Master the King of All Exercises

Deadlifting Secrets 101

Everything you need to know about this complex exercise.

Free Video Training

Name:
Email:* 
The High Performance Handbook

The High Performance Handbook Is Like Nothing You've Ever Seen Before...


The Best of 2012: Strength and Conditioning Videos

Written on December 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm, by Eric Cressey

In continuing with our “Best of 2012″ theme to wrap up the year, today, I’ve got the top EricCressey.com videos of the year.

1. Four Must-Try Mobility Drills – This video was part of an article I had published at Schwarzenegger.com.  You can check it out here.

2. Cleaning Up Your Chin-up Technique – It’s one of the most popular exercises on the planet, but its technique is commonly butchered.  Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes.

3. 8 Ways to Screw Up a Row – Rowing exercises are tremendously valuable for correcting bad posture and preventing injury, but only if they’re performed correctly.

4. My Mock/Impromptu Powerlifting Meet – After being away from competitions for a while, I decided to stage my own “mock” powerlifting meet just to see where my progress stood.  I wound up totaling elite (1435 at a body weight of 180.6) in about two hours.

5. Cressey Performance Facility Tour – We moved to a new space within our building back in August, and this was the tour I gave just prior to the doors opening.

Those were my top five videos of the year, but there were definitely plenty more you may have missed. Luckily, you can check them out on my YouTube Channel.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another “Best of 2011″ feature. 

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Mobility Exercise of the Week: Alternating Lateral Lunge with Overhead Reach

Written on December 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm, by Eric Cressey

It’s been a while since I introduced a mobility exercise of the week, so I figured I’d introduce a new one that we use with a lot of our athletes nowadays.

The alternating lateral lunge with overhead reach gives you all the benefits – adductor length, hip hinge “education,” and frontal plane stability – that you get with a regular lateral lunge variation.  However, by adding in the overhead reach, you get a greater emphasis on optimal core stabilization and mobility and stability at the shoulder girdle.

In this position, we’ll coach different athletes with different cues.

If it’s an athlete who is stick in an exaggerated lordotic posture, we’ll cue him to engage the anterior core and keep the ribs down as the arms go overhead.

If it’s a “desk” jockey who is very kyphotic, we may have to actually cue him “chest up” because he’s so rounded over; we have to bring him back to neutral before we even worry much about the anterior core involvement.

If it’s a high school athlete who has really depressed shoulder blades, we will actually cue him to shrug as he raises the arms to complete scapular upward rotation in the top position.

Conversely, if it’s a client is already very upper trap dominant, we may have to cue a bit more posterior tilt of the scapula during the overhead reach.

In other words, this is a great example of how you can take a good exercise and make it even more effective, especially if you individualize coaching cues as much as possible.  Try it for a set of five reps per side as part of your warm-up and let me know how it goes!

Looking for more mobility drills like this?  Be sure to check out Assess and Correct: Breaking Barriers to Unlock Performance.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 21

Written on October 10, 2012 at 10:58 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s this week’s list of strategies to get your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs headed in the right direction.  This is a collaborative effort between Greg Robins and me.

1. Add amplitude to your conditioning.

Let’s face it: jogging on the treadmill and riding the elliptical or recumbent bike is about as fun as watching paint dry.  While an exercise causing boredom doesn’t mandate that it be thrown by the wayside immediately, it does become concerning with this exercise modality doesn’t broaden the amplitude – or range of motion – that you encounter in your daily life.  Moving better is about improving mobility, which is defined as one’s ability to reach a certain posture or position.  For some folks, this means actually lengthening short tissues or reducing tension in overly stiff tissues, while for others, it’s about establishing stability in the range of motion that one already possesses.  Unfortunately, while you’re burn some calories on these cardio machines, you aren’t going to do much to improve your mobility.

The solution is to implement variety in your conditioning, whether it means taking a bunch of mobility exercises and doing them right after another, or integrating several strength training exercises with lighter loads.  Step-ups, sled pushing/dragging, side shuffles, lateral lunges are all ways to get your hips moving in ways they normally don’t.

In the upper body, innovative rowing and push-up variations can keep things fun while improving your movement quality.

The next time you’re planning to do some interval training on the bike, try substituting some wider-amplitude movements and see how you like it.

