Home Blog Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Increase Strength, Be More Awesome: Live Q&A #3

Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Increase Strength, Be More Awesome: Live Q&A #3

Written on July 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm, by Eric Cressey

Okay, it’s time for another live Q&A here at EricCressey.com.  To get your questions answered, just post your inquiry in the comments section and I’ll approve it and then reply.  

My only rule is that your question must be limited to five sentences or less.  I’ll answer the first 25 that are posted, so please don’t bother posting questions if you come to this post days, weeks, or months after it was originally posted.

With that said, head on down to the comments section below and ask away! 

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46 Responses to “Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Increase Strength, Be More Awesome: Live Q&A #3”

  1. Taylor Says:

    Hey Eric,

    After giving your pitcher’s 2 months off of throwing … how do you progress them back into their throwing program? I understand each guy is different, but generally what would their timetable be with regards to when you would introduce long toss again, and then bullpens as well.

    Thanks a lot.


  2. Jay K Says:

    How often do you do PNF with your guys, if at all any? What is your opinion on PNF stretching?

  3. Eric Cressey Says:

    Hi Taylor,

    I usually take about a month of throwing 4-5x/week to get them back up to 210 feet with their long toss. After that four weeks, we’ll begin to add in bullpens while incorporating long toss at a greater distance and, in some guys, weighted balls.

    As a frame of reference, most of our minor league pro guys start throwing right after Thanksgiving, and their first bullpens are the first or second week in January. Jan-Feb tend to be the most aggressive throwing periods.

  4. Stevan Freeborn Says:

    Coach Cressey,

    I am a personal trainer in Joplin, MO. I work predominately in a commercial gym setting. The facility that I train at requires us to perform 30min sessions for clients. I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to how you would approach programming for a 30min question.

  5. Alex Says:

    Eric, I have lots of people asking me about fat loss, looking for fast results. However they often show up with such significant musculoskeletal imbalances that it’s hard to find a lot of exercises that they can do at a high enough intensity. How do you balance corrective exercise with an appropriate volume of resistance training and what sort of metabolic conditioning do you like for this population?

  6. Bill Says:

    Hi Eric,
    Why don’t you like Olympic Lifts for Pitchers?

    Aren’t they great for explosiveness?

  7. Stevan Freeborn Says:

    30min session sorry for the typo

  8. Eric Cressey Says:


    We do quite a bit, especially in the warm-up period in guys who may be super stiff. Seems to fit well right between foam rolling and dynamic flexibility. That said, post-exercise is also a good option as a way to “dissipate” eccentric stress.

  9. Darren Says:

    Hi Eric,

    What would you recommend for someone with long arms that struggles to use chest when bench pressing? I seem to press from the delts and i always need to go past mid way (so therefore train chest unilaterally) on any fly-type exercises to really feel like i’m working my chest! Thanks


  10. Melissa Says:

    What’s your take on using straps for deadlifting. I have friends who tell me anything other than bare hands is cheating.

  11. Brent Says:

    Hi Eric, could you please recommend a good template to improve pull up strength and endurance?
    P.s. Your the man!

  12. Mike Says:

    How would you build up your chest without any type of bench pressing? (Shoulder injury & no health insurance.)

  13. Eric Cressey Says:


    This is one case when I’m not super concerned with what you might “feel,” as there are a lot of guys with huge chests who have gotten there by pressing heavy and just focusing on moving bigger weights, even if it means they don’t get a good pump.

    The issue is, in part, that you’ll only feel your pecs when you’re at or near end-range horizontal adduction. That’s a position you’ll really only get with flyes or cable crossovers, which are exercises that don’t allow you to load up nearly as much.

    That said, as a guy who has arms like you do, I have noticed that I tend to “feel” decline bench presses in my pecs moreso than any of the other variations.

    Hope this helps!


  14. Mike Says:

    Hey Eric,

    How would you structure a program for a 17 year old with scoliosis? Would you avoid any spinal loading all together?

    Thanks a bunch.


  15. Dave Says:

    How long to you persist with a given corrective exercise if it is not quickly making the change you are hoping for right away?

