Home Posts tagged "Stuart McGill" (Page 3)

Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture – Part 2

Today, we move forward with more strategies for correcting bad posture. In case you missed it, be sure to check out Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 1.  We pick up with tip #5... 5. Don't overlook a lack of glenohumeral (shoulder) joint internal rotation. When it comes to bad posture, everyone thinks that the glenohumeral joint is only a "player" when it's stuck in internal rotation; that is, the ball - or humeral head - is rotated too far forward on the socket - or glenoid fossa - meaning that the individual just doesn't have adequate external rotation.  And, this is often true - especially in non-athletic populations. However, you'll also very commonly see poor posture folks who present with big glenohumeral internal rotation deficits (GIRD), particularly on the right side (for very legitimate reasons that go well beyond the scope of this article).  This is much more common in athletes, particularly overhead throwers (read more: Static Posture Assessment Mistakes).  When the posterior rotator cuff is stiff/short and there is an internal rotation deficit, we have to substitute excessive scapular protraction (winging) or thoracic flexion/rotation each time we reach for something. So, for many folks, posterior shoulder mobility and soft tissue work is an important inclusion in cleaning things up in terms of appearance, function, and shoulder health.  If - and only if - you've been assessed and it's been determined that you have an internal rotation deficit that compromises your total motion at the glenohumeral joint, you can integrate some gentle sleeper stretches (scapula stabilized!) to get a bit more ROM in the posterior cuff.

6. Don't overlook a lack of glenohumeral (shoulder) joint flexion. The shoulder is a tremendously mobile joint, so we need to appreciate what goes on outside the transverse plane as well. In particular, I see shoulder flexion limitations as a big problem. These limitations may come from the lat, teres major, long head of the triceps, or inferior capsule.  Another overlooked cause can be posterior cuff restrictions; it's not uncommon to see both GIRD and major shoulder flexion limitations on the same side.  As the picture below shows, the infraspinatus and teres minor run almost vertically when the arm is abducted a mere 90 degrees - which means that they're struggling to lengthen fully to allow full shoulder flexion (and abduction, for that matter).

These restrictions that can contribute to both faulty compensation patterns in certain positions, as well as overall bad posture chronically.  Let's have a look at what these issues look like in the real world. First, in someone with a shoulder flexion limitation, you'd first want to check them in the supine position, with the knees flexed and back flat (to avoid substituting lumbar extension for shoulder flexion).  Ideally, the arms should rest flat on the table - so this would be a "not-so-hot" result (especially since the arms "fall" to the sides a bit instead of staying in "attempted flexion"):

Next, let's take this same shoulder flexion limitation, and look at what would happen actively.  In the first three reps of the video below, take note of the position of our subject's head at the start and finish of each rep; you'll see that as he "runs out" of shoulder flexion, he substitutes forward head posture.  On the next three reps, after I cue him to keep his cervical spine in a more neutral posture, he has to arch his back excessively (lumbar hyperextension) to complete the movement.

Now, imagine taking this walking disaster (only kidding; I had Dave fake it for the video, as he's actually a finely tuned trained killing machine who can't be stopped by conventional weapons - and he's single, ladies) taking up overhead pressing, Olympic lifting, or just reaching for a glass on the top shelf.  Then, imagine him doing those tasks over and over again. Obviously, the posture will get worse as he reinforces these compensation schemes - but something is going to surely break down along the way; it's just a question of whether it's his low back, shoulder, or neck!

Correcting these issues is easier said than done; as I noted, there are several structures that could be the limiting factor.  However, for those looking for a relatively universal stretch they can use to get a bit of everything, I like the wall lat stretch with stabilization, one piece of a comprehensive (but not excessive and boring) static stretching program included in Show and Go.

7. Don't ignore the thoracic spine. The previous two examples focused exclusively on the glenohumeral joint, but the truth is that it is tremendously dependent on thoracic spine positioning.  Ask any physical therapist, and they'll tell you that if they can get the thoracic spine moving, they can instantly improve glenohumeral joint range-of-motion without even touching the shoulder (this is incredibly valuable with folks who may have stiff glenohumeral joints that can't be mobilized aggressively following shoulder surgery; they need ROM in any way possible).  And, truthfully, you can substitute a lack of thoracic spine extension for the shoulder flexion problems and compensation schemes above, and a lack of thoracic spine rotation can work in much the same way as a GIRD (substitute excessive scapular protraction with reaching tasks).

