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New Cressey Sports Performance Baseball Caps!

For the first time in a few years, we've got a new model CSP baseball cap available. They're the popular Richardson Original 112 Trucker Model with an adjustable snapback, and go for $34.99 plus shipping and handling:

CLICK HERE to order using our 100% secure server!

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Relative Stiffness Coaching Principles

I've written and lectured often about the importance of understanding relative stiffness for both rehabilitation and fitness professionals. Relative stiffness - also known as regional interdependence and (indirectly) the "Joint-by-Joint Approach" is a vital concept that underpins all human movement (both functional and dysfunctional).

This excerpt from our popular resource, Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement, demonstrates that behind every successful coaching cue is a collection of important relative stiffness coaching principles:

These are super important coaching principles that I wish I'd fully grasped when I was first starting out in the strength and conditioning field, so I'd encourage you to share the video with any other coaches who you think would benefit.

Also, don't forget that the entire Functional Stability Training offering is on sale for 25% off through Monday at midnight using coupon code BF2023 att www.FunctionalStability.com. You can also learn about the rest of my 25% offering HERE.

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2023 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales!

Just like everyone else on the planet, I'm offering some great Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. We're just going to kick it off a week early so you have time to sort through it all! From now through Monday (11/27) at midnight, you can get 25% off the following resources by using the coupon code BF2023 at checkout.

These eight resources can be purchased through my secure website:

Sturdy Shoulder Solutions - My most recent product release delves going into a ton of depth on some important topics with respect to upper extremity evaluation, programming, and training. Learn more HERE.

CSP Innovations - A collaborative effort by the Cressey Sports Performance staff about a variety of topics. Learn more HERE.

The Specialization Success Guide - A great resource for those looking to pursue strength gains on the big three (squat, bench press, deadlift). Learn more HERE.

The Ultimate Offseason Training Manual - This was the first book I wrote, and it's stood the test of time because of how much of the writing was based on principles that'll last forever. Learn more HERE.

Understanding and Coaching the Anterior Core - A presentation that will bring you up to speed on an important aspect of core training for health and high performance. Learn more HERE.

The Truth About Unstable Surface Training - This e-book covers one of the more controversial topics in the training and rehabilitation worlds today. Learn more HERE.

Everything Elbow - A quick presentation that highlights the key aspects of taking care of throwing elbows. Learn more HERE.

The Art of the Deload - A special report that helps you sort through various approaches to deloading in training programs. Learn more HERE.

And, these two resources I co-created with Mike Reinold can be purchased through his website:

Functional Stability Training (includes Core, Upper, Lower, and Optimizing Movement) - We cover everything from assessment, to programming, to coaching cues, to bridging the gap between rehab and high performance.

Optimal Shoulder Performance - This is a great "primer" on the basics of the shoulder.

Remember, just enter BF2023 to get the discount.


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So You Can’t Squat?

The squat has been hailed as “the king” of all strength training exercises – and rightfully so; it’s a compound exercise that activates a ton of muscle mass and improves lower body strength and athleticism arguably better than any other exercise. The only problem?

A lot of people have horrendous squat patterns.

Seriously, some people put a bar across their upper back and immediately start to look like the brutally unathletic kid who always got picked last during the recess football draft during elementary school. No matter how much he liked football, it didn’t matter because his body was fighting him the entire way.

Now, there are a lot of different reasons your squat pattern might be out of whack. It could be a mobility problem, a stability problem, or just a technical flaw. Regardless, you don’t just want to plow through things; you need to earn the right to squat under load. With that said, I want to use today’s article to discuss a five options for replacing squatting in your program without losing out on the ability to really crush your lower body. With The High Performance Handbook on sale for $50 off through tonight at midnight, it seemed like a good time to highlight how any effective strength and conditioning program is versatile enough to be modified for different goals and movement patterns.

Option 1: Simply elevate the heels.

I used to be down on squatting with a heel lift, but the truth is that it's a pretty fool-proof way to quickly reposition the center of mass and help folks get depth. A 5- or 10-pound plate works fine, but I really prefer using a firmer slantboard/wedge whenever possible, as it's a sturdy, uniform construction.

Option 2: Use box squat variations.

The great thing about the box squat is that it’s more about sitting back than it is sitting down. As a result, you can get the benefits of axial loading – the bar on your upper back (back squat) or the front of your shoulders (front squat) – without the same hip and ankle mobility requirements.

