Home Posts tagged "Deadlift" (Page 5)

5 Important Lessons on Balance Training

You'll hear the terms "stability" and "balance" thrown around a lot in the personal training, strength and conditioning, and rehabilitation communities, but they're often covered in very vague terms - and with hastily thrown together exercise progressions. With this week's spring sale on The Truth About Unstable Surface Training (enter coupon code SPRING for 40% off), I thought I'd cover some things you need to appreciate to be more informed in this regard.

1. Balance and stability are not the same thing.

In Basic Biomechanics, Susan Hall (2003) defined stability as "resistance to both angular and linear acceleration, or resistance to disruption of equilibrium.” Conversely, she defined balance as "the ability to control equilibrium” or “the process of maintaining the center of gravity within the body’s base of support within a given sensory environment.”

In other words, stability is  a state, and balance is a proficiency. Your level of stability is constantly changing based on environmental factors, external influences working on you, and your positioning. Balance is something you have (or lack) to varying degrees; neural factors such as muscular strength, kinesthetic awareness, coordination, and proprioception all contribute to one’s balancing proficiency.

In training, we often reduce stability (e.g., go to unilateral instead of bilateral stance) in order to train to improve our balancing proficiency.

2. Static and dynamic balance are only loosely correlated.

All the way back in 1967, Drowatzky and Zuccato observed little carryover from static to dynamic balance skills, and it was proven again decades later by Tsigilis. With that in mind, it makes sense to train a "continuum" of balance challenges ranging from static to dynamic:

3. Balance is an easy and "free" adaptation to acquire.

If you watch all of the exercises I just outlined along that static-to-dynamic continuum, none of them are particularly taxing. In other words, they can be trained every day without having to remove a lot of other stuff from your programs out of concern for exceeding recovery capacity. The best way to improve balance is to train it frequently and with small exposures, even if it's as simple as telling athletes to brush their teeth on one foot. Nobody will overtrain on balance work.

4. Balance is skill specific.

Having great balance on hockey skates doesn't mean that you'll have elite balance on a basketball or tennis court. This is why it's so important to challenge balance in a variety of ways (by manipulating stability scenarios) in training; it increases the likelihood of "overlap" to the chaos that athletic participation throws at us.

5. Unstable surface training is simply one means of modifying stability in a given situation - but that doesn't mean that it's an appropriate or safe method of training balance.

I spent two years of my life studying unstable surface training (UST) for my master's thesis, which was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2007. Suffice it to say that there are a few scenarios in which UST can be very useful, most notably the rehabilitation of functional ankle instability. Usually, however, over avenues of stability manipulation are much better ways to enhance balance.

With that in mind, if you'd like to learn more about not only unstable surface training, but all the different ways you can alter stability to enhance balance in your training programs, I'd strongly encourage you check out my e-book, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training. It's on sale for $40 off as part of our spring sale; just enter the coupon code SPRING at checkout to get the discount.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/3/18

I hope you're having a great week. Here's some recommended reading from around the 'net to finish it off on a high note.

11 Deadlifting Tips - I contributed to this deadlift compilation for T-Nation, and it covers this big lift from a number of different perspectives.

The Biggest Change in Strength Coaching - This quick post from Dave Tate was spot-on with where I see the industry headed in future years.

Vernon Griffith on Communication, Mindset, and Lasting Impact in Youth Athletics - I love learning from coaches who understand how to get through to athletes and create long-term positive changes. This podcast is a great example.

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When we coach our overhead medicine ball stomp variations, I never want athletes to try to "deaden" the rebound by catching the ball as it comes right off the floor. This approach is shown in the video on the right, and you'll notice that I'm already in deceleration mode (in anticipation of "protecting" against the rebound) rather than powering through the entire range of motion. Contrast it to the better technique on the left, where I just "let it eat" and then "regroup" with a catch at torso height. 👇 Another downside to trying to stop the rebound closer to the floor is that it markedly increases the likelihood that you'll jam a thumb. And, where there really aren't any benefits to stopping the rebound lower down, it's really not worth the risk. #cspfamily

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/27/18

It's a rainy day in Massachusetts - which is the perfect time to compile some recommended reading for the week. Check it out:

Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes - I'm throwing this one in there because it's probably been the single most influential book on my development as a coach. It was first published 17 years ago, but I still finding myself referencing it regularly - including this week. If you're in the fitness or rehabilitation worlds, give it a read.

