Home Posts tagged "Newsletters" (Page 7)

Quick Tips from Kelly Baggett: Part 1

This week's contribution comes from Kelly Baggett, one of the most knowledgeable and versatile guys in the industry.  Kelly and I go back 6-7 years, yet he never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and ability to get results fast. 1.  It's been said that your muscles don't know how much weight you're lifting; they only know tension.  This is true.  I can also assure you that your joints DO know how much weight you're lifting and will eventually let you know about it if you train heavy enough for long enough.  The large majority of people over the age of 65 have some degree of "wear and tear" arthritis.  That's without subjecting their joints to 45 years of heavy weights.  Keep that in mind if you want to be just as active at 75 as you are now.  For optimal long-term joint health, not only should you pay close attention to structural balance, but in my opinion, the majority of the time you shouldn't be lifting anything that you can't lift with a two-second pause at the hardest part of the movement.  This will ensure you're directing tension to the muscles instead of the connective tissue.

2.  Anterior pelvic tilt is not necessarily the bad guy most people think.  From an athletic standpoint, you won't find many fast and explosive athletes without a propensity to have some degree of anterior pelvic tilt because it puts the hamstrings at a leverage advantage.  In contrast, you probably won't find ANY top-flight athletes with posterior pelvic tilt.  You rarely hear anyone talk about posterior pelvic tilt and weak hip flexors but it is common enough, particularly in women.  Posterior pelvic tilt (also called flat back posture) results in weak or lengthened hip flexors and can also be caused by tight abs and glutes.  Don't assume you need lots of psoas hip flexor stretching until you've verified that you do in fact need it.  Here's what flat back posture with posterior pelvic tilt looks like:

3.  Insulin sensitivity is kind of overrated for fat loss and a lean body.  A certain degree of insulin sensitivity is desirable, but, from a body composition perspective, being overly sensitive to insulin is just as bad as being insensitive to insulin.  As a "storage" hormone, improved insulin sensitivity allows the body to better store ingested nutrients both in muscle AND fat cells.  Insulin sensitivity improves as one gets leaner and leaner.  That's one of the reasons it gets harder to shed fat when one is much leaner.

In a given group of people, you can predict future fat gain by measuring both the sensitivity to insulin and the amount of insulin produced in response to a given amount of carbohydrates.  The fattest populations of people and the fattest adults will be very sensitive to insulin at an early age.  In contrast, insulin resistance could be looked at as a way the body tries to rid itself of excess nutrition.  The body senses nutrient excess and inhibits storage. Providing they exercise, an insulin resistant person will tend to have an easy time shedding fat and building muscle because the exercise increases storage capacity in the muscles at the expense of fat cells.  That's one reason why people with more fast twitch muscle fibers have an easier time getting and staying lean, even though they are naturally more insulin resistant than those with more slow twitch fibers.

The take-home point?  When trying to drop fat, it's not a bad idea to intentionally manipulate insulin sensitivity...in a NEGATIVE direction.  You can do this by ingesting caffeine and other stimulants and by following a low carb diet.

4.  There is actually less stress absorbed into the foot WITHOUT shoes than with shoes.  Remember that the next time you decide to treat your feet to a huge pair of cinder blocks – otherwise known as basketball shoes.  One of the easiest ways to improve movement efficiency and coordination is to get a hold of a pair of Nike Frees and/or train barefoot on grass.

5.  Look at the wear on your shoes.  If they're worn more to the inside you probably have pronated feet (you walk on the insides of them).  If they're worn more to the outside you probably have supinated feet (you walk on the outsides of them).

Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart and look straight ahead.  Hold this position for a few seconds while you take note of how your weight is distributed over the soles of your feet.  Now tip your pelvis forward slowly so that you assume a Donald Duck-type posture with your chest up and backside stuck out behind you.  Note how your weight shifts forward and toward the insides of your feet. Now slowly roll the pelvis backward until your rear end is tucked underneath you.  You should notice that your weight moves backward and toward the outside of your feet.

What you have just proved is that anterior pelvic tilt (rear stuck out) will produce pronation and posterior pelvic tilt (rear tucked under) will produce supination (rolling outward of the foot).  If you have pronated feet it's usually a good idea to stretch the hip flexors and strengthen the glutes.  If you have supinated feet it's often a good idea to strengthen the hip flexors and lower back while stretching the glutes.

About Kelly

Kelly Baggett is a sought-after performance and physique coach from Springfield, MO. He has authored three books: The No-Bull Muscle Building Plan, The Vertical Jump Development Bible, and The Ultimate No Bull Speed Development Manual.  You can read more of his articles by visiting his website, www.higher-faster-sports.com.

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One-Sided Back Pain

Before we get to the content, I wanted to quickly pass along a few announcements:

1. I just confirmed that I’ll be speaking at a seminar in Montreal, Quebec on October 20-21.  Three other speakers have already been confirmed, and the organizer is waiting on a fourth. Trust me – with these names, you won’t be disappointed!  Keep an eye out for more information in upcoming newsletters.

