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Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Increase Strength, Be More Awesome: Live Q&A #6

Written on February 9, 2013 at 8:25 am, by Eric Cressey

It’s time for another live Q&A here at!  I figured that it’s a great time to do this, as I’m currently snowed in!  This is the view of my mailbox right now, in fact:

To get your questions answered, just post your inquiry in the comments section below, and I’ll approve it and then reply.  

My only rule is that your question must be limited to five sentences or less.  I’ll answer the first 25 that are posted, so please don’t bother posting questions if you come to this post days, weeks, or months after it was originally posted.

With that said, head on down to the comments section below and ask away! 

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62 Responses to “Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Increase Strength, Be More Awesome: Live Q&A #6”

  1. speedy Says:

    What is the best way to mobilise/release the subscap?

  2. kedric Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Hope all is well with you. What does one trap higher than the the other indicate? What corrective methods can be used to remedy this problem?

    Thanks :)

  3. Nick Says:


    1. What is the quad growth potential of trap bar deadlifts compared to squats?

    2. Do you see any benefit in learning front levers, back levers or the maltese?

    Thank you

  4. Chris Says:

    Hey Eric,
    In your opinion, how much rotator cuff work is “too much” in the baseball off season?

  5. George Says:

    My daughter wants to combine nutrition and training as a career. She is planning on majoring in nutrition. What minor or double major would you recommend to best prepare her for the training side?

  6. John Says:

    Hey Eric, I love following your work and have picked up a lot over the years. Do you know of anyone or any resources for golf similar to yours for baseball?


  7. Shane Says:

    I bought your and Mike’s Magnificent Mobility DVD years ago. I followed it for a bit, and then let it collect dust. I was thinking of giving it another go for a bit. With your now expanded knowledge base, are there any exercises in that DVD you would alter or remove altogether?

  8. Eric Cressey Says:


    1. I don’t think you’re going to get much quad growth from any deadlift variation. Much better ways to skin that cat.

    2. For the average gym rat, I don’t think it’s necessary. If you want to be able to do cool tricks, though…


  9. Melissa Says:

    Hi, I was just wondering ideally how much time each day should you be working on improving your baseball skills if you want to play at the college level?

  10. Nick Efthimiou Says:


    Do you program static stretches for the majority of your clients? If so, when are they performed and for how long and for which muscle groups (is those trained that day, antagonists etc.)?

  11. Jeff Says:

    Besides diet advice if a baseball player came into you overweight what would you do to get him into shape? Circuits?

  12. ramsey Says:

    When you do your prehab/warmup work for the rotator cuff do you perform exercises to strengthen (e.g. banded external rotations) or exercises to stabilize the humerus (e.g. locked in scap/humerus figure 8s)? Though I believe the function of the cuff is to stabilize, its hard to believe that some strengthening wont be beneficial as some PTs are beginning to claim. Thanks EC.

  13. Chris Says:

    Why is a proper baseball workout so hard to come by? In our area (Oklahoma) there are many who say they can, but ultimately they are modified football or bodybuilding routines. So, my question is can the “do’s” and “don’t movements be summarized easily for a position player for those of us that have to put our kids workout together on our own. (By the way, the kid is 17 years old)

  14. Eric Cressey Says:


    It depends on what we consider “cuff work.” In our loose guys, we’ll do rhythmic stabilization stuff just about every day as part of their warm-up; we treat it like an activation exercise. Might only be one set, though.

    That said, most of our guys do more aggressive manuals/cable/band stuff 2x/week. Then, they’ll do another two days of motor control/rhythmic stabilization work along with their scapular control drills. I certainly don’t think every day is necessary.

  15. Shane Says:

    In your experience Eric is overall body strength a important factor in balance( unilatetal work, standing on one let etc)Hope you survive the storm buddy.

