Z-Health at Excel

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Congratulations are in order….again!

I just wanted to preface this newsletter with a few tips of the cap to some Cressey Performance athletes and colleagues who have had great weeks.

First, the #1-ranked Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team continued in its winning ways last night, beating Boston College High 7-1 to advance to the Division State finals this Saturday.  In all, I have 17 LS baseball guys ready to go for this off-season; it speaks volumes for why they’re now 24-1 on the season.  Great job, guys!

Second, while many of you surely know that the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup last week, I highly doubt many of you know about a guy who is doing an awesome job behind the scenes as their strength and conditioning coach.  Sean Skahan deserves a ton of credit; he’s a really bright, passionate coach who really knows his stuff.  They’re lucky to have him, and it goes without saying that he’s a huge part of their success in staying healthy and performing at high levels.  Congratulations, Sean!

New Article

You can now find Part III of my “Mastering the Deadlift” series at T-Nation.  Enjoy!

Z-Health at Excel: A Quick Recap

As many of you know, we held the first weekend of the R-Phase certification for Z-Health this past weekend.  To say that I was impressed with the system would be an understatement.  Generally, when I go to seminars, I’m looking to walk away with bits and pieces here and there that I can incorporate into my own philosophy – and Dr. Cobb and Kathy provided that and a whole lot more.  A few highlights:

1. Z-Health offers some excellent ankle mobilizations and the best thoracic spine approaches I’ve seen to-date.  I’ve already applied both with some excellent immediate effects – not universally, but definitely applicable in certain situations.

One athlete with stubborn ankles front squatted deep and clean for the first time after just five specific ankle mobilizations, and another basketball guy claimed that he actually felt taller after three reps of thoracic extension work.  He’s a 6-2 shooting guard who needs to be 6-4 to take himself to the next level at that position as a prospect, so we’re moving in the right direction!  I’m fortunate to have over 40 “guinea pigs” with whom I can work on a weekly basis, so I’ll be experimenting more in the two months before weekend #2 in August.

2. By my own admission, I’ve been overlooking the relationship between the cervical spine and thoracic spine during T-Spine mobilizations.  Whether I use the Z drills or not for a particular T-Spine mobilization, I’m going to be paying a lot more attention to keeping the C-spine in neutral.  That alone could explain the incremental value of this modality over what I’ve seen.

3. I’d rather have a mobilization (self-imposed change) than a manipulation (someone else changing us in a non-functional context…i.e. on our backs on a table).  This system offers a lot of value in that regard – and I wish more manual therapists would take note.

4. Z-Health offers some simple but effective elbow and wrist initiatives for those involved in grip-intensive sports.  Given my smaller joint structure (very small wrists), my forearm musculature really takes a beating – and I compromise joint mobility by wearing wrist wraps with my heaviest benching.  So, I’m excited to see what shakes free over the next few months.  And, this doesn’t even take into account all the problems people face simply from typing.

5.  Dr. Cobb provided some excellent discussions of mechanoreceptors vs. nocioceptors and the differential responses to varying training stimuli.  In short, training through pain is never a good idea; you can always look to different joints and different planes of motion to build to your “optimal” training approach.  Sometimes, indirect is best (a theme that resounds with Z).

6. Perhaps most importantly, Kathy and Dr. Eric Cobb are highly professional and friendly.  Unlike some fitness industry presenters, there are no swollen egos or “that’s beyond the scope of this presentation, so you’ll need to attend my five-day seminar and buy $2,000 worth of products to get the answers.”  They give you what you pay for and a whole lot more; it’s definitely a very wise investment.

With all that said, you’d be wise to check them out in seminar.  They’ll be doing R-Phase certifications in California, Texas, and North Carolina over the next few months – and returning to Boston for the second weekend of R-Phase in August.  For more information, check them out at www.zhealth.net.

With the Off-Season upon us…

I thought you might be interested in some feedback I received about The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual:

“I just received your manual and opened it up to take what I thought would be a quick glance.  ‘Suddenly,’ I found myself three hours later not wanting to put it down. The information you provided in this manual is absolutely fantastic.  I’ve competed in two professional sports, getting only so far with each one; I can honestly say that the off-season training I did for both is really what ultimately got me there.

“This manual would have had a tremendous impact on my training. It would have taken the guessing and hoping out of my routines and instead given me the confidence needed to attack my training sessions. The routines provided are also extremely helpful, as they not only guide you in the beginning, but take you all the way through a legitimate off-season.  I can’t say enough how I wish I had something like this while in college and through out my professional athletic career. This is a must-have for athletes and coaches; I highly recommend it.”

Al Caslow

Elite Powerlifter, Former NFL Wide Receiver


The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual

Until next week, train hard and have fun!