2. Through Thursday at 7PM, Nate Green’s Standing on the Shoulders of Giants will be on sale for $49 (regularly $97).  I contributed a bonus interview on this collection of interviews with some very knowledgeable industry veterans, and anyone who considers himself an “up and comer” in the business would be wise to purchase a set.  Check it out: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

Now, to follow up on my newsletter from earlier this week, here are random thoughts 6-10 from me.

6. Incorporate posterior capsule stretching in overhead throwing athletes.  There is considerable research demonstrating that glenohumeral internal rotation deficit (GIRD) is highly correlated with shoulder injuries in overhead throwing athletes.  Incorporating a very simple sleeper stretch daily can dramatically reduce the risk of shoulder problems in such athletes; if you aren’t including this stretch in your program, you shouldn’t be allowed to train overhead athletes!

7. One-sided back pain is almost always related to a lack of hip external rotation and hip extension range of motion.  If your hip doesn’t externally rotate sufficiently, you’ll compensate by rotating more at your lumbar spine.  If you don’t have terminal hip extension (thanks to glutes that actually fire), you’ll compensate with lumbar hyperextension.  Extension-rotation syndromes are a good 80% of lower back problems.  Work on hip mobility and stabilize the lumbar spine, and you’ll be golden.  Aggressive soft tissue work with the foam roller and lacrosse ball is useful on the TFL/IT band, quads, adductors, piriformis, and gluteus medius.

For others, the rotational deficit will be in internal rotation.  Know how to assess both and you’ll be able to head off problems before they set in.

8. Direct training for the subscapularis is a commonly overlooked training initiative that can yield tremendous results.  This is especially true in the aforementioned overhead throwing athletes who have tightness in the posterior capsule.  This is also a common problem in those who have noteworthy amounts of scar tissue on pectoralis major - and this is often exemplified when someone has an uneven lockout while bench pressing.  When infraspinatus and teres minor are doing a lot of work and getting scarred up as a result, you know that there is a good chance that the subscapularis isn't doing its job in depressing the humeral head.  Run a lift-off test to check subscap function, and then correlate your findings with scar tissue in the posterior capsule. My favorite exercise for improving subscap function is the prone internal rotation; you can find a video HERE.  Avoid the common substitution patterns of flexing the wrist, anteriorly tilting the scapula, and extending the elbow.  Think 90/90 in terms of shoulder and elbow angles. 9. Vanilla protein powder is really versatile.  I'm far from a gourmet chef, but I've come to the conclusion that if I put Vanilla Metabolic Drive in a blender with some ice and water, I can make pretty much anything taste tolerable.  Yesterday, just for the heck of it, I used spinach, broccoli, and blueberries - and I didn't even need to pinch my nose to drink it.  I guess you could call that the lazy man's Greens Plus... Of course, you could always pick up a copy of Precision Nutrition, which includes the Gourmet Nutrition cookbook, and actually make it taste good. 10. The rhomboids aren't as innocent as you think.  Typically, the rhomboids are "tossed in" with the lower and middle traps as the "good" scapular retractors.  In reality, with the line of pull of the rhomboids, you basically have a muscle group that in many ways parallels the function of the upper traps - which we know contribute to scapular dysfunction and shoulder, upper back, and neck pain. I've seen a lot of upper body problems resolve with dedicated soft tissue work - both in the form of massage and rolling the upper back with a doubled tennis ball (masking taped together) - on the rhomboids. We'll be back next week with more expert tips!  Until then, train hard and have fun! All the Best, EC
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10 Weight Training Tips

A while back, I wrote “40 Random Thoughts,” and it turned out to be one of my most popular articles to-date.  In it, I wrote:

Perhaps it's because I read so much or simply because the majority of my time is devoted to training and nutrition, but I've always got about a million loosely-related things bouncing around in my head.

Some might think that this is a bad thing, as I'd be too distracted to accomplish anything. That couldn't be further from the truth, though. In fact, I honestly think that it allows me to see important relationships — finding kinetic chain compensation patterns; correlating injuries with dysfunction; and considering interactions between training, nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle — that might otherwise be overlooked.

As I thought about the popularity of that article, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the industry notables with whom I speak on a daily basis have some great stuff along these lines rattling around their brains on a daily basis – so I asked them!

In each of the next several installments, you’ll hear over random tidbits (over a hundred in all) from various specialists in the “biz” in their areas of expertise.

This week, I’ll get the ball rolling with ten of my own.  Here are the first five:

1. Footwear – or lack thereof – is one way to change the training stimulus.  I’ve written quite a bit about how all my athletes and clients do their warm-ups barefooted, but I think that we really have four primary stimuli from which to draw.  The majority of our weight-room training should come from the first two categories:

a. Barefoot

b. Flat-soled shoes: Chuck Taylors, wrestling shoes, Nike Frees

c. Elevated: cross-trainers, running shoes

d. Ultra-elevated (use sparingly): Olympic lifting shoes

We spend a lot of time discussing sets, reps, rest intervals, and the like – but nobody really ever pays attention to how footwear can alter a movement – just like grip width or thickness, or hand/foot position.

