Home Posts tagged "Perform Better" (Page 3)

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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Interval Training: HIIT or Miss

Today, we've got a special guest post from Michael Boyle of StrengthCoach.com.  This is some fantastic stuff - definitely one of the most comprehensive articles I've seen on the topic of interval training

Interval Training- HIIT or Miss?

I think every fat loss article we read espouses the value of interval training for fat loss. In fact the term HIIT (for High Intensity Interval Training) is thrown around so much that many people just assume they know what it is. However, among all the recommendations I see to perform HIIT, very few articles contain any practical information as to what to do or how to do it. I have to confess that I stumbled into this area somewhat accidentally. Two different processes converged to make me understand that I might be a fat loss expert and not know it. In my normal process of professional reading I read both Alwyn Cosgrove's Afterburn and Craig Ballantyne's Turbulence Training. What struck me immediately was that what these experts were recommending for fat loss looked remarkably like the programs we used for conditioning. At the time I was reading these programs, I was also training members of the U.S. Women's Olympic Ice Hockey team. It seemed all of the female athletes I worked with attempted to use steady state cardio work as a weight loss or weight maintenance vehicle. I was diametrically opposed to this idea as I felt that steady state cardiovascular work undermined the strength and power work we were doing in the weight room. My policy became "intervals only" if you wanted to do extra work. I did not do this as a fat loss strategy but rather as a "slowness prevention" strategy. However, a funny thing happened. The female athletes that we prevented from doing steady state cardiovascular work also began to get remarkably leaner. I was not bright enough to put two and two together until I read the above-mentioned manuals and realized that I was doing exactly what the fat loss experts recommended. We were on a vigorous strength program and we were doing lots of intervals. With that said, the focus of this article will be not "why," as we have already heard the "why" over and over, but "how." How do I actually perform HIIT? To begin, we need to understand exactly what interval training is? In the simplest sense, interval training is nothing more than a method of exercise that uses alternating periods of work and rest. The complicated part of interval training may be figuring out how to use it.  How much work do I do? How hard should I do it? How long should I rest before I do it again? Interval training has been around for decades. However, only recently have fitness enthusiasts around the world been awakened to the value. The recent popularity of interval training has even given it a new name in the literature. Interval training is often referred to as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and it is now the darling of the fat loss and conditioning worlds. Truth is, you can also do low intensity interval training. In fact most people should not start with HIIT but LIIT. HIIT may make you vomit if you don't work into it. Research Background In case you have been in a cave for the last decade let's quickly review some research. A recent study, done in Canada at McMaster University and often referenced as the Gibala Study after lead researcher Martin Gibala, compared 20 minutes of high intensity interval training, consisting of a 30 second sprint followed by a four minute rest, with 90 to 120 minutes in the target heart rate zone. The result was amazing. Subjects got the same improvement in oxygen utilization from both programs. What is more amazing is that the 20 minute program only requires about two minutes and 30 seconds of actual work. A second study that has become known as the Tabata study again shows the extreme benefits of interval training. Tabata compared moderate intensity endurance training at about 70 percent of VO2 max to high intensity intervals done at 170 percent of VO2 max. Tabata used a unique protocol of 20 seconds work to 10 seconds rest done in seven to eight bouts. This was basically a series of 20 second intervals performed during a four-minute span. Again, the results were nothing short of amazing. The 20/10 protocol improved the VO2 max and the anaerobic capabilities more than the steady state program. Further evidence for the superiority of higher intensity work can be found in the September/October 2006 issue of the ACSM Journal. Dr. David Swain stated "running burns twice as many calories as walking." This is great news for those who want to lose body fat. I am not a running advocate, but we can put to rest another high intensity (running) versus low intensity (walking) debate. Do the math. Swain states that a 136-pound person walking will burn 50 cal/mile and proportionally more as the subject's weight increases. In other words, a 163-pound person would weigh 20 percent more and, as a result, burn 20 percent more calories. This means that expenditure goes from 50 to 60 calories, also a 20 percent increase. Swain goes on to state that running at seven mph burns twice as many calories as walking at four mph. This means a runner would burn 100 calories in roughly eight and one half minutes or about 11 calories a minute. The walker at four miles per hour would burn 50 calories in 15 minutes (the time it would take to walk a mile at four MPH). That's less than four calories per minute of exercise. Please understand that this is less a testament for running and more a testament for high intensity work versus low intensity work. More intensity equals greater expenditure per minute. Interval Training Methods There are two primary ways to performing interval training. The first is the conventional Work-to-Rest method. This