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Deadlifting Secrets 101

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 56

Written on February 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm, by Eric Cressey

We're lucky to have Cressey Performance coach Andrew Zomberg filling in for this week's collection of quick tips for your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.  Here we go!

1. Own the weight/movement during execution.

Far too often, I see trainees fail to take control during the execution of a lift. For example, many people completely disregard the tempo, which inevitably leads to a faulty lift.  If I see something like this, I tell the individual to "own the weight/movement or count to three” as they go through the eccentric portion." By employing this cue and focusing on the tempo, you will not only mitigate the risk of injury, but you will become more proficient with the given lift.

So, the next time during the execution of a lift, try to become more mindful with how fast you’re completing each rep.  Make an attempt to utilize a countdown or envision the “owning” cue in order to control the lift.

2. Limit yourself to three steps when you set-up for a squat.

Squatting (whether a traditional back squat, front squat, or one that utilizes specialty bars) is generally a staple in most training programs.  But too often, a lifter will take too many steps to set up once they unrack the bar from the J-hooks.  This bad habit not only causes the lifter to lose his/her pre-settings (air and tension), but it also expends far too much energy during the foot-placement.

So, once you are under the bar and your air is set, take only three steps for your set-up.  On the first step, allow yourself to clear the hooks.  Then, use the second and third step to position yourself in the appropriate squat stance.  From there, reset your air and go to town!

3. Assume a quadruped position while loading for a push-up.

Once you have mastered a conventional push-up (unloaded without elevation or additional stability points), the next step for progression is loading it (using a weighted-vest, chains or bands).  However, this weight should not be added while in the push-up position because you will fight the anti-extension component and waste a lot of energy you need for the lift.

Instead, assume the quadruped position (on all fours) as weight or added resistance is being loaded.  If you opt for a vest or bands, still assume the quadruped position (rather than hanging out in a starting push-up position).  By doing this, you allow your base of support to be closer to your center of gravity, making the set-up less strenuous.  Remember, even though you want to work hard, be smart.  You need to know when to preserve your energy in order to optimize the exercise.

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4. Get out of your footwear as much as you can.

The shoes we wear often restrict our range of motion and provide external stability that our feet need to develop on our own.  This is why many lifters perform some of their training exercises barefooted.  Eliminating footwear allows for improvements in ankle and foot mobility and stability, reduction in hypertonic calves, greater activation of the posterior chain, and increased proprioception of the foot.

However, there are unfortunate situations where gyms do not allow members to take off their footwear.  So in these cases, you should purchase minimalist sneakers (we like the New Balance MX20v3) that will aid in providing just enough stability to prevent lateral sprains, all while helping you increase ankle mobility and stability in the foot.  Also, get out of your footwear (running sneakers, dress shoes, or heels) whenever you can, and while shoeless, implement foot and ankle drills in order to maintain adequate function.

5. Create a shake matrix to streamline the smoothie making process.

A busy lifestyle forces many of us to eat on-the-go, which is why shakes are all the craze lately.  Unfortunately, a lot of people make the same smoothie day after day, week after week, without any changes or new add-ons.  Incorporating different nutrient-dense ingredients is very important, though.  The variety provides a blend of essential macronutrients, vitamins and minerals you need for optimal bodily functioning.

So, I refer you to the “shake matrix” (see below), created by Dr. Mike Roussell.  This table presents different, tasty ways to eliminate boredom and ensure that you provide plenty of nutrients to your body.  Use it as inspiration and change up your recipes!

shakematrix

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 12/16/13

Written on December 16, 2013 at 8:10 am, by Eric Cressey

Here's this week's recommended strength and conditioning reading:

Nutrition in the NBA; Part 1: Lessons Learned in LA Help Howard's Career – This was a great article at CBS Sports on the awesome work my buddy Tim DiFrancesco has done on the nutrition front with the LA Lakers.  It's part of a multi-article series on nutrition in the NBA (including a section that discusses another friend, Mike Roussell, and his work with Roy Hibbert).

10 Best Unilateral Exercises – I like (and regularly use) several of the variations Bret Contreras highlights in this article.

