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Written on January 31, 2013 at 8:57 am, by Eric Cressey
I wrote my first “What I Learned in” feature at T-Nation back in 2006. A lot has happened in over the past seven years, too. I’m not longer the young whippersnapper picking fights on the T-Nation forum anymore. Rather, I’ve morphed into an old man with a receding hairline – and I prefer to yell at the television and complain about the damn kids who walk on my lawn, rather than arguing with folks on the internet.
Written on May 16, 2012 at 8:05 am, by Eric Cressey
I’d wager that if you chatted with 100 lifters over the age of 30 with more than five years of strength training experience, they’d tell you that their triceps exercise selection has increasingly diminished with each passing year.
It’s sad and disturbing, but not unexpected.
Barbell and dumbbell triceps extension variations can kill the underside of the elbows.
Dips can irritate the medial aspect of the elbow in the bottom position, or just bother the AC joint at the shoulder girdle.
Written on February 18, 2012 at 1:53 am, by Eric Cressey
This marks the fifth year that I’ve been writing this year-end series for T Nation. In my first installment, I was fresh out of graduate school, so I drew heavily from the research I’d seen.
Nowadays, while I still read a lot of research, more of my “findings” have come from being in the trenches (where I’ve also acquired a receding hairline). Hopefully this year, you’ll find a nice blend of the two.
Written on August 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm, by Eric Cressey
Imagine two lifters standing near one another – each with a barbell loaded to 405 pounds on the floor in front of them.
Assume these two are identical in every way – except for one key fact. Lifter A was a high-jumper, but Lifter B got his physique from more traditional bodybuilding methods.
Neither of these guys has ever deadlifted 405 previously.
Which of the two do you put your money on to hit the PR if you don’t know anything else about them?
Ten times out of ten, I take the high jumper – and I’d guarantee you that most folks in the human performance industry would do the same. Why?
Written on June 17, 2011 at 8:12 am, by Eric Cressey
People Magazine has a yearly feature called “Half Their Size.” This year featured the stories of morbidly obese readers who’ve managed to cut their body weight in half. It’s a huge accomplishment and I respect these folks immensely, but to me, it’s a lot more impressive to double your body weight through proper training and nutrition.
T NATION readers can surely appreciate this feat as it’s incredibly rare and takes a lot of time and persistence. I can appreciate it simply because, I’ve done it.
Written on May 11, 2011 at 6:18 am, by Eric Cressey
Single-leg work has been a pretty controversial topic lately.
Some folks say that it’s the only safe way to train the lower body for the long haul and that bilateral exercise is the devil. Others insist that you can’t possibly build size relying on unilateral lower body strength exercises and that they’re a cop-out for those who don’t want to squat and deadlift heavy in a strength and conditioning program.
What’s my take?
Written on February 28, 2011 at 4:29 am, by Eric Cressey
This is year 5 of my “What I Learned in” series here at T-Nation, and it’s actually being written in February of 2011 because I needed an extra month to process everything and put it down on paper.
Apparently, I also learned in 2010 that I was disorganized and senile. So, before I digress too much, let’s get to it.
Written on January 6, 2011 at 3:04 am, by Eric Cressey
There are loads of different ways to get stronger. Similarly, there are all sorts of different classifications of strength, whether you’re a powerlifter, strongman, Olympic lifter, manual laborer, or just some random dude who wears his hat like Sylvester Stallone in “Over the Top” and constantly seeks out arm wrestling matches in airports, bingo halls, or massage parlors.
Written on November 17, 2010 at 4:06 am, by Eric Cressey
If you search through the archives here at T-Nation, you’ll find hundreds of programs you can try. In fact, there are probably enough for you to rotate through for the rest of your training career without ever having to complete the same one twice.
However, I’d venture to guess that most of you aren’t here just because you want to be told exactly what to do. Rather, in the process, you want to learn why you’re doing something, and how to eventually be able to do a better job of programming for yourself.
It’s no different than being a guy who’s given a sample diet plan — but wants to know what to order off the menu when eating out; a little education on thinking on the fly goes a long way.
