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How to Stand Out in a Crowded Fitness Industry

Written on October 7, 2015 at 5:50 am, by Eric Cressey

Today's guest post comes from my Cressey Sports Performance business partner, Pete Dupuis.  


I’ve decided it is time to add an additional component to our internship program. As it turns out, Cressey Sports Performance (CSP) has been doing a disservice to its interns for a while. We’ve been sending extremely prepared coaches out into the world with a lot to offer and no idea how to sell it!

A former intern currently coaching at a commercial gym recently admitted that he had regrets about how he’d approached his time with us. He explained that he’d like to go back in time and spend more hours in my office during his internship at CSP. In his words:

“I learned the hard way that being the best coach in your gym is irrelevant if you’re unable to convincingly sell your personal training services. I walked through the door thinking that my superior coaching skill-set would translate to a full client roster and ended up watching meat-head trainers pack their schedules and even turn away clients as I scrambled ineffectively trying to fill my book of business.”

It’s officially time for me to put some thought into preparing our interns for the realities of the personal training world beyond the basis of coaching.

Pay Attention to those Who Sell Effectively

I should start by acknowledging that I have never been a personal trainer. I am, however, the business guy at a fitness facility that has employed a number of fantastic strength coaches. I’ve seen the difference between the good and the bad, and know that every successful coach has at least one redeemable quality outside of their coaching skill-set. More specifically, my staff members with the infectious personalities are always the ones who draw people in.


In a recent post, I discussed my new initiative of training alongside our clients to improve my “feel” for our training environment and client experience. It was during one of these afternoon training sessions when I realized we have a team member who routinely puts on a clinic when it comes to client interaction. His name is Matt Blake, and he’s actually not even a strength coach here at CSP. Matt is the CSP Pitching Coordinator and also the only guy in the room who doesn’t count on me to fill his coaching schedule. Much like your typical personal trainer, Matt’s time spent mingling on the training floor and in the offices of CSP ultimately drives his earning potential.

Since Matt routinely has his winter pitching instruction schedule fully booked by late October, our interns could stand to benefit from paying attention to how he handles himself in the gym. Here are four valuable lessons any current or future personal trainer can take away from Matt Blake:

What you deliver off-the-clock is often just as important as what you do during a session.

On the surface, Matt sells pitching instruction here at CSP. As far as the general public is concerned, there’s standard one-on-one pitching instruction, and there’s video analysis sessions where the mechanics of one’s delivery are broken down step-by-step. What they don’t realize is that Matt actually offers what he casually refers to as a “suite of complimentary services.”

2013.01.26 - CP (348)

More specifically, Matt over-delivers with his clientele by making himself available in an informal setting outside of the pitching cage to discuss the complicated college recruiting process, the intricacies of the word of summer/AAU baseball, the importance of strength training and manual therapy as it relates to pitching, and more. He makes time “off-the-clock” to help his athletes understand that the effectiveness and usefulness of his pitching instruction is ultimately going to be driven by a variety of factors lying outside of the pitching cage.

Matt explains:

“In my field, if you’re going to charge a premium rate for your services, you need to be able to justify the price-point by delivering more than an agreed upon block of time in your schedule for the week. When I under-promise and over-deliver, parents and athletes are quick to spread positive reviews of my services.” -MB

As a personal trainer in a commercial gym setting, you have the perfect opportunity to replicate Matt’s efforts. I’m sure you see your clients executing unsupervised training sessions outside of your regularly scheduled appointments, so why not approach them on the training floor (in front of other gym members) to give a quick deadlift refresher free-of-charge? Why not catch them by surprise by saying, “I was thinking about how your shoulder was bugging you last week and tracked down a really fascinating article for you to read about addressing the issue with manual therapy.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz often says that while coffee is the product, his company is in the “people business.” Personal training may be your product, but make no mistake; you are in the people business. Differentiating yourself from other trainers (or pitching coaches) is essential to building and sustaining a career in this industry.

2013.01.26 - CP (139)

Know More Than You Need To Know

“The general working knowledge of pitching mechanics is very superficial, so I stepped away from the commonly used jargon and lazy coaching cues during instruction and began to focus closely on the fundamental movement patterns involved in throwing a baseball.” -MB

The message Matt is sharing here is actually very simple: If you continue to do what everyone else is doing, you will continue to get the results that everyone else is getting. He’s taken the initiative to step outside of his comfort zone and obtain a working knowledge of cutting-edge arm-care protocols, the basics of self-administered manual therapy, and more. Matt sits in on every one of our CSP weekly staff in-services and doesn’t receive a paycheck for it. His dedication to understanding fundamentals outside of his niche not only helps him “talk shop”, but also inherently improves his craft by broadening his relative knowledge.

