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Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Get Strong: Eric Cressey’s Best Articles of 2010

Written on December 31, 2010 at 4:46 am, by Eric Cressey

Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better – This was obviously my biggest project of 2010.  I actually began writing the strength and conditioning programs and filming the exercise demonstration videos in 2009, and put all the “guinea pigs” through the four-month program beginning in February.  When they completed it as the start of the summer rolled around, I made some modifications based on their feedback and then got cracking on writing up all the tag along resources.  Finally, in September, Show and Go was ready to roll.  So, in effect, it took 10-11 months to take this product from start to finish – a lot of hard work, to say the least.  My reward has been well worth it, though, as the feedback has been awesome.  Thanks so much to everyone who has picked up a copy.

Optimal Shoulder Performance – This was a seminar that Mike Reinold and I filmed in November of 2009, and our goal was to create a resource that brought together concepts from both the shoulder rehabilitation and shoulder performance training fields to effectively bridge the gap for those looking to prevent and/or treat shoulder pain.  In the process, I learned a lot from Mike, and I think that together, we brought rehabilitation specialists and fitness professionals closer to being on the same page.

Why President Obama Throws Like a Girl – A lot of people took this as a political commentary, but to be honest, it was really just me talking about the concept of retroversion as it applies to a throwing shoulder – with a little humor thrown in, of course!

Overbearing Dads and Kids Who Throw Cheddar – This one was remarkably easy to write because I’ve received a lot of emails from overbearing Dads asking about increasing throwing velocity in their kids.

What I Learned in 2009 – I wrote this article for T-Nation back at the beginning of the year, and always enjoy these yearly pieces.  In fact, I’m working on my 2010 one for them now!

What a Stressed Out Bride Can Teach You About Training Success – I wrote this less than a month out from my wedding, so you could say that I had a good frame of reference.

Baseball Showcases: A Great Way to Waste Money and Get Injured – In case the title didn’t tip you off, I’m not much of a fan of baseball showcases.

Cueing: Just One Piece of Semi-Private Training Success – Part 1 and Part 2 - These articles were featured at fitbusinessinsider.com.  I enjoy writing about not only the training side of things, but some of the things we’ve done well to build up our business.

Three Years of Cressey Performance: The Right Reasons and the Right Way – This might have been the top post of the year, in my eyes. My job is very cool.

How to Attack Continuing Education in the Fitness Industry – Here’s another fitness business post.

Want to Be a Personal Trainer or Strength Coach?  Start Here. – And another!

The Skinny on Strasburg’s Injury – I hate to make blog content out of someone else’s misfortune, but it was a good opportunity to make some points that I think are very valid to the discussion of not only Stephen Strasburg’s elbow injury, but a lot of the pitching injuries we see in youth baseball.

Surely, there are many more to list, but I don’t want this to run too long!  Have a safe and happy new year, and keep an eye out for the first content of 2011, which is coming very soon!

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Weight Training For Baseball: Best Videos of 2010

Written on December 30, 2010 at 4:55 am, by Eric Cressey

I made an effort to get more videos up on the site this year, as I know a lot of folks are visual learners and/or just enjoy being able to listen to a blog, as opposed to reading it.  Here are some highlights from the past year:

The Absolute Speed to Absolute Strength Continuum – Regardless of your sport, there are valuable take-home messages.  I just used throwing velocity in baseball pitchers as an example, as it’s my frame of reference.

Should Pitchers Overhead Press? - This was an excerpt from Mike Reinold and my Optimal Shoulder Performance seminar (which became a popular DVD set for the year).

Shoulder Impingement vs. Rotator Cuff Tears – Speaking of Mike, here’s a bit from the man himself from that seminar DVD set.

Thoracic and Glenohumeral Joint Mobility Drills – The folks at Men’s Health tracked me down in the lobby at Perform Better in Providence and asked if I could take them through a few shoulder mobility drills we commonly use – and this was the result.

Cressey West – This kicks off the funny videos from the past year. A few pro baseball players that I program for in a distance-based format created this spoof video as a way of saying thank you.

Tank Nap – My puppy taking a nap in a provocative position.  What’s more cute?

Matt Blake Draft Tracker – CP’s resident court jester and pitching instructor airs his frustrations on draft day.

1RM Cable Horizontal Abduction – More from the man, the myth, the legend.

You can find a lot more videos on my YouTube page HERE and the Cressey Performance YouTube page HERE.

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Weight Training for Baseball: Featured Articles

Written on December 29, 2010 at 7:24 am, by Eric Cressey

I really enjoy writing multi-part features here at EricCressey.com because it really affords me more time to dig deep into a topic of interest to both my readers and me.  In many ways, it’s like writing a book.  Here were three noteworthy features I published in 2010:

Understanding Elbow Pain - Whether you were a baseball pitcher trying to prevent a Tommy John surgery or recreational weightlifter with “tennis elbow,” this series had something for you.