is the tried and true method most people are familiar with. The Work-to-Rest method uses a set time interval for the work period and a set time interval for the rest period. Ratios are determined, and the athlete or client rests for generally one, two or three times the length of the work interval before repeating the next bout. The big drawback to the Work to Rest method is that time is arbitrary. We have no idea what is actually happening inside the body. We simply guess. In fact, for many years, we have always guessed, as we had no other "measuring stick." Heart Rate Method With the mass production of low cost heart rate monitors, we are no longer required to guess. The future of interval training lies with accurate, low cost heart rate monitors. We are no longer looking at time as a measure of recovery, as we formerly did in our work-to-rest ratios. We are now looking at physiology. What is important to understand is that heart rate and intensity are closely related. Although heart rate is not a direct and flawless measure of either intensity or recovery status, it is far better than simply choosing a time interval to rest. To use the heart rate method, simply choose an appropriate recovery heart rate. In our case, we use 60 percent of theoretical max heart rate. After a work interval of a predetermined time or distance is completed, the recovery is simply set by the time it takes to return to the recovery heart rate. When using HR response, the whole picture changes. Initial recovery in well-conditioned athletes and clients is often rapid and shorter than initially thought. In fact, rest to work ratios may be less than 1-1 in the initial few intervals. An example of a sample workout using the heart rate method for a well-conditioned athlete or client is show below.
  • Interval 1 - Work 60 sec rest 45 sec
  • Interval 2 - Work 60 sec rest 60 sec
  • Interval 3 - Work 60 sec rest 75 sec
  • Interval 4 - Work 60 sec rest 90 sec
*In a conventional 2-1, time based program the rest period would have been too long for the first three intervals, rendering them potentially less effective. The reverse may be true in a de-conditioned athlete or client. I have seen young, de-conditioned athletes need rest up to eight times as long as the work interval. In fact, we have seen athletes who need two minutes rest after a 15 second interval. In the heartrate method the rest times gradually get longer. Th first interval is 1-.75 while the last interval is 1 to 1.5, The Problem with Formulas At least 70 percent of the population does not fit into our age-old theoretical formulas. The 220 minus age formula is flawed on two key points: it doesn't fit a significant portion of the population, and it is not based on research. Even the developer of the now-famous formula admits that his thoughts were taken out of context. The more accurate method is called the Heart Rate Reserve Method or Karvonen formula. Karvonen Formula (Max HR- Resting HR) x %+ RHR= THR Ex- (200-60) x.8 +60 = 172 The key to the Karvonen formula is that it looks at larger measures of fitness by incorporating the resting heart rate and is therefore less arbitrary. However, the two twenty minus age formula will suffice for establishing recovery heart rates. Interval Training Basics The longer the interval, the shorter the rest period as a percentage of the interval. In other words, short intervals have a high muscular demand and will require longer rests when viewed as a percentage of the interval. Fifteen second intervals will need at least a 2-1 rest to work ration. Three to one will work better for beginners. Interval Rest Recommendations (Work-to-Rest Based) - 15 sec. Beginners at least 45 sec (3-1), more advanced 30 sec (2-1) - 30 sec. Rest 1:00 to 1:30 (3-1 or 2-1) - 1:00. Rest 1:00- 2:00 (2-1 or 1-1) Just remember, as the intervals get longer, the recovery time, as it relates to the interval, may not need to be as long. In other words, a fifteen second sprint may require 30-45 seconds rest but a two minute interval may only need to be followed by a two minute rest. Aerobic Intervals? The biggest benefit of interval training is that you can get a tremendous aerobic workout without the boredom of long steady state bouts of exercises. In fact as the Gibala study demonstrated, you can get superior benefits for both fitness and fat loss by incorporating interval training. If the heart rate is maintained above the theoretical 60 percent threshold proposed for aerobic training, then the entire session is both aerobic and anaerobic. This is why my athletes do almost no "conventional" aerobic training. All of our aerobic work is a by-product of our anaerobic work. My athletes or clients can get their heart rate in the recommended aerobic range for 15 to 20 minutes, yet in some cases, they do only three to five minutes of actual work. Modes of Interval Training Although most people visualize interval training as a track and field concept, our preferred method of interval training is the stationary bike. Although I think running is the theoretical "best" mode of training, the facts are clear. Most Americans are not fit enough to run. In fact, statistics estimate that 60 percent of those who begin a running program will be injured. In a fitness or personal training setting, that is entirely unacceptable. Females, based on the genetics of the female body (wider hips, narrower knees) are at potentially even greater risk. Physical therapist Diane Lee says it best in her statement, "You can't run to get fit. You need to be fit to run." Interval training can be done on any piece of equipment. However, the most expeditious choice in my opinion will be a dual action bike like the Schwinn AirDyne. The bike allows, in the words of performance enhancement expert Alwyn Cosgrove, "maximum metabolic disturbance with minimal muscular disruption." In other words, you can work really hard and not injure yourself on a stationary bike.