Genetics, BDNF, Rehab, and Performance – Bill Hartman summarizes a conversation he had with Eric Oetter, and then discusses some practical applications.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/28/13

Written on January 28, 2013 at 9:28 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s a list of recommended strength and conditioning reads to kick off your week on the right foot:

Omega-6 vs. Omega-3: Who Cares? – The Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio is a topic that’s been scrutinized heavily in analyzing the typical American diet, but if you’re someone who is already good about picking healthy food options, you may be making things far too complex.  Dr. Mike Roussell clarifies in this article.

Is Metabolic Resistance Training Right for Everyone? – This was a guest post I published from Joe Dowdell back in 2011, and a conversation I had about progressions in beginners made me think of it.  This is a “must-read” for up-and-coming trainers who deal with deconditioned folks in the general population.

Will Your College Go Out of Business Before You Graduate? – I thought this was a tremendously interesting post from Mark Cuban.  While it might not seem related to the fitness industry at first glance, I suspect that our field could be among the first ones affected if a scenario like this emerged.  With such a low barrier to entry in this industry, it’s not unreasonable to think that folks will shun the $250,000 (or more) exercise science degree and just go right to the trenches. I touched on this a little bit a while back in my blog posts, Is An Exercise Science Degree Really Worth it? – Part 1 and Part 2.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/19/12

Written on September 19, 2012 at 12:25 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s this week’s list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

How to Get Published – I thought this new e-book from Sean Hyson, Lou Schuler, and John Romaniello was a great idea.  Writing in the fitness industry opened a ton of doors for me at a young age and also helped me to educate myself on a various of topics.  These three guys are super accomplished in the writing world, and it definitely shows with the quality of this product.  If you’re looking to get published (especially in the fitness industry, but regardless of the industry), give this a read.

Weight Training Programs: Assess, Don’t Assume – Last May, I wrote this post up, but it slipped to the archives. It’s worth a read regardless of whether you’re a fitness professional or just a fitness enthusiast.

27 More Nutrition Facts - I’m a sucker for “Random Thoughts” pieces, especially when they come from bright guys like Dr. Mike Roussell.  It’s a great chance to process a ton of information in a short amount of time.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/19/12

Written on August 19, 2012 at 9:59 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s this week’s list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

Elite Training Mentorship – The August update at Elite Training Mentorship included some great content from all four contributors.  My in-services were “Shoulder Impingement: Internal vs. External” and “Preventing and Training Around Flexion-Intolerant Low Back Pain.”  I also had an article and two exercise demonstrations featured.  If you haven’t checked out ETM, definitely do so!

Do Eggs Cause Heart Disease? – In the past week, the “Eggs Are Worse than Cigarettes” shenanigans have gotten out of control.  Fortunately, Adam Bornstein (with contributions from Dr. Chris Mohr, Alan Aragon, and Mike Roussell) gets to the bottom of some very flawed research and reporting that is misleading the public.

6 Mistakes I Made – So You Don’t Have To – I loved this post from Jim Wendler, as I’ve made all these mistakes myself! I wish he’d have published it in 1999!

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Peak Diet and Training Summit DVDs

Written on November 15, 2011 at 6:42 am, by Eric Cressey

I just wanted to give you a quick heads-up that Joe Dowdell and Dr. Mike Roussell just released their Peak Diet and Training Summit Package, a super comprehensive resource geared toward fitness professionals.

I’ve known and respected Joe for quite some time, and it’s awesome to see him finally put a product out there, as he has tremendous skills and has worked with loads of celebrities and athletes.  I’ve always been a fan of Roussell’s, too, as he does an outstanding job of making complex nutrition practices easy to understand and implement.  These two are a great team – and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen thus far as I’ve worked my way through the product.  It’s an awesome resource, whether you’re someone who wants to learn how to write strength and conditioning programs, or grasp how nutrition fits into the equation.

This sucker is an 11-DVD set and 500+ pages of tag-along manuals; it’s huge!  The product also provides 2.0 CEUs, which is pretty clutch for many personal trainers this time of year with recertification deadlines approaching.