Behold the Transformation of Noah Syndergaard - This was an excellent Sports Illustrated article that took a look at the pitch selection modifications that Cressey Sports Performance athlete and Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has made over the years.

Are Health and Aesthetics Mutually Exclusive? - A question I got this week reminded me of this blog I wrote back in 2014, so I thought I'd bring it back to the forefront.

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On the left, you’ll see one of the biggest mistakes we see with the landmine press: the scapula (shoulder blade) dumps forward at the bottom position - and it winds up setting an individual up for not being able to upwardly rotate the scap during the pressing phase. 🤔 In the position of “elbows close to the side,” you’re right in the line of pull of the lats and pec minor, which both directly or indirectly oppose upward rotation and good overhead motion. These suckers like to turn on and stay on. 👎 With that in mind, getting the elbow off the side can be a game changer for driving good scapular motion around the rib cage. Note how much “cleaner” the shoulder blade moves in the video on the right. A cue i like on this front is to “draw half of the letter U.” 👍 Thanks to @lala_salt for the Stella demos! #cspfamily

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The Study EVERY Trainer and Coach Should Read and Understand

There are very few absolutes in the world of health and human performance. The answer to just about every question that's asked is "maybe." Even in the debate between anecdotal observations and exclusively evidence-based practice, there are gray areas that can sometimes be heavily debated. 

There is one study, however, that I think every trainer, coach, rehabilitation specialist, and fitness enthusiast should read and understand. My long-time friend Dr. Stu McGill - arguably the world's premier spine authority - is one of the lead authors as well:

Frost DM, Beach TA, Callaghan JP, McGill SM. Exercise-Based Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention for Firefighters: Contrasting the Fitness- and Movement-Related Adaptations to Two Training Methodologies. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Sep;29(9):2441-59.

I know what you're thinking: "What can I learn from how firefighters train? My sport, life, and occupational demands are entirely different."

To understand why this study matters so much to you and how you train, we need to look at the methods of it.

Basically, the researchers took 52 firefighters and plugged them into one of three groups:

1. a movement-guided fitness (MOV) group that received both programming and coaching on how to move correctly

2. a conventional fitness (FIT) group that only received programming, but not coaching

3. a control (CON) group that didn't do any exercise intervention

Before and after the 12-week training (or no training, in the control group) intervention, all the firefighters went through a series of fitness test and laboratory screens. They looked at things like body composition, aerobic capacity, grip strength, muscular endurance (max push-ups, planks for time), lower body power (vertical jump), and flexibility (sit-and-reach test).

Of particular importance was the fact that the pre- and post-tests included "five whole-body tasks" that were NOT included in any part of the training intervention. These challenges were a box deadlift, squat (body weight), lunge, split-stance 1-arm cable press, and split-stance 1-arm cable row. The goal was to evaluate how well the training actually transferred to creating more efficient, high-quality movements in whatever chaos life (or, more specifically, firefighting) threw at them. On these tasks, researchers looked at spine and knee motion with reflective markers to scrutinize movement quality under various conditions of low and speed of movement. The researchers noted (bolded section is from me for emphasis):

FIT and MOV groups exhibited significant improvements in all aspects of fitness; however, only MOV exhibited improvements in spine and frontal plane knee motion control when performing each transfer task. FIT exhibited less controlled spine and frontal plane knee motions while squatting, lunging, pushing, and pulling. More MOV participants (43%) exhibited only positive posttraining changes (i.e., improved control), in comparison with FIT (30%) and CON (23%). Fewer negative posttraining changes were also noted (19, 25, and 36% for MOV, FIT, and CON).

So what the heck does this mean for you? Quality training matters.

Those in the high-quality coaching group moved significantly better on average and had substantially fewer negative outcomes. In the training without coaching group, the average "upside" was lower - and there were more incidences of negative adaptation.

This is a study that proves that coaching a quality single-leg RDL will carry over to our pitchers controlling themselves safely into landing.

