Home Posts tagged "Cressey Sports Performance"

Exercise(s) of the Week: Making the Most of Rotational Rows

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts coach Andrew Lysy.

The 1-arm Cable Rotational Row is a versatile exercise for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s a beneficial rowing variation for baseball players who have flat thoracic spines and struggle to get the scapula rotating around the rib cage. This rowing variation focuses more on the protraction and/or upward rotation of the scapula compared to retraction of the scapula, which is what you’d typically see in a conventional rowing exercise.

Another benefit of the rotational row is the ability to teach proper front hip loading and proper hip extension throughout the same exercise. Where you angle the cable is going to determine how much you load your front hip and how much scapular upward rotation you’ll be getting.

There are three main 1-arm Rotational Cable Row exercise variations that we use at CSP regularly:

1. 1-arm Rotational Cable Row – Eye Height: This variation is going to work on more scapular upward rotation and less on hip flexion.

2. 1-arm Rotational Cable Row – Chest Height: This variation is going to work on more scapular protraction and hip flexion than the eye height setting.

3. 1-arm Rotational Cable Row – Lowest Setting: This variation is going to focus more on hip flexion than the rest of the variations, because the cable pulls you into your front hip.

These variations are typically programmed in the beginning of a training session with power as the main focus. I’d suggest easing into the exercise at first, mastering the form before moving the weight faster. We typically program these exercises for 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps.

About the Author

Andrew Lysy was a right-handed pitcher at Rowan University, where he graduated with a degree in Health and Exercise Science. He was a former Cressey Sports Performance – Florida intern and is now a full time Strength and Conditioning Coach at Cressey Sports Performance – Massachusetts. He can be found on Instagram at @ALysyStrength.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Kevin Youkilis

We're excited to welcome recently retired MLB infielder Kevin Youkilis to this week's podcast. We cover a range of topics, including how Kevin was overlooked during recruiting/scouting; how he moved quickly through the minor leagues; what learning opportunities players commonly overlook; and how he learned from some of the best hitters in the game. With him now involved in player development, "Youk" comments on the status quo and direction of the game, and reflects on the adjustments he's made to transition from player to coach/mentor.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an 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 - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - 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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Cressey Sports Performance Business Building Mentorship: Online September 22-24

We’re excited to announce that on Tuesday-Thursday, September 22-24, Pete Dupuis and I will be hosting our fifth CSP Business-Building Mentorship. For the first time, this event will be offered in an online format over Zoom. Pete and I have spent over 13 years crafting the operational systems and strategies that fuel CSP today, and we’re excited to pull back the curtain for fellow gym owners.

It is our intention to foster an environment conducive to learning and the exchanging of ideas, so we will be capping the number of attendees who participate. The event will run from 12pm-3pm Eastern time (Boston) each day so that we can account for attendees in many different time zones.

Here’s a look at our agenda for the offering:

Day 1 – Introduction & Lead Generation

12:00pm – 12:30pm: Introduction: The Four Pillars of Fitness Business Success
12:30pm – 3:00pm: Lead Generation: Strategic Relationship Development, Identifying & Connecting with Opinion Leaders, Social Media Strategies

Day 2 – Lead Conversion & Business Operations (Part 1)

12:00pm - 1:00pm : Lead Conversion: CSP Selling Strategy & Methodology
1:00pm – 2:00pm: Operations: Accounting for Gym Owners – Guest Lecture from CSP’s CPA, Tom Petrocelli
2:00pm – 3:00pm: Operations: Internship Program Design & Execution

Day 3 – Business Operations (Part 2) & Long-Term Planning

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Operations: Hiring Protocols, Staff Development & Continuing Ed.
1:00pm – 2:00pm: Long-Term Planning: Lease Negotiation Considerations
2:00pm – 3:00pm: Long-Term Planning: Strategic Brand Dev., Evaluating Opportunities, SWOT Analysis

Note: we will include Q&A opportunities throughout the presentations and at the end of each day, so the 3:00pm is not a "hard stop" time.

Cost: $899.99

Click here to register using our 100% secure server.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/1/20

It's time for another edition of recommended reading/listening from the strength and conditioning world:

Eric Cressey on coaching the individual, building a community of hard work and athlete best practices - I recently joined Lewis Hatchett on the Raising Your Game Podcast for a discussion on a variety of coaching topics.

