Home Posts tagged "Jason Ferruggia"

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 12/17/18

I hope you had a great weekend. We're getting back on an every Monday schedule with this recommended reading. Before I get to it, just a quick reminder that I just announced a new date for my one-day shoulder course. It'll be taking place near Dallas, TX on January 27. You can learn more HERE.

How Rib Cage Positioning Impacts the Pitching Delivery - CSP-MA pitching coordinator Christian Wonders wrote this up last year, and in light of a recent conversation on pitching mechanics, I wanted to bring it back to the forefront.

Fergus Connolly on Winning and Success at Every Level - Fergus is one of the most insightful guys in the sports science world, and this podcast with Mike Robertson is a great example.

The 7 Keys to Longevity with Dr. Jonny Bowden - Jason Ferruggia interviewed Dr. Bowden on his up-to-date thoughts on a variety of topics: nutrition, sleep, stress, and several other factors.

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Here is an awesome cadaver photo to demonstrate just how little wiggle room there is when dealing with the shoulder. The glenohumeral (ball and socket) joint is maintained in such a small window that it’s possible to say that impingement is a physiological norm. These challenges are even more extreme in the case of structural adaptations and pathology. In other words, we can’t leave any stones unturned in our quest for shoulder health, particularly when one’s sport demands involve high forces and extreme ranges of motion. Anatomy never lies. #cspfamily #Repost @chicagosportsdoc with @get_repost ・・・ Rotator cuff anatomy - A tear into one of these tendons is a common cause of pain and disability among adults. Each year, almost 2 million people in the United States visit their doctors because of a rotator cuff problem.

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The 10 Laws of Meatball Mastery

It's interesting how folks like to pigeonhole people into specific specialties. Over the years, I've been called "The Shoulder Guy." I've also heard "The Deadlift Guy" and "The Mobility Guy." And, if you talked to my wife, she'd probably call me "the guy who can't empty the dishwasher without getting distracted."

The truth is that expertise is in the eyes of the beholder. And, since this is my blog, let it be known the I really see myself as "The Meatball Guy," and I'd prefer to "be holding" a meatball.


Being a meatball connoisseur isn't just a gift, though. Much like any proficiency, it's a craft I've worked tirelessly to hone. And, while my closest friends and family are very supportive of my meatball pursuits, the truth is that not everyone understands. As an example, my phone rang the other night as my wife and I were preparing a meatball extravaganza. One of our Major League Baseball clients was calling, and it went like this:

Me: "What's up, bud?"

Him: "Nothing. What are you up to?"

Me: "You know, the usual. Just eating some meatballs."

Him: "Dude, you have to find a new meal!"

Find a new meal? Seriously? Maybe he should "just" take up playing professional football instead of baseball! And, maybe Bobby Fischer should have "just" played checkers instead of chess! Me walking away from meatballs at age 33 - the prime of my meatball career - would be analogous to Barry Sanders walking away from football healthy at age 30 after ten consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. It just wouldn't make sense. I want to change the world, one meatball at a time.

Recognizing this, today's post is about recognizing those who have helped me achieve this level of meatball expertise, but also offering key advice to the up-and-coming meatball aficionados. To that end, I present to you the 10 Laws of Meatball Mastery.

Law #1: Meatball Mastery does not occur without the help of others, so you must be open-minded.

As shocking as it may seem, I did not invent the meatball. Rather, I've stood on the shoulders of a few meatball giants who've provided my top three "go-to" healthy meatball recipes. Here they are:

1. Everyday Paleo Marvelous Meatballs (Sarah Fragoso) - These are great for a numbers of reasons, the foremost being that they are a) meat and b) in a ball shape. Beyond that, I like the fact that I get to use a lot of stuff from the spice rack that I might not otherwise use.


2. Everyday Maven Paleo Pesto Meatballs - I'm a sucker for pesto, but unfortunately, it almost always comes in really high calorie Italian Food recipes. This is a nice alternative. Candidly, we generally make these with ground turkey instead of ground beef and add a bunch of spinach and onions. It tastes awesome, but doesn't always stick together as well as you see with ground beef, presumably since the fat content is a bit lower.


3. Anabolic Cooking Baked Meatballs - I like this recipe because I'm a big oregano fan, and the oat bran gives a little different texture than using almond flour. This recipe is featured in Dave Ruel's Anabolic Cooking, an awesome healthy recipe cookbook I highly recommend. Fortunately, Dave is a good friend of mine, and was kind enough to give me permission to post the recipe here (click to enlarge):


Law #2: Meatballs are a form of artistic expression.