  16. Eric Cressey Says:


    I think I’d tell her to do athletic training and then just get a CSCS when she’s done. One of our staff members (Chris Howard) does both for us, and this is his bio:

    Chris Howard is the newest addition to the CP team. Chris has his Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science and Masters of Science in Nutrition Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Chris spent the 2008 Off-Season and Training Camp as an intern with the Buffalo Bills before joining the Cressey Performance team during the fall of 2008. His main coaching experience has been with baseball players ranging from high school all the way up to the professional level. Currently, Chris is certified as a Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT), Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Massachusetts.

  17. Sal garito Says:

    In maximum strength, when you say to do pull-ups do you want them weighted

  18. Pete Says:

    I had Subacromial Decompression surgery in december on my rt shoulder, and currently about 1.5 months into the prescribed PT (resistance bands, stretches). At which point can I safely start implementing some of the exercises described in your Overhead Shoulder Performance dvds?

  19. Eric Cressey Says:


    Usually, it’s the right shoulder that is lower. Could be several things:

    1. Poor right thoracic rotation.
    2. Adducted right hip.
    3. Scapular anterior tilt.
    4. Scapular depression.

    Most folks are a combination of all of the above. Particularly common in right handed throwers. Check out for some thoughts on this pattern (left AIC/right BC).

  20. George Says:

    What major differences have you seen in programming and recovery for trainees who are over 35, vs under 35? A lot of times I see people blindly recommending intense sessions, with no regard for the age or recovery status of the trainee.

  21. Eric Cressey Says:


    No substitute for Active Release treatments. It’s the most focal and effective modality.

  22. Eric Cressey Says:


    There’s quite a bit of good stuff through the Titliest Performance Institute, particularly on the assessment side of things. Dr. Greg Rose is fantastic.

  23. Jeff Says:

    Hey Eric. 30 year old male intermediate training primarily to build muscle using a 3 day upper/lower program. Staying in 6-15 rep range, avoiding failure 99% of the time.

    On average, how often would you recommend a deload in general?


  24. Eric Cressey Says:


    I’d scale back a bit on the lumbar rotation work and just coach it through a much smaller ROM to ensure that it’s just the hip moving. That said, we updated a lot of the stuff four years later in our Assess and Correct product:

  25. Billy Says:

    What are your thoughts on training the eccentric portion of a movement (squat, bench, etc) and do you feel it is a valid way of manipulating reversible muscle action? Or, if it all, how do you manipulate reversible muscle actions ( stretch-shortening cycle)?

  26. Eric Cressey Says:


    It really depends on the individual. Some players are very developed talent-wise and just need to get bigger/stronger/faster/more flexible – so that should be a greater focus. Others may be great athletes, but not as good on the technical aspects of the game.

    And, the focus may change throughout the year….more baseball activities Jan-Aug, and more strength and conditioning activities Sep-Dec.

    Hope this helps!

  27. kedric Says:

    Thank you Eric. Always always great learning from you. Keep kicking ass :)

  28. Eric Cressey Says:


    Most of our clients do some sort of static stretching. Our congenitally lax folks don’t, though – and that is a good chunk of our clientele, given our involvement with baseball players, where the incidence of really loose joints is much higher.

    It’s usually done at the end. If someone is really stiff/short, though, we may do some pre-training.

  29. Eric Cressey Says:


    I would train him just like I train every other baseball player: we’d prepare for the demands of the game and address his movement quality. He’d be getting plenty of activity from lifting, sprinting, agility, med ball, and all his baseball activities. I will never use extra conditioning to make up for poor diet.

  30. Eric Cressey Says:


    The goal is not to actually strengthen the cuff during the warm-up period; it’s to turn it on and make sure it’s firing at the right time. You don’t want to fatigue it before guys through.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to “lock” the scap in during warm-ups; that’s not how it functions dynamically.

    We do our strength work as part of our strength programs after throwing.

  31. Chris Says:

    Eric I have an old ankle injury (fractured tib/fib) and I have really poor dorsiflexion from scar tissue of 3 surgeries. I have been working on it for quite some time with little effect. My question is, when I do an OH squat assessment I see the arms fall forward and a unilateral weight shift to the side opposite the injured ankle. When I elevate my heels an inch both compensation patterns go away. Do you think the compensations are actual muscular imbalances or simple due to a lack of dorsiflexion in the ankle?

