Home Posts tagged "Building The Efficient Athlete"

I’m Having a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale (Just Like Everyone Else on the Planet)

I guess I'm joining in the discount madness this holiday season, even if I didn't have to do any planning!  Here are some options for your holiday shopping at EricCressey.com:

1. Whip: What it is and How You Get it - This was a presentation I did a while back at Ron Wolforth's Pitching Coaches Bootcamp, and it's now available for sale individually. In the presentation, I talk about factors the influence whether you increase throwing velocity and how strength and conditioning programs can have a dramatic impact - either positive or negative - on whether one develops the whip needed to throw harder.  You can either watch this online or get it as a DVD.

2. 20% off all Physical Products at MikeReinold.com - This sale includes Functional Stability Training and Optimal Shoulder Performance, along with many of Mike Reinold's other products.  Just enter the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2012 at checkout to get the discount.

3. 15% of all Products at RobertsonTrainingSystems.com - This sale includes Assess and Correct, Building the Efficient Athlete, and Magnificent Mobility, along with many other products from Mike Robertson. The discount will automatically be applied at checkout.

We don't put products on sale very often, so be sure to take advantage of these offers before they expire at the end of the day on Monday!

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What the Strength and Conditioning Textbook Never Taught You: The World Isn’t All Concentric

As a continuation of this week’s series on things you didn’t learn from a textbook, today I’ll be talking about how we’ve misunderstood muscle actions. As we go through anatomy and kinesiology in the typical exercise science degree, we memorize muscle actions.

The quadriceps extend the knee. The biceps flex the elbow. The teres minor and infraspinatus externally rotate the humerus. You get the point.

The point that many folks don’t get is that this is simply a practice of memorizing concentric muscle actions, and the truth is that this is really only one-third of the picture when it comes to how we move. You see, these muscles are also acting isometrically and eccentrically; sometimes the primary goal is not to shorten, but preserve muscle length, or prevent uncontrolled lengthening. This is a crucial understanding for one to acquire, as poor isometric and eccentric control are the culprits in an overwhelming majority of non-contact athletic injuries.

Our shoulder barks at us because our scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff don’t function correctly to prevent, slow, or limit inappropriate movement. An ACL goes because glutes and hamstrings couldn’t control unrestrained knee hyperextension and hip adduction and internal rotation.

To that end, while you might memorize a muscle’s concentric action first, it’s important to infer from that understanding that it has more implications above and below the joint it crosses. At the subtalar joint, pronation kicks off tibial and femoral internal rotation each time we land from taking a step. The gluteus maximus – as a hip external rotator, abductor, and extensor – plays a crucial role in decelerating this internal rotation and the accompanying hip flexion. In other words, your butt is an anti-pronator! Just watch what happens on the way down in a bowler squat and you’ll appreciate pick up what I’m putting down:

When you start looking at all movement like this, it will have a powerful influence on your ability to help people move more efficiently. With that in mind, I’d encourage you to look over the last strength and conditioning program you wrote and try to consider how the exercises you programmed help to prevent or control unrestrained movement, rather than creating movement. My prediction is that you’ll notice several exercises in there that you might not have included if you’d thought about this beforehand.

For more lessons like this, be sure to check out the Building the Efficient Athlete DVD set, on sale for 25% off through this Saturday at midnight.


 

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What the Strength and Conditioning Textbook Never Taught You: Synergists and Antagonists

As a follow-up to yesterday's "series premier," I wanted to use today's post to discuss another topic that rarely gets sufficient attention in the typical exercise science textbook: synergists and antagonists.

The typical explanation of the relationship of the two is that they're on opposite sides of the joint and perform opposite actions.  As an example, the hamstrings flex the knee, and quadriceps extend the knee.  Simple enough, right? Not so much.  

Muscles can be synergists and antagonists at the same time.  

Let's just look at the hip extensors to explain this point.  Your primary hip extensors are the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and adductor magnus (there are more, but we're keeping this discussion simple).  They all work together to extend the hip each time you squat, lunge, deadlift, sprint, push the sled, or bust a move on the dance floor.  That said, the hip can do a lot of things as it extends.