airdyne

Fit individuals can choose any mode they like. However, the bike is the best and safest choice. In my mind, the worst choice might be the elliptical trainers. Charles Staley, another noted training expert, has a concept I believe he calls the 180 Principle. Staley advocates doing exactly the opposite of what you see everyone else in the gym doing. I'm in agreement. Walking on a treadmill and using an elliptical trainer seem to be the two most popular modes of training in a gym. My conclusion, supported by Staley's 180 Principle, is that neither is of much use. Interval Training Modes in Detail Running
  • Maybe the most effective method but also most likely to cause injury.
  • Shuttle runs (running to a line and back repeatedly) have both high muscular demand (acceleration and deceleration) and high metabolic demand.
  • Running is relative. Running straight ahead for 30 seconds is significantly easier than a 30 second shuttle.
  • Shuttle runs produce more muscular discomfort due to the repeated acceleration and deceleration.
  • Running for the average gym-goers is impractical as a fairly large area is needed.
Treadmill Running
  • A close second to ground based running in both effectiveness and unfortunately injury potential.
  • Getting on and off a moving treadmill is an athletic skill and can result in serious injury. Therefore, treadmill interval running is probably not for the average personal training client.
  • Treadmill speeds are deceiving. For example, 10 MPH is only a six minute mile yet can feel very fast. However, 10 MPH is not a difficult pace for intervals for a well-conditioned athlete.
  • High quality interval treadmills should be able to go to 15 MPH.
  • For treadmill running, first practice the skill of getting on and off the moving treadmill (The author assumes no responsibility for those thrown on the floor attempting this. Do not try this in a normal health club, where the treadmills are packed in like sardines. You must have room to fall off without striking an immovable object).
Additional Treadmill Drawbacks
  • Lack of true active hip extension may under train the hamstrings.
  • In treadmill running, the belt moves, you just stay airborne. Treadmill times do not translate well to running on the ground. This may be due to lack of ground contact time.
Treadmill Recommendations
  • Time based. Try 15 seconds on with 45 seconds off at 7 MPH and 5% incline. For safety, decrease speed and increase incline.
  • Heart rate based (max HR of 200 used for example). Try a 15 second sprint at 7/5 and simply rest until the heart rate returns to 120 beats per minute. Rest is rest, don't walk or jog or your heart rate will lower slowly.
Stationary Bike
  • Dual action bikes like the Airdyne produce a higher HR. This is due to the combined action of the arms and legs. There is no better affordable option than the AirDyne. Although they require periodic maintenance they are the perfect interval tool as they do not need any adjustments to belts or knobs when interval training. The fan is an accommodating resistance device. This means that the harder you push the more resistance you get back. If you have large fan AirDyne, purchase and install windscreens. Most athletes and clients dislike the large fan AirDynes as they are unable to work up a sweat without a windscreen.
  • This is probably the best "safe" tool.
  • Requires limited skill.
  • Limited potential for overuse injury.
Stationary Bike Recommendations
  • Same time recommendations as for the treadmill. For the AirDyne, set the top display to Level. For a well-conditioned male a 15 second sprint should be level 12-15. Do not go all out as this will seriously undermine the ability to repeat additional intervals. Well-conditioned female athletes will be Level 8-10 for 15 seconds. Levels should be adjusted down for fitness level and up for body size. Larger athletes or clients will find the bike easier.  Large fan AirDynes (older models)  will have slightly different work levels than the newer smaller fan models.