2. Get your Vitamin D right.

I’ve seen studies that have shown great benefits from getting vitamin D levels up to normal, but to my knowledge, those effects were most observed with respect to body composition, hormonal levels, and tissue quality.  Interestingly, I just came across this study that showed a significant improvement in power production over four weeks in the vitamin D supplementation group, as compared to the controls. These results are tough to interpret, as the subjects were overweight/obese adults; ideally, we’d study trained athletes with smaller windows of adaptation ahead of them to see just how beneficial vitamin D supplementation is on performance. However, it certainly makes sense that if we’re improving body composition, endocrine status, and tissue quality, folks are going to get more out of their training and make faster progress.

Vitamin D is one of very few supplements that I view as “must-haves’ for the majority of the population.  I’d pair it up with a good fish oil and greens supplement to cover one’s nutritional foundation. This is one reason why I’m a big fan of the Athletic Greens Trinity Stack; you can a high quality version of all three in one place.

 

3. Plan out regressions and progressions.

People like to be good at things. This is especially the case when they are surrounded by a bunch of other people. In the case of group exercise, your attendees are going to have a much better time, get better results, and stay safer if they are performing movements correctly. Group settings aren’t ideal from a coaching standpoint, though, as you can’t spend as much individualized time coaching technique. Therefore, exercise selection becomes paramount to these classes’ success.  In other words, you need to have both progressions and regressions in your exercise library.

A common flaw in group classes is that each week, there are 15 new exercise variations on the agenda. The week before, it was 15 other ones, and the following week, it will be 15 more. I know, I know; people want you to “keep it fresh.” In my mind, by changing the exercises so often you are taking the easy way out.

Instead, have people become incredible at the basics. Have them squat, swing, push up, row – all basic movements. From there, set up progressions and regressions. This is much easier to do when you keep the original exercises basic.

Here are a few examples:

TRX Supported Squat > Counter Balanced Squat To Box > Goblet Squat > Double KB Front Squat > Offset KB Front Squat

Hands-Elevated Push-up > TRX Chest Press > Push-up > Feet Elevated Push-up > Push-up vs. Band

This is mostly for teaching purposes, as an example. The goblet squat is accessible to most people, and it falls in the middle, with two levels of regression and progression built in.

I’m a big fan of more work up front and easy sailing there out. You might need to take some time to develop your class program, but it will make for a better product and better results thereafter.

4. Use leftover vegetables in your omelet.

I don’t know about you, but leftover vegetables never taste quite as good as they do when they’ve just been cooked.  They’re cold, and often soggy to the point that even heating them up in the microwave doesn’t really make them sound appetizing.  Rather than throw them out and skip on your veggies for a meal, try adding them to your omelet the following morning, as the other ingredients – eggs, spices, oils, cheese (if that’s your thing), salsa, and ketchup – can help to liven up their taste.  I’ve done this with previously cooked asparagus, broccoli, peppers, onions, spinach, kale, mushrooms, cauliflower, green beans, and tomatoes.  Some vegetables – squash and turnip, for instance – don’t have the right consistency to make for a good omelet ingredient, though, so experiment carefully!

5. Learn to stand correctly before you even try to train correctly.

Many people think moving well is all about picking the right corrective exercises to get the job done. While that’s certainly part of the equation, the truth is that before you even talk about exercising, you have to educate yourself about how to simply stand with good posture.  As an example, if you have an excessive anterior pelvic tilt and lordosis, you need to learn how to engage your anterior core, activate your glutes, and prevent your rib cage from flaring up up when you’re standing around. Conversely, if you do all your exercises in this aberrant posture, you just get good at sucking!

Have a great week!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/1/12

Written on August 1, 2012 at 7:52 am, by Eric Cressey

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

Four Must-Try Mobility Drills – In case you haven’t already seen this, it’s a article I had published at Arnold Schwartzenegger’s website yesterday, including a lengthy video.

“He’s a Big, Strong Kid” – With the $100 off sale of the IYCA High School Strength and Conditioning Coach Certification this week, it seemed like a good time to “reincarnate” this popular one from the archives at EricCressey.com.

Everything You Need to Know about the Hip Thrust – This is a thorough blog post from Bret Contreras on “everything hip thrust.”  Bret’s devoted his career to glutes and pioneered this exercise, so you could say that he’s an authority on the matter.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Mobility Exercise of the Week: Table Adductor Dips

Written on July 17, 2012 at 6:56 am, by Eric Cressey

In this week’s mobility exercise of the week, I’ve got an excellent drill for reducing stiffness in the hip adductors.  I came up with this exercise when I realized that I wanted to be able to do more drills to improve hip abduction range-of-motion, but I didn’t always want them to be ground-based.  And, just doing lateral lunge variations all the time can get a little boring for athletes.  Enter table adductor dips.

