Home Posts tagged "Core Stability Exercises" (Page 5)

The 5 Best Indirect Core Stability Exercises for the Upper Body

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Performance coach, Greg Robins.

These tips came about out of necessity in my own program, but can be tremendously useful to just about all gym goers. In the past, I placed most of my core work on lower body training days. Typically, I only have three days where I can really train hard, and only one of those days is upper body focused. That means I need to pack in a lot of volume into that one day.  Realizing that core stability was one of my major weaknesses, I tried to figure out a way to include more core stability exercises without adding time to my training schedule or losing out on volume elsewhere.

With that in mind, I started to do more indirect core work via my upper body accessory movements. In light of this revelation, here are my five favorite movements, why they’re worth a look, and how to perform them. I should note: I have intentionally included a balance of push and pull type movements.

1. Kettlebell Overhead Press Variations

Overhead pressing, when done correctly, presents a tremendous challenge to the anterior core, as we must brace to prevent excessive arching of the low back.

If we make the movement one sided, we add the additional challenge of not side bending. In other words, it becomes a rotary and lateral core challenge.

Additionally, I prefer to overhead press a kettlebell over a dumbbell. The shape of the KB, and the way it’s held, promote a much smoother groove in which to press.

Lastly, the KB press offers some very simple, yet challenging, variations. You can perform them half kneeling (one knee down), tall kneeling (both knees down), or simply hold the KB upside down (bottoms-up) for an added stability challenge.

Check out this video on how to perform the tall kneeling KB press, one my favorite variations. The points discussed in the video carry over to each of the other variations mentioned.

2. Band Resisted Ab-Wheel Rollouts or Barbell Rollouts

Here’s one that probably caught most of you by surprise. In many people’s eyes, the ab wheel rollout is a direct core stability exercise. In many cases, I would agree with you. When a person first begins to learn this movement, without the band, it is far more challenging to hold the proper spinal position than it is to roll back to the start.

Furthermore, the demand on your upper body to roll back isn’t that high when the wheel is unloaded.

Once someone has become proficient at the unloaded wheel, you can actually load this movement. Adding bands to the wheel, or using a loaded barbell, creates quite a bit more work for the upper body, and in turn the core, which is trying to resist unwanted movement.

These two variations will help you not only build a strong midsection, but also add volume targeting the lats and long head of the triceps as well.

3. Split Stance Overhead Triceps Extension

This one is a killer, and I love it. It gets thrown out the window completely by most people, as if it’s just another triceps extension that’s just a waste of time. The truth is, it as a brutal exercise in anti-extension when done correctly.

With the lever arm being so far away from the lower back, even a small amount of weight can create a serious challenge in keeping the core braced and the ribs down. Not to mention, the movement also goes along way to develop the triceps. Lastly, the need to control the load more, and stay strict with the form, usually leaves people’s elbows feeling a lot better than other extension exercises.

4. 3-Point Dumbbell Row

Anyone who has ever done a 3-point dumbbell row – somewhat strictly and with enough weight – knows that is a brutal test in anti-rotation. If you think about exercises like the renegade row, or even a 1-arm push up, the 3-point row offers much of the same benefits.

If you need to be more efficient with your training, and add some additional core training into the mix, I would choose this row over the traditional 1-arm DB row every time.

5. Half-Kneeling Push/Pull

This one requires some set-up, but it’s worth the hassle. The half-kneeling push-pull is the ultimate challenge in moving your upper extremities around a stable mid-section. Unlike many off-loaded push or pull exercises, you do not get the opportunity to brace one side of the body and focus your attention mainly on the moving side. Instead, both sides are actively going through concentric and eccentric motions while you brace the midsection and engage the glutes to keep the pelvis under control. Check out this video, and give it a try:

That wraps it up! These exercises are great additions to the bottom half of your programming on an upper body day and work extremely well in a more full body type programming effort as well. Enjoy!

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Pitching Performance: Understanding Trunk Position at Foot Strike – Part 2

Today is part 2 of a collaborative series on a key portion of the pitching delivery from Matt Blake and me. In case you missed part 1, you can check it out here.  In today's installment, Matt delves into the mechanical side a bit deeper and introduces some drill work and examples of where trunk position can go astray.