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If we use more gluteus maximus and biceps femoris, it externally rotates and abducts a bit as we extend. If we use more adductor magnus, semitendinosis, and semimembranosus, it internally rotates and adducts.

Taking it a step further, as the hamstrings extend the hip, they have little control over the femoral head, so it tends to glide anteriorly in the acetabulum (hip socket) in a hamstrings-dominant hip extension pattern.  The glutes have more direct control over the femoral head and can posteriorly pull the head of the femur to avoid anterior hip irritation (usually the capsule). Shirley Sahrmann did a great job of outlining femoral anterior glide syndrome in her landmark book, Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes.

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Herein exists the issue: typical discussions of synergists and antagonists focus on things things:

1. Single planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, transverse), but not the interaction of multiple planes

2. Osteokinematics (gross movement of bones at joints: flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, internal/external rotation), rather than arthrokinematics (smaller movements at joint surfaces: rolling, gliding, spinning)

3. Active restraints (muscles, tendons), but not passive restraints (ligaments, bones, labra, intervertebral discs) that may be synergists to them in creating stability

As another example, think about stabilization at the glenohumeral (shoulder's ball and socket) joint.  There are a wide range of movements taking place, yet these movements must be controlled arthrokinematically in a very precise range via a complex system of checks and balances at the joint.  If the active restraints (primarily the rotator cuff) don't do their job, one could wind up with stretched/torn ligaments, a torn labrum, or bony defects.  In other words, it isn't a stretch (no pun intended) to say that muscles can be synergists to ligaments. Put that in your osteokinematic pipe and smoke it!

This is really a topic that deserves far more than a 500-word post; it could be an entire college curriculum in itself!  And, the more you can understand it, the better you'll be able to help your clients and athletes. A great resource to get the ball rolling in this regard is Building the Efficient Athlete, a two-day seminar Mike Robertson and I filmed with functional anatomy heavily in mind.  

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Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

I don't know about you, but I can't think of anything I would rather do less than get up at 4am and go stand in line at some store with thousands of other people to take advantage of some sale.  And, it's with that in mind that Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman, Mike Reinold, and I are proud to announce a sale through Monday (11/28) at midnight on the following products: Assess and Correct DVD Set Inside-Out DVD Set Magnificent Mobility DVD The Bulletproof Knees and Back Seminar DVD Set Building the Efficient DVD Set 2008 Indianapolis Performance Enhancement Seminar DVD Set The Single-leg Solution DVD Set and Manual Bulletproof Knees Manual and DVD Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD Set I've linked to each one of these products individually so that you can learn more about each of them, but you can purchase them individually or together easily at the Robertson Training Systems Product Page. The only exception would be Optimal Shoulder Performance, which can be purchased exclusively through www.ShoulderPerformance.com with the coupon code bfcm2011. If you're someone who is "new" to our products, I'd encourage you to check out this video on Assess and Correct to learn a bit more about how we roll with one of these products.  Assess and Correct is a great place to start, if you haven't purchased any of our stuff yet:

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7 Steps for Attacking Continuing Education in the Fitness Industry

In response to a recent blog, one reader posted a question about how I "structure" my approach to continuing education.  As I thought about it, it's actually a more organized "ritual" than I had previously thought.  Here are the key components:

1.  I always have two books going at a time. One involves training/nutrition/manual therapy/rehabilitation.  The other involves business/personal development.  Noticeably absent from this list is fiction; I really don't have any interest in it, and couldn't tell you the first thing about Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.  I'll usually have a book on CD in the car as well, but nowadays, my commute is non-existent (since we moved closer to the facility), so I have been doing more reading and less listening than previously.

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2. Our staff in-service is every Wednesday at 10:30AM. This has turned into a great continuing education opportunity for all of us. While one person is "responsible" for presenting the topic each week, it always inevitably becomes a "think tank" among our staff and interns about how something applies to specific clients, unique issues, functional anatomy, or our programming or business model.

For instance, last week, I talked about how to assess shoulder external rotation and address any identified deficits on this front.  We got to talking about which clients were using the appropriate mobilizations, how to perform them, and what would happen if they are performed incorrectly.  Likewise, we talked about how certain people need to be careful about mobilizing their shoulders into external rotation because of extreme congenital laxity and/or extreme humeral retroversion. 

