Home Posts tagged "Cressey Sports Performance"

Contralateral vs. Ipsilateral Pressing and Rowing

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance coach, Ethan Dyer. 

The current sports performance training meta as it pertains to unilateral pressing and rowing exercises is to lean on contralateral variations as the default. This is because contralateral activities generally allow for greater force production due to the extension bias associated with those movements.

A problem with this is that cable exercises will always be harder to load than most pressing and rowing where dumbbells or kettlebells (and, of course, barbells) are involved. So, if 90% of the time we assume that cables are a poor choice when prioritizing load, what can we really use a cable press or a cable row to accomplish? I would argue that putting a dent in hip range of motion to allow for improved on-field movement is the best answer.

With a split-stance contralateral cable row, for example, the concentric portion of the movement is going to bias external rotation at the front hip. The actual activity of rowing is pulling us away from our front side. The flip side of this is when we find internal rotation on our front side during a split-stance ipsilateral row; the preponderance of concentric activity pulls us into our front hip.

The same logic applies to pressing. During a contralateral split-stance cable press, for example, the activity carries us into our front hip (IR), whereas an ipsilateral press is going to carry us out of our front hip (ER).

Now that we’ve established what we can accomplish with these movements in terms of rotation, we can make programming decisions based on the athlete we have in front of us. It’s important that we base these decisions on their task and performance as opposed to strictly looking at table range-of-motion measures (which may or may not tell us how they’re going to move on the field).

If we have a left-handed pitcher who struggles to find IR at their glove-side hip after front foot strike, a left-side only contralateral press and a right-side only ipsilateral row can be useful weapons. If we have a receiver or an attacker who struggles to juke and change direction at higher sprint speeds, leaning on contralateral rowing and ipsilateral pressing to get/keep them out of a hip can be a useful strategy.

Besides the obvious programming implications here, there is an important overarching rule that should be appreciated as well. It’s fine to have multiple priorities - qualities that you are training for - within a program, but we get in trouble when we try to use an exercise to target multiple or all qualities at once. Cable rows and presses are perfect examples.

[bctt tweet="When we use an exercise to improve both force production and range of motion, we end up doing neither to the extent that we desire. We'd be wise to learn from the Latin writer Syrus, who said “To do two things at once is to do neither”."]

About the Author

Ethan Dyer serves as a Strength & Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. He started as a client at CSP and eventually went on to intern at CSP-MA. Following another internship at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, Ethan joined the CSP-MA team. He was a pitcher at the College of the Holy Cross before transferring to Endicott College to complete his undergraduate work with a major in Exercise Science and minor in Psychology. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Ethan has been a volunteer with both the Miracle League and Special Olympics, and has a passion for working with young athletes to help them fall in love with training while avoiding injury. You can follow him on Instagram at @Ethan___Dyer.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Packy Naughton

We welcome St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Packy Naughton to this week’s podcast. I've known Packy since early in his teenage years and seen his development as a high school, college, and professional pitcher. In this conversation, he shares some great insights on the Tommy John rehab process, and what young players can do to take ownership of their careers.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

 

You can follow Packy on Instagram at @Packy_Naughton.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s a NSF-certified all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 10 FREE travel packs - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

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Exercise of the Week: Barbell Drop Split Squat

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance coach, Ethan Dyer. 

The Barbell Drop Split Squat is a lift we’ve been using with some of our stiffer athletes this time of year (transition from spring to summer season) at CSP. While it can be done with a safety squat bar, goblet set-up, or back squat position, this video depicts the anterior loaded (front squat grip ) version:

A majority of the high level arms we see are stiffer through their lower bodies, especially in terms of internal rotation. This is usually fine if they have adequate external rotation elsewhere - allowing enough range of motion on the mound to get into and out of positions and produce velocity/spin, ideally without mandating undesirable consequences up the chain (i.e., excessive spine or shoulder motion).

The athlete in this case doesn’t have the ROM to get into the bottom of a split squat or reverse lunge without discomfort or suboptimal mechanics, so we use the drop squat instead. By momentarily unweighting the pelvis on the front side (relative to the backside), he finds a position of IR at the bottom that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to. This is a great example of how we can still work on traditional output qualities without compromising on positions.

An ancillary benefit here is finding a jump from eccentric to concentric orientation and from ER to IR as quickly as possible, which we otherwise don’t see a ton of in the gym - especially with classic "lower body" lifts. Additionally, an athlete has to work to quickly develop force - which typifies the front hip pull-back that takes place with hitting and pitching.

All of this comes together to make the drop split squat a great choice for baseball players this time of year. We can effectively work around dramatic ROM issues that would otherwise take months to clean up (save it for the offseason), while keeping our guys athletic and letting them get into and out of important positions with load/velocity in the gym. If you have someone who’s in-season or a few weeks out, stick to 3-4 sets of 3-4 reps per side.

