Home Posts tagged "Medicine Ball" (Page 4)

Random Friday Thoughts: 11/20/09

1. Exciting week around here, as it's getting to be that time of the year when our high school ballplayers - both 2010 and 2011 - finalize some of their plans. Last weekend, RHP Barrett O'Neill (2011) verbally committed to the University of Virginia on a baseball scholarship, and on Tuesday, RHP Travis Dean (2010) signed his letter of intent to pitch at Kennesaw St. University in Georgia.  A few weeks earlier, RHP/3B Joe Napolitano (2011) had verbally committed to Boston College.  These three comprise 3/8 of our current 90mph+ high school crew - and I suspect that the other five will be following soon! Also this week, 2B Erik Watkins (2010) committed to Skidmore and CF Billy Bereszniewicz (2010) committed to Binghampton.  Previously, catcher James Alfonso (2010) had accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Hartford.  Plenty more to come soon, no doubt... 2. Speaking of Travis, here is something I love about him: he has INTENT on every single medicine ball throw he makes.  It isn't just about "tossing" a ball to a wall and rotating your hips.  It's about getting your entire body into the effort - to the point that you're trying to break the ball (or wall!) on every single drill.

Once we have taught our guys the technique for the drill, it's about getting after it.  If you aren't training rotation aggressively, you might as well not do it at all. 3. I got a lot of great comments from readers on my A Few Days in Arizona on Monday; I'd encourage you to check it out. 4. One of the key points I made was that respiratory function was essential for ideal performance and posture, and I recognize that the concept might be completely foreign for a lot of my readers.  To that end, I'd encourage you check out The Anatomy of Breathing.

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It's a pretty quick read that gives you good insights into the anatomy of the respiratory system and common dysfunctions that occur.  Once you start getting an appreciation for the muscles involved, you can start to see how poor diaphragmatic function can easily lead to overactivity of sternocleidomastoid, scalene, pec minor, intercostals - basically, a lot of muscles commonly implicated in upper extremity dysfunction.  You can just stretch and massage those areas, but it's just like putting a bucket on the floor when the roof is leaking; it's better to just fix the roof (aberrant breathing patterns).

5. I also touched on breathing patterns a bit in my seminar this past weekend.  Check out a few great reviews of the event:

Review #1: Bill White

Review #2: Joe Schafer

Review #3:

Yes, it was so exciting that it startled people.

6. Some interesting findings HERE that shows that there may be a strong link between childhood obesity and the development of multiple sclerosis later on in life.  One hypothesis is that it may be linked to the low levels of Vitamin D that one sees in overweight kids, and another that it could be related to the fatty tissue itself.   One more reason to take Vitamin D!

7. We're all headed to Providence tonight to watch CP client and pro boxer Danny O'Connor try to run his professional record to 10-0.  I think we'll be setting a world record for the number of professional baseball players in attendance at a boxing match.  Let's go, Danny!

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The Two Year Mark

Today marks two years to the day since Cressey Performance opened.

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Looking at some relatively recent research, you'll find that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that 34% of small business start-ups are no longer in existence two years after their inception.  So, the logical assumption is that we're automatically more awesome than at least 1/3 of the small business world (we stole their lunch money and gave them wedgies, in fact). Kidding aside, you don't just start a business so that you can "not fail."  You do it so that you can thrive - and CP has done just that.  I owe a huge thanks to our clients and staff for all their dedication to helping making CP what it is today: a place where.... ...an Olympic boxer can share a stability ball with Pete in the office while getting awkwardly close to another man's meatloaf lunch

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...it's considered perfectly acceptable to foam roll in catcher's gear.

...ladies and 68-year-old men alike bang out pull-ups like nobody's business.

...the average lifespan of a medicine ball is about seven minutes.

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...it isn't uncommon for old clients to come back, handcuff Tony, and leave him for dead (out of love, for the record).

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Interestingly, we haven't spent a penny on advertising over the two years; the business has grown purely by word of mouth.  Is it any wonder when you can see stuff like this almost every time you enter the facility?

Thanks again to everyone involved for making my job so fun and for sharing my vision.

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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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Medicine Ball Madness

EricCressey.com Subscriber-Only Q&A Q: My question pertains to medicine ball workouts for pitchers.   Are they only off-season training drills, or can I do them with my pitchers between starts? And, are there good ones for pitchers arms, in particular?  I know you mentioned doing some one-arm drills with your pitchers. A: It's safe to say that we probably do more medicine ball work than anyone on the planet.  In fact, we've broken 17 medicine balls (16 featured in this photo) thus far this off-season.