Differentiate by Association

Matt is smart enough to know what falls outside of his scope of practice. With a comprehensive network of qualified professionals, he is quick to refer out to when appropriate. He knows who his go-to physical therapist is in each part of New England. If an athlete complains of throwing-related pain, he has the contact information needed to get a fast-tracked appointment with one of the country’s best orthopedic surgeons. He can get an athlete in need of nutrition assistance in front of a qualified professional in minutes. Matt’s referral network has become one of his most distinct assets.

2013.01.26 - CP (441)

Manage Expectations without Selling a Dream

“I’ve created a model that is focused on long term incremental gains. I don’t place a huge focus on the use of radar guns. I don’t count balls and strikes on a daily basis. That certainly has its place, but I put a lot more focus on mindful effort and understanding the process of throwing. My clients throw a baseball with a purpose and a plan.” -MB

The personal trainers who promise “10lbs of fat loss in just four weeks” are destined to lose clients in the long-run. The pitching coaches who guarantee specific velocity gains are destined to be replaced by the next flavor of the month instructor when results don’t reflect expectations. His initial message may not be as sexy, but Matt sells attainable and sustainable results. He explains that his clients are asked to embrace a process-oriented mindset and stop worrying about short-cuts to improvements.

If you can get your clients to appreciate the process of creating a healthier lifestyle or mechanically efficient pitching delivery, you’re likely to see them get excited about their incremental gains. It’s hard to value (or replicate) where you end up if you can’t remember how you got there.

Time for You to Take Action

Eric recently mentioned on Twitter that the best way to improve within your industry is to look outside of it. You can apply this concept immediately by emulating one or more of Matt’s habits outlined above. As you’ll soon see, it doesn’t require an extraordinary amount of effort in order to differentiate yourself from the rest of the trainers within your commercial gym.

About the Author

Pete Dupuis (@Pete_Dupuis) is the Vice President & Co-Founder of Cressey Sports Performance. Please visit to find additional fitness business blog content and to learn more about his Business Consulting Services.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/6/15

Written on October 6, 2015 at 4:57 am, by Eric Cressey

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope your week got off to a great start. It's a day late, but here's this week's list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

Elite Athletic Development 2.0 - This is the new DVD set from Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn. The first installment was fantastic, and I'm excited to go through this next version this week. It's on sale for $100 off this week, and both these guys do a first class job as both coaches and educators, so I'm sure it'll be top-notch.


Why We Do Stuff We Know We Shouldn't, and How it Affects Your Workouts - This Dean Somerset write-up is a lengthy blog post with a  lengthy title, but it's still well worth the read.

Less Medicine, More Health: I'm currently listening to this audiobook from Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, and it's an outstanding read. At the very least, it'll teach you to be much more skeptical about "buying in" to small, yet statistically significant effects for an intervention, particularly in a large sample size on something that impacts a huge chunk of the population. Welch comes across as quite the cynic when it comes to the excessive medical care that is often practiced today, but his skepticism is well founded, given his extensive research on the subject. It's been a great listen thus far.


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Strength and Conditioning Programs: Simplicity, Confirmation Bias, and Specific vs. General Programs

Written on October 4, 2015 at 7:26 am, by Eric Cressey

Confucius once said, "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." You could say that I modernized and expanded on this quote in the context of the fitness industry a few weeks ago with my post, 6 Ways to Simplify Your Coaching for Better Results

While I'd encourage you to read this piece in full (if you haven't already), the premise was very simple (for lack of a better term): our programming and coaching almost never needs to be complex. Both research and anecdotal observations have shown time and time again that people thrive on simplicity in various aspects of their life - including exercise and nutrition.

Why, then, do we as coaches constantly find ourselves needing to avoid the complexity trap? The answer is very simple: confirmation bias.

Confirmation Bias

This term simply means that we're wired to automatically prefer information/solutions that confirm what we believe and prefer/enjoy doing.

Confirmation bias is why almost every Olympic lifter I've met who has shoulder problems thinks they can just tinker with their jerk or snatch technique to make things feel better.

