Home Posts tagged "Dean Somerset" (Page 2)

Should You Even Stretch?

Today's guest post comes from Dean Somerset. In reviewing his outstanding resource, The L2 Fitness Summit Video Series (which is on sale for $50 off this week), I thought Dean did a great job discussing active vs. passive range of motion, and asked if he'd be willing to expand on the topic in a guest post, and he kindly agreed. Check it out! -EC

Mobility training is a hop topic right now. Head over to Instagram and you’ll see incredible feats of flexibility that don’t seem like something humans should be able to do without calling 911 due to some terrible accident having taken place.

While these feats are undoubtedly cool to see, there’s also the big question of “why should you even do that stuff? Is it beneficial to health, longevity, or physical performance? Is it something that helps you achieve a specific goal, or prevent injury or get hot dates for the weekends?”

First, let’s look at what is involved in being flexible and having some solid mobility.

Flexibility is typically defined as the available range of motion available to a joint or specific motion.

Mobility is typically defined as the usable range of motion available to an individual.

Another way to look at it, flexibility is your passive range of motion, whereas mobility is your active range of motion, and each is very important, as is their interplay with one another.

The passive range of motion is the theoretical limit of your available range that you could move through for funky stuff like splits, squats, overhead presses, or other movements you’d want to do on a daily basis in the gym. It can be expanded with some “unlocking” options if it’s restricted by motor control issues like guarding tension, or by prolonged static stretching to adapt the tissues that might impede further mobility, such as the joint capsule, ligaments, fascia, or other tissues.

For these tissues to adapt to static stretching, it typically takes a very long time in the stretch (think 5-30 minutes on a daily basis for months on end), and also works best in younger individuals versus older. Odds are, once your epiphyseal plates at the ends of your bones fuse, expanding your passive range is going to be fairly limited.

Now if you have the passive range of motion, you should be able to use it. The active range of motion should be relatively close to what the passive available range currently is. If you can’t use that range, there’s a problem.
While much of the limits to passive range of motion may be structural, the limits to active range of motion are usually more neural. The efferent division of the nervous system controls motor function, including developing sufficient strength across entire ranges of motion or within portions of that range commonly used.

Coming back to the original question of this post, should you even stretch? That depends on whether you need more passive or active range of motion, and what methods of development are best for improving those characteristics.

If you have enough flexibility to do all of the things you want to do in life, you don’t need to develop more flexibility. Would more be good to have if you needed it? Sure, but at current time, you’re golden.

If you can get enough hip flexion to squat to depth for a powerlifting meet, more range won’t give you more white lights.

If you can’t get to this range of motion needed for the activities you want to do, that’s when stretching could be beneficial. Progress tends to be slow for this, but can happen relatively easily if you’re patient. It may mean watching The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones while holding a stretch, but you can do it.

If you have the range but can’t access it, that’s when active mobility comes into play. A basic approach would be to put the joint into a range of motion it wouldn’t normally be able to get into on its’ own with the help of either external loading or some supportive structure, and then developing muscle tension in that new position.

Creating agonist and antagonist muscle tension in the new position can help develop range-specific strength while also training the motor pattern to create activity in that range that it’s not used to developing, which can help you to access later.

Another option would be to take off the brakes from the system to see if that helps. Some higher threshold core activation exercises seem to help reduce resting neural tone into the distal tissues, and helps expand the available range of motion effectively.

Once you have access to that range in both passive and active capabilities, it’s time to train it. Use big ranges of motion with max contractile ability, then add loading to it to help cement that ability to use through all the challenges you can throw at it.

 

So this comes back to the original question: Should you even stretch? I have a simple flow chart to explain the basis of this post and give some direction on what you should do.

If you have both the flexibility and control through the range of motion to do what you want to do, you don’t need to stretch.

If you have the flexibility but not the control, you need to do more active controlled tension drills to help access that range of motion. If you don’t even have the range of motion to do the activity you’re looking to do, that’s where things like static stretching, PNF style contractions, high threshold strategies, joint mobilization or self-myofascial release (foam rolling) can come in very handy.

Haphazardly stretching everything for everyone is rarely ever a beneficial way of training, let alone a good use of time for many individuals with whom it may not be recommended. More range of motion is often not necessary, or even attainable in the case of structural restrictions, but if you enjoy stretching and it makes you feel good, that’s reason enough to continue if you like. However, if it’s not giving you any specific benefits, it may be worth choosing any of the other options we went through today and see if they produce more of a benefit to your training.

