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

I hope you had a great weekend. Before I get to the good stuff, just a friendly reminder that this Friday is the last day to get the early-bird discount on our fall seminar (9/21-9/22) at Cressey Sports Performance - MA. This 1.5 day event offers 10 CEU hours through the NSCA and features some awesome presentations. You can learn more HERE. Additionally, CSP co-founder Pete Dupuis and I have our business mentorship on Monday the 23rd, and we only have three spots remaining. Business mentorship attendees attend the fall seminar at no additional charge; you can grab one of the remaining spots HERE.

Now, on to the recommended reading and listening for the week:

The Thin Line Between Loyalty and Defection - Speaking of Pete, this is an excellent post he wrote up on last week on the business side of fitness.

Chris Chase on the Evolution of Basketball Strength and Conditioning - This is the second time Mike Robertson has had Chris Chase (Memphis Grizzlies) on his podcast, and given how excellent the first interview was, listening this time around was a no-brainer. It didn't disappoint.

Recency Bias and Long-Term Training Success - Given the volatility of the stock market in recent weeks, it seemed like a good time to reincarnate this article I wrote a few years ago. The concept of recency bias can be applied to your training programs just like it can be to investing.

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Once you’ve mastered the basics of anti-rotation core work with chops and lifts, a great progression strategy is to start adding range of motion to the system. Remember, we’re preparing folks for a multiplanar world where they’ll have to move around a stable core, not just stay motionless in the sagittal plane while resisting destabilizing torques. They need to throw, swing, asymmetrically pick things up, change directions, start lawnmowers, etc. 👇 The two best places to start are challenging the joints above and below the lumbar spine - the hips and thoracic spine - through more motion in various planes of motion. Here are a few of my favorites.👊👍 #cspfamily #corestability

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/6/19

Today, I've got a list of recommended reading to get you through the week. Before we get to it, though, just a quick heads-up that we're doing a pre-sale on Cressey Sports Performance bucket hats. If you're interested in buying one, you can do so at THIS LINK. They'll be available for shipment in early-mid September.

As for the reading recommendations, check out the following:

Is It Really "Biceps Tendonitis?" - In light of a recent Instagram post I made on a related topic, this video blog deserves a reincarnation this week.

10 Habits that are Just as Important as Tracking KPI - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, wrote this article that examines some of the overlooked areas in which you can evaluate fitness business success.

Professional and Amateur Pitchers' Perspective on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury Risk - This was an interesting study on a number of fronts. It was surprising to see how many pro guys think UCL injuries are unavoidable, but not at all surprising to hear that 55% of those who have UCL injuries in pro ball had a previous history of elbow injury in their youth baseball days. The biggest risk factor for an injury is...shocker...a previous injury.

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Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 12

It's time for a new edition of my thoughts on the business of fitness. With Cressey Sports Performance turning 12 last week, it seemed timely. Before I get to it, just a friendly reminder that Pete Dupuis and I are hosting our fourth-ever CSP Business Building Mentorship on September, 23 2019 at our Hudson, MA facility on the day after our annual fall seminar. You can learn more HERE.

Now on to some business concepts...

1. Bigger isn't better; better is better.

There's a great segment in this comprehensive podcast with Naval Ravikant (founder of AngelList and accomplished angel investor) where he talks about the mistake people make when they chase status over wealth.

There are many examples of this in the fitness industry:

a. Gym owners want huge facilities so that they can take nice pictures and boast about the size of it - even though they're secretly frustrated that they can't possibly fill it with enough clients, and it feels quiet even when the gym is "busy."

b. Gym owners seek to get as many members as they can - and ultimately wind up lowering their price points to build that membership. In many cases, the membership goal just leads to a bunch of low-pricepoint tire kickers who devalue services, disrespect the facility/equipment, and magnify variable costs to the point that profitability is a big challenge. Remember: there is generally an inverse relationship between price point and complaints. The less people pay, the more problems they find; it's because they don't appreciate your value (which is a perception, not a calculation).

c. Gym owners look to grow a huge staff to position themselves as the cutting-edge leader of an empire. Behind the scenes, they're frustrated with all the staff headaches that come with leading a large team.

d. Folks chase giant social media followings (in many cases by buying followers) to build status - even though they might not actually deliver enough revenue to justify the time commitment to "cater to" that following. Doesn't it say a lot that Naval - who is an investor at Twitter - even comments on this?

