Home Posts tagged "Weight Lifting" (Page 2)

Baseball and Strength

Free Teleseminar Series at SportsRehabExpert.com I just wanted to give you all a heads-up on a great audio series - Sports Rehab to Sports Performance - that Joe Heiler has pulled together.  I'll was interviewed on Friday, and Joe's also chatted will Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Kyle Kiesel, Stuart McGill, Phil Plisky, Brett Jones, and Charlie Weingroff.   The entire interview series is COMPLETELY FREE and begins airing later tomorrow night.  You can get more information HERE. Also, don't forget that the third annual Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning Winter Seminar is fast approaching.  For more information, click here. Snowy Sunday Sentiments Yesterday, in an email exchange I was having with some guys who are really "in the know" in the world of baseball pitching, one of them commented that pitchers need to start thinking more along the lines of training like Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  In other words, less external loading, more pure-body weight drills, and a big focus on reactive ability (plyometrics drills, for the lay population). I'll be the first to recognize Polamalu's accomplishments on the field - including an interception return for a touchdown yesterday.  And, I admit that I don't know much about his training philosophy aside from what I have seen in 3-4 minute YouTube and NFL clips.  So, I guess you could say that my point of contention is with what some folks take from viewing these clips, as was the case with this email exchange.  So, I'll be very clear that I'm not criticizing the Sportslab philosophy; I'd love to buy these guys lunch and pick their brains, in fact. However, I've got two cents to add - or maybe even three our four cents, depending on how poorly the American dollar is doing nowadays.  I'm writing this on a snowy day in Massachusetts and I've got a little bit of extra time on my hands (a rarity during the baseball off-season for me). I think that it is wrong to assume that weight training is unnecessary and plyometrics are sufficient for injury prevention and performance enhancement in pitchers.  This is a common belief held among a large body of pitching coaches that I feel really needs to be addressed. The fundamental problem I see is that a system that relies extensively on training elastic qualities.  Or, in the terminology I like to use, it teaches an athlete to be more "spring," making better use of elastic energy from the tendons.  This works best in an athlete who is largely static, or has a solid base of muscular strength. Who would be a static athlete?  Well, one example would be an athlete who gained a lot of strength in the previous four years...say, Troy Polamalu.  He was a first-round draft pick out of USC, known for a good program under strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle.  They've packed lots of muscle and strength on loads of high school guys over the years, no doubt.  Polamalu may not realize it, but those four years of USC training probably set him up for the positive results he's seeing in this program - especially when you compare him to a good chunk of the NFL that now uses machine-based HIT training because they're afraid of weight-room injuries. Basically, for the most part, only the freaky athletes make it to the "big dance" in football, so the S&C coach is responsibly for not hurting them.   It's not much different in the world of baseball - but we're dealing with a MORE TRAINED population in the first place. I'm sure that many of you have read Moneyball (and if you haven't, you should).  One thing that they touch on over and over again is that high school draft picks don't pan out as well as college draft picks.


Sure, it has to do with facing better hitters and maturing another four years psychologically.  However, one factor that nobody ever touches on is that these college draft picks have another four years of strength and conditioning under their belt in most cases.  It may not be baseball-specific in many cases, but I would definitely argue that it's better than nothing.  Strength goes a long way, but physiologically and psychologically. And, that's what I want you to think about until my next newsletter comes out - when I'll get a bit more to the science of all this, and how it's been demonstrated in professional baseball. New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts How to Make an Exercise Tougher Another CP Intern on the Road to Diesel Frozen Ankles, Ugly Squatting Until next time, train hard and have fun. EC Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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Random Friday Thoughts: 1/16/09

No blog yesterday; things were kind of crazy around CP, and I did a 14-hour day that began with dropping Pete off at the airport at 6:15.  The good news is that it allowed me to stockpile some content for today's random thoughts. 1.  For this week's music selection, I got a little inspiration from one of Cressey Performance's newest clients.  Here's a little old-school flavor for you:

2. Speaking of that new client, I guess you could say that the cat is out of the bag.

The Guy I Love to Hate

Rumor has it that this guy can pitch a little bit.

