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5 Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 2

Written on May 8, 2012 at 9:02 am, by Eric Cressey

I’m excited to announce that new Cressey Performance employee Greg Robins is going to be helping me out with this series moving forward.  Greg brings a unique skill set to to the table, and I think that the two of us together will kick out some great content in this weekly post moving forward.  With that said, here are five quick and easy ways to feel and move better to get you week off on the right foot:

1. Focus on less.

Too often I see people make the mistake of doing too much in the gym. Additionally, many folks jump from strength and conditioning program to program, or change strength exercises too often. Make it a point to do two things.  

First, pick a few big movements that you can execute correctly, and continually work to become great at them. Second, settle on a specific outcome for your training. Are you trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or get strong? While your approach may have elements that address all of these, prioritize one or the other for an extended period of time. Allowing yourself time to get better with movement, and eliminating competing demands from your program, are both great ways to maximize your efforts. 

2. Declutter your life.

“Spring cleaning” is a hackneyed expression, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an incredibly worthwhile project to undertake!  Let’s just say that I filled a trunk with trash from my home office last week.

Considering that my home office is only 13’x13′, I expect my productivity to increase quite a bit.  Think about ways you can “declutter” your life; it should help you focus on the task at hand.

3. Carry heavy stuff with friends.

Dan John has put out some great content with respect to how valuable carrying variations can be.  They are easily learned, don’t make you ridiculously sore, and provide a great whole-body training effect.  One thing we like to do as a staff is set up our farmer’s walks in a group format.  Our turf is 40 yards long, and each set is either one or two trips.  One person goes, then the next person goes, and so on until everyone has finished all their sets.  It keeps you accountable to strict rest periods, builds in the motivation of competition (who wants to be the one guy who can’t finish his trip?), and distributes the loading/unloading responsibilities among several people!  Here’s an old video of us on this front:

4. Get every rep.

Nobody makes progress by missing lifts. Check your ego at the door, and take a more patient approach to your training. The most beautiful lesson in training is one of delayed gratification. To succeed in the gym, you need to do what is necessary in the training session in order to make the subsequent training sessions beneficial. Nobody can set personal records for themselves every day, so focus on executing each and every rep smoothly. Over time, add to the bar, add a rep, or do a little more work in the same time period. It will all add up, and a year from now you will marvel at what you accomplished. However, if you choose to blow it out every session, in a year, you will be lucky to have made minimal progress.

5. Spend less time down at the bar.

It drives me bonkers when lifters spend too much time down in the bottom position of a deadlift.  I always encourage people to get their minds right while they’re standing around, and then get right to it when they get up to the bar.  Spending too much time in the bottom position of your deadlift technique means that you’ll lose any benefit of the stretch-shortening cycle, and run the risk of becoming an overly pensive, weak schmuck.

 

Co-Author Greg Robins is strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA. Check out his website, www.GregTrainer.com, for more great content.

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10 Responses to “5 Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 2”

  1. Mike Swole Says:

    Good tips, Eric. For the deadlift, do you think flexing the prime movers before you go down will give you even more of the stretch reflex? Loading up the muscles so to speak.

    So something like:

    Deep breath -> Brace hard -> Descend with good posture -> Tight Grip -> Tighten some more -> Pull.

  2. Marc - www.transformupa.com Says:

    Great tips. I especially enjoyed the deadlift one. Skip the drama and lift the weight already.

  3. Park Firebaugh Says:

    Great tips. Not only are there too many weak schmucks,(ok, I’m a weak schmuck) but what is with these guys pacing around like a caged animals, snorting and yelling? The most impressive deadlifter I ever witnessed was a guy who quietly walked up to the bar and executed a solid lift without so much as a grimace.

  4. Mike T Nelson Says:

    Good tips! Ego lifting is the biggest thing I see and they are literally teaching their body “I can’t do this” each time they miss.

    I also finally got some farmers walks bars–wow, totally under rated exercise. I know people like you and Dan John have talked about them for years and I did some wtih a trap bar; but having the implement be independent in each arm is totally different. Good times for sure and a very rarely used lower lat exercise too (it was from me at least).

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  5. Phil S Says:

    Eric do you have any tips for addressing Mariah Careys technique issues?

  6. Eric Cressey Says:

    Phil,

    I assume you’re referring to this old post? http://www.ericcressey.com/why-president-obama-throws-like-a-girl

  7. Eric Cressey Says:

    Mike – if it does, I haven’t noticed it…and I’ve tried just about everything!

  8. Conor Says:

    Great post Eric! I especially like the tip about getting to it. Some guys will psych themselves out before they even “get to it” because they sit there so long thinking about it. Like Nike said, ” Just Do It”

  9. David Hall Says:

    Awesome Article:
    5. Spend less time down at the bar.

  10. Dan Pope Says:

    Nice article guys. I really like the idea of focusing on less. I think sometimes we get caught up in the minutiae of our training programs and push to do more sets or exercises when doing less will have better results and less risk of injury.

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