Confirmation bias is why some Crossfit coaches will try to convince baseball players that their training can prepare these athletes for the unique demands of their sport.


Confirmation bias is why some strength and conditioning coaches who work only with athletes have actually forgotten how to help a general fitness client lose 20 pounds of body fat.

Confirmation bias is why we still have some nutritionists advocating for the Food Guide Pyramid.

Our goals - whether it's for our own programs or those we coach - is to avoid confirmation bias as much as possible. Being open-minded to new ideas and approaches enables us to constantly improve our programming.

Specific vs. General

To me, avoiding confirmation bias is a (surprise) simple process. Assume that your absolute best proficiency constitutes a general approach. For me, this is training baseball players. For a powerlifter, it's powerlifting. For a Crossfit coach, it's coaching Crossfitters. It's considered general (even though the training may be highly specific) because it's the overwhelming majority of folks with whom you work, and because you're most familiar with it.

With each new client you see, ask yourself whether this person fits into your general paradigm, or whether it's actually a very specific case. For instance, at Cressey Sports Performance - Florida, we train Atlanta Falcon Matt Bosher, who is currently leading the NFL in average yardage on kickoffs and punts. His program is dramatically different from what we might prescribe for our baseball players; we can't fit the athlete (specific) to the program (general). 

CSP florida-02(1)

If Major League Baseball players are training at facilities other than CSP, though, they are the specific case. They have specific injury mechanisms that might be unfamiliar to those coaches. Just any general program won't adequately address things. 

"General" fitness training - improving body composition, functional capacity, and quality of life - is (as the name implies) something that general programs can usually accommodate quite easily, particularly in beginner clients. This is why general programs can work great for untrained young athletes, too; young players may derive great injury prevention and performance enhancements with general training early on.

However, when clients become advanced, they may need something more specific. Perhaps a casual fitness enthusiasts builds appreciable strength and shows and interest in competing in powerlifting or Olympic lifting. Or, maybe an athlete shows great potential in one sport and decides to hone in on that path. Our training has to get more specific to accommodate the evolution of these athletes' abilities and goals. This is even why we set up a female powerlifting team at Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts; we had some strong women who wanted to take things to the next level.


What's the take-home message? Don't take specific solutions to general problems - or vice versa.

Have a great Sunday!

PS - Remember that the 50% off sale on Metabolic Cooking and Anabolic Cooking ends tonight at midnight. Don't miss this chance to get some awesome healthy recipes at a huge discount!

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21 Tips for Up-and-Coming Fitness Professionals

Written on September 30, 2015 at 9:20 pm, by Eric Cressey

Over the years, my favorite posts to write have been my "Random Thoughts" pieces. Effectively, these write-ups are just brain dumps on a particular topic, as opposed to a clearly constructed arguments. It occurred to me the other day that - after years of our internship programs at Cressey Sports Performance - I've accumulated a lot of useful tips for up-and-coming fitness professionals. So, here's a brain dump on the subject!

1. Improve your writing skills.

In this industry – as much as you may think it’s unfair – a lot of people are going to assume that you are just a meathead. You’re feeding into that stereotype each time you send an email with all lower-case letters or fail to utilize correction punctuation.

True story: I once had an athlete’s mother joke with me that she was sure that I was the only strength coach on the planet that knew how to correctly use a semicolon.

2. Don’t make continuing education harder than it needs to be. Your goal should be 30 hours per month, or 360 hours per year.

Three seminars of 1-2 days each = 24-48 hours/year

20 minutes per day of audiobooks during your commute, or regular book reading: 122 hours/year

Go observe another trainer/physical therapist/doctor once a month for 4 hours: 48 hours/year

Online Programs/Videos for 20 minutes per day: 122 hours/year

Buy/Watch three DVD sets: 24-48 hours

At the minimum, this is 340 hours. On the high end, it’s 388. Either way, it’s incredibly manageable. You just have to make it a priority.

Subscribe to Elite Training Mentorship. It's under $30/month, and literally takes 75% of the guesswork out of this continuing education "battle" for you. Just make sure you cover everything that's included in every update each month, and you'll be in a great spot.


3. Talk 20% of the time, and listen 80% of the time – especially during initial evaluations/consults.

4. Incorporate videos into your coaching. Many clients are visual learners who do best when they see themselves performing an exercise.