If you ever want to quickly check to see what limiting thoracic extension does to someone's upper body posture, just put them in supine position and push the sternum/rib cage down - which will bring the thoracic spine into flexion. Watch what happens to the position of his chin, and the size of the "gap" between his neck and the table:

Now, just consider what kind of "yank" this puts on the sternocleidomastoid chronically...

...and you'll understand why a lack of thoracic spine mobility can give people enough neck pain and tension headaches to make Lindsay Lohan's hangovers look like a walk in the park.  And this doesn't even consider what's going on with scalenes, suboccipitals, levator scapulae, subclavius, and a host of other muscles that are royally pissed off!  Also, think about all those folks in your gym doing hours and hours of crunches (especially while tugging on the neck).  Ouch.

For that reason, we need to get our thoracic spine moving - and more specifically, we need to get it moving in both extension and rotation.  I've mentioned in the past that the side-lying extension-rotation is one of my favorites (assuming no symptoms); remember that the overwhelming majority of the range-of-motion is coming from the upper back, not just the shoulder:

Here's another we're using quite a bit nowadays in our folks who have good internal rotation (which we want to keep!):

8. Watch your daily habits and get up more frequently. I'm at 1,140 words for this post right now - plus several pictures and videos.  In other words, some of you might have been hunched over your computer screens trying to figure out what I'm saying for over 20 minutes now - and that's when "creep" starts to set in an postural changes become more and more harmful (both aesthetically and functionally).

With that in mind, make a point of getting up more frequently throughout the day if you have to be sitting a ton.  Likewise, "shuffle" or "fidget" in your chair; as Dr. Stuart McGill once said, "The best posture is the one that is constantly changing."  Now, shouldn't you get up and walk around for a few minutes?

I'll be back soon with Part 3 of this series, but in the meantime, I'd encourage you to check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better, a comprehensive program that includes many of the principles I have outlined in this series.

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Preventing Lower Back Pain: Assuming is Okay

It's widely known that approximately 80% of the population will suffer from lower back pain at some point during their lives.  What isn't widely known, however, is that even those who are asymptomatic are usually walking around with a host of nasty stuff going on with their spines.  Don't believe me?

A 1994 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in a study of MRIs of 98 asymptomatic individuals, 82% of those MRIs came back as positive for a disc bulge, protrusion, or extrusion at one level.  And, 38% actually had these issues at more than one level.  You can read the free full text HERE.

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As the others discovered, it doesn't stop with disc issues, either - and that's where a great study from Soler and Calderon comes in.  They looked at the incidence of spondylolysis (vertebral fractures) in elite Spanish athletes, and found that 8% of those they examined had them.  Only about half of those diagnosed via imaging actually had back pain, though.  The incidence was highest in track and field throwers, rowers, gymnasts, and weightlifters - and I'd expect that this figure is actually higher in the U.S., where we have more sports (hockey, baseball, lacrosse) involving violent extension and rotation, more contact sports, and more participation in weight training.

What does this mean for us?  Well, as Chou et al. reported in The Lancet, "Lumbar imaging for low-back pain without indications of serious underlying conditions does not improve clinical outcomes. Therefore, clinicians should refrain from routine, immediate lumbar imaging in patients with acute or subacute low-back pain and without features suggesting a serious underlying condition."  That's not the point of my article today, though; I'll leave that stuff to the physicians to decide and rehabilitation specialists to interpret and treat.

As fitness professionals, strength coaches, and even just fitness enthusiasts and athletes, we need to assume that there is are probably a lot of structural abnormalities going on in the spines we encounter - including our own.  The programs we write and follow need to be sound and take these issues into account, considering differences in age, gender, sport participation, and injury history.  The technique we use needs to position us so that we can avoid causing them to reach threshold.  And, we need to appreciate that there is a risk-reward balance to be "struck" with everything we do in training because nobody will ever be "perfectly prepared" for the demands to be placed on their bodies.

Rather than lay all my thoughts out here, I'm going to direct you to some previous writing of mine:

To Squat or Not to Squat?
Lower Back Savers: Part 1
Lower Back Savers: Part 2
Lower Back Savers: Part 3

I'd also highly recommend Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance by Dr. Stuart McGill.

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The Lucky 13: Cressey’s Top Reading Recommendations

A few months ago, I gave a two-day seminar to just over 80 fitness professionals and strength and conditioning coaches.  Even with a seminar this long, I can never cover everything I'd like to cover - and it's generally because much of what I'd like to address relies on some prerequisite knowledge that the attendees may not possess.

