Newsletter #78

About the Author: Eric Cressey

New Article Posted

For those that missed it, I had a new article posted yesterday at  In this interview, Nate Green picks my brains on how we train our baseball guys – and there’s definitely a lot of information that deviates from the norm.  Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, it’s worth a read.

The Round-Up Interviews: Eric Cressey

Great Reader Responses

Two days ago, I sent out a newsletter that generated quite possibly the biggest response of any I’ve written to-date.  If you missed it, check it out HERE.

Two of the most insightful responses I received were from Physical Therapist/Strength Coach Shon Grosse and Coach and Conditioning Specialist Rick Karboviak.  I asked their permission to reprint them; enjoy!


Great newsletter. A few observations…

I have used the C2 rower and Versaclimber exclusively for anaerobic conditioning; with slight posture modifications (plus a pedal adaptor that lets me clip in with a cycling shoe), I can activate glute medius  (climber > rower) and maximus (rower> climber).  Form rarely breaks on intervals, and we rarely go over five minutes on any interval (most are 15-50 seconds).  My clients’ glute awareness is at an all time high with this training addition.  This is not “the answer”, but another piece.

An alternative to Nike Frees are any racing flat from any reputable manufacurer. I do bettter with Adidas or Asics due to width issues.  I believe (but cannot prove) that the lighter weight the shoe, the better “free” (for lack of a better word at this time) foot response you get; I think the magic number is below 9 ounces/shoe.

Finally, this training approach for runners mirrors the Westside powerlifting mindset (but you already knew this).  Bring up weak points (mobility, strength), sparingly train the actual event (over distance), and change “special exercises” frequently while keeping relative intensity high throughout (100, 200,300 meter intervals, etc., plus cross-train “endurance” modalities).  I have had heated debates with oft injured and severely addicted runners on changing a weekly “long run” to 10-21 days between “long runs,” cycling them over a macrocycle.  No one can give me a logical reason why this can’t be done.

Shon Grosse


Nice write-up in your newsletter on endurance athletes and the need for speed & strength for them.  I don’t know how many times as a coach for XC & track that I’ve been told that today’s kids need to run for 7-10 miles a day for practices, yet I don’t see the need or logic for it fully explained.  I’ve been seeing improvements with less mileage and more speed work done with them.  The only thing I’ve seen out of programs that run 7-10 miles a day are:  overuse injuries, such as bum hips, sore knees, shin splints, and ankle issues. Maybe there are 1-2 ‘wonderkids’ who benefit, but the rest of the team struggles to fight through all that stuff.  When I went to less overall mileage and more quality work in speed sessions with my athletes, these issues didn’t pop up, and performance improved.  The only kids that things popped up in, were the athletes who were also playing club-team soccer during cross-country.  They’d run 1-2 meets a week, and have 1-2 soccer games a week, and when you add all that up, it’s more overuse and less recovery.

I also like your comments on the Frees.  I am in need of a new pair, after running in them last year for track & cross-country season, especially for speed days and runs of 4 miles or less.  I noticed if I went past 4, I had a lot of foot soreness come up.  Don’t know why, just did.

I am also shocked out how in-functional today’s basketball shoes are.  It is becoming more of a fashion show out there and ‘how cool’ they look than how the shoe can help you play more.  In my mind, it’s the shoe that’s to blame primarily for the cause of ACL tears in kids, as I see it in both females and males.  These shoes don’t allow the foot to bend.  I used to train kids on a high-speed treadmill about 1.5 years ago, and the kids

who’d run in basketball shoes on there had such stiffness, you could watch the foot land, and all you’d hear is ‘thunk, thunk, thunk’.  No softness whatsoever in the landing.  I literally had a kid take his shoe off, and I tried to BEND the shoe, and I couldn’t flex the shoe past 20-25 degrees at the toe.  Now, if you can’t bend the shoe, imagine how the athlete is pushing off with such a stiff shoe, and the forces that don’t get transferred correctly through the foot/ankle.  I was at a 4 day workshop once for Frappier Acceleration, and John Frappier talked about how the old Chuck Taylor Converse shoes allowed the athlete to be more mobile.  He said he remembered seeing a picture of Jerry West’s ankle bone, damn near poking through the canvas, but his sole of the shoe was completely in contact.  At least there was some ‘give’ in those shoes, and Frappier stated something to the effect that with our shoes today, you don’t see that much ‘give’ being allowed.

When you see how many powerlifters and ‘kettlebeller’s’ adamantly wear the Chuck T, you see how its flexible nature allows those guys to transfer all the forces they can, in a more correct form & manner, during their lifts.

Just thought I’d add in those observances for you.

Take care,

Rick Karboviak

Don’t forget: the ALCS starts tonight; go Sox!

All the Best,