Along with Dr. Mike Israetel, Dean is the co-creator of the L2 Fitness Summit Video Series, which was released today. I'm in the process of working my way through this new continuing education resource; Dean offers a nice glimpse into some assessment components that go beyond typical movement screens, and Mike's presentation on hypertrophy mechanisms and strategies was insightful as well. These are some seemingly minimally-related topics, but they did a good job of pulling everything together. It's on sale for $50 off this week, and definitely worth a look - especially with it being the end of the year and NSCA CEUs being available for the resource. Check it out HERE.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/2/17

Happy Monday! The MLB regular season ended yesterday, so you could say that this is yet another reminder that the Cressey family "inseason" has begun. Our craziness starts when all the players' lives slow down a bit. Here's a little recommended reading for you:

Dr. Andy Galpin on How to Unplug from Tech and Social Media - This was a fascinating podcast with Dr. Galpin from Mike Robertson, where they critically review the role of technology and data collection in the training process. The points on the need to unplug from technology and social media really hit home for me, too, and I'll be checking out his book soon!

My Body Let Me Down...Again - This was a great article from Gray Cook on all the potential causative factors for why we may hurt. Many people default to the explanation that their bodies simply fail them, when in reality there were likely a lot of things "missed" on the path to that declaration. Aside from trauma, injuries are rarely just "happenstance."

Breaking Down the Quadruped Thoracic Rotation - Dean Somerset outlines the most common mistakes seen with this common upper back mobility drill.

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*Put the elbows in your pockets.* 👇 When doing chin-ups and pull-ups, you want to be careful about extending the humerus past neutral at the top position. If the elbow moves behind the body, the humeral (upper arm) head can glide forward, irritating the structures at the front of the shoulder. Additionally, the thoracic spine (upper back) becomes excessively kyphotic (rounded), and the scapula may anteriorly (forward) tilt, closing down the subacromial space and exacerbating impingement on the rotator cuff tendons. 👎 On the left, you'll see what this bad position looks like. On the right, you'll see the corrected version. 👍 I’ve found that encouraging athlete to put the elbows in the pockets also makes athletes get the chest to the bar instead of just reaching with the chin and creating a forward head posture. Conversely, if you encourage many young athletes to “just get your chin to the bar,” you get some garbage kipping concoction that looks like Quasimodo on the monkey bars with his pants on fire. So don't do that. #cspfamily #sportsperformance #chinup #pullup #hudsonma #SportsMedicine #shoulderpain

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How to Make the Most of Your Lat Stretches (Video)

I have a love/hate relationship with the lats. On one hand, you need strong lats for all sorts of athletic endeavors, from throwing to sprinting. On the other hand, if they're too overactive, a host of different injuries/conditions can result. With that in mind, preserving full latissimus dorsi length is important, and that's why we incorporate a lot of stretches on this front. It's important that those stretches are done correctly, though, and in today's video, I want to discuss one big mistake we commonly see in this regard.

Speaking of upper body work, if you're interested in learning more, be sure to check out my new resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions.

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Deadlift Technique: The Solution is in the Set-up

In many cases, some of the biggest deadlift technique struggles we encounter originate with a poor set-up. Check out today's video to learn one of the biggest mistakes on this front:

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 6/14/17

We're 2/3 of the way through the MLB Draft, so I haven't had much time to write up new content. I'll have some video content later in the week, though. In the meantime, here's a little recommended reading from around the strength and conditioning world:

Manual Therapy: Neither Panacea Nor Gateway to Despair - Physical therapist Doug Kechijian discusses the current "state" of manual therapy in the health and human performance worlds and shows us that "it depends" is yet again the most important answer to just about any question we can ask.

Time Management for Personal Trainers - Eric Bach and Daniel Freedman wrote up this great post on how those in the fitness industry can get more efficient.

Deadlift Grip Considerations - I meant to include this in last week's edition, but completely forgot. As usual, great stuff from Dean Somerset.

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These are the 110-pound dumbbells. It's on Instagram, so it must be true. #cspfamily #twinning #benchday

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/29/17

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you're enjoying the long weekend with friends and family and, more importantly, honoring those we celebrate today. Here are some good reads from the fitness industry over the past week:

EC on the ABCA Calls from the Clubhouse Podcast - I was on a podcast interview with Jeremy Sheetinger, Alan Jaeger, and Kyle Boddy to discuss arm care and the long-term development of pitchers.

Hit Makers - I just finished this audiobook from Derek Thompson up and really enjoyed it. I found the following quote to be really logical, yet insightful: "A reader's favorite subject is the reader." 