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With that in mind, at the attendees' request, I sent a follow up email to all of them with a list of some of the best resources - books/manuals and DVDs - that I've encountered along my journey of self-education. Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but it does cover what I'd consider requisite reading to get a good foundation in a lot of the concepts I covered last weekend. 1.  Any anatomy text will do, but I prefer texts that speak more to functional anatomy.  Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy is very good, and I know of many physical therapists in the US who keep a copy of this book on hand for patient education.  Kinetic Anatomy is also a solid text that speaks to functional anatomy, and I believe the newer version comes with a tag-along DVD.  Lastly, our Building the Efficient Athlete DVD set was created in part to educate folks on the functional anatomy side of things that they may miss during a conventional college curriculum.  I know of several facilities in the US that use it extensively for staff training. 2. Anything from Stuart McGill - While there are several schools of thought with respect to low back function and rehabilitation (and I'd encourage you to check out each of them), McGill is the one that resonates with me the most.  You can find a lot of his research on Pubmed, but he also has several books (and a DVD) available that I'd highly recommend.  For those of you who are interested in some science and some applied, go with Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance.

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For those of you who are a bit geekier and want to learn a lot more about the clinical side of things, check out Low Back Disorders.  If you are going to train clients or athletes, you need to understand back pain. 3. Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes by Shirley Sahrmann is probably the book that has influenced me more than any other in my career.  It's worth every penny.

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4. For shoulder stuff, I think that The Athlete's Shoulder is a great resource.  It is written by physical therapists and surgeons, though, so it can get very clinical at times.  Those of you who are more interested in actual practical applications would be more interested in our new Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD set, which is the video of a seminar I did with Mike Reinold, who is actually one of the co-authors of The Athlete's Shoulder.  If you enter the coupon code "reinold200osp" today only at checkout HERE, you can get the DVD set with free shipping today as part of Mike's "sale week" to celebrate his 200th post.

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5. Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain - This is a newer version of Kendall's classic text, and it's an incredibly detailed resource that you'll find yourself referring back to time and time again.  Several of the screens we use in our everyday assessments with clients and athletes were influenced in part or entirely by Kendall's text. 6. Gray Cook's work is fantastic.  If you want quick, practical tips, check out Secrets of the Hip and Knee and Secrets of the Shoulder.  Both DVDs give you some tips that you can immediately put into practice. 7. Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers is an excellent read to get you thinking more and more about the role of the fascial system.  I saw Thomas speak this past weekend in Providence, and he was absolutely fantastic - so excellent, in fact, that I'll probably write up a blog with some quick notes from his lecture.  And, I'll be reading this for the third time this week, too!

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8. Bulletproof Knees - Mike Robertson wrote this manual and I can honestly say that I haven't seen a better product on the market with respect to information that can be quickly applied to clients with knee pain - both in terms of understanding it and correcting it.

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9. Mike Boyle has some excellent products - including all the Functional Strength Coach DVDs (#3 was the most recent).  You can always find some good reading at StrengthCoach.com.  I believe they still have the 14 days for $1 trial period, and as part of that, you get his Designing Resistance Training Programs and Facilities book for free. 10. Anatomy of Breathing - I think it's valuable to appreciate the muscles involved in respiration and start to put them into your functional anatomy framework as soon as possible.  This book is a very quick read, but you'll get that foundational knowledge and start to think about how all this stuff lines up.

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11. 2008 Indianapolis Performance Enhancement DVD set - This is a product that has largely flown under the radar because it was overshadowed by several other products that were launched around the same time.  However, the short vs. stiff discussion that Bill Hartman presented as part of it is well worth the cost of the entire DVD set. 12. Clinical Applications of Neuromuscular Techniques (Part 1 and 2) - These books read like stereo instructions, but they are insanely thorough.  I recommend them to anyone who is really dorky like I am.  They will definitely help you to collaborate with manual therapists and physiotherapists a lot more effectively. 13. Assess and Correct - Shameless self-promotion here, but I'm extremely proud of this product.  It's a DVD set and four accompanying manuals that cover 27 assessments and 78 corrective exercises we use with our clients and athletes.  If I had to recommend one of our products to a trainer, this would be it.  Stuart McGill have us some extremely flattering reviews on Assess and Correct as part of his new DVD.