We've been conditioned to believe that meatballs should just be a few different ingredients: meat, bread crumbs, and eggs - basically whatever it takes to make things stick together. This is like saying that a good gym should just be full of cardio machines and nothing else.

Instead, we load our meatballs up with all sorts of vegetables and spices. In terms of vegetables alone, we might include celery, onions, spinach, carrots, and peppers. Try adding these, and you'll get a heck of a lot more nutritional value - and get to feel like you're creating a completely unique piece of meatball art each time you cook.

Law #3: Meatballs can (and should) be used for special occasions and as gifts.

Meatballs aren't just a versatile food choice; they're also a gift for every occasion. I made a "meat-heart" for Valentine's Day for my wife, in fact. We're still married, so I have to assume that she loved it.


And, what birthday would be completely without blowing out the candle on a meatball?


I also like to incorporate meatballs into the celebration of Labor Day, Arbor Day, and Presidents' Day. And, I fully expect a meatball feast in celebration of my first Father's Day this upcoming June. Meatballs are the gifts that keep on giving.

Law #4: As with a fine wine and dinner, accompaniments matter with meatballs.

If you think meatballs can only be eaten with spaghetti, you're missing out. Some of our favorite meatball sides include baked kale chips, spaghetti squash, brussel sprouts, and sweet potato fries. Experiment and you'll find your favorite pairings.

Law #5: Don't even consider store-bought meatballs.

Next time you walk through the frozen foods section of your local supermarket, take a look at some of the pre-prepared meatball options. In most cases, they will include several ingredients you can't pronounce. When it comes to meatball ingredients, with the exception of eggs, if it wasn't green and didn't have eyes, it shouldn't belong in your meatball. This leads me to Law #6...

Law #6:  Meatballs must actually have meat.

As is often the case in mass food production these days, "soy protein concentrate" and "texturized soy flour" somehow managed to make their way into MEATballs. If you think this is limited to only the store-bought frozen versions, think again.

I like Whole Foods, including their hot foods bar. Unfortunately, one of the things I like the most about them is the fact that they display their ingredients - and it gets them in my doghouse with respect to meatballs. I'd love to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it's tough to do so after this Twitter exchange...




Please don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. Meatballs shouldn't include "filler" materials, especially when sold at WHOLE Foods.

Law #7: Meatballs must meet a minimum size threshold.

As I showed in my picture earlier, any respectable meatball should be large enough to be eaten like an apple during the "leftovers" period. If it's small enough to be eaten put on a toothpick without that toothpick breaking, then you're really just dipping your foot in the shallows of a vast meatball ocean. Go big or go home.

Law #8: Meatballs bring the world together.

Last year, I attended John Romaniello and Neghar Fonooni's wedding in New York. At the reception, they had a meatball bar that featured four different types of awesomeness. Combined, Jason Ferruggia, Adam Bornstein, Sean Hyson, and I consumed approximately 600 of them. While it was probably a horrific experience for the terrified caterers that looked on, it's strengthened our friendships. Come to think of it, in communicating with these guys over the past year, I don't think we've had a single conversation or email exchange that didn't involve meatballs.

The next time you've got an old friend with whom you've want to reconnect, send him some meatballs as an icebreaker. If he's not more than thrilled at the gesture, then he's probably not worth the effort, anyway.

Law #9: Meatballs do not require bread crumbs.

Historically, bread crumbs have been a key inclusion in both meatballs and meatloaf because they help to hold everything together. Thanks in large part to the gluten-free and paleo trends, we've learned that almond and coconut flour (or meal) are healthier ways to hold things together.


As a quick tip, it's cheaper to buy your almond flour in bulk than it is to buy individual bags at the grocery store. We order four pounds at a time on Amazon.

Law #10: Meatballs are meant to be shared.

If there was ever a food to selfishly guard for yourself, the meatball would be it. That just wouldn't be right, though; meatballs are best enjoyed in the company of others.

Moreover, meatball recipes are meant to be shared, too. Have a favorite way of enjoying them? Please share it in the comments section below.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/29/31 (High Performance Handbook Edition)

It's been super busy over the past ten days, so as we come back to Earth from The High Performance Handbook launch, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who purchased the product and helped to spread the word. I really appreciate your support!

