Home Posts tagged "strength and conditioning program" (Page 3)

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 32

Thanks to Greg Robins, here are this week's tips to make your nutrition strength and conditioning programs a bit more awesome.

1. Position your free hand in the correct place during unilateral upper body movements.

2. Improve exercise form by cueing spinal flexion, when appropriate.

In the following video I demonstrate a few exercises where spinal flexion is actually a good cue to keep people in better positions during the movement. It seems counter-intuitive, so what’s the deal?

First off, individuals may start of in a more extended posture. This is often the case with athletes, or really any active individuals. Therefore, cueing flexion brings you closer to neutral. This is something to which Eric devoted a lot of attention in Functional Stability Training.

As someone who is pretty extended, I often find that the appropriate positioning of my spine actually feels rounded over, or flexed. In reality, I am just less extended than usual. Try it out for yourself, and possibly try to grab a quick video so you can relate what you’re feeling to what it actually looks like. I think you will be surprised.

Second, certain exercises fit this description: They are inherently harder to execute without driving through back extension. Additionally, they are not loaded in such a way that erring on the side of being a little flexed is dangerous. With these movements, starting a bit flexed is helping, not hurting.

Third, many people who struggle with “anti-extension” exercises are simply unable to understand what should be kicking in to keep them in the right position. Taking these folks into a position of slight flexion helps them learn to use the abdominals. Before you knock it, try it out. You will find this cue gets most people to neutral, and in the cases where they remain slightly flexed you can gradually teach them to even out.

3. Pull through the floor when performing board and floor press variations.

Great benchers all have one thing in common: they use their lats well in their bench press technique. Using the lats to bench is tough to conceptualize, and even tougher to actualize when training. It was always a major issue for me, and held me back quite a bit. One great way to learn how to engage the lats is with the board press and floor press. When done the way I explain in this video you will be able to get some feed back on the “pulling” sensation you are looking for when lowering the bar. Give it a try!

4. Convert some of your favorite oils into sprays for cooking.

Most of us use oils to coat pans and dishes when cooking. One easy thing you can do to save a few calories, and dollars, is make spray bottles with your oils. It’s fairly easy to find BPA free spray bottles, or you can invest in a Misto, which is a cool little gadget too. I generally use a 3-to-1 ratio of the oil and water in my sprays and that seems to work well. You will notice right away that as little as 6oz of olive oil when converted to a spray bottle will last a LONG time! This means you save money and eliminate unnoticed calories from your diet. Too easy!

5. Consider this blueprint for being a good training partner.

I am lucky that over the past few years, I have had some really solid training partners. When you have a good team, you are always better than you could be alone. Unfortunately, my own schedule and location, has made it tough to keep a training partner around who is on the same page as me with their training. That aside, it got me thinking about what makes a great training partner. Give this a look and see where you can step your game.

  • Be consistent. Nothing is more important to your success in the gym, and nothing is more important to your training partner. SHOW UP, all the time.
  • Shut up and train. We all have better days than others, and your training partner doesn’t need to be dragged into some pity party you are hosting.
  • Coach more. Yelling things like “up!” is a giant waste of your training partner’s time. Unless he or she tends to forget which direction the bar is supposed to move, then take stock in learning what helps them. Talk technique with them, and yell out things that will make or break their lift

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 30

Here are this week's strength and conditioning tips, courtesy of Greg Robins.

1. Stress the “Hip Shift” with rotational med ball drills.

In this video I would like to detail the most important factor when using medicine ball exercisess to improve rotational power. Additionally, I have included a couple drills to help athletes with shifting from one hip to the other.

2. Consider adding work before you take away rest.

Often, you will set up your training sessions based on work to rest ratios. For example:

5 sets of 5 with one minute of rest.

OR

30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest.

Whether we are working to improve an athlete’s work capacity, or programming for a fat loss client, the idea is that we are calling for consistent high output efforts with incomplete rest intervals.

My suggestion is that you add repetitions or small increases in time BEFORE you take away rest. Why? The answer is simple: if you want high outputs, you are more likely to get them when you have more rest, albeit incomplete rest. Over the course of a program, use a progression where you add work first, then go back to where you started and take away rest the second go around. This way you are more likely to get better outputs.