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I should note that the countless journal articles I've read over the years are noticeably absent from this list, but you can easily access the abstracts of those pieces at www.pubmed.com if you search by whatever keyword relates to your area of interest.  I find myself using it daily, and I'll generally follow up on these abstracts by getting the full-text articles.  Also, in addition to the few resources I note below, you can find a more extensive collection of recommended readings on my resources page. This includes a collection of links to free blogs that I read daily.  Many of my blog readers don't know that, in addition to this blog, I have a free newsletter where readers get exclusive content and early notice on things - so you'll definitely want to sign up HERE if you haven't already. It's also been a matter of interacting with as many smart folks as possible, just making (and documenting) observations with our clients/athletes, and going to seminars.  This list should get you started, though!
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Random Friday Thoughts: 12/11/09

1. Sorry for the slower week here on the blog.  In addition to trying to catch up from my three days in Houston, I had a few projects that needed to get sorted out this week.  For starters, we had to finalize the agenda for my seminar in Vancouver in March. And, the bigger task of late has been finishing up a chapter (on baseball testing and training) that I'm contributing to Dr. Craig Liebenson's newest book.  Others contributing include Dr. Stuart McGill, Sue Falsone (Athletes Performance), Dr. Ben Kibler, Dr. Pavel Kolar, Ken Crenshaw (Arizona Diamondbacks), and Mike Boyle (among others).  Needless to say, I'm lucky to be in such awesome company, and you'll definitely want to check it out once it's available.  In the meantime, you might be interested in Liebenson's most popular work, Rehabilitation of the Spine: A Practitioner's Manual.

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2. Mike Reinold and I are also working on getting our seminar, Testing, Treating, and Training the Shoulder: From Rehabilitation to High Performance, ready for production and sale.  We're hoping it'll be ready by the first of the year, but only time will tell; editing takes time, and it's out of our hands now!  Speaking of Mike, he just posted a blog outlining the recently revised pitch count rules.  If you coach young players or one of your kids plays ball, definitely check it out HERE.

3. On the topic of little league, the clinic with Matt Blake and I at Cressey Performance on Tuesday night was pretty popular with local coaches.  One of the things that Matt and I tried to stress is that kids almost never get hurt for JUST one reason.  Usually, injuries are multifactorial, so you have to look at a host of different causes - from overuse, to physical limitations (weakness or immobility), to mechanical flaws in the pitching delivery.

The questions we received gave me some ideas for future posts, so keep an eye out for those in the not-so-distant future.  Along those same lines, if there are specific baseball development questions you'd like covered, feel free to post some suggestions here as a reply to this blog.

4. I got the following question the other day, and thought it might make for a quick Q&A here:

Q: I am planning on training Westside style but I do not have access to bands and chains (or any other special equipment for that matter). What should I do to change up my dynamic effort days? Should I just use variations of the lifts (i.e. close grip vs regular grip bench, sumo vs conventional deadlifts)?

A: The whole idea that you absolutely have to have bands, chains, and specialized bars to learn from the Westside school of thought (which is constantly evolving anyway) couldn't be further from the truth.  There are bits and pieces borrowed from Westside teachings in Maximum Strength, and you'll see that there is plenty of rotation among movements in the four-month program - and the assumption is that you don't have any of these goodies.  Rotating among back squats and front squats (without a box, with a box, or from pins) and deadlifts will give you a great rotation of movements.

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Regarding dynamic effort days, I don't think it's as important to rotate exercises on a regular basis, as this speed work is there to improve bar speed on that specific movement and help you groove the movement pattern itself.  However, if you want to change it up, it's not too difficult.

In the lower body, simply go to a different deadlift or squat variation, or change the percentage at which you're working.  In the upper body, you can change the grip width on the bench press, do some plyo push-ups, or even just throw the medicine ball around.

5. I'm going to see The Nutcracker tonight with my fiancee.  In the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."

6. I will, however, say that I'm a little bummed that Jim Breuer is in town tonight about ten minutes from where I live, and I'm not going to get to see him.  Doh!

