Home Posts tagged "Magnificent Mobility" (Page 5)

Strength and Conditioning Programs: Rethinking Interval Training

Rethinking Interval Training I love interval training, but one of the problems we commonly run into - particularly if someone isn't prepared physically to sprint, or doesn't have a place to do it because of weather restrictions - is that repetitive, low-amplitude motions are our only options.  In other words, it has to just be cycling, elliptical, or stairclimber.  While slideboard work, medicine ball medleys, barbell complexes, and sled pushing definitely help to work around these problems, when it comes down to it, many of them still don't give certain folks the variety they need in their exercise programming.

In our Building the Efficient Athlete seminar, Mike Robertson and I spoke about the law of repetitive motion: I = NF/AR In this equation, injury equals the number of repetitions multiplied by the frequency of those repetitions, divided by the amplitude of each repetition times the rest interval.  While you can attack each of these five factors differently (and I will in a future newsletter), the take-home point with respect to today's discussion is that simply increasing the amplitude - or range-of-motion - in one's daily life can reduce (or eliminate) the presence or severity of overuse conditions. For that reason, I often substitute one or both of two different training modalities for client's interval training. The first is dynamic flexibility circuits with little to no rest between sets.  In this scenario, we program 2-3 different mobility/activation drills for each inefficiency the athlete displays, and then combine them in a series of drills.  Ideally, as many of these drills are done in the standing position as possible.  Let's say a client has poor thoracic spine mobility, a horrific Thomas test, bad glute function, and poor hip external rotation.  Here's what his circuit might look like: a) 1-leg supine bridge b) wall hip flexor mobilizations c) 3-point extension-rotations d) cradle walks e) overhead lunge walks f) walking spiderman with overhead reach g) yoga push-ups h) 1-leg SLDL walks (you can find videos of many of these exercises in the Assess and Correct DVD set, and I'll have more information on the rest down the road)

Is this circuit going to completely "gas" an athlete?  Absolutely not.  However, it is going to make him/her better in light of the inefficiencies I outlined above - and you don't have to leave the gym exhausted to have improved. The second option is to simply take a series of resistance training exercises with a corrective emphasis (sometimes integrates with the drills outlined above) and put them in a series of supersets.  For these exercises, the load utilized should only be about 30% of 1-rep max.  I outlined this option a while back in my article, Cardio Confusion. Here's an example I used with an online consulting client recently: A1) Overhead broomstick walking Lunges (3x10/side) A2) Push-ups (3x12) B1) Face pulls (3x15) B2) Body weight only reverse lunges (3x10/side) C1) 1-leg SLDL Walk (2x6/side) C2) Band external rotations - arm adducted (2x15/side) D1) Behind-the-neck band pullaparts (2x15) D2) Bowler Squats (2x10/side) This series is preceded by foam rolling and a dynamic flexibility warm-up, and can be followed by more "traditional" interval training. Like I said earlier, I'm still all for both traditional and non-traditional interval training.  Initiative like I outlined above, though, can serve as a nice change of pace and work in corrective exercise while keeping the heart rate up.  Be as creative as you'd like and you'll see great results; the sky is the limit in terms of the combinations you can use. Enter your email below to subscribe to our FREE newsletter:
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The Anatomy of a Strength Coach’s Desk

The nicest thing about baseball season is, obviously, the fact that I get to watch a ton of baseball and see their off-season dedication pay off on the field.  Another nice perk, though, is that I get about six weeks to gather my thoughts, spend a little extra time on writing/consulting, and just tie up loose ends on little projects here and there. One such project from last week - which clearly wasn't so little - was cleaning my desk at Cressey Performance.  As you can see in the picture below (numerically labeled for the sake of explanation below), it was something that really needed to get done. anatomyofastrengthcoachsdesk 1. Water Bottle...likely from 2003. 2. One of my old business cards - and it's serving an important purpose: covering up the strawberry protein powder stain on #3. 3. Stained picture of my fiancee Anna and I.  For the record, she spilled it, and it was her shake - but this relationship isn't about blame, is it, honey? 4. That's a world record deadlift certificate.  I'm pretty sure it was a 567.5 deadlift at a body weight of 163 in my last meet as a junior back in 2005.  However, I've received so many awards for my devastatingly good looks since then that it's all a blur (kidding, folks; they were all for my charming wit and personality). 5. Fiancee's watch.  I've been engaged two weeks and she's already all up in my business! 6. Packing tape - to keep my mouth shut after my comment on #5. 7. Laptop, and I need a new one.  Suggestions? I'm too big of a wuss to make the leap to a Mac. 8. Ball signed by all of my in-person pro baseball players from this past off-season.  I get hounded all the time for my autograph, so I thought I'd turn the tables on someone. 9. DVD of my presentation from Ron Wolforth's Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp in December.  This set is fantastic, and it would be worth checking out. 10. Digital camera: quite possibly the most useful thing you can have kicking around if you are a strength coach.  It's an awesome way to give athletes instant visual feedback, or to take videos of "team building."