Using our first example:

The first month would include adding 1 rep per workout or adding a few seconds while keeping the 1 minute, or 30 seconds of rest, respectively. In the following month, you can keep the work at 5 reps or 30 seconds and take away small amounts of rest each workout. In the months to follow you can start to combine elements of each.

3. Know when to buy organic produce when you’re on a budget.

I have never been in a situation where I didn’t need to count my pennies when it came to buying food for the week. That being said, I have filled my head with too much information not be informed when it comes to the safety of the food I buy. Therefore, I have to be consider how I can stay smart with my food choices and my finances. One of the best pieces of advice I received a while back had to do with when to buy organic produce. As a rule of thumb, I buy organic fruits and veggies when I plan on eating the skin, and I don’t when I plan on removing the skin.

For example, when it comes to berries, apples, and leafy greens, I always go organic. When I buy bananas, pineapple, or spaghetti squash, I just buy the cheapest I can find. Keeping this in mind, I also tend to buy fruits and veggies that fit my budget at the time in respect to my rule of thumb. Give it a try and save some dough!

4. Try this variation of the reverse crunch.

5. Consider this study when developing your strength and conditioning programs.

Earlier this year, I presented at our first annual Cressey Performance Fall Seminar. I spoke on the various qualities of “strength” an athlete may acquire and display. A large part of what I stressed was the relationship between strength qualities and how some exercises (and improvement of said exercises) share a more direct relationship with increased performance in an athlete’s sport of choice.

Recently, I came across this study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The researchers examined how various field related strength and performance tests correlate to a golfer’s club head speed (CHS). Not surprisingly, it was found that better rotational medicine ball throw outputs and squat jump outputs correlated with better CHS.

The study describes the finding as “movements that are more concentrically dominant in nature may display stronger relationships with CHS.”

The take away is that we must make sure that our athletes have great absolute strength (which can be measured eccentrically), but also the ability to call upon that strength quickly and use it concentrically. If there is a major deficit between their ability to use their strength against a very sub maximal load (such as a golf club, baseball, or their body), then we are missing the mark in making them more productive on the field. Be sure to test and improve not only maximal strength numbers, but also power outputs in time dependent situations. These can include testing and programming various jumps, sprints, and throws.

Looking to take the guesswork out of your strength and conditioning programs?  Check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 29

CP Coach Greg Robins and I just pulled together the following tips to improve your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs. Enjoy!

1. Improve the learning curve on core stability exercises with this tip:

2. Improve your grip with some easy changes.

Grip strength is an important quality to train in your program. It is beneficial if you plan on moving some heavy loads, or excelling at sports that rely heavily on the lower arm. I am by no means an expert in advanced grip work; however, I can offer some quick ways to start including it in your strength training program by making a few easy changes.

a. Start using a double overhand grip as long as possible with your deadlift technique. Too often, I see people instantly utilize a mixed grip when pulling. Even some more advanced lifters I have trained with do not try to improve their double overhand grip. Generally, they just have a number in mind where they switch from overhand to mixed, and it’s been the same even as their lift has improved hundreds of pounds over the past few years.

b. Make at least 1/3 of the exercise variations that rely heavily on elbow flexion (i.e. curls, rows, chin-ups) more grip intensive. Do so by using towels around the handle or something like Fat Gripz. Additionally, use different implements - such as softball grip and ropes - for rows and chin-ups.

c. Lastly, pick up a new “grip specific” exercise to work on, and change it every four weeks. These can include, grip crushers, plate pinches. Guys like John Brookfield and Jedd Johnson put out tons of innovative exercises to make your handshake something people fear.

3. Soup up your bench seat with just a few bands.

This is a nice little trick for those of you who might find the bench at your gym a little “slick.” My good friend and former CP intern Angel Jimenez, showed this to me originally. I believe the credit goes back to bench guru Dave Tate, though. While I can’t take the credit, I will share the info!