In order to understand where this extension at landing is coming from and how we can control it in the throw, we have to look at it with a more global perspective and realize that there were preceding movements that were driving this pattern into the landing position.

In part one, we used a picture of Tim Lincecum to exemplify a heavily extended position, but one thing you’ll notice is that the foot positioning in his stride pattern is actually driving a lot of the extension in the torso at landing. If we take a look further back in his delivery, you’ll notice that he has a considerable front leg swing that pulls a lot of his weight forward, causing him to land closed off. In order to keep the segmental separation unfolding efficiently through his target line, he is forced to include more extension in his throw. Here is a brief clip with a couple markers throughout the delivery to highlight the movements in question.

The issue then becomes that the same leg swing Lincecum uses to create power in his stride pattern is also what makes it susceptible to inconsistency, because of the timing and degree of pre-stretch it requires to make the driveline efficient.  Ideally, you would just be able to tell Lincecum to straighten out his stride line, and the problem would be solved. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. He has been using a stride pattern that is front leg swing dominant with a closed orientation at landing for years to help create the necessary tension it takes to throw the ball 95mph.  So, to that end, he’s nearly cemented these patterns – for better or worse.

With that in mind, sometimes it’s easier to give a pitcher some drill constraints to help find the tension in a different manner before they get back on the mound and try to recreate the new line of tension for which we’re looking.

In this case, we’ll introduce some simple drills to close the kinetic chain down a bit and move through a progression that goes from static in nature to a more dynamic and athletic movement pattern. Ideally, we’d cue our way through each drill depending on where we need to alter the individual’s line of tension until we’re able to repeat the new motion at full speed on the mound.

To give you an example of one of the more static drills in our “lead-up” sequence to help set the pattern in place, here is a simple demonstration of the “stride drill” with a three-step progression.

In this example, the intensity was obviously low for the sake of demonstration, so some of the variables of the throw are not exact.  With that said, we do also use this drill in a more explosive capacity during some of our weighted ball and velocity drill series in order to turn up the intent and attempt to create some hand speed.

To give you an example of what this looks like in an amateur pitcher with an excessive extension pattern that may lead to some inconsistency, here are three videos depicting the wind-up and then corrective stride drill work:

Wind-up

Stride Drill

Stride Drill with Load

Obviously, these drills aren't quite where we want them to be yet, as there is still plenty to correct, but that was the idea: I want you to see where most “live-arm” high school athletes are before they acquire an efficiency of movement. This athlete, in particular, has pretty good stuff and works about 86-89mph with this particular delivery. If he can control his feet a little better and know where his weight is positioned, he can control his pelvis and rib orientation in the stride phase, and he’ll be able to create some cleaner sequencing. 

One the flip side of that, I want to emphasize with an athlete like this is that, yes, I do want him to throw hard with intent, but I also want him to be in positions to compete in the strike zone on a consistent basis. These don’t necessarily have to be competing interests if we understand how our movements can work together and not fight each other.  The main point ends up being that these drills, if cued properly, are attempting to have him consider more efficient movements, and in turn, a more stable and centered delivery.

At the end of the day, as much as we want to control extension in the delivery, by having a strong anterior core that can help limit the amount of hyperextension we get in the lumbar region, most high level throwers have some level of extension in their sequence. The key for me is getting the athlete to understand if it’s excessive or if it’s controlled extension that we can managed within normal limits on a consistent, repeatable basis. If it’s not, we need to be able to find the corrective measures to bring it under control.

In Part 3, EC will cover some core stability exercise progressions he utilizes to help athletes build stability in these positions. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about how we manage throwers, be sure to register for one of our Elite Baseball Mentorships.  The next one will take place December 8-10.