I especially like to use this with our throwers because it actually parallels some of the hip angles we see with the pitching delivery, so it makes for a great warm-up and off-season maintenance/improvement exercise.  I also like it for them because they can do it out on the field without having to roll around in the grass (which would be the case with a lot of other adductor mobility drills).

In terms of coaching cues, it’s important to keep the weight on the support leg’s heel and sit back “into” the hip.  The majority of the weight should be on the down leg, with minimal pressure put on the leg that’s up on the table.

As you go through the exercise, brace the core to ensure that the movement comes through the hips (flexion and abduction) at the bottom position, rather than just allowing the lower back to round.  Having the arms out in front as I do in the video above can help as a counterbalance to prevent your butt from tucking under.  If you’re super stiff, you may want to consider holding a ten-pound plate out at arm’s length as an additional counterbalance.

At the top position, be sure to extend the hips all the way to stand tall between each rep.  I usually cue folks to activate the glute on the support leg to finish each rep.  This will also help guarantee that you’re stretching the adductors in both flexion and a neutral position.

We’ll typically do sets of eight reps on each side during the warm-up period.  This can, however, be held for a longer duration as a static stretch at the end of a training session.

For more drills like this, be sure to check out Assess and Correct: Breaking Barriers to Unlock Performance.

 Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 8

Written on June 23, 2012 at 7:33 am, by Eric Cressey

In collaboration with Cressey Performance coach Greg Robins, here are some tips to get just a little more awesome this weekend.

1. Hard start, easy finish.

This phrase applies to almost everything in training and in life. In short, putting in the work up front is going to benefit you ten-fold throughout the rest of your…

Exercise Set: Put the time in to set up a lift correctly (bar placement, spotters, foot position, etc) and you will make the entire set go off smoothly.

Training Session: Don’t skimp on your warm-ups. Make sure you spend the 15 minutes to hit self massage, mobility, and activation work.

Training Block: Make the time to make a plan. If you do not have the time (really?!), or the knowledge (fair enough), then seek out someone to make a plan for you.

Training Career: If you’re new to the game, take the proper amount of time to learn correct movement patterns, build general work capacity, and understand technique. If you’re not, and these sound like foreign concepts, have you considered pressing rewind?

2. Meet the bar.

3. Address lagging body parts with frequency.

If you have a body part that isn’t making the grade, the answer could very well be to adjust the frequency in which you train it. Training variables such as volume and intensity are household names, even if their application is often butchered. Frequency is a less-considered variable in your training program. The frequency at which you train a muscle group can have a profound effect on its growth. Additionally, high frequency protocols can produce major surges in strength when programmed correctly. Using high frequencies to make gains in strength is definitely more complex. The more demanding the exercise selections (think deadlifts, squats, cleans, etc), the more tinkering you’ll need to do in the overall management of volume and intensities. Luckily for you, using higher frequencies to illicit gains in “size” isn’t as involved.

Here is a good place to start: choose an area (i.e. arms) and add a specialization day to your strength training program. Make this days short, but challenging. This is a good time to utilize drop sets, forced reps, pre-exhaustion etc. Stick with the same area for three weeks, back off a week, and either choose a new area for three weeks or continue with the previous selection. Maybe you’ll do calves like Tony does?

4. Appreciate that various characteristics relate to throwing velocity.

A study conducted in 2009 by The Open Sports Medicine Journal looked at the relationship between six anthropometric (body height, body mass, body mass index (BMI), arm span, hand spread and length) and four physical fitness (aerobic capacity, explosive power of the lower limbs, flexibility and running speed) characteristics and their relationship to throwing velocity in female handball players. The study found that “throwing performance is significantly correlated with all variables calculated in this study except of the body mass index. This suggests that high performance requires advanced motor abilities and anthropometric features.”

This isn’t revolutionary, and the study does not go into details (that have been found important to velocity) such as joint mobility, stiffness and laxity. However, it is interesting to note that the researchers ranked each characteristic in order of importance in terms of the effect on velocity:

1. Hand Spread
2. Playing Experience
3. Arm Span
4. Body Height
5. Standing Long Jump
6. 30m Sprint
7. Sit and Reach
8. Body Mass.
9. VO2max
10. Body Mass Index

As you’ll see, the recipe for success will always be a combination of genetic pre determents, mechanical skill (sport practice), and physical performance traits (explosiveness, strength, etc). Two out of three of those you have control over, and if you are willing to put the work in, you can make up for quite a bit that Mommy and Daddy didn’t pass on to you.