3. Here is a great review of Maximum Strength.  I've been so busy lately that I actually forgot I'd published a book about six months ago and probably ought to mention it here and there!  Click here to pick up a copy.


4.  As I've written before, I'm not a fan of Vitamin Water - but I will say that I love article!

U.S. Group Sues Coke over Vitamin Water Health Claims

5.  Apparently, George the Lobster is the talk of my hometown (Kennebunk/Kennebunkport, ME).  They're freeing this 140-year-old , 20-pound lobster on the beach up there this weekend.  It was a strategic move to release him in January, as it reduces the likelihood that George will be scared back into captivity by the socially-awkward males tourists on the beach in their lime green Speedos. Oh, and on a semi-related note, I could eat an entire 20-pound lobster in one sitting and then be hungry 15 minutes later.  Lobster alone never fills me up; I'm a surf and turf guy.  Us Maine guys are spoiled brats like that.

6. For those who missed it, I had an article published late last week at T-Nation; check it out: The Right Way to Stretch the Pecs 7. After a holiday hiatus, I got back on track with my newsletter this week.  Newsletter 138 focuses on the misunderstood role of the rhomboids.

8. I got asked the other day why I cue folks to keep the chin tucked during squatting and deadlifting variations. Shoulder geek that I am - and even though it's just the tip of the iceberg - I gave the following perspective: Cervical extension = levator scapulae shortness Levator scapulae shortness = scapular anterior tilt and insufficient upward rotation Scapular anterior tilt and reduced upward rotation = unhappy shoulder Additionally, you've got the extensor reflex - which Mike Robertson covered quite nicely HERE. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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Built for Show

You've probably come across Nate Green's name over the past few years - either in my newsletter/blog or at T-Nation.  He's established himself as a guy who knows his stuff, but also has a great writing style that is both entertaining and informative.  And, most specific to the product in question, Nate looks a lot of issues that nobody else considers.

I was fortunate to get an advanced copy of his new book, Built for Show, and I really enjoyed it.  The program itself is fantastic.  Those of you who enjoyed my Maximum Strength book would like it as a follow-up program, particularly if you're interesting a bit more interested in the physique side of things than pure performance benefits.  The program includes four unique training phases to keep your progress moving full-speed ahead.

And, for those of you who haven't picked up a woman since the Reagan administration, you'd be wise to take Nate's advice.  Nate discusses the psychology of attraction quite a bit, and it's actually really interesting stuff.  I will be the first to admit that I never had much (if any) game with the ladies, so I'll defer to the expert (Nate) to elaborate on this crucial point from the book:

Take a look at the current men's magazines and notices what's on the covers.  You'll see a ton of references to biceps, ripped abs, and a bigger chest - but those are three body parts women don't really care about as much as you'd think.  If you go back in time, you'll find that women are biologically programmed to be attracted to men who show more status and dominance.  One way to show that dominance is to have an imposing, strong body.  Take a look at your training and ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing.  I know this might sound sacrilegious, but maybe your question for the ultimate six-pack, biggest guns, or becoming so big that you frighten small children aren't the greatest goals for you after all.  If you want girls, and you want a capable, athletic, muscular body, then Built for Show was written for you.

Check it out, folks; at less than $14, you can't go wrong - at the very least for a very entertaining read: Built for Show
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Unstable Ground or Destabilizing Torques

I don't watch a ton of TV, but when I do, it's almost always sports - be it football, baseball, basketball, or just regular ol' Sportscenter.  Likewise, when I'm at working, I'm constantly coaching athletes from a variety of sports on everything from weight-training, to flexibility, to sprint mechanics, to medicine ball throwing techniques.