You’ll build up more of your posterior chain – glutes, hamstrings, and adductor magnus – with the box squat, but that’s certainly not a bad thing for most lifters!

Just be mindful about not getting ultra wide with your stance and arching your lower back aggressively through the entire set. That might be good for powerlifters looking to shorten their ROM, but it's not ideal for long-term health.

Option 3: Try axial-loaded single-leg exercises.

Squatting heavy is definitely hard. However, doing really heavy single-leg work can be even more brutal on your lower body because you have to do twice as many sets (left and right). Here’s one of my favorites:

As an added bonus, single-leg work tends to be more spine friendly, for those of you with cranky lower backs.

Option 4: Deadlift more frequently.

If squats are king, the deadlifts have to at least be the heir to the throne, as there are a lot of people who’d insist that lifters actually get more out of heavy deadlifts. And, while they’ll build you up differently than squat variations do, at the end of the day, as long as you’re including a wide variety of exercises in your strength training program, the difference between one squat vs. deadlift session per week will be negligible.

Option 5. Try high-rep goblet squats.

In many cases, giving someone a counterbalance out in front can help them to correctly groove a squat pattern. With that in mind, high-rep goblet squats can be a great finisher to a lower body training session. Try doing two sets of 30 reps, or one set of 50:

You can also do 1-arm KB front squats, where you just hold the KB in the rack position. Doing a set of 10/side can be incredibly fatiguing.

Option 6. Try pistol squat variations.

The biggest concern with poor squat form with a bar on your back is that you’ll go unto lumbar flexion (rounded lower back) under load. With pistol squat variations, you won’t be using much (if any) external loading, so you don’t need to worry about going into a little bit of lower back rounding. If you’re looking for the best replacement for deeper squatting, I think the best bet is the band-assisted pistol squat in the rack, where you use a band as an accommodating resistance. The higher up on the band you hold, the easier the exercise will be.


It goes without saying that the best programs are the ones that are customized to your unique issues – one of which may be an inability to squat. And, just because you can’t squat doesn’t mean that you can’t still get after it in the gym.

If you’re looking for a strength and conditioning program that includes self-assessments so that you can identify your unique needs, I’d encourage you to check out my flagship resource, The High Performance Handbook. It’s on sale for $50 off through tonight at midnight. For more information, click here.

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Our Favorite 3D Strap Drills – Installment 2

I'm back with the second installment of our series on our favorite 3D Strap exercises at Cressey Sports Performance. In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 from Ethan Dyer. Here are four more CSP "regulars:"

1. 3D Strap Assisted Coil from Low Setting - this an awesome "feel" drill for athletes who need to grasp how to leverage the transverse plane (hip rotation) during lower extremity contributions to rotational power.


2. 3D Strap Lateral Lunge w/Rotation to Slantboard - this variation builds on the previous option, as you get more range of motion and speed of movement into the coil.


3. Split-Stance 3D Strap Hip Airplanes - this is an excellent drill for making mobility stick after traditional ground based drills and positional breathing.


4. Adductor Stretch with Offset 3D Strap Assisted Extension-Rotation - here's a great combination hip and thoracic mobility drill. Normally, it's super advanced, but the strap assistance helps athletes to tap into more of their ROM by minimizing how much they have to compete against gravity.


As you can see, these 3D straps add a ton of options to your training bag of tricks. I'd strongly encourage you to check them out at www.WhatsThatStrap.com and enter coupon code CRESSEY at checkout for free shipping on your order.

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Our Favorite 3D Strap Drills – Installment 1

We use the 3D Strap a ton with our athletes, so I encouraged Cressey Sports Performance - MA coach Ethan Dyer to record a few of his favorite drills to share with a larger audience. Here they are (and I'll be chiming in with a second installment of this article myself very soon).

Also, if you haven't started using the 3D Strap with your athletes, I'd strongly encourage you to do so; they add a ton of options to your training bag of tricks. Definitely check them out at www.WhatsThatStrap.com and enter coupon code CRESSEY at checkout for free shipping on your order.

Enjoy! -EC

1. 3D Strap Lateral Sled Drag: One of the most notable benefits of the 3D Strap for baseball and softball athletes is that it doesn’t require any gripping. This means we can load up activities like reverse and lateral sled drags without having to worry about the neural and local fatigue associated with frying our grip and forearms, particularly in-season.


