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Lifting for Lymphoma

Written on January 8, 2008 at 7:14 pm, by Eric Cressey

Before we get going with this week’s newsletter, I want to extend my thanks to everyone who made it out for the seminar at Mike Boyle’s facility last weekend.  I know I can speak for John Pallof, Brijesh Patel, and Mike when I say that we appreciate the large and enthusiastic crowd.

Lifting for Lymphoma

For those of you who haven’t heard already, my good friend Alwyn Cosgrove has compiled an incredible resource for a tremendous cause.  Over the past few months, Alwyn has pulled together 57 of the brightest minds in the industry to each write a section for this manual, which will be released March 1st.  All of the proceeds will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

I exchanged emails with Alwyn yesterday, and he informed me that this project has surpassed 700 pages of material.  Considering it’s priced at $30 and will benefit a tremendous cause, I would hope that nobody on this newsletter list would even hesitate to pick up a copy.  I, for one, was honored to be included, and thrilled to be able to write for charity.  As Dave Tate wrote last week, “The material is worth 100 times the price, but is not where the REAL value is.”

Start saving a dollar a day for the next few weeks, and you’ll be in a good position to help a great cause.

EricCressey.com Exclusive Q&A

Q: I am an undergraduate student and was hoping for your input on one thing. I am fond of corrective training, training to prevent injury, mobility/activation training, body weight workouts, using bands/power metrics and would love to focus more so on these types of training than anything else. I really want to specialize in training people with the least amount of weights as possible, nothing against weight training, but I want to be the guy that people go to prior to commencing a weight training program/lifestyle to make sure that they are as strong as they can be/as prepared as possible prior to ever picking up any weights.  My passion is really centered on training kids (middle school/high school) and is why all this injury preventive/corrective training appeals to me so much. I highly enjoy reading your articles on injury prevention/mobility and feel that any recommendations that you could provide as to what my educational focus should be most on would be invaluable.  I am currently considering exercise biomechanics/physiology to be the two main areas that I should be focusing on. Is there a field that would better accommodate my aspirations in sports training? Or is exercise biomechanics and physiology what I need to be focusing on?

A: Thanks for your email.  While your enthusiasm is certainly admirable, your logic is flawed.

Think of modern physical therapy; the exercise component is largely based on resistance training with some sort of external load.  While there is a lot to be gained from training with body weight only and doing so properly, you have to load people (especially if you consider the bone density benefits of structural exercises).

So, in a nutshell, you have to resistance train to prepare to resistance train!

And, in an athletic population, realize that you’re going to have to train people with both open- and closed-chain movements for optimal functional carryover.  Body weight only stuff is only useful for the latter – and most of those require significant external loading sooner than later.

I think you’re in the right line of thought with your education, but remember that it’s experiences and interactions with others that will facilitate success more than regular ol’ book smarts.

Q: I saw you write somewhere recently that subscapularis dysfunction was generally associated with posterior capsule tightness?  Is there a causal relationship?

A: The subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor work together to depress the humeral head during dynamic shoulder activities.

The subscapularis posteriorly pulls the humeral head in the joint (counteracts pectoralis major), while the other two anteriorly pull it (counteract posterior deltoid).

So, they’re antagonists and synergists at the same time.

If subscapularis shuts down, infraspinatus and teres minor fire overtime as depressors – but you don’t get subscapularis’ posterior humeral head pull.  Tightness kicks in with the posterior capsule, and you can also get anterior humeral glide issues.  This is a big no-no in overhead throwing, as they’ll look to the elbow to get range of motion – and that’s when you start to see ulnar collateral ligament ruptures, ulnar nerve compression, etc.

Q: For the sake of the sport of rowing, what’s your take on off-season training?  I own your Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual, and though I agree with cutting back on metabolic work during the off season for most sports, I’m wondering if it’d be different for rowing, since it’s still quite demanding metabolically (more so than most sports in the black hole), and in my opinion, too much to just let go.

That said, my guess is that we shouldn’t stop metabolic conditioning, just scale it back a whole lot, properly planning the harder interval or high tempo work on the same days as hard training, to keep whole days of recovery.  What’s your take?

A: I would do more short sprints (interval work) and anaerobic threshold work in the 20-25 minute range (at most) above race pace.  Only do longer slow stuff below 70% of max heart rate, and only every 7-10 days (view it more as recovery work that maintains aerobic adaptations).  Build strength, power, and anaerobic threshold, and add volume as the late off-season approaches.

It’s also a good idea to cross-train a bit.  Get them off the rowers/out of the boat and do some other modalities.

Until next week, train hard and have fun!

All the Best,


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