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Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Get Strong: Eric Cressey’s Best Articles of 2010

Written on December 31, 2010 at 4:46 am, by Eric Cressey

Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better – This was obviously my biggest project of 2010.  I actually began writing the strength and conditioning programs and filming the exercise demonstration videos in 2009, and put all the “guinea pigs” through the four-month program beginning in February.  When they completed it as the start of the summer rolled around, I made some modifications based on their feedback and then got cracking on writing up all the tag along resources.  Finally, in September, Show and Go was ready to roll.  So, in effect, it took 10-11 months to take this product from start to finish – a lot of hard work, to say the least.  My reward has been well worth it, though, as the feedback has been awesome.  Thanks so much to everyone who has picked up a copy.

Optimal Shoulder Performance – This was a seminar that Mike Reinold and I filmed in November of 2009, and our goal was to create a resource that brought together concepts from both the shoulder rehabilitation and shoulder performance training fields to effectively bridge the gap for those looking to prevent and/or treat shoulder pain.  In the process, I learned a lot from Mike, and I think that together, we brought rehabilitation specialists and fitness professionals closer to being on the same page.

Why President Obama Throws Like a Girl – A lot of people took this as a political commentary, but to be honest, it was really just me talking about the concept of retroversion as it applies to a throwing shoulder – with a little humor thrown in, of course!

Overbearing Dads and Kids Who Throw Cheddar – This one was remarkably easy to write because I’ve received a lot of emails from overbearing Dads asking about increasing throwing velocity in their kids.

What I Learned in 2009 – I wrote this article for T-Nation back at the beginning of the year, and always enjoy these yearly pieces.  In fact, I’m working on my 2010 one for them now!

What a Stressed Out Bride Can Teach You About Training Success – I wrote this less than a month out from my wedding, so you could say that I had a good frame of reference.

Baseball Showcases: A Great Way to Waste Money and Get Injured – In case the title didn’t tip you off, I’m not much of a fan of baseball showcases.

Cueing: Just One Piece of Semi-Private Training Success – Part 1 and Part 2 - These articles were featured at fitbusinessinsider.com.  I enjoy writing about not only the training side of things, but some of the things we’ve done well to build up our business.

Three Years of Cressey Performance: The Right Reasons and the Right Way – This might have been the top post of the year, in my eyes. My job is very cool.

How to Attack Continuing Education in the Fitness Industry – Here’s another fitness business post.

Want to Be a Personal Trainer or Strength Coach?  Start Here. – And another!

The Skinny on Strasburg’s Injury – I hate to make blog content out of someone else’s misfortune, but it was a good opportunity to make some points that I think are very valid to the discussion of not only Stephen Strasburg’s elbow injury, but a lot of the pitching injuries we see in youth baseball.

Surely, there are many more to list, but I don’t want this to run too long!  Have a safe and happy new year, and keep an eye out for the first content of 2011, which is coming very soon!

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Weight Training For Baseball: Best Videos of 2010

Written on December 30, 2010 at 4:55 am, by Eric Cressey

I made an effort to get more videos up on the site this year, as I know a lot of folks are visual learners and/or just enjoy being able to listen to a blog, as opposed to reading it.  Here are some highlights from the past year:

The Absolute Speed to Absolute Strength Continuum – Regardless of your sport, there are valuable take-home messages.  I just used throwing velocity in baseball pitchers as an example, as it’s my frame of reference.

Should Pitchers Overhead Press? - This was an excerpt from Mike Reinold and my Optimal Shoulder Performance seminar (which became a popular DVD set for the year).

Shoulder Impingement vs. Rotator Cuff Tears – Speaking of Mike, here’s a bit from the man himself from that seminar DVD set.

Thoracic and Glenohumeral Joint Mobility Drills – The folks at Men’s Health tracked me down in the lobby at Perform Better in Providence and asked if I could take them through a few shoulder mobility drills we commonly use – and this was the result.