4. Pause more, lift more.

How often do you miss reps near the top? I am willing to bet that it’s not often. Furthermore, I bet 90% of the people reading this who say they do, really just have no pop out of the bottom of a lift and it catches up to them at lockout. You don’t need to work on strength at lockout as much as you do as strength at the bottom. That being said, when I look at most people’s strength training programs, the assistance work involves board presses, rack pulls, and high box squats. I was guilty of it too. The fact is, you like those variations because they are easier and allow you to lift more weight. The truth is you need to take the load down and start working the bottom portion of the range of motion more.

Enter the pause. Start working in paused squats in the hole, start pausing bench presses on the chest, and finally start making sure rep work on the deadlift is done to a complete stop (and, in my opinion, a complete reset, too).

5. Add some Olympic lifts to your training without missing out on your meat and potatoes.

The Olympic lifts can be a great addition to a comprehensive strength training program for those who can perform them safely.  However, it goes without saying that there can be a very steep learning curve for picking up the exercises.  For that very reason, earlier this week, I published a guest blog from Wil Fleming on clean and jerk technique fixes - a great compliment to his new DVD, Complete Olympic Lifting (on sale at a ridiculously low price until Friday at midnight, by the way).

One of the biggest concerns many folks have is that the learning curve will be so steep that they may miss out on a lot of actual training as they work their way through the fundamentals of Olympic lifting with light weights.  This is a very real concern, too, as even working at a lighter weight for a lot of practice reps can take a lot out of you.  In fact, I've had a lot of inquiries from folks who wanted to include Olympic lifting in Show and Go, but weren't sure how to do so.  My suggestions to them are very simple:

a. Pick one lift or the other (clean or snatch) to practice in each of your lower body sessions each week. If you want to work on jerks, you can plug it in at the start of an upper body day.

b. Do it at the start of your training session (right after your warm-up), and promise yourself that you won't go for more than thirty minutes.

c. Drop one set from each of the rest of the lower body exercises in the session to make up for the volume you've added.

You won't become wildly proficient in a matter of a few days with this approach, but slow and steady can win the race - even when it comes to lifts with high power output.  An hour of practice per week will effectively allow you to ride a few horses (learning while maintaining a training effect) with one saddle (your limited time, energy, and recovery capacity).

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 28

Here's this week's list of tips to get your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs on track.  Greg Robins took a break this week, so I'm stepping up my game and covering this installment.

1. If you always squat, try a month without squatting.

There's an old saying in the strength and conditioning field that "the best program is the one you're not on." In other words, everything works, but nothing works forever.  Squats have come under a fair amount of scrutiny over the past few years as diagnoses of femoracetabular impingement have gone sky-high and we've encountered more and more people in the general population who simply don't move well enough to squat in good form.  So, it makes sense to not shove a round peg in a square hole; at the very least, try to remove them from your strength training programs for a month here and there.

In these instances, I like to start the training session with an axially-loaded single leg exercise for 3-6 reps/side.  If you're not good in single-leg stance, start on the higher side with a lighter weight. If you're a long-time single-leg believer, though, you can really load these up:

After that, you can move on to deadlifts, barbell supine bridges/hip thrusts, or any of a number of other exercises.  The point to take away from this is that eliminated loaded squatting variations for a month here and there won't set you back.

2. Work on the squat pattern, not just the squat.

A lot of folks struggle to squat deep because they lack the ability to posteriorly shift their center of mass sufficiently.  This is particularly common in athletes with big anterior pelvic tilts and an exaggerated lordotic curve.

If you give these athletes a counterbalance out in front of their body, though, their squat patterns "clean up" very quickly.  As such, in combination with other mobility/stability drills, I like to include drills to work on the actual squat technique both during their warm-ups and as one of the last exercises in a day's strength training program.  Goblet squats and TRX overhead squats are two of my favorites:

3. Make muffins healthier.

My favorite meal is breakfast, and I know I'm not alone on this!  Unfortunately, once you get outside some of the traditional eggs and fruit choices, things can get unhealthy very quickly.  That's one reason why I'm a fan of Dave Ruel's recipe for the much healthier high protein banana and peanut butter muffins from Anabolic Cooking.  Dave has kindly agreed to let me share the recipe with you here:

Ingredients (for three muffins)
• ¾ cup oatmeal
• ¼ cup oat bran
• 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
• 6 egg whites
• ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp stevia
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• 1 big banana
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp banana extract

Directions
1. In a blender, mix all the ingredients (except for the banana). Blend until the mix gets thick.
2. Cut the banana in thin slices or cubes. Add the banana to the mix and stir (with a spoon or a spatula)
3. Pour the mix in a muffin cooking pan, and cook at 350°F. Until cooked (about 30 minutes).