Slideboard
  • Slideboards provide the best "bang for the buck" after the AirDyne. However, in a fitness setting there is a skill requirement. Clients must be warned that they may fall and potentially be injured. This may sound stupid but be sure to inform the client that the board is slippery. I can't tell you how many clients have stepped on a slideboard and remarked "this is slippery". Remember what they say about assuming.
  • The slideboard provides added the benefits of a standing position and getting hip ab and adductor work.
  • Slideboards are also great for groups. No adjustment are needed, you just need extra booties. We order 4 pair for every board.
  • Safe in spite of "experts." Some so-called experts have questioned the effect of the slideboard on the knees; however, there is nothing more than the anecdotal evidence of a few writers to support this theory.
Climbers and Ellipticals
  • The key to using any climbing device is to keep the hands and arms off of the equipment. This is critical. Just put a heart rate monitor on and keep the hands of and watch the heart rate skyrocket. If clients complain about lack of balance, slow down the machine and develop the balance, but don't allow them to hold on.
  • The StepMill is the least popular, and as Staley points out, the most effective. Think 180 again. If it's popular, it's probably not good.
  • Conventional Stairclimbers are easier to abuse than the StepMill. Many users ramp up the speed while allowing the arms to do the majority of the work. As we mentioned before, keep your hands off the rails.
  • The elliptical machine is most popular because it is easiest. This is nothing more than human nature at work. Discourage your clients from using an elliptical trainer. If they insist, let them do it on their off days.
Research continues to mount that interval training may improve fitness better than steady state work. The big key is not what to do any more but, how to do it. For maximum effect, get a heart rate monitor and go to work. One warning. Deconditioned clients may need three weeks to a month of steady work to get ready to do intervals. This is OK. Don't kill a beginner with interval training. Begin with a quality strength program and some steady state cardiovascular work. The only good use for steady state work in my mind is preparing an athlete or client for the intervals to come. References:
  1. Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle." Simon Melov, Mark Tarnopolsky, Kenneth Beckman, Krysta Felkey and Alan Hubbard PLoS ONE 2(5): e465. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.
  2. "Short Term Sprint Interval Versus Traditional Endurance Training: Similar Initial Adaptations in Human Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Performance Journal of Physiology Sept 2006, Vol 575 Issue 3.
  3. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hirai Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K. Department of Physiology and Biomechanics, National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.
  4. September/October ACSM Health and Fitness Journal. Dr. David Swain Moderate or Vigorous Intensity Exercise: What Should We Prescribe?
Michael is a Boston-based strength and conditioning coach and the editor of StrengthCoach.com. You can purchase Mike's products through Perform Better. The above article is based on the best-selling Interval Training DVD filmed  in 2007.
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How The Rhomboids Really Work

