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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 31

Written on February 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm, by Eric Cressey

Courtesy of Greg Robins, here are this week’s tips to make your nutrition strength and conditioning programs a bit more awesome.

1. Try some back extension isometric holds on the glute-ham raise.

2. Invest in a PVC dowel for your training.

Too often people break the bank to buy flashy gym equipment in their efforts to get results. Even more disappointing is the mass amounts of money gym owners spend on this equipment to lure people in. If you have visited CP before, then you probably noticed that we do just fine without a ton of flashy equipment. The truth is that you can meet all your goals with very little equipment. The missing ingredient is often YOU; the accessories don’t need to be fancy. For example, a PVC dowel will run you less than a few bucks!

So what can you do with this sucker? Take a look at this video where I will break down a sequence movements in less than three minutes that will have tremendous benefits to your health and fitness. In addition to these drills, a PVC dowel is something everyone should have at their disposal when teaching newcomers basic barbell lifts. It is a much better option (due to its weight) than starting off with an unloaded bar.

3. Consider breaking the mold when setting up intervals for fat loss.

If you ask most people how to set up rest to work intervals in a fat loss geared program, a common answer would be as follows: Beginners will need a ratio where they work less than they rest, and more advanced trainees will need the opposite. In many cases, this may be true. Surely people with longer training histories will be better conditioned. I want to challenge the norm in this scenario.

Often times, I try to see where I can pull principals from the more “Strength and Conditioning” side of the spectrum and apply them to the general population. You see, I am in a unique spot where I wear two hats: both programming for many athletes and for adult boot camp classes. There is a saying in the S&C community that goes: “It’s much easier to get someone who is fast in shape, than it is to make someone who is in shape, fast.” Without getting into too much detail, here is how we can use this concept to alter our interval set up.

Many times the general fitness trainee will not understand or have the ability to push himself. Furthermore, he won’t be capable of very high outputs. Therefore, setting up an interval scheme where the work interval is 1/3 or more of the rest interval will be less productive in my experience than something closer to even or less. Yes, you can make the argument that we would be training completely different energy systems, but I can assure you that following an inverted approach to the norm will get you better results. So how would this break down?

Beginners: Work equal or more than they rest: this way they move more, work harder, and build work capacity. Their outputs are generally low and they need a base of “conditioning.” Moving more will be more productive for fat loss at this time.

Advanced: Work less than they rest: at this point they’re capable of higher outputs and you will get better efforts each work interval when you allow them to recover. Fostering better quality work intervals will be more productive for fat loss at this time.

Intermediate: A combination of both: switch the intervals from a more “advanced” set up to a more “beginner” template during the same training session. Additionally, place an emphasis on coaching them to work harder in short work interval scenarios.

Obviously this doesn’t pan out for every population, and can’t be viewed as a rule of thumb, by any means. For those of you running group classes, or wondering how to set up your own training, this approach will work very well.

4. Try these two great eccentric-less “pulling” conditioning options.

In past posts, I have talked about the benefits of using exercise choices that are eccentric-less. They are especially useful on “off” days where you may be performing supplemental conditioning work. Unfortunately, many of the staple exercise choices (e.g., med ball throws and sled pushes) would be considered “pushes.” Here are two ways I incorporate pulling variations into my conditioning workouts while minimizing eccentric stress.

5. Use coconut butter as a binder when making low carb protein bars.

If you have attempted to make non-bake protein bars, then I know you have struggled with two big problems. One, the binders for which they call – honey, agave nectar, etc. -  for are high in carbohydrates. Two, they don’t bind well! Often, they lose their shape and mostly fall apart.

Recently, I stumbled upon a great solution. Here’s the short story. I start every day off with a short fast. When I break the fast, I tend to begin the day with a healthy fat, fish oil, greens powder, and vitamin D. For the longest time, my fat of choice was coconut oil. Lately, I have been using coconut butter instead. It tastes better, and I like the consistency. In the morning, I will warm up the jar, mix the butter and separated oil back together and place two TBSP in a tiny tupperware container. By the time I go to eat it, the butter has fully hardened, and I can pop it out of the tupperware and eat it like a piece of white chocolate (which is also awesome!). This led me to try the following and it works great!

a. Place 3TBSP of coconut butter (warm and liquified) into a “mini bread” or protein bar sized dish (you can make one from tin foil if needed).
b. Mix in a little bit of protein powder and some finely chopped nuts.
c. Place in fridge until hardened
d. Unwrap, and EAT!

It’s seriously that easy. You can add things like oats, berries, cocoa nibs, etc. The coconut butter binder works perfectly as long as you keep the bars in a cool dry place.

On a related note, if you’re looking for additional protein bar recipes, I’d strongly recommend you check out Anabolic Cooking by Dave Ruel; he has several that are fantastic.

 

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8 Responses to “Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 31”

  1. Martin Rittenberry Says:

    Greg, you’ve been killing it on the blog posts lately. Keep it up!

  2. Lester Bell Says:

    Do you put a wooden dowel in the PVC pipe?
    Thanks – Les

  3. Andrew Says:

    All exercises perfect

  4. Eric Cressey Says:

    No, Lester. the PVC by itself works fine.

  5. Bob Dannegger Says:

    Here is a trick I learned about natural peanut butter and should work for coconut or any other butter where the oil and solids separate.

    Empty the container into a fairly large bowl and stir the solids and oil together. Place the mixture back into the container and store in the refrigerator. The cold temperature keeps the butter from separating. When you want to use some, remove the lid if it’s metal and heat in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. It will then be spreadable but still remain mixed.

    Although I haven’t tried it, I’m fairly sure you could spoon some out for later use at room temperature and it would stay together for many hours before separating.

  6. Robert Says:

    Mr. Cressey,

    I know that you are against bench pressing for pitchers and prefer landmine presses over db bench. However in my gym i cannot do the landmines so i just stick to db bench on the floor.

    My question is: should pitchers even care about chest hypertrophy because as both a horizontal adductor and internal rotator of the humerus, tight pecs potential decrease external rotation as well as scapular loading, right?

    If this is wrong, should i keep doing floor db bench but:

    -hug the elbows into the sides to minimize the shoulder internal rotation
    - use a neutral grip

    Thanks for all your responses lol I hope to work with you in the future.

  7. Eric Cressey Says:

    Robert,

    Really not important to have big pecs if you’re a pitcher. You just need some strength, good tissue quality, and solid mobility. DON’T hug the elbows to the sides, though; that creates a humeral anterior glide. Give yourself about 30 degrees of “daylight” between your arm and your side.

  8. Leor G Says:

    LOVE #3. I’ve got the perfect person to test this out with on Thursday. Looking forward to seeing how this inverse approach works. Thanks for the ideas, keep em coming!

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