11. Cell phone.  Yes, I know it's white, but they were out of the black ones, and I needed a phone right away.  I make up for it by being a text message rock star. 12. Keys, which are under something, meaning that I'll probably lose them when I go to leave for the night. 13. Desk: you'll notice it isn't a very nice one, and the reason is pretty simple.  I'm a slob and don't really need anything better. 14. I-Pod, because I'm very 21st century-ish. 15. Waldo (of Where's Waldo? fame).  Actually, it's an envelope I should have mailed to my brother a few days ago.  Crap. 16. Royalty statement for Maximum Strength.  Since we haven't earned any royalties, I guess you could just call it a piece of paper.  Then again, reading these things is like perusing stereo instructions written in Chinese, so I'm assuming they'll always just be pieces of paper to me. 17. Sunglasses, because MC Hammer taught me that you're only cool if you wear sunglasses inside. 18. Two plaques I received for speaking at the Maine NSCA Symposium.  One of them was the first annual Dr. Richard LaRue award.  I definitely need to hang 'em up before I spill something on them. 19. This is a drawer filled with almonds, chewing gum, plastic forks, kryptonite, and Tony's manhood (he'll get it back when he stops listening to techno). 20. Basketball signed by the 2004-2005 UCONN women's basketball team.  A lot of the girls on this year's national championship team were freshmen during my last year on campus.  In hindsight, I never really got much stuff signed by the athletes with whom I worked, but this was one I actually got around to snagging. 21. This month's NSCA Journal, the focus of which was entirely baseball.  Some of it was good (weighted balls meta-analysis), and some was absolutely atrocious (the take on pitchers distance running, to which I am ademantly opposed). 22. Free t-shirts, quite possibly the coolest perk of being a strength coach.  Here, we've got shirts from the SF Giants (Steve Hammond), Nobles & Greenough (Ben Knott), and Stonehill College (Clark Leger).  Thanks, guys! 23. Sticky note...as if a note could actually organize me!?!?!? 24. Journal article on glenoid dysplasia.  I always try to have something right on-hand to read if I get a spare minute. 25. Business cards for local physical therapists with whom we work: it never hurts to have a great network. 26. Business cards for a local sports psychologist (all the CP staff members need to spend time with him to put up with my crap). 27. Dry erase board, also known as the center of my universe. 28. Health history for a client I had just evaluated.  I use my notes to write his program. 29. Signed picture from USA Bobsled driver Bree Schaaf - and it reminds me that I have a bunch of other stuff like this that I need to hang up in my office! 30. Lincoln-Sudbury Baseball 2007 State Championship Plaque.  Bring home another one this year, fellas! 31. Towel - originally brought to work for showering purposes, but it eventually got devoted to towel pull-ups full-time! 32. Boots that I should have taken home months ago when winter ended. 33. Warm-up pants that I always have on-hand in case I need to catch a bullpen.  Putting catcher's gear on top of shorts is not comfortable. 34. My supplement stockpile.  Chance favors the prepared mind, so I try not to ever get caught shorthanded on the calories front at work. Fortunately, this is all pretty cleaned-up by now.  I feel pretty out-of-sorts as a result, though!

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Building Vibrant Health: Part 1

Today's guest blog comes from Eric Talmant, an old friend of mine who has achieved excellent success as a powerlifter.  Eric credits a lot of this success to discoveries he's made on the nutrition front, and he's carried forward this knowledge to help others.  In the series we'll be publishing here over the next few weekends, Eric outlines his approach to nutrition.  Eric will be checking in, so feel free to chime in below with questions/comments.

Building Vibrant Health: Part 1

By: Eric Talmant

I would like to take a moment and briefly summarize my own personal journey with building health.   I have been involved with Metabolic Typing® since 2001 after a serious injury in the military.  I was able to radically rebuild and repair my health using the basic Metabolic Typing® principles, which I will discuss in parts 2 and 3 of this "Building Vibrant Health" series.  After seven years of working the basic program, and advising many others as a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor, I took the next steps... In April 2008, I enrolled in the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) course, which is when I first took the BioHealth 205 Adrenal Stress Profile and the 101 Metabolic Profile (saliva and urine tests). I discovered that although my digestion and kidneys were working really well, my adrenal glands were in Stage 1 fatigue; not the worst case scenario but certainly room for improvement. Of course, many things can contribute to adrenal fatigue; some of which I can improve and some of which I was not willing to change just yet (Sheiko training for one). So, in an effort to improve my adrenals, I began supplementing with DHEA and Pregnenolone. These are both legal and can be bought over the counter without a prescription. I also began to meditate (Meditation for Dummies) and started working with someone who practices homeopathy. I then took the BioHealth 304 Mucosal Membrane Barrier test. Here, I received more specific information indicating that I had a dysbiosis going on in my body as well as a bit of a leaky gut; which is a generic way of saying that I was eating too many foods that I am either allergic or sensitive to. So, I then took the Signet MRT Food Sensitivities Test and the ELISA finger stick IgG allergy test (both of which I am now authorized to dispense and offer on my web site) and found out the foods to which I have a sensitivity or subtle allergy.  Eliminating them has in turn has improved the integrity of my mucosal membrane barrier, which has positively affected my adrenal glands. HOWEVER, I was not done yet because I needed to still address the dysbiosis in my stomach that the 304 had originally identified. I most recently took the BioHealth 401 stool culture for pathogens and found out that I have bad bacteria (proteus) that is abundant in my body. It is impossible to tell when I might have acquired this bad bacteria, but my guess is that it happened when I was in the military many years ago. Obviously, due to the fact that the good bacteria are constantly fighting the bad bacteria, it is a constant ping (a drain) on my adrenal glands.  And, who knows how long the good guys can keep on dominating and winning? My first option is to come in with an A-Bomb, in the form of an antibiotic, and completely eradicate not only the bad bacteria in my body but the good bacteria as well. This option would require a lot of recolonizing of the gut, with good bacteria in the form of probiotics and so forth, and is -at least for me - a last resort. So, as an alternative, I have decided to supplement with a natural anti-microbial that is composed of ingredients that are found and processed straight out of the Amazon rain forest. The company is called Raintree Nutrition and my FDN instructor Reed Davis has seen very good results with their anti-microbial product for combating dysbiosis. However, my strain (proteus) is one he has not dealt with in a long time. In addition, my report came back as saying that it is "abundant." Therefore, I am going to see what I can do in the form of supplementation and by cultivating my body to listen to my mind and rid itself of the bad bacteria. This is going to be hard and take a lot of mental effort on my part, but I know if I tell my body to do it that it will do it. Why am I telling you this?  Because building health is a process. In this series of articles, I am going to take you from step 1 to step 10 and teach you the things you need to know to build and maintain vibrant health.  Some of the things that I mentioned in the introduction - such as adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities, and the mucosal membrane barrier - probably do not mean anything to you now; but down the road, they will.  I only wanted to put them out there to let you know where we will be headed on our journey.  However, each journey begins with a single step, and ours will begin with some basic parameters you can use to evaluate your state of general health. I have been using nutrition as a successful weapon in such athletic endeavors as powerlifting, running, swimming, sprint triathlons, special operations military training, and then back to powerlifting.  Has it made a difference for me?  Unequivocally, yes.  How?  Primarily by increasing my ability to recover from and be prepared for the next workout.  I can also say that the quality of life that I experience today is directly related to how well I took (and continue to take) care of myself nutritionally.  Is it easy?  It does take work, and it is an ongoing process.  The foods that I currently eat are different from the foods that I was eating six months ago.  Not entirely different, but the ratios (protein/carbs/fats) have changed, and I have changed some things that suit my metabolic rate and metabolic type for my current situation. Over the course of several articles, it is my objective to teach you the things that I have learned along the way, how to properly identify your metabolic type, and how you can apply these things to yourself and those around you.  Some of this may sound a bit unconventional, hokey, new age, or just too troublesome.  However, if you at least read what I have to say, I can assure you that you will take away at least one principle that you will apply for the rest of your life.