I got to talking with an athletic trainer at a recent seminar, and we were discussing how people really don't understand how the rhomboids work. You see, the rhomboids typically get lumped right in with the trapezius complex as scapular retractors - and that's correct, but not exhaustive enough to illustrate my point.  What you want to observe is the line of pull of the rhomboids:

rhomboid_muscle

What you'll see if that this line of pull is quite similar to that of the upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles, both of which "hike" the scapula up.  In reality, the goal with any rowing exercise should be to get the lower trapezius firing as much as possible, as its line of pull depresses the scapula as it retracts - and the muscle is involved upward rotation, which is essential for safe overhead movements.

trap

Note how the line of pull of the trapezius changes as you go superior (top) to inferior (bottom).

As such, you want to make sure that you get your shoulder blades back and down as you do your rowing movements.  Here's an example of what a bad seated cable row, where the scapulae are retracted, but ride up, leading to upper trap, levator scapulae, and rhomboid recruitment.

Much of this comes because of the backward lean, but it's also possible to have it when in the right torso position. If you are someone with shoulder issues, you'll be surprised at what some general massage work on the rhomboids will do to alleviate your discomfort.  We know that working on pectoralis minor and levator scapulae will quickly yield results, but rhomboids falls into the same category, as (like these two muscles) they're involved in downwardly rotating the scapulae. Click here to purchase the most comprehensive shoulder resource available today: Optimal Shoulder Performance - From Rehabilitation to High Performance. Sign up Today for our FREE newsletter and receive a deadlift technique video!
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27 Things I’m Thankful For

1. Yesterday, the defending state champion Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team clinched a share of its 8th consecutive Dual County League title.  Over 25 current L-S players – including virtually the entire starting varsity lineup – train at Cressey Performance during the off-season and in-season.  We also had five LS baseball graduates in to train yesterday to kick off their summer session – and four of them are playing D1 college baseball.  These guys realize that winning programs are largely built in the off-season.

2. Speaking of L-S, Sam Finn is currently batting over .400 at the cleanup spot, and on the mound, he’s 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA, and 49 strikeouts in 41.1 innings.  Last year, Sam had one at-bat and he struck out.  As a testament to his hard work in the off-season (during which time he added 20 pounds to his frame), Sam was the first athlete to train at CP’s new facility last Saturday; how many high school athletes do you know who show up to train at 8:45AM on a Saturday morning?

3. Speaking of new facilities, the new place is open – and I’ll have pictures soon.  The move was an absolute nightmare that basically amounted to 39 hours of heavy (and messy) manual labor over a three-day period, including two “days” that didn’t wrap up until 3AM.  Pete, Tony, Brian, and I agreed that it was the longest three days of our lives.  On Day 1in the new facility, we all walked around barefoot because the blisters on our feet were so bad that we couldn't wear shoes – and our hands were really raw from moving all the flooring.  However, every cloud has its silver lining: we commiserated, but not one person complainedor even thought about leaving early.  Everyone gave up Thu, Fri, and Sat nights to get things done.  It made me realize how lucky I am to have a great group of guys around me at work.  And, from now on, when I hire, I'm going to think about whether my potential employee would have stuck around for all that work.

4. Jon Lester tossed a no-hitter for the Red Sox last night.  Here’s a guy who beat cancer and pitched the clinching game in the World Series last year.  Talk about a great story – and a guy who deserves every bit of success that comes his way.  This should make you feel good whether you’re a Red Sox fan or not…

5. …which reminds me: I need to remind the Yankees fans in the crowd that you’re in last place in the AL East.  Sorry to rain on your parade, folks.  On a brighter and related note, I have to chuckle when I see a signed baseball in my office from Yankees AAA pitching prospect David Robertson: “To Eric, you are the best bullpen catcher I have ever seen.  You should definitely look into baseball as a career.”  He got up to 91 mph – and I didn’t break a thumb.