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Our destruction of medicine balls has been so epic that our equipment supplier actually asked us if we were throwing them against a wall with "jagged edges," as nobody had ever had similar problems, much less with as much regularity.  So, suffice it to say that we hammer on medicine ball work a ton in the off-season, and the useful life of a ball around here is 4-6 weeks.  But, I don't want to digress... After the season ends, pitchers usually get a two-week break from anything that involves overhead throwing or rapid elbow extension after they are done throwing before we integrate any of this.  Position players start right up with it. I think it's crucial to start up right away so that you can teach proper scap and hip loading so that guys will get the most out of it when the time comes to throw with more volume and complex exercises that help to maintain pitching-specific mobility, as Stanford-bound Sahil Bloom shows:

We typically go 3x/week medicine ball work with anywhere from 80 to 120 throws (never more than eight per set) per session from October through December (the last month overlaps with throwing programs where these guys are just tossing - nothing too challenging).  This continues right up through spring training for all our position players.  For pitchers, though, as January rolls around, we add in more bullpens and aggressive long tossing (and weighted balls, for some guys), and the medicine ball work drops off to two times a week with less volume and a more conservative exercise selection.  This twice a week set-up goes right through Spring Training. We always pair our medicine ball work with various mobilizations so that guys are addressing flexibility deficits instead of just standing around.  It might be thoracic spine and hip mobility drills from Assess and Correct.  Combining these mobilizations with all our medicine ball work, warm-ups, foam rolling/massage, and the static stretching programs guys are on, we have no concerns about pitchers "tightening up" with lifting.  Blue Jays prospect Tim Collins doesn't seem to be all "muscle-bound" here, for instance:

I don't do a ton of medicine ball work in-season with my higher level guys; it's usually once every five days.  A lot of the focus is on the non-dominant side.  So, a right-handed pitcher would do more rotational stuff from the left side to keep as much symmetry as possible.  With high school athletes, on the other hand, I see no reason why you can't use a slightly higher volume of medicine ball drills in-season.  Kids are resilient and in many cases, undertrained, so there is always a big window of adaptation ahead of them. With respect to the one-arm smaller medicine ball work, we use those two variations around this time of year.  It's usually just two sets of eight reps right after throwing sessions twice a week.  I like the idea of consolidating the stress with throwing outings.  That said, there are some people that do them as warm-ups prior to throwing.  Here, Atlanta Braves prospect Chad Rodgers demonstrates a few with a 1kg (2.2lb) ball.

As a random aside, off to the side in this video, you'll see how we tend to pair mobility/activation movements with power training, as Royals catching prospect Matt Morizio goes back and forth from clap push-ups to scapular wall slides.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg, so for more information, I would encourage you to check out our resource, Functional Stability Training; it is incredibly thorough, including plenty of options for both off- and in-season medicine ball work. Enter your email below to subscribe to our FREE newsletter:
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Random Friday Thoughts: 12/5/2008

1.  I have seen a lot of guys who have hamstrings pulls in their health histories, but I don't recall ever coming across any studies that show that shooting yourself in the leg expedites recovery time.

The sad truth is that you'll probably have dozens of kids around the country with hamstrings strains shoot themselves in the leg in hopes of returning to play sooner because "Burress does it."  I'll stick with soft tissue work, glute activation, and sprint mechanics training... 2. I got a question the other day about how we approach rest periods for our medicine ball work, and while it could be somewhat of a long, detailed response, I can probably respond even better with a simple, "We are always trying to slow guys down because they rush through them."  Usually, our rest intervals are in the ballpark of one minute between sets.  So, here's a little sample of what one of our professional pitchers did yesterday: A) Side High Box Step-ups w/Leg Kick: 2x4/side B1) Overhead Med Ball Stomp to Floor: 4x8 (5kg) B2) Side-Lying Extension-Rotation: 3x8/side C1) Recoiled Shotput: 3x3/side (4kg) C2) Wall Hip Flexor Mobilizations: 2x8/side D1) Recoiled Shotput: 3x3/side (2kg) D2) Lying Knee-to-Knee Stretch: 2x30s E1) Crow Hop to Overhead Med Ball Throw: 5x2 (2kg) E2) Multiplanar Hamstrings Mobilizations: 2x5/5/5/side So, as you can see, we use mobility work between sets to slow the guys down and address range-of-motion deficits they might have at the same time.  A lot of these drills can be found on Magnificent Mobility (lower body) and Inside-Out (upper body).

3. It was a wild Thanksgiving morning at Cressey Performance; we had ten people in to train and get after it with the staff.  For some great commentary, check out these two posts: Tony Gentilcore: First Annual Cressey Performance Thanksgiving Morning Lift Steph Holland-Brodney: Testosterone, Training, Talk, and Turkey: My Thanksgiving Thursday Who needs Turkey Trots when you can just do 405x20 on the trap bar and get it over with?

