Home Blog Random Friday Thoughts: 10/30/09

Random Friday Thoughts: 10/30/09

Written on October 30, 2009 at 5:51 am, by Eric Cressey

1.Just a quick heads-up: today is the last day you can get the new Functional Strength Coach 3 DVD set from Mike Boyle with all the sweet bonuses he’s offered as an introductory special.  Definitely check it out (here).

2. There’s some great new research out in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that compares front and back squats with respect to stress on the knees.  Not surprisingly, you actually see higher compressive forces and knee extensor moments with the back squat – which would imply that the front squat is a safer option for most folks.  This actually isn’t a huge surprise to me, as we’ve integrated front squatting well in advance of back squatting in returning folks with lower extremity issues to “normal training.”  However, there is a bit more.

You see, we’ll have people do a box squat variation before going to a front squat.  There is more of a sitting back motion, and a bit less knee flexion, so more of the stress it put back on the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) than the quads.  It not only takes the stress off the knees, but also allows folks to maintain a great training effect while they’re on the mend.  And, in reality, it probably helps to address some of their inefficiencies, as a good chunk of folks with knee issues tend to have weak posterior chains and be very quad-dominant.  While the majority of these individuals’ training focuses on deadlifting variations and single-leg work, when the time comes to squat, we’ll first use a front box squat:

From there, we’d go to a back-loaded box squat variation (giant cambered bar, safety squat bar, or straight bar), and then on to regular ol’ front squats.  (FYI, I covered front vs. back squats from a different perspective HERE)

3. When it comes to shoulder health, one thing folks miss out on all the time is the important role of the subscapularis, one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff.  This is a huge mistake if you want healthy shoulders.  Why?  As the picture below shows, this sucker has a big cross-sectional area (CSA).  In fact, according to Bassett et al., its CSA is the second largest (behind only the deltoid) of any muscle crossing the glenohumeral joint.


As an interesting little tag-along to that fact, I recall reading that research has demonstrated that subscapularis cross-sectional area was the only factor that predicted powerlifting performance.  While the primary focus of the subscapularis is dynamic stabilization of the humeral head (and, more specifically, creating anterior stability with its posterior pull), it also assists in internally rotating the humerus, so it’s lumped in as a “bad guy” with the other internal rotators: pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, anterior deltoid, and teres major.

In reality, in most folks, some subscapularis activation work during the warm-up should be done in conjunction with lengthening drills for the other internal rotators and posterior rotator cuff in order to establish a good shoulder groove before training.  We go into great detail in Assess and Correct with two of our progressions, but to get the ball rolling, try putting your hand behind your back (as if handcuffed) and then lifting off without extending your elbow or flexing your wrist.


If this isn’t happening easily (both getting the arm back there and lifting off), you need to get to work!

4. Speaking of Assess and Correct,  the feedback thus far has been fantastic – and folks haven’t even received the DVDs yet!  Here’s a little sample from some of the emails I’ve received:

“I ordered a copy last night and have been looking over the e-manual this morning and I’ve got to say, it looks awesome! Can’t wait to put it to use.”

“I got it yesterday. It’s awesome and the DVDs haven’t even arrived yet!”

Needless to say, the DVDs alone will be 100% worth the deal, but the in-depth bonuses take things to the next level.  Remember that the one-week only introductory price of $97 expires on Sunday at midnight, so pick up your copy ASAP!

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Have a great weekend!


PS – I’m looking for a good trainer/S&C coach in the State College, PA area.  If you are located there or know someone good nearby, please email me ASAP at ec@ericcressey.com.  Thanks!

PPS – I’m doing the Fitcast with Kevin Larrabee this morning.  I’ll get the link posted as soon as it’s available.

5 Responses to “Random Friday Thoughts: 10/30/09”

  1. Bryan Davis Says:

    oooooo momma!! I agree the PDF alone is worth the investment.. but cannot wait for the DVD.
    However I expected nothing less from the

    “Three Amigo’s” of corrective exercise.

    Mike “Lucky Day” Robertson: Wherever there is inefficiencies leading to injuries, you will find us.

    Eric “Ned Nederlander” Cressey: Wherever there is significant flexibility and strength deficits especially in the subscapularis or asymmetrical scapular positioning,sometimes referred to SICK scapula syndrome….(pause for a breath), we’ll be there.

    Bill “Dusty Bottoms” Hartman : Wherever lumbar is threatened by unilateral discrepancies in leg length, you will find…

    “The Three Amigos of Postural Corrective exercise!!!”

    P.s. Chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, Nanny!
    Faaaaarley, Farley, Farley, Faaaaaaarley!
    Hfurhrmrgurny !!!!!

    p.p.s. hahaha!!

    Look forward to the Dvd’s arriving in Sydney.. cheers mates.. Thanks Heaps!

  2. Chris Says:

    What do you think about Mike Boyle’s philosophy of NOT squatting(back/front), but utilizing split squats instead?

  3. Eric Cressey Says:

    Bryan, too funny!

    Chris, I actually just chatted with Kevin Larrabee about this on the Fitcast. It should be out this weekend, so I’ll be sure to post the link as soon as it’s live.

  4. John Costello Says:

    I have Inside Out, Magnificent Mobility and Bullet Proof Knees. I down loaded Mike’s SMFR EBook. I have also read a great deal including Shirely Sahrmman’s book after you referenced it in the “Art of the Deload”. No I am not academic. I am just an older guy (62) with bad joints that beleives information is power if I want to keep going into my 80’s.I was reticent to order “Assess and Correct” because it appeared at first glance to be repetitive to the other products. A&C does build on the other materials but it goes a great deal farther than that. It helps me put together all of the other materials and actually visualize the movement impairment and then find the right corrective exercise. That is just with the downloads. I am really looking forward to the DVDs. Thanks for helping to keep me in the game.

  5. Jack Says:


    I recall you illustrating a prone internal rotation drill in one of your articles.

    After optimal technique (no shoulder girdle hiking/anterior scapular tilt or wrist flexion/elbow extension substition patterns) is established and you’ve been doing the movement unloaded for a while, is it advisable to include a light band or weight plate to progress it?

    Or should it remain strictly as an unloaded activation movement?

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