Beyond just the benefits of helping our staff grow as a whole, for me, it has several distinct benefits.  First, when I come back from a weekend seminar where I've learned something good, it's a great opportunity to "reteach" and apply it immediately.  I'm a firm believer that the best way to master something is to have to teach it to someone else.  Second, having pretty frequent "mini-presentations" keeps my presenting skills fresh for seminars when I may have 4-6 weeks between speaking engagements.

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3. I get to at least 4-5 weekend seminars per year. I'm lucky in that two of these are generally Perform Better Three-Day Summits where I get to see a wide variety of presentations - with all my travel expenses paid because I present myself.

I think that every fitness professional needs to get to at least two such events per year.  The good news is that with webinars and DVD sets, you can save a ton on travel expenses and watch these on your own schedule.  A lot of people, for instance, have said that they learned more from our two-day Building the Efficient Athlete Seminar DVD Set than they did in years of college - with no tuition payment required, either!

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That said, a ton of the education at such events comes from interacting with other fitness professionals, so you do miss out on the accidental "social" education.

4. I have one day a week where all I read are journal articles. Sometimes it is entertaining, and sometimes it's like reading stereo instructions.  It depends on journal - and regular ol' luck with respect to what's going on in the research world.  I'll keep it pretty random and just type in a search term like "sports medicine" or "strength training."  We also have The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies delivered to the office so that our staff can look that over.

5.  I read a few blogs/newsletters each day in both training/nutrition/manual therapy/rehabilitation and business/personal development. I've listed several on my recommended resources page.  There are loads more out there; these are just the tip of the iceberg and the ones that I tend to read more frequently.

6. I'll usually have a DVD set or webinar going as often as possible. We've got a great library in the office at Cressey Sports Performance, and I'm fortunate to have a lot of stuff sent to me for free to review here on the blog. I tend to prefer DVDs more than webinars, as I can watch them in fast-forward and make people talk faster to save time!

7. I talk to and email with a handful of other coaches about programming and business ideas and new things we're doing. I wouldn't call it a mastermind group, or anything even close to one in terms of organization, but it is good to know that whenever I want to bounce an idea off someone, I have several people I can contact.  On the training side of things, a few guys that come to mind are Mike Robertson, Neil Rampe, Mike Reinold, Bill Hartman, and Tony Gentilcore.  On the business side of things, I'm lucky to have Alwyn Cosgrove and Pat Rigsby as good dudes who are only an email or phone call away.  I think that the take-home message is that if you surround yourself with the right people, answers that would normally elude you are really right at hand.

This post wound up running a lot longer than I'd anticipated, but hopefully you all benefited from it nonetheless.  Have any continuing education strategies of your own that I have overlooked?  If so, please post them in the comments section below.

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Want to be a Personal Trainer or Strength Coach? Start Here.

It's an email I get at least twice a week from a random reader, and it goes something like this:

"My current job just isn't fulfilling, but I really love fitness and want to turn it into a career.  What certification do you recommend?"

I get these type of inquiries so often that I decided that this bit of writing would be my autoresponse which - as you'll see below - has a bit of tough love that I think these folks need to hear.

A few months ago, Rachel Cosgrove said that about 80% of those who enter the fitness industry leave it within a year.  I haven't seen the statistic myself, but Rachel knows her stuff and meticulously monitors the business side of the fitness industry and I defer to her completely.

Does it say something about the "status quo" that our industry probably has more turnover than a janitorial position at your local zoo?

Why the crazy turnover within the first year?  Well, for starters, I feel like entering the fitness business is an impulse decision for a lot of folks.  They hate their current jobs so much that they have to go to the opposite end of the spectrum to one of the only things in their lives that makes them happy: exercising.

Two months later, they realize that they're working 60-hour weeks on their feet because they have floor hours at their local commercial gym in the middle of the day on top of their only two personal training clients - who conveniently schedule at 5AM and 6PM.  They're rewarded with a whopping $600 check every two weeks, after taxes.  Starting with the 2011 tax plan, it'll probably be $200; take notes, kids.