Cressey West – This kicks off the funny videos from the past year. A few pro baseball players that I program for in a distance-based format created this spoof video as a way of saying thank you.

Tank Nap – My puppy taking a nap in a provocative position.  What’s more cute?

Matt Blake Draft Tracker – CP’s resident court jester and pitching instructor airs his frustrations on draft day.

1RM Cable Horizontal Abduction – More from the man, the myth, the legend.

You can find a lot more videos on my YouTube page HERE and the Cressey Performance YouTube page HERE.

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Weight Training for Baseball: Featured Articles

Written on December 29, 2010 at 7:24 am, by Eric Cressey

I really enjoy writing multi-part features here at EricCressey.com because it really affords me more time to dig deep into a topic of interest to both my readers and me.  In many ways, it’s like writing a book.  Here were three noteworthy features I published in 2010:

Understanding Elbow Pain - Whether you were a baseball pitcher trying to prevent a Tommy John surgery or recreational weightlifter with “tennis elbow,” this series had something for you.

Part 1: Functional Anatomy
Part 2: Pathology
Part 3: Throwing Injuries
Part 4: Protecting Pitchers
Part 5: The Truth About Tennis Elbow
Part 6: Elbow Pain in Lifters


Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture – This series was published more recently, and was extremely well received.  It’s a combination of both quick programming tips and long-term modifications you can use to eliminate poor posture.

Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 1
Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 2
Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 3

Strategies for Correcting Bad Posture: Part 4

A New Paradigm for Performance Testing – This two-part feature was actually an interview with Bioletic founder, Dr. Rick Cohen.  In it, we discuss the importance of testing athletes for deficiencies and strategically correcting them.  We’ve begun to use Bioletics more and more with our athletes, and I highly recommend their thorough and forward thinking services.

A New Paradigm for Performance Testing: Part 1
A New Paradigm for Performance Testing: Part 2

I already have a few series planned for 2011, so keep an eye out for them!  In the meantime, we have two more “Best of 2010″ features in store before Friday at midnight.

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Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Interview

Written on March 24, 2010 at 3:36 am, by Eric Cressey

Just a quick heads-up that Joe Heiler is running my interview from the Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar Series tonight.  For some information on the interview, head HERE.

Or, just head straight to the sign-up page.  There are a few more interviews in store, so you’d still be able to catch them (and access the previous ones from this year’s series).

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The Single Dumbest Thing Trainers Do

Written on March 23, 2010 at 6:38 am, by Eric Cressey

This might come across as a completely random blog post, but in light of the time of year and the fact that I have five accountants in my family, I’m going to write it anyway.

If you are a trainer who does your own taxes, you are an idiot.

Yes, you’re dumber than the guy doing handstand push-ups on the stability ball with Miley Cyrus blaring in the background.  And, you’re giving your money away and likely increasing your risk of being audited down the road.

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People come to you to learn how to get fit, more athletic, and healthy.  In your eyes, they’d be crazy to try to program or coach themselves.  And, just walk into any commercial gym and from the exercises and techniques you’ll see executed, and you’ll want to pull out your hair.  While accountants on the whole are generally very patient people, I’m sure they want to do the same when they hear about Average Joe sitting down for some quality team (read: three days) with Turbo Tax.

Imagine you’re going to pay an accountant a few hundred dollars to do your taxes.  That’s a few extra training sessions added to your week – and you aren’t giving up any time to figure out the tax code (which is constantly changing).  You can read a book, have fun with your family, or do whatever else it is you enjoy.

Tony Gentilcore is one of my best friends and a business partner, so he won’t mind me using him as an example.  In the summer of 2007, I watched Tony slave over Turbo Tax for an entire weekend.He had a puzzled look on his face the entire time.  When he was done (late Sunday night), I went over and asked him if he’s deducted 7-8 different things that my accountant (my brother) taught me about that year.  He had no idea what I was talking about.