I'll be back shortly with some brand new content, but in the meantime, I wanted to highlight some of the articles that were featured during last week's launch. It's a combination of articles I wrote for other sites, as well as ones other individuals authored.

Strength Matters, Ya Big Sissy - This was a guest post I wrote for John Romaniello, along with an awesome detailed introduction from him.

How to Write and Adapt a Program - This was a great post Dean Somerset wrote to kick off the launch week.  His site also featured a guest post from me - Band-Resisted Power Training: A Game Changer - as well as a cool top ten list at the end of the week.

So You Can't Squat? Do This Instead - This was a guest post I wrote for Jason Ferruggia.

Training for Rotational Warriors - This was a guest post I wrote for Martin Rooney.

5 Common Assessment Mistakes - This was a guest post I wrote for Alwyn Cosgrove.

The Most Important Aspect of Any Program - Here's an excellent post from Mike Reinold discussing the HPH program.

Individualization: How Results Go from Good to Outstanding - This was a guest post I wrote for Kevin Neeld.

Earning the Right to Train Overhead - This was a guest post I wrote for Wil Fleming.

Easy Training Modifications for Overhead Athletes - This was a guest post I wrote for the International Youth Conditioning Association.

Why You Must Not Stretch Hypermobile Clients - This was a guest post I wrote for The Personal Trainer Development Center.

Efficiency: Important for the Joes and the Pros - This was a guest post I wrote for Schwarzenegger.com.

Why It's Not Always JUST About Strength - This was a great article from Tony Gentilcore, and it complemented his earlier post, The Single-Biggest Mistake Most People Make With Their Programs, nicely.

7 Tips for Gaining Strength Fast - This was a guest post I did for Sean Hyson.

Front Squat - This didn't really have anything to do with The High Performance Handbook, but it was an absurdly good post from Mike Robertson that deserves some love, especially since he reviewed HPH earlier in the week.

High Performance Training with Eric Cressey - This was a Skype interview I did with Tyler at The Garage Warrior.

Eric Cressey on Shoulder Work, Breathing, Business, and The High Performance Handbook - Anthony Renna interviewed me over the phone for the Strength Coach Podcast.

Episode 275: Strength Adventure with Eric Cressey - Here, Kevin Larrabee interviewed me for The Fitcast.

An Interview with Eric Cressey - As the name imples, Bret Contreras interviewed me, and you can read it here.

How to Customize Your Training - Another interview, this time with Chad Waterbury.

Q&A with Eric Cressey - Jim Kielbaso interviewed me for this post.

Version 2.0 Interview with Eric Cressey - John Izzo interviewed me for a post on his website, too.

Single-leg Success Strategies - This was a guest post I wrote for Fitocracy.

I think this wraps it up. Needless to say, I did a lot of talking and typing last week!  In case you missed it, you can still pick up a copy of The High Performance Handbook.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/11/12

Check out this week's list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

9 Hardgainer Training Myths: Part 1 and Part 2 - I thought this two-part series from Jason Ferruggia was excellent.  It's definitely something anyone who claims they "can't put on size" should read.

Round Back Deadlifts - This was an EPIC blog post from Mike Robertson. Of particular interest to me was his commentary on getting your breath TWICE in an ideal deadlifting set-up.  This is something I've always done - once standing, and once in the bottom position - and I suspect it's had something to do with my deadlifting success over the years. Coincidentally, I pulled heavier earlier today and you can pick up on the two points at which I set my breath before the first rep: the 10-11 second mark and the 12-13 second mark.

As an aside, you can tell I was strongly considering taking this for a third rep. I had it in me, but decided not to be stupid today.  I guess I'm getting wiser in my old age.

How to Eliminate Distractions from Your Strength and Conditioning Program - I wrote this post up last summer, and was reminded of it during a conversation I had with one of our adult clients.  If you're looking for strategies to improve your exercise adherence and the quality of your training, this post is a must-read for you.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/3/12

Here's my first list of recommended reading for 2012: How to Pick a Gym in 2012 - This was a Yahoo Sports article to which I contributed.  If you're looking for a place to train in 2012, give this a read first.  Then, ignore it all, move to Hudson, MA, and train at Cressey Performance! 4 Reasons Everyone Should Squat with Chains - Mike Robertson has an excellent compilation here.  It makes me realize how spoiled we are to have chains. My Personal Journey to Hell and Back - This was an outstanding post from Jason Ferruggia on where he's been over the past decade.  If you need motivation, look no further. Orioles Prospect Oliver Drake on his Training at Cressey Performance - We've been doing some videos with our pro guys on their training experience with us; here's the first installment:

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So You Want to Be an Elite Athlete…

Q: I want to ask for some advice on transforming my body so that I can become an elite athlete.