  32. Rick Says:

    What are your go to stretches for the pectoralis major and minor? Also do you have any stretches for the levator scapula and upper traps?

  33. Eric Cressey Says:


    This is exactly why we do our Elite Baseball Mentorships! The problem is that most trainers don’t take the time to understand how the body works – so they certainly won’t understand how the body works in the single-fastest motion in all of sports. Throwing a baseball is a unique challenge; there is absolutely nothing like it in one’s everyday life.

    Additionally, we don’t get much to work with from professional baseball, as there is so much staff turnover and bureaucratic crap that nothing cutting edge is every implemented or achieved.

    At CP, we’re working to change that.

  34. Eric Cressey Says:


    Strength is a key component of one’s balancing proficiency, which affects stability in a given position.

    However, balance is very skill specific. We’ve known that since research in the 1960s. Just because you’re strong on two legs doesn’t mean that you’ll have good balance on one leg. So, it’s important that we get people strong in different positions. This is one reason I’m not a fan of programs that are just “squat, bench, clean.” People need to stand on one leg.

  35. Eric Cressey Says:


    If you can, absolutely!

  36. Eric Cressey Says:


    I’d check with your physical therapist. We outlined a lot of exercises in that DVD, and while some would be okay, a lot of them wouldn’t. Good luck with your rehab!

  37. Neil Says:


    Am I correct in saying that people who work desk jobs need more upward rotation? If so, can you explain why?

  38. Eric Cressey Says:


    Great question – and one that could be an entire book! I’d say that with respect to volume/intensity manipulation, the highs can’t be as high, and the lows need to be a bit lower. In other words, you can’t overreach as much, and you have to give more time for supercompensation to occur.

    I also think they need longer warm-ups, more regular soft tissue work, and more “true” days off instead of just doing extra movement/conditioning.

  39. Eric Cressey Says:


    Everyone needs more upward rotation! Folks at desks need more scapular posterior tilt – which engages lower traps and helps to achieve that upward rotation.

  40. Mike Mal Says:

    Do you think Tim Lincecum’s troubles last year, and more importantly his drop in velocity, could very likely be the result of wear on his body given his highly unorthodox delivery? Can he really sustain that type of delivery long term?

  41. Eric Cressey Says:


    Two good articles on this front:

  42. mitch Says:

    What are some steps you would take for someone in anterior pelvic tilt that’s very lumbar erector dominant?

  43. Dean Says:

    Hey Eric, hope you’re keeping well in the storm.

    My question concerns training splits; I’m presently employing a strategy where I work my whole body twice in a week over 4 days, one session focusing on maximal strength with low reps, the other focusing on bar speed with slighter higher reps.
    I train deadlift variations & pressing exercises together, then train leg exercises with pulling variations.
    Is there anything you would tweak about this strategy?
    My goal is strength & hypertrophy, and my diet is presently loosely based on paleo with a 8 hour I.F. feeding window which I open post training. Sleep quality is good.

    Any tips you could offer would be much appreciated, thank you.

  44. Adrian Says:

    Hi from Canada!
    Should the range of motion of the shoulder in external rotation be trained? If so, what are the best ways to do so? I feel like I try to compensate for a lack of ability to externally rotate sometimes when I throw and my arm is going into layback.

  45. Eric Cressey Says:


    I think that for most folks, every 4th week is the right fit. I wrote a whole e-book about this:

  46. Eric Cressey Says:


    I think it can be helpful, but I think the whole “you’re 120% stronger eccentrically” stuff is complete and utter crap. Otherwise, we’d see more elite lifters training that way. Use it, but don’t abuse it!

  47. Eric Cressey Says:


    Probably a combination of a gross anterior-weight-bearing pattern (lumbar extension, anterior tilt) and the specific limitations of that ankle. Get some manual therapy in there.