Nutrition Facts (per muffin)
Calories: 190
Protein: 17g
Carbs: 18g
Fat: 4.5g

Quick tip: you can cook a big batch and freeze the muffins, then just microwave them when needed down the road.

Anabolic Cooking is on sale for $40 off until tonight (Friday) at midnight, so I'd encourage you to check it out and enjoy the other 200+ healthy recipes Dave includes.  My wife and I cook from this e-book all the time.

4. Dominate the back-to-wall shoulder flexion drill before you overhead press.

Whether your shoulders are perfectly structurally sound or not, overhead pressing can be a stressful activity for the shoulder girdle.  To that end, you want to make sure that you're moving well before you move overhead under load.  I like to use the back-to-wall shoulder flexion "test" as a means of determining whether someone is ready to overhead press or snatch (vertical pulling is a bit different).  Set up with your back against the wall, and your heels four inches away from the wall.  Make sure your lower back is flat against the wall, and make a double chin while keeping the back of your head against the wall.  Then, go through shoulder flexion.

If you can't get your hands to touch the wall overhead without bending the elbows, going into forward head posture, arching the back, or moving the feet away from the wall, you fail.  Also, pain during the test is a "fail," too.  Folks will fail for all different reasons - but a big chunk of the population does fail.  Fortunately, a bit of cueing and some corrective drills - and just practicing the test - will go a long way in improving this movement quality.  Hold off on the snatches and military presses in the meantime, though.

5. Drink with a straw to get better about water intake.

I always give my wife, Anna, a hard time about how little water she drinks.  She'll get busy at work and will simply forget to have a sip of water for 5-6 hours.  Other times, though, she just doesn't want to drink cold water - because it's winter in New England and she is always trying to get warm!  One quick and easy solution to the later problem is to simply drink with a straw, as water won't contact your teeth, which are obviously very cold-sensitive.  My mother gave Anna a water bottle with a straw for Christmas, and she's been much better about water consumption ever since.  Try it for yourself.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

The Best of 2012: Strength and Conditioning Features

I love writing features with multiple installments because it really allows me to dig deep into a topic of interest. It's like writing a short book, with each blog being a different chapter. That said, here were a few of my favorite features from 2012 at EricCressey.com:

1. Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better - This weekly series was largely put forth by Cressey Performance coach Greg Robins, and it includes five tips for taking your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs to the next level. I contribute here and there, but the majority of the praise goes fully to Greg. Here are the five most popular posts from this series in 2012:

Installment 3
Installment 14
Installment 12
Installment 10
Installment 1

Here's a little sample of the kind of content Greg kicks out each week:

2. Coaching Cues to Make Your Strength and Conditioning Programs More Effective - I started this (ongoing) feature in early 2012, and it was a huge hit.  Apparently, people love the idea of having some cues they can use in place of having a qualified coach right there with them.  Here were the ones we ran this year:

Installment 1
Installment 2
Installment 3 (Deadlift Edition)
Installment 4 (Shoulder Edition)

3. Increasing Pitching Velocity: What Stride Length Means and How to Improve It - This three-part series was very popular with my baseball audience, as preparing the body for an appropriate stride is key to pitching success.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Hopefully you enjoyed these features during 2012!  I'll be back later this week to wrap up the Best of 2012. In the meantime, happy new year!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 12/22/12

Here's this week's list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

Like Swings, Offseason Workouts Evolve with Time - Evan Drellich from MLB.com interviewed me for this feature on how professional baseball players change their training approaches from one offseason to the next. He did a great job with the article.