EC’s notes: three interesting asides to this…

First, it’s interesting that body mass index wasn’t more highly ranked, as body weight has been shown to have a significantly positive association with throwing velocity in baseball pitchers. The primary difference between these two populations, of course, is that the handball players aren’t throwing downhill on a mound, so perhaps having a greater body mass benefits pitchers because they’re more “gravity-aided?”

Second, this is friendly reminder that your silly long distance running won’t do anything for throwing velocity.

Third, the researchers only tested straight-ahead (sagittal) plane measures of power development. If they’d tested power development in the frontal and transverse planes, I’d expect to see a greater value for these measures.

5. Don’t limit yourself.

Have you heard this before?

If I do everything you say, and work as hard as possible, do I have a shot at: making it, losing 10lbs, benching 315?

The answer is always YES; why would it be NO? We are all capable of impressing – and even surprising – ourselves with what we are capable of doing. Not everyone (even with an insane work ethic) is going to look like Captain American or play on ESPN. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you never shot for something less than that. You gave everything you had, and you ran that course until it was over. Wherever that point may be, you arrived there knowing that you didn’t leave anything in the tank. This is the absolute most you could do, given the tools you had, and you can be happy and fulfilled knowing that. If you attack everything with that mentality, you will be successful and happy with the result, even if that result isn’t exactly what you thought it was when you got started.

This is an important lesson to remind young athletes and adult clients alike. Teach them to respect the process, and find value in the journey. Remind them that many variables are not within their control, but their effort is.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Strength Exercise of the Week: DB Goblet Lateral Lunge

Written on April 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm, by Eric Cressey

It goes without saying that poor adductor length is a huge problem in many of the athletes I encounter, particularly those participating in sports (e.g., hockey, soccer, baseball) involving a lot of extension and rotation.  As a result, we always spend a lot of time with self myofascial release, static stretching, and mobility exercises for the adductors.

As I’ve written in the past, though, after you transiently reduce stiffness in a tissue, you want to build some stability through that newfound range-of-motion.  Unfortunately, it isn’t exactly easy to load folks up in the frontal plane, and some folks still won’t be able to get in to a lateral lunge position without pitching forward.  Enter the Dumbbell Goblet Lateral Lunge, which borrows the “counterbalancing” benefits we see with a traditional goblet squat to allow us to get back “into” the hip and build some longer-term mobility in the frontal plane.

I don’t worry about folks really loading this up; in fact, form tends to break down a bit if you go heavier than 40 pounds with the dumbbell.  We’ll usually include it as the last exercise on a lower-body day, for 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.

We spend a lot of time focusing on building strength and power, but a lot of times, movement quality gets overlooked.  Here’s an exercise that helps you to improve the latter without forgetting the former.  Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Mobility Exercise of the Week: Bowler Squat

Written on April 2, 2012 at 7:48 am, by Eric Cressey

I was introduced to the bowler squat originally by Dr. Stuart McGill at one of his seminars back around 2005.  Beyond the endorsement from one of the world’s premier spine experts, the fact that it’s been a mainstay in our strength and conditioning programs for about seven years should prove just how valuable I think this combination mobility/activation exercise is.

Before describing it, though, I should mention that the name is a bit misleading.  While it does look like a bowler’s motion, the truth is that it’s more of a “rotational deadlift” than it is a squat.  There is some knee flexion involved, but the shin remains essentially vertical, and most of the motion occurs at the hips – and that’s what makes it such a fantastic exercise.  Have a look:

We talk all the time about how important glute activation is, but most folks simply think that a few sets of supine bridges will get the job done. The problem is that this exercise occurs purely in the sagittal plane, while the glutes – as demonstrated by their line of pull – are also extremely active in the frontal and transverse planes.  The gluteus maximums isn’t just a hip extensor; it is also a hip abductor and external rotator.

As such, the gluteus maximus is essential to properly eccentrically controlling hip flexion, adduction, and internal rotation that occurs with every step, landing, lunge, and change-of-direction.  You can even think of it as an “anti-pronator.”

A bowler squat effectively challenges the glutes to both lengthen and activate in a weight-bearing position in all three planes.  And, for the tennis and baseball players out there, check out how closely the bowler squat replicates the finish position from a serve and pitch (I noted this in a recent article, Increasing Pitching Velocity: What Stride Length is and How to Improve It).