In order to achieve optimal health, we must first check and see how strong our foundation is.  Just like any good workout template, we must first have the basics in place.  Yes, we have all heard of these factors before; but if I did not believe that they were important enough to call our "health foundation blocks" then I would not have included them.  These three indicators are your insulin level, ideal blood pressure, and cholesterol level or cholesterol ratio.  These three indicators can tell you so much about your own state of health, how aggressively you need to change your dietary and exercise habits in order to maximize yourself in (training) and out (recovering) of the gym, and improve your quality of life. Before we determine how we will go about testing insulin levels, let's first discuss insulin.  The small intestine is responsible for separating glucose (sugar) from the dietary carbohydrates that we ingest.  Once the glucose is free, it enters and is absorbed into the blood.  Most adults have close to a gallon of blood in their bodies, and roughly only a teaspoon of sugar (1).If your blood sugar level were to rise to a tablespoon, you would go into a coma and certainly die.  Our bodies work very hard to prohibit this from happening by producing appropriate amounts of insulin.  Insulin acts on the cellular level in our bodies to stimulate the uptake, use, and storage of the glucose (sugar) that we just ate from the carbohydrates. This action keeps us from dying when we ingest sugar.  However, high (inappropriate) levels of insulin are bad for us. Whenever we decide to eat grains and sugars, we end up increasing our insulin levels.  Increased insulin levels can lead and help contribute to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.  There are two types of diabetes: insulin dependent (type 1) and non-insulin dependent (type 2).  This article is referencing the most common type, type 2.  In type 2, the insulin receptors fail to respond the way that they should to the insulin that our bodies secrete from eating carbohydrates (sugar).  Therefore, we continue to secrete more and more insulin.  This is bad news. The best way to find out our insulin levels is to request a fasting blood sugar test (FBS) from a doctor.  It is a simple blood withdrawal after a fast of at least six hours.  Personally, I prefer and recommend at least eight.  It is a relatively inexpensive test that should not require much of your time.  Normal levels for a fasting blood sugar test are around 87mg/dL, but anything below 90 is fine.  Clinically, type 2 diabetes is not diagnosed until levels reach or exceed 126mg/dL, but you should be very concerned with anything at or slightly above 100mg/dL, regardless of what is considered "normal range".  This is a direct indicator that you are becoming increasingly insulin resistant (your receptors are failing, as we discussed above) and that it is becoming harder and harder for your body to control your blood sugar.  Blurred vision, excessive hunger, excessive thirst, excessive urination, and difficulty with wound healing are all symptoms that may indicate that you are insulin resistant.  Now do you see why controlling insulin levels are so important? With the drug companies promoting statin drugs (Lipitor, etc) more than ever, most people are confused about cholesterol.  Actually, cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane on this planet.  Without cholesterol, there would be no life on earth.  I would say that is important, wouldn't you?  Cholesterol is also needed to make estrogen, testosterone, cortisone, and just about every other vital hormone you can think of.  The majority of cholesterol in one's bloodstream is manufactured from the liver.  The amount of dietary cholesterol has little to do with your cholesterol levels.  Please read that statement again and repeat it out loud.  The cholesterol that you are consuming in eggs has little to do with your cholesterol levels.  We will discuss the importance of cholesterol again when we talk about the steroidal hormone principle pathways and the functions of the adrenal glands. When you go to get your cholesterol levels checked, the total cholesterol is measured and expressed in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). HDL and LDL levels are also given.  What I want you to be more concerned with is not total cholesterol, but the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol.  HDL has been referred to as "good cholesterol" and LDL "bad cholesterol".  These are misnomers, as HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and LDL is low-density lipoprotein.  Lipoproteins are proteins that are combined with fats.  Therefore, there really are no such things as good and bad cholesterol.  There is just cholesterol.  However, all of these levels are important.  Simply put, the lower your LDL levels the better.


More importantly, let's look at the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol that I mentioned above.  On the "average", HDL levels for males should range from 40-50mg/dL.  In women, the levels are 50-60mg/dL.  It is important to note that progesterone and anabolics, specifically exogenous testosterone lower HDL levels. In order to determine your ratio, take your total cholesterol level and divide that by your HDL level.  For example, if your total cholesterol level is 200mg/dL and your HDL level is 50, then 200 divided by 50 gives you a number of 4.  The American Heart Association states that the goal is to keep this number below 5, but I believe that the cut-off point should be 4. The lower the number the better it is.  There is a rare genetic condition (1 in 500) known as hypercholesterolemia where cholesterol levels are usually around 350 or higher.  Obviously, if this is the case for you, immediately contact an experienced natural health care clinician. I believe that there are other indicators that are much more reliable predictors of heart disease than cholesterol that we will discuss in one of the upcoming articles, but I wanted to say a bit about it in general since many folks are "up" on their cholesterol readings. Finally, we need to look at blood pressure.  As our hearts pump blood, it is pushed through our arteries and against our arterial walls.  Blood pressure is measured by cardiac output, or the force with which blood is pumped out of the left ventricle and the amount of resistance that is encountered (2). Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers.  For example, "normal" blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg.  The first number is systolic pressure, and it measures the pressure within the arteries when your heart beats.  Systolic pressure increases steadily with age.  Diastolic pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest, between beats, and filling with blood. There are many different opinions on what is considered an optimum blood pressure.  If I had to define it, I would say that it would be less than 120 over 80, but the take-home point is that it should be as low as possible.  What is not disputable is that when taken accurately, elevated blood pressure makes the heart work harder. This leads to increasing its oxygen demands and a whole host of other problems that we simply do not want.  It is interesting to note that I have been unable to find, and other prominent doctors in the field have pointed out, that not a single clinical trial has ever proven that lowering an elevated systolic blood pressure reduces the risk for death due to coronary disease (3). Why is this?  Simply, the cause of high blood pressure cannot always be identified.


