Home Posts tagged "Dean Somerset" (Page 2)

The Best of 2017: Guest Posts

I've already highlighted the top articles and videos I put out at EricCressey.com in 2017, so now it's time for the top guest posts of the year. Here goes…

1. Is a Calorie Really Just a Calorie? - Brian St. Pierre tackled this hot topic in the nutrition world and (unsurprisingly) it generated a lot of buzz.

2. Should You Even Stretch? - Dean Somerset always comes through with great content on the corrective exercise side of things.

3. 5 Tips for Improved Client Relationships - Brett Velon was one of the best interns we've ever had, and it had a lot to do with his amazing ability to build rapport with clients so quickly. He shares some of his tips here.

4. Are You Training Mobility or Just Mobilizing? - Frank Duffy takes a closer look at ways to improve your mobility training.

5. When Precision Tops Effort - John O'Neil discusses the importance of knowing that not all exercises need to be treated like PR deadlifts.

I'll be back soon with the top strength and conditioning features from 2017.

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10 More Important Notes on Assessments

About 2.5 years ago, I wrote up an article, 10 Important Notes on Assessments, that was one of my most popular posts of the year. And since I’ve spent a good chunk of the past week going through the L2 Fitness Summit Video Series, Dean Somerset’s presentations on the assessment side of things made me realize that I'm ready for a sequel. Here are a few thoughts that came to mind.

1. Just like training, assessments are getting more specialized.

As the sports performance and even personal training worlds get more specialized, the assessments we need to utilize with our clients must be correctly matched up to the people in front of us. As examples, rotator cuff strength tests are huge for a baseball pitcher, but relatively unimportant for a soccer player. We’d “weight” a single-leg squat test result as less significant for a kayaker than we would for a basketball player. The goals of the client and the functional demands of their sport guide the assessments – both in terms of which ones we perform and how we value the results.

However, the challenge is that you can’t test everything, so it’s important to prioritize. If we used every assessment under the sun, the evaluation would last all day – and we’d spend an entire session pointing out everything that’s wrong with someone. I’d much rather use this time to build rapport.

A VO2max test isn’t high on my list of priorities for baseball players even if it might shed some light on their aerobic base. I can probably get the information I need just as easily – and much more affordably – by taking a quick resting heart rate measurement.

2. Every good test that has an unfavorable outcome immediately sets you up for an even more telling retest.

Assessments give you a glimpse into what could potentially be wrong or right about how someone moves. The more important question is: what interventions make a difference? Their squat pattern improves when you give them an anterior counterbalance? Their hip internal rotation improves when you add some core recruitment? Their shoulder pain goes away when the massage therapist works on their scalenes?

One tenet of the Selective Functional Movement Screen (SFMA) system is to always start with dysfunctional, non-painful patterns. What interventions clean up aberrant movement in non-painful areas to give us "easy" adaptations? This not only expands our movement repertoire, but also facilitates buy-in from the athlete/client.

3. Never go to movement screens without first performing a thorough health history and client “interview.”

I think we can all agree that a pre-participation evaluation can dramatically reduce the likelihood in training. And, I'd argue that the single most important part of this evaluation is the health history and conversation you have with them before they even start the movement screen portion of it.

As an example, imagine you have a hypermobile female client with a history of serious anterior shoulder instability that hasn't been surgically treated. If you do thorough paperwork and a detailed conversation with her, you'll quickly ascertain that you have to be careful with anything that involves shoulder external rotation. If you don't do that preliminary work, though, you might very well pop her shoulder out of the socket doing a basic external rotation range-of-motion test.

Summarily: paperwork first, conversation second, movement third!

4. Have assessment regressions for people who can’t perform certain tests due to pain or poor movement competencies.

I like to use a Titliest Performance Institute screen – lumbar locked rotation – to assess thoracic rotation. It requires an individual to get into a lot of knee flexion, though. So, if you have someone who is extremely short in their quads – or has had a knee replacement and permanently lost that motion, then it’s not a solid test.