6. In the past two years, CP client Steph Holland-Brodney has raised over $6,000 for Boston Medical Center with her Boston Marathon participation.  Her giving doesn't stop there, though; on Day 1 at the new place, she also showed up with a full meal from Whole Foods: an entire chicken, green beans, and almonds.  She even brought Pete cupcakes - and added two balloons to our office. Thanks, Steph! 7. How many 68-year-old men do you know who can do eight neutral pull-ups? Tony Hughes can.  Tony’s my only one-on-one client – and I think that he’d be the first to tell you that success in training is a marathon, not a sprint.  Consistency keeps you healthy and functional.

8. Worcester, MA native and CP athlete Tim Collins has posted an ERA of 0.00 with 15 strikeouts and only two hits and five walks in 10.0 innings of work for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Toronto Blue Jays system.  That’s not the best part, though: you’ll see Tim listed (generously) at 5-7, 155 pounds – yet he’s touching low 90s on the radar gun.  At 5-7, 155, most kids are lucky to be able to reach the cookies on the top shelf – but Tim is living the dream as a professional pitcher.  Awesome kid, too.

Not to be outdone, CP athlete Steve Hammond of the Huntsville Stars (Milwaukee Brewers AA) is currently leading the Southern League in strikeouts and boasts a 5-1 record along with a 2.61 ERA.  He gets mentioned second only because he's 6-2 and not 5-7.  Sorry, Steve - but great job nonetheless!  For your amusement, here is Steve throwing a 2-seam fastball at me over the winter.

9. A few weeks ago, after approximately 20 years of trying (during which time she completed 11 Ironmans, won three NCAA championships as a swimmer at Stanford, and spent five years on the US National Team as a swimmer), Cressey Performance athlete Dede Griesbauer finally did an unassisted chin-up.  It also happens to be her wedding anniversary, so Happy Anniversary, Dede (and Dave)!

10. Last week, my girlfriend had The Today Show on while she was eating breakfast – and New Kids on the Block were performing live.  Now, the reappearance of NKOTB nearly made me gag on my eggs, but I took solace – and definitely cracked a smile – when they had to perform in the pouring rain.  Apparently, Mother Nature and I share a similar taste in music.  You think she likes Disturbed, too?

12. Combat Core by Jim Smith is hands-down the best product of 2008 thus far.  If you don’t own it, buy it.

13. Last summer, Gillian Roddie, an Irish powerlifter, came over to train with us for a week.  While at CP, she commented that she was very impressed that in the time she spent there, not a single one of our athletes squatted high.

14. StrengthCoach.com.  Mike Boyle has done an excellent job of quickly establishing this forum as one of the best place to exchange training ideas on the web.  I check in on it daily.

15.  On Sunday, at age 39, PJ Brown had 10 points and 6 boards in 20 minutes of action for the Celtics during their Game 7 win over Cleveland.  Here’s a guy who came out of retirement only a few months ago.  Never underestimate the positive impact a veteran can have on younger players.  It’s one of the reasons why we try to get our high school athletes to interact with our collegiate and professional athletes here and there at the facility; success rubs off on them.

16. Yesterday, an online consulting client emailed me to tell me that he saw Maximum Strength at the front of the largest bookstore in Bangkok, Thailand.  I’m flattered – and really hope that they can read English, or else they’re going to be pissed, because we haven’t done any translated copies yet.  I also heard that we were in a Borders in Idaho – and I hope they actually speak English there, too. :)

17. I love the giant cambered bar.  It’s fantastic for working with overhead athletes you want to keep out of the at-risk position with back squatting, and it’s an excellent way to rotate in some variety without getting rid of squatting altogether.  It’s been a huge help with keeping my shoulder intact in spite of all the problems I had with it back in my early 20s.

Coincidentally, the spotter in that video text-messaged me at 7:14AM to wish me a happy birthday; thanks for letting me sleep in on my big day, George.