The resource is on sale for $100 off this week only, and they’ve sweetened the deal with some cool bonuses for those who purchase sooner than later.  For more information, check out the Peak Diet and Training Summit Package.  I support this thing 100%!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 11/11/11

Written on November 11, 2011 at 6:45 am, by Eric Cressey

First off, on Veterans Day, a big thank you goes out to all our readers who either have served or are serving in the military.  We appreciate all that you do and have done!

With that said, here are a few recommended reads for the week:

7 Fat Loss Essentials – This is a free webinar from Dr. Mike Roussell that I thought was extremely well done.  I’ve always enjoyed Mike’s nutrition stuff, and it’s awesome to see him kicking out great content on a regular basis now that he’s done with his PhD.

Inverted Row Ignorance – I saw an ugly inverted row video online this week, and it reminded me of this post I wrote back in 2009.  Everything I said still holds true, though!

Don’t Forget the S-C Joint – Patrick Ward posted this great blog on the impact of the sternoclavicular joint on upper extremity function.  It’s a bit more “geeky” and largely aimed toward manual therapists, but there are still some valuable lessons to learn for all of us.  I can tell you that nine out of ten times, right-handed pitchers are going to be very fibrotic in the subclavius area – just lateral to the S-C joint.  Attending to this one region can yield big payoffs in terms of upper extremity movement.

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Stuff You Should Read: 5/2/11

Written on May 2, 2011 at 5:59 am, by Eric Cressey

Here are a few recommended reads to kick off the week:

The Truth About Gluten – Here’s an excellent piece from Dr. Mike Roussell on how gluten intolerance can sabotage your nutritional efforts.

Waterhorse: The Legend of Tim Collins’ Nickname – This was a funny write-up in the Kansas City Star on how Cressey Performance Athlete and KC Royals pitcher Tim Collins got his nickname while training at CP.

Why I Do Not Like YTWL Shoulder Exercises – Here’s a great post from Mike Reinold – and I agree with him 100%.

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Stuff You Should Read: 4/27/10

Written on April 27, 2010 at 9:42 am, by Eric Cressey

Here are some reading recommendations for the week:

Q&A: Partial Knee Meniscectomy – Here is a great blog from Mike Robertson about training modifications for those who have had a portion of the meniscus removed.  Mike’s a brilliant knee guy (definitely check out Bulletproof Knees if you haven’t already).  Stick around Mike’s site and read a bit; he’s been kicking out some great content lately.

bpkAre You Inflamed? - This is a good one on the nutrition side of things from Mike Roussell.

What Makes Roy Run? – This was an awesome article about Roy Halladay from a few weeks ago in Sports Illustrated.  To be blunt, a ton of professional baseball pitchers are lazy, one-trick ponies who rely on natural talent and don’t work hard to fulfill their potential.  Halladay is an exception to that rule: a guy who has worked incredibly hard to become arguably the best pitcher in the game.  This is a tremendously well-written and entertaining piece about the path he took and how he deserves every bit of success that comes his way.  Phillies fans are lucky to have him.


Rollouts: Friend or Foe?

Written on November 4, 2009 at 8:40 am, by Eric Cressey

Q: I recently purchased Show and Go and noticed that you include barbell rollouts in the weight training program.  I did this exercise at the end of an aerobics class and was told by the fitness instructor not to do it, as it was a dangerous exercise. Given it’s in your book, I gather you deem it a safe exercise. What is your opinion on this exercise? Do you know why some people say it’s a dangerous exercise?

A: As with just about everything, the devil is in the details.  For many individuals, this is a fantastic exercise.  For others, it may be too advanced.  And, for another group of folks, it just isn’t good because it gets absolutely butchered technique-wise.  Let’s attack this piece by piece with a rationale for its inclusion/exclusion, and then some training options and coaching cues:

(yes, I know I said “A” and then “2.”  Gotta love live TV!)

You can progress this exercise a bit more by either elevating the knees slightly or going to a band-resisted ab wheel rollout.  Just a heads-up: in this video, the athlete should have stopped a bit shorter in the top position to avoid the subtle lumbar rounding that took place; it’s a good demonstration of technique that’s good, but not quite perfect:

To learn more comparable exercises and see how they fit into a comprehensive weight training program, check out  Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

 

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