It shows that the "true" hip extension we train in the gym will also be there when our athletes run and jump.

It shows that the lateral lunge we coach helps our athletes to change direction safely on the lacrosse field.

It demonstrates that deadlift hip hinge technique we coach so hard in the gym reduces my likelihood of hurting my back when I pick up a squirming toddler.

It means that the 90/90 rotator cuff strength and timing position we meticulous coach and train protects our guys when they lay the arm back during the external rotation phase of throwing.

It also shows that quality strength and conditioning outcomes are about so much more than just a program or even a good training environment; they're about hammering home loads of consistently high quality reps to markedly increase the likelihood of favorable movement quality adaptations - while protecting against the downside.

This study also demonstrates why ready-to-print rotator cuff programs often fail shoulder pain patients. That one-size-fits-all approach - combined with inattentive coaching - often keeps patients on a painful path, when a little bit of technique and programming adjustments could be a game changer. And, it shows why some otherwise healthy people can wind up injured when they do the exact same program as the friend who had no problems at all with it. We see it all the time in individuals who come our way for one-time consultations; just a little coaching or program tinkering makes a huge difference in keeping them asymptomatic and enjoying their training.

The pride you take in your coaching - and the pride individuals take in their training technique - matters. Don't ever forget it!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/18/18

I hope you're having a great week. Here's a new installment of recommended reading and listening from around the 'net.

Pat Davidson on Coaching, Cuing, and Creating Savages - Pat Davidson never disappoints - and this podcast with Mike Robertson is no exception.

Sleep and Training: The Ultimate Balancing Act - This was a solid guest post from Tim Hendren for Tony Gentilcore's blog. He provides five actionable items you can employ to get more high-quality sleep. I especially liked the point about getting your pets out of your bed, as this little monster has been waking my wife and me up for years.

How Should Relief Pitchers Warm Up? - In light of the nasty weather nationwide early in this baseball season, I've had several questions about how I recommend guys handle cold weather warm-ups at this time of year. My recommendations aren't much different from what I recommend for relief pitchers at any time of year. Get warm, then never cool off. This old post of mine goes into detail on it.

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Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training – Installment 30

I haven't written up a new installment in this series since last June, so it seemed like a good time to do so. With the professional baseball season underway, I've got plenty of stuff rattling around my brain.

1. The MFR Stick is an absolute game changer.

In the past, we used "The Stick" for self-myofascial-release of the forearms, triceps, and biceps.

It works pretty well, but we've broken a number of them over the years when certain meatheads got a bit overzealous with their soft tissue approaches, and it exploded. Additionally, guys always seem to want to take dry swings with it, and the beads would invariably come flying off and wind up all over the facility.

Luckily, Perform Better came through in the clutch this offseason with the release of the MFR Stick.

Athletes have raved about how much better it is, from the greater feedback provided by the steel, to the reduced "give." And, it's far more durable. This is a must-have for any gym, in my opinion. Pick one up here.

2. Not surprisingly, music selection matters - but with a few key considerations.

It's hard to overlook the beneficial effects of music on exercise performance, whether considering your own anecdotal experience, watching Michael Phelps throw on his headphones before a big race, or actually reading the research. If you actually dig a little deeper, a few important "asterisks" emerge:

a. The benefits tend to be more significant in shorter, more anaerobic tasks, as opposed to lengthier aerobic endeavors (study).

b. Music is more impactful if it is self-selected (study).

c. Males tend to be more impacted by musical selection than females are (study).

d. Motivational music can lead to greater risk taking (study).

The take-home messages are that:

a) if you're a male powerlifter looking to make some really aggressive lifting decisions, you should select your music accordingly.

b) if you're a female cardio enthusiast going out for a leisurely jog, why are you reading this blog? music probably doesn't matter all that much.

c) everyone will continue to disagree over the musical selection at every gym for the rest of time.

3. The most successful coaches and rehabilitation specialists I know understand how to find the commonalities across various disciplines.

The Postural Restoration Institute and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization approaches both utilize flexion-bias movements to restore normal function.