 

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Categorizing Core Stability Exercises: Not As Easy As One Might Think

Most people try to segment their core stability work into multiple categories when they are writing strength and conditioning programs.  As I discuss and demonstrate in today's video, though, they aren't as easy to subdivide as one might think:

If you're looking for more assessment, coaching, and programming strategies with respect to core stability exercises, I'd encourage you to check out our resource, Functional Stability Training of the Core. It's available in both online-only and DVD versions.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/12/13

Here's this week's recommended strength and conditioning reading:

How Concern Over Pitcher Usage Can Actually Give College Coaches a Recruiting Advantage - I've been very outspoken in the past about how prior overuse invariably winds up predicting future injury, and this article reflects on the topic as well - including a mention of CP athlete and Vanderbilt Tyler Beede. If you're looking for a good complementary resource, check out this page, which tracks the highest pitch counts in D1 baseball each season.

Real Core Training: Offset Loading: I have to show some love for former CP intern Kyle Arsenault for having his first article published at T-Nation.  It came out great!

Interview with Me - I appeared on the "Smart Science of Slim" podcast.  You can check it out here on YouTube:

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 50

Today marks the 50th installment of this series; not too shabby! We want to quickly say thank you to everyone who has been following along. We have received plenty of messages, and many an in-person “thank yous” for the information passed along; we really appreciate your support. With that in mind, we (Greg and Eric) have decided to collaborate on this “momentous” 50th installment to make it extra memorable.  Enjoy!

1. Consider doing more “core” work at the beginning of your training sessions.

Usually, we save direct, or less-indirect, core stability exercises for the latter portions of a strength training program. There is nothing wrong with this approach, and if you look at many of our programs at Cressey Performance, that’s still largely how we operate.

More recently, however, we are also including more of these core stability exercises early on. Here are a few scenarios where it makes sense:

The warm-up: Low-level core stability exercises should definitely be included in your warm-ups. They fit nicely into the theme of working from proximal to distal. In other words, you work at the trunk, thoracic spine, and pelvis before moving out to the extremities. Furthermore, hitting them early on will get athletes and clients “using” their core more appropriately before their training session.

With more hypermobile populations: These folks need to train for stability all the time. That training should be centered on the trunk first. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to include core stability exercises throughout their program, and expose them to those demands more times than just at the bottom end.   To determine how hypermobile a client is, run them through the Beighton Hypermobility Test, which Eric discussed recently here.

With people who lack anterior core strength: We see a lot of grossly extended individuals walk through our doors. These clients need more exposure to core stability type drills, as well as more repetition in feeling what correct positions are. With that in mind, they are another population that can benefit from core-based drills littered between their more typical upfront exercise selections.  Here are a few examples:

Additionally, keep in mind that just because an exercise doesn’t seem to be core-intensive at first doesn’t mean that you can’t make it that way.  As an example, this drill is largely geared toward improving length in the lats and long head of the triceps while improving thoracic spine extension, but the anterior core should be braced to maintain the lumbar spine in neutral.  At the bottom position, we cue the athlete to exhale fully to get some extra anterior core recruitment.

(For more details on anterior core training progressions, check out Eric’s presentation on the topic HERE)

2. Prevent compensation patterns when you clean up a movement.

Building on our discussion of anterior core control from point #1, athletes in extension will always find ways to shift their weight anteriorly, whether it’s via a heavily lordotic lumbar spine, anterior pelvic tilt, scapular depression, humeral anterior glide (elbows will often be behind the body at rest), forward head posture, or plantarflexion. 

APT

If you correct one, they’ll often try to go to one of the others to make up the difference.  A good example would be the forward head posture that might kick in when you correct an anterior pelvic tilt and excessive lordosis on the previously featured back-to-wall shoulder flexion.  As has often been said, the best athletes are the best compensators, so you need to make sure you don't let them just shift their postural dysfunction up or down a joint or two.

3. Use chia seeds in your shakes.

Chia seeds, in the opinion of many, are one of those super foods that are nearly impossible toeat. These little guys pack a ton of healthy fats, including a great amount of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), but they don’t taste so great out in the raw. However, they will make a welcomed addition to your smoothies. Along with boasting a very positive nutrient profile, chia seeds also become gelatinous when wet. That gelatinous consistency does wonders for your stomach, as well as for thickening up the consistency of your smoothie! Give them a try next time you're blending it up!