How to Use the Stage System for Strength, Speed, and Size - Yesterday, I had a conversation with a client after he saw the rep scheme "3x3,1x6" plugged into his program - and it reminded me of this article I wrote about the stage system a while back. I figured today would be a good time to reincarnate it, in case you missed it the first time around.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art - I just finished up this (audio)book from James Nestor, and found it to be a really good listen, particularly in the context of the history of breathing training/reeducation.

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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New Cardinal Red CSP Elite Baseball Development Shirts

We're excited to announce a new color - cardinal red - with our popular Cressey Sports Performance Elite Baseball Development t-shirts (powered by New Balance Baseball). Here's the design:

These shirts are insanely comfortable and run true to size.

Each shirt is $24.99 + S&H. Click the links below to add shirts to your cart:

Small

Medium

Large

Extra Large

XXL

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Exercise of the Week: Bottoms-up Kettlebell Arm Bar

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida coach Derek Kambour.

The Kettlebell Arm Bar is an exercise you will commonly see performed in facilities across the country. Admittedly, it was an activity that we stayed away from for a period, mostly because of the population that we work with and the vulnerable position it could put them in. Many of the high-level pitchers that come to us have experienced anterior shoulder pain. Obviously, these symptoms could be present for a number of reasons, including a loose anterior capsule, labral tear, cranky biceps tendon, nerve-related issues, rotator cuff issues, or a most of other challenges. Regardless of what is causing the symptoms, one of our jobs as performance specialists is to make sure that we are making appropriate exercise selections and not provoking any of these symptoms. What we have found over time with the Kettlebell Arm Bar is that – when executed in a specific manner, at the right time, with appropriate loads – it gives us a lot of return on investment and has not provoked any of these symptoms with any of our athletes.

Many coaches utilize this exercise with their athletes for reflexive shoulder stability (irradiation) and rotary core stability benefits, which can be useful reasons to include them in a program. However, we can also use this activity to accomplish other important training outcomes if it is performed the way that is shown in the video below:

As physical therapist Bill Hartman has done a great job of demonstrating (and be sure to check his stuff out), when we can use internal forces (air pressure, fluid volumes, etc.,) to our advantage in order to help reshape the ribcage and improve scapulothoracic mechanics, that is where we can potentially restore shoulder range of motion without working directly on the joint. Certainly, there are manual interventions that may be necessary, but if we can assist in re-establishing normal joint mechanics with movement alone, I think that is extremely valuable. While many of our throwing athletes possess plenty of external rotation on their throwing shoulder (though we do sometimes see those who have limitations here as well), most will possess very limited internal rotation, especially after a long season. With this movement paired with specific breathing sequences, you can potentially improve shoulder motion in both directions. Traditionally, this movement was thought of as purely a “stability” exercise, but it just goes to show that how you implement or coach the exercise matters.

You may be wondering how heavy this exercise needs to be loaded. My simple answer to this is that if you struggle to breathe during the exercise, there is a good chance it’s too heavy. In that case, keep the goal the goal, and go down in weight. The kettlebell can be held in the normal position (bell is sitting on the outside of your wrists) or, as seen in the video, you can utilize the bottoms-up position to challenge the movement further. We typically like to use the KB Arm Bar in either the warm-up, or paired with medicine ball work for 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps/side.

About the Author

​Derek Kambour serves as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Prior to joining the staff, Derek completed an internship at CSP-FL in the fall of 2018. Prior to joining the CSP-FL team, Derek coached a variety of athletes and clientele at performance facilities in New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair St. University with a degree in Exercise Science and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA. Derek is also a competitive powerlifter. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: July 2020 Q&A with Eric Cressey

For this week's podcast, in lieu of a guest, I'm going to do a Q&A on a collection of baseball training questions that were submitted by listeners.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Questions Covered

  • What are the best kinds of recovery drills for after pitching?
  • With the lost 2020 season, how should NCAA pitchers adjust their throwing and training preparation for 2021?
  • Do you have any advice for a strength and conditioning coach who is looking to work specifically with baseball players?
  • Should the strength and conditioning program for high school baseball focus on sport-specific exercises or compound exercises?

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an 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 - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - 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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Exercise of the Week: Half-Kneeling Kettlebell Windmill

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida coach Derek Kambour.

At Cressey Sports Performance, we utilize several kettlebell windmill variations. A while back, Eric covered the regular standing version HERE. Today, I’d like to cover the half kneeling position, as I think there are some technical elements that should be highlighted in order to get the most out of this exercise.