But you've got passion, right?

Wrong.

Passion (and optimism) might get you out of bed for that 5AM client, but only determination, preparation, intrapersonal skills, organization, and a solid understanding of exercise physiology are going to make it possible for you to get through the rest of the day while being happy and making sure that you're just a little bit better the next day.

And, I will tell you flat-out that every single trainer I have ever met has had days when exercise was the last thing they wanted to do.  For me, it happened in the fall of 2006 every Tuesday and Thursday night - when my football guys came in to train with me at 7:30PM after I'd been training clients since 6:30AM.  Were it not for this kind of energy in my training partners, I probably would have gone home and just gone to bed.

Obviously, that's a worst-case scenario.  However, I'm never going to discourage someone from pursuing what they feel could be a livelihood where they'd be happy and helping people.  I would, though, encourage them to adhere to the following steps (in this order):

1. Go observe a few current fitness professionals who are successful in their crafts. Ask questions and get a feel for whether this is a good fit for you before you jump into the deep-end, quitting your job and investing all sorts of cash in a career change.

2. Wait a year to get a certification. What?  Huh?  This is supposed to come first, right?  Wrong.  Getting a certification without any background experience makes you a liability, not a professional.  Every penny you spend in that first year should be on books, DVDs, seminars, and travel to go observe other coaches/trainers in action.  And, you should be taking advantage of all the free resources there are for you to get educated online.  Don't ignore fitness industry business resources, either; they aren't taught with certifications or degrees, but are tremendously important.

3. Get an internship. This is an extension of #1 - and it still comes before getting a certification.  You need to log at least three months of 40-hour weeks somewhere learning your craft and paying your dues.  Get a feel for whether you could see yourself doing this long-term.

Obviously, this is a concern because it would require you to quit your job, so you'd need to save up for this period.  However, you would be amazed at how many interns are hired by facilities after their internship period is over (all our "hires" at Cressey Performance have been former interns).  And, most facilities will pay for your certification and CPR/AED training, and some will even give you a continuing education stipends on top of it.

4. Get a certification. Yes, it is step 4.  Frankly, I don't really care what certification you get because none of them really wow me, but then again, I have a hard time justifying an undergraduate exercise science degree for $100, let alone $200,000.  If I was 18 today, I'd save all that money, get an internship, and spend the cash on loads of books/DVDs - and taking selective courses (gross anatomy, kinesiology and biomechanics). A lot of folks, for instance, have told Mike Robertson and I that they learned more practical information in our Building the Efficient Athlete DVD set than they did in their entire college careers - for only 0.0015% the price.

btea_set

And, I sure as heck wouldn't pay a university fo accept my internship credits; that's one of the biggest scams of all time!  However, before I digress too much on that front, get the certification.  Most jobs will require it even if it is just a small foot in the door.

5. Pay your dues. There is no way around it.  You aren't magically going to have a full client roster on your first day of a job; you have to start somewhere.  I can promise you that you will be better off with the background you've created with steps 1-4.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the importance of accumulating 10,000 hours in order to become an expert in one's field.  There are only 8,760 hours in a year - and even if you assume 60-hour work-weeks, it's still going to take over three years to get to that 10,000-hour mark.

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The 80% who don't make it past the first year simply didn't understand that you can't live the life of an established professional, industry expert, or even someone who has seniority if you don't put in the hours.

You've probably noticed that I geared a lot of this toward those in the private sector.  However, much of it will still apply to those looking to go into college strength and conditioning - but keep in mind that you will run into a lot of hurdles in college S&C if you don't have a college degree in a related field.  That's just the game as it's played, so keep it in mind.

A big part of longer-term success will be how you approach continuing education.  If you do it and take it seriously, you'll be ahead of 90% of the trainers and coaches out there.  A great resource in this regard is Elite Training Mentorship, our online education program that helps fitness professionals learn how to evaluate, program, and coach.  Check it out: Elite Training Mentorship.

Do any of you veterans have any tips for the aspiring up-and-comers in the business?  If so, post them as comments.