2. Use a neutral grip for easy transition to powerlifting style benching.  Many people struggle with making the switch from “bodybuilder-style” (elbows flared) bench pressing to a more shoulder-friendly “powerlifter-style” (elbows tucked) bench approach.  You can easily expedite this process by doing all your bench assistance pressing with dumbbells using a neutral (palms facing-in) grip.

3. Try Lynx Grips.  These are awesome implements for three main reasons.  First, they’re a portable thick bar that you can take anywhere.  Second, making a barbell or dumbbell mechanically wider can distribute forces on the wrist and hand more evenly, providing less stress to those coming back from upper extremity injuries.  And, third, these implements are a great alternative to gloves for women who want to avoid calluses, but don’t want to lose their grip on the bar.  Use one as a substitute for gloves, and two on top of one another to create a great thick handle.

4.  In an untrained lifter, deadlifts are a guaranteed 15 pounds of muscle mass.  Think about it: you’re using your entire upper back, glutes, hamstrings, core musculature, and forearms.  If you haven’t done anything with these muscles before, they’re going to get bigger quickly.  Put 100 pounds on a newbie’s deadlift and you’ll bump him up a shirt size in no time.  This principle can also be applied to experienced lifters who haven’t deadlifted in the past; leg curls just won’t get the job done to the same extent that heavy deadlifts and rack pulls will.  For added upper back emphasis, try snatch grip versions.

5. Don’t force clean-grip front squats on anyone.  I’ve seen athletes get great results on front squats with using the cross-face grip and modified clean grip with straps – neither of which place undue stress on the wrists of unprepared individuals.  This, in my opinion, is just one of those “do what feels right” issues.  Don’t be so quick to throw the cross-face and modified clean grip with straps (photo credit to Mike Boyle) under the bus; we aren’t squatting for wrist performance!  If you’re comfortable with the clean grip and have the flexibility, though, by all means, go for it.

We'll be back in a few days with tips 6-10 from me.  For now, I'm off to the new facility to train athletes amidst the renovation madness!

All the Best, EC
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Cressey Performance’s Facilities

I know I’ve been a bit out of the loop of late, but I’m happy to report that it’s been for a good reason.

On Friday, July 13th, I officially made the move to open my own facility.  Since my return to Boston last year, business has taken off like I couldn’t possibly have imagined, and it was time to go for it.  While we’re still making a ton of renovations and some of the equipment purchases won’t arrive for another few weeks, Cressey Performance is already in full-swing; my athletes and clients are practically kicking the door down.

Located in Hudson, MA, the facility is roughly 4,500 square feet, including:

-Roughly 2,500 feet devoted to strength training equipment

-a 40-yard straightaway for sprinting (soon to be turf)

-roughly 1,000 feet of open space for movement training

-two offices

The facility itself is a subdivision of a 16,000-square-foot space we’ll be sharing with America’s Pastime, a baseball training facility that has eight batting cages and two pitching mounds.  I work with a ton of baseball guys, so we’ve basically created a place where they can hit, throw, sprint, and lift all in the same trip.  We’re also exploring the possibility of a second smaller location closer to the city where I can work in a more individualized context with my higher-level athletes.

I consider myself really fortunate to have onboard two guys – Pete Dupuis and Tony Gentilcore – who will be great assets for years to come.  We’ll be dealing with a ton of young athletes, and both these guys have a lot of experience with that population (Pete has coached high school soccer for five years, and Tony is still certified as a teacher in NY state).  Pete will be handling the business side of Cressey Performance so that Tony and I can focus on our strengths: coaching athletes and helping people to achieve their fitness goals.

Logistics aside, I have to get a bit sentimental here and say that having my name on a facility like this means more than you can possibly imagine.  Many of you know that I went through some tough times years ago because I was a young athlete who never had guidance in terms of training and nutrition.  I really could have used a place like this years ago.

I’ve coached professional and Olympic athletes, set world records in powerlifting, published two books, created nine DVDs, written over 200 articles, and spoken all over the US and abroad, but the truth is that all of that doesn’t even feel remotely significant when I think about the difference Cressey Performance will be able to make for thousands of young athletes in the years to come.

When I go back to my hometown of Kennebunk, ME and see generations of students and parents raving about what a difference my mother (a local teacher) has made in their lives, I can’t help but think that it would be a great position for me to be in 25 years from now.  In the context of our industry, Mike Boyle is a perfect example of what someone who really cares about his athletes can do over an extended period of time.  I consider myself very fortunate to have guys like Mike, Alwyn Cosgrove, Dave Tate,John Berardi, and Jason Ferruggia as friends and mentors; this certainly would never have come to fruition without them.

