Home Posts tagged "Off-Season"

Specificity, Delayed Transmutation, and Long-Term Baseball Development

We had a great staff in-service on strength and conditioning programming yesterday, and it really got the wheels turning in my brain. The end result was this video, which is especially timely, given that many professional baseball players are about to begin their off-season training.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual

Take a Comprehensive Look at High-Level,
       Year-Round Athletic Development!

Fellow Athletes and Coaches,

I simply can’t stand it anymore. I’ve watched it with my own eyes, and heard about it with my own ears – thousands of times. MILLIONS of hard-working, dedicated athletes are spinning their wheels with ineffective off-season programming. These are athletes just like YOU and those that YOU coach. They’re experiencing mediocre gains or no gains when they should be improving dramatically. They’re settling for acceptable when they could be getting optimal. They’re sitting on the bench when they should be starting and winning MVP awards and championship trophies.

The time has come for an off-season training resource that will revolutionize the way that athletes and coaches approach this crucial time of the training year. The time has come to get to the truth. The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual is that truth and much, much more!


Unlike other resources out there that just provide cookie cutter programs, this breakthrough manual won’t just teach you the “what;” it’ll teach you the “who, what, when, where, how and why!” It’s not a “do this” or a “the textbook says this” guide; it’s a how-to manual that will show you step-by-step what it takes to become a superior athlete faster than you ever thought possible!


Here’s a sample of what this cutting-edge manual covers:

· The difference between what an athlete or coach wants to hear and what that individual needs to hear when it comes to performance enhancement training.

· Why a counterintuitive approach to off-season programming is the key to success.

· The introduction of the “Black Hole of Athleticism,” the area in which the majority of athletes and go astray in programming.

· A discussion of the wide range of factors that can limit athletic performance, how they interact with each other, and how to enhance them so that YOU can reach all-new levels of performance!

· How effective off-season programming can dramatically reduce the risk of injury.

· The differences among overload, over-reaching, and overtraining – and how to evaluate an athlete if you suspect true overtraining.

· Sample yearly planning models for a wide variety of sports – and a tutorial on how to divide your own off-season into the early off-season, general off-season, and late off-season for optimal results.

· How to construct an ideal early off-season template to set the stage for an insanely productive off-season.

· The best performance tests to not only evaluate an athlete’s physical state, but also gather information upon which to base programming for YOU.

· A discussion of the Static-Spring Continuum and how to determine where an athlete exists on this continuum (this alone is worth the price of the manual and a whole lot more).

· Recommendations on how static-proficient and spring-proficient athletes should train differently than each other

· How to integrate active recovery into an off-season training template so that you feel motivated to train.

· How I added four inches to my vertical jump in a matter of months – accidentally!

· Why the general off-season is the “meat and potatoes” of the training year, and how to make the most of it.

· How to individualize the start-up point for the late off-season.

· How to use the late off-season to prepare for preseason without sacrificing the incredible gains YOU make in the general off-season

· What diminished rest interval training is, and what it means to YOU.

· How to consolidate your most taxing training within the training week to allow for optimal performance with sufficient rest.

· The difference between open-loop and closed-loop training – and when to use each during the training year.

· How to effectively integrate Strongman training into your training year.

· 30 Weeks of Sample Programming – including Mobility, Strength, Reactive, and Movement Training!


Wait...there’s more!

In addition to teaching you how to plan so that you and your athletes perform at all new levels, this manual will make you an instant expert in the field! You’ll know:

· What’s right and what’s wrong with the current state of performance enhancement training in young athletes.

· How to spot a phony performance enhancement coach or facility.

· Why quarterbacks are vertical jumping over 40 inches all the time, while only a few prospects at the NBA combine are even topping 35 inches!

· How to determine if a young athlete is ready for specialization.

· Why a “Go Faster” athlete will always triumph over a “Go Longer” athlete with proper training.

· Why the weight lifted on a one-repetition maximum attempt only tells you half the story; you’re missing some important information if bar weight is the only thing you’re considering!


The fantastic information contained in this manual isn’t just particular to a certain class of athletes, either. It has tremendous value to athletes in a variety of sports:

· Football
· Basketball
· Soccer
· Baseball/Softball
· Hockey
· Field Hockey
· Mixed Martial Arts
· Lacrosse
· Track & Field
· Rugby
· Skiing
· Volleyball
· Swimming
· Crew
· Cycling
· Distance Running
· And many more!

