Home Posts tagged "Deadlift"

3 Thoughts for Getting the Glutes Going

Recently, I box squatted for the first time in a few months - and the posterior chain soreness I felt got me thinking about the functional anatomy in play, particularly with respect to the glutes. Here's what's rattling around my brain on that front (warning: functional anatomy heavy nerd post ahead).

1. People think of the gluteus maximus too much as a hip extensor and not enough as a posterior glider of the femoral head.

The gluteus maximus is an important prime mover of the hip - especially into hip extension. However, it's also a crucial stabilizer. The other hip extensors - hamstrings and adductor magnus - have inferior attachment points lower down on the femur.

Meanwhile, the gluteus maximus actually inserts higher up - right near the femoral head.

The result is that when you extend your hips with the hamstrings and adductor magnus, the head of the femur can glide forward in the socket and irritate the front of the hip. When you get adequate gluteus maximus contribution, it helps to reduce this anterior stress. In many ways, the glutes work as a rotator cuff of the hip (while the hamstrings and adductor magnus act like the lats and pecs, respectively).

2. Glute activation can be a game changer with respect to chronic quadratus lumborum (QL) tightness - but only if you perform exercises correctly.

Shirley Sahrmann and her disciples have frequently observed that whenever you see an overworked muscle, you should always look for a dysfunctional synergist. A common example at the shoulder is a cranky biceps tendon picking up the slack for an ineffective rotator cuff.

Quadratus lumborum fits the bill in the core/lower extremity because its attachment points unify the pelvis, lumbar spine, and ribs.

When it shortens, it pulls the spine into lateral flexion and the lumbar spine into extension. In other words, it can give you "fake" hip abduction and hip extension - both of which come from the glutes. Whether you're doing mini-band sidesteps, side-lying clams, or loading your hips in a pitching delivery, you need to make sure the movement is happening at the ball-socket (femoral head - acetabulum) rather than at the spine. And, when you're doing your prone hip extension, supine bridges, hip thrusts, and deadlifts, you want to make sure you're getting true hip extension and not just extra low back arching.

3. The eccentric role of the glutes in the lower extremity might be their most key contribution.

When heel strike happens, it kicks off the process of pronation in the lower extremity. This pronation drives internal rotation of the tibia and, in turn, the femur. There is a lot of ground reaction force and range of motion that must be controlled, so much of it is passed up the chain because we simply don't have that much cross-sectional area in the muscles below the knee. Because it functions in three planes of motion, the gluteus maximus is in an awesome position to help by slowing down femoral internal rotation, adduction, and flexion.

If you're looking to learn more about how functional anatomy impacts how you assess, coach, and program, I'd strongly encourage you to check out Mike Robertson's new Complete Coach Certification. I've had the opportunity to review it, and it's absolutely fantastic. You can learn more - and get a nice introductory discount - HERE.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/26/19

I hope you had a good weekend. Here's a list of recommended reading and listening for the week ahead:

EC on the Physical Preparation Podcast - This is my third time on Mike Robertson's podcast, and it's always a great time. Speaking of Mike, he's launching an awesome training certification in the next few weeks. I've had a chance to preview it, and it's outstanding stuff. You can learn more and get on the announcement list HERE.

EC on the Leave Your Mark Podcast -This was a fun podcast with Scott Livingston. We talked a lot more about my upbringing and how Cressey Sports Performance came to be than we did actual training stuff, so it's a good listen for anyone interested in career development.

I Got My Hip Replaced at 39. Here's Why That Might Get More Common - It's not often that you get an insightful article on a sports medicine topic, but this one was really good. Spoiler alert: hip replacements are getting much more durable - and it should continue in the decades ahead.

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So many people hate on big leg kicks because they think it makes things too high maintenance. I wish more people would realize that any potential drawbacks are usually outweighed by the fact that this unloading of the front leg increases back hip load and can actually make rotational force production more efficient because ideal direction is preserved. I don’t think the baseball or S&C field as a whole appreciates that a lot of athletes barely get into their back hips during hitting, pitching, med ball work, etc. Sometimes, a bigger leg lift in front is the quickest way to find the back hip. 💪 Congrats to @19boknows for a great start in the show. Lots of hard work rewarded, no doubt. Product of a great family - and a heck of a first hitting coach! #Repost @mlb @get_repost_easily #repost_easily ****** Start your day with some slow-mo Bo.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/6/19

Today, I've got a list of recommended reading to get you through the week. Before we get to it, though, just a quick heads-up that we're doing a pre-sale on Cressey Sports Performance bucket hats. If you're interested in buying one, you can do so at THIS LINK. They'll be available for shipment in early-mid September.