Part 1: Functional Anatomy
Part 2: Pathology
Part 3: Throwing Injuries
Part 4: Protecting Pitchers
Part 5: The Truth About Tennis Elbow
Part 6: Elbow Pain in Lifters


Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture – This series was published more recently, and was extremely well received.  It’s a combination of both quick programming tips and long-term modifications you can use to eliminate poor posture.

Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 1
Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 2
Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 3

Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 4

A New Paradigm for Performance Testing – This two-part feature was actually an interview with Bioletic founder, Dr. Rick Cohen.  In it, we discuss the importance of testing athletes for deficiencies and strategically correcting them.  We’ve begun to use Bioletics more and more with our athletes, and I highly recommend their thorough and forward thinking services.

A New Paradigm for Performance Testing: Part 1
A New Paradigm for Performance Testing: Part 2

I already have a few series planned for 2011, so keep an eye out for them!  In the meantime, we have two more “Best of 2010″ features in store before Friday at midnight.

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Weight Training Programs: Product Reviews

Written on December 28, 2010 at 3:38 am, by Eric Cressey

As you probably know, when I come across high-quality products that I really enjoy that I think will be a good fit for my audience, I am thrilled to be able to write up thorough reviews for you.  This way, it not only gives some love to these products’ deserving creators (and learn myself!), but also gives you more background to make sure that it’s a good fit for you if you opt to purchase it.

To that end, I wanted to use today’s post to highlight the top seven products I reviewed in 2010.  Considering that I receive literally dozens of products in the mail each year to review (I still have a stack left to cover), these represent not just the cream of the crop, but the ones where I actually had the time and inclination to write something up.  Check them out by category:

For the Fitness Professionals:

Muscle Imbalances Revealed – This set of six webinars can be viewed conveniently from the comforts of your own home.  No travel or shipping charges to ruin your day!  Check out my review Product Review: Muscle Imbalances Revealed.

The Single-Leg Solution – Mike Robertson is a great friend of mine – but that’s not the only reason I liked this product.  It was very thorough, well-researched and written, and offered some excellent coaching cues that any fitness professional would be wise to study up on.  My review is The Single-leg Solution: Detailed Product Review.

Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab – This long-awaited debut product from Charlie Weingroff was just released in the last few weeks, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  Even if you don’t pick up a copy, you’ll learn quite a bit from my two-part review: Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways – Part 1 and Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab, Top 10 Takeaways – Part 2.

Movement – I just realized that I never got around to writing up a review of this great book from Gray Cook, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an excellent read.  I HIGHLY recommend it.

For the Fat Loss Enthusiasts (then again, can you really be enthusiastic about having to lose fat?):

Body of Fire – This fat loss resource from Chad Waterbury was great for the masses – especially if you only have minimal equipment at your fingertips.  I loved the focus on movement rather than just crazy high volume training.  Check out my interview with him: Waterbury on Why Most Fat Loss Plans Fail Miserably – and a Better Approach.

Final Phase Fat Loss – John Romaniello’s first product is a great fit for those trying to lose those stubborn last few pounds of body fat, especially if they are masochists who enjoy a very challenging program!  For more information, check out Final Phase Fat Loss: An Interview with John Romaniello.

For the Athletes:

The Truth About Quickness – I’m a big fan of Kelly Baggett, and he collaborated with Alex Maroko to create an excellent resource for up-and-coming athletes.  I gave Kelly the spotlight with three pieces: How to Get Quick…Quickly: An Interview with Kelly Baggett, and The 5 Most Common Speed, Quickness, and Explosiveness Problems in Athletes Part 1 and Part 2.

That wraps it up for the best of 2010 product reviews; hopefully you can reward yourself with some late holiday shopping by picking up one or more of these items; you won’t regret it.  I’ll be back tomorrow with the best videos of 2010.

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Eric Cressey’s Best Articles: 2010

Written on December 26, 2010 at 6:22 am, by Eric Cressey

With 2010 winding down, I thought I’d use this last week of the year to direct you to some of the most popular content of the past 12 months here at EricCressey.com, as this “series” was quite popular last year.  Today, we start with the most popular articles of the year; these are the pieces that received the most traffic, according to my hosting statistics.

5 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Stronger – This post came during the launch week of Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.  With some of the unique programming strategies outlined in Show and Go, it seemed like a good opportunity to outline some of the common mistakes folks make that I really sought to avoid when writing the program.

How to Find Your Fitness Niche – The popularity of this post surprised me.  I suppose it means that I have more fitness professionals (and aspiring fitness professionals) reading my blog than I’d previously thought.  This piece discusses how I “fell” into my baseball training niche.

Make My Kid Run Faster – Apparently, I’m not the only one who has to deal with the occasional crazy father who tells me how to train his kid!