Everywhere you look, you'll see destabilizing torques.  Maybe it's a running back trying to fend off a tackler; his feet are fixed while the destabilizing torque (the force applied to his body by that tackler) occurs further up the kinetic chain.

Or, maybe it's an athlete doing a suitcase deadlift.  The load in his hand is a destabilizing torque that attempts to shift him into lateral flexion as contralateral core musculature fires to keep him erect.  Again, the feet are on stable ground.

You're probably getting my point by now.  Our lower extremities operate in predominantly closed-chain motion on stable surfaces in the real world - and the destabilizing torques we encounter further up the kinetic chain are truly functional instability training.

Conversely, when was the last time you saw the ground move on a fixed athlete?  Perhaps the earthquake during the San Francisco-Oakland World Series in 1989?  It's a long shot at best.

With that in mind, why are we universally accepting unstable surface training in the lower extremity?  We know it has merit in the rehabilitation of functional ankle instability, but to assume that benefits would also be conferred on a healthy population is a dangerous.  That's where we came in with my research back in 2005 - and it's why I've got a great frame of reference for writing a book that discusses true core stability training and the appropriate and inappropriate applications of unstable surface training.  At risk of sounding overconfident, if you coach or rehabilitation athletes or regular fitness enthusiasts, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training is an important read for you.

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Random Thoughts from Todd Hamer

Random Thoughts from Todd Hamer

Todd Hamer is one of the most high-energy coaches I've ever encountered.  However, unlike many coaches who attempt to use their energy to make up for a lack of knowledge and experience, Todd is a guy who really knows his stuff and understands how to coach.  He really cares about his athletes and knows how to speak their language.  Enjoy. 1. Watch your athlete’s feet! When an athlete is squatting, all of the force they are creating is being transferred through the feet. When your athlete begins the descent, do their feet stay flat on the ground? When they get to the bottom of their squat, do their shoes roll in or out? Or, can you see the weight shift forward? I have noticed that even when a squat looks good, if you really look at what the feet are doing, you can follow the chain to where the problem is and then fix that.

2. I was put on this earth to kill the word “core.” Every day, someone says to me, “my core is weak.” The reason that I am here to kill this word is because it means nothing. Define the core? When someone says their core is weak, to me it means they are weak. We have been so overexposed to the “core” that we have forgotten how to get stronger. It has been shown time and time again that all the muscles that people call the “core” are worked in a squat, clean, overhead squat and many other multi-joint movements. So get away from the core and get strong. I promise you can get a six pack.  For more information, check out Jim Smith's Combat Core Manual.

3. Train more odd lifts. I (like many others) was to dogmatic in my approach to training athletes. People like DieselCrew.com and EliteFTS.com have helped me think more about how I am training my athletes. Why do we use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags ect? Why not trees and stones. It is important to get your athletes off the platform and away from the known and into the unknown. Sports are chaotic events; do not be afraid of some chaos in your training.

4. 90% of athletes overthink.  What is the training age of your athletes? This is a question that you should ask yourself about every one of the people you train. The younger the training age, the less advanced the program should be. Most athletes want the newest craziest exercise and program. The problem is that most athletes just need to get stronger and more mobile. This can be accomplished with just working hard and sticking to the basics. Most of the time if an athlete’s squat form improves, then his mobility will improve along with his strength levels. Quit looking for the Holy Grail of training and start training.

5. Extend your network.  Your network is everyone to whom you speak; make it larger. I have been lucky to be able to learn from and share ideas with hundreds of strength coaches, personal trainers, doctors, rehab specialists, and many other professionals. Each of these people have taught me something new about what I do. This is true for both business and personal facets of my life. I often hear other strength coaches say they will not listen to someone because they don’t work with athletes or they do not know what I do. So what? We must bring people in this field together if we ever want our field to grow.

