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Stretches for Pitchers…FREE!

Written on October 29, 2010 at 6:39 am, by Eric Cressey

I announced this cool opportunity to my newsletter subscribers yesterday, but thought I’d throw it up on the blog as well.  By entering your name and email address below, you’ll get free access to the exact post-throwing stretches we use with a lot of our pitchers.








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This will also subscribe you to my baseball content newsletter – which will be separate from my “normal” newsletter. So, if you’re only subscribed to my regular newsletter and would like to have notifications whenever I’ve got new baseball content, be sure to subscribe.

Have a great weekend!


Groin Strain? Get Manual Therapy.

Written on October 28, 2010 at 6:06 am, by Eric Cressey

If you’ve had a groin strain (or adductor strain, for the anatomy geeks like me in the crowd) – or would like to prevent one in the first place – read on.

Those of you who check out this website regularly probably already know that I’m a huge advocate of good manual therapy – especially disciplines like Graston and Active Release.  One area where we constantly see athletes really “gritty” is the hip adductors (groin muscles) – and it’s one reason why we see so many groin strains in the general population.  Note that treatments DON’T have to be this aggressive to yield favorable outcomes; it’s just an extreme example of someone with a pale skin tone that makes it even more prominent:

Soccer and hockey players really overuse the adductors during the kicking motion and skating stride, respectively.  And, even outside athletic populations, you’ll see a lot of people who don’t activate the gluteus maximum well as a hip extension – so you have the adductor magnus taking over to help out with this important task.  The only problem is that the adductor magnus internally rotates and adducts the hip, whereas the glute max externally rotates and abducts the hip.  Movements get altered, one muscle gets overworked and all fibrotic, and the next thing you know you’ve got a nasty “tweak” just south of the frank and beans (or female equivalent).

Really, that’s not the issue, though.  Nobody is denying that groin strains occur – but there are different treatment approaches to dealing with this issue on the rehabilitation side of things.  Some professionals use manual therapy during their treatments, while others don’t.  Can you guess which school of thought gets my backing?

Well, it turns out that the “include manual therapy” side of the argument gets the backing of Weir et al in light of some new research they just published.  These researchers found that athletes with groin strains returned to sports 4.5 weeks sooner when they received manual therapy plus stretching and a return to running program as compared to an exercise therapy and return to running program only.  It took the average time lost down from 17.3 weeks to 12.8 weeks in those with good long-term outcomes! For a bit more information on the manual therapy discipline utilized in this particular study, check out this abstract.

Need a quick tutorial on how to come back from a groin strain?

1. Find a good physical therapist who does manual therapy.
2. Listen to and do everything he/she says.
3. If anything hurts in the gym, don’t do it.  In most cases, deadlifting variations are okay, but single-leg work will really exacerbate the pain.  Squatting is usually a problem at first, and then gets better over time.  It really depends on which of the adductors you strained.
4. When you are cleared for return to full function, keep hammering on glute activation and hip mobility as outlined in Assess & Correct.

5. Make sure you’re continuing to foam roll the area and getting the occasional treatment on them with that same manual therapy you had during your rehabilitation.  Here’s a great self myofascial release option with the foam roller:

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!








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Unstable Ankles: It Ain’t Just the Sneakers

Written on October 27, 2010 at 6:24 am, by Eric Cressey

I got the following questions from a Show and Go customer this morning and thought I’d turn it into a quick Q&A:

Do high-top basketball shoes provide any significant stability and safety advantages over low-tops that would make me NOT want to buy low-tops? When I played hoops in high school my ankles rolled over at least once every few months, so it feels obvious that there’s a lot more to the stability equation than the height of the ankle on the shoe.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I sent him to these two articles:

Nike Shox and High Heels
The Importance of Ankle Mobility

Then, I gave him the following advice: “I would never put one of my athletes in high-tops. The introduction of the high top and the addition of big heel lifts in sneakers is, in my eyes, the cause of the epidemic of anterior knee pain and the emergence of high ankle sprains. And, you’re right that there is more to the stability equation than the height of the shoe: the muscles and tendons of the lower leg (particularly the peroneals) actually have to do some work to prevent ankle sprains. Put yourself in a concrete block of a shoe and tape your ankles and you are just asking all those muscles to shut down.”

For more information on truly functional stability training for the lower leg and core, check out my e-book, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training.

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Stuff You Should Read: 10/26/10

Written on October 26, 2010 at 4:52 am, by Eric Cressey

Here are some recommended reads from the archives for today:

An Easy Way to Rotate Strength Exercises – One of the biggest frustrations of training in a commercial or home gym is that there just aren’t enough opportunities to create variety and fluctuations to the resistance training stimulus.  This post highlights one simple way to double your exercise index.

A Carrot, an Egg, and a Bag of Ground Coffee – This one is more of a “meeting life’s challenges” post as it applies to the fitness industry.