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Three Years of Cressey Performance: The Right Reasons and the Right Way

Though a somewhat "normal" day at the gym, yesterday marked Cressey Performance's three-year anniversary. While my business partner's blog post yesterday did an excellent job of doling out "thank yous" to a lot of the important people who have been so involved in our success - from clients to parents, coaches, interns, and significant others - I wanted to add my own two cents on the matter today.  More than anything, I really wanted to highlight a sentence that illustrates what makes me the most proud about where CP has been, where it is, and where it's going.

We've done this for the right reasons, and we've done it the right way.

newcp21 I read a business development blog post by Chris McCombs the other day where he wrote something that really hit home for me.  When he was talking about how he decides to accept or reject a new project/opportunity, here is one of his guidelines: "Only Take on Projects That Are In Line With My Current Values and Fulfill Me Beyond Just The Money - A project must fulfill me in some way BESIDE just money...too many people spend their life JUST chasing a buck; to me, that's no way to live.  For me, the money must be there, but it should fulfill me personally, be fun, help a lot of people, and build and be in line with my current brand and brand equity." Back in 2007, I had a tough decision to make.  My online consulting business had really taken off, and the Maximum Strength book deal was in the works.  My other products - Magnificent Mobility, The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual, and Building the Efficient Athlete - were selling well and getting great reviews, and I'd just had a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  This website was growing exponentially in popularity, and I had just wrapped up my first year on the Perform Better tour - so lots of doors were opening for me on the seminar front to present all over the world - and I could have stayed home and just written all day, every day. I was getting really crunched for time, as I was already training clients 8-13 hours per day, seven days per week, as my in-person clientele had rapidly grown. My phone rang off the hook for about three weeks after Lincoln-Sudbury won a baseball state championship after I'd trained several of their guys, and one of my athletes was named state player of the year.  And, after being featured on the front page of the Boston Globe with a nipple so hard I could cut diamonds, I was in demand as a t-shirt model (okay, not really - but it made for an awesome blog post, The School of Hard Nipples).

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I was exhausted and stressed - but absolutely, positively, "living the dream" that I'd always wanted. To make matters a bit more interesting, I had just started dating a great girl (now my fiancee) who I really had a good feeling was "the one" after about three months.  The work days, however, were insanely long and I was worried that I'd screw up a good thing by not spending enough time with her. Every business development coach out there would have seen a "simple" answer to all my problems: stop training people in person.  Just write, consult, make DVDs, and give seminars.  It would have cut my hours by 80% and still allowed me to earn a pretty good living - and enjoy plenty of free time.  There was a huge problem with that, though; as Chris wrote, it wouldn't "fulfill me personally, be fun, help a lot of people, and build and be in line with my current brand and brand equity."  I like doing evaluations, writing programs, coaching, sweating, training with my guys, cranking up the music, helping people get to where they want to be, collaborating with and learning from other professionals, and watching my athletes compete - whether it's at some high school field or at Fenway Park.  Giving that up wasn't an option; I guess I'd have just been a crappy business coaching client, as I would have been stubborn as an ass on giving that up.

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Fortunately for me, Pete Dupuis, my roommate from my freshman year of college, had just finished his MBA and was in the midst of a job search.  And, during that MBA, he'd started to train with me and packed on a ton of strength and muscle mass - making him realize and truly appreciate the value in what I was doing (especially since he was and is a goalie in a very competitive soccer league).  Pete had also met and become friends with a ton of my clients - and taken a genuine interest in my baseball focus, as a lifelong Red Sox fan.  Almost daily, Pete would encourage me to do my own thing and let him handle all the business stuff for me. Simultaneously, Tony Gentilcore was ready for a change of scenery on the work front.  Having been Tony's roommate and training partner for almost two years at that point, I knew he was a genuinely great guy, that he'd read everything on my bookshelf, and that he could coach his butt off and "walk the walk."  He, too, had met a lot of my clients - so there was continuity from the get-go. So, on July 13, 2007, Cressey Performance was born.  Here is what we started with.

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Boatloads of renovations and equipment additions later, it wound up looking like this.