You'll get varying opinions on this, but personally, I think you're better off taking home 50% of a $500,000/year fitness business than net 5% on a $5 million/year one. Gyms don't sell as well down the road as giant technology companies do, and most gym owners aren't as savvy at building long-term business value as they think they are. I think most folks in this industry are better off embracing shorter-term profitability and minimizing headaches ("better") than they are chasing massive growth and risk ("bigger").

If you need a real-life example that we reflect on often, it's the concept of franchising. We get daily inquiries about franchising Cressey Sports Performance to new locations around the country, and are steadfast in our resistance to do so. Franchises can be high reward if you open enough of them and put in a ton of leg work to establish systems, but the thought of having 25-30 locations around the country just isn't appealing to Pete and me at this point in time. Doing so would be chasing big, when the truth is that we have better ideas on how we'll chase "better" with a most sustainable strategy for building the CSP brand that's more in line with our quality of life.

In short, don't be big for the sake of being big. Be big because it fits with your lifestyle and it builds actual wealth - or just be happy staying smaller.

2. Embrace seasonality.

I used to hate our quiet season. It drove me bonkers to have a facility that was really quiet during the baseball season. And, I hated the uncertainty that came with wondering whether all our baseball players would actually return to training when the season settled down. Now, 12 years after we first opened our doors, I've come to recognize that seasonality can actually be a blessing to one's business.

First, quiet time provides invaluable opportunities for long-term planning. This can range from facility improvements to staff continuing education.

Second, quiet periods often give you an opportunity to connect with clients in different environments. For us, that means sending our staff out to cheer on our athletes at games. We support them, meet/see their families, and continue to build top of mind awareness in the community; it's win/win for everyone involved. And, our staff gets out for some fresh air while on the clock.

Third, I've found that there is a staff bonding that occurs around crazy hours. It's not uncommon to see our staff members hanging out in the office together after long days on the floor during our busiest times. As I think back on some of my favorite CSP memories over the years, they often relate to the business, most hectic times we've been through together. We often joke about working overnight - and tearing up our hands as we moved flooring - in moving CSP 1.0 to CSP 2.0 back in 2008.

Don't resent the really busy or really quiet times. They're making memories and giving you opportunities to develop your business and relationships in different ways.


If you've found value in these insights, I think you might enjoy the upcoming Business Building Mentorship Pete Dupuis and I will be hosting on Monday, September 23 . It's a tax deductible expense if you're a fitness business owner, and we'd guarantee that the lessons learned will more than pay for the cost of attendance. You can learn more HERE. - and registration includes free admission to the fall seminar.

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Cressey Sports Performance Business Building Mentorship: September 23, 2019

We’re excited to announce that on Monday, September 23, we’ll be hosting our fourth CSP Business-Building Mentorship, a day of learning with Pete Dupuis and me. This event will take place at our Hudson, MA location the day after our annual fall seminar. Pete and I have spent nearly a decade crafting the operational systems and strategies that fuel CSP today, and we’re excited to pull back the curtain for fellow gym owners.

It is our intention to foster an environment conducive to learning and the exchanging of ideas, so we will be limiting participation to 30 individuals.

