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EC on “Let’s Talk Baseball” with Ron and Jill Wolforth

Written on March 31, 2010 at 10:46 am, by Eric Cressey

Recently, I was on the “Let’s Talk Baseball” show with Ron and Jill Wolforth, where we talked baseball development in the context of assessing pitchers and correcting their inefficiencies.  Check it out:

Let’s Talk Baseball

We discuss the Assess & Correct DVD set quite a bit – and you can pick up a copy HERE.

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Optimal Shoulder Performance: A Preview

Written on March 30, 2010 at 5:26 am, by Eric Cressey

Here is just a small taste of what you can expect with the Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD set:

For more information on the product and to order, check out www.ShoulderPerformance.com.


Optimal Shoulder Performance Now Available!

Written on March 29, 2010 at 12:01 am, by Eric Cressey

I’m thrilled to announce that Mike Reinold and my new project, Optimal Shoulder Performance: From Rehabilitation to High Performance, is now available.  This four DVD set blends the world of rehabilitation and strength and conditioning like no other product on the market.  For more information on the product and to order, check out www.ShoulderPerformance.com.

The introductory price will not last long, so don’t delay!

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Optimal Shoulder Performance: From Rehabilitation to High Performance



Baseball Showcases: A Great Way to Waste Money and Get Injured

Written on March 26, 2010 at 4:04 am, by Eric Cressey

Q: I read your blog here the other day about your “ideal competitive year” for a baseball player.  What’s your take on showcases and college camps?  They always occur during the “down periods” you mentioned: fall ball and the early winter.  How do these fit in to a baseball player’s development?

A: To be blunt, while there are some exceptions to the rule, they rarely fit into development. In reality, they usually feed into destruction – at least in the context of pitchers.  I openly discourage all our young athletes and parents from attending them almost without exception.

I know of very few showcase directors and college baseball coaches who legitimately understand anatomy, physiology, the etiology of baseball injuries, the nature of adolescent development, or motor skill acquisition.

Showcase directors specialize in promoting and running showcases.  College coaches specialize in recruiting players, developing talent, planning game and practice strategy, and winning games.  To my knowledge, understanding scapulohumeral rhythm and the contributions of a glenohumeral internal rotation deficit (GIRD) to SLAP lesions via the peel-back mechanism isn’t all in a day’s work for these folks.

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The fundamental issue with these events is their timing.  As you noted, they almost always occur in the fall and winter months.  Why?

1.  It’s the easiest time to recruit participants, as they aren’t in-season with their baseball teams.

2. It’s not during the college baseball season – so fields and schedules are open and scouting and coaching man-power is free.

You’ll notice that neither #1 or #2 said “It’s the time of year when a pitcher is the most prepared to perform at a high level safely.”  It is just profitable and convenient for other people – and that occurs at the expense of many young pitchers’ arms.

In 2006, Olsen et al. published a fantastic review that examined all the different factors associated with elbow and shoulder surgeries in pitchers by comparing injured pitchers (those who warranted surgery) with their non-injured counterparts.  Some of the findings of the study:

-Pitchers who eventually required surgery threw almost EXACTLY twice as many pitches as the control group (healthy pitchers) over the course of the year…from a combination of pitches per outing, total outings, and months pitched per year.  For those of you who think your kid needs to play on multiple teams simultaneously, be very careul; add a team and you instantly double things – at least acutely.

-The injured pitchers attended an average of FOUR times more showcases than non-injured kids.

-Interesting aside:  injured pitchers were asked what their coaches’ most important concern was: game, season, or athlete’s career.  In the healthy group, they said the coach cared about the game most in only 11.4% of cases. In the injured group, it was 24.2%!  These crazy little league coaches are often also the ones running the showcases…

The big problem is that these issues usually don’t present until years later.  Kids may not become symptomatic for quite some time, or pop NSAIDs to cover up the issues.  They might even go to physical therapy for a year before realizing they need surgery.  It’s why you see loads of surgeries in the 16-18 year-old population, but not very often in 15 and under age groups.

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So why are appearances like these in the fall and winter months so problematic?  Well, perhaps the best way I can illustrate my point is to refer back to a conversation I had with Curt Schilling last year.

Curt told me that throughout his career, he had always viewed building up his arm each year as a process with several levels.

Step 1: Playing easy catch
Step 2: Playing easy catch on a line
Step 3: Building up one’s long toss (Curt never got onto a mound until he’d “comfortably” long-tossed 200 ft.)
Step 4: Throwing submaximally off a mound
Step 5: Throwing with maximum effort off a mound
Step 6: Throwing with maximum effort off a mound with a batter
Step 7: Throwing with maximum effort off a mound with a batter in a live game situation
Step 8: Opening day at Fenway Park in front of 40,000+ people

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Being at a showcase in front of college coaches and scouts with radar guns is Step 8 for every 14-16 year old kid in America.  And, it comes at the time of year when they may not have even been throwing because of fall/winter sports and the weather.  Just to be clear, I’ll answer this stupid question before anyone asks it: playing year-round and trying to be ready all the time is NOT the solution.