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Things I Learned from Smart People: Installment 1

This post marks the first of a new series where I'll give credit to a lot of the people who in one way or another have made me better at what I do.  In most cases, they'll be quick tips that I've taken away and applied immediately into my existing methodology.  Very few of them will require more than a few sentences to explain - and I'll usually give you some recommended reading at the end of the entry. Today's tip was one I picked up from Bill Hartman on a recent trip to Indianapolis.  Keep in mind that this is more along the lines of "knowledge for the sake of being smart," not because many of these provocative tests are ones that should be used by those who aren't trained as physical therapists. Anyway, We were talking about the high frequency of lumbar spine disc herniations and bulges on MRI that are not accompanied with any symptoms. Taking it a step further, though, you'll also see people who have back pain plus these issues on diagnostic imaging, yet that doesn't necessarily mean that the imaging finding is clinical significant (the pain might be coming from something else).  One classic test that's been used to test for neural tension in this regard is the slump test. As is the case with most physical assessments, though, a good test should simulate the injury mechanism, and while the slump test gets things rolling in the right direction, Bill actually mentioned that he favors a McKenzie-influenced repeated flexion test  (slump test only involves a single "bout" of flexion) - which essentially simulates how you'd herniate a disc in a laboratory setting.  If someone has a one of these findings on the MRI, plus back pain, but this repeated flexion test doesn't provoke their symptoms, chances are that the pain is coming from somewhere else (muscular, etc.).  If symptoms are exacerbated, it's probably related to the disc issue.  Of course, repeated extension would apply to more posterior issue. Of course, check with a qualified physical therapist for issues along these lines; you don't want to be self-diagnosing or provoking something on your own.  However, the trainers and strength and conditioning coaches in the crowd can use this information attained by physical therapists to classify folks as extension-based or flexion-based back pain and program exercise accordingly alongside rehabilitation initiatives.   I covered this in some detail in Lower Back Savers: Part I. Recommended Reading: Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance, by Stuart McGill

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Random Friday Thoughts: 5/22/09

Let's get right to it. 1. First up, a few quick congratulations are in order for some Cressey Performance ballplayers.  Justin Quinn (Lincoln-Sudbury) and Sahil Bloom (Weston) were named Dual County League Large and Small Players of the Year, respectively.  They are also two of the three finalists for the MA Gatorade Player of the Year award.  LS won the DCL Large, and Weston won the DCL - thanks in large part to the efforts of these two guys.  Both were selected as league all-stars, as were CP athletes Garrett Moore (LS), Ryan Wood (LS), Derek Lowe (LS), Chris Conlon (Weston), Reed Chapman (Weston), Alex Hill (Wayland), and Scott Lueders (Newton-South).  Congratulations, guys! 2. Padres prospect and CP athlete Will Inman jumped up to AAA from AA on Wednesday.  If you're anywhere near Portland, OR, get out to watch him make his first start tonight (Friday) at 7PM.  Will is 4-1 with a 3.05 ERA in eight starts on the year, having given up only 33 hits and eight walks in 44.1 innings pitched. Congratulations to Will on taking the next step in his baseball journey.

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3. Check out this great video content today from Dr. John Berardi about The Key to Accidental Fitness.  I can tell you that this is 100% spot on from my own experiences - and the thousands of clients and athletes I've seen over the years. 4. I got a question the other day about who I thought were the most important individuals to add to one's network in the field of strength and conditioning.  My first response was "anyone who is smart, openminded, and willing to share ideas." That said, I realize this individual was probably looking for a list of occupations in this regard, so here goes: doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, athletic trainers, other strength coaches/trainers, radiologists, sports coaches, researchers, sports psychologists, equipment manufacturers/distributors, and loads others that I have probably forgotten.  Basically, you're just trying to find people who have different areas of specialization to either add to, refute, or confirm your existing knowledge. 5. Had some car and computer issues earlier this week, so I got a bit sidetracked on the writing side of things this week.  I submitted the third installment of Lower Back Savers a bit late, so it didn't run this week.  For those who missed Parts 1 and 2, you can check them out HERE and HERE. 6. Just finished up my powerpoint for the Distinguished Lecture Series in Sports Medicine at Northeastern on June 5-6.  This is an awesome event featuring guys like Dr. Stuart McGill, Mike Boyle, Dr. David Tiberio, and others (including some schmuck named Cressey).  It's very affordable, and I can tell you that the last two years have been fantastic.  Check it out HERE for more details.