Clearing Up the Rotator Cuff Controversy – This post discusses my approach to structuring rotator cuff exercises throughout the training week.

The Fascial Knock on Distance Running for Pitchers – This was a fun article to write because it combined a review (of Thomas Myers’ presentation at Perform Better) with a summary of my own experiences training pitchers.  It’s always great to take the perspective of another and see how it meshes with your own philosophy – whether it confirms or refutes what you’re doing.

High Performance Training without the Equipment (Installment 1) – I’m glad that I checked back on my statistics to find that this was so popular, as I haven’t gotten around to writing any subsequent installments.  I’ll pick it up soon.

I’ll be back soon with the top product reviews of 2010.

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Happy Holidays!

Written on December 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm, by Eric Cressey

Hey Gang,

I’m going to be a bit MIA for the next few days as I do the holiday thing with my family, but I did want to send out some quick holiday well wishes your way before I cut out.  I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season thanks so much for your support of EricCressey.com in 2010.

I’ll be back in action on Monday the 27th.

Best,

Eric


The Cressey Performance Elite Baseball Development Program

Written on December 22, 2010 at 6:11 am, by Eric Cressey

A few weeks ago, Kevin Gray from The Union Leader and Baseball America came down to check out our pro baseball training crew.  The result was a feature on Kevin Youkilis and his training at Cressey Performance:

Youk Flipping Back to Third


Quads Pulls, Regular Joes Getting Athletic, and Why Your Coach Might be a Schmuck

Written on December 21, 2010 at 6:28 am, by Eric Cressey

Today’s peek back to the archives brings us an interesting assortment of articles you should check out:

Quad Pulls in Baseball – Why do they happen?  And, what are they really?  This old post of mine actually gets a ton of traffic – presumably because a lot of people run into “quad pulls” quite frequently and immediately search for information on it on Google.

The Regular Guy Off-Season Program – Looking for a good four-week program to test drive?  Give this one a shot; you might just get more athletic on top of being bigger and stronger.

My Coach Says I Shouldn’t Lift – I have some fun with this one.  It’s great “ammo” for any athlete who deals with a coach who doesn’t know his ass from his elbow.


Review of Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways – Part 2

Written on December 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm, by Eric Cressey

Today, we’ve got a follow-up of my blog from late last week, Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways – Part 1.  This mini-series highlights some of the key takeaways from Charlie Weingroff’s great new DVD set, which is on sale at an introductory price through midnight tonight only.  We pick up today with #6.

6. I’ve written a lot in the past about why a hip internal rotation deficit (HIRD) is a huge problem in both athletes and the general population.  Weingroff raises an interesting point in discussing the “Hip Internal Rotation Paradox” that I’d never really considered – probably because nowadays, I really don’t train as many female athletes where we see valgus-initiated knee and lower leg injuries.  In this population, we see lower extremity pathologies largely because a lot of females can’t control femoral/tibial internal rotation and pronation at the subtalar joint (left side in the photo below).

The casual observer to kinesiology might say that a good way to prevent these injuries would be to make sure that athletes have insufficient internal rotation and pronation; if you can’t hit a dangerous end-range, then you can’t tear anything nearly as easily.  Hooray for HIRD then, right?  Wrong.

The problem with this thought process, though, is that it doesn’t appreciate that the hip DOES need full internal rotation for proprioception.  As Charlie puts it, the hip “needs to know it to prevent it.”  If we don’t have adequate proprioception, we can’t get the hip external rotators to turn on to prevent it from becoming excessive.  This is really true of all joints; we must have full mobility so that the mechanoreceptors can tell the brain that a joint can go from point A to point B.  Otherwise, we can’t stabilize naturally and reflexively.

7. Weingroff reaffirmed a great assertion that I remember Bill Hartman making a year or two ago: you only need stability in the presence of mobility.  In other words, “functional” mobility is not just about being capable of adequate stability in wild excursions of joint range of motion – unless that’s what your functional demands are.  In other words, a powerlifter, gymnast, and baseball pitcher would all have different “optimal mobility” schemes, and even within these populations, you’d see different needs for different folks based on body type and the specific activity in question.

This also can influence our training programs.  While exactly simulating the sporting movement will only lead to overuse without enhancing functional mobility, working to improve stability in similar joint alignments and ranges of motion can still have a favorable carryover.  This came to mind the other day when Kansas City Royals prospect Tim Collins was doing some core work at the facility; you just have to consider the movement alongside his functional demands.

8. Charlie also cited some more up-to-date research that shows that problem with lateral knee pain is usually too much femoral internal rotation during closed chain movements (e.g., squatting, lunging), not too much lateral patellar tracking.  So, you think the hundreds of thousands of lateral release surgeries that have been performed in the last decade were a good idea?  A lot of people could have gotten their issues under control the right way by getting the hip under control – because the patella was already where it was supposed to be.