About Todd Hamer

Todd Hamer has been working in the strength and conditioning field for seven years and has held positions at Marist College, the Citadel, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania State University, and George Mason. He is now the head strength and conditioning coach at Robert Morris University.  Todd has also worked as a personal trainer and consultant in several different facilities throughout his career.  In his spare time, Todd is a competitive powerlifter with best lifts of a 545 lb squat, a 375 lb bench, and a 500 lb deadlift. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he received his bachelor's of science degree in exercise science from Penn State in 1999 and his master's of science degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in August 2002.

Until next time, train hard and have fun!

All the Best,


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Alwyn Cosgrove: Mobility Training

This week, we've got Part 2 of the Alwyn Cosgrove fat loss interview along with a few quick announcements. Just a quick note, first: I had my first article published at Active.com just recently.  Check it out: Must-Have Weight Room Movements for Cyclists: Part 1 EricCressey.com Exclusive Interview with Alwyn Cosgrove: Part 2 Last week, Alwyn tossed out a ton of great information with respect to fat loss programming, but he's not done yet!  Without further ado, let's get to it... EC: As a mobility geek, I was intrigued when I heard you mention that you felt that corrective exercise - especially in the form of mobility and activation work - had merits with respect to utilizing compound movements to create a metabolic disturbance.  Could you elaborate? AC: If you think about the fiber recruitment potential, the answer is pretty obvious.  Even if you're using compound movements to create that metabolic disturbance, if your muscles were not activated like they should be, you still are not creating as big as a disturbance as you could. For example, squats and deadlifts will give you more bang for your buck if your glutes are active than if they aren't.  Many of the movements from your Magnificent Mobility DVD - supine bridges and birddogs, for example, with respect to the glutes - are great pairings for more of these compound lifts if you're looking to create more of a metabolic disturbances.  In the upper body, you might pair chin-ups with scap pushups, or bench presses with scapular wall slides.

And, to add on the above points, you can ignore the value of that mobility and activation work when it comes to preventing injury.  Many times, form will start to break down with some of the longer time-under-tension prescriptions in more metabolically demanding resistance training protocols.  When you get things firing the way they should, you immediately make these complexes and circuits safer.

EC: Great points.  Now, you bust my chops for being a guy that reads the research on a regular basis, but we both know that you’re as much of a “research bloodhound” as I am.  As such, I know that you’ve got some ideas on the “next big thing” when it comes to fat loss.  Where do you feel the industry will be going along these lines in the years to come?  Here’s your chance to make a bold prediction, you cocky bastard. AC: Ok – you’re putting me on the spot here. If you don’t drink water – what happens? Your body immediately tries to maintain homeostasis by retaining water – doing the opposite. Does weight training build muscle? No. It destroys muscle and the body adapts by growing new muscle. The body adapts by homeostasis – trying to regain balance by doing the opposite. If we look at aerobic training – and look at fat oxidation – we can see that fat oxidation increases at 63% V02 max. We burn fat during the activity.  How does that EXACT SAME BODY respond? Hmmmm... What cavemen survived the famine in the winters? The cavemen that stored bodyfat efficiently. We have evolved into a race of fat storing machines. We are aerobic all day. If aerobic training worked – then we wouldn’t need to work harder would we? When we work harder we see a trend – we lose fat – but is it because we are moving towards anaerobics? My prediction is that as we understand more and more about the science of losing fat (which in reality we haven’t really studied in any depth) I think we’ll find that  excessive aerobic training may retard fat loss in some way. I’ve been saying for years that I don’t think it helps much. And the studies support that. I’m now starting to feel that it may hurt. How many more studies have to come out that show NO effect of aerobic training to a fat loss program before we’ll recognize it? DISCLAIMER – I work with endurance athletes. I work with fighters. I am recovering from an autologous stem cell transplant and high dose chemotherapy. I think aerobic training is extremely helpful. But not as a fat loss tool. EC: Excellent stuff as always, Alwyn.  Thanks for taking the time. I can't say enough great things the fat loss resources Alwyn has pulled together; I would strongly encourage you all to check them out: Afterburn. All the Best, EC
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