Both Muscle Activation Techniques and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment emphasize the importance of differentiating between passive and active range-of-motion, and understanding how to enhance motor control in the “gap” between the two.

Various pitching coaches may disagree on the utility of weighted balls or extreme long toss, but everyone agrees on the importance of quality catch-play.

My point here is that the best professionals have good filters to not only weed out the garbage, but to identify the best components of every discipline they encounter. And, they have the foresight to make sure that they don’t get married to a single school of thought, as doing so prevents you from identifying these important unifying themes.

Have a great week!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/5/18

I've been off the grid a bit, as I just made the long drive back to Massachusetts from Florida. That said, it did give me time to check out a few good audiobooks to bolster this week's recommended reading!

Thinking in Bets - I've always been fascinated by the decision-making process as it relates from everything from business strategy to how we acquire habits for training and nutrition. Accomplished poker player Annie Duke did a great job exploring the concepts of uncertainty and probability in this new book.

Chris Chase on the Trainable Exercise Menu - This is an awesome guest post from Atlanta Hawks Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Chase for Mike Robertson's site. I loved this concept when he initially introduced it on Mike's podcast, and he expands on the concept here.

Top 10 Ways to Build Mental Toughness - T-Nation interviewed several contributors (including me) for this roundtable, and there's some good stuff in there.

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You won’t find a picture that’ll teach you more about how what you do in your strength and conditioning program impacts pitching performance. @srshrek31 has one of the more aggressive down-the-mound deliveries in baseball, which has equated to a perceived velocity that’s been about 1.8mph greater than his actual velocity over the course of his career. 👇 In this position, imagine an aggressive single-leg RDL that drives the front leg back toward the rubber. Effectively, this blocking effect is like riding a bike into the curb. It’s the trigger that tells the arm to go. Here, you see that it’s synced up: as soon as that hip starts to extend, the arm releases the elastic energy that’s built up from lay-back (pre-stretching the lat) into a powerful internal rotation. 💪 You need strength in single-leg stance to accept that force, store elastic energy, and powerfully exert it into the ground to firm up and create the catapult effect. You need hip mobility on the front to do it as you flex, adduct, and internally rotate. And, this doesn’t even take into account the force production and mobility from the back hip that’s set up this position. 😮 Further up, the core has to be stable to transfer force. The upper back has to be mobile to allow for sufficient hip-shoulder separation to occur. The scapula has to be positioned snugly to the rib cage for adequate force transfer. The rotator cuff has to be strong and timed up to center the humeral head (ball) on the glenoid fossa (socket) while competing against the bigger pec and lat musculature. 🔥 Pitching puts you in extreme positions – and it does so over and over again over the course of a career – with very little variation. Prepare accordingly. #cspfamily #Repost @cubs with @get_repost ・・・ Big #OpeningDay performance from the ‘pen! #EverybodyIn

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 3/26/18

Here's a little recommended strength and conditioning reading to kick off your week!

My 5 Least Favorite Coaching Cues - As always, here's some great stuff from Mike Robertson. Sadly, I used to make all these mistakes myself!

20 Random Things I've Learned from Being a Pro Level Strength Coach - I thought this was an awesome look into professional sports from former Lakers strength and conditioning coach Sean Light.

New Training Program for Syndergaard - Here's a MLB.com feature for which I was interviewed. We discussed changes to Noah Syndergaard's offseason program.

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Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 9

It's been a while since I posted a new installment on this series, so here are two thoughts that have been rattling around my brain on the business side of fitness.

1. It takes time and many exposures to build top of mind awareness and, more importantly, trust.

I had a chat with one of our free agent minor league baseball players a few weeks ago. He moved down from New Jersey a few months ago to train with us all offseason.

Two years ago, his agent encouraged him to check Cressey Sports Performance out. He didn’t act.

Then, he played with one of our guys in independent ball and again heard our name, but didn’t follow up on it.

Later, he heard my name mentioned twice on the Tim Ferriss Podcast. While intrigued, he still didn’t act.

Then, last summer, he read the New York Times article about our work with Noah Syndergaard, and he finally reached out.

