New Product: The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Hi Folks,

After a week of traveling and an insane amount of planning, we’re back on track with Newsletter #13.  And, this newsletter won’t disappoint; I’ve got some great news to share with you.

New Product: The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual

First up, I’m pleased to announce that my first solo project is now available.  It’s been close to a year in the making, but The Ultimate Off-Season Manual is now available for purchase.

It seems very fitting that this publication comes less than one week after five athletes who had a profound impact on my development as a coach were drafted into the NBA. From a team of twelve basketball players (nine on scholarships), five were drafted into the NBA (four in the first round), one will be a free agent signing, and a seventh received a two-year contract to be an NFL tight-end. In this same year, three of our athletes were drafted into the WNBA (two in the first round).

My experiences with these athletes and countless others, combined with interactions with dozens of coaches and “booksmarts” of my own, led me to put all my thoughts on off-season training in print. At the risk of sounding overly self-confident, I feel like this manual will serve as a valuable resource for coaches and athletes alike for years to come.

You can find out more about the manual at

The Syracuse Strength Spectacular: A Quick Recap and Thank You

I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who made it out to Syracuse last weekend for what proved to be the single-best conference at which I’ve ever been present.  Going in, I considered myself extremely fortunate to be included in such an incredible lineup of speakers: Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Joe DeFranco, Buddy Morris, Michael Hope, and James Smith.  As I left, I realized that I was just as fortunate to be a part of what was unquestionably the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience I’ve ever encountered.  I guess only the die-hards make it out to Syracuse in June!

In case you missed it, here is how a few of those in attendance responded to the question, “If you were asked what you thought of the seminar, what would you say?”

  • “This was the best $225 that I have ever spent in the area of learning/education of training. I would recommend it to all that will ever ask. Attendee number was just right, not too many and not too small.”
  • “This was the best seminar I have ever been to. Normally you pick up one or two things at a seminar. I have eight pages full and that was just from the time I spent talking to the presenters in the hallway and lunch room. You never see this type of interaction anywhere.”
  • “In a field where the coaches are so “catty” because they don’t want anyone to know what they are doing, probably because they are doing f**king wrong, this seminar shoved it in all of their faces. Thank you for the chance to attend and for helping me progress me even more as a conditioning coach.”
  • “Very informative and a departure from run of the mill, impractical, ineffective guru crap.”
  • “I have been asked…I said it was very informative. Also the lineup of presenters was f**king amazing. The fact that many of the attendees are top in their field, too, was a testament to the credibility of the presenters. This was the third seminar I’ve been to and this was hands-down the best.”
  • “Worth much more than the price of the entire weekend just for the networking opportunities. Overall a tremendous weekend.”
  • “The seminar was great and very informative. It was better than some of the bulls**t research ones I’ve been to before. I was down to earth – the real deal!”
  • “A valuable resource and if one were interested in setting themselves apart from the rest of the pack, this seminar is a must!”
  • “If you missed it, you screwed up…”
  • “This is the real deal, the real application. This is the mixture of philosophy and practicality, there is not mumbo jumbo talk made to impress anyone, and the presenters have FREE reign to speak on what they want. This comes from coaches who have a proven track record of HIGH success with countless athletes of all levels, ready and willing to share their information in a down to earth manner. This is the place to be when you want to get down with the nitty gritty and learn how coaches take many athletes with little ability and then transform them into a**kickers. I would say, if you’re remotely serious in training others, get you’re a** to this seminar and see what it’s all about!”
  • “I would say that if you’re interested in becoming a strength coach, trainer or are interested in powerlifting, this is definitely something you should not have missed. I would say that it was well worth the money. It exceeded my expectations.”
  • “Amazing quality of the people.  Each of them said things that made a difference in what I ‘thought’ I knew. Left there knowing that I am the luckiest guy to be working in a field with this kind of ‘leadership’ – amazing people.”
  • “I was reminded of concepts I had overlooked and that I needed to reinforce. The seminar left me feeling like my brain was full and provided for a great car ride back home. I met some great people and I look forward to the next seminar.”
  • “Quite pleased. It let me know where I was on the knowledge curve, and motivated me to practice my profession and train harder than I was even before the seminar.”
  • “The entire weekend was fantastic and I can’t say enough great things about it. It was a great experience to hear so many knowledgeable and bright people in the field speak.”
  • “Great mix of theory and practice from people who walk the walk and talk the talk.”
  • “One the best I’ve ever been to; it was relevant to what the audience does.  No bullshit – professional – yet relaxed atmosphere.  I could not have asked for a better experience.”