Here’s a look at our agenda for the day:

8:30am: Registration & Coffee

Morning Session – Lead Generation & Conversion

9:00am – 9:30am: Introduction: The Four Pillars of Fitness Business Success
9:30am – 10:30am: Lead Generation: Strategic Relationship Development, Identifying & Connecting with Opinion Leaders, Social Media Strategies
10:30am - 11:00am: Q&A
11:00am - 12:00pm: Lead Conversion: CSP Selling Strategy & Methodology
12:00pm - 1:00pm: Lunch (provided)

Afternoon Session – Business Operations & Long-Term Planning

1:00pm – 2:00pm: Operations: Accounting for Gym Owners – Guest Lecture from CSP’s CPA, Tom Petrocelli
2:00pm – 2:30pm: Operations: Internship Program Design & Execution
2:30pm – 3:00pm: Operations: Hiring Protocols, Staff Development & Continuing Ed.
3:00pm – 3:30pm: Long-Term Planning: Lease Negotiation Considerations
3:30pm – 4:30pm: Long-Term Planning: Strategic Brand Dev., Evaluating Opportunities, SWOT Analysis
4:30pm – 6:00pm: Q&A

Cost: $899.99 (includes free admission to CSP Fall Seminar on Sunday, September 22) 


To be placed on the waiting list, please email cspmass@gmail.com.

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Register Now for the 8th Annual Cressey Sports Performance Fall Seminar!

We're very excited to announce that on Saturday-Sunday, September 21-22, we’ll be hosting our eighth annual fall seminar at Cressey Sports Performance. As was the case with our extremely popular fall event over the past seven years, this event will showcase the great staff we're fortunate to have as part of our team. Also like last year, we want to make this an affordable event for everyone and create a great forum for industry professionals and fitness enthusiasts alike to interact, exchange ideas, and learn. We're happy to have Perform Better as our official sponsor again this year as well.

Here are the presentation topics:

Guest Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Goodman -- Online Training: The 3 Frameworks You Must Have to Get Started with this Massive Opportunity

If you think that you're competing, then you've already lost. In this presentation, you will learn the core truths guaranteed to get you online fitness clients, and get them amazing results. Battle-tested over 6 years with 10,000+ coaches in 83 countries, you'll be introduced to the 3 foundational frameworks every highly effective (and wealthy) online coach must have.

Eric Cressey -- Spine-Sparing Training Strategies

Not all spines are the same, so not all programming and coaching strategies are universally applicable across all populations. Eric delves into the lessons he's learned with training rotational sport athletes, strength sport competitors, and general fitness clients alike over the years - all while picking heavy stuff up off the floor over and over again himself over 15 years of powerlifting training.

Pete Dupuis -- Fine-Tuning the Semi-Private Training Model

The semi-private training concept has gone mainstream in the fitness space since CSP first opened its doors in the summer of 2007. Now that this format has infiltrated a considerable chunk of the industry, it’s time to talk about how to clean up your delivery and execution of the model. In this presentation, Pete will highlight common misconceptions about semi-private training, potential pitfalls in the process, and how to best position the service in the minds of your consumers.

Andrew Lysy -- Psychology of Coaching

The relationship between the coach and the athlete is a vital aspect of training. Without trust, understanding and learning can be a very bumpy road. In this discussion, Andrew will cover ways to gain your athlete/client's trust, and, in turn, strategies for relationship building to help facilitate short- and long-term success for the athlete.

Andrew Millett -- Making Sense of ACL Rehab

In his presentation, Cressey Sports Performance on-site physical therapist Andrew Millett will go into detail about what to do with the athlete recovering from an ACL reconstruction. He has worked with countless athletes who have recovered and returned to their respective sport following ACL reconstruction. Emphasis will be placed not only the early stages of rehab, but also the progression through the rehab, strength and conditioning, plyometrics and return to sport.

Cole Russo -- Applied Principles of Plyometrics

Plyometrics are recognized for their ability to improve performance and decrease the risk for injury. Cole will talk about how to translate the principles into application; in other words, how to bring the stretch-shortening cycle to life! The presentation will feature a review of the literature, guidelines for prescription, and coaching plyometrics. The second portion of the presentation will be a practical, featuring live demonstrations.