Click Here to Order The Ultimate Off-Season Training E-Book for just $49.99 using our 100% Secure Server!




Note: The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual is an e-book. No physical products will be shipped. 

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Newsletter 162

Tis the Season...for Spondylolysis? I've written previously about the prevalence of spondylolysis (lumbar fractures) in young athletes - and particularly those in rotational sports.  You can read my in-depth newsletter on the problem HERE.  It's a huge problem in young athletes; I'd estimate that I've trained more than 15 athletes since 2006 through their entire 12-16 week back-bracing periods.


Now, while July is usually recognized for barbecues, baseball, and beaches (and anything else that's exciting and begins with a "B"), I've begun to recognize it as "back-bracing season."  What gives? Well, for starters, I've seen two new spondy cases come through our door in the past week.  Considering that prevalance is estimated at anywhere from 15-63% in the general population, it isn't a huge surprise.  However, why would more present with symptoms at this time of year? Think about the sports we play in the spring and summer: baseball, tennis, and lacrosse.  And, many soccer and hockey players have been going non-stop since the fall.  In other words, rotational sports have been going on for a long time, and kids are getting more and more detrained - with less flexibility and strength - as these neverending seasons go on. Likewise, as a great article in the Portland Press Herald observed this past weekend, many high school athletes are riding multiple horses with one saddle. In other words, now that they're out of school, you've got kids participating in basketball/hockey (winter) and lacrosse/baseball at the same time - and doing their best to attend fall sports (field hockey, soccer, football) practices.  And, just when they are ready for a day off, they're going to play golf with Dad on Sunday.  When are these kids removing the rotational challenges and preparing themselves physically with good strength, stability, and flexibility training? Anybody who says that the era of the three-sport athlete is dead doesn't know his arse from his elbow.  While early sports specialization has definitely taken off, now, multi-sport athletes are expected to "specialize" in three different sports at once.  They compete all the time, but never prepare their bodies to compete - or play at all. In The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual, I go into great detail on how those athletes who do choose to specialize should do so.


However, in younger populations, a lot of these guidelines don't apply, as they're balancing multiple sports.  They need to hang out with their friends, play multiple sports, and get involved in less organized physical activity.  And, most importantly, they need to participate in strength training and flexibility programs, as these exercise modalities are different than traditional sports because they can be fluctuated on a regular basis to avoid imbalances. I know there are a lot of parents who read this newsletter and are trying to do the right thing for their kids.  It isn't fair to condemn them for signing their kids up for another travel team, as that's the game as it's played with respect to player development and college recruiting nowadays.  However, I would encourage those parents to "undo" some of the early specialization damage by encouraging sons and daughters to participate in training to prepare their bodies for this specialization. Lastly, for those of you who are looking to learn more about low back pain, I can't say enough great things about Dr. Stuart McGill's Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance book.  It's a great investment.


A Quick Congratulations... Just a quick note to recognize CP athlete Danny O'Connor, who moved his professional boxing record to 7-0 last Saturday night.  Check out a great write-up in the Boston Globe featuring Danny, his coach, and some nutcase named Cressey: Punching His Ticket in the Pros
New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts Stuff You Should Read A Sneak Peak at the New Project EC Finally Understands Women Have a great week! EC
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Just One Missing Piece…