5. Make it easier for potential clients to perceive your expertise. There are a million different avenues you can use to do this; think long and hard about what really “matters” to your clients. For instance, don’t expect an awesome Facebook presence to mean much to teenage athletes, as they’re all on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

6. Have a clear and consistent persona. Don’t be an introvert one day and then bounce off the walls the next. Sure, there is a time and a place to shake things up to help with client engagement, but that shouldn’t change you are as a person to the point that clients don’t know what to expect when they show up. Moreover, they should never be able to tell whether you’re having a bad day or not.

8. Look the part. It actually does matter.

9. Use social media as a means of building rapport with your clients and potential clients, celebrating clients’ achievements, and also in positioning or reaffirming your expertise (think of it as a short article or blog). Don’t use it to be confrontational/negative.



9. Never be afraid to refer out. Your #1 priority is to help clients – especially if that means to get them out of pain. I see too many trainers who are afraid to refer clients out to doctors and physical therapists because they’re afraid the client won’t come back and they’ll lose the business. If that’s the way you’re thinking, then you ought to be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I create a stronger relationship with this client?” If you do a good job, you should create a sense of loyalty in your clients – and this shouldn’t even be an issue.

10. Some clients won’t mind it if you swear. Others will REALLY mind it. Why risk it when there is nothing to be gained?

11. Don’t try to fit clients to programs. Fit programs to clients.

12. When you see another trainer with a busy schedule, don’t think, “That guy sucks. I should have way more clients than he does.” Instead, ask yourself, “What is that guy doing so well that he makes clients flocks to him?”

13. If you want to build confidence while honing your skill set in the early stages, volunteer to help out with training teenage female athletes. They have considerable joint hypermobility, which means that it’ll be easier for them to acquire the postures needed to lift effectively. And, if you’re familiar with the concept of relative stiffness, because they have less passive stability, there will be less “bad stiffness” for them to overcome as you work to establish good stiffness for lifting.


Additionally, younger female athletes are generally more untrained, meaning they haven’t spent years lifting in the basement, establishing bad patterns the entire time. So, you don’t have egos to deal with in terms of changing lifting techniques or selecting lighter training loads. They won’t put another 2.5 pounds on the bar until you tell them to do so.

Finally, untrained athletes will make progress quickly – and that can make the training process more fun for coach and athlete alike.

Obviously, you don’t always get to pick the exact populations with whom you work, but training this “slam dunk” population is one way to get some momentum on your side.

14. Find ways to introduce clients to each other to help establish culture. Did one client vacation where another client is heading? Maybe Client A will have a good restaurant recommendation for Client B, or can comment on how good the gym access is at a particular resort.

Just this past week, an agent reached out to me to ask if I knew of any forward-thinking doctors in the Arizona area where one of his baseball clients could get blood work done. I texted one of our MLB clients who’d had it done out there last year, and he got me the contact info for one – as well as a thorough review of his experience with this particular doctor.

The more you grow your culture, the more you realize that clients don’t just come back to you time and time again for the training. If you need proof, here's a photo of the CSP Family members from the Mets, Marlins, and Cardinals during the 2014 Spring Training. We organized this get together for dinner on 24 hours notice. Not pictured are the wives and girlfriends in attendance, but suffice it to say we were a crew of 30+ that evening. 


You don't get that if you just punch the clock with your clients; you get it by treating them as family and inviting them to be part of something much bigger.

15. Never speak badly about another trainer or business. Focus on what you do well and, more importantly, how you can help the client.

16. Be very careful with how you manually cue female clients, particularly if you are a male trainer. I can lightly jab my fist into a 24-year-old MLB athlete’s core to get him to brace, but this would be highly inappropriate with a 45-year-old female client on her first day. So, if you feel the need to use your hands to cue a client directly, politely ask permission before doing so.

17. Always be on time. On the first day of their internship, I teach all our new interns about the concept of “Respect Reciprocity.” If you want clients to respect you as a coach, you need to respect them first – and that begins and ends with showing up on time and being ready to coach. Organized facilities/trainers attract (or help to create) organized clients.

If that’s not incentive enough to show up on time, just remember that doctors who have poor bedside manner are more likely to be sued by patients – and that’s independent of their actual diagnostic or treatment abilities. If a customer perceives you as disrespectful, you’re going to be paddling upstream to make things right.