As for the reading recommendations, check out the following:

Is It Really "Biceps Tendonitis?" - In light of a recent Instagram post I made on a related topic, this video blog deserves a reincarnation this week.

10 Habits that are Just as Important as Tracking KPI - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, wrote this article that examines some of the overlooked areas in which you can evaluate fitness business success.

Professional and Amateur Pitchers' Perspective on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury Risk - This was an interesting study on a number of fronts. It was surprising to see how many pro guys think UCL injuries are unavoidable, but not at all surprising to hear that 55% of those who have UCL injuries in pro ball had a previous history of elbow injury in their youth baseball days. The biggest risk factor for an injury is...shocker...a previous injury.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/15/19

I've finally gotten this feature back on an early-in-the-week publication schedule! Here's some good stuff from around the 'Net of late:

Complete Speed and Agility Coach Certification - I've commented on numerous occasions how much I like this resource and accompanying certification from Lee Taft. It's on sale for $150 off this week and definitely worth the investment.

It Took Me Ten years to Become an Overnight Success - A recent conversation reminded me of this article my business partner, Pete Dupuis, wrote a few years ago. It's an important one for the up-and-comers in our field.

The Value of Self-Doubt - I enjoyed this podcast from Brett Bartholomew at The Art of Coaching. It's a great listen for both novice and more experienced coaches. I loved him arguing FOR imposter syndrome in an era where everyone is positioned as an expert.

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Tall athletes have much less wiggle room with their setup than shorter athletes do, as long levers can make weights feel heavier, and more range-of-motion equates to more opportunity for things to go wrong. This is especially true when it comes to pulling from the ground. On the left, you'll see @joerock___ (who is 6-7) round over and try to use the bar to pull himself into a good starting position - but he doesn't quite get to where he needs to go. On the right, we reach the arms out in front as a counterbalance, and have him descend to the bar without ever giving up an optional torso posture. The best way to firm up good positions is to never allow bad positions to take place. Swipe left for the actual set (good work, Joe!). . . . #cspfamily #deadlift #trapbar

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 3/27/19

I hope you're having a great week. Here's a little recommended reading and listening to get you through your Wednesday!

7 Tips for Training Around Lower Back Pain - Mike Robertson outlines some great suggestions for anyone (which is most people) who has struggled with lower back pain at some point or another.

Eccentric Hamstrings Loading for Strength, Hypertrophy, and Injury Prevention - This was a pretty thorough article from Dean Somerset that includes plenty of videos of exercise options to take care of those hammies.

Atomic Habits - I just finished up this audiobook by James Clear. If you've read "The Power of Habit," this is a good follow-up that builds on its concepts. I particularly like the "Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery" equation.

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Most of the Instagram posts you see that celebrate entrepreneurship are of the following: 1️⃣Entrepreneur posing in front of a fancy car that was rented for a photo shoot. 2️⃣Entrepreneur sitting in a coffee shop, dressed in business casual, sipping a latte, while working on a laptop. 3️⃣Entrepreneur taking a selfie in an exotic location, with the caption reminding you that you, too, can have great autonomy and work from anywhere if you just follow the tips he/she outlines. You know what? It's not really like that for 99% of entrepreneurs, 99% of the time. With that in mind, this photo of my wife on Friday should serve as a nice reflection of the "other side" of entrepreneurship: the problem with self-employment is that your boss is an a**hole. 😂 In addition to having her own optometry practice, @annacressey also helps out at @cresseysportsperformance - FL with scheduling and billing. On Friday, we were scheduled for a 12:30pm C-section with our third child, but a few emergency C-sections had to take place before we could have our baby, so we got pushed back about 3.5 hours. Luckily, the hospital had great WiFi, so we got some work done. Here she is - uncomfortably pregnant, IV in, and 17 hours with no food or water - ordering some contacts lenses, doing her month-end financials, and scheduling me evaluations. 🤷🏻‍♂️ So, the next time a 23-year-old lifestyle entrepreneur tells you that he's got all the secrets to help you live the life you want, just remember that there's probably a badass mother of three who can share a whole lot more entrepreneurship reality wisdom with you. . . . #cspfamily #entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship

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The 4 Most Common Barbell Hip Thrust Technique Mistakes

As I've written previously (see In Defense of the Hip Thrust), I'm a fan of barbell hip thrusts (and supine bridges). Like most exercises, though, there are some common technique pitfalls. This week, on my Instagram, I featured the four most common mistakes I see in this regard. Check them out: 

 
 
 
 
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This is my second installment of this week's series on coaching cues for the barbell hip thrust. Today, we'll focus on weight distribution through the foot. 👇 Often, you'll see individuals go up to the balls of the feet and toes when they're at the top position. This can occur because the individual has either set up with the feet too far away from the hips, or because a quad-dominant individual is actually trying to extend the knees to lift the weight. 🤔 In the former instance, the quick fix is to move the heels a bit closer to the body in the starting position so that the knees end up at a 90-degree angle at the top position (hip extension w/knee flexion). In the latter instance, it can help to a) tell the athlete to go barefoot (more heel contact = more posterior chain recruitment) or b) imagine grabbing the floor as if you're trying to pick up a basketball with your arch. 👍 Thanks to @nickcioffi_14 for the demo and @pete_dupuis for the design work. #cspfamily #hipthrust #glutebridge

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This is my third installment of this week's series on coaching cues for the barbell hip thrust. Today, we'll cover head/neck posture. 👇 Often, you'll see individuals go into a forward head posture at the top position. As a result, they wind up jacking up their neck when they're trying to train the lower body. This can occur because the individual has tried to preserve the line of sight from the starting position even though the torso angle has changed due to the hip extension further down. 👎 A quick "make a double chin" cue usually cleans it up, especially with athletes who've built up a lot of context for neutral neck posture with other exercises. If it doesn't, however, I like to just put the palm of my hand an inch in front of their face on warm-ups as an external focus cue; if they make contact with it, they're slipping into forward head posture. 👍 Thanks to @nickcioffi_14 for the demo and @pete_dupuis for the formatting. #cspfamily #hipthrust #glutebridge

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This is my fourth and final installment of this week's series on coaching cues for the barbell hip thrust. Today, we'll look at hip/spine positioning at the finish position. 👇 Often, you'll see individuals substitute extension of the lumbar spine (lower back) for hip extension, especially at the top position. The gluteus maximus is a terminal hip extensor, which means that those last 10 degrees of hip extension are crucial. It's very easy to load up a lot of weight and come up short on this exercise - or just find bad motion through the wrong place (spine). 👎 The correct finish position has a straight line from the knees to the top of the head, with the glutes activated in the top position. When done correctly, this exercise should lead to zero lower back discomfort (or soreness the next day). 👍 Thanks to @nickcioffi_14 for the demo and @pete_dupuis for the formatting. #cspfamily #hipthrust #glutebridge

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Exercise of the Week: Landmine Squat to 1-arm Press

Anyone who's followed this blog for any length of time knows that I'm a big fan of landmine presses for a number of reasons:

1. As a "free scapula" pressing exercise, they're an effective way to train scapular upward rotation.

2. They're much more shoulder friendly than overhead presses.

3. They provide a great core stability challenge.

4. You can implement a lot of variety in terms of stance (tall/half-kneeling, standing, split-stance, rotational, etc) and lower body contributions. This week's feature is a great highlight in this regard:

This drill fits well as a first exercise on a full body day and pairs well with horizontal or vertical pulling. I really like it late in the offseason when we're trying to keep sessions a bit shorter and get extra bang for our training buck. I'd do sets of 3-5 reps per side.

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Exercise of the Week: Standing 1-arm Cable Row with Offset Kettlebell Hold

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to expand your rowing exercise selection, definitely try the standing 1-arm cable row with offset kettlebell hold.

Holding a kettlebell in the racked position on the non-working arm not only adds a core control element, but also facilitates thoracic (upper back) rotation away from the rowing arm. We know that left thoracic rotation works hand-in-hand with right serratus anterior recruitment (and vice versa), so this is an awesome progression we like to use with our throwing athletes. You could progress this particular version by adding a bit more upper back rotation to the left on the eccentric (lowering) portion of each rep.