So, to that end, I want to use this article as a means of educating you on how to take that next step. The 11 tips that follow should help you progress the strength exercises in your program from one month to the next to make them more challenging.
Written on September 10, 2010 at 6:48 am, by Eric Cressey
Back in the early 2000′s, during my early years of personal training, I also worked at a tennis club during the summer. It had been my job throughout high school during the summers, and I’d really enjoyed it and made a lot of friends – so it was a nice adjunct to me learning the ropes in the fitness industry. Because I had two jobs going simultaneously, two of my first personal training clients wound up being a new member of the tennis club and his wife.
This couple – we’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. H – had recently retired and purchased a summer home in Southern Maine, and the tennis club and gym were two opportunities for them to make friends in a new place. Knowing that they were the new kids in town, I went out of my way to introduce them to as many members in both arenas as I could; it just seemed like the right thing to do, and I didn’t mind at all, as they were great people.
Little did I know just how much these introductions meant to this couple.
I trained them both in the summers up until August of 2003, when I left for graduate school at the University of Connecticut. About a month after I started at UCONN, I received a note in the mail from Mr. H talking about how much they enjoyed training with me, how they admired my work ethic and passion for improving at my chosen craft, and how much they appreciated all the introductions I’d made for them when they first came to Maine.
Enclosed was a $500 check with the message “Consider this our contribution to the ‘Eric Cressey Student Loan Repayment Fund.’” Needless to say, it was completely unnecessary and unexpected, but very much appreciated by a poor graduate student!
The story doesn’t end there, though. Unfortunately, just a few months later, Mrs. H died unexpectedly during a surgical procedure. I heard the news from my grandmother, and immediately sent a card and written note to Mr. H expressing my sympathy. A week or two later, he called me and we chatted for about an hour on the phone. I was absolutely heartbroken for him. Here he was, ready to enjoy years of retirement – travel, grandchildren, and relaxation – with his wife, only to become a widow out of the blue.
Fortunately, there is somewhat of a silver lining to this cloud – and a message for the fitness professionals reading this. Mrs. H’s passing led to an even stronger friendship between Mr. H and I. We’d chat on the phone on most holidays and exchange holiday cards, he’d have dinner at my grandparents’ house with us each summer, and I’d stop by to see him in the summers when I was back at home visiting. In fact, my fiancée and I just saw him over Labor Day weekend. For geographic reasons, he’s not a client anymore, but he’s a great friend – and he’s taught me an important lesson without me ever realizing any teaching was going on.
He still summers in Maine, and the introductions I (in part) made for him that first summer have led to lasting friendships at the tennis club and gym to keep him upbeat. While nothing could ever replace his wife, the social circle he built up has helped to sustain him in spite of the challenges life has thrown his way.
Nowadays, you’ll find 897 customer retention strategies available on the web. Sure, sending thank you notes and birthday cards (among other strategies) is valuable, but nothing will ever replace the common sense that tells you to make quick introductions between new clients and existing clients when they first arrive in your program.
In the context of our business, I’d estimate that we have a lead conversion rate of about 99% – because just about every time an up-and-coming athlete and his/her parent enters our facility for the first time, there is a professional or high-level college athlete hanging out in the office. That’s a pretty cool experience – and one that could turn into a lasting friendship or mentor/mentee relationship down the road. This actually shapes our business model, as we only have to focus on lead generation, and not lead conversion; the people and environment take care of themselves.
This isn’t something for which you need to shell out big bucks, either; making an introduction is free. Next time you have clients in front of you, think of a way to connect them.
I’ve introduced kids who have had jaw surgeries to oral surgeons, brides-to-be with women who have recently wed, and pitchers who struggle to learn a change-up with those who have already mastered the pitch. The possible connections are endless – and frankly, you don’t even need a connection. Introducing someone is pretty easy even without a middle ground; just say “Joe, this is Bill. Bill is usually here around the time that you’re going to be training, so I figured you ought to get familiar with one another sooner than later.”
While you may not see the benefits right away, trust me; in the months and years to come, you’ll be glad you made these introductions.