When a disease is treated, we first identify and then treat its cause.  The problem with high blood pressure is that there seems to be many plausible causes.  The high insulin levels that we discussed previously are one of the main factors that contribute to high blood pressure.  Insulin resistance can increase blood pressure by causing the kidneys to retain sodium. Stress, tension and anxiety, excess caffeine, diet, regular alcohol intake, carrying too much body fat (but how much is too much?), anabolic use, and fat burners (yohimbine, ephedrine, guarana, etc.) can contribute to the problem as well.  It is my belief, however, that following a nutrition plan that is correct for you, such as Metabolic Typing® (which we will discuss in the next article) will go a long way in lowering and controlling blood pressure as well as many other "problems". Finding a way to manage stress that works for you is essential as well.  For some, this may be praying, meditating, or listening to soothing music.  I have some personal things that I do to manage stress that seem to work very well, and I mention some of them in the opening paragraph of this article.  If you would like to know some of these techniques, I can provide you with the key words to search under so that you may do your own research, find your own conclusions, and apply what works for you.  Finally, I believe that walking can do miracles for lowering blood pressure.  I recommend working your way up to one hour of low impact exercise, such as walking, at least three times per week and preferably every day. When you go to get your blood pressure taken, it is recommended that you get at least two readings before you leave.  These two readings should be divided by as much time as possible, and you should not take the first one until you have been sitting and relaxing for at least five minutes.  It is very important to know that your arm position can directly impact your reading.  Make sure your arm is perpendicular to your body and supported at the level of the heart.  In other words, pretend like you are doing a phantom bench press at your desk, but only with one side.  You do not want your arm hanging straight down or parallel.  If this initial reading is high or not pleasing to you, have the next reading taken while lying on your back.  After this reading is taken, go ahead and trouble the nurse or doctor again by requesting to have one more done standing to see if there are notable differences.  If there are not, then you can assume that the readings are not influenced by your posture and are fairly accurate.  If you are still reading high or are still displeased, go through the same drill a week or so later, only this time have all of the readings taken in the opposite arm as before.  Now make a comparison and draw your own conclusions.  It is safe to say that whichever arm is higher is the one that you should monitor. Something that often gets overlooked in the powerlifting and weightlifting community is the fact that most have measurements that are larger than "average", especially in the arms.  The width of the cuff should be about forty percent of the circumference (completely around) of the unflexed arm (4).For example, if you have 20-inch arms, then the width of the cuff should be around 8 inches.  Yes, I want you to take a tape measure with you and check the cuff for yourself.  If the cuff is considerably smaller than what your measurements call for, and they do not have any that are larger, then simply note to yourself that this reading may be skewed. If you believe that the readings you have taken are accurate and that they are high, then I suggest you buy a reliable automated electronic device to check your blood pressure at home.  Make sure that the one you buy has the appropriate cuff for your arm.  Many quality models will cost between fifty and one hundred dollars.  If feasible, you should calibrate your machine against the one in your doctor's office.  Testing at home allows you to check at various times of the day and rules out "white-coat" syndrome, or being anxious at the doctor's office.  You can take as many readings as you would like, but four times per day should suffice. Now that you are armed with the knowledge of what to do for an initial assessment of your health, I urge you to put the wheels in motion...today!  After you have made your determination based on your tests, it is then time to take the next steps to improve upon these conditions.  For some of you, the process will not be so urgent.  For others, we will need to make some immediate changes. The most efficient and most effective way to start this is through a proper, individualized diet.  Trust me, when we discuss Metabolic Typing® you will be very interested to learn how one man's food can certainly be another man's poison.  If you think broccoli is healthy for everybody across the board, then think again.  Metabolic Typing® teaches you how to choose the foods that work best with your body and why.  I do not want you thinking strictly in terms of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  That is seeing the forest before the trees. Metabolic Typing® will be a very fun, ongoing journey because it is a self-discovery process.  Once you discover how to apply Metabolic Typing®, everything changes.  You will look and feel better, enjoy better health, and you will be stronger in the gym than ever.  Stay tuned... About Eric Talmant Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor and Functional Diagnostic nutritionist.  Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test,  U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test, and the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone Profiles to name a few) and dispense hormones. Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet.  He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that. His best-equipped lifts are a 683-pound squat, 391-pound bench press, and a 650-pound deadlift in the 75kg (165-pound) weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485-pound squat without knee wraps, 290-pound bench press, and 635-pound deadlift. He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet, which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009. Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems.  He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site at www.EricTalmant.com. References 1. R. Bowen, "The Physiologic Effects of Insulin"-Personal Notes from Nutrition Lecture. 2.Dr. Paul J. Rosch, "Do You Have a Good Blood Pressure" Originally published in the Health and Stress newsletter (July) of The American Institute of Stress. 3. Dr. Paul J. Rosch, "Do You Have a Good Blood Pressure" Originally published in the Health and Stress newsletter (July) of The American Institute of Stress. 4. Dr. Paul J. Rosch, "Do You Have a Good Blood Pressure" Originally published in the Health and Stress newsletter (July) of The American Institute of Stress.
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Random Friday Thoughts: 5/1/09

1. First off, a little recognition for the Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team and coaching staff; LS baseball was was ranked #1 in Massachusetts by the Boston Herald this week.  The guys ran their record to 10-0 with a 12-3 win yesterday.  Just about every varsity player on the LS squad trains at Cressey Performance, and when you watch them get after it - whether it's the off-season or in-season - it's no surprise why these guys are doing special things.  Here's are the starting RF, LF/RHP, 2B, and SS getting after it back in early March. You won't find a high school team in the country who trains harder or smarter than these guys.

Keep up the good work, fellas!

2. One of the first things I learned as a writer in the fitness industry was that it was best to avoid writing about religion and politics. Still, I'm going to just come right out and ask: why the hell do we need a photo of a presidential plane with two F-16 fighter jets over New York City, anyway?  Are they trying to sell this sucker on EBay? This one came at a price-tag of $328,835 to taxpayers - and that doesn't even include the wasted wages on the thousands of citizens who fled their places of employment.  Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, this has got to make you want to go elwell on someone (inside joke, but I'm sure the rest of you catch my drift). 2. I've written previously on the tremendous benefits of increasing one's dosage of Vitamin D through supplementation.  In particular, it seems to have a great effect on chronic musculoskeletal issues, particularly in darker skinned individuals in Northern climates.  Well, add one more benefit to the list. According to British researchers, daily supplementation with Vitamin D cut prostate specific antigen levels by more than 50% in some patients with prostate cancer.  This marker is used as an indicator of the severity of prostate cancer. 3. I just got an email with some awesome feedback: "I just finished your Maximum Strength program and had great success! Here are the stats: Pre Max Strength Bench Press = 300 Squat = 350 Deadlift = 425 3 Rep Pullup = Bodyweight + 15 lbs Post Max Strength Bench Press = 335 Squat = 385 Deadlift = 440 3 Rep Pullup = Bodyweight + 55 lbs My weight stayed the same at 195 lbs at 5'10".  Thanks for a great program!!! -James Wigington" Click here to pick up a copy of Maximum Strength! 4. Someone asked me the other day, "when a person presents with little or no level of asymmetry, is it safe to say that no pain = no problem in this case?" My answer would be that it is definitely not safe to say that. While asymmetry is often a good predictor of injury, it doesn't tell us everything about an individual's current state.  A lot of folks have bilateral strength/stability/flexibility deficits, and it's just a matter of where they wind up breaking down first. 5. Movement of the Week: The Spin Kick (pants optional)...