You’re better off going to a seated thoracic rotation screen with these folks.

As a good rule of thumb, you’ll need more alternatives to general screens (involving more joints and motor control challenges) than you will for specific assessments (involving fewer). So, as you look through your assessment approach, start to consider how you’ll regress things when things don't go as planned.

5. Don’t overlook evaluating training technique as a means of assessing.

During almost every evaluation of someone who has struggled with pain or performance (which is really everyone), I look at technique exercises they commonly perform. For our pitchers, this might be arm care exercises, or a video of a bullpen. For powerlifters, it might be technique on the squat, bench press, or deadlift. As much as our assessment protocols can be thorough, they’ll never fully offer the specificity that comes from watching people actually train.

6. Don’t use tests to embarrass people.

As an extension of the previous point, if you know someone is going to fail miserably on a screen, don’t test it. If you have a 350-pound woman who wants to lose 200 pounds, she’s not going to do well on a push-up test. You can assume that her upper body strength and core stability aren’t sufficient to handle her body weight.

I keep coming back to it:


7. Watch for straining.

This is something I’ve watched for a lot more in recent years after spending time around my business partner, Shane Rye, who’s one of the best manual therapists I have ever seen. He’s a master of watching people move and picking up on where they tend to store their tone. Maybe it’s jaw clenching when you test rotator cuff strength, or making an aggressive fist when you check their active straight leg raise. Watching for changes in accessory tone can give you a glimpse into where you might get the best benefit with your manual therapy work – and how you might coach them differently while they’re training.

8. The best outcome of an assessment might actually be a referral for a more thorough assessment.

At least once a year, I have an assessment come in - but without doing any training, I refer them on for further evaluation. Usually, it's because something very "clinical" in nature presents, and I feel that they need to see a medical professional before we start working with them. It doesn't happen often, but I'm never shy about "punting" when I feel that someone else is better equipped than I am to help the person in front of me.

9. Don’t take their word for it on body weight.

I once had a 6-8 pitcher tell me that he weighed 235 pounds. The next day, he walked in and remarked, “Coach, I actually weighed in this morning. I was 253 pounds.” Now, 18 pounds isn’t as huge a percentage of total body mass on a 6-8, 253 guy as it is on a 14-year-old, 110 pound female teenager, but it’s still tell us a lot that he could actually swing 18 pounds without even feeling it. That’s a sign of an athlete with poor body awareness and a lack of nutritional control (they definitely weren’t a good 18 pounds). You're better off measuring than just asking.

A side note: this applies to male athletes only; I never weigh female athletes for obvious reasons.

10. Take meticulous notes.

I often find myself looking back on notes we have on long-term clients to see how their movement (and prescribed training) has evolved over the years. It wouldn't be possible if I wasn't very detailed in my note-taking - and this is something I'm always striving to improve upon, as we want to create sustainable systems in our business.

Employees move on, so a client's programming responsibilities may be shifted to other staff members. Sports medicine professionals may want to work from some of our notes. Teams and agents might want information on what we discovered with a player and how we plan to manage them. The more you document, the more prepared you'll be in these situations when collaboration is necessary.

Most importantly, though, whenever I write a new program for a client, I have their evaluation form and their previous program open on my computer. I want to see what I initially noticed and put it alongside the up-to-date programming to verify where we are in our progressions. It's this kind of documentation that allows me to program for dozens of athletes who are not only in our facility, but across the country and overseas.

Wrap-up

I've been assessing athletes for close to 15 years, and I find that our evaluations evolve every single year. If you're looking to stay on top of some of the latest developments on this front, I'd strongly encourage you check out the L2 Fitness Summit Video Series, the new resource from Dean Somerset and Dr. Mike Israetel. It's available at an introductory discount through Sunday at midnight.  You can learn more HERE.

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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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LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
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