18. Never, ever, ever discuss religion or politics.

19. Don’t just work to create a good network of medical professionals around you, but also a great network of specialists. Not all orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, massage therapists, and other related professionals have identical skill sets. I'm very in tune with this because you can't send baseball elbows and shoulders to "just any" doctor or physical therapist. It's a unique population with specific adaptations, injury mechanisms, and functional demands.


20. Be really, really, really good at something and you will do very well in this industry. However, before you can be really, really, really good at something, you should be proficient at a lot of things.

21. Remember that proficiency precedes popularity. You’ll get really busy when you’re really good at what you do.

That does it for this go-round. I'll definitely do this one again, as they really rolled off my fingertips! 

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/28/15

Written on September 28, 2015 at 12:32 am, by Eric Cressey

It's time to kick off the week with some recommended reading from the training and nutrition worlds:

Metabolic Cooking and Anabolic Cooking - I've written in the past about how awesome these cookbooks are, and my wife and I still make recipes from them every single week. The creator, Dave Ruel, put them both on sale for 50% off this week, and I'd highly recommend you check them out if you're looking for some variety in your healthy diet.


Exercise During Pregnancy Infographic - The crew at Precision Nutrition published this infographic recently, and it's an awesome resource for anyone out there who is interested in learning more about training and nutrition around pregnancy. Dr. John Berardi was a great resource to me on this front early on in my wife's pregnancy with our twins last year.

Embracing More Than One Training Model: A Lesson in Opportunity Cost - My business partner, Pete, wrote this up last week. If you run a training business (or aspire to do so), definitely check this out. 

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Coaching Cues to Make Your Strength and Conditioning Programs More Effective – Installment 12

Written on September 24, 2015 at 10:13 am, by Eric Cressey

It's time to bring back this coaching cues series to the forefront, as it's always been a popular one here at Here are three more cues I find myself using on a daily basis at Cressey Sports Performance

1. "Chest before chin."

One of the biggest issues we see in folks with a lack of anterior core control and/or upper body strength is that they'll shoot into forward head posture as they descend to the bottom position of a push-up. Effectively, they're substituting head/neck movement for true scapular protraction and retraction. One cue that seems to clean the issue up quite well is the "chest before chin" recommendation - which means that the chest should arrive at the floor before the chin does.

You do, however, need to make sure that the individual doesn't confuse this with simply puffing the chest out, which would put them in more extended (arched back) posture at the lumbar spine.

2. "Get your scaps to your armpits."

A huge goal of upper body corrective exercise program is to teach individuals how to differentiate between scapulothoracic movement and glenohumeral movement. In layman's terms, this means understanding that it's important to know when the shoulder blade is moving on the rib cage, as opposed to the upper arm (ball) moving on the shoulder blade (socket). Especially during overhead reaching, what we typically see in athletes is insufficient scapulothoracic movement and excessive glenohumeral movement - particularly in those athletes with noteworthy joint hyper mobility. This is one reason why we incorporate a lot of wall slide variations in our warm-ups.

Since we are really looking to teach good upward rotation (as opposed to just elevation), I always try to cue a rotational component to the scapular movement as the arms go overhead. I've found that "get your scaps to your armpits" can really get the message across, especially when this verbal cue is combined with the kinesthetic cue of me guiding the shoulder blades around the rib cage. These modifications can really help to kick up serratus anterior recruitment, as this video shows:

3. "Start in your jump rope position."

When you're working with young athletes on jumping variations - whether they're broad jumps, box jumps, or some other variations - many of them will start with an excessively wide stance. Then, they'll "dip" to create eccentric preloading (stretch) and the knees almost always cave in. As I've said before, if the feet are too wide, the knees have no place to go but in. My feeling is that many young athletes "default" to this pattern because a wider base of support generally supports a more stable position for a weaker athlete. Unfortunately, this position doesn't put them in a great posture for producing force.

The best coaching cues are the ones that build upon those movements an individual already knows, and most kids have jumped rope in the past. If you use a wide stance when you jump rope, you trip over the rope. Instead, you have to stay with the feet in around hip-width, which is right where we want our jump variations to occur.


If you're looking for more coaching tutorials and exercise demonstrations, be sure to check out Elite Training Mentorship, which is updated each month with new content from Cressey Sports Performance staff members.