Make it a TURBO weekend, everyone!

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An Overlooked Hormone?

I've got a guest blog for you today from Joel Marion of Cheat Your Way Thin.  As I noted in a recent newsletter, Joel has done his homework, and in this article, he'll share with you some of the interesting research he's been doing over the last six years.  Check it out: LEPTI-WHA?? It's name is Leptin (derived from the Greek word leptos, meaning "thin"), and it's without a doubt the most important hormone you probably never heard of. You see, leptin was only first discovered just over 10 years ago, and as far as weight loss is concerned, that's extremely recent. Leptin's function? To communicate your nutritional status to your body and brain. Leptin levels are mediated by two things. One is your level of body fat. All else being equal, people with higher levels of body fat will have higher leptin levels than those with lower levels of body fat and vice versa. Because leptin is secreted by fat cells, it makes sense that under normal conditions there is a direct correlation between leptin levels and the amount of fat you are carrying. Unfortunately, when you're attempting to lose fat and begin to restrict calories, conditions are anything but "normal" and the body responds accordingly by lowering leptin levels. This is because the second mediator of blood leptin levels is your calorie intake. Lower your calorie intake and leptin will fall, independent of body fat. So, yes, you can be overweight and still suffer from low leptin levels - just go on a diet. So what happens when leptin levels fall and why the heck does it matter? Again, under normal conditions leptin levels are normal and the brain gets the signal loud and clear that nutrition intake is adequate. Metabolism is high and the internal environment of the body is one very conducive to fat burning. Until you start dieting. Go on a diet and leptin levels quickly plummet (by 50% or more after only one week), sending a signal to the body that you're semi-starved and not consuming enough calories. This puts the breaks on metabolism and creates a hormonal environment extremely conducive to fat storage. Thyroid hormones (hormones extremely important to metabolism) respond by taking a dive and the abdominal fat-storing stress hormone cortisol skyrockets measurably. HELLO belly fat. And if that wasn't bad enough, the appetite stimulating hormones ghrelin, neuropeptide-Y, and anandamide all hop on board to make your life even more miserable. You don't have to remember any of those names, just remember that when leptin drops, you get seriously hungry. Despite having a pretty good reason for its reaction, it's pretty ironic that our bodies are primed for fat loss at every other time except when we are trying to burn fat. Wouldn't it be great if we could maintain high leptin levels and a body primed for fat burning while dieting? It would seemingly solve all of our problems. But in order to do this, we'd have to somehow keep leptin levels high as we attempt to lose those extra pounds. "HOW ABOUT "SUPPLEMENTING" WITH LEPTIN?" A couple of problems here: First, leptin is a protein based hormone, which means that it can not be taken orally (otherwise, it would simply be digested). So that rules out a leptin pill. This leaves the method of "supplemental" leptin administration to injection. And leptin injections DO indeed work, reversing the metabolic adaptations to dieting and "starvation" even while continuing to restrict calories. In 1996, Ahima et al. used leptin injections to reverse starvation-induced neuroendrocrine adaptations in mice. "Well, that's nice and all, but I'm human." Point taken; research with rodents doesn't always correlate to similar findings in humans, however... In 1999, Heymsfield et al. performed a double-blind placebo controlled study analyzing weight loss over a 24-week period in 73 obese humans. Subjects either injected daily with leptin or a placebo (i.e. bogus alternative). At the end of the 24-week period, the leptin group lost significantly more weight than the placebo and a higher percentage of fat vs. muscle. In 2002, Rosenbaum et al. administered low-dose leptin to subjects (male and female) who had dieted to a 10% decrease in body weight. During the diet period, thyroid hormone levels, 24-hr energy expenditure, and other metabolic markers substantially decreased. The result of the leptin replacement therapy? "All of these endocrine changes were reversed..." Thyroid output and daily calorie burn increased back to pre-diet levels. In 2003, Fogteloo et al. showed that leptin injections "tended to reduce the decline of energy expenditure associated with energy restriction, whereas the tendency of energy intake to increase back to baseline levels in placebo-treated subjects was largely prevented in subjects treated with leptin." Yeah, that's a mouthful. Let me put in simple terms: not only did the leptin group experience less of a decline in metabolism, but they were also less hungry, allowing them to more easily stick to the prescribed diet. In 2004, Welt et al. reported that leptin given to a group of women with thyroid disorder immediately raised circulating concentrations of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. In 2005, Rosenbaum and company were at it again, again showing that energy expenditure and circulating concentrations of T3 and T4 all returned to pre-weight-loss levels with regular leptin injections. So, as theorized, keeping leptin levels high during a diet does indeed solve our dilemma by avoiding the negative metabolic (and perhaps behavioral) adaptations that calorie restriction perpetuates. The problem? Daily leptin injections are far too expensive, costing thousands and thousands of dollars per week. So, we can pretty much forget about supplemental leptin as a solution (which is probably moot anyway considering that not too many people are going to voluntarily plunge a needle into their skin daily). A REAL Solution Now that we know that leptin injections aren't going to save us, let's talk about the possibility of manipulating your body's natural leptin production. And I've got good news - this can indeed be done, and without involving needles or thousands of dollars. In fact, we'll swap the injections and mounds of cash out for two things I can guarantee you're absolutely going to love: more calories and more carbs. We know that leptin levels decrease by about 50% after only one week of dieting, but fortunately, it doesn't take nearly that long for leptin to bump back up with a substantial increase in caloric intake. In fact, research has shown that it only takes about 12-24 hours. So, the answer to the fat loss catch-22? Strategic high-calorie, high-carb CHEATING. By strategically cheating with high calorie foods (and yes, even stuff like pizza, ice cream, wings, cookies, burgers, fries, etc), you can give leptin and metabolism a major boost mid-diet which sets you up for plenty of subsequent fat loss when you resume your reduced calorie eating regimen. This means greater net fat loss week after week, and ultimately, a much more realistic, maintainable way to bring you to the body you truly want and deserve. So what's so special about carbs? Well, leptin, carbohydrate and insulin have been shown to have very strong ties. Calories alone don't get the job done, as research shows that overfeeding on protein and fat has little effect on leptin. In order to get a strong leptin response from overfeeding, there needs to be plenty of carbs in the mix. In fact, the relationship is SO strong that research conducted by Boden et al. at the Temple University School of Medicine shows that leptin levels will not fall even in response to all-out fasting so long as insulin and blood sugar are maintained via IV drip. That's CRAZY. Because of this carbohydrate/insulin-leptin relationship, it makes sense that foods combining both carbs and fat (like pizza, burgers, cookies, ice cream, etc) work best for reversing the negative adaptations caused by dieting because of the BIG-TIME insulin response they produce. THIS is why strategic cheating with your favorite foods is so powerful. THIS is why you truly can use your favorite foods to lose fat faster than you ever could with restrictive dieting. THIS is freedom. Essentially, it's everything "typical" dieting isn't. With regular dieting, come week two, you're screwed. With strategic cheating, you can literally use ANY food you want to *ensure* that you never go a single day without a body primed for fat loss. The cheat or not to cheat? I think the choice is clear. For more information on Joel's complete Cheat Your Way Thin system - available at half price through tomorrow (4/30) only, head on over to CheatYourWayThin.com.
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Lying Knee-To-Knee Stretch