Drew Cobin --Embracing the Basics: A Fundamental Approach to Strength Training

In this presentation, Drew will illustrate a clear and concise ground-up and task-related approach to coaching resistance training that can be found day in and day out on the gym floor of Cressey Sports Performance. He'll then demonstrate how to communicate more effectively to deliver your message to clients of varying fitness levels and goals. Attendees can expect to walk away with a simple fundamental approach to coaching resistance training that can help make things easier on the client and the coach.

**Bonus 2:30-5:30PM Saturday Session**

John O'Neil and Kyle Driscoll -- Inside CSP's Programming Philosophy

In this presentation, John and Kyle take a deep dive into the most common overarching programming concepts used at CSP, with a specific focus on power training. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions and participate, as this will be an interactive, discussion-based portion of the seminar.


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


Regular Rate $159.99

Student Rate $129.99


Sunday, September 22, 2019
Registration 8:30AM
Seminar 9AM-5PM

**Bonus session Saturday, September 21, 2:30-5:30pm

Continuing Education

We've been approved for 0.9 National Strength and Conditioning Association CEUs (9 contact hours).

Click Here to Sign-up (Regular)


Click Here to Sign-up (Students)

We’re really excited about this event, and would love to have you join us! However, space is limited and most seminars we’ve hosted in the past have sold out quickly, so don’t delay on signing up!

If you have additional questions, please direct them to cspmass@gmail.com. Looking forward to seeing you there!

PS - If you're looking for hotel information, The Extended Stay America in Marlborough, MA offers our clients a heavily discounted nightly rate. Just mention "Cressey" during the booking process in order to secure the discount. Their booking phone number is 508-490-9911.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/15/19

I've finally gotten this feature back on an early-in-the-week publication schedule! Here's some good stuff from around the 'Net of late:

Complete Speed and Agility Coach Certification - I've commented on numerous occasions how much I like this resource and accompanying certification from Lee Taft. It's on sale for $150 off this week and definitely worth the investment.

It Took Me Ten years to Become an Overnight Success - A recent conversation reminded me of this article my business partner, Pete Dupuis, wrote a few years ago. It's an important one for the up-and-comers in our field.

The Value of Self-Doubt - I enjoyed this podcast from Brett Bartholomew at The Art of Coaching. It's a great listen for both novice and more experienced coaches. I loved him arguing FOR imposter syndrome in an era where everyone is positioned as an expert.

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Tall athletes have much less wiggle room with their setup than shorter athletes do, as long levers can make weights feel heavier, and more range-of-motion equates to more opportunity for things to go wrong. This is especially true when it comes to pulling from the ground. On the left, you'll see @joerock___ (who is 6-7) round over and try to use the bar to pull himself into a good starting position - but he doesn't quite get to where he needs to go. On the right, we reach the arms out in front as a counterbalance, and have him descend to the bar without ever giving up an optional torso posture. The best way to firm up good positions is to never allow bad positions to take place. Swipe left for the actual set (good work, Joe!). . . . #cspfamily #deadlift #trapbar

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/9/19

I'm going to try to get back on an early-in-the-week publication calendar for this weekly feature, so here's your list of recommended reading/listening.

Functional Stability Training - Just a friendly reminder that this popular series from Mike Reinold and me is on sale for 25% off through the end of the day on Wednesday. Just enter the coupon code allstar2019cressey HERE.

Gym Owner Musings - Pete Dupuis never disappoints with these random (but excellent) insights on the business side of fitness.

Range - This book from David Epstein has been recommended to me by several people over the past month, so I'm just digging in now. I'm excited to check it out.

Stuart McGill on the Physical Preparation Podcast - Stu was a guest on my podcast last week (check it out here), and as it turns out, he had an interview with Mike Robertson published recently, too. This is a good listen.

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