Also, just a friendly reminder that tonight is the end of the $30 off sale on The High Performance Handbook. The discount is automatically applied at checkout; you can learn more at www.HighPerformanceHandbook.com.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/31/19

I didn't get around to publishing this weekly feature last week, so I've got a bit of content stockpiled. Here was the best of the bunch:

Ace in the Hole: Corey Kluber at Cressey - New England Baseball Journal just ran this cover feature and article about Corey Kluber's training at Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts in their February edition.

Pete Dupuis on Niche Domination in the Fitness Industry - Don't miss this excellent Robertson Training Systems podcast with my business partner, Pete Dupuis.

7 Ways to Maintain Strength During Baseball Season - With baseball season rapidly approaching, it seemed like a good idea to reincarnate this guest article from CSP-MA Director of Performance, John O'Neil.

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585x5 went well last week, so it was on to 600x5 this week. PRs aside, though, it was actually a pretty good example of how off the predicted max charts really are. 👇 After this set, I plugged 600 pounds and 5 reps into four separate predicted max calculators I found on the internet. The projections for my 1RM were anywhere from 675 pounds all the way up to 705 pounds. That 675 might be a possibility, but taking that to a 705 might very well be two years worth of specialized deadlift training. 🤔 Predicted max calculators have their place, but don't think for a second that they're perfectly accurate. And, they're even less accurate with a) more experienced lifters and b) lifters with a heavy fast twitch profile. #cspfamily #deadlift

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Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training – Installment 32

In light of the busy baseball offseason, I'm long overdue for an update to this series. So, here goes!

1. Have a long-term plan, but not necessarily a long-term program.

The other day, an observational visitor to CSP-FL asked me if I had a big, overarching goal for all our professional baseball players. My response was simple: "Minor league guys need to get through five 4-week programs, and big leaguers need to get through four."

The MLB regular season always ends on a Sunday, so the math is actually easy to do. We know most MLB guys report around February 14, which gives us 19.5 weeks for the offseason. That 3.5 week "buffer" accounts for some time off, some vacation, a few days over the holidays, and travel to Spring Training. We "give" a little bit on guys who played well into the postseason in the previous year.

Over this 16 weeks of training, we transition from active recovery, improving mobility and building work capacity, to building strength and power, to transitioning into more specific skill development. It's all something we've become comfortable handling as long as we can get in those four program blocks. However, while we have a long-term plan, we don't write all the programs up in advance. Why? Very simply, what you put on paper for a January program when you write it three months in advance almost always needs to be modified prior to the time when it's actually being executed. Even the best players on the planet who've established really good offseason routines have to call audibles on the fly as various things come up throughout the offseason.

Have a general framework in place, but don't be so rigidly adherent to it that you can't pivot on the fly over the course of several months. It'll save you time and make your programming more effective if you write the specific components of your offseason progressions when the time is at hand.

2. Good coaching always comes back to relative stiffness.

Give this video of a back-to-wall shoulder flexion a watch:

Now, think about what's happening from a stiffness standpoint. When the arms go overhead, we're asking good stiffness of the anterior core (rectus abdominus, external obliques), glutes, and scapular upward rotators (upper trap, lower trap, and serratus anterior) to overpower bad stiffness of the lumbar extensors, lats, and scapular downward rotators (levator scapulae, pec minor, and rhomboids).

This good vs. bad stiffness interaction is taking place in every single movement we prescribe and coach. If we don't appreciate functional anatomy and understand how to tone down the bad and tone up the good, we simply can't be efficient coaches.

If you're looking to learn more about relative stiffness, I'd encourage you to check out Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement.

3. Be careful with predicted max charts.

Last week, I hit a personal record (PR) with five reps at 600lbs on my conventional deadlift.

PRs asid, though, it was actually a pretty good example of how off the predicted max charts really are.

After this set, I plugged 600 pounds and 5 reps into four separate predicted max calculators I found on the internet. The projections for my 1RM were anywhere from 675 pounds all the way up to 705 pounds. That 675 might be a possibility, but taking that to a 705 might very well be two years worth of specialized deadlift training.

Predicted max calculators have their place, but don't think for a second that they're perfectly accurate. And, they're even less accurate with a) more experienced lifters and b) lifters with a heavy fast twitch profile.

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LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series