Home Posts tagged "Ethan Dyer"

Contralateral vs. Ipsilateral Pressing and Rowing

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance coach, Ethan Dyer. 

The current sports performance training meta as it pertains to unilateral pressing and rowing exercises is to lean on contralateral variations as the default. This is because contralateral activities generally allow for greater force production due to the extension bias associated with those movements.

A problem with this is that cable exercises will always be harder to load than most pressing and rowing where dumbbells or kettlebells (and, of course, barbells) are involved. So, if 90% of the time we assume that cables are a poor choice when prioritizing load, what can we really use a cable press or a cable row to accomplish? I would argue that putting a dent in hip range of motion to allow for improved on-field movement is the best answer.

With a split-stance contralateral cable row, for example, the concentric portion of the movement is going to bias external rotation at the front hip. The actual activity of rowing is pulling us away from our front side. The flip side of this is when we find internal rotation on our front side during a split-stance ipsilateral row; the preponderance of concentric activity pulls us into our front hip.

The same logic applies to pressing. During a contralateral split-stance cable press, for example, the activity carries us into our front hip (IR), whereas an ipsilateral press is going to carry us out of our front hip (ER).

Now that we’ve established what we can accomplish with these movements in terms of rotation, we can make programming decisions based on the athlete we have in front of us. It’s important that we base these decisions on their task and performance as opposed to strictly looking at table range-of-motion measures (which may or may not tell us how they’re going to move on the field).

If we have a left-handed pitcher who struggles to find IR at their glove-side hip after front foot strike, a left-side only contralateral press and a right-side only ipsilateral row can be useful weapons. If we have a receiver or an attacker who struggles to juke and change direction at higher sprint speeds, leaning on contralateral rowing and ipsilateral pressing to get/keep them out of a hip can be a useful strategy.

Besides the obvious programming implications here, there is an important overarching rule that should be appreciated as well. It’s fine to have multiple priorities - qualities that you are training for - within a program, but we get in trouble when we try to use an exercise to target multiple or all qualities at once. Cable rows and presses are perfect examples.

[bctt tweet="When we use an exercise to improve both force production and range of motion, we end up doing neither to the extent that we desire. We'd be wise to learn from the Latin writer Syrus, who said “To do two things at once is to do neither”."]

About the Author

Ethan Dyer serves as a Strength & Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. He started as a client at CSP and eventually went on to intern at CSP-MA. Following another internship at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, Ethan joined the CSP-MA team. He was a pitcher at the College of the Holy Cross before transferring to Endicott College to complete his undergraduate work with a major in Exercise Science and minor in Psychology. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Ethan has been a volunteer with both the Miracle League and Special Olympics, and has a passion for working with young athletes to help them fall in love with training while avoiding injury. You can follow him on Instagram at @Ethan___Dyer.

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Exercise of the Week: Barbell Drop Split Squat

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance coach, Ethan Dyer. 

The Barbell Drop Split Squat is a lift we’ve been using with some of our stiffer athletes this time of year (transition from spring to summer season) at CSP. While it can be done with a safety squat bar, goblet set-up, or back squat position, this video depicts the anterior loaded (front squat grip ) version:

A majority of the high level arms we see are stiffer through their lower bodies, especially in terms of internal rotation. This is usually fine if they have adequate external rotation elsewhere - allowing enough range of motion on the mound to get into and out of positions and produce velocity/spin, ideally without mandating undesirable consequences up the chain (i.e., excessive spine or shoulder motion).

The athlete in this case doesn’t have the ROM to get into the bottom of a split squat or reverse lunge without discomfort or suboptimal mechanics, so we use the drop squat instead. By momentarily unweighting the pelvis on the front side (relative to the backside), he finds a position of IR at the bottom that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to. This is a great example of how we can still work on traditional output qualities without compromising on positions.

An ancillary benefit here is finding a jump from eccentric to concentric orientation and from ER to IR as quickly as possible, which we otherwise don’t see a ton of in the gym - especially with classic "lower body" lifts. Additionally, an athlete has to work to quickly develop force - which typifies the front hip pull-back that takes place with hitting and pitching.

All of this comes together to make the drop split squat a great choice for baseball players this time of year. We can effectively work around dramatic ROM issues that would otherwise take months to clean up (save it for the offseason), while keeping our guys athletic and letting them get into and out of important positions with load/velocity in the gym. If you have someone who’s in-season or a few weeks out, stick to 3-4 sets of 3-4 reps per side.

About the Author

Ethan Dyer serves as a Strength & Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. He started as a client at CSP and eventually went on to intern at CSP-MA. Following another internship at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, Ethan joined the CSP-MA team. He was a pitcher at the College of the Holy Cross before transferring to Endicott College to complete his undergraduate work with a major in Exercise Science and minor in Psychology. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Ethan has been a volunteer with both the Miracle League and Special Olympics, and has a passion for working with young athletes to help them fall in love with training while avoiding injury. You can follow him on Instagram at @Ethan___Dyer.

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Exercise of the Week: Half-Kneeling Wall-Press 1-Arm J-Band Trap Raise

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - MA coach, Ethan Dyer.

The Half-Kneeling Wall-Press 1-Arm J-Band Trap Raise is a new variation we’ve been using a lot with our more hypermobile (loose jointed) and/or younger athletes here at CSP. We get the same value as a traditional J-Band trap raise, but with a small tweak that can be a huge difference maker for certain athletes.

Important Coaching Cues:

Make sure we nail our half-kneeling position. Any postural issues down the chain will create interference up the chain. Undue lumbar extension and/or "hip hike" on one side needs to be taken care of before we can worry about the rest of the exercise.

Our wall press needs to be aggressive enough to make a difference. This is what separates this exercise from a standard J-Band trap raise or "Y." By actively reaching with our off hand, we push our rib cage back - allowing for better scapulothoracic (shoulder blade on rib cage) congruency and ideally more effective retraction/upward rotation. Reaching against a hard surface gives us even more stability in that position, and this is particularly useful for our looser, floppier guys (you know who you are).

As we perform the trap raise we need to be careful not to lose our initial posture. If we allow compensatory movement in the lower extremity or the torso, we are no longer isolating the desirable posterior tilt and upward rotation and end up performing what is essentially a full-body exercise.

To progress this, stand the athlete up (short-split or split-stance). Removing the wall will make this more difficult but may dramatically change the stimulus depending on the athlete.

We love the J-Band "Junior" resistance for this exercise; the traditional resistance J-Bands will bury a lot of people here. As with other J-Band drills, we get a lot of value without asking our athletes to grip anything (think high throwing volume or return-to-throw).

This variation is probably most useful in the 8 to 12 rep range, with a varying number of sets depending on its location in a program (part of a warm-up or movement day, or accessory work during a lift).

About the Author

Ethan Dyer serves as a Strength & Conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. He started as a client at CSP and eventually went on to intern at CSP-MA. Following another internship at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, Ethan joined the CSP-MA team. He was a pitcher at the College of the Holy Cross before transferring to Endicott College to complete his undergraduate work with a major in Exercise Science and minor in Psychology. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Ethan has been a volunteer with both the Miracle League and Special Olympics, and has a passion for working with young athletes to help them fall in love with training while avoiding injury. You can follow him on Instagram at @Ethan___Dyer.

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