Often, you’ll see this activity performed similar to the downward portion of a Turkish Get-Up, where the individual is in a half kneeling position, with the back hip in an externally rotated position, and then they will hinge back into that hip as they reach towards the ground, all while holding weight in an overhead position. While there is nothing wrong with this execution – especially if the goal is to challenge the individual’s ability to stabilize load in an overhead position while improving the ability to hinge – I do believe there are some ways we can coach this activity in a specific manner to get more out of it. I originally saw the execution of this exercise from Dr. Pat Davidson, so all credit goes to him for showing how to get more from this activity. This is an awesome transverse plane core exercise that helps individuals learn how to load their hip in the frontal plane. If you are an athlete trying to improve your ability to get in and out of a cut, or a pitcher looking to improve back hip loading or accepting force on the front hip, this could be a great exercise to include. Below is a demonstration that gives you a general understanding as to how we coach this exercise.

When performed in this manner, folks are getting a lot more than just overhead stability benefits. Here are some of the key components of this exercise explained further:

1. Setting up in a solid half-kneeling position is going to be essential when executing this variation. To ensure that the individual is in a good position, we like to have the individual drive the back foot into a wall, especially for those who have never performed this exercise before. The wall allows the individual to feel their hamstring and glute to gain better control of their pelvis on the down side hip. The wall is not always needed, but it can certainly help. The front foot should also be pressed into the ground as well.

2. Once set up in this half kneeling position, the KB can be pressed overhead. It is important to note, this exercise does not need to be loaded very heavy at first. We often start folks with a 15-25lb. kettlebell and they are absolutely smoked by the time they are done with their set. Sometimes, I will have the person I am working with perform this with no load, as it allows them to focus on the more important aspects of the exercise.

3. Before the individual reaches for the ground, they should be shifting into the front hip. Many times, when someone goes to perform this hip shift action, they will lose control of their pelvis and go into an anteriorly oriented position. Be sure that you, or the individual you are coaching, executes the shift while maintaining a subtle tuck of the pelvis.

4. As the individual begins to rotate and reach for the ground, it is important to keep both arms long. While they are slowly reaching towards the ground with the bottom arm/hand, they should be trying to maintain that hip shift without any movement of the front femur. The most common movement fault seen with this exercise is the inability to maintain control the front leg as the hips shift laterally towards the front side. The front leg should not move front to back or side to side, and it may be beneficial to think about pushing the knee in towards the midline. If done correctly, they should feel their adductors working significantly.

5. Most of the time, I will instruct the individual to reach down until the palm of their hand touches the ground, and that is as far as I will have them go. Some individuals are pretty mobile and can get their forearm all the way down to the ground. I’m fine with this as long as everything else checks out and they are feeling the desired musculature.

6. To get even more out of this activity, we can add a respiratory component to challenge this position further. Once the hand reaches the ground, the individual should get a full exhale out, and closing the side of the ribcage that is down. After a full exhale out and maintaining that bottom position, the individual can then inhale into the side of the ribcage that is up (trying to get air into the upper chest wall). After they have achieved maximal expansion in this area, they can exhale out again as they come back up into the starting position.

We will typically have our athletes perform this exercise for 2-4 sets of 6-8 reps per side as an accessory exercise towards the end of the session, or as part of their movement prep before their strength training. Once they’re proficient with it, we might load it up more and use it as part of a first pairing on an upper body training session (similar to how we program Turkish Get-ups). Give it a shot!

About the Author

​Derek Kambour serves as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Prior to joining the staff, Derek completed an internship at CSP-FL in the fall of 2018. Prior to joining the CSP-FL team, Derek coached a variety of athletes and clientele at performance facilities in New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair St. University with a degree in Exercise Science and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA. Derek is also a competitive powerlifter. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Antoan Richardson