9. I liked the way that Weingroff broke corrective exercise down into three categories: isolated, integrated, and functional movement.

Isolated work might include manual therapy (massage or joint mobilizations) or stretching.  Essentially, this category consists of interventions where the client/patient has little to no active participation (foam rolling would technically be a mild exception, as the client has to actively reposition his/her body for this soft tissue work).  Effectively, these modalities get the ball rolling on undoing a dysfunction that won’t clear up with gross movement because the individual with the problem will simply go to the path of least resistance and feed into that dysfunction.

Integrated work is aimed at tying this new mobility with the core – whether it’s with a more comprehensive mobility drill or stabilization exercise.  Many people can benefit from going directly to integrated work; examples include someone who has always trained on machines, or someone who sits at a desk all day; they simply need to move).

Functional movement is the third piece of the puzzle and involves tying the upper and/or lower extremity to the core.  This is the fun stuff.

10. There is a difference between functional movement and functional exercise.  This might seem like wordplay, but in reality, it’s an important differentiation to make.

Charlie cited the example of a baby going into lumbar flexion when squatting down.  It’s a range-of-motion that a child should have and utilize in normal development and day-to-day living.  That doesn’t, however, mean that it’s a good idea to put 405 on your back and squat through lumbar flexion.

That wraps up my not-so-quick recap of Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab.  To be honest, I could have written another dozen blog posts just like this on all the other stuff – both “big picture” points and finer subtleties – that I picked up from Charlie’s presentation.  That, however, is best left to Charlie – which is why I’d strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of the DVD set yourself, especially since it is on sale at the introductory price ($50 off) through Monday 12/20 at midnight.  You won’t regret it:

Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab


Review of Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways – Part 1

Written on December 15, 2010 at 7:54 pm, by Eric Cressey

I wrote yesterday about how fantastic I think Charlie Weingroff’s new DVD set, Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab is.  Now that it’s on sale, I thought I’d use my next few posts to highlight the top ten key points he made that really stood out in my mind. Here are the first five.

1. I hear people saying all the time that they need to find a niche – and I’ve written in the past about how I found my own niche.  As Weingroff points out, we’re all working with the same platform and set of rules: how the body works.  A “niche” just comes about because we get good with working with those rules in specific populations to create a subspecialty.  I train baseball players using my unique methodology, but there are others out there getting results in this population with different modalities, too, because they’re performed correctly and these folks keep the original set of rules in mind.  Likewise, there are folks with similar thought processes as mine – and they’re getting results in populations outside of the baseball world.

The take-home message on this point is that if you want to be a specialist in your niche, you need to understand general principles first.

2. We’re always trying to find the “link” between terrible movement and pathology/diagnosis – and Charlie offered a good perspective in light of the joint-by-joint theory of movement (a central piece of his two-day presentation).  When mobile joints become stable, we get degenerative changes (arthritis) and poor recovery.  When stable joints become mobile, we end up with dislocations, positional faults, muscle strains, and disc herniations.  Want to prevent or address these issues?  Work backward along this line of logic with your corrective exercise strategy.

3. Speaking of the joint-by-joint approach, Charlie offered the most comprehensive approach I’ve seen.  Traditionally, this approach has been discussed largely in the context of the sagittal plane only, but it definitely has frontal and transverse plane implications as well.  Weingroff also went into more detail on the neck and foot than I’ve seen – as you have alternating mobile/stable joints within these entities, too.

4. Typically, a joint in this school of thought will only really have two direct impacts: the joint above it and the one below it.  The hip might impact the knee or lumbar spine, for instance.

The thoracic spine, however, has more far-reaching effects, though, and that’s likely why it’s such a crucial area of focus.  It affects four systems: the neck, ribs (respiration), scapula/clavicle, and the lumbar spine.  So, if you’re seeing a lot of “gross” dysfunction above the hips, it’s often the best place to start with your corrective exercise.

5. Charlie goes to some great lengths in defense of the vertical shin (tibia) as compared to the angled shin during various tasks, most notably squatting.  He raises an interesting question in asking whether it’s really a good thing for both the femur and tibia to move simultaneously during the angled shin squat – as it essentially works in contrast to the joint by joint theory of movement he proposes.

Meanwhile, almost every day, we see folks whose knee pain disappears when we teach them to squat with a vertical shin – effectively letting the femur move as the tibia stays still.  The same goes for teaching folks to deadlift, do pull-throughs, or anything else that emphasizes “hips back” as opposed to “knees forward.”

Admittedly, Charlie says it much better than I do, though!  And, I should note that he emphasizes mastering the movement far more than simply loading it up – especially if we are talking about loading up a dysfunctional pattern (not a good idea).

I’ll be back with five more takeaways tomorrow, but in the meantime, check out Charlie Weingroff’s Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab at the introductory price HERE.

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