I want to take a moment to thank two vendors – Perform Better and Elite Fitness Systems – for all their help in pulling this thing together on such short notice.  You won’t find better service anywhere.

As it’s the season of physique transformations, it seems only fitting to post a “before” picture of my own…own FACILITY, that is.  Here's what the place looked like on Saturday morning, July 14.  The place already looks dramatically different, and we'll have more up-to-date photos for you very soon.

It’s been an incredibly busy and exhausting three weeks thus far, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to all of you readers and customers for helping me (in one way or another) to get to where I am today.  Thanks for your continued support, and my apologies for being out of the loop as we’ve worked to pull this all together.  Please keep an eye out for the official launch of www.CresseyPerformance.com – and information on a grand opening.  Renovations should be complete early next week, with the remainder of our equipment arriving by the end of the month.

In the meantime, you can support the cause by picking up a Cressey Performance T-Shirt from our PRODUCTS page.

Some other quick notes:

-A huge thanks goes out to everyone who attended my Program Design workshop at Equinox in NYC on July 22 (yes, I really went to New York amidst all this).

-My co-author Matt Fitzgerald and I just submitted a new book to our editor at Avalon Publishing; it’ll be released in the Spring of 2008.  I’ll be filling you in on more details soon.

-I highly recommend you check out a great interview with Dr. Jeff Volek at T-Nation.  I was fortunate enough to study under Dr. Volek (among others) at the University of Connecticut, and he’s absolutely brilliant.  You won’t be disappointed with this interview.

All the Best,


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Newsletter #63

EC on the Fitcast

I didn't realize it had been over a year since my last appearance on the Fitcast, and given what an eventful year it's been, there was plenty to talk about!  We spent a ton of time talking about training baseball guys; correcting shoulder and knee problems; and mobilizations for those who spend too much time at computers.  Check out the free audio interview HERE or download at thefitcast.com. Also, for those who are curious about the old newsletter interview with Mike Stare that I referenced in this interview, you can find it HERE.

More Feedback on Muscle Gaining Secrets

In my newsletter last weekend, I talked about how impressed I was with Jason Ferruggia's new e-book.  However, that was only after I reviewed it - not after I had actually had the chance to test it out on some of my younger athletes.  Many high school guys are notorious for undereating and shortchanging their training efforts, so I printed out a copy of the "High-Powered Nutrition" component of the e-book package and had them look it over.  The two guys to whom I showed it both commented that it was really user-friendly - and I got the following email from one of their parents that same night: "Eric - I just got home and noticed a pile of plates in the sink with remnants like cottage cheese and eggs on them.  You know how to motivate the kid." Jay's been training athletes for years, and he knows how to cut through the BS with his writing and nutrition recommendations - and feedback like this shows me that his new products are going to be a huge help with my scrawny young athletes.  For more information, check out Muscle Gaining Secrets.

NYC Seminar Update

Just a reminder that I'll be in New York City on Sunday, July 22 for a seminar at Equinox.  For more information, please email Geralyn Coopersmith at gcoopersmith@equinoxfitness.com.  Hope to see some of you there!

Blog Updates

We're still updating on a daily basis with the blog, so if you haven't checked it out recently, head over to www.EricCressey.Blogspot.com to catch up on things. All the Best, EC
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Muscle Gaining Secrets

First off, I want to apologize for the delay since our last newsletter.  Since the high baseball playoffs and school year ended, the athletes have practically been kicking the doors to the gym down!  Of course, I’m not one to shy away from a motivated athlete – and to that end, I’ve brought work home with me as well.  Right now, a member of the US Skeleton Team is crashing on my couch for the week while she gets some training in here in Boston!  Toss in the final edits and photo shoot on our book deal with Avalon Publishing (to be released early next year), and it’s shaping up to be a busy summer.  But, the Cressey Performance Newsletter show must go on - even if it means I'm sending it out on a Sunday afternoon!

Congratulations to Kevin Scanlan

Cressey Performance athlete Kevin Scanlan of Lincoln-Sudbury capped off his state championship year by winning the Massachusetts State Player of the Year from the Boston Globe.  Additionally, Kevin was selected to the Boston Herald All-Scholastic team, and has been named a Louisville Slugger All-American Honorable Mention.  Kevin finished the season 12-0 with nine shutouts and 0.14 ERA – and he’s already hard at work preparing for fall-ball at the University of Maine.

The Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team finished the year at 26-1 with a #6 ranking in USA Today East Region.