2. 3D Strap Lateral Rotation: This is a piece of equipment that allows for significant tactile and sensory feedback while executing certain drills, like this lateral rotation. The helical, compressive forces and leading effect that the strap provides is unique and gives us plenty of ‘feel’ based options for our rotational athletes.


3. 3D Strap-Assisted Bowler Squat: The 3D Strap provides a ton of value for loaded single leg activities like this bowler squat. In addition to the previously mentioned ‘feel’ based input we get, we’re able to add significant loading to exercises where we might be looking for resisted or assisted range of motion.


4. Split-Stance 3D Strap-Resisted Row w/Alternate Arm Reach: Even in post-surgical contexts, we can drive rotation through the upper body without needing to do any gripping. This may be less significant loading than an actual cable row, but if we’re looking to restore / maintain range of motion at the ribcage post-surgery, this kind of activity can be an excellent choice.


5. 3D Strap-Resisted Heiden with Stick: The strap isn’t a band, meaning it’s non-elastic. Because of this we can get more out of activities like resisted jumps for certain athletes. When we yank on the strap the force is applied over a very small amount of time, which should bias getting into and out of the cut with greater velocity. This cannot be done to the same extent with a band, making the 3D Strap a useful tool while programming for change of direction or return to run progressions.


As you can see, this is an awesome piece of equipment that can really yield a variety of training benefits. We'll be back soon with more of our favorites, but in the meantime, you can check it out at www.WhatsThatStrap.com and enter coupon code CRESSEY at checkout for free shipping.

About the Author

Ethan Dyer serves as a Strength & Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. He started as a client at CSP and eventually went on to intern at CSP-MA. Following another internship at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, Ethan joined the CSP-MA team. He was a pitcher at the College of the Holy Cross before transferring to Endicott College to complete his undergraduate work with a major in Exercise Science and minor in Psychology. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Ethan has been a volunteer with both the Miracle League and Special Olympics, and has a passion for working with young athletes to help them fall in love with training while avoiding injury. You can follow him on Instagram at @Ethan___Dyer.

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Cressey Sports Performance – Florida Job Posting: Social Media Coordinator and Marketing Assistant

Cressey Sports Performance – Florida is looking for the newest member of our team: a Social Media Coordinator and Marketing Assistant.

This position will be heavily involved in CSP’s marketing efforts related to both our in-person training offering and online presence (newsletter, podcast, distance-based coaching). This is a full-time salaried position with benefits, and would require a regular presence in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.


• Oversee Social Media accounts for Cressey Sports Performance
• Assist in creating the overall marketing plan for Cressey Sports Performance and related entities
• Organize Cressey Sports Performance newsletter
• Develop and implement new, fresh ideas to promote the CSP Experience
• Organize content to be used for corporate sponsorship fulfillment
• Assist in community outreach and coordinating events at CSP
• Editing and graphic design for the CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast
• Be constantly looking for new ideas and ways to help improve the CSP experience for our clients!
• Other duties as assigned


• Experience in commercial social media and marketing experience is preferred
• Excellent communication and organization skills
• Familiarity with the game of baseball, preferably at the collegiate or professional level
• A “can-do” attitude that is willing to put in the work to set a high standard
• Graphic design and podcast editing experience is preferred

Applicants can submit resumes and cover letters as a single PDF document to CareersatCSP@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2023.

Cressey Sports Performance is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship status, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under local, state, or federal laws.


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Exercise of the Week: Acumobility Ball on Quadratus Lumborum

I posted five years ago about How to Use the Acumobility Ball for Upper Extremity Health and Performance, so it seems long overdue for me to share one of the ways we're using it a bit further down the chain: on quadratus lumborum (QL). Here's a quick tutorial, courtesy of Cressey Sports Performance - Florida coaches Andrew Lysy and Ian Connors:

As a brief follow-up, take a look at the anatomy of QL, which has attachments on the ilium (pelvis), L1-L4 (spine), and 12th rib:

It can contribute to lateral flexion and extension of the spine, and also is a accessory muscle of inhalation. And it can hike the pelvis. In short, it'll often serve as a "fake" glute that substitutes lumbar extension (low back arching) and hip hiking for motion that should be occurring at the hip. It's a common player in extension based low back pain, and can limit thoracic rotation. QL trigger points can refer all over the place, too; it's not uncommon for it to present as a sciatica pain pattern, or even refer to the anterior hip.