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Of course, we outgrew and demolished this space after about nine months and moved three miles east to a facility twice the size.  And, we've continued to grow right up to this day; June was our busiest month ever, and July should be busier.  We've got regular weekly clients who come from four states (MA, NH, CT, RI), and in the baseball off-season, I have college and pro guys who come from the likes of OH, AZ, CA, SC, NC, GA, FL, and VA.  And, we had 33 applicants for this summer's internships.

To be very candid, though, I don't consider myself a very good "businessman."  No offense to Pete or Tony, either, but I don't think they even come close to the textbook definition of the word, either.  We just try to be good dudes. "We've done this for the right reasons, and we've done it the right way."

We don't allocate a certain percentage of our monthly revenues to advertising.  In fact, we haven't spent a single penny on advertising - unless you count charitable donations to causes that are of significance to us.

We don't search high and low for new revenue streams to push on our clients.  In fact, if I get one more MonaVie sales pitch, I'm going to suplex whoever delivered it right off our loading dock.  Rather, we bust our butts to set clients up for success in any way possible - and trust that those efforts will lead to referrals and "allegiance" to Cressey Performance.  We ask what they want from us and modify our plans accordingly.  It's what led to us bringing in manual therapy, a pitching cage, and, of course, pitching coach/court jester Matt Blake's timeless antics.

Along those same lines, we don't measure our success based on revenue numbers; we measure it based on client results.  In three years of seeing LOADS of baseball players non-stop, we've only had three arm surgeries: one shoulder and two elbow.  All three were athletes who came to us with existing injuries, and in each case, we kept them afloat as long as we could and trained them through their entire rehabilitation.  I don't want to toot our own horn, but this is a remarkable statistic in a population where over 57% of pitchers suffer some form of shoulder injury during each competitive season - and that doesn't even include  elbows!  And, our statistics don't even count literally dozens of players who have come to us after a doctor has told them they needed surgery, but we've helped them avoid these procedures.  The college scholarships, draft picks, state titles, individual honors, and personal bests in the gym are all fantastic, but I'm most proud of saying that we've dedicated ourselves to keeping athletes healthy so that they can enjoy the sports they love.

The same goes for our non-competitive athlete clients.  The fat loss and strength gains they experience are awesome and quantifiable, but beyond that (and more qualitatively), I love knowing that they're training pain-free and are going to be able to enjoy exercise and reap the benefits of training for a long time.

We don't penny-pinch during our slowest times of the month (late March through mid-May - the high school baseball season).  We see it as an opportunity to do more staff continuing education, renovate the facilities, and get out to watch a lot of baseball and support our athletes.  And, we adjust our hours to open up on Sundays and stay later on weeknights during the baseball season to make it easier for athletes to get in-season training in whenever they can.  If a pitcher wants to come in and get his arm stretched out before or after an outing, he stops by and we do it for him - but don't charge him a penny for it.  It's about setting people up for success.

We don't try to just "factory line" as many clients through our facility as possible with everyone on the same program.  You might walk into CP and see 20 different clients on 20 different programs - because a 16-year old pitcher with crazy congenital laxity is going to have a markedly different set of needs than a 16-year-old linebacker with shoulder mobility so bad that he needs help putting a jacket on.  One program on one dry erase board for hundreds of athletes isn't training; it's babysitting.

Taking this a step further, we don't boot clients out after a certain amount of time.  Clients take as long as needed to complete the day's program. And, when they're done (or before they even begin), loads of our clients spend time hanging out in the office just shooting the breeze and enjoying the environment.  As an example, Toronto Blue Jays Organizational Pitcher of the Year Tim Collins spends a minimum of five hours a day at CP all off-season.

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Tim has sold girl scout cookies for the daughter of one of our clients, and he's been our back-up front desk guy when Pete is out of town.  Yesterday, he was back to visit on his all-star break - and he said hello to every client he saw - and remembered them by name.  If you're a 15-year-old up-and-coming baseball pitcher, how cool is it to get that kind of greeting when you walk into the office?  Well, at CP, kids get that greeting from 10-15 pro guys all the time.  And, if they're lucky, they might even get to throw on a bobsled helmet and join these pro guys in a rave to Miley Cyrus, apparently.