  16. Eric Cressey Says:

    Mike – I’d look at push-up variations and cable crossover stuff as tolerated. Isometric holds near end-range horizontal adduction (imagine contracting your pecs as hard as possible while squeezing something out in front of you) can be good as well.

  17. Janice Says:

    I am studying Kinesiology in Canada and was always planning to follow up with a Master’s in the States, to better prepare myself as an S&C trainer. I’ve always dreamed of working with elite athletes (pro/olympics). I see that rehab and S&C go hand-in-hand, but now I am confused if I should take the physio route (Master’s) with just the CSCS certification instead of a Master’s and I’m unsure of which route to focus on as both intrigue me, but I know it’s almost impossible to be very reputable in both respects. What would be your advice?


  18. Eric Cressey Says:


    The only time I use them is when doing a snatch grip deadlift.

    That said, I have access to chalk and use an alternate grip. Some folks may not be able to use chalk, or they might have biceps tendon issues that prevent them from using the “under” grip on one side. So, in these populations straps may be a necessary evil.

  19. Eric Cressey Says:


    If you’re strong, but want greater endurance, try PLP from Chad Waterbury.

    If you’re not strong, you need to do a lot of heavier sets of 3-6 reps. You can’t have strength endurance if you don’t have strength.

  20. Terry McMahon Says:

    Hi Eric,
    I posted this question on your Facebook page but it will probably be easier to ask here. Thanks for getting back to me by the way it is greatly appreciated!
    Do lower body workouts have any negative impacts on people with fallen arches or are bow legged? Say like squatting and dead lifting heavier weights?

  21. Jay K Says:


    In regards to training anterior core stability and rotational strength of the abdominals, how much is TOO much and where do you draw the line (pallofs, med ball throws, TRX fall-outs, etc)? Let’s say we are talking about an athlete that is in the off-season.



  22. Eric Cressey Says:


    First thing I would do is make sure you educate clients on how to foam roll and warm up properly. They should be ready to go the second you are ready to start with them. That way, the less “risky” exercises are done on their own, and the more advanced stuff is done under your supervision.

    Use the 30 minutes to get in your strength training and focus on educating them on how to move correctly. They can hit their metabolic conditioning after the 30 minutes with you is over.

    Also, might be worth asking your bosses if you can do some semi-private training. It’d give you more time to work with folks.

  23. Jordan Says:


    How do you feel about barbell complexes for a cardio workout?

  24. Eric Cressey Says:


    This is a bit of a loaded question, but I’ve covered it in quite a bit of detail. Give this a watch:

    Remember that Olympic lifts are sagittal plane power development. Pitching takes place in the frontal and transverse planes. That is a very important thing to understand, and recent research backs it up:


  25. ramsey Says:

    Whats up Coach Cressey,

    Im a young coach looking to expand my knowledge of rehab/prehab/corrective exercicse/etc. What are you top 3 books that I should read to gainer a better understanding of the shoulder/hip/knee & ankle? OR products would suffice here as well.


  26. Eric Cressey Says:


    Remember that all exercises done with perfect form with the right population are corrective in nature.

    That said, do your foam rolling and mobility warm-ups: very corrective.

    Then, use your strength training to help those corrective changes stick. It’ll also put muscle on them and get fat off them.

    For conditioning, use self-limiting exercises….traditional cardio equipment and sled pushing/pulling. They’ll slow down or stop before they’ll break down in form. I also like to utilize carrying variations in these folks for conditioning.

    Remember, if people are incredibly reconditioned, intensity isn’t all that important; they can get strong on as little as 40% of 1RM. Perfect movement is what matters.

  27. Stevan Freeborn Says:

    Thank you for your advice. It goes along way.

  28. Eric Cressey Says:

    Mike – depends on the situation. Some cases of scoliosis are structural, and others are functional. You need to determine which is the case.

    I would definitely avoid axial loading early on, and possibly forever.