Lateral Hip Shift During a Squat: What's Going On and What to Do About It? - This is an excellent post from Dean Somerset, who touches on all the different reasons that you might have a hip shift during your squatting, whether it's body weight only or under significant loading.

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No spatula needed. #friedegg #promove #farmfresh

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 3/31/17

It's almost MLB Opening Day, which is just about my favorite "holiday" of the year. With that in mind, Mike Reinold and I decided to put our Functional Stability Training products on sale for 20% off. Using the coupon code MLBFST, you can pick up the individual components or get an even bigger discount on the entire bundle.

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This sale runs through Monday at midnight; head to www.FunctionalStability.com to take advantage of it.

Good vs. Bad Stiffness - With FST on sale, I thought it would be a good time to "reincarnate" this webinar except from my presentation in the Optimizing Movement component. Relative stiffness is an important concept for all fitness and rehabilitation professionals to understand.

Cryotherapy Doesn't Work - This was an excellent post from Dean Somerset on the topic of icing. It's a great follow-up to the two-part series Tavis Bruce authored up for us last year, too, so be sure to check those out: Cryotherapy and Exercise Recovery: Part 1 and Part 2.

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Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3 - This was an interesting article at Inc.com on the topic of balancing life's demands. It resonated with me because it was another good reminder that it's our job as fitness professionals to make people realize they CAN still be fit even if they don't have a ton of time. And, fitness might be a great avenue through which to spend time with family and friends, so it can "check a few boxes" in folks' busy lives.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/31/17

I'm flying up to Massachusetts tonight for a quick visit, so I don't have time to write up anything new. Luckily, I have some great stuff from around the 'Net to share with you. 

The Hierarchy of Fitness Industry Success - Here's a great post for the fitness industry up-and-comers, courtesy of CSP-MA co-founder, Tony Gentilcore.

Lessons New Coaches Can Take from the Belichick Blueprint - I'm a big Patriots fan not only because I was born in New England, but also because they always seem to find value where others miss it. Some of the personnel decisions during Bill Belichick's tenure have come under scrutiny, but they always seem to work out. This article shares some invaluable lessons that carry over across industries.

Some Reasons Why You Should Stop Stretching Your Hip Flexors - Dean Somerset presents some excellent thoughts on better ways to attack the problem of "tight hip flexors."

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Great point from @bonvecstrength in today's guest post at http://www.ericcressey.com/blog. #cspfamily #benchpress

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/9/17

Between the holidays and my "Best of 2016" series, it's been a few weeks since the last installment of this weekly recommended reading/viewing list. With that in mind, I'll throw out some extra recommendations this week:

Healthy Hips for Serious Sumo Deadlifts - Dean Somerset knows hips - and this article demonstrates just how thorough that knowledge is.

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Understanding Influencer Marketing - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, discusses the value of collaborative marketing efforts between one company or individual and another - using our relationship with New Balance as an example.

Stress is Not Stress - This was an outstanding post from Dave Dellanave; he cuts through all the science and explains why not all stress is created equal for every person.

5 Key Nutrition Lessons We Learned in 2016 - As always, the crew at Examine.com puts out some excellent science-backed information.

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The Best of 2016: Product Reviews

To wrap up my “Best of 2016″ series, I’ll highlight the top product reviews I did at this site in the last year. Here they are: 

1. Certified Speed and Agility Specialist (CSAS) Course - Lee Taft is a go-to guy when it comes to speed and agility education, and this awesome certification demonstrates why. It was filmed at Cressey Sports Performance and was mandatory viewing for our entire staff. I wrote up an article about why it's so great: When Do Strength and Conditioning and Fitness Certifications Really Matter?

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2. The Complete Shoulder and Hip Blueprint - I was proud of my longtime friend Tony Gentilcore for releasing this, which was his first product. The content was top notch from both Tony and Dean Somerset, his co-creator. Tony covered the shoulder and Dean covered the hips, and I put out some solid takeaways from the resource; see Shoulder Strategies and Hip Helpers: Part 1 and Part 2 for my review.

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3. Elite Athletic Development 3.0 - Unlike most sequels and trilogies, this third installment from Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn didn't disappoint, as there were loads of great coaching strategies introduced. Cressey Sports Performance coach Nancy Newell and I shared some of these insights in our review: 12 Elite Athletic Development Coaching and Programming Lessons.

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There were certainly some other great products I encountered this year, but these three proved to be the most popular with my readers.

In 2016, I personally released Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement with Mike Reinold, and will have two new products out in the first six months of 2017, so stay tuned!

We're back to the regular EricCressey.com content this week. Thanks for all your support in 2016!

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