4. Improve your diet by planning ahead.

We have been big supporters of Precision Nutrition for many years now. Since the start, they have always placed a huge focus on meal planning. This habit is crucial to anyone’s success in developing better nutrition. The key word here is MEAL. Nobody likes to shop for macronutrients, or raw food items. However, that’s how many so called “healthy” people shop. A much better approach is to plan the week’s food intake based around a few recipes. From there, you can shop for the meals, not just for food.

Doing so will hold you accountable to actually cooking, and cooking tasty meals at that. This will help you develop a much better relationship with food. Additionally, as you continue to learn recipes and cook meals, you will have an arsenal of healthy eats in your pocket.

A little extra work up front will have a payoff down the road. As an action item, explore some recipes yourself, jot down a grocery list based off the ingredients and head to the grocery store this week with a plan! If you are looking for some good recipes, check out Metabolic Cooking, a great online cookbook full of delicious healthy food options.

package

5. Have you kids take an active role in your nutritional approach.

To piggyback off my last point, I (Greg) recently learned a lesson from one of my online nutrition clients. One of our goals over the past few weeks was the inclusion of meal planning out of a cookbook. Each week, he has been using the recipes to make at least three meals per week. Slowly, he is amassing the experience to cook and shop for healthy meals with ease.

He described to me that his go-to process in selecting the meals is laying the cookbook out, and having his daughter select two recipes. When I heard this I was blown away! What an easy way to get kids involved with the process.

His daughter was excited to eat the meals she selected – and these were often meals that she normally wouldn’t touch if her parents made them without her help. I have interacted with many parents who struggle with eating healthy and feeding their kids. They lean on their kids’ distaste for the new healthier foods as an excuse to be lax in their own efforts. If you are one of these people, or just want a great way to get your kids involved in better nutrition, give this a try right away!

Wrap-up

If you enjoyed the first 50 installments of this series, we'd love your feedback in the comments section below.  Are there particular areas you'd like to see us touch upon with our weekly tips?  If so, please let us know!  Thanks for your continued support.

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 48

Thanks to Cressey Performance Coach Greg Robins, here are five nutrition and strength and conditioning tips to kick off your weekend on the right foot.

1. Train upward rotation without true vertical pressing.

At Cressey Performance, the majority of our athletes are overhead throwers. Training overhead athletes means that you need to train upward rotation of the scapula. While pressing overhead could serve as one option, we find that it isn’t always the best option. Too often, people are unable to achieve an overhead position, while also keeping the rest of the body in correct alignment. Namely, most folks will have considerable amounts of rib flare and lumbar spine extension.

Instead, it would be advantageous to train upward rotation with exercises that allow for considerable shoulder flexion, but also promote better overall positioning. So how is that done? A few of our favorite exercises are as follows:

Yoga push ups: These offer a close chained pressing movement that allows a person to get shoulder flexion, and when cued correctly, a considerable amount of upward scapular rotation. Make sure when performing this variation that you press directly into the upwardly rotated position, while shrugging and protracting the shoulder blades. One nice cue is to “push the floor away completely.”

Landmine presses: These exercises are my favorite class of open chain pressing movement to stress upward rotation. Instead of completing the movement with the shoulder blade still packed back, shrug and protract the shoulder blade a bit. A perfect cue with this one is to “reach out” when pressing.

Obviously, if you're already someone who is shrugged up and protracted all day (desk jockey), it's not a good fit for you.  In a more athletic population, though, it's usually a very good fit.

2. Use the “stir the pot” exercise...safely.

Anterior core weakness is something we combat on a daily basis here at CP. With the plethora of overly extended athletes that come through our door, we are always looking for new ways to challenge their core stability. While the standard prone bridge is a staple, after some training, we need to progress individuals to something more challenging.

Stir the pot is a fantastic way to do just that. The added demands of both the stability ball, and the small amount of movement from the shoulders adds a difficult variation to the aforementioned prone bridge.

Please note that even with former Division 1, high caliber athletes, this exercise may be a little too advanced. We recommend that you wipe the sweat off your forearms before doing this drill, and be sure to dismount the ball safely - or just omit this exercise until you're prepared to do so. Watch the video below (all the way through) to see exactly what I mean:

3. Make your “fillers” more effective

The idea of “fillers” has become quite popular, and for good reason: everyone is busy, and utilizing them is a terrific way to maximize training efficiency. So, what’s a filler?