Muscle Gaining Secrets

Given my crazy schedule, I think I might be the last guy in the world to review Jason Ferruggia’s newest product after he sent it my way last week, but I wanted to throw Jay a quick thumbs-up on a job well done.  Muscle Gaining Secrets is a product that absolutely every beginning lifter should be required to own.  When I think back on all the money and time I wasted on silly supplements, garbage muscle magazines, worthless exercises, and terrible training programs, I can’t help but want to beat my head against a wall.  Among the items I liked the most about Jay’s e-book and the several accompanying bonuses:

-Easy-to-understand approach to carb cycling

-Very thorough Q&A

-Good individualization for those everyone from the absolute beanpoles to those who tend to store fat easily

-Cuts through a ton of supplement hype and tells you which few are worthwhile

-Excellent Interview with Keith Scott about preventing and correcting imbalances

-Fantastic Interview with Jim Wendler on everything from training techniques, to programming strategies, to attitude adjustments

Jay includes a ton of sample programming and a straightforward approach to explaining the why and how instead of just the “what.”  If you’re just getting started and are in need of direction – or you’re trying to get from that intermediate to advanced stage – this e-book is a great option for you.

Muscle Gaining Secrets

Perform Better Tour Wrap-up

Last Sunday marked the final stop on the 2007 Perform Better Tour: Providence, Rhode Island.  It was a great opportunity to catch up with various friends in the industry and dozens of longtime readers.  I want to take this moment to thank everyone who made the trip out for my speaking engagements in Atlanta, Chicago,and Providence.  Chris Poirier and the Perform Better crew earn my highest praise for putting on some tremendous events with outstanding attention to detail.  I highly recommend you checking out the tour next year; I know that I can’t wait to go back on the road with it!

Also on the Seminar Front…

I’ll be giving a one-day program design workshop at Equinox in New York City on Sunday, July 22nd.  Limited spots are available, so don’t delay in contacting Geralyn Coopersmith for more information at Geralyn.Coopersmith@equinoxfitness.com.  Hope to see you there!

New Article and Contribution

For those of you who aren’t looking to pack on slabs of muscle, here are a few other options for you:

Weight-Room Movements for Cyclists: Part 3 (by me)

You Can’t Run in These, Girl! (great review of what high heels do to your body, by Yael Grauer)

We've also been updating daily with the blog at www.EricCressey.Blogspot.com, so be sure to check in frequently for Q&A, updates, training videos, and random diatribes!

All the Best,


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Congratulations Coach Fredericks

On Saturday night, the Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team reminded me why I’ll absolutely never become one of those internet gurus who doesn’t train anyone in person.  LS defeated Algonguin 3-2 to win the Massachusetts Division 1 state final in just its second year at the D-1 level.

The Final Pitch

Coach Kirk Fredericks on Kevin Scanlan’s Performance

The guys played their butts off and it was a complete honor knowing that I had something to do with what will probably be one of the greatest moments of their lives.

Shortstop Justin Quinn, catcher Eddie Bleiler, and pitcher Kevin Scanlan were the first three LS guys to take a chance on the “new guy in town” based solely on Carl Valle’s recommendation when I moved back to Boston last August.  In less than a year, we’ve established a positive training culture that will undoubtedly lead to long-term success for years to come.  We now have 18 LS guys planning to come in for training this off-season, and I have Carl and these three guys to thank for affording me the opportunity to succeed in what I do. Perhaps the best indicator of the aforementioned culture is that three hours before game-time, I got a text message from LS’ fourth starting pitcher - a guy who knew he wouldn't play.  He wanted to know if I had time to get him in for his first off-season lift on Sunday; he wanted to be in the gym regardless of whether they won or lost in the state championship game.

Congratulations to Coach Fredericks and the entire LS team for your accomplishments on the field – and your willingness to do what it takes in the off-season to set the stage for that success.

As for me, I couldn't be any more excited for this summer's training. To kick off this off-season, I'm going to get the ball rolling with a 30% off sale on The Ultimate Off-Season Manual.  This sale will run through Saturday, June 23rd. Don't miss out on the opportunity to check out some of the planning, performance testing, and sample programs that I've implemented with my athletes.  For more information, check out The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual.

Free Special Report

And, for those of you who haven't heard about it yet, check out this FREE special report from Leigh Peele. Beyond the Norm: Advanced Questions from Advanced Trainers and Nutritionists Contributors include Lou Schuler, Mike Robertson, Jonathan Fass, Alan Aragon, Tony Gentilcore, Geovanni Derice, John Izzo, Eric Cressey, Jimmy Smith, Robert dos Remedios, Bill Hartman, and Chris Mohr. And, to all the fathers and grandfathers out there, Happy Father's Day! EC
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Z-Health at Excel

Congratulations are in order....again!

I just wanted to preface this newsletter with a few tips of the cap to some Cressey Performance athletes and colleagues who have had great weeks. First, the #1-ranked Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team continued in its winning ways last night, beating Boston College High 7-1 to advance to the Division State finals this Saturday.  In all, I have 17 LS baseball guys ready to go for this off-season; it speaks volumes for why they're now 24-1 on the season.  Great job, guys! Second, while many of you surely know that the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup last week, I highly doubt many of you know about a guy who is doing an awesome job behind the scenes as their strength and conditioning coach.  Sean Skahan deserves a ton of credit; he's a really bright, passionate coach who really knows his stuff.  They're lucky to have him, and it goes without saying that he's a huge part of their success in staying healthy and performing at high levels.  Congratulations, Sean!