You might be asking: why is EC bothering to post these survey results?  Well, the answer is very simple: we’re likely going to be doing this again in the not-so-distant future, so don’t miss out next time!  Keep an eye out for details in the months to come…

“Building the Efficient Athlete” Seminar

A few seats remain for Mike Robertson and my “Building the Efficient Athlete” seminar, which will take place in New York City July 22-23.  This will be a great opportunity to take your program design and coaching abilities to the next level; you don’t want to miss it.  For more information, please email me at

A Great Read

As some of the survey results show, a lot of people can use opportunities like seminars to open their eyes to new perspectives.  It seems only fitting to stick with this trend with our recommended reading for the week.  I stumbled onto this short-topic article when I saw the name of the author: Dr. Jeff Volek.  I studied under Dr. Volek at UCONN, and he’s one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of low carbohydrate diets for health and performance.  As I’m sure you can imagine, given the area of his expertise, Dr. Volek isn’t afraid to rock the boat and make you think about what you’ve held as sacred for your entire lives.  With that said, check out Genius Junk Food.


I’m currently back home in Maine visiting my family for the 4th of July holiday, so naturally, I have been hitting up my old gym for some lifts while I’m here.  When I’m back in Connecticut, I lift at South Side Gym, a training facility so hardcore that even the cockroaches are afraid to cause trouble.  As I’m sure you can imagine, these two training environments are markedly different.

As it turned out, this is a low stress training week, so I didn’t have a ton of training to do back here in Maine.  Nonetheless, I went in to the gym and hit up eight easy sets of two reps with 335 pounds for my dynamic squat work, and then moved on to speed deadlifts for 8×1 with 455.  I did a few sets of reverse lunges and some bar rollouts, and called it a session – nothing too revolutionary or challenging for me, as it was a recovery week.  Not surprisingly, though, everyone in the gym looked at me like I had two heads for the entire time I trained.  Hell, they looked at me like I was nuts when I passed 135 in my warm-up!

Back at South Side, I squat in a training crew with five legitimate 700-pound squatters, one 800-pound squatter, and two 900-pound squatters.  When we pull, I tend to redeem myself, but that’s not to say that there is a single guy in that crew who can’t push me to move bigger weights day-in and day-out.  The bench press and all our assistance work is no difference.  It’s expected that I do the same for them.

Dave Tate touched on this in great detail out in Syracuse last weekend.  Training in a great environment is one thing that will undoubtedly make you a much more successful lifter, but only if the expectations put on you (by others and yourself) in that environment are high will you reach the next level.  For the guys at South Side, 455 pounds on the bar is nothing; they expect me to do more, and because I know that, I expect it of myself, too.  In the general fitness setting, though, you don’t get those expectations; mediocrity (at best) surrounds you, so you become content to be mediocre.

Some people might think that it would have felt great for my ego to come back home and be the strongest guy in the gym, but that couldn’t be further from the truth; I hate lifting anywhere where there aren’t expectations in place for me.  I wish that one of the old ladies in the gym had come up and called me out for being a sissy and not slapping another plate on the bar.

What does this mean for you?  It’s very simple:

1. Find a great training environment.

2. Find some good training partners.

3. Make it clear to them that you expect a ton of them and that they should expect a ton of you.

That does it for this week.  We’ll be back next week with more exclusive material.

To our American audience, have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!  To those abroad, who said you could take a break?  This is our holiday; get back in the gym!