We're excited to welcome San Francisco Giants First Base Coach and retired MLB outfielder Antoan Richardson to this week's podcast. Antoan speaks about his path from the Bahamas to Vanderbilt to the Big Leagues - and also shares some insights on how we can best prepare baserunners and outfielders.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How Antoan became the 6th Bahamian to play in the big leagues and what the process is for young ballplayers in the Bahamas looking to progress their baseball career
  • What the baseball culture of the Bahamas is like, and how the game is growing on this island from the roots of softball
  • Why Antoan is heartbroken when foreign players are married to the idea of signing contracts as the only means to make their baseball dreams a reality and how he is working to educate the youth of the power baseball can have for their future
  • How Antoan became an all-state caliber baseball player in Florida after being cut from his 7th grade softball team in the Bahamas just years earlier
  • How Antoan has used his passion for baseball to be an ambassador for the Bahamas and pave the way for future generations of Bahamians to grow through the sport
  • Why Antoan chose to attend junior college out of high instead of accepting scholarships to play collegiate sports or pursuing early professional baseball pursuits
  • How Antoan earned the opportunity to play at Vanderbilt out of junior college in 2003 and what role he played in laying the foundation for Vanderbilt to develop into the powerhouse it is today
  • What differentiates Vanderbilt baseball and Tim Corbin from other universities in the country and how has the tradition of the baseball program progressed to and sustained greatness over the recent decades
  • How Antoan was able to defy traditional wisdom and reduce the number of times he was caught stealing as he progressed through the ranks of pro ball
  • What lessons Antoan has for young base stealers looking to sharpen their baserunning skills
  • What it was like scoring the game winning run on Derek Jeter’s walkoff hit in his final game as a New York Yankee
  • Why Antoan has learned to value the empathy, adaptability, and individualization needed to find success with each player with whom he works
  • What core competencies Antoan works to establish in the baserunners with whom he works
  • What skills Antoan emphasizes as important for outfielders, and why he stresses owning the first steps and remaining athletic
  • What struggles minorities face in baseball and how coaches can better serve the needs of all their athletes
  • What Project Limestone is, and how individuals can help the next generation of kids in the Bahamas
  • You can follow Antoan on Twitter at @ARichardson242 and on Instagram at @AntoanRichardson242. You can also learn more about the great work he's doing with Project Limestone at www.ProjectLimestone.org.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an 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 - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - 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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Progression Strategies for Back Hip Loading

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts associate pitching coordinator, Jordan Kraus.

Skill coaches are often faced with the challenging task of addressing mechanical problems that are actually underlying movement inefficiencies. This is especially true with respect to different aspects of the pitching delivery, and today I will be discussing the back hip load. We place a lot of emphasis on mastering this initial move in the delivery because of the many of downstream effects it has. Simply put, if the first move in the sequence is poor, the subsequent moves won’t be very good, either.

The biggest challenge stems from the fact that pitching is a unique skill, and the movement patterns associated with it become very ingrained. It is very difficult to change these patterns within the confines of the mound and baseball in hand, so stepping away from the specialized task of throwing to create context for a new movement pattern can expedite the process.

Efficiently loading the back hip can be challenging because of the different planes of motion involved and the speed associated with a pitching delivery. The three movements we look for in the back hip are flexion, adduction and internal rotation. It’s important to note that not everyone’s load will be the same, but all will have varying degrees of each of these movements.

The following movements can be used to help facilitate positions we want to replicate on the mound. For simplicity, they are broken down into four categories: unloaded, loaded, dynamic, and skill-specific. Within each of the first three categories, the movements progress from sagittal, frontal, to transverse plane movements. The goal of the sagittal plane movements is to control hip flexion while shifting weight posteriorly. Next, we are progressing by shifting our weight posteriorly while moving laterally in the frontal plane. The third movement in each category combines all three planes of motion as we learn to control flexion, adduction and internal rotation. The final category is a medicine ball series that will help bridge the gap between movements in the weight room and the throwing motion.

1. Unloaded: RDL/1-leg RDL > Lateral Lunge > Bowler Squat

2. Loaded: KB RDL/1-leg KB RDL > KB Lateral Lunge > Rotational Landmine Press/Rotational Row

3. Dynamic: Drop Squat 2:1 > Low Box Shuffle w/Stick > Lateral Lunge w/ Fake Medicine Ball Chop

4. Skill-Specific: Rear Foot Elevated Medicine Ball Shotput > Step-Back Medicine Ball Shotput > Knee-to-Knee Medicine Ball Shotput

It’s important to note that there are plenty of other movement options and the progressions for these are not linear. Additional load or increased speed of a movement can sometimes produce a more favorable outcome, so there will always be a level of coaching required for exercise selection. Selection will depend on a variety of factors, including strength, athleticism, mobility restrictions, and individual compensation strategies. Once these movements become proficient, the next step would be to blend the new loading strategy into plyo drills, catch play, and ultimately to the mound. Changing the task can drastically improve motor learning, so don’t be afraid to have pitchers step away from the mound to create better movement patterns.

About the Author

Jordan Kraus serves as a Pitching and Strength and Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance-MA. You can follow him on twitter and Instagram at @_JordanKraus_, or email him at JordanRKraus@gmail.com.

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