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7. Can we please get over this swine flu stuff, people? They are closing schools left and right in Boston - and as a result, ASYMPTOMATIC kids are having to FORFEIT games/matches - and now, potentially playoff games. 8. I'm most likely getting a new car tonight.  I've never been a "car guy," so it's more of a chore than anything.  Let's hear some of your favorite strategies for bargaining with car dealers (particularly when you've got a trade-in)...
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Lower Back Savers: Part 1

Sooner or later, you're going to tweak your back, and there's nothing you'll ever experience, perhaps shy of limb dismemberment, that'll put a stop to your training as cruelly or effectively. Of course, if you've already had some back problems, you know what we're talking about. Either way, we recommend you bone up on the back. It's one complex little beastie. Continue Reading...
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Random Friday Thoughts: 3/13/09

With today being Friday the 13th, I figured we'd roll with that theme for today.  As you probably know, Friday the 13th is - according to superstition - a day of bad or good luck.  Honestly, I didn't know that good luck was a feasible outcome until I just Googled it, but apparently it is, and I'm just a stupid pessimist without even knowing it.  So, in hopes of turning my day around, I'm going to post this video and make all the villagers rejoice because they know they're smarter than this girl:

2. Did you know that there is actually a term - paraskavedekatriaphobia - for the fear of Friday the 13th? Apparently, this problem is a more specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, which is just fear of the number 13.  Fortunately, though, these phobias aren't nearly as bad as:

a. Logophobia - fear of words (reading this blog would really suck for those folks, huh?)

b. Electrophobia - fear of electricity (turning on the computer would must have been terrible, but missing out on my electric sense of humor must have been the worst!)

c. Arithmophobibia - fear of numbers (you'll be happy to note that I'm using a, b, c, and d instead of a numerical listing scheme because I am sensitive to your concerns)

d. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - fear of long words (coincidentally, they gave this guy a syndrome with 36 letters)

A few other honorable mentions to to levophobia (fear of objects to the left of the body), geniophobia (fear of chins), chronomentrophobia (fear of clocks), and Gentilcorophobia (fear of painfully bad techno music).

3. Yesterday, I gave a guest lecture/hands-on session for an exercise science class at UMASS-Boston.  I've done this several semesters in a row, and this semester's topic was "Core Stability and Mobility."  While I think that folks like me who have been in the trenches for a while and attend a lot of seminars need another presentation on core stability like I need a whole in the head, it was cool to speak about the topic to a younger audience that didn't have as much experience under their belts.  One book I encouraged all of them to pick up was Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance by Stuart McGill.

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4. Along those lines, one movement I find us using around the facility quite a bit is the split-stance cable lift:

5. Mike Robertson's just begun doing a podcast component in his newsletters, and it allows him to cover more material than he would with writing along.  Check out the first installment HERE; I think you'll like it.

6. About two years ago, I was featured on the front page of the Boston Globe in a picture with Steph Holland-Brodney, CP's most tenured client, as she prepared for the Boston Marathon.  Almost immediately, I was thrown into a world of international fame  as "the dude with the hard nipple" - and I added to the already-insane media frenzy by authoring a literary masterpiece known as The School of Hard Nipples.  For weeks, I couldn't even go grocery shopping without being swarmped by paparazzi and adoring fans who couldn't wait to catch a glimpse of the nipple that had changed so many lives.

Fortunately, Boston won the World Series in 2007 about six months later, and it was about the same time that "The Departed" came out to put Boston in the spotlight.  So, thanks to the Red Sox and Marky Mark, some of the pressure was lifted - and I managed to move forward.

As I learned this week, though, the stardom hasn't died down altogether.  You see, when I check my website stats, I can find out what people most frequently type in with search engines when they ultimately come to EricCressey.com.  And, would you believe that I average about 3.5 "hard nipples" searches per day?  In other words, random people are typing "hard nipples" into Google, and in many cases, they're winding up at EricCressey.com instead of many of the millions of adult entertainment sites out there.

I guess I'm just a hard-nippled legend.

Have a great weekend!

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Stuff You Should Read: 1/14/09

This is a random post, but it came about in light of our recent switch to a new hosting company, plus the reorganization of the site.  In this drawn-out, mind-numbing, baldness-inducing process, I came to realize that a lot of my better writing has slipped into an internet black hole - or at the very least, the EricCressey.com archives.  So, with that in mind, over the next few weeks, I'm going to reincarnate some of my old material. Waiting to Reach Threshold Back Squats and Overhead Throwers The Best Thing I've Seen All Year And, if you're looking for sites that I visit nearly every day, I'll be posting some recommendations, too.  Today, though, I want to give you a heads-up on a great audio series - Sports Rehab to Sports Performance - that Joe Heiler has pulled together.  I'll be interviewed, as will Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Kyle Kiesel, Stuart McGill, Phil Plisky, Brett Jones, and Charlie Weingroff.   The entire interview series is COMPLETELY FREE, and you can get more information HERE. I'll follow this up with future installments.
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