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Optimizing the Big 3 Seminar: November 15, 2015 – Jupiter, FL

Written on September 22, 2015 at 6:48 am, by Eric Cressey

For the fifth time, Cressey Sports Performance staff member and accomplished powerlifter Greg Robins will be delivering his one-day seminar, "Optimizing the Big 3." This time, it will take place at our new CSP facility in Jupiter, FL. This event is a great fit for lifters who have an interest in improving the squat, bench press, and deadlift - and may want to powerlift competitively. And, it's also been very popular with strength and conditioning professionals. It'll take place on Sunday, November 15, 2015.



"Optimizing the Big Three" is a one-day seminar geared towards those looking to improve the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Split into both a lecture and hands on format, the event will provide attendees with practical coaching on the technique of the classic power lifts, as well as valuable information on how to specialize movement preparation, utilize supplementary movements, and organize their training around a central focus: improved strength in these "big three" movements.

Furthermore, Greg - along with fellow CSP coach Tony Bonvechio, who'll be assisting - will touch upon the lessons learned in preparation for your first few meets, to help you navigate everything from equipment selection, to meet-day logistics.

The value in learning from Greg is a matter of perspective. He has a wealth of knowledge, and experience stemming from various experiences as a coach and lifter. Greg will effectively shed light on how he has applied movement principles, athletic performance modalities, and anecdotal evidence from working with a wide variety of different populations to one main goal; optimizing the technique, health, and improvements in strength of amateur lifters.


Seminar Agenda:

8:30-9:00AM: Check-in/Registration

9:00-11:00AM: Maximal Strength Training Theory - The main lecture of the day will be focused on the principles of how to assess where you (or your athletes) are in terms of training history and how that determines what kind of training loads should be used. Furthermore, this lecture will focus on principles of managing stressors and how to assign proper loading parameters for different level lifters. Last will be a discussion of the cornerstones of training vs. planning as well as a look at the commonalities and differences of different training approaches.

11:00AM-12:00PM: Managing the Strength Athlete: Assessing and Meeting the Demands of the Lifter - Learn what demands a high amount of volume in the classic lifts puts on the body; how to assess for it in others and yourself; and what you can do to manage the stress associated with these demands.

12:00-12:30PM: Group Warm-up

12:30AM-1:15PM: Squat Hands-on Session

1:15-1:30PM: Squat Recap, Programming Considerations, and Video Review


1:30-2:15PM: Lunch (on your own)

2:15-3:00PM: Bench Press Hands-on Session

3:00-3:15PM: Bench Press Recap, Programming Considerations, and Video Review

3:15-4:00PM: Deadlift Hands-on Session

4:00-4:15PM: Deadlift Recap, Programming Considerations, and Video Review

4:15-5:00PM: Final Q&A


November 15, 2015

Cressey Sports Performance
880 Jupiter Park Drive
Suite 7
Jupiter, FL 33458



Early Bird (before October 15) $149.99, Regular Rate $199.99

Note: we'll be capping the number of participants to ensure that there is a lot of presenter/attendee interaction - particularly during the hands-on workshop portion - so be sure to register early, as the previous offerings have both sold out well in advance of the early-bird registration deadline.


Click here to register!

Still not convinced? Here is some feedback from previous attendees:

“The coaching I got was phenomenal; amazing experience!”

“Really happy with the content, and the coaching of the lifts. Definitely appreciated the appeal to reflect on training, and be able to defend all exercises you program. I had high expectations for this event and they were exceeded.”

“Honestly, I was really happy with the seminar, my only regret is I wish I asked a few more questions as Greg was really great about avoiding a dogmatic approach that is very common in this field!”

“This was awesome! I learned a ton about the big 3 and feel like I can pass on the knowledge to our clients.”

“I really like your approach to lifting and your lifting philosophy. I've been strength coaching for 20 years and I run a successful business; it's getting hard to find a good seminar. Normally, when I learn one thing I’m happy, but this last Sunday, I learned a lot. I'm really satisfied!”

“Very worthwhile and I would even attend the event again, especially for the hands on.”

“Very concise, while allowing the topics and questions to develop as the audience saw fit. It was very informative and engaging.”

“This was awesome. Definitely would attend something like this again!”

“I loved having the opportunity to actually lift, the coaching was phenomenal!”

Click here to register!

About the Presenter

Greg Robins is a strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance. In addition to co-authoring The Specialization Success Guide, his writing has been published everywhere from Men's Health, to Men's Fitness, to Juggernaut Training Systems, to EliteFTS, to T-Nation. As a raw competitive powerlifter, Greg has competition bests of 560 squat, 335 bench press, and 625 deadlift for a 1520 total.