Five Resistance Training Myths in the Running World – If this doesn’t interest you, I’m sure it’ll at least interest a dozen of your friends who are running addicts!  Please spread the good word – whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter, or carrier pigeon.

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Strength Exercise of the Week: DB Bulgarian Split Squat from Deficit

Written on October 25, 2010 at 3:12 am, by Eric Cressey

Looking for a masochistic new strength exercise to add to your resistance training program? Try the Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat from Deficit, one of my favorite movements for improving hip mobility while really challenging lower body strength and frontal plane stability. If you need to shake up your workout routine, this is a great place to start – assuming you don't mind being miserably sore!

For more innovative strength exercises and a comprehensive, versatile program to get you to where you need to be, check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

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Strength Training Programs: What a Puppy Can Teach You About Resistance Training Progress

Written on October 22, 2010 at 6:46 am, by Eric Cressey

As I mentioned in a blog earlier this week, my wife and I got a puppy last weekend.  “Tank” is absolutely awesome and we (and all the CP clients) love him.

Like any puppy, though, it is going to take some time to housebreak him.  While he’s going to crap on the floor and pee on the carpet quite a bit over the first few months, we have faith in the fact that if we praise him like crazy and give him treats consistently each time he “goes” outside, he will get the point eventually and make great progress.  This “faith” has been present in every single pet owner with whom we’ve talked over the past month.

Nobody uses electroshock routines to try to “get through” to the puppy faster, and there aren’t thousands of supplements out there to expedite outdoor crappy progress.  People are patient and trust in the system.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those beginning strength training programs were like this???

I am fortunate to know a lot of people who have made ridiculous progress in the weight room and dramatically changed their bodies.  And, I can tell you that just about all of them chalk up a big chunk of their success to just consistently busting their humps – both in the weight room and the kitchen – for years.  I’ve never met a world-class bodybuilder, powerlifter, or other athlete that devotes a huge part of their success to a supplement they use, or radical training program they did in their first few years of training.  It’s funny, though; when I meet an up-and-coming lifter or athlete (and particularly professional baseball players), the first question is “what supplements should I take?”  I generally recommend “Shut up and Train” in softgel form.

I’ve commented before on how I attribute a big chunk of my success to the fact that I didn’t miss a single planned resistance training session in roughly eight years – and to end that streak, it took 32 inches of snow in 24 hours (and I made the lift up the next day).

Consistency is the most important thing – especially in beginners.  You don’t need reverse undulating cybernetic periodization with quasi-isometric inverted wave loading and contrast training; you need to shut up and pick up some heavy stuff, as anything will work as you begin as long as you are consistent.  Heck, I did garbage weight training programs straight out of bodybuilding magazines when I first got started and made great progress because there was no place to go but up.  All that mattered was that for two years, I went home after lifting and shoveled down about 1,500 calories of quality food each and every time.  My diet and training may not have been perfect (or even close to it), but they were damn consistent.

So, the next time you think that you start thinking that you’re super special and physiologically different from everyone else, imagine me standing out in my backyard at 5:30AM freezing my butt off while I wait for my puppy to drop a deuce so that he can take one more step toward awesomeness while you spin your wheels.  It might put things in perspective and have you back to the basics before you know it.

To take the guesswork out of your programming, check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

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Alex Maroko’s Readers: How to Create a Real Strength and Conditioning Program

Written on October 20, 2010 at 5:01 am, by Eric Cressey

Because Alex Maroko is a good buddy of mine, I decided to make this webinar available to you at absolutely no cost. If you want to learn about the thought process behind each strength and conditioning program I write – for athletes that range from baseball players, to basketball stars, to professional boxers, to Olympic bobsledders – then look no further.

If You Read Alex’s Daily Emails, Use His Special Show and Go Half-Off Discount Link Below Today for Big Savings!

Click Here to Learn More About Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better


Strength and Conditioning Programs: 7 Steps to Programming for Young Athletes

Written on October 19, 2010 at 5:16 am, by Eric Cressey

Today’s guest blog comes from Brian Grasso.

Template Design is a style of programming that has yet to truly catch on industry-wide, but is remarkably effective, especially when working with younger, sport-based populations.

Although I enjoy articles that are weighty in scientific specifics and complete in the depiction of the theories they are purporting, I also tend to benefit as much, often more, from less wordy commentaries that are pithy in nature.

So today, brevity wins.

In the current state of our industry (and I admit, this may be a terribly unpopular statement), we tend to over-scrutinize from a formal assessment perspective – the expense being common sense and practicality.

An explanation may be in order…

If a 13-year old presents, through formal assessment, with a “poor” forward lunge pattern, what does that really tell us?

Does he lack Glute strength or activation?

Are her hip flexors too tight to create a positive forward translation?

Is it a foot issue (that I dare say less than 1% of Fitness Professionals are truly qualified to ascertain)?

Is it a structural abnormality?