Each day, on my drive to work, I pass a series of traffic lights right where Rt. 16 in Somerville/Cambridge enters into Rt. 2, a pretty major pseudo-expressway here in Greater Boston. Without fail, at each traffic light, homeless folks will pace alongside stopped traffic with a cup in hand, asking for change (I'd say it's competitive among all of them, but the truth is that they seem to have a system mapped out, as there is always someone new on each corner daily). The locals have grown accustomed to it, and judging by the fact that these folks are there year-round, they make enough to get by. The other day, a gentlemen strolled past my car while I was stopped at a red light. He had the normal sign ("Homeless, Sober, God Bless") and the customary Dunkin' Donuts cup for change collection. However, he was also wearing a Yankees hat in the heart of Red Sox country - and in an area of knowledgeable/perceptive people (Harvard and Tufts are within a few miles of this spot, as a frame of reference). That hat couldn't be helping his cause... Here was a guy doing almost everything right (well, at least in the context of being homeless and asking for change), but he was missing out on a single crucial piece of the puzzle. It isn't all that different from most folks' fitness programs. You'll see people all the time have all sorts of stuff right: plenty of motivation, a good diet, a great training environment, top-of-the-line equipment, you name it. Then, they're missing out on something seemingly small, but hugely important. Maybe their back hurts because they're wearing cross-trainers when they deadlift (shifts the weight forward too much). Or, maybe they haven't implemented strategic deloading effectively, and are all banged-up or have hit a plateau. It might be poor exercise selection, too much or too little volume, or poor exercise technique. It's analogous to spending hours trying to figure out how to do your own taxes, and then overlooking a huge deduction you could have written off. You not only have to consider that you have physically lost money (the extra cash you paid to Uncle Sam would be your injuries and/or lack of progress); you also have to recognize the opportunity cost of your time doing taxes (efforts in the gym that didn't pay off). It would have been cheaper and more fruitful to just hire an accountant in the first place - just like you'd see a lawyer if you needed a contract, or a doctor if you needed surgery. For some reason, though, people have been conditioned to think that they can figure out exercise on their own. Just getting active is similar to understanding how to balance your checkbook. However, exercising safely, effectively, and efficiently is more along the lines of filing a tax return when you're self-employed with three ex-wives, 14 kids, and two company cars you want to write off (that's not me, for the record; I don't even have a goldfish, let alone 14 kids). What I'm saying in a not-so-concise format is that it's okay to outsource here and there. For a long time, I refused to put out articles and books/manuals that featured comprehensive programming, as I was all about how things need to be perfect for each individual. Eventually, though, after a lot of requests from readers, I broke down and found a happy medium when I wrote my Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual; it is a choose-your-own-adventure type of book where you tested yourself on some athletic qualities and then followed one of two programs depending on the time of year. The feedback was fantastic, and I realized that a lot of people were better off with an educated generic template than they were coming up with their own programs. That's why I was open to the idea of writing Maximum Strength when my co-author Matt Fitzgerald approached me with the idea. Effectively, we integrate comprehensive strength training, mobility/activation warm-ups, energy systems work, deloading, nutrition, supplementation, and quantifiable pre- and post-testing measures. For the majority of folks, these programs - with some minor modifications - do the trick. For others, more advanced strategies are necessary. Some folks see personal trainers, physical therapists, or orthopedists. I do a lot of online consulting work in the corrective exercise realm, helping folks who have chronic aches and pains that don't necessarily qualify them for physical therapy because they don't interfere with activities of daily living, but do act up with weight-training or sprinting, for example. I also work with a lot of folks who have just been discharged from physical therapy and need to figure out how to effectively transition back to "normal" training. So, with all this said, don't ever hesitate to outsource. Chances are there are people who outsource to YOU because you're an expert in some capacity where they need help.
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Dynamic vs. Repetition

Q: I've heard about people using a "repetition day - upper body" instead of the "dynamic effort day - upper body." What are the differences? How come you use the dynamic effort day instead of a repetition day in your Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual? Is a repetition day more CNS-intensive? A: Who says you can't do both? Throw a medicine ball, and then do rep work on the bench. Or, do jump squats before you deadlift. Oh no! Heresy! Most inexperienced athletes need both. Dynamic work usually encompasses drills that help teach deceleration/landing, change-of-direction, and acceleration while improving reactive ability. Repetition work helps strengthen connective tissue and groove appropriate movement patterns. You can do both! I'd generally say that the dynamic stuff is more CNS intensive, particularly when it involves a lot of jumping/sprinting (due to ground reaction forces, or GRF). For instance, with sprinting, ground reaction forces can anywhere from 4-6 times an athlete’s body weight; the better the technique, the lower the stress from the GRF. Conversely, if you’re a 1,000 pound squatter who is doing “speed” work with six plates a side, it’s still going to be considerably easier than jumping in and doing four sets of six reps at 750 pounds or so. The point is that there really isn’t a right answer. It’s influenced by your training age, overall strength, the stimuli to which your body has already been exposed – and the areas in which you need to improve the most. The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual
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Changing Parameters: Volume and Intensity