Most commonly, fillers are low-level activation, mobility, stability, and motor control drills. They should not be strenuous enough to take away from your program, but when used correctly, they can aid in improving movement quality, outputs, and results. In order to make them the most effective, fillers should be personalized to fit your body type.

Hypermobile (excessively “loose”) people should spend time getting stable, and hypomobile (“stiff”) people should spend time getting loose.

Loose people are already able to get to just about any range of motion they desire. In fact, they are generally able to get to some ranges that are not desirable. Therefore, they are better served doing low-level activation and stability based drills between sets. This will help them “own” positions better and promote better control within their ranges of motion.

Stiff people, on the other hand, need to fit in some extra mobility work as often whenever possible. Their time is best spent working on various mobility drills, as well as some low level activation drills. Doing so will help them to move better in general, and get into more advantageous positions when performing the exercises in their program.

The drills each population chooses can be individualized based on the needs of the person and / or the demands of the exercise with which they are paired.

Many hypermobile people need better core, hip, and shoulder stability. So, drills like dead bugs, bowler squats, wall slides, body weight Turkish get-ups, and rotator cuff activation drills work great.

Many stiff people could use more thoracic spine (upper back) mobility, hip mobility, and ankle mobility. Drills like ankle, hip, and thoracic spine mobilizations are solid options.

Regardless of your body type, choose variations that don’t compete too heavily with the exercises with which they are paired. Furthermore, choose variations that hit areas which need extra attention for YOU, or that will aid in YOUR ability to reach good positioning with the exercise in question.

4. Put your lacrosse ball in an old tube sock.

If you use lacrosse ball to roll out against the wall, chances are you have a heck of a time getting the thing not to slip, and fall to the ground. Next thing you know, it’s like the meatball from the old nursery rhyme, rolling across the floor and out the door - or however it goes.

One tip I picked up while reviewing the book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Claire Davies was to place your ball in a long tube sock. By doing so you can keep your hand on the sock and make sure the ball stays up the entire time. Give it a try!

TriggerPointTherapyWorkbook

5. Try an Icee for a Refreshing Treat!

With a few days well over 90 degrees here in Massachusetts, I’ve been pulling out every trick I know to stay cool. It’s a well known fact that 80% of my shirts are black to conceal the mass amount of sweating I do on a regular basis. One of my favorite tricks also happens to be great way to curb hunger and keep my sweet tooth at bay. If you’re looking for an easy, low-calorie way to cool off and stay satiated try out this recipe:

Ingredients:

4-6 oz of water

5 or so large ice cubes

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 fresh squeezed lemon

(optional: add stevia for sweetness)

Directions: Place all these ingredients in a blender, blend, and enjoy.

This strawberry lemonade ice will hit the spot on a hot day, or any day, where you need to quiet the groan of your hungry belly!

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 45

Thanks to CP coach Greg Robins, here are this week's list of tips to help out your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.

1. Make sure you're using an appropriate set-up for chops and lifts.

2. Consider using “strongman” events for assistance lifts.

To be clear: what I am about to say is not the only time strongman training is beneficial. Furthermore, it’s hard to pigeonhole something into a token term like this to begin in the first place. The traditional strongman lifts, such as the farmer’s carry, hand-over-hand rope pull, and sled towing, pushing, and dragging are exercises from which a TON of people can benefit.

There is one class of individuals for whom these lifts can be especially useful. For lack of a better term, I just call these people “timid.” I don’t use the term negatively, nor do I intend to degrade these folks. The simple truth is that they’re a common example of a great strength conversely serving as a great weakness.

These athletes, or gym goers, are often the “hard gainers” who also tend to be a bit overly analytical. The best medicine for them is a heavy dose of big compound movements. Unfortunately, they are also somewhat predisposed to overthinking every rep and every increase in weight. This provides the obvious problem of stagnancy, thwarting any efforts to enforce a constant theme of progressive overload to get strong.