What the experts are saying about The Truth About Unstable Surface Training “Unstable surface training is many times misunderstood and misinterpeted in both the physical therapy and athletic performance fields. The Truth About Unstable Surface Training e-book greatly clarifies where unstable surface training strategically fits into an overall program of injury prevention, warm-up/activation, and increasing whole body strength. If you are a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or strength training professional, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training gives you a massive amount of evidence-based ammunition for your treatment stockpile.” Shon Grosse PT, ATC, CSCS Comprehensive Physical Therapy Colmar, PA Click here for more information on The Truth About Unstable Surface Training.


Subscriber-Only Q&A Q: I have a question about your 22 More Random Thoughts article from October of 2008 on T-Nation.  In the stretch for the hips found above #10, I can't tell is that athlete bridging or are the hips on the ground.  Also, can you please explain exactly what is stretched and how a little bit about how it corrects out-toeing of the feet? A: Sure, no problem. Here's the lying knee-to-knee stretch, for those readers who missed the original article:


First off, it's a stretch for the hip external rotators, and the athlete is not bridging up.  However, it's also useful to do the stretch in a more hips-extended position, as a small percentage of athletes will feel it more in that position.  To perform this stretch, we'll do the exact same position, but have the athlete set up atop a stability ball (which keeps the femurs in a more extended position). Poor hip internal rotation range-of-motion is something you'll see quite frequently in soccer players, hockey players, and powerlifters, as all spend a considerable amount of time in hip external rotation.  Likewise, I monitor this closely with all my baseball pitchers, as front leg hip internal rotation deficit is a huge problem for pitchers.  When the front hip opens up too soon because of these muscular restrictions, the arm lags behind the body (out of the scapular plane).  As such, it isn't uncommon for pitchers with elbow and/or shoulder pain to present with a significant hip internal rotation deficit. There is also a considerable amount of research to suggest that hip rotation deficits - and particularly, hip internal rotation deficits - are highly correlated with low back pain.  There was a great guest blog post at Mike Reinold's blog recently that highlights all this research; you can check it out HERE.  My personal experience with hundreds of people who have come my way with back pain overwhelmingly supports this "theory" (if you can even call it that).  It's my firm belief that this is one of the primary reasons Mike Robertson and I have gotten so much great feedback on our Magnificent Mobility DVD from folks who have seen a reduction (or altogether elmination) in back pain.  Teach folks to move at the hips (particularly in rotation) instead of the lumbar spine, and whatever's going on in their low backs calms down.


Our goal is a minimum of 40 degrees of hip internal rotation.  This is measured in the seated position (hips flexed to 90 degrees). In addition to the classes of athletes I mentioned earlier, we also need to watch out for hip internal rotation deficit (HIRD) in the general population because of what happens further down the kinetic chain.  We all know that overpronation at the subtalar join is a big problem for a lot of folks.  This can occur because of a collection of factors, from poor footwear (too much heel lift), to muscular weakness (more on this in a second), to mobility deficits (particularly at the ankle), to congenital factors (flat feet). To understand how pronation affects the hip external rotators, you'll need to listen to a brief synopsis of subtalar joint function... During the gait cycle, the subtalar joint pronates, to aid in deceleration.  Basically, the foot flattens out to give us a bigger base of support from which to cushion impact, and from there, we switch back over to supination to get a rigid foot from which to propel.  The picture below shows what our foot looks like when we have too much pronation.


Here's where our hip gets involved.  Physical therapist John Pallof once called the subtalar joint a "torque converter," and it really stuck with me.  What that means is that while the subtalar joint allows motion in three planes for pronation/supination, it converts this motion into transverse plan motion where it interacts with the tibia.  And, as you can imagine based on the picture above, when you pronate, you increase tibial internal rotation. This, in turn, increased femoral internal rotation.  Taken all together, we realize that increasing pronation means that there is more tibial and femoral internal rotation to decelerate with each step, stride, or jump landing. The hip external rotators are strong muscles with a big cross sectional area, so they can take on this burden.  However, over time, they can get balled up from overuse.  As a result, the hip will sit in a more externally rotated position all the time - and the feet simply come along for the ride.  That said, as I wrote HERE, it isn't the only cause of this foot position, so be sure to assess thoroughly and individualize your recommendations. Also, a quick side note, be careful using this stretch with individuals who have previously experienced medial knee injuries, as the valgus stress can be a bit too much for some folks. New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts For High School Pitchers, No Grace Period Doga?  Seriously? CP Athlete Featured at Precision Nutrition I encourage you to check out this Precision Nutrition Athlete Profile on Cressey Performance athlete and Oakland A's minor league pitcher Shawn Haviland.  Shawn completely changed his body this off-season and had a nice velocity jump from 87-89 to 91-93mph - and he's off to a good start for the Kane County Cougars. A lot of this can be attributed to him making huge strides with improving his nutrition. Have a great week! EC
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Quick Programming Strategies: 4/28/09

I figured I'd start up a mini-series of sorts here where I discuss some of the little changes you can make to programs to get big results. Many intermediate lifters get stuck in a middle ground with respect to heavy loading in their quest to build strength.  Obviously, they know that, as a general rule of thumb, they need to use some heavier loading at least once a week in the 1-5 rep range to build strength.  And, a lot of them (at least those who have read my stuff and other articles at T-Nation and EliteFTS) know that dynamic work - in this case, speed squats, deadlifts, and bench presses - is a great way to train bar speed and rate of force development - all while improving technique with submaximal weights. So, here you have two separate training sessions out of the week: one for maximal loading, and the other for speed.  That said, a lot of these intermediates also are still new enough to the iron game that they can handle a bit more loading in the 85-100% range. With that in mind, I'll often plug in heavy "work-ups" following speed work.  So, a lifter might do eight sets of two reps on the bench press, and then work up to a heavy set of 1-3 reps after those eight sets.  This not only serves as a way to add in some extra volume in the traditional strength rep-ranges, but also allows a lifter to build in some testing to the program and continuosly monitor progress. I'll typically only do this 1-2 times a month, and as a general rule of thumb, it will come in a higher volume week that follows a lower volume week.  So, in my high-medium-very high-low set-up, it would take place during weeks 1 and/or 3. For more strength building strategies like this at a great price, check out Maximum Strength.