At least once a week, I get an email from an up-and-coming coach asking for advice about starting a facility.  When I get these emails, I now think about how Rachel Cosgrove recently mentioned that more than 80% of fitness coaches leave the industry within the first year. In most cases, this happens because these people never should have entered the fitness industry in the first place - because their intentions (money) were all wrong.  They usually leave under the assumption that they could never make a living training people, but in reality, these folks are going to have a hard time making a living in any occupation that requires genuinely caring about what you do and the people with whom you work, and being willing to hang your hat on the results you produce.

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As such, the first advice, in a general sense, is obvious: do it for the right reasons, and do it the right way.  Sure, making a living is essential, but only open a facility because it would fulfill you "personally, be fun, help a lot of people, and build and be in line" with who you are and what your values are - which together constitute your "brand." Making the move to start up this business was one of the most daunting decisions I have ever had to make, and all the efforts toward actually getting the business started were equally challenging.  However, in the end, it has been more rewarding both personally and professionally than I could have ever possibly imagined.

Thank you very much to all of you - clients/customers, parents, EricCressey.com readers, seminar attendees, and professional colleagues - for all your support over the past three years.  We couldn't have done it without you - and look forward to many more years of doing things for the right reasons and in the right way.

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Memorial Day Sale!

To celebrate Memorial Day and the long weekend that many call the "unofficial start to summer," Mike Robertson and I decided to put two of our most popular products to-date on sale through this Monday night - and update their websites. So, from now until midnight on Monday 5/31, you can get both Building the Efficient Athlete and Magnificent Mobility for 20% off.  The discount will be applied automatically at checkout; you just need to pick them up at the following websites:

www.BuildingTheEfficientAthlete.com

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www.MagnificentMobility.com

mm1 If you'd like to order them along with other products, just check out the RobertsonTrainingSystems.com Products page. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to pick up two of our "best sellers" at an excellent discount!

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The Six Kinds of Seminar Attendees

On Sunday, we hosted Neil Rampe of the Arizona Diamondbacks for a Myokinematic Dysfunction seminar at Cressey Performance.  It was a great experience, and Neil did a very thorough job of highlighting the different schools of thought with respect to addressing movement impairments.  In particular, Neil spent a lot of time on two schools of thought: Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (discussed in this post) and the Postural Restoration Institute. There was some advanced stuff being discussed, and we had a wide variety of professions and ability levels represented in the audience.  There were athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists, and chiropractors in attendance.  And, they ranged in age from 20 all the way up to 55 (or so).  After the seminar, I got to talking with Neil about how it's interesting to think what each person takes away from a seminar based on their age, occupation, and experience level.  It led to me coming up with the six kinds of seminar attendees: 1. The Experienced, Open-minded Attendee - This individual may have similar experience in similar fields as the presenter.  If he gets just 2-3 good tips over the course of the seminar, he's thrilled.  The more experienced you get, the more you appreciate the little things you can add (or subtract) to refine your approach. Example: Last year, I spent about 95% of Greg Rose's presentation at Perform Better in Long Beach nodding in agreement, as he and I both deal with a ton of rotational sport athletes (him with golf, and me with baseball).  He did, however, introduce one new thoracic spine mobility test that I absolutely love and use to this day.  I might have only picked up one thing, but it was a hugely valuable for me. 2.The Experienced, Close-minded Attendee - This individual may be very experienced in a similar realm as the presenter, but isn't openminded enough to realize that a professional on his level still might have things to offer to improve his approach.  These are usually the people who claim to be "old school" - which essentially applies that they only have experience doing the same thing for 25 years.  This is one kind of "there's nothing new here" person. 3. The Experienced Attendee from a Different Field - This individual might be excellent at what he does in a semi-related field, but completely new to the material presented at a seminar.  The challenge here is to learn what can be applied in that other realm. Think of a pitching or track coach attending a strength and conditioning seminar - or a S&C coach attending a pitching or physical therapy conference.