To perform the exercise, push the hips back as if attempting a 1-leg RDL, but reach across the body with the arm on the side of the non-support leg.  The “hips back” cue will get the sagittal plane, while the reach across will get the frontal and transverse plane. Make sure to keep the spine in neutral to ensure that the range of motion comes from the hips and not the lower back.  Keep the knee soft (not locked out), but not significantly flexed, either.  Be sure to get the hips all the way through at the top, finishing with a glute squeeze.

A few additional cues we may use are:

1. Tell the athlete to pretend like he/she is trying to pick up a basketball with the support foot; it can help those who keep tipping over.

2. Provide a target – a medicine ball or dumbbell – that the athlete should reach for in the bottom position (this keeps folks from cutting the movement short, or making it too sagittal plane dominant).

3. Encourage the athlete to keep the chin tucked (to keep the cervical spine in neutral).

4. Put your hand a few inches in front of the kneecap and tell the athlete not to touch your hand with the knee; this keeps an athlete from squatting too much when he/she should be hip-hinging.

Typically, we’ll perform this drill for one set of eight reps per side as part of the warm-up.  However, in a less experienced population – or one with very poor balance – this may serve as a great unloaded challenge that can be included as part of the actual strength training program.

Give it a shot!

For more exercises like this, be sure to check out Assess and Correct: Breaking Barries to Unlock Performance.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Mobility Exercise of the Week: Palmar Fascia Soft Tissue Work

Written on February 1, 2012 at 7:45 am, by Eric Cressey

Anyone who has ever broken or burned a finger will tell you that you just don’t appreciate how much you use your hands until you don’t have access to one for a bit.  Obviously, you partially lose your ability to do things – but what many folks might not appreciate is that you also lose some of your ability to sense things, as the hands contain a tremendously amount of sensory receptors relative to the rest of the body.  In fact, the tiny folds in our skin on the fingertips that comprise the fingertip are there because they increase the surface area of the hands – which allows us to get more sensory receptors where we need them.  Cool stuff, huh?

Why then, do we not give the hands any love when it comes to soft tissue work?  We’ll foam roll our hip flexors, lats, and other large muscle groups (which are certainly valuable), but we’ll ignore one of the most sensory-rich parts of our body – and one that is constantly active (and overused, in some cases) throughout the day.  We grip, type, and flip people the bird – but we never really pay attention to soft tissue quality in this region…until today, that is.

If you look at the structure of the hand, you’ll see that it has a large fascial, the palmar aponeurosis (we’ll call it the palmar fascia to keep things simple).  This structure has an intimate relationship with the muscles/tendons and ligaments of the hand, and serves as a link between the forearm and fingers.

Based on the size alone, you can see that it has plantar-fascia-caliber importance even if it isn’t weight bearing.  You see, of the five muscles that attach via the common flexor tendon on the medial epicondyle at the elbow, four cross the wrist joint and palmar fascia on the way to the hand, where they work to flex and abduct or adduct the wrist, and flex the fingers.

Loads of people have tendinopathies going on up on the medial elbow (Golfer’s Elbow), but they only work on this spot (called a zone of convergence).  Meanwhile, the soft tissue quality might be just as bad further down at the wrist and hand, adding tension on an already over-burdended common flexor tendon.  Think about it this way: if you had a pulled hamstring up by your glutes, would you only work to improve tissue quality at that spot, or would you work all the way down to the posterior knee to make sure that you’d improved some of the poor tissue quality further down as well?

Below, massage therapist and Cressey Performance coach Chris Howard talks you through two different ways to work out the kinks in the palmar fascia and surrounding regions, but keep in mind that it’ll always be more effective to have a qualified manual therapist do the job – and that’s certainly someone you should see if you have any symptoms whatsoever.


We’ve found that quite a few of our pitchers comment on how the ball seems to come out of their hand easier after this work.  Usually, they’re the guys who have the most stiffness along the forearm, particularly into wrist extension and supination.

Give it a shot at your desk at work and see how it feels.

Note: Chris’ video here is a sample of what comes in his Innovative Soft Tissue Strategies contribution to Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email

Corrective Exercise: Sequencing the Law of Repetition Motion Sequence

Written on July 6, 2011 at 6:32 am, by Eric Cressey

When it comes to corrective exercise programs, everyone simply wants to know “what” is and isn’t included – and rightfully so. Picking the right strength exercises and mobility drills – and contraindicating others – is absolutely crucial to making sure you get folks to where they want to be.