I can honestly say that in all my years of training baseball players, I’ve only seen one kid who was “discovered” at a showcase.  And, frankly, it occurred in December of his junior year, so those scouts surely would have found him during high school and summer ball; it wasn’t a desperate attempt to catch someone’s eye.

I’ll be honest: I have a lot of very close friends who work as collegiate baseball coaches.  They’re highly-qualified guys who do a fantastic job with their athletes – but also make money off of fall baseball camps.  I can be their friend without agreeing with everything they do; there is a difference between “disagree” and “dislike.”

Fortunately, the best coaches are the ones who go out of their way to make these events as safe as possible, emphasizing skill, technique, and strategy improvements over “impressing” whoever is watching.  So, it’s possible to have a safe, beneficial experience at one of these camps.  I’d encourage you to find out more about what goes on at the events in advance, and avoid throwing bullpens if unprepared for them.

As far as showcases are concerned, I’d encourage you to save your money and go on a family vacation instead.

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Make a Donation, Get a Vote

Written on March 25, 2010 at 5:15 am, by Eric Cressey

Help Cressey Performance client Kevin Youkilis out with a great cause: www.YouksKids.org.

Anyone who doesn’t vote for the ‘stache is crazy.


Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Interview

Written on March 24, 2010 at 3:36 am, by Eric Cressey

Just a quick heads-up that Joe Heiler is running my interview from the Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar Series tonight.  For some information on the interview, head HERE.

Or, just head straight to the sign-up page.  There are a few more interviews in store, so you’d still be able to catch them (and access the previous ones from this year’s series).

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The Single Dumbest Thing Trainers Do

Written on March 23, 2010 at 6:38 am, by Eric Cressey

This might come across as a completely random blog post, but in light of the time of year and the fact that I have five accountants in my family, I’m going to write it anyway.

If you are a trainer who does your own taxes, you are an idiot.

Yes, you’re dumber than the guy doing handstand push-ups on the stability ball with Miley Cyrus blaring in the background.  And, you’re giving your money away and likely increasing your risk of being audited down the road.

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People come to you to learn how to get fit, more athletic, and healthy.  In your eyes, they’d be crazy to try to program or coach themselves.  And, just walk into any commercial gym and from the exercises and techniques you’ll see executed, and you’ll want to pull out your hair.  While accountants on the whole are generally very patient people, I’m sure they want to do the same when they hear about Average Joe sitting down for some quality team (read: three days) with Turbo Tax.

Imagine you’re going to pay an accountant a few hundred dollars to do your taxes.  That’s a few extra training sessions added to your week – and you aren’t giving up any time to figure out the tax code (which is constantly changing).  You can read a book, have fun with your family, or do whatever else it is you enjoy.

Tony Gentilcore is one of my best friends and a business partner, so he won’t mind me using him as an example.  In the summer of 2007, I watched Tony slave over Turbo Tax for an entire weekend.He had a puzzled look on his face the entire time.  When he was done (late Sunday night), I went over and asked him if he’s deducted 7-8 different things that my accountant (my brother) taught me about that year.  He had no idea what I was talking about.

Tony is a guy that buys books, attends seminars, has professional memberships (NSCA, PETA, and the Chuck ‘E Cheese Pizza of the Month Club).  None of these were deducted.  So, by attempting to “save” some money and do it himself, Tony missed out on a bunch of key deductions and overreported net income.  Say, for ease of calculation, that was $1,000 of expenses he didn’t write off.  That means he reported $1,000 more net income – and in a (arbitrarily assigned) tax bracket of 30%, he gave Uncle Sam a $300 bonus – which would have more than paid for the cost of an accountant and freed up Tony’s weekend to listen to do the robot, drool all over his Nora Jones CD, and attack stability balls with scissors.

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Now, here’s an example of our business finances from our 2008 tax return that will really drive home the point.  When we opened Cressey Performance in the summer of 2007, we had to put up $30,000 worth of renovations: walls, doors, carpeting, a ceiling for the offices, and painting, as we were subletting from another tenant and wanted to “separate” our space.  It went from this…

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To this…

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These renovations were placed on a 15-year depreciation schedule – so we got a $2,000 deduction from net income in year 1 (very few people would know to do this on their tax returns without an accountant).

Business grew quickly, and we decided to move (also a deduction) three miles east in May of 2008, which was the end of the lease we were under.  When we went, we had to demolish renovations to the old place (which was one of the funnest hours of my life, for the record) – but we also got to write off the remaining $28,000 from that depreciation schedule against our net income for 2008.  None of us would have even remembered to do that – but our accountant absolutely, positively did.  In the process, he saved us a ton of money that was rightfully ours and kept out balance sheet accurate – and it was no extra effort on our part.  That move alone probably saved us enough taxes to cover his accounting fees for 6-7 years – or the cost of our turf and crash wall combined.