4. For some good reading - particularly with respect to nutrition - check out Brian St. Pierre's blog. 5. I'm going with Joseph Addai over LenDale White this weekend.  Thanks to everyone for the feedback from Tuesday.  Fingers crossed... 6. Happy Birthday to Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic!  Cass and I go way back, and she's been a great friend and resource for me all along the way.  If you're looking for top-notch female-specific nutrition and fitness resources, you definitely ought to check out The New Rules of Lifting for Women and the Women's Health Perfect Body Diet, both of which Cass or co-authored.

That'll do it for this week.  I've got some sweet content in line for next week, so stay tuned.  Have a great weekend!
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A Little Monday Update

I figured I ought to give the official check-in report on my Warp Speed Fat Loss journey, as I'm six days in (started last Tuesday). As I noted in Friday's blog, I don't really have a whole lot to lose, so I'm just playing it by ear on how I respond. Through five days, I have dropped from 194 to 187.5 pounds. I'm normally a pretty low carb guy anyway, so it really isn't as much water weight as one would normally think. I tend to lose "puff" from my face right away when I cut calories, and two people told me on Friday that I looked like I'd lost weight. They were right. Performance-wise, things aren't going badly at all. On Wednesday of last week, I benched 315 for 3x3 before heading on to a bit more "metabolic" weight-training pairings. I've been doing some low-intensity cardio (walking on the treadmill), but to be honest, I am on my feet so much at the gym that it's really not necessary, especially when you consider that I'm not looking to drop 20+ pounds. Thursday was just my 30 minutes of the where I take a medicine ball and just throw the crap out of it. It's an absolute blast; here's a little taste: When I was done, I did two rounds of 5x40yd sprints with jog-backs between sets. It is a little bit of a compromise between actual speed work and true metabolic conditioning. Lower-body lifting was Friday, and after doing some speed front squats at 275 for doubles, I hit up the trap bar for some higher rep work. Already with two sets of ten under my belt at 405, Pete called me out and said I could do more. He answered "14," so I went and did 14 on the next set (and another ten on the last set). It was probably a lot more amusing for him than me; my glutes, hams, and traps are all still sore. The low carbs caught up to me on Saturday. We did quite a bit of sprint work prior to our lift, and by the time I actually got around to speed benching, I was pretty gassed. I'm working at higher percentages now, and did my 225 for 6 sets of three, and while it was fast, it wasn't as fast as it should have been. Moved on to some assistance work to save the session, and made sure to get in some good post-training nutrition and hit up Sunset Cantina that night with the crew for some lime and garlic-rubbed chicken fajitas (more on that later in the week). Yesterday (Sunday), was my first extremely low carb day (i.e., less than 30g), and honestly, it wasn't so bad. I do fine with lower carbs, and was actually just doing boring computer stuff most of the day, so it wasn't an issue. All in all, so far, so good.
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Random Friday Thoughts: 8/8/08

1. My girlfriend is good at pullups. 2. Nice front squat, Clark (430). 3. Not to be outdone, here's a 350 bench and then an easy 315x3 from me. 4. Last night, I managed to convince one of our new high school pitchers that the YMCA dance was good for shoulder health (Y=lower trap activation, M=pec minor stretch, C=external rotator stretch, A=lat stretch). He totally went for it - but when I asked him if he knew the dance, he looked at me like I had two heads. I guess I'm finally getting old and recognizing the generational gap between my high school guys and I... 5. My girlfriend and I are moving back to the city next week. I'll be ten minutes from Fenway - yet my commute to work is only five minutes longer. Not too shabby - and it'll be nice to be back closer to all the action. 6. Here is a great review on Maximum Strength and Art of the Deload. 7. I've been here (to a degree). Not making weight is the worst feeling in the world - and I can only imagine how rough it is when it's for the Olympics. My heart goes out to him. Poor guy. 8. As a bit of an experiment, we're moving to lighter medicine balls with our guys for our throws over the next few months - particularly with our overhead variations. It'll be interesting to see what happens when we jack up the speed and lower the load a bit - and if it works, I'll need to brainstorm a bit more on which loads are appropriate for which exercises. 9. Speaking of medicine balls, one of my online consulting clients told me the other day that they have "several" BOSU balls at his gym, but ZERO medicine balls. People really don't have a clue what functional is anymore, do they? 10. In the most random thought of the week, if you want to be my friend on Facebook, put your shirt on in your profile picture. If you're that in love with yourself, you probably don't need friends, weirdo. Have a good weekend!
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