However, very rarely will you hear anyone specifically discuss the “when” in these scenarios, and as I’ll demonstrate in today’s piece, it’s likely just as crucial to get this aspect correct.

To begin to illustrate my point, I’m going to reuse a quote from an article I wrote a few weeks ago, Correcting Bad Posture: Are Deadlifts Enough?, on the Law of Repetitive Motion :

Consider the law of repetitive motion, where “I” is injury to the tissues, “N” is the number of repetitions, “F” is the force of each repetition as a percentage of maximal strength, “A” is the amplitude (range of motion) of each repetition, and “R” is rest.  To reduce injury to tissues (which negative postural adaptations can be considered), you have to work on each of the five factors in this equation.

You perform soft tissue work – whether it’s foam rolling or targeted manual therapy – on the excessively short or stiff tissues (I).  You reduce the number of repetitions (length of time in poor posture: R), and in certain cases, you may work to strengthen an injured tissue (reduce F).  You incorporate mobility drills (increase A) and avoid bad postures (increase R).

What I failed to mention a few weeks ago, though, was that the sequencing of these corrective modalities must be perfect in order to optimize the training/corrective effect and avoid exacerbating symptoms.  Case in point, we recently had a client come to us as a last resort with chronic shoulder issues, as he was hoping to avoid surgery.  Physical therapy had made no difference for him (aside from shrinking his wallet with co-pays), and following that poor outcome, he’d had a similar result with soft tissue treatments twice a week for six weeks.  In a single four-week program, we had him back to playing golf pain free.  What was the difference?

In the first physical therapy experience, he’d been given a bunch of traditional rotator cuff and scapular stabilization exercises.  There had been absolutely no focus on soft tissue work or targeted mobility drills to get the ball rolling.  In other words, all he did was improve stability within the range of motion he already had.  In the equation above, all he really worked on was reducing the “F” by getting a bit stronger.

In his soft tissue treatment experiences, he felt a bit better walking out of the office, but ran into a world of hurt when his provider encouraged him to “just do triceps pressdowns and lat pulldowns” for strength training.  In other words, this practitioner worked on reducing “I” and increasing “A,” but totally missed the boat with respect  to enhancing strength (reducing “F”) and increasing rest (“R”) because of the inappropriate follow-up strength exercise prescription.  Doh!

What did we do differently to get him to where he needed to be?  For starters, he saw Dr. Nate Tiplady, a manual therapist at CP, twice a week for combination Graston Technique and Active Release treatments (reducing “I”) at the start of his training sessions.  He followed that up with a specific manual stretching, positional breathing, and mobility exercise warm-up program (increase “A”) that was designed uniquely for him.  Then, he performed strength training to establish stability (decrease “F”) within the new ranges of motion (ROM) attained without reproducing his symptoms (decreasing “N” and increasing “R).

The sequencing was key, as we couldn’t have done some of the strength exercises we used if we hadn’t first gotten the soft tissue work and improved his ROM.  He may have had valuable inclusions in his previous rehabilitation efforts, but he never had them at the same time, in the correct sequence.

This thought process actually closely parallels a corrective exercise approach Charlie Weingroff put out there much more succinctly in his Rehab = Training, Training = Rehab DVD set:

Get Long. Get Strong. Train Hard.

Keep in mind that there are loads of different ways that you can “get long.”  You might use soft tissue work (Active Release, Graston Technique, Traditional Massage, etc.), positional breathing (Postural Respiration Institute), mobility drills (Assess and Correct), manual stretching, or any of a host of other approaches (Mulligan, DNS, Maitland, McKenzie, etc).  You use whatever you are comfortable using within your scope of practice.

When it’s time to “get strong,” you can do so via several schools of thought as well – but the important thing is that the strength exercises you choose don’t provoke any symptoms.

It’s interesting to note that this corrective exercise approach actually parallels what we do with our everyday strength and conditioning programs at Cressey Performance – and what I put forth in Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.  We foam roll, do mobility warm-ups, and then get cracking on strength and stability within these “acutely” optimized ranges of motion to make them more permanent.

Related Posts

Corrective Exercise: Why Stiffness Can be a Good Thing
Strength Training Programs: Lifting Heavy Weights vs. Corrective Exercise – Finding a Balance

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!

Name
Email

New Balance

Featured Product
Assess and Correct

YouTube Twitter Facebook