New Article

You can now find Part III of my "Mastering the Deadlift" series at T-Nation.  Enjoy!

Z-Health at Excel: A Quick Recap

As many of you know, we held the first weekend of the R-Phase certification for Z-Health this past weekend.  To say that I was impressed with the system would be an understatement.  Generally, when I go to seminars, I'm looking to walk away with bits and pieces here and there that I can incorporate into my own philosophy - and Dr. Cobb and Kathy provided that and a whole lot more.  A few highlights: 1. Z-Health offers some excellent ankle mobilizations and the best thoracic spine approaches I’ve seen to-date.  I've already applied both with some excellent immediate effects - not universally, but definitely applicable in certain situations. One athlete with stubborn ankles front squatted deep and clean for the first time after just five specific ankle mobilizations, and another basketball guy claimed that he actually felt taller after three reps of thoracic extension work.  He’s a 6-2 shooting guard who needs to be 6-4 to take himself to the next level at that position as a prospect, so we’re moving in the right direction!  I'm fortunate to have over 40 "guinea pigs" with whom I can work on a weekly basis, so I'll be experimenting more in the two months before weekend #2 in August. 2. By my own admission, I've been overlooking the relationship between the cervical spine and thoracic spine during T-Spine mobilizations.  Whether I use the Z drills or not for a particular T-Spine mobilization, I'm going to be paying a lot more attention to keeping the C-spine in neutral.  That alone could explain the incremental value of this modality over what I've seen. 3. I’d rather have a mobilization (self-imposed change) than a manipulation (someone else changing us in a non-functional context…i.e. on our backs on a table).  This system offers a lot of value in that regard - and I wish more manual therapists would take note. 4. Z-Health offers some simple but effective elbow and wrist initiatives for those involved in grip-intensive sports.  Given my smaller joint structure (very small wrists), my forearm musculature really takes a beating - and I compromise joint mobility by wearing wrist wraps with my heaviest benching.  So, I'm excited to see what shakes free over the next few months.  And, this doesn't even take into account all the problems people face simply from typing. 5.  Dr. Cobb provided some excellent discussions of mechanoreceptors vs. nocioceptors and the differential responses to varying training stimuli.  In short, training through pain is never a good idea; you can always look to different joints and different planes of motion to build to your "optimal" training approach.  Sometimes, indirect is best (a theme that resounds with Z). 6. Perhaps most importantly, Kathy and Dr. Eric Cobb are highly professional and friendly.  Unlike some fitness industry presenters, there are no swollen egos or "that's beyond the scope of this presentation, so you'll need to attend my five-day seminar and buy $2,000 worth of products to get the answers."  They give you what you pay for and a whole lot more; it's definitely a very wise investment. With all that said, you’d be wise to check them out in seminar.  They’ll be doing R-Phase certifications in California, Texas, and North Carolina over the next few months – and returning to Boston for the second weekend of R-Phase in August.  For more information, check them out at www.zhealth.net.

With the Off-Season upon us...

I thought you might be interested in some feedback I received about The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual: “I just received your manual and opened it up to take what I thought would be a quick glance.  ‘Suddenly,’ I found myself three hours later not wanting to put it down. The information you provided in this manual is absolutely fantastic.  I've competed in two professional sports, getting only so far with each one; I can honestly say that the off-season training I did for both is really what ultimately got me there.

“This manual would have had a tremendous impact on my training. It would have taken the guessing and hoping out of my routines and instead given me the confidence needed to attack my training sessions. The routines provided are also extremely helpful, as they not only guide you in the beginning, but take you all the way through a legitimate off-season.  I can't say enough how I wish I had something like this while in college and through out my professional athletic career. This is a must-have for athletes and coaches; I highly recommend it.”

Al Caslow

Elite Powerlifter, Former NFL Wide Receiver


The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual Until next week, train hard and have fun! EC
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Exclusive Interview Craig Ballantyne

Reminder: Cressey Performance Shirts Pre-Order Deadline

For those who missed the original announcement email, pre-orders for the first ever Cressey Performance shirts will end Wednesday at midnight. For more information, check out:


EricCressey.com Exclusive Interview: Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is one of the most widely published and successful guys in our industry – and for a good reason: he gets results. His Turbulence Training protocols have helped thousand of people get lean over the past few years, and with summer upon us, I figured it would be a great time to track Craig down for an interview.

EC: Let’s be honest: every Average Joe trainer under the sun has an e-book or 5-minute guide to sucker misinformed housewives into shelling out hundreds of dollars to learn the “hidden secret” of fat loss. Frankly, I’ve had hundreds of products along these lines cross my path in the past few years, and the only two that have withstood the test of time – and yielded outstanding results time-and-time again are yours and Cosgrove’s. I know about your programming, but let’s enlighten our readers a bit about what makes Turbulence Training so effective.