Current Stats :
Age - 17
Height - 193cm
Weight - 85kg
Gender - Male

My goals are :
- Increase speed and vertical leap
- Get bigger and stronger
- Increase flexibility and range of motion
- Improve endurance level
- Keep body fat percentage low
- Improve basketball skills (eg shooting, passing, dribbling)

The sport that I compete in is basketball. I do MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) as training and for fun as well.

What sort of training should I do considering what my goals are and what sports I am doing?

I have done lots of research on athletic improvement but there is so much information out there and it is hard to know what information I should use. None of the countless number of training books and programs I have bought tailors specifically to what my goals are either; I’ve read DeFranco, Cosgrove, Ferruggia, and Baggett.

A: 1. Recognize that you cannot ride two horses with one saddle. It's very difficult to develop endurance and maximal strength/power simultaneously, but at your age, it's still likely a possibility. Strength endurance is dependent on maximal strength, so if you get stronger, you'll automatically improve endurance-wise regardless of what endurance-specific activities you do.

2. There are many ways to skin a cat. DeFranco, Baggett, Cosgrove, and Ferruggia are all good friends of mine and all of them get results. Additionally, there are hundreds of other coaches getting results - and all of them are using unique programs. What you'll find is that we all agree on the 90% and play around with the leftover 10%. And, what you’re also find is that no matter how well written a book is, it’ll never cater to your specific situation perfectly.

3. A large portion (probably 75%) of my athletes are your age, and I have an appreciation for what it takes for you to compete at the next level, if that's of interest to you. Right now, focus on becoming a better ATHLETE before you work overtime becoming a better basketball player, MMA fighter, etc. Can you jump rope? Can you do a clean push-up? Can you even skip? How about sprint mechanics; are they good? If you're like most of the kids who walk into Cressey Performance on Day 1, the answer is NO - and we need to backtrack a bit.

If the answer is YES, you need to take into account your injury history and some performance testing. In my Off-Season Training Manual, I talk about tests to determine whether you need more strength, more reactive work, or a combination of the two. Generally speaking, basketball guys are a lot of the strength component with some lower volume reactive work at strategic points in the off-season.

Eric Cressey
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Cressey on Mentors

I have to give a ton of credit (and thanks) to several mentors who have looked out for me with respect to training/nutrition and – probably most importantly – business. Hard work and learning from your mistakes can take you as far as you want to go, but if you want to get there faster, you’re best off seeking out the advice of those who are where you’d like to be.

I’ve been fortunate to have guys like Alwyn Cosgrove, Dave Tate, John Berardi, Jason Ferruggia, Mike Boyle, Joe DeFranco, and – more recently – you and Ryan Lee. I only wish I had found out about you two sooner; things would have come about even faster! You can’t be an expert on everything, so it’s to your advantage to have a solid network of mentors to which you can turn when an unfamiliar situation arises. Chances are that one or more of them has been there at some point, made a mistake, and learned from it; why bother to make that same mistake on your own?

Case in point: Alwyn and I had a running email dialogue going about two months ago. I have one emailed saved in which he referred me to his production and shipping company (Vervante), recommended a great liability insurance agent to meet my needs (clubinsurance.com), and recommended two books by Thomas Plummer that have been great. That email saved me thousands of dollars and countless hours on trouble.

A conversation I had with Dave Tate about four months ago really solidified this concept in my mind. Dave did a tremendous job with his physique transformation with John Berardi’s nutritional guidance. Truth be told, though, Dave knows nutrition better than you might think; he actually minored in it in college! However, soliciting JB’s advice was in Dave’s best interests; John is really up-to-date on optimal nutrition and supplementation strategies. Why would Dave want to spend hundreds of hours reading up on recent developments in the nutrition world when he can be studying up on public speaking, running a business, developing great equipment, and making people stronger – the four things for which he is best known? A few phone calls and emails to John was the smarter – not longer – way to work.

Eric Cressey
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