Warm-up - Here's an incredibly thorough piece on warming up by Mike Robertson, one of my co-creators on the Assess and Correct DVD set.

The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness 2012 - I was honored to be included at #31 on this list that was put out by Greatist.com. 

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 27

 Here's this week's list of tips to fine-tune your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs, compliments of CP Coach Greg Robins.

1. Improve your squat by starting neutral.

2. Remember: “Everything should made as simple as possible, and not simpler.”

At Cressey Performance, we are fortunate to be in an environment where we are constantly learning.

As an example, this past week we had a spectacular in-service delivered by Eric Schoenberg of Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance. Eric is someone with whom we work closely. I respect Eric immensely as he has the rare ability to make things simple. When I hear him speak, I am reminded of the quote from Albert Einstein:

      "Everything should made as simple as possible, and not simpler."

In his presentation, Eric made one point in particular that really hit home with me.

His talk mainly focused on helping us create a united front on how we coach many of the arm care and movement drills used by our athletes; as many of them swing between his clinic and our gym floor. When pressed with questions on the specifics of these exercises (where should the shoulder blades be, what muscle are making this happen, that happen, etc?) he stressed the importance of making the movement just look and feel good.

If it looks good and feels good, it’s probably good. If it looks like poop, and feels like poop, it’s probably poop.

Makes sense, right? Everyone is a little different, and everything may measure out to be a little different, but it holds true in the majority of cases.

However, there are times when it might look good to the eye and feel fine to the athlete, but not actually be good. These are the cases we don’t want to make simpler. As an example, what if an overhead squat looks phenomenal, but when you assess the individual on the table, you notice considerable tissue shortness at the hips? These individuals may have phenomenal core stability to overpower their stiff hips, but still need to work hard on tissue length to prevent injury.

Focus on making things look good, and know what “good” looks like, and you’ll be in a great position 90% of the time. However, don’t ever forget about that 10%.

3. Get out of extension before bridging exercises.

4. Make water less boring.

I strive to drink a gallon of water every day. And, 80% of the year, I accomplish that objective just fine. I don’t dislike the taste because, well, it doesn’t taste like anything.

However, I guess the lack of taste is why I sometimes find myself falling off the wagon. When I can’t stand the thought of drinking another ounce of water, I simply spice it up. For many of you, doing so may be just what you need to start making hydration more enjoyable. It seems like a stupidly obvious suggestion, but I guarantee that half of the people who read this don’t drink enough water. I also guarantee they would if it tasted like something worth putting in their mouth.

We all know the benefits of cooking ahead of time. If you are struggling to drink enough water, then prepare a few gallons of flavored water ahead of time, too. Squeeze in lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, or anything else you want to include. Spread throughout the entire gallon, the squeeze of half of an orange is going to add a trivial amount of calories to your intake; don’t get worked up about it.

5. Overhaul your dishware for portion control.

Here is an easy tip to control portion size without even thinking about it. Take a look at your dishes: I’m willing to bet they are pretty massive. If you’re in the market for new kitchenware, or just looking for a strategy to reduce calorie intake, consider downsizing your plates and bowls. If there’s less to fill, you will be forced to consume a smaller helping.

Additionally, this is a great strategy for damage control at holiday parties. Many times, people will offer dinner plates and smaller plates for appetizers and desserts. Choose the smaller plate and limit yourself to what you can fit on top. This is another simple tip, but an incredibly effective way to make your nutrition program more successful if you struggle with portion control.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

I’m Having a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale (Just Like Everyone Else on the Planet)

I guess I'm joining in the discount madness this holiday season, even if I didn't have to do any planning!  Here are some options for your holiday shopping at EricCressey.com:

1. Whip: What it is and How You Get it - This was a presentation I did a while back at Ron Wolforth's Pitching Coaches Bootcamp, and it's now available for sale individually. In the presentation, I talk about factors the influence whether you increase throwing velocity and how strength and conditioning programs can have a dramatic impact - either positive or negative - on whether one develops the whip needed to throw harder.  You can either watch this online or get it as a DVD.

