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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 27

Written on December 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm, by Eric Cressey

 Here’s this week’s list of tips to fine-tune your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs, compliments of CP Coach Greg Robins.

1. Improve your squat by starting neutral.

2. Remember: “Everything should made as simple as possible, and not simpler.”

At Cressey Performance, we are fortunate to be in an environment where we are constantly learning.

As an example, this past week we had a spectacular in-service delivered by Eric Schoenberg of Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance. Eric is someone with whom we work closely. I respect Eric immensely as he has the rare ability to make things simple. When I hear him speak, I am reminded of the quote from Albert Einstein:

      “Everything should made as simple as possible, and not simpler.”

In his presentation, Eric made one point in particular that really hit home with me.

His talk mainly focused on helping us create a united front on how we coach many of the arm care and movement drills used by our athletes; as many of them swing between his clinic and our gym floor. When pressed with questions on the specifics of these exercises (where should the shoulder blades be, what muscle are making this happen, that happen, etc?) he stressed the importance of making the movement just look and feel good.

If it looks good and feels good, it’s probably good. If it looks like poop, and feels like poop, it’s probably poop.

Makes sense, right? Everyone is a little different, and everything may measure out to be a little different, but it holds true in the majority of cases.

However, there are times when it might look good to the eye and feel fine to the athlete, but not actually be good. These are the cases we don’t want to make simpler. As an example, what if an overhead squat looks phenomenal, but when you assess the individual on the table, you notice considerable tissue shortness at the hips? These individuals may have phenomenal core stability to overpower their stiff hips, but still need to work hard on tissue length to prevent injury.

Focus on making things look good, and know what “good” looks like, and you’ll be in a great position 90% of the time. However, don’t ever forget about that 10%.

3. Get out of extension before bridging exercises.

4. Make water less boring.

I strive to drink a gallon of water every day. And, 80% of the year, I accomplish that objective just fine. I don’t dislike the taste because, well, it doesn’t taste like anything.

However, I guess the lack of taste is why I sometimes find myself falling off the wagon. When I can’t stand the thought of drinking another ounce of water, I simply spice it up. For many of you, doing so may be just what you need to start making hydration more enjoyable. It seems like a stupidly obvious suggestion, but I guarantee that half of the people who read this don’t drink enough water. I also guarantee they would if it tasted like something worth putting in their mouth.

We all know the benefits of cooking ahead of time. If you are struggling to drink enough water, then prepare a few gallons of flavored water ahead of time, too. Squeeze in lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, or anything else you want to include. Spread throughout the entire gallon, the squeeze of half of an orange is going to add a trivial amount of calories to your intake; don’t get worked up about it.

5. Overhaul your dishware for portion control.

Here is an easy tip to control portion size without even thinking about it. Take a look at your dishes: I’m willing to bet they are pretty massive. If you’re in the market for new kitchenware, or just looking for a strategy to reduce calorie intake, consider downsizing your plates and bowls. If there’s less to fill, you will be forced to consume a smaller helping.

Additionally, this is a great strategy for damage control at holiday parties. Many times, people will offer dinner plates and smaller plates for appetizers and desserts. Choose the smaller plate and limit yourself to what you can fit on top. This is another simple tip, but an incredibly effective way to make your nutrition program more successful if you struggle with portion control.

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12 Responses to “Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 27”

  1. Derrick Blanton Says:

    #1 and #3: Good stuff, Greg! Same principle applies to barbell rows, RDL’s, swings, etc. Seems to me we are talking about setting and controlling the degree of anterior pelvic tilt, before hingeing at the hip.

    The key, I think, is learning to use the lower abs, and the short rotators of the hip, (piriformis, etc.) to “screw the hips into the socket”; this seems to automatically put the spine in a stable, neutral position, rather than just cranking up more and more tension on the lumbar erectors.

    Learning this new stability motor pattern may provoke DOMS in the deep hip musculature, as these muscles are sleeping in some. This is a good thing! And will give your lumbar spine a needed break from unnecessary strain.

  2. Jared Says:

    In relation to point number 4. I know it’s easier to prepare in bulk but I found these water bottles and have been loving them

    http://zinganything.com/product/aquazinger

  3. Zach Even - Esh Says:

    Fellas, awesome videos and tips.

    It’s crazy how squatting is so difficult for many. I feel like this was NEVER a problem when I was a kid, and certainly things have changed since the 90s, like Eric’s hair cut :)

    You guys kick ass, great education! THNX, Bruthas!

  4. John C Says:

    Great ideas. I also have issues with keeping the neutral position with a good rib cage position when trying to breath between reps. I can loose the “drawing in” part of the core equation and loose transvers ab. for moment. Any ideas to que good breathing while maintaining core stability?
    Also I add “concentrated tart cherry” to my water with some lemon aid/juice. You can get it at most health food stores and it tastes great as well as some good anti-inflammatory properties.
    Keep up this format. It is great.
    J

  5. Sam Says:

    I changed my dishes out when I decided I wanted to put on some weight. Bowls and plates all of a sudden seemed massive. After about a week though, it was just normal to fill it up and get the calories I needed.

    I use both squats and hip extensions in my program and plan on trying out the suggestions you outlined. I’m mostly curious about the starting position for the squat because that is a movement I’ve studied at length in trying to perfect it.

  6. Eric Cressey Says:

    Good stuff, Jared.

  7. Robert Says:

    Mr.cressey,

    Would medicine balls be appropriate to use during a deload week for a pitcher?

  8. Eric Schoenberg Says:

    Thanks for the mention Greg! Also, thanks for the great series of blogs you have put together. To expand upon the point, the take-away is to ensure that you achieve the desired motion. We often see people doing the “right” exercise, but not getting the proper activation or movement pattern. Thanks again!

  9. Eric Cressey Says:

    Robert,

    Yes, we still use them during the deload.

  10. steven Says:

    Hey,

    brrrrrr

    Point 4 : Forcing yourself to drink more water than your body wants/needs !!!!

    Think about it… what is the science about forcing yourself to drink a lot of water… above your felt needs ?? I think there is zero !!!

    SUe you can drink too less.. if you want to.. or in very hot conditions with prolonged exercise for hours, but you won’t… automatically in 99,99 % of situations !!!

  11. Laura DeVincent Says:

    Greg,
    During the Barbell bridge, I find I get the best ROM/glute activation when I simultaneously get extension in the t-spine (similar to bench press), and posterior tilt the pelvis before pressing. Do you have any thoughts on the safety that position?

  12. Andrew Hull Says:

    Great advice!
    Neutral position and lower rib cage expansion with a descended diaphragm are key to Pavel Kolar’s DNS work and in my view, one if the keys to core Stabilisation as a chiropractor.

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