  29. Rajat Desikan Says:

    Hi Eric
    What strategy wins the lottery for muscle growth? High frequency and volume or high intensity followed by long rest. let us say i have to improve my shoulders. Does doing heavy OH presses in 80-90% 1RM range for say 15 reps once per week work better or does working it thrice per week at 70% of 1RM for the same overall number of reps per week, work better? Or do you employ a completely different approach altogether? Thanks…

  30. Eric Cressey Says:


    All exercises are corrective! Improving ROM can be corrective and very transient in nature, whereas building stability can also be corrective, but takes more time to kick in. Every situation is unique.

    That said, we tend to rotate programs every four weeks.

  31. Kelly Says:

    Person gets sacroiliac pain after squatting, deadlifting or bent-over rows but no pain with single-leg work. No hip restrictions noted and form is good. Any ideas? Single leg work gets boring when you want to push some weight.

  32. Eric Cressey Says:


    It’s hard to say without knowing more about your situation – or being you! However, I certainly believe there are opportunities for physical therapists to do high performance training with athletes. Just look at Charlie Weingroff or Bill Hartman as examples. Some follow-up reading:


  33. Eric Cressey Says:


    Really depends on the person and situation. If you lift with poor technique, it could certainly exacerbate the issues. However, with good technique, it could help the cause. For instance, the glutes are anti-pronators (eccentrically control femoral internal rotation and adduction, which take place with pronation), and are strengthened with both deadlifts and squats.

  34. Alex Says:

    You’ve made it very clear how important a good foundation of understanding anatomy is to be a good coach. Do you have any recommended reading that isn’t too dry/textbook-y. It would be great to find something that not only lists the origin and insertion of each muscle but how muscles work together and their relationships. Thanks!

  35. Eric Cressey Says:

    Jay –

    I don’t know that there is a true quantifiable line you can draw. However, I can tell you that it’s virtually impossible to give athletes (ESPECIALLY high-level ones) too much low-level motor control work during the warm-ups. After a long season, you sometimes need to start from scratch and progress them very patiently.

    That said, in most cases, you’re only dealing with a good 2-3 months of hard training before they have to cut back a bit to work on sport-specific activities, so you don’t always get to get to the point where you have to worry about doing too much.

  36. Eric Cressey Says:

    Jordan –

    Can be a great option…just not for baseball players. 🙂

  37. Eric Cressey Says:

    Hi Ramsey,

    Good stuff! Head here and you’ll find all my recommendations:


    I’d start with Assess and Correct, Optimal Shoulder Performance, and Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes.

  38. Eric Cressey Says:


    There is an old saying: “The best program is the one you’re not on.” In other words, there is no single holy grail; variety rules, as you can make progress with a lot of different strategies. Experiment and see what works best for you.

  39. Eric Cressey Says:


    Could be a lot of things. Compression intolerant? Undiagnosed spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis?

    My guess would be positional instability. It’s very easy to maintain neutral spine in single-leg, but things can go down the tubes quickly in bilateral stance.

    Male or female? History of injury?

  40. Eric Cressey Says:


    Definitely Building the Efficient Athlete: http://www.buildingtheefficientathlete.com

  41. Brendan Says:

    Hey Eric, how often should a 10-yr old do long toss? Thanks

  42. Eric Cressey Says:


    A 10-year-old should do whatever feels fun for him. It shouldn’t be structured for another year or two. That said, there is nothing wrong with teaching him correct techniques and letting him stretch it out as far as he wants to a few times a week.

  43. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the great questions! We’ll do this again soon.

  44. Janice Says:

    Hey Eric,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the bit of advice and links to your previous articles about post-grad/academia! I was referred to you only a day ago, so I haven’t been able to go through your articles and find these. Thanks for directing me to them! The discussions and your articles are mighty helpful!


  45. Steve Says:

    Hey Eric,
    My question is regarding Indian club training. I’m wondering if you think it is a worthwhile pursuit for pitchers, it seems like it might be?

  46. Eric Cressey Says:


    It can be a valuable initiative in terms of blood flow and recovery if done correctly. If a pitcher doesn’t move well, though, he’ll just be laying volume on top of dysfunction.

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