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/21/15

Written on September 21, 2015 at 6:31 am, by Eric Cressey

Good morning, everyone. I hope you had a great weekend. Here are some good strength and conditioning readings to kick off your week:

The Making of an All Black: How New Zealand Sustains Its Rugby Dynasty - This article offers some good insights into the talent identification and development process that takes place in New Zealand rugby.

Legacy - In light of the last reading recommendation, if you're looking for a longer, more thorough read on the success of the All Blacks, I'd highly recommend this book James Kerr. It's the single best one I've covered in the past two years (I listened to it as an audiobook), and offers some fantastic lessons on leadership and building a championship culture.


Why I Still Work in a Commercial Gym - I thought this was an excellent blog from Dean Somerset. I often tell folks that most trainers are far better off - both personally and professionally - as employees. While opening your own facility has a lot of upsides, it also comes with a lot of headaches that most folks fail to appreciate. There are a lot of trainers out there who could really benefit from adopting Dean's approach and mindset. You'd be amazed at how much autonomy you can earn if you make yourself an indispensable employee.

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 64

Written on September 18, 2015 at 5:42 am, by Eric Cressey

Today's five tips come from Cressey Sports Performance coach, Miguel Aragoncillo. 

1. Approach your sets and reps intelligently.

Whenever I start a new program, I’m always excited to attack the given sets and reps and put some weight on the bar. However, I won’t come into the gym every day of every training program as fresh and ready to go as I did on Week 1, Day 1.

When writing programs for our athletes, I want them to do the following things during their training sessions:

a. Move with quality and integrity.
b. Move with intensity, focusing on force production.

If you can’t bring either to a lift, one of two things is happening: you are fatigued, or the weight is too heavy. There are many causes of fatigue, whether it be from the previous day of training, previous weekend of traveling, or recent competition. 

To account for this, I can do two things: regulate sets and reps (volume), or weights used (intensity).

Fellow CSP coach Greg Robins uses the phrase:

“Programs are static, and training is a dynamic process.”

A program is a piece of paper that does not factor in your life: lack of sleep, outside stress, or fatigue from a previous competition. Training is a process that should respect how you recover from day to day.

So, if you fail or miss a rep for example, you can do one of two things:

If your program calls for 3 sets of 5 reps, that is 15 overall reps at a specific intensity. If you can’t complete the given numbers, you can:

a. Flip the numbers: 15 reps can be done using 5 sets of 3 instead. Mentally, 3 reps is easier to digest than 5, you can recover better in between sets, and you can evaluate how your body is reacting to the exercise on a more micro level. Essentially, you can do any amount of sets to accommodate for the same amount of total volume.

b. Maintain the same amount of volume and decrease the weight used: If the weights are feeling heavy for 8 sets of 3 reps, down the weight until you feel like you are moving without a significant grind.

2. Set goals by reverse engineering them.

If you want to achieve the goal of playing baseball (or any other sport, for that matter) beyond high school, keep these numbers from the NCAA in mind:

Out of 482,629 athletes in high school, less than 7% get the chance to play in college. Out of those student athletes, only 8.6% of draft-eligible players actually get drafted by a professional baseball organization. Even when combined with players who are drafted directly out of high school, you're still dealing with an incredibly low of moving on to professional baseball. And, this doesn't even take into consideration the number of players who make it to Minor League Baseball, but never advanced to the Major League level.


What's the point? Being in the top 0.5% of anything in life is very challenging, and baseball is certainly no exception.

So the question remains: if you want to achieve something great, how can you best achieve it?

There are a lot of ways to dissect and reverse engineer how to efficiently get to your goals. Locke and Latham (1) note that “specific goals direct activity more effectively and reliably than vague or general goals.”

While the path you may take will vary greatly because of the opportunities that are presented, there is always one thing you can control in the face of uncontrollable external factors, and it is your reaction to the given situation.

• If you got cut from a team, what is your plan of action to display your strengths, or improve your weaknesses?

• What is your reaction when something does not go as planned?

Using the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound) is a great place to start, and whether or not you desire to play professional sports, it can also help improve your likelihood to achieve aesthetically minded goals as well.

Also, the SMART method of goal setting can be used as a metric towards modifying behaviors to more positively align yourself with those goals. Are your behaviors allowing you to achieve your goals? If not, what can you do to alter these behaviors or habits?