2. 20% off all Physical Products at MikeReinold.com - This sale includes Functional Stability Training and Optimal Shoulder Performance, along with many of Mike Reinold's other products.  Just enter the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2012 at checkout to get the discount.

3. 15% of all Products at RobertsonTrainingSystems.com - This sale includes Assess and Correct, Building the Efficient Athlete, and Magnificent Mobility, along with many other products from Mike Robertson. The discount will automatically be applied at checkout.

We don't put products on sale very often, so be sure to take advantage of these offers before they expire at the end of the day on Monday!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 25

Compliments of Greg Robins, here is this week's list of quick and easy strategies to improve your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.

1. Consider this concept for easy general programming.

I often get asked for tips on how someone can go about writing their own strength and conditioning programs. There are many great posts and articles covering this topic out there. In fact, maybe none as complete as those Eric has featured here on this site.

I like to show people a very simple concept based around improving “work” by improving three different variables: intensity, volume, and density.

Consider setting up a training session like this:

a. Choose one exercise to focus on improving the actual amount of weight you can put on the bar for one set. For example, try to move more weight on the squat for one set of 3–5 reps. All that matters here is your “top” set, so you can take as little, or as long as you want to reach that set.

b. Next, choose 2-4 exercises to improve how much total weight you can move over all the sets for each given movement. For example, let’s say you choose DB Bench Press for 4x8, and DB Reverse Lunge for 4x8/side. For ease of calculations, assume you used 10lb dumbbells for each exercise; you would have moved 640lbs total for each exercise in that training session (per leg on the lunges). Next week the idea would be to move more than 640lbs total. This can be done by adding sets, reps, or increasing the weight.

c. Lastly, choose 4-6 exercises and designate a rep number and weight for each movement. After that, choose an amount of time (realistically 8-10min). Focus your efforts on doing more work in that time frame from one training session to another. For example:

A1. KB Swing (20kg) x 10
A2. Push Up (BW) x 10
A3. KB Goblet Squat (20kg) x 10
A4. Inverted Row (BW) x 10

Week 1: You complete three rounds in 10min.
Week 2: Anything over three sets of each exercise in 10min is an improvement.

For those of you in a jam, this should provide a simple and easy way to set up a training session. Enjoy!

2. Make 1-arm carries more effective.

3. Don’t attempt to use pre-workout supplements for a general lack of effort.

One debate that you can’t escape, in nearly any setting, is which pre-workout supplement is the best. Which one gets you the most “jacked up, bro!?” I’m here to reiterate once again, that it doesn’t matter. Take, for example, this recent study published in The Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition. A certain popular pre-workout supplement was put to the test against a placebo. While the results favored the group taking the supplement, the difference in results were minimal at best. Not to mention the favorable results were all things that could be just as easily provoked with other means. I’m not saying that things like creatine, caffeine, beta-alinine, etc. don’t work; they do. I am saying that no pre-workout supplement will ever be the difference maker in you having success in the gym or your sport. Want a boost? Have some coffee. Want to cover all your nutritional bases? Eat well, and grab a few supplements that actually supplement things you aren’t getting enough of from food. Want to perform at an elite level? Do what it takes to make that happen: outwork everyone, take care of your body, and seek out a motivating environment with like-minded people.

Your pre-workout supplement is overpriced, largely ineffective, and a non-factor in your success. Move on.

4. Improve your positioning on standing cable exercises.

5. Enjoy cranberries as a Thanksgiving super food!

There are a lot of great foods that make the cut for Thanksgiving, and one of my favorites is cranberries. Cranberries are a major super food, and one we probably neglect most of the year. After all, they are pretty bitter unless we add sugar. What a shame! Cranberries’ antioxidant properties are through the roof. Additionally, they help keep your urinary tract, kidneys, and bladder in check. Plus, they are often used to treat skin conditions, and help fight the “less desirable” physical characteristics of aging.

So, how do we go about including them without adding a bunch of sugar? Here are a few ideas:

a. Dehydrate them and include them in baked goods, salads, or other dishes.
b. Use them with fatty foods like oils, and fattier meats the bitterness can actually blend well!
c. Mix them with other fruits that tend to be sweeter in flavor.
d. For cranberry sauce recipes, experiment with honey, natural fruit juices, or agave nectars instead of the usual sugar filled varieties.

We hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 23

Here's this week's collection of strategies to improve your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs, compliments of Cressey Performance coach Greg Robins.

1. Teach/learn inverted exercises from finish to start.

2. If you’re a student-athlete, make sure that Tupperware is your best friend.

The summer is a tremendous time for college athletes to make outstanding progress. Athletes can train almost every day, get plenty of rest, and enjoy Mom’s home cooking. At the very least, they are tapping into a well-stocked fridge and pantry. August comes, everyone heads back to school, and it’s not too long until we get e-mails from many of these athletes. Each one is the same, and each one has a fairly simple solution.

Generally the problem is that they either can’t eat enough, the food they want is only available sometimes (ex. greek yogurt at breakfast, but not lunch or dinner), or the quality is inconsistent.

When I was in college, I actually made some of the best physique gains of my life. In fact, my freshman year was when my fitness kick truly began. I treated the cafeteria like a grocery store. In addition to eating what I wanted at each meal, I would bring empty Tupperware and plastic bags in my backpack. This way, I could take back veggies, yogurt, nuts, and other tasty amenities to my dorm room.

Once they were in my fridge, I had healthy snacks. Plus, if I showed up for dinner one night and everything on the menu was terrible, I could do some damage control and return back to my room afterwards to get some quality protein in.

3. Stop considering a week to be seven days long.

When people write programs, they always base it off a 7-day week. I get it, the rest of the world works off a Mon – Sun format, so your training should, too. Doing so leads to a few different ways to split up a training program, and for the most part, the common choices are 3–5 days of training with 2–4 days of rest or supplemental activity.

Don’t get me wrong; this is 100% fine, and it certainly works. However, your body doesn’t know what a week is; it has no idea a week is seven days long. Therefore, you should consider writing strength and conditioning programs in any format you choose that would be optimal for the results you are looking to achieve.

Essentially viewing a “training week” as however long you want gives you the opportunity to meet more demands while still allowing for optimal recovery. Or, it can be used to hit certain lifts,or body parts more often while still allowing other lifts or body parts that may require more time between training sessions to get rest. Here’s an example:

Traditional 4-Day Training Split w/Movement Training
Monday: Lower Body
Tuesday: Upper Body
Wednesday: Movement Training
Thursday: Lower Body
Friday: Upper Body
Saturday: Movement Training
Sunday: Off

"Spreading Things Out" Split
Day 1: Lower Body - Squat
Day 2: Upper Body 1
Day 3: Movement
Day 4: Off
Day 5: Lower Body - Accessory Work
Day 6: Upper Body 2
Day 7: Movement
Day 8: Lower/Full Body - Deadlift
Day 9: Off

By spreading my “training week” out, I have allowed two things to happen. One, I get an extra day of training to address weaknesses, or to just spread out some of the exercises from the previous model into a fifth day. Additionally, I will have more total days off in the course of a year, as the first model gives you one day off every 7 days, and the second model gives you 2 days off for every 9. Lastly, I have more days off before hitting certain lifts again, which can allow for better recovery between sessions.

Like I said, 7-day models work just fine. I just want to challenge you to think outside of the 7-day mindset, as doing so leaves some potential to do some different things with your training.

Note: Kudos to Chad Wesley Smith for introducing this concept to me. Chad utilizes a 9-Day training week with many of his athletes, and in his Juggernuat Method.

4. Spice up your heavy single arm rowing with this variation.

5. Do more “bottoms-up” kettlebell exercises.

I have often touted the versatility of the kettlebell, which are unique in large part due to their shape. In a very early installment of this series, I showed you how to hold the bell correctly. This time around, I challenge you to try a few traditional kettlebell exercises upside down!

No, not you, the kettlebell!

Turning the bell upside-down provides an awkward task to stabilize the bell in that position. Doing so can make traditional carries and presses more challenging, and also more productive, depending on the desired training effect.



 Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more
Page 1 2 3 4 5 16
LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series