CB: I think there are a lot of other good ideas and programs out there; not a day goes by that I don't get a good idea from another trainer.  Maybe Alwyn and I just claimed the catchiest names - or maybe it’s the Scottish last name.

What I've done over the years is take my experience in research, and in training athletes, and in working with busy people with minimal equipment, and rolled that up into a program that meets the needs of my readers.

I've adapted the program quite a bit over the years because users have demanded changes. For example, in the past, it used to focus on barbell exercises, but now includes only dumbbell and bodyweight exercises (with the exception of my more advanced "Fusion and Synergy" fat loss programs).

The principles remain the same, though. We use more intense strength training than traditional programs (lower reps, not as low as a powerlifter, but lower than 99% of fat loss programs recommended in the past - although this is changing as the approach becomes more popular).

Each workout uses supersets. This gets the workout done faster. I also use what I call "non-competing" supersets, basically referring to supersetting two exercises that don't use the same muscles - including grip strength.

So, a dumbbell split squat and a dumbbell chest press would be non-competing. A dumbbell reverse lunge and a dumbbell row would be competing, because they both demand intense grip work. So, I'd avoid the lunge-row combo.

And then we finish up each workout with interval training. This, too, has evolved over the years. I used to recommend basic 30-second intervals, with 60-second recovery, done on a bike or treadmill (or sprints outside). Now I'm using bodyweight circuits in place of intervals, or sometimes barbell complexes, or sometimes even high-rep dumbbell work.

These changes have all been based on feedback from users. For example, a lot of Turbulence Training readers work out at home with nothing but dumbbells and a bench; they don't have a machine for cardio. So, we use bodyweight circuits instead. These are great and can be adapted for any fitness level.

For the interval type circuits, I like to use six total bodyweight exercises, three lower body and three upper body. Then just alternate between upper and lower in a 6-exercise circuit.

So bottom line, a Turbulence Training workout will run like this:

5-minute bodyweight warm-up

20-minutes superset strength training

18-minutes interval training

7-minutes stretching or mobility work

We do three hard workouts per week, yet I emphasize that everyday is an exercise day (that is, on the four days you don't do a hard Turbulence Training workout, you must still get 30 minutes of activity - preferably something you enjoy and enables you to spend time with family or friends).

EC: Along these same lines, where are most fat loss programs falling short? Where are people missing the boat?

CB: Mostly in nutrition, to be frank.

But as for the workout component, relying solely on long, slow cardio exercise to build the body of your dreams is only going to lead to pain and frustration from a lack of results.

It is simply not an efficient way to exercise for fat loss. If you only have 45 minutes to exercise, and you spend 40 of those minutes on a cardio machine, then you have no hope of building the body you want.

The cardio mindset is all about breaking down the body, burning calories, and looking negatively at food (i.e. how much exercise can I do to punish myself for eating this brownie?). It's that 1980s aerobic-high carbohydrate mentality that has literally ruined people's lives by leading them down the wrong physical path.

The Turbulence Training fat loss mindset is positive, and is focused on building the body, boosting the metabolism, and developing positive nutrition rituals that fuel your body for mental and physical performance.

Another mistake of fat loss programs is focusing on the "calories burned". Just like the nutrition industry is slowly starting to recognize that a "calorie isn't always a calorie", we need to accept that the number of calories burned in a workout is not the main determinant of fat loss success.

First, machine calorie counters are notoriously inaccurate. Second, you can wipe out all the calories you just burned in about 30 seconds with a Starbucks summer drink. And finally, we need to look at the bigger question - and that is how does your workout affect your daily metabolism?

I believe a high-intensity workout - like Turbulence Training - leads to better results because it focuses on boosting your metabolism. So while you won't burn as many calories during the workout - according to the machine - you end up burning more fat over the course of the day and week. And that's the bottom line.

EC: Memorial Day weekend was the unofficial start to summer, meaning that millions of people are scrambling to get as lean as possible as fast as possible. If you had to give them three bits of advice, what would they be?

CB: First, your nutrition is going to give you the majority of your results. Find a time when you can go to the grocery store and prepare your meals for the week. Stick to that. Give yourself a little reward each week, but don't go overboard.

Find out how many calories you eat now. Then cut back on your calories AND try to improve the quality of your nutrition. Take baby steps, and don't move too quickly. For example, tomorrow, make sure you eat one additional fruit. The day after, add one extra serving of vegetables. The third day, cut out all sugary beverages. And so on.

Second, get social support. Whether you find kindred fat loss spirits on the Internet, at work, in the gym, or at home with a family member, make sure you have someone that you can be accountable to (get a trainer once a week), and that will support you (if your family isn't supportive, find someone on a good internet forum or a buddy at work).

Social support will keep you out of the wrong eating situations and will always be there to help you hit new personal bests in your workouts. Don't underestimate what a helping hand can do for your fat loss.