About the Author

Ethan Dyer serves as a Strength & Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. He started as a client at CSP and eventually went on to intern at CSP-MA. Following another internship at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, Ethan joined the CSP-MA team. He was a pitcher at the College of the Holy Cross before transferring to Endicott College to complete his undergraduate work with a major in Exercise Science and minor in Psychology. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Ethan has been a volunteer with both the Miracle League and Special Olympics, and has a passion for working with young athletes to help them fall in love with training while avoiding injury. You can follow him on Instagram at @Ethan___Dyer.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: June 2022 Q&A

It's been a while since we featured a Q&A on the podcast, so in this episode, I cover three questions from our audience:

1. A while back, I heard you mention that you’d rather have an athlete be too tight than too loose. Can you please explain why?

2. Is the high-low model useful for position players in-season? Or are there better strategies?

3. You spend a lot of time talking about training on the podcast, but what about recovery? Anything in particular that you’re high on?

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Marc Pro. Head to www.MarcPro.com and enter the coupon code CRESSEY at checkout to receive an exclusive discount on your order.

 

Sponsor Reminder

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Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Wall March Variations for the Win

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida coach, Dylan Lidge.

Wall marches are drills that have been used commonly over the years in the strength and conditioning and track and field communities. Unfortunately, many coaches don't appreciate how much you can build on the basic wall march to teach a number of different movement competencies.

This closed chain exercise can be used in warm-ups as a more dynamic movement. As a great "bang for your buck" warm-up, it provides glute activation, hip flexion/extension, ankle mobility/stability, foot position awareness, and even scapular protraction/upward rotation. It also teaches an athlete the feeling of a stacked position, which is key for producing force efficiently. Not to mention, this is an excellent way to teach athletes sprint mechanics, primarily during acceleration.

To perform the Glute Wall March, stand upright with your palms against the wall at shoulder height. Push the wall away as if you are at the top of a push-up. Next, take a few steps back to get into a forward lean while keeping your heels on the ground. This should be around 45 degrees, as this position allows an athlete to produce more horizontal force into the ground, which is required during acceleration. From there, lift both heels off the floor and transition to the toes of the feet (just like doing a calf raise). Flex one hip and allow the femur to raise until it is perpendicular to the torso. The shin angle of this leg should match the torso angle. Dorsiflex the ankle to match the angle of the femur. Meanwhile, the opposite leg should be straight. We see "triple extension", or extension through the hip, knee and ankle; this will create a straight line from the head to the heel and reaffirm the "stacked"position. Cue the athlete to push into the wall with high intent. In order to push the wall, the athlete must put force into the floor or "drive the floor away."

Here are some key benefits:

Glute Activation

Pushing the floor fires the glute, which pulls the hip into extension. The Glute Wall March puts the athlete in hip extension they will get to on the field. Owning hip extension in this position is a great way to prep an athlete to perform on the field or in the gym, and protect against excessive arching through the low back, which may create spine discomfort/injuries.

Hip Flexion

The core stability the wall provides assists an athlete during hip flexion, which is when we often see compensations in posture, such as excessive lumbar flexion and extension. Especially with athletes who display poor lumbopelvic control, this position can set them up to own their hip flexion.

Ankle Stiffness

Ankle stiffness is necessary for athletes to display elasticity while running or changing direction. If you're looking for a drill to improve ankle stability or to improve your "bounce" during plyometrics, give this a try.

Foot Orientation

The orientation of the foot on the floor is in late stance during the Glute Wall March. This is a great way to build an arch for those who have flat feet. An adaptation many pitchers develop is a flat arch in order to access pronation as they drift off the rubber. Overall, late stance is able to bias supination, which can help counter those in excessive pronation.

Scapular Protraction/Upward Rotation

The serratus anterior is important for driving the "rotation" aspect of scapular upward rotation via its protraction capabilities. Athletes, especially those who throw overhead, need to be able to get the scapula "around and up" the rib cage in order to in order to both create a good ball-socket congruency at lay-back, and also to reach thee arm overhead and finish out in front.

Running Mechanics

The Glute Wall March allows an athlete to feel the position they need to be in during the acceleration phase of a sprint. During acceleration, athletes must apply horizontal force into the ground. This requires a forward lean. As the glute wall march is closed chain exercise, it provides stability for the athlete to feel the necessary forward lean during acceleration.

Fortunately, we have several variations we can use to bias our training toward different benefits. Here they are:

Glute Wall March Isometric Holds

Isometric holds are a great way to get an athlete to feel a position. Typically, we'll program three five-second holds on each side - although you could also do 30s/side if you're looking to really reap the tendon health benefits of this drill.

Glute Wall March ISO - Supinated Forearms

This has all the benefits of a glute wall march iso hold, but it's an easy way to sneak in a forearm stretch in a population that often lacks elbow extension and forearm supination.