It's a slam dunk when you see one hip that's hiked up on static posture assessment, and we'll follow this self-myofascial release drill up with some hip shifting drills based on what we see on our assessment (particularly with respect to hip rotation and straight leg raise). We'll usually integrate some positional breathing drills that emphasize posterior pelvic tilt as well. All that said, two drills that you probably can't go wrong with on this front are a lean away lateral line stretch (5 full exhales) and prone hip extension iso hold off table.

This one is a "keeper" in our daily warm-up series, so give it a shot and see how you like it. Also, just a friendly reminder that the Acumobility team was kind enough to set up a 10% off discount for my readers; you can get it by entering the coupon code CSP10 at checkout at www.Acumobility.com.

Enter Coupon Code CSP10 for 10% off.

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Spring Styles: 2023 CSP T-Shirt Options

We were overdue for a new CSP T-Shirt debut, so we figured we'd celebrate with a bunch of new colors in our classic home plate design! All shirts are $24.99 plus shipping. Just click on the bolded hyperlinks below to add them to your cart.

Indigo: XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

White: XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

Red: XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

Light Blue: XXL, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small

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I Use This Every Single Day.

Back in 2010, I got an email from Tim Ferriss asking if I'd be willing to help out a friend of his. Apparently, he met some dude from New Zealand while in a coffee shop in Argentina and they really hit it off. This guy happened to be a retired rugby player with an extensive history of shoulder problems. I happily obliged, and the friendly Kiwi made the trip to Massachusetts to train with us for about a month.

He got a healthy shoulder, and the Cresseys made a wonderful new friend in Chris Ashenden.

More specific to today's blog, though, is the fact that we were witnessing the beginning of an incredible brand. While there, Chris was preparing to launch Athletic Greens (now AG1).

As a brief background, Chris was working to overcome some significant G.I. issues, and had been really disappointed in the supplement industry as a whole as he had investigated various options to complement his dietary changes.

Companies often sourced garbage ingredients to keep their margins high, and there weren't products out there that allowed consumers to efficiently supplement. Rather, people had to take dozens of pills to try to derive comprehensive benefit, and even then, many of the compounds were low quality or competed with each other. The industry was expensive, inefficient, and ineffective - not to mention shockingly unregulated.

With Athletic Greens, he broke from that stereotype. AG1 was the first to put this much nutritional content into one product, at this quality. And, in doing so, AG1 took the opposite approach; a synergistic comprehensive approach that made it very easy to have the power of great daily foundational nutrition in one simple daily (and tasty) habit.

Pioneering the new and future way of getting and replacing a multivitamin, multimineral and nine other products in one including adaptogens, pre and probiotics for gut health, and specialized extracts to support cellular health and key bodily functions.

I have consistently used the product since its inception, and in adopting the approach of continual innovation, they continue to build on their reputation for quality and research and are currently on AG1’s 53rd iteration. Each iteration drives more innovation, value and quality back to the customer based on the latest research. This approach of consistently innovating and disrupting your own product and raising the bar is really hard to copy. As perhaps the best example, one large supplement company once asked Chris if they could take his formula and package it with their label on it. When they investigated the ingredients, they pulled out because the margins weren't high enough to make it worth their while. Sourcing such high quality raw materials wasn't good for their bottom line.

Nonetheless, AG1 has thrived. You'll find it as a NSF certified resource in loads of professional sports clubhouses, and on the recommendation lists of some of the health and human performance industries' most progressive people, including Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

As perhaps my highest praise, my mom and wife both take it daily, and many of our athletes swear by it. I trust Chris and his company with my family's health.

If you're looking to make a similar investment in both your short and long-term health with AG1. I recommend you to head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today – 10 FREE travel packs – with your first purchase. I’d encourage you to give it a shot.

Further, with full disclosure, when AG1 took their first ever investment in 2021, Chris reached out to some of his longest supporters and customers, and offered us the ability to participate. It was a no-brainer to take the next step to support a product and company I believed in this much, so since 2021, I have been both an investor in and advisor to AG1.

Here’s that link again: http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey

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  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series