Enter the “strongman” lifts. The beauty here is in their simplicity, as well as their somewhat self-limiting properties. After our less aggressive individual finishes his or her main lift(s) for the day (they should still be doing them, albeit at a snails pace of progression), consider basing a good chunk of their assistance work around these staples. Having them push, drag, and tow a heavy sled leaves little room for thinking, and a lot of room for doing and character building. Furthermore, carrying weight has a similar advantage. Once it’s in hand there’s only one thing to do: GO!

If you or one of your athletes, fits the bill give these more of your attention. The gains you make in size and strength will be very noticeable. Plus, the mental fortitude these movements build will carry over into the rest of your workouts, and time on the field. As with any exercise, evaluate individuals ahead of time to make sure these lifts fit the person in question.

3. Give your chocolate protein shakes an overhaul.

Chocolate protein powder is a staple. If you’re trying a new brand, you always choose chocolate. If you’ve taken a tour of every exotic flavor, you always return to the old standby. Sure, vanilla is solid, but sometimes even vanilla has a shady aftertaste, depending on the brand. Chocolate is the safe choice, time and time gain.

Maybe though, even chocolate is becoming a bit stale. Another, peanut butter chocolate concoction is already turning your stomach, and chocolate banana was cast away as a viable option a few months ago. Sounds to me like you need a whole new taste to blow your mind, and make protein shakes a frothy delight once again.

Next time you’re at the market pick up some peppermint extract. If you like mint chocolate chip ice cream or York peppermint patties, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you will likely rejoice in utter chocolate mint ecstasy. Simply add a drop of this elixir to your protein shakes and see for yourself.

pure_peppermint_extract_400

NOTE: I wouldn’t use the bananas with this one either…

Here’s a quick recipe:

8oz Water, Milk, or Almond Milk
A few ice cubes
½ to 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 – 2 Scoops of Chocolate Protein Powder
1 Drop Peppermint Extract
Options: Rolled Oats, Greens Powder, Handful Of Nuts

4. Try forward lunges to a step.

5. Try ascending tri-sets for muscle gains.

I’ve somehow found myself coaching quite a few figure competitors over the last few years. It’s not something I write, or even talk about much, but I am fortunate that they have had a great amount of success. It’s a pretty good gig actually. Basically, it involves being handed the best clients in the world. They are extremely focused, and will do everything you tell them – and to a “T.”  The credit belongs to them, though (and not me), so I just choose to let them do the talking.

I will share one strategy I use with them as we enter a more “hypertrophy” based focus in their training. This is also a time when we might be honing in on a certain area, trying to accentuate a body part or bring up a weak point. I call these ascending tri-sets, because that’s what they are (I’m still working on some catchy name). It basically involves moving from a big compound movement, to a more bodyweight style, or larger isolated movement, and finishing with a smaller isolated movement. The reps ascend from low to high, and each exercise targets the same general area.

You can get creative and make up a few examples yourself, but here are a few staples:

Example 1:

A1. Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press x 5/side
A2. Push-ups x Technical Failure (leave a few reps in the tank)
A3. Resistance Band Triceps Extensions

Example 2:

A1. Barbell Romanian Deadlift x 6
A2. Glute Ham Raise x 10
A3. Slideboard Hamstring Curl x 15

If you have a weak point to bring up, or are just looking to mix up your routine, come up with a few yourself and give them a try

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 42

After a brief hiatus for a much-deserved vacation, CP coach Greg Robins is back with five new tips for you this week.  Before we begin, I should mention that the week-long sale on Show and Go ends tomorrow at midnight, so don't miss out!  Now, let's get to the good stuff:

1. Don't let the distance between the ribs and pelvis change.

2. Base your nutritional approach around foods that you actually like!

The title speaks for itself, but here’s the deal: if you read this series regularly, then you know the importance I place on making a nutrition plan “doable.” Adherence is the key to success. When people decide they are going to “clean” up their eating it’s funny what a drastic “360” they take with their food choices. It’s as if what they enjoy to eat no longer matters. Will power has fallen from the sky and soaked them with its greatness.