Glute Wall March 1-2's

Once an athlete understands what a stacked position should feel like, progressing to this variation can allow them to put more force into the floor. A common cue is to pretend the legs are "pistons of an engine." This promotes the feeling of leg drive during acceleration.

Wall Assisted Load and Explode

This dynamic variation can help an athlete feel more intent of driving the floor away. It's a great way to help an athlete use the ground to produce force while maintaining a stacked position.

As you can see, these drills deserve a place in your training programs, whether it's warm-ups, arm care, movement training sessions, or as a filler in between power training or strength exercises!

About the Author

Dylan Lidge serves as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Cressey Sports Performance - Florida. Prior to joining the staff, Dylan completed an internship at CSP-FL in the summer of 2020. He graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Kinesiology. He is currently studying at the University of Illinois-Chicago for his MS in Kinesiology with a concentration in Biomechanics. At UIC he holds a position as a teacher's assistant in an exercise technique course, as well as an instructor for a personal fitness course. In 2019, he interned with the UIC Strength and Conditioning staff assisting with the baseball team. Dylan has coached baseball at the collegiate, high school, and youth levels.

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Cressey Sports Performance – Florida Job Posting: Strength and Conditioning Coach (April 2022)

With the growth of our Palm Beach Gardens, FL facility, we are opening up position for the right candidate to join our team as a strength and conditioning coach.

To that end, we'll be hiring a strength and conditioning coach to join the CSP-FL team in the next month. This position will primarily be involved with the strength and conditioning training of professional and amateur athletes (particularly in the baseball realm), but will also include daily work with general population clients and post-rehab cases.

Responsibilities for this position include:

  • Strength and conditioning coaching in both semi-private and personal training formats
  • Performing assessments
  • Writing programs
  • Participating in staff and intern educational in-services

Qualification Requirements:

  • Experience working with athletic populations, particularly baseball
  • Willingness and ability to collaborate with sports medicine professionals
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Proficiency in written communication and with Microsoft Excel
  • Familiarity with social media platforms
  • Nationally recognized certification
  • Desire to work as part of a team

Applicants can submit resumes and cover letters as a single PDF document to CareersatCSP@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is May 5, 2022.

Cressey Sports Performance is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship status, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under local, state, or federal laws.

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The New Cressey Sports Performance x New Balance Collaboration!

I'm psyched to announce that the new limited edition 2022 Minimus collaboration between Cressey Sports Performance and New Balance is now available! This is our third custom training shoe since 2017, and in each of the previous two runs, they’ve all sold out quickly. Check them out:

This minimalist footwear option makes for a great option for lifting, sprinting, change-of-direction, and medicine ball work. And, it's available in both men's and women's sizes. For more information, check out the links below:

Men's: https://www.newbalance.com/pd/minimus-tr/MXMTRV1-38892.html

Women's: https://www.newbalance.com/pd/minimus-tr/WXMTRV1-38926.html

Enjoy - and be sure to tag us on social media when you get your new CSP kicks!

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Why We Shouldn’t Compare Kids in Sports

One of the more concerning trends I’m seeing on the youth sports scene is the how often the youngest kids are compared to their peers. This is an issue among programs monetizing sports participation, coaches responsible for identifying/developing proficiency, and parents concerned that their kids are falling behind.

I’m somewhat uniquely positioned to speak on this because I’ve been involved on the development of 12-year-olds who’ve eventually become professional athletes. And, more importantly, I’m a parent of three daughters. The older two, Lydia and Addison, are 7-year-old twins.

The most important lesson you learn as a twin parent is that people will always think saying “double trouble” is hilarious even though it’s incredibly hackneyed. Once you move past that, though, lesson #2 is more actionable: you should never try to compare your twins to one another.

This was obvious even when they were in the womb. When we’d go to ultrasounds, Lydia was front and center; we joked that she had her face pressed against the glass. Meanwhile, it would always take the technician and bunch of time to find Addison, who was always “hiding.” At one ultrasound, all we could see was the bottom of her foot.

When they were born, out came a brunette with olive skin (Lydia looks like her mom) and a strawberry blonde with a lighter complexion (Addison is a sunburn waiting to happen, just like dad).

Lydia came out screaming and ready to take on the world. Addison struggled a bit and needed four days in the NICU with oxygen and a feeding tube. Lydia was a feisty baby and always wanted her mother, and Addison was super mellow and could usually be found in dad’s arms while mom was holding her sister.

At 18 months, they flip-flopped. Lydia became the rule follower, and Addison started giving us attitude. Lydia ate just about everything we put in front of her, yet Addison’s taste buds refused to recognize the existence of all but about five foods.