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Online Consulting Client Testimonials

"When I wrote to Eric Cressey regarding online training, I had not lifted in over 3 months and my shoulder was gradually getting more painful doing everyday tasks. I had also consulted a physician about an MRI scan leading to the possibility of shoulder surgery. As a trainer, and someone who lives for the gym, I was pretty down about the whole situation so I decided to get expert advice. "The program Eric wrote for me was a real eye opener in regards to GPP, frequency of drills needed, filler drills between sets, and several other key concepts. I already knew most of the components of the plan but the recommendations made were different to what I would have programmed myself and it this gave me great focus for the prescribed four weeks. The program was detailed and the online support via email was excellent. "Just 30 days and 24 training sessions later, my shoulder feels better than it has in over two years, my strength is increasing with each workout, and the foam roller doesn't kill me anymore! Eric has changed my thinking about the importance and time given to warming up and targeted stretching to improve performance and I will always train smarter myself and with my clients in the future. Thanks, EC!" Nathan Williams - Bahrain ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "As a father of three active young boys and the leader of a growing business, I am not what you would consider an elite athlete; I won't be showing up on anybody's scouting reports for sure!  I have been training long-distance with Eric since early 2007, though, and I could not have asked for a better coach. "Whether it's training around injuries, "pre-habbing" for a knee surgery, or just checking technique and answering my questions, Eric has always been available to me when I needed him and has been supremely responsive to MY needs as a client.  It's difficult to express in such a short space how happy I am with Eric's services, except to say that I recommend him, unequivocally, to anybody I know who needs a coach." James Brandenburg - Bella Vista, AR ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "Eric has established himself as a well-known, top-level strength and conditioning coach for athletes.  But, Eric is also an extremely gifted consultant for us 'mere mortals' who want to train sensibly while balancing family, business and other recreational activities into their schedule.  After following several different weight training programs for many years without any significant improvements, I contacted him about one and one-half years ago and have not looked back.  During this time, he has provided me with customized monthly programs that include mobilization, conditioning and strength training integrated into a time-effective and challenging program. "After diligently following his program, I can honestly say that at 51 years old, I am now the strongest that I have ever been while at the same time I have reduced body fat from 20% to 12%.  Oh yes, this has all been done solely via email, as I live 8,500 miles away in Bangkok, Thailand!  For anyone not fortunate enough to be able to train at Cressey Performance, I highly recommend his distance-based service." Randy Shaw - Bangkok, Thailand ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "In September of 2008, I visited Cressey Performance to work on a chronic shoulder issue. With the four high-profile powerlifting meets over a five-month period looming ahead, I sought out Eric's expertise to get me through them with minimal shoulder pain during the bench press. "Eric first assessed me and then gave me some viable alternatives to benching to keep me in the game. He made me realize I didn't necessarily need to just bench to maintain my strength. Eric focused on mobilizing and strengthening all the surrounding musculature, which directly helps with the lift. "The results speak for themselves, as I was able to go on to win two of those meets (AAU Worlds & USAPL Women's Nationals) and place second at Raw Unity Meet and third at the Arnold Classic!  I am looking forward to continuing with Eric's program so that I can win USAPL Raw Nationals in July and IPF Masters Worlds in October. "For those of you whose training programs have stalled, or for those of you who have an injury that is preventing you from making any gains, I highly recommend a trip to Cressey Performance. If you can't make it there, work with him in an online consulting medium, at the very least!" Ellen Stein - Six-Time IPF Masters World Powerlifting Champion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "I cannot thank Eric enough for the programs he has written for me.  As an online client, I am 100% impressed with his ability to identify and address my weaknesses with fantastic results.  Having been in and out of gyms for over 20 years, I can say without reservation that the work I have done under his guidance has crushed (performance-wise) everything else I have ever tried. Period. However, there is so much more to this than the numbers. My nagging shoulder is nearly a thought from the past.  I am far more balanced and flexible and most definitely stronger!  The foam roller work and mobility exercises have changed my ability to push hard.  I also came to Eric in effort to gain strength and a better understanding of exercise technique.  Thanks to this education and Eric's effective programming, after just 15 weeks, I am thrilled with my improvements on the bench press (40lbs), box squat (35lbs), deadlift (65lbs), and chin-up (50lbs) - and these numbers keep improving.    These are numbers I have not put up since I was in college 28 years ago! I also found it incredibly motivating to send my training log in each week to get feedback.  Eric's responsiveness to my e-mail questions and comments about my training log submissions are both timely and informative. If I were to talk to someone who was contemplating working with Eric, I would say the following: check your false pride and ego at the door, be prepared to train hard every session, be prepared to learn, and most definitely, look forward to getting results. BIG results. Paul Hellar - Duxbury, MA ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "After 25 years of extreme bodily abuse in the pursuit of a bodybuilder's physique, I decided to give corrective exercise a try.  I came to Eric Cressey from across the U.S. after connecting with his philosophy and approach via his web articles.  I immediately saw the genius behind the Cressey Performance approach to strength and muscle development and entered into an online consulting agreement.  After eight months of training on programs authored by Eric, I have managed to correct flaws in my movement patterns and resolve several debilitating chronic ailments caused by years of improper form and overuse.  He has helped this 40-year-old fix up a cranky knee, soothe ailing shoulders, eliminate low back pain, and become stronger in the process.  I encourage anyone interested in exploring the absolute cutting-edge of exercise science to contact Eric right away and begin the journey towards a more intelligent and efficient way to build size and strength." Ray Bennett - Portland, OR ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "Working with Eric has been a very valuable experience for me.  Prior to starting with Eric, I had spent the better part of two years not making any gains in the gym due to injuries to both my right shoulder and my lower back.  Multiple orthopedists, physical therapists, and chiropractors only produced marginal improvements in my pain levels and most suggested I had made as much progress as could be expected without surgical methods.  So after more than a year and a half of dealing with these injuries, I became desperate and began looking into my options for surgery. As a last resort before going under the knife, I decided to work with Eric after reading through some of his online material.  This turned out to be the best decision I could have made.  After the first four weeks, I noticed significant improvements in my pain levels.  Now, several months later, I am injury-free and able to push myself in the gym without the fear of getting hurt again.  I am setting personal records on a regular basis, learning a lot, and finally making gains once again.  And all along, Eric has been very supportive, very informative, and more than willing to answer my many, many questions." Danny Ferrari - Washington, D.C. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "Over the past eight months I have been an online client of Eric's, and most recently completed the Maximum Strength program.  I originally sought Eric's assistance after experiencing a chronic overuse injury of my rotator cuff, as my shoulder was simply breaking down due to excessive isolation exercises and overtraining in my years of lifting.   Eric provided an individualized program that not only rebuilt my entire scapular region in five months, but provided the foundation from which to excel in his Maximum Strength program. "At the conclusion of Maximum Strength, I surpassed 1000 lbs as my combined total on the squat, bench, and deadlift despite never training for strength in the squat or deadlift prior to the program.  My shoulder is now stronger than any time in the past.  The focus on my posterior chain has enabled me to achieve personal records in all pressing and pulling exercises at the age of 38.  I simply train with more weight than ever before.  After 20 years of training with an emphasis on isolation, I have never experienced the rapid success, health, and strength in the eight months I have worked with Eric and his programs built around strength and mobility.  Eric is an incredible coach capable of communicating to clients at all levels of development." Maurie Munro - Colleyville, TX ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "I have been working with Eric for years now.  When I started, I was coming off a serious knee injury, which was preventing me from running.  A few months later I was pain-free and back to regularly running.  Eric understands, in light of the most recent research, how strength and speed training fits with endurance training. I particularly like the fact that, although the program is clearly running-focused, it takes the weight-room and mobility components just as seriously.  You will not find yourself doing a few bicep curls after monotonous days of long, slow distance running.  You'll be doing intervals and deadlifts, getting stronger and, therefore, faster, with fewer injuries." Sean Thompson - New York, NY ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ For more information on Eric's online consulting services, please email ec@ericcressey.com.
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Gaining Weight, Gaining Velocity, Losing Control