18. My girlfriend not only does chain push-ups; she also looks up and smiles at the camera in the middle of a set.

19. Tony Gentilcore tomfoolery.

20. Jon Boyle is a guy who flies under the radar, but is an integral part of the success of my newsletter and, in particular, my blog.  If you enjoy what you read here, Jon deserves a ton of the credit for his help behind the scenes.  I’m lucky to have him; thanks, Jon.

21. I actually laugh out loud when I hear some of the things that people have said about me since I opened my own facility last July.  I’ve heard everything from “Cressey is injuring people” to things that I don’t even want to put into writing on the internet.  If I was so bad at what I do – and so unethical – then I probably wouldn’t have gone from zero clients in a new town in August of 2006 to over 300 clients in our database today.  Roughly 200 are active – and another 100 or so were one-time evaluations who came from all over the country (and abroad) to experience my ignorance and dim wit.

Keep talking, folks.  It’s pretty amusing.

22. I love variety.  While we work with a ton of athletes, I get some variety thrown in there to keep my life interesting.  In about an hour, I’m heading to the track with four college baseball players, a pro hockey guy, and a full D1 scholarship soccer player.  They’ll all be in later – and lift alongside a professional triathlete, high school athletes, and weekend warriors from a variety of disciplines.

23.  I love it when an athlete comes to us with a shoulder injury that hasn’t responded to traditional physical therapy (ultrasound and rotator cuff exercises).  I don’t love the fact that the athlete is in pain; I love the fact that there are a ton of approaches we can still exhaust to get him/her better.  So, we get to work on scapular stability, mobilizing the thoracic spine, improving glenohumeral internal rotation, improving hip and ankle mobility, and working on soft tissue quality.

24. There was a slight mix-up with the editing on our new book, and one of the photos on page 68 is incorrect (our publisher confused the bottom position of a scap push-up with a regular push-up on the first production run).  While I wasn’t too happy about the mix-up, I will say that I was pretty darn proud when three of our athletes picked up on it when reading the book.  I guess they’re actually learning something.

25. I’m proud to say that I have never used an agility ladder with an athlete.  I’m sure Todd Hamer is proud of me, too.

I did, however, once MacGyver-it-up by tying together several agility ladders along with a bicycle tire and broomstick to rescue a beached whale from certain death.  The Greenpeace folks loved it.

Just kidding, actually.  Agility ladders are still stupid.

26. My girlfriend introduced me to a Brita water filter two weeks ago – and it makes the water taste a ton better.  I don’t even want to think about what I was drinking from the tap before; Lord only knows what it filters out.  Needless to say, if you aren’t drinking enough water, get one of these; it’s well worth it.

27. Perform Better is awesome. Chris Poirier and his staff not only provide awesome equipment and educational materials, but they also host the most informational seminars in the fitness industry.  I’ll be speaking at the last PB Summit for 2008 in Providence, RI at the end of this month; I’d highly recommend you checking it out, if you can make it.

I’m headed to the track to sprint, and I’ll be lifting later on – before heading to eat approximately 387 fajitas for my birthday dinner.  Fajitas aside, exercise and coaching athletes are huge parts of my life, obviously, and I wouldn’t imagine not having them on my one day of the year to enjoy myself.  I love what I do.  Thanks for subscribing to this newsletter and for continuing to support me.

All the Best,

EC
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Five Resistance Training Myths in the Running World

To some, resistance training is the Rodney Dangerfield of the running community; it gets no respect. To others, it’s like Tom Cruise; runners think it might be useful, but it just doesn’t make any sense to them. And then, there are those to whom resistance training is like Abraham Lincoln; it’s freed them from being slaves to ineffective programming. As a performance enhancement specialist who has a lot of “Abe” endurance athletes under my tutelage, I’d like to take this opportunity to bring the Rodney and Tom runners in the crowd up to speed. With that in mind, let’s look at the five most prominent myths present in the running community with respect to resistance training Continue Reading...
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