Q: It's almost the off season and I can't wait to start hitting the weights hard again. Just need your wisdom on a few things. I don't fully understand the volume and intensity weeks. If I perform, for example, 4 sets of 4 for deadlifts on week 1, and the next week calls for 6 singles, how am I supposed to progress since the parameters have been changed so much? I hope that makes sense, thanks for your time EC. A: Work up to a PR in good form for the day in week 2 - and then work backward from that. Let's say you work up to 400 and it's the best you can do in good form - and on the way up, you took 365 as your last warm-up. 360 is 90% of 400, so you've got two singles over 90% at that point. Then, take four more singles between 360 and 400, and you're done. www.EricCressey.com
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Should You Always Lift Your Heaviest?

Q: I have a question for you in regards to your Off-Season Training Manual. In regards to writing programs and actually doing them, how important is lifting the heaviest weight possible always? I am for the first time getting out of progressive overload style progression and I like the layout of High, Medium, Very High, Deload. I have already started to incorporate this into my training program. At the same time, I am fuzzy on exactly how to figure out how much weight I should be putting up week-in, week-out. With progressive overload it was pretty easier. If I did the weight one week, I move up the next. I have read through the entire thread and you've only mentioned that you should always be using the heaviest possible weight. Maybe I'm over thinking this, but in my mind adding weight while removing volume is essentially the same amount of work. i.e. If I drop a set when moving from high to medium, but add 10lbs to the working weight, am I really even doing a medium amount of work? Regardless, I guess any general advice on your strategy in regards to actual weight on the bar management would be good. A: You have to listen to your body. No, you aren't going to PR every time you walk in the gym, but it is still important to get some work in. I've often said that programming is 75% in advance, and 25% on the fly. You need to learn to roll with the punches and listen to your body. Additionally, it's important to learn to understand how rotating your heaviest compound exercises plays into this. You'll see that in the programs in the book, you change every other week. More advanced lifters can change weekly. Novice lifters can go 4-6 weeks without plateauing. Understand where you fall and act accordingly. Eric Cressey
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The 10 Best Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Squat

If you're an athlete - you must squat. Period. This straight-to-the-point gives you 10 tips you can use right away to instantly increase your squat strength, which means more strength on the combat field! Continue Reading...
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Ft. Lauderdale Seminar with Eric Cressey

Tired of dealing with aches and pains at the gym? If so, don’t miss this seminar! Who: Eric Cressey, performance enhancement specialist, and one of the fitness industry’s leading authorities on corrective exercise strategies and injury prevention What: Joint-Specific Mobility and Stability: A one-time opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s best how to prevent and correct the most common musculoskeletal problems once and for all! Topics to be covered include: -Functional Anatomy of Various Joints -Static and Dynamic Assessments -Corrective and Preventative Exercise Programming -The Art of Hardcore Corrective Exercise: How to Maintain a Training Effect While Correcting Imbalances -Troubleshooting Resistance Training Technique When: January 5, 2008: 9AM-4PM Where: Bahia Mar Beach Resort and Yachting Center 801 Seabreeze Boulevard, Ft Lauderdale FL, 33316 (888) 802-2442 Cost: *$99/person prior to December 20th, $129 thereafter; *$20 off for those with a valid student ID Contact: jonboyle at mac.com for more details
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Plyometrics and Growth Plates

Q: I had a question from a strength coach here regarding plyometric training and young athletes, so I thought I would shoot it off. Currently, these figure skating female athletes are 13 years old. They started with the strength coach here six months ago, working on foundational lifts (squat, clean, snatch, skip rope, jump squats, and some single leg stuff).

Another coach mentioned to their mother that they should be doing more plyometrics. Any opinions? My take based on previous reading is potential risk for growth plate injury, and that plyo's should be used cautiously until growth plate closure.

A: I don't think that there is anything wrong with plyos at such an age. Walking is plyometric, and sprinting is about the most plyometric activity you'll find. The bigger issue is why not focus on something with more return-on-investment? About the only thing you'll get from adding a lot more plyos in is an increased risk of overuse injury; they get enough jumping and landings on the ice, in most cases.

Most 13-year-olds are very weak and need to learn proper lifting technique to get ready for the day when they are ready to load the compound movements. Sure, SOME plyos have a place for such athletes, but you have to manage overall training stress; they aren't going to be able to do as much as another athlete who is in the off-season.

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