The only issue is that most people’s forecasts aren’t calling for will power. There’s a better first step. – one that is more productive in the long run than abandoning ship completely and serving up a helping of things you don’t like.

Make a list of all the “real” foods you DO like. Choose foods that you actually enjoy eating, but also ones that the majority would consider healthy. Choose at least a few in each of the following categories. Here’s mine:

Protein: Meat = Beef (any kind), Poultry = Chicken (Not boneless skinless breasts!), Dairy = Greek Yogurt, Fish = Tuna, Others = Whey, Eggs, Pork, All red meat

Fat: Nuts = Nut butters (any kind), Oils (Coconut, Olive), Other = Avocados

Vegetables: Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes, Spaghetti Squash

squash4

Fruit: Blackberries, Apples, Blueberries, Pears

Other Carbs: Oats, Rice, Quinoa

With this list you have the beginning of your shopping list. From here you can search the web for recipes revolving around these items. Finding healthy recipes that include these things will introduce you to some variety. When in doubt, just go back to the list. Having this – as your first step and “fall back” – will greatly improve your chances of cleaning up your eating.

3. Use the suspension trainer when you don't have a cable accessible for rotary stability exercises.

4. Notice the pauses in your breath to help you relax.

Breathing is becoming a buzz worthy topic these days, and it’s a warranted surge of attention. We’ve only been doing it our whole lives, every day, and every moment. That’s reason enough to open an ear and see what the fuss is about.

One of the interesting things about breathing is that it sort of defines you. We are, in many ways, the product of the breaths we take. For example, when we constantly inhale, and never completely exhale, we tend to adopt an extended posture to support our breaths. Oddly enough, we also adopt a more “extended” way about us. We are more up tight, stressed, and restless.

Interestingly, the rate we breathe at (respiratory rate) actually shows correlation with our life span. A mouse takes 60 – 230 breaths per minute and has an average life span of 1.5-3 years. Whales on the other hand, take about 3–5 breaths per minute and live on average to be over 100 years old. We fall a little shy of that with about 12–16 breaths, and a life span of 70 – 80 years.

Slowing your respiratory rate probably won’t get you anywhere closer to being a whale. However, it does have a unique way of teaching you how to breathe slower, and helping you to relax.

Give this a try: twice a day, stop and observe the pauses that you take after each exhalation and inhalation. Just observing the pauses will cause you to breathe deeper and deeper, as well as begin to extend the pauses themselves.

5. Integrate appropriate breathing with your cable chops.

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Understanding and Coaching the Anterior Core

I'm pleased to announce Understanding and Coaching the Anterior Core is available for sale. This 47-minute video was taken at a seminar I gave, and it's available for immediate download and online viewing for a price of just $14.99.

AnteriorCore

Like many of you, I’ve grown tired of seeing core presentation after core presentation all saying the same thing.  That’s why I opted to attack this considerably differently, discussing:

  • Functional anatomy
  • The interaction of breathing and core stability
  • What implications the anterior core has with respect to “new age” injuries/conditions like femoroacetabular impingement, sports hernias, SLAP lesions, thoracic outlet syndrome, and lat strains
  • Why no two spines are created equal
  • Why two individuals might need the same exercise, but different coaching cues
  • Progressions and regressions to build your anterior core stability exercise library
  • A model for effectively prioritizing anterior core stability exercises throughout the training week

There’s no travel necessary; you can view this presentation right now without leaving your house.

Click to purchase “Understanding & Coaching the Anterior Core” on our 100% secure server.


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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/29/13

Here's this week's list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

9 Reasons Pitching Velocity Increases Over the Course of a Season - One of the big stories of the first month of the MLB season is that Justin Verlander's velocity is down. It's to be expected, given that he he started his off-season throwing program later in light of the heavy workload during last year's season and playoffs.  Still, it's good to know why some pitchers see their velocity go up during the season.

Not Your Average B.S. Core Training - Ben Bruno offers some great new core stability exercises you can incorporate in your strength training programs.

The Sagittal Plane Still Matters - Here's a great piece from Mike Robertson that'll teach you a ton about the knee, including a discussion of the "Should you train the VMO?" question.

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