be times when you might utilize more than one of these strategies at a time. Here are some examples of each: 1. Increase the resistance: pick heavier stuff up. 2. Increase the range-of-motion: progress from a a regular split squat to a split squat from a deficit 3. Make the base of support smaller: go from a bilateral to unilateral exercise 4. Raise the center of mass: switch from dumbbell lunges to barbell lunges. 5. Move the resistance further away from the axis of motion: switch from a trap bar deadlift to a conventional deadlift. 6. Add dynamic changes to the base of support: switch from a split squat to a lunge 7. Reduce the number of points of stability: switch from regular push-ups to 1-leg push-ups 8. Use an unstable surface: do ankle rehab balance drills on an unstable surface instead of the flat ground 9. Apply destabilizing torques to the system: do a 1-arm farmer's walk instead of a two-armed version 10. Increase the speed of movement/deceleration demands: move the bar faster concentrically, or switch from reverse lunges to forward lunges (more deceleration) 💪 Have another approach that you think should be included? Drop a comment below! 👍 Find this useful? Tag a friend, colleague, or lifting partner who could also benefit. 👊

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3 Thoughts for Getting the Glutes Going

Recently, I box squatted for the first time in a few months - and the posterior chain soreness I felt got me thinking about the functional anatomy in play, particularly with respect to the glutes. Here's what's rattling around my brain on that front (warning: functional anatomy heavy nerd post ahead).

1. People think of the gluteus maximus too much as a hip extensor and not enough as a posterior glider of the femoral head.

The gluteus maximus is an important prime mover of the hip - especially into hip extension. However, it's also a crucial stabilizer. The other hip extensors - hamstrings and adductor magnus - have inferior attachment points lower down on the femur.

Meanwhile, the gluteus maximus actually inserts higher up - right near the femoral head.

The result is that when you extend your hips with the hamstrings and adductor magnus, the head of the femur can glide forward in the socket and irritate the front of the hip. When you get adequate gluteus maximus contribution, it helps to reduce this anterior stress. In many ways, the glutes work as a rotator cuff of the hip (while the hamstrings and adductor magnus act like the lats and pecs, respectively).

2. Glute activation can be a game changer with respect to chronic quadratus lumborum (QL) tightness - but only if you perform exercises correctly.

Shirley Sahrmann and her disciples have frequently observed that whenever you see an overworked muscle, you should always look for a dysfunctional synergist. A common example at the shoulder is a cranky biceps tendon picking up the slack for an ineffective rotator cuff.

Quadratus lumborum fits the bill in the core/lower extremity because its attachment points unify the pelvis, lumbar spine, and ribs.

When it shortens, it pulls the spine into lateral flexion and the lumbar spine into extension. In other words, it can give you "fake" hip abduction and hip extension - both of which come from the glutes. Whether you're doing mini-band sidesteps, side-lying clams, or loading your hips in a pitching delivery, you need to make sure the movement is happening at the ball-socket (femoral head - acetabulum) rather than at the spine. And, when you're doing your prone hip extension, supine bridges, hip thrusts, and deadlifts, you want to make sure you're getting true hip extension and not just extra low back arching.

3. The eccentric role of the glutes in the lower extremity might be their most key contribution.

When heel strike happens, it kicks off the process of pronation in the lower extremity. This pronation drives internal rotation of the tibia and, in turn, the femur. There is a lot of ground reaction force and range of motion that must be controlled, so much of it is passed up the chain because we simply don't have that much cross-sectional area in the muscles below the knee. Because it functions in three planes of motion, the gluteus maximus is in an awesome position to help by slowing down femoral internal rotation, adduction, and flexion.

If you're looking to learn more about how functional anatomy impacts how you assess, coach, and program, I'd strongly encourage you to check out Mike Robertson's new Complete Coach Certification. I've had the opportunity to review it, and it's absolutely fantastic. You can learn more - and get a nice introductory discount - HERE.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/26/19

I hope you had a good weekend. Here's a list of recommended reading and listening for the week ahead:

EC on the Physical Preparation Podcast - This is my third time on Mike Robertson's podcast, and it's always a great time. Speaking of Mike, he's launching an awesome training certification in the next few weeks. I've had a chance to preview it, and it's outstanding stuff. You can learn more and get on the announcement list HERE.

EC on the Leave Your Mark Podcast -This was a fun podcast with Scott Livingston. We talked a lot more about my upbringing and how Cressey Sports Performance came to be than we did actual training stuff, so it's a good listen for anyone interested in career development.

I Got My Hip Replaced at 39. Here's Why That Might Get More Common - It's not often that you get an insightful article on a sports medicine topic, but this one was really good. Spoiler alert: hip replacements are getting much more durable - and it should continue in the decades ahead.

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So many people hate on big leg kicks because they think it makes things too high maintenance. I wish more people would realize that any potential drawbacks are usually outweighed by the fact that this unloading of the front leg increases back hip load and can actually make rotational force production more efficient because ideal direction is preserved. I don’t think the baseball or S&C field as a whole appreciates that a lot of athletes barely get into their back hips during hitting, pitching, med ball work, etc. Sometimes, a bigger leg lift in front is the quickest way to find the back hip. 💪 Congrats to @19boknows for a great start in the show. Lots of hard work rewarded, no doubt. Product of a great family - and a heck of a first hitting coach! #Repost @mlb @get_repost_easily #repost_easily ****** Start your day with some slow-mo Bo.

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