3. If you stray from a diet, focus on your next meal, not the next day!

When it comes to healthy nutrition, you'll often hear of people "falling off the bandwagon" for a meal - and it leading to several days of poor food choices. For this reason, I always encourage folks to "right the ship" as quickly as possible.

If you go out with friends and indulge, binge eat, or just mess up your macros, don’t give up hope for the day and plan to start over tomorrow. Tomorrow may turn into the next day, and into the next day. So what do you do?

Gather your losses and do better on your next immediate meal, instead of restarting the next day. Don’t let a bad meal turn into a bad day of eating.

This is also one reason why I don't generally advocate full-on "free" days, where folks eat anything they want as a means of "de-stressing" from six days per week of quality nutrition adherence. It's a lot easier to get things back on track after a single bad meal (whether planned or unplanned) than from a full day. 

4. Reduce time “lost” training by continuing with low-level exercises.

If you consider training at an established gym with a great training environment as “going all out” as a “100%” of your efforts, what happens when you train elsewhere?


For example, I’ll refer to four days of lifting with extra days of working on sprints/shuffles/conditioning as 100% of the whole product. If you miss one day, that is 17% of your whole workout week missing. If you miss two days, that is 34% of your workout week that you have “lost” because of travel, long days, or other extenuating circumstances.

Take this day for example:

A1. Barbell RDL - 3x4
A2. Prone Horizontal Abduction - 3x8/side
B1. DB Bulgarian Split Squat - 3x6/side
B2. Half-Kneeling Cable Chop - 3x8/side
B3. Half Kneeling 90/90 External Rotation Hold - 3x(2x6)/side

You have two arm care exercises, one lower body bilateral strength exercise, one lower unilateral exercise, and a rotary core stability exercise.

If you can’t get to the gym to do these, give this a shot:

A1. Supine Bridge March, or 1-Leg Hip Thrust with 3 Sec Pause - 3x10/side
A2. Prone Horizontal Abduction (Off Bed) - 3x8/side
B1. Bodyweight Split Squat with 3 second Pause - 3x10/side
B2. Feet Elevated Side Bridge - 3x30sec/side
B3. Standing External Rotation to Wall - 3x(2x6)/side

Certainly this is not the same, but when comparing these exercises, you can begin to identify that there is still something you can do despite not having access to coaching or equipment.

It won’t be 100% of the full effect, but any percentage of that 100 percent will be worth something when you look back over a longer period of time to evaluate your results.

5. Use density training to get more work done in less time.

Along with decreasing or regulating caloric consumption, increasing caloric expenditure can help you towards your fitness goals. Basically, doing as much work as possible in the form of density training can burn a lot of calories in a little amount of time. Utilizing non-competing muscle groups in a superset or giant set fashion will prevent fatigue and allow you to get more work done.

For example, performing a tri-set with a TRX Inverted Row, KB Goblet Reverse Lunge, and then a Stability Ball Stir the Pot will provide several biomechanical and force production benefits.

Rather than doing 3 sets of 10 for each exercise, waiting around in between sets, and then performing each set with no pre-determined intensity, do this:

A1. TRX Inverted Row - 10 reps
A2. KB Goblet Reverse Lunge - 5/side (10 reps)
A3. SB Stir the Pot - 5/side (10 reps)

Perform as many rounds of this circuit as possible in 5 minutes.


1. Locke, Edwin A., and Gary P. Latham. "The application of goal setting to sports." Journal of sport psychology 7.3 (1985): 205-222.

About the Author

Miguel Aragoncillo (@MiggsyBogues) is a strength and conditioning coach at the Hudson, MA location of Cressey Sports Performance. More of his writing can be found at

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/14/15

Written on September 14, 2015 at 6:44 am, by Eric Cressey

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Let's kick off the week with some recommended reading from around the strength and conditioning world:

The Most Important Decision You'll Make For Your Fitness Business - Here's another gem from my business partner, Pete Dupuis. It actually goes into depth about how we became business partners, and helps gym owners (and aspiring ones) determine whether someone else is a good business partner.


10 Things Vegetarians Get Wrong - I found this piece from Mike Sheridan at T-Nation to be very well constructed, even if it is mildly controversial.

31 Random Training Thoughts - Mike Robertson's randomness is better than most people's organized thoughts! There are lots of good nuggets in here. 

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