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Another example on my personal finances was the recommendation I received to maximize my contributions to a SEP IRA to lessen my net taxable income at this point in my life when I don’t have any quality deductions – kids, a spouse (yet), or a mortgage (yet).  I’ll be taxed on it down the road, but at least it’s mine in the interim to grow it as I please (and I know there are different schools of thought on this, but you get the point).

Getting an accountant is an investment, not an expense.  And, the more diversified I have become in my revenue streams – from CP, to products, to seminars – the more essential and valuable that investment has become.

You are an idiot if you are going it alone.  And, we just found out that our taxes will be going up yet again, so your mistakes are going to be further magnified.  I don’t know why this happens so much in the fitness industry, but it absolutely does.  Find a good accountant.

Have a comment or question?  Post ‘em below.

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Stuff You Should Read: 3/22/10

Written on March 22, 2010 at 8:37 am, by Eric Cressey

I had a great weekend at a Postural Restoration Institute Myokinematic Dysfunction course, so it seems fitting that my first reading recommendation of the week would direct you to their website: Postural Restoration Institute.  There are a lot of free articles that give you a good introduction to the PRI philosophy.  I’d highly recommend checking out their courses, as I’m going to be going more.  It was worth every penny.

Does a SLAP lesion affect shoulder muscle activity as measured by EMG activity during a rugby tackle? - This is a really interesting study that shows that in athletes with labral tears (SLAP lesions), the serratus anterior fires sooner – presumably as a compensation strategy to make up for the slower reaction time of the biceps.

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It is just another example of how our body has a great system of checks and balances.  When a passive structure is injured, the active restraints can pick up the slack.

For related reading, check out Active vs. Passive Restraints.


Random Friday Thoughts: 3/19/10

Written on March 19, 2010 at 11:08 am, by Eric Cressey

1. I thought I’d kick this post off with a little technique troubleshooting.  Yesterday, one of the “guinea pigs” for my new project emailed this video to me and asked for some suggestions on bench press technique:

BP from Caleb Chiu on Vimeo.

My suggestions to him were as follows:

a. Your feet are antsy and jumping all over the place.  Get them pulled up a bit more under you so that they can’t move around.  Then, focus on pushing them into the floor the entire set.

b. Get more air in your belly.  Notice how the stomach sinks in?  That’s because you don’t have any air in it!

c. Get a handoff.  The #1 reason guys flair the elbows out is that they lose scapular stability – and you lose that the second you hand off to yourself.

2. I’m headed to a Postural Restoration Institute Myokinematic Restoration Seminar this weekend up in Portland, ME – while my fiancee and my mother work on stuff for the wedding.  It is amazing what lengths guys will go to in order to escape wedding planning, huh?

Just kidding; I’m actually really excited about it.  Neil Rampe of the Arizona Diamondbacks turned me on to the PRI stuff and it’s really intrigued me from the get-go.

3. It’s been a fun week around here with the start of the high school baseball season.  I got over to help out with some warm-ups and movement training with the Lincoln-Sudbury guys during tryouts on Mon-Tue.  In all, we saw 33 Lincoln-Sudbury high school baseball players – from freshman to seniors – this off-season, so it was pretty easy to pick up where we left off with them in the weight room.  There was great energy, and lots of excitement about the new season.

4. Here’s a great feature on Blue Jays prospect Tim Collins and his training at Cressey Performance.

5. I was interviewed last week for an article about pitch counts.  It’s now featured HERE.

6. Some feedback on Assess & Correct:

“I was pretty excited when I received an e-mail from Eric and Mike saying that I was getting an advanced copy of their new Assess and Correct product.  Mike and Eric have had a history of putting out top notch information and products and when I saw that Bill Hartman was also involved in this new product I knew that this was going to be even more special.

“Since I own a fitness facility, I’m always looking for cutting edge information that I can recommend to my trainers.  After viewing the DVDs and reading through the manuals, my first thought was, ‘Wow, a home run!’

“Finally, a product that I could wholeheartedly recommend to all of my trainers as an excellent go-to reference tool to enhance their abilities in assessing their clients needs; pinpointing their weakness &/or imbalances and then effectively addressing these findings to make sure their clients can achieve their goals safely.”

Joe Dowdell, CSCS – Founder & Co-owner of Peak Performance, NYC
www.peakperformancenyc.com

Click here to pick up a copy of Assess and Correct.

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7. Last, but certainly not least, CP athlete Danny O’Connor aims to run his professional boxing record to 11-o tonight with a bout at Twin River Casino in Rhode Island. Good luck, Danny!

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Optimal Shoulder Performance: Video Teaser #2 – Mike Reinold

Written on March 18, 2010 at 7:21 am, by Eric Cressey

A few weeks ago, I gave you a quick peek at an excerpt from one of my presentations in our new Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD set.  Today, I thought you might like to check out a bit from Mike Reinold, my collaborator on the project.  This DVD set should be out soon, so be sure to subscribe to my FREE newsletter if you want to be among the first notified.


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