Lydia walked five months before Addison (who was a little taller/heavier) did. Addison picked up swimming faster than Lydia. Lydia swings a bat right handed, while Addison does so lefty. Lydia was reading chapter books while Addison was still working on sight words. Addison, on the other hand, thrived with math relative to her sister.

Lydia is faster; Addison is stronger. Lydia listens intently and has picked up more “coaching intensive” sports like tennis, softball, and gymnastics quickly. Addison, on the other hand, is a bit of a space cadet in the field at softball games; she’s kicking grass and watching adjacent fields. Conversely, she’s in her element with creative initiatives like music, art, and dance.

I develop athletes for a living, and I can tell you without wavering that I have zero clue what sports my kids will enjoy doing next week, let alone years from now. Our twins have spent 99% of their lives together since conception and are completely different now, and we’ve seen unpredictable iterations of them to get to this point.
We don’t predict athletic success well at all. We don’t even predict what sports kids will enjoy well. You’d be amazed at how many professional athletes weren’t child prodigies or even standout middle school athletes. Let’s face it: puberty makes a lot of coaches look much smarter than they are!

In other words, the ONLY thing we can control is enriching their experiences in these sports while they’re participating – and comparisons don’t do that. What does work?

First, praise effort over outcomes. The reps – and the fun that comes with executing them with teammates/friends – are what matter. I can’t tell you a single score from one of my little league games, but I could write a book about an a**hole coach I had who took things way too seriously. In hindsight, he really didn’t know much about baseball, either.

Second, celebrate novelty. It gets kids excited, and participating in a variety of sports at a young age provides a rich proprioceptive environment that cultivates an invaluable athletic foundation upon which specific skills can later be built. This broad athletic foundation includes variability in planes of motion, speed of movement and the forces involved. Collectively, these exposures teach athletes to distribute stress over multiple joints and avoid overuse injuries at specific segments.

Third, appreciate that random practice outperforms blocked practice over the long-term when it comes to skill acquisition. Mix in a variety of drills and fluctuate the order and duration of them, then integrate fun competitions with them.

Fourth, recognize the importance of in-season and off-season periods. This fluctuation of the seasons helps keep kids from getting bored with certain sports, but also facilitates graduated exposures to stressors. A 10-year-old throwing a baseball 12 months out of the year is a terrible idea; playing some soccer and hoops is a great way to stay active while developing in different ways.

Fifth, as soon as a kid is mature enough for it, get them involved in a foundational strength training program. It’ll have a “trickle-down” effect to a variety of athletic qualities while reducing their risk of injury. Again, it has to be fun, just like everything else!

Summarily, don’t compare kids; instead, appreciate that they’re all unique and develop at different rates and in different ways. Youth sports is all about instilling a passion for the game, enjoying a sense of community, and fostering a positive lifelong relationship with exercise.

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Exercise of the Week: Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge

Today’s guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance – Florida coach and internship coordinator, Andrew Lysy.

Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge is one of the newer mobility exercises we’ve been using lately to enhance thoracic spine, shoulder and hip mobility.

Unlike many other thoracic mobility exercises, Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge actively stretches out your biceps and pecs in a closed-chain manner.

In addition to creating length in the biceps and pecs, the athlete will also be working on anterior expansion, manubrium expansion and shoulder extension, which can help you regain shoulder internal rotation.

A few important cues for properly executing Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge:

1. Actively push away from the ground with your legs and arm/hand. While pushing away from the ground, create a cork-screw feeling with your hand so that your shoulder doesn’t tip/dip forward!

2. While extending your hips, maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. This will help resist excess extension from your lower back and put all of the pressure on your hips!

3. Your feet and thighs should be parallel to each other.

This exercise is commonly used as a warm-up, mobility exercise or filler. We’ve used it for 2-3 sets for 5-8 reps. We’ve also held the Thoracic Bridge position for breaths.

Note from EC: If you're looking to learn more about how I evaluate, program, and coach at the shoulder joint, be sure to check out my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions. It's on sale for $40 off through this Sunday at midnight; just enter the coupon code APRIL22 at www.SturdyShoulders.com. 

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Offseason Hitting Development with Max Rios and Tyler Wolfe

We welcome Max Rios and Tyler Wolfe - two members of the Cressey Sports Performance - Florida hitting team - to this week’s podcast. CSP Hitting oversees the development of dozens of major league, minor league, college, high school, and middle school hitters each year, and in this episode, they discuss how to structure an offseason hitting development program. Max and Tyler also go into detail on how they're innovating with various coaching strategies and training implements while working to foster a growth mindset environment where even the most advanced hitters can "fail forward." I'm incredibly lucky to collaborate with these guys on a daily basis, and in this podcast, you'll get a taste of why that's the case.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

 

You can follow @CSP_Hitting on Twitter and @CSP_Hitting on Instagram.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s a NSF-certified all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 10 FREE travel packs - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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