Q: My son pitches for a Division II baseball program - well, at least, until recently. Since he began his strength training regimen one year ago, his pitches have gained velocity, but he no longer has control over the ball. Is it possible that his training has changed the mechanics in his arm so much that he has no idea where the ball is going after it leaves his hand? He's frustrated - we are talking about one of the best and strongest in collegiate baseball and now they won't even put him on the mound. I asked some baseball veteran friends about it and they suggested he has to retrain his arm since he has become so much stronger. What are your thoughts? A: I've definitely seen guys who have gained muscle mass and lost velocity because they didn't train the right way, and it can absolutely go in the opposite direction as well and affect control. I agree with your pitching coaches that he probably needs to retrain his mechanics with the added weight, but to be honest, it's something that should have been happening with a gradual weight gain anyway.  I would be more inclined to look to address any range of motion (ROM) deficits he may have acquired through the process of gaining weight. For instance, if he lost some hip rotation ROM, it could markedly affect control.  A guy without enough hip internal rotation will fly open early on his front leg and, as a result, the arm lags behind (and out of the scapular plane, which can also lead to arm problems).  A guy who loses external rotation tends to stay closed, which means he either throws more across his body (increased arm stress) or miss high and inside frequently (in the case of a RHP vs. right-handed batter, or LHP vs. left-handed batter). Likewise, a pitcher who bench presses until he's blue in the face can lose both external rotation and horizontal abduction ROM.  These ROM factors are two (of many) predictors of velocity, and while a decrease in one or both normally equates to a drop in velocity, it could also cause a pitcher to change his arm slot.  I actually wrote more about this in an old newsletter: Lay Back to Throw Gas. These are just some thoughts.  I'd need to do some ROM tests and see some videos of him throwing to know for sure if any of my impressions are on the money. For more information, I'd definitely recommend you check out the 2008 Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp DVD Set. Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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Random Friday Thoughts: 4/24/09

1. It's been a crazy week ever since Anna and I got engaged on Sunday.  You never truly realize how many people you know until they all try to email/call/text you at once to say congratulations.  With my cell phone and email inbox going crazy, I kind of felt like Jerry Maguire - minus the whole weird scientology and jumping on Oprah's couch stuff. 2. On Wednesday, I got out to watch two high school games where CP athletes pitched, and then headed to Fenway to watch the Sox beat the Twins.  In Game 1, Weston High Sahil Bloom had a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings before giving up a bloop single, and then Auburn High's Tyler Beede threw six innings. 3. Next week, I'll be publishing the first installment of a collection of nutrition articles from Eric Talmant.  Eric has some very forward-thinking ideas to share, and it'll make a nice weekly addition to EricCressey.com.  Be sure to check them out. 4. I'm getting really excited for this year's Perform Better Summits.  I'll be speaking in Providence, RI and Long Beach, CA (there is also one in Chicago); I'd definitely encourage you to check the events out if you live in that neck of the woods.  My presentations should question the "diagnostic norms" - in much the same way that I did with this week's newsletter. 5. Speaking of newsletters, I got several inquiries after I ran this one about the medicine ball training we do with our pitchers. In particular, folks were curious about the medicine ball we used in drills like this:

The medicine balls in question can be found HERE.

6. I've written quite a bit in the past about how a glenohumeral internal rotation deficit can be one contributing factor (among others) to medial elbow injuries in overhead throwing athletes.  The other day, someone asked me if I had any scientific evidence to support this idea.  The answer would be a resounding YES.

Very simply, if you lack internal rotation, you'll go to the elbow to "regain" that lost range-of-motion.  It's the same reason that ankle mobility deficits can lead to knee pain, and hip mobility deficits can lead to knee and lower back pain.

7. I don't really "get" how this whole Delicious bookmarking thing works, but Jon Boyle (who helps out with the blog) recommended I start sending him recommendations of good stuff I've read.  You can find some of my recommended reading/viewing off to the right-hand side of the page.  If there are books you recommend I check out, by all means, please post suggestions in the comments to these blogs; I'm always looking for new reading material.

Have a great weekend!

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