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4. The Intimidated, Lazy Beginner Attendee - There are times when a beginner attends a seminar and has little to no clue what's going on during the event and is completely intimidated by what he doesn't know.  And, as a result, the attendee claims that he will never need the information anyway.  These folks should either change their attitudes or pick a different industry, as they are the second kind of "there's nothing new here" person. 5. The Motivated Beginner Attendee - This attendee is identical to the intimidated beginner, but rather than getting insecure about his lack of knowledge on the subject, he uses it as motivation to study further and find a way to get to where he wants to be.  This may be an understanding of how to apply bits and pieces of what the presenter taught, or a desire to become an expert in the same topic the presenter covered.  You see this quite a bit in the fitness industry, as exercise enthusiasts who aren't in the industry will actually attend seminars just to learn about better training practices - just like I might tend a talk by an economist, for instance. 6. The Middle of the Road Attendee - This individual is somewhere between a beginner and an expert in the material being covered.  My experience has been that the "middle of the road" folks only attend seminars (at least the ones at which I've presented) if they genuinely care about getting better, not just for CEUs (the intimidated/lazy beginners do that).  I find that this is probably the biggest group of the six. Groups 5 and 6 are the ones who have loved our Building the Efficient Athlete seminar the most, as it either complemented their college anatomy and kinesiology curriculum nicely, or helped to take the place of it altogether (for those who didn't attend school).

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Think about this for yourself and start to consider where you fall in the context of these six categories.  And, more importantly, how does your "placement" in this scheme dictate the next 2-3 seminars you're going to attend?  Do you want to completely get outside your realm of expertise and see something entirely new, or do you want to hone in on your specialty and see if you can come up with a few new tricks to take you to the next level?  There isn't a correct answer on this, other than that you need to keep getting out to see others in action to get better! On a related note, I've got a busy spring of seminars booked, so if you haven't already, check out my schedule page for details.
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Strength and Conditioning Programs: Efficiency May Be All Wrong…

In my strength and conditioning writing, I throw the term "efficient" around quite a bit; in fact, it's even in the title of our Building the Efficient Athlete DVD set.  I'm sure that some people have taken this to mean that we're always looking for efficiency in our movement.  And, certainly, when it comes to getting from point A to point B in the context of sporting challenges, the most efficient way is generally the best. And, just think about strength training programs where lifters simply squat, bench press, and deadlift to improve powerlifting performance.  The goal is to get as efficient in those three movements as possible. And, you can look at NFL combine preparation programs as another example.  Guys will spend months practicing picture-perfect technique for the 40-yard dash.  They might not even get faster in the context of applicable game speed, but they get super efficient at the test.

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However, the most "efficient" way is not always the right way. In everyday life, efficiency for someone with poor posture means picking up a heavy box with a rounded back, as it's the pattern to which they're accustomed, and therefore less "energy expensive."  This would simply prove to be an efficient way to get injured!  I'd rather lift things safely and inefficiently.

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And, take those who run long distances in hopes of losing fat as another example.  The research has actually shown that runners burn fewer calories for the same given distance after years of running improves their efficiency.  While this improvement is relatively small, it absolutely stands to reason that folks would be smart to get as inefficient as possible in their training to achieve faster fat loss.  In other words, change modalities, intensities, durations, and other acute programming variables. Training exclusively for efficiency on a few lifts might make you better at those lifts, but it's also going to markedly increase your risk of overuse injuries.  I can say without wavering that we'd see a lot fewer knee and lower back injuries in powerlifters if more of them would just mix in some inefficient single-leg training into their strength training programs.  And, shoulders would get a lot healthier if these specialists would include more inefficient rowing variations and rotator cuff strength exercises. In the world of training for athletic performance, it's important to remember that many (but not all) athletes perform in unpredictable environments - so simply training them to be efficient on a few lifts fails to fully prepare them for what they're actually face in competition.  A strength and conditioning program complete with exercise variety and different ranges-of-motion,  speeds of motion, and magnitudes of loading provides athletes with a richer proprioceptive environment.

In other words, inefficiency in strength and conditioning programs can actually facilitate better performance and a reduced risk of injury.

Taken all together, it's safe to say that we want inefficiency in our training, but efficiency in our performance - provided that this efficiency doesn't involve potentially injurous movement patterns. Related Posts Why I Don't Like 5x5 Strength Training Programs Weight Training Programs: The Basics, but with Variety Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
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