Third, if you really want to succeed, then be prepared to suck it up for a few weeks. After all, what's eight weeks of discipline over the course of a lifetime? It's nothing. Just think about the last eight weeks of your life...doesn't it seem like that time just flew by?

So, if you get serious about your nutrition and consistent with an intense program of strength training and interval training, you can make dramatic changes in four weeks, eight weeks, or whatever is left this summer.

Find a time when you know you can stick to your workout. Don't let anything get in the way.

And after eight weeks of consistent effort, you'll have a better body, and this is where it gets good...

You'll find its much easier to maintain a great body, AND you'll have built so many healthy habits in those eight weeks that you won't feel like going back to the old way of living where you ate - and felt - like crap all the time. Plus, you'll have a consistent exercise habit. It's a win-win situation to put yourself through an eight-week intensive regimen.

EC: This interview comes at an opportune time for our readers, as you’re making Turbulence Training available at a special offer; what’s the scoop?

CB: This is the one-year anniversary of my program's relaunch at TurbulenceTraining.com. Over the past year, we've helped thousands of people lose fat in less time than ever, and we want to help even more this year.

So I twisted a few arms and rounded up some excellent bonuses that are available for the next 3 days during our birthday sale. They are...

1) Meal Plans for Men & Women by Dr. Chris Mohr (Value $99)

2) How to Measure Your Body Fat by Dr. John Berardi (Value $29.97)

3) High-Octane, Fat Burning Recipes by Mike Roussell (Value $19.99)

4) How Hormones Affect Your Fat Loss: A Special Report from Dr. Holly Lucille & Jon Benson (Value $19.99)

5) A One-Month Bonus Trial at Global-Fitness (Value $9.95)

6) The Turbulence Training Hardcore Fat Loss 4-Week Program by Craig Ballantyne (Value $19.99)

7) A Three-Month Basic Level Membership to the Turbulence Training Discussion Forums & Other Exclusive Fat Loss Info (Value $59.85)

Total Value of these extra bonuses is $259.73 – but we’re offering them free for the 72 between Monday, June 4 and Wednesday, June 6.  If readers are curious, they can check them out at TurbulenceTraining.com.

EC: Thanks for your time, Craig; great material.  We'll have to do it again soon.
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Mastering the Deadlift

"A" is for Article

I had Parts I and II of a three-part series published at T-Nation since our last newsletter; it could be everything you ever wanted to know about deadlifts, and Part III is still to come!

Mastering the Deadlift: Part I

Mastering the Deadlift: Part II

"B" is for Bulletproof Knees

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: the Magnificent Mobility DVD and Building the Efficient Athlete DVD set were both originally MY ideas.  I say this not to boast, but to clearly demonstrate that I approached Mike Robertson with the ideas because I firmly believed that his abilities were an outstanding complement to my own; they made the products better.  In particular, Mike's knowledge of lower extremity functional anatomy, pathology, and exercise programming is among the best in the business. In addition to working in the corrective exercise realm with hundreds of knee injuries, Mike has had knee surgery himself and formerly competed in two sports - basketball and volleyball - notorious for knee pathologies.  Combine these experiences with his various educational pursuits, and you have a guy that knows knees REALLY well. To that end - whether you're a weekend warrior looking to avoid or bounce back from a knee injury, or a fitness professional looking to help clients in these situations - I wholeheartedly endorse Mike's new Bulletproof Knees manual.  Perhaps my favorite part of this resource is that it enables you to be proactive instead of reactive in dealing with knee problems.  Mike shows you how to prevent the problem in the first place, and work around it/correct it if the problem has already reached threshold.  You won't find many resources that can be so versatile, but then again, you won't find many people that know knees like Mike Robertson.

Check it out for yourself:  Bulletproof Knees

"C" is for Congratulations

I want to send out a big congratulations to Dede Griesbauer on her second place finish at the Ironman Brazil this weekend with a time of 9:18:18.  In doing so, Dede qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on October 13.  Great job, Dede! As a random aside, I did the math on this, and assuming five seconds per attempt at a powerlifting meet (nine total lifts), I would need to compete in 745 meets to do the same duration of exercise as Dede from this past weekend.  Just a fun fact I'll be pondering over our next 4.5 months of training... Additionally, congratulations and good luck to the Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team, which enters the state playoffs as the #1 ranked team in Massachusetts with a record of 18-1.

"D" is for Designs

I can't let the cat out of the bag just yet, but within the next 48 hours, we'll be unveiling the new Cressey Performance logos - and the shirts on which they'll be found.  Stay tuned for a chance to pre-order...

I'll be attending the First Annual Northeastern University Distinguished Lecture Seminar in Sports Medicine on Friday, so if you're in attendance, be sure to say hello and introduce yourself.

Oh, I want to wish a happy belated birthday to Bill Hartman.  I hope it was a good one, buddy. All the Best,


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  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series