  48. Eric Cressey Says:


    I think a lot of Lincecum’s issues are extremely correctable with the right training. Will he pitch into his 40s? I doubt it. However, he’s still got another good 5-7 years in him if he dials it in.

  49. Eric Cressey Says:


    Step 1 is to stop standing in so much extension! All the exercise in the world isn’t going to help if your resting posture sucks and it’s reaffirmed with every breathing you take.

    Some thoughts here:

    Work to strengthen anterior core, activate glutes, educate on posterior weight shift (toe touch variations), and you’re off to a good start.

  50. Eric Cressey Says:


    If it’s me, I probably go two lower body sessions and two upper body sessions instead of trying to cram both into each session.

  51. Eric Cressey Says:


    Remember that there is a difference between active and passive external rotation. A lot of throwers have a lot of passive ER, but terrible active ER. That’s an entire blog post, though. Give this a read:

  52. Eric Cressey Says:

    That’s 25, gang! Thanks for participating. We’ll do it again soon!

  53. Anthony Says:


    I have the apparently rare ability to put on bulk muscle like crazy. Do you have any tips for someone trying to lean out while lifting heavy who puts on muscle so quickly with a pretty good diet?

  54. Eric Cressey Says:


    Definitely want to be very careful with carb intake. Calories can jump up on your quickly, and perhaps more concerning is the fact that it would keep insulin high (and growth hormone, catecholamines, etc. low). Think protein, veggies, and healthy fats.

  55. Ken Says:


    I’m a baseball outfielder. How should my workouts vary from what your pitchers do, in terms of focus?

  56. Karl Says:

    Hi Eric,

    I have issues with very tight jaw muscles which seem to radiate down through my scalenes and tighten up my entire frontal neck/shoulder region something fierce. No forward head posture. Do you have any tips for corrective exercises?

  57. Nick Smoot Says:

    Due to many flaws in my training, lack of mobility work, lack of myofascial release, etc. I ended up with a horrible lordotic/kyphotic posture, left rib flair, inhibited glutes, knee grinding/pain, elevated left scapula…the list goes on. I have made major improvements in the last 6 months, but still perform mobility work, your foam roller series, band pull aparts, and static stretching everyday, training day or not. Would you recommend keeping up the high volume of re-hab work, or scale it down once improvements have been made? Thanks.

  58. Matt Stropoli Says:

    I am trying to sign as an undrafted free agent and am finishing up my 4 day a week cycle of show and go (with the baseball mods), I am going to switch to the 2 day version you suggested for relievers since I am trying to get more mound time in during the week now. My question is how should I schedule my throwing with my lifting since I am not playing in games yet? Also do you have any advice for guys trying to sign as a free agent? My goal is to sign and come train with you in the near future and become one of your pro guys.

  59. Eric Cressey Says:


    Definitely get that checked out by a qualified professional. You don’t want to mess around with head/neck/jaw stuff, particularly with radicular issues.

  60. Eric Cressey Says:

    Baseball players are athletes first & pitchers/catchers/position players second. Address movement issues, then consider sport-specific demands.

  61. Eric Cressey Says:

    Hi Matt,

    Head over to this webpage and read my in-season baseball strength and conditioning series; it should answer your question:

    RE: free agent signing, more tips than you can imagine! Show up on time, firm handshakes, look them in the eye, hustle on/off the field. Don’t be afraid to play independent ball first. If you throw 95, you’re doing it regardless of what level you’re pitching at – and they’ll find you.

  62. George Says:

    Re: older trainees, thanks Eric. My anecdotal experience as a hypogonadal 40 year old bears your advice out–it takes longer to get moving, high intensity or high volume training sessions cause major sleep/mood/immune/CNS disruptions and strange muscle fasciculations, etc, especially if the bouts are consecutive. My solution is to check my ego (which still thinks it’s 20) with HRV tools and adaptive scheduling. People often associate HRV with elite athletes but I find it just as useful as an aging guy with bad recovery, who likes to push the limits.

    I would certainly buy any book on this topic you authored. :)

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