Now, the corrective exercise folk among us have all just raised their hands thirsty to share the knowledge of how to “fix” this barely teen – but let me ask another couple of questions first.

Does the kid just not know how to do a lunge?  Could the “poor” result be “fixed” with three minutes of proper coaching and cueing?

At 13, has peak height velocity (PHV) begun, rendering this young athlete’s mobility and coordination nearly non-existent?

Moreover, I’d be willing to bet that 90% or better of the 13 year olds who walk into your facility would “fail” this standard assessment:

  • They’re growing and lack mobility
  • They growing and lack coordination
  • They sit all day and have inappropriate hip functionality as a result
  • They’ve been introduced to improper “training” and lack posterior strength

A formal assessment can certainly show us gains, improvements and corrections when performed at regular intervals – and because of that, I am all for them.

But here’s what I’ve learned to be true about coaching young athletes in the trenches:

  • You see them less than you’d like to and the “homework” you give them in the way of corrective exercise likely isn’t getting done – at very least not the way you’d want it done.
  • Your time with them per session is finite, but there’s a whole-lot-o-stuff that needs to be addressed.
  • Group and team training is almost always the way it goes – any sort of individualized attention must be created through a systematic approach to coaching and programming.
  • Yes, we all preach to our young athletes the virtue of lessening the load and concentrating on form – but, in the high school weight room when you’re not around, but their peers are, guess who is loading the bar?

This is not a declaration to abandon assessments altogether, nor is it a manifesto encouraging you to throw your hands up in the air and announce the situation hopeless.

It’s a simple decree suggesting that your programming practice could aid a great deal in curbing this problem – and doing so not by what you discover “formally” through assessment, but what you know to be true about young athletes:

1. They sit all day long, which means:

a. They are kyphotic and lack thoracic mobility (and therefore proper scapular function)

b. They have tight, weak hips that also lack function

2. They don’t have proper strength and conditioning care outside of you, which means:
a.  ROM is compromised in all major joints
b.  Form and function of lift technique is entirely unfamiliar

Over the years, I have grown fond of referring to these issues as the “Likely Bunch” and have created a training template intended to meet of the aforementioned needs as a matter of principle rather than what an assessment tells me.

Rather than programming for the day, week or month, my standard Training Template for a high school athlete looks as follows:

1.       Tissue Quality – 10 minutes

2.       ROM/Torso/Activation – 10 minutes

3.       Movement Preparatory – 10 minutes

4.       Movement – 10 minutes

5.       Strength/Power Technique – 10 minutes

6.       Strength Execution – 10 minutes

7.       Warm-Down/Active Flexibility – 10 minutes

The “10-minute” time frame represents a maximum (with five minutes being the minimum).  This creates a 7-Step Programming Template that takes anywhere from 45 – 70 minutes to complete.

I have 30–50 exercises listed in my personal database for each category and select on a given day what each athlete will work on.

An example day may look like this:

1.       Foam Roll (Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, ITB)

2.       Ankle Mobility, Hip Circuit, Side Planks, Supine Bridges

3.       Various Multi-Directional Movement Patterns (including skipping, hopping and deceleration)

4.       Lateral Deceleration into Transitions

5.       Front Squat Technique

6.       Hybrid Complex – Hang Clean, Front Squat, Push-Press, Overhead Lunge

7.       Static-Active Hamstrings/Quads

Within this template, I’m guaranteeing my young athletes get what they need from a developmental and preparatory standpoint each and every time they walk in my door.

Create a Training Template for yourself and see how much easier programming becomes.

Brian Grasso has trained more than 15,000 young athletes worldwide over the past decade. He is the Founder and CEO of the International Youth Conditioning Association – the only youth-based certification organization in the entire industry. For more information, visit www.IYCA.org.

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Meet “Tank:” The Official Mascot of Cressey Performance

Written on October 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm, by Eric Cressey

I just have a quick blog today to introduce you to the newest member of the Cressey Performance team.  My wife and I got our new puppy on Saturday – and thanks to voting by many of the CP clientele, we chose to name him “Tank.”

Believe it or not, he’s actually a puggle…one of the less common cream-colored ones.  So, he’ll basically look like a yellow lab puppy forever (unless we get him jacked, as his name implies!).

Needless to say, it was a busy and exciting weekend, so that’ll do it for blog content for today.  More to come soon!


The First Show and Go Review/Feature Film

Written on October 15, 2010 at 4:40 am, by Eric Cressey

Nick Chertock was one of the “guinea pigs” that we put through my new program, Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.  While he’s the first to admit that he’s still a work in progress, Nick made some excellent improvements – and decided to make a very entertaining video about those improvements and his overall experience on the Show and Go program.  Check it out:

Let it be known, too, that the next person to come up with a (entertaining) 6+ minute video montage on their Show and Go experience will receive a Cressey Performance t-shirt on the house.

For more information on this high performance training program, check out www.ShowAndGoTraining.com.


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