 

This #tbt is a video of alternating serratus slides on the @trxtraining suspension trainer, with a great demo from #mets pitcher @nsyndergaard. Some thoughts: 1️⃣One of the things we worked a lot on with Noah this offseason was differentiating between glenohumeral (ball on socket) and scapulothoracic (shoulder blade on rib cage) movement. Most pitchers get too much motion from the upper arm, and not enough from the shoulder blade. Notice how the scapula upwardly rotates around the rib cage - which takes stress off the front of the shoulder. 2️⃣ serratus anterior also helps to drive some thoracic flexion in a throwing population that often presents with a flat/extended thoracic spine (upper back). 3️⃣in a general sense, you could call serratus anterior the “anti-lat.” The latissimus dorsi drives a gross extension pattern and can be heavily overused in throwers; the serratus anterior works in opposition (scapular upward rotation, intimate link with the anterior core, accessory muscle of exhalation). 4️⃣add a full exhale at the “lengthened” position on each rep 5️⃣you could’ve observed the shoulder blades better if he was shirtless, but I figured Thor has already hit his weekly quota for shirtless social media cameos.😜 👍💪#cspfamily

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Top of mind awareness isn’t enough anymore. People need to know, like, and trust you. And it takes longer than ever to get to that trust point. I recall hearing that the law of repeated exposures used to be seven interactions with a marketing message. Now, it’s probably a lot more.

If you want to be perceived as a go-to expert in your chosen field, it’s not just enough to do a good job. People need to be made aware that you’re doing a good job from a number of different angles; you have to make your expertise easier to perceive.

2. Don’t compare apples and oranges in the fitness industry (or any industry, for that matter).

As you probably know, we have Cressey Sports Performance facilities in both Hudson, MA and Jupiter, FL. The systems and overarching approach to coaching are very comparable – especially because I spend part of the year at both locations – but there are actually many differences between the two facilities.

Our professional baseball clientele comprises a larger portion of our yearly revenues in Florida, whereas Massachusetts derives more from high school athletes (especially because the high school offseason is longer in a warm weather climate).

Our Massachusetts facility is larger because we have to do more throwing and sprinting inside during the winter. Conversely, Florida weather allows us to do more of this work outside.

We have different staff members at each location. They have unique expertise and personalities.

CSP-MA opened in 2007, and CSP-FL opened in 2014. Massachusetts is a more “mature” business, which gives us a better picture of norms that allow us to compare how things are progressing from year to year.

I could go on and on about the difference, but the important takeaway is that if I sometimes struggle to compare two facilities with virtually the same name and training philosophy, why should you ever compare yourself to another gym?

What Mark Fisher Fitness has to pay for rent in New York City far exceeds what a personal trainer with a small studio in Alabama would have to pay.

Ben Bruno can train a lot more celebrities in Hollywood than a trainer can in North Dakota.

Gross revenues for a giant commercial gym in San Francisco are going to be substantially higher than what a semi-private operation in Minnesota can take in. Meanwhile, the owner of the MN facility might actually make more money and sleep better at night than the owner of the big box gym.

The point is to have a filter when you look at all the “success” you see around you in the fitness industry. There are gyms grossing millions of dollars that are scraping to get by, and others that only do a small fraction of that amount while having a huge community impact – and allowing a fitness entrepreneur to live the life he wants.

Just like you would never encourage your clients to compare themselves to other clients, supermodels, or professional athletes, you shouldn’t compare yourself to any other trainer, business, or facility. All that matters is that when you compare yourself to what you were days, weeks, months, and years before, you’ve progressed.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 3/18/18

I hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day. I'm in the middle of a busy few weeks of on-and-off travel, so here's some recommended reading to hold you over until I've got a chance to film some new content:

Ninety Percent Mental - I just started this sports psychology book from my good friend, Bob Tewksbury. A former MLB All-Star, Bob has gone on to work as a sports psychology consultant for multiple MLB organizations and has tons of great wisdom to share. I'm excited to work my way through it.

"Cressey University" Gave Twins Inside Track on Revamped Roster - Twins beat writer Mike Berardino interviewed me last week for this feature on all the Cressey Sports Performance athletes in the Minnesota organization.

Gym Owner Musings - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, always has some great thoughts on the business side of fitness, and this is another excellent example.

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