Tony is a guy that buys books, attends seminars, has professional memberships (NSCA, PETA, and the Chuck ‘E Cheese Pizza of the Month Club).  None of these were deducted.  So, by attempting to “save” some money and do it himself, Tony missed out on a bunch of key deductions and overreported net income.  Say, for ease of calculation, that was $1,000 of expenses he didn’t write off.  That means he reported $1,000 more net income – and in a (arbitrarily assigned) tax bracket of 30%, he gave Uncle Sam a $300 bonus – which would have more than paid for the cost of an accountant and freed up Tony’s weekend to listen to do the robot, drool all over his Nora Jones CD, and attack stability balls with scissors.

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Now, here’s an example of our business finances from our 2008 tax return that will really drive home the point.  When we opened Cressey Performance in the summer of 2007, we had to put up $30,000 worth of renovations: walls, doors, carpeting, a ceiling for the offices, and painting, as we were subletting from another tenant and wanted to “separate” our space.  It went from this…

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To this…

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These renovations were placed on a 15-year depreciation schedule – so we got a $2,000 deduction from net income in year 1 (very few people would know to do this on their tax returns without an accountant).

Business grew quickly, and we decided to move (also a deduction) three miles east in May of 2008, which was the end of the lease we were under.  When we went, we had to demolish renovations to the old place (which was one of the funnest hours of my life, for the record) – but we also got to write off the remaining $28,000 from that depreciation schedule against our net income for 2008.  None of us would have even remembered to do that – but our accountant absolutely, positively did.  In the process, he saved us a ton of money that was rightfully ours and kept out balance sheet accurate – and it was no extra effort on our part.  That move alone probably saved us enough taxes to cover his accounting fees for 6-7 years – or the cost of our turf and crash wall combined.

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Another example on my personal finances was the recommendation I received to maximize my contributions to a SEP IRA to lessen my net taxable income at this point in my life when I don’t have any quality deductions – kids, a spouse (yet), or a mortgage (yet).  I’ll be taxed on it down the road, but at least it’s mine in the interim to grow it as I please (and I know there are different schools of thought on this, but you get the point).

Getting an accountant is an investment, not an expense.  And, the more diversified I have become in my revenue streams – from CP, to products, to seminars – the more essential and valuable that investment has become.

You are an idiot if you are going it alone.  And, we just found out that our taxes will be going up yet again, so your mistakes are going to be further magnified.  I don’t know why this happens so much in the fitness industry, but it absolutely does.  Find a good accountant.

Have a comment or question?  Post ‘em below.

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Stuff You Should Read: 3/22/10

Written on March 22, 2010 at 8:37 am, by Eric Cressey

I had a great weekend at a Postural Restoration Institute Myokinematic Dysfunction course, so it seems fitting that my first reading recommendation of the week would direct you to their website: Postural Restoration Institute.  There are a lot of free articles that give you a good introduction to the PRI philosophy.  I’d highly recommend checking out their courses, as I’m going to be going more.  It was worth every penny.

Does a SLAP lesion affect shoulder muscle activity as measured by EMG activity during a rugby tackle? - This is a really interesting study that shows that in athletes with labral tears (SLAP lesions), the serratus anterior fires sooner – presumably as a compensation strategy to make up for the slower reaction time of the biceps.

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It is just another example of how our body has a great system of checks and balances.  When a passive structure is injured, the active restraints can pick up the slack.

For related reading, check out Active vs. Passive Restraints.


Random Friday Thoughts: 3/19/10

Written on March 19, 2010 at 11:08 am, by Eric Cressey

1. I thought I’d kick this post off with a little technique troubleshooting.  Yesterday, one of the “guinea pigs” for my new project emailed this video to me and asked for some suggestions on bench press technique:

BP from Caleb Chiu on Vimeo.

My suggestions to him were as follows:

a. Your feet are antsy and jumping all over the place.  Get them pulled up a bit more under you so that they can’t move around.  Then, focus on pushing them into the floor the entire set.

b. Get more air in your belly.  Notice how the stomach sinks in?  That’s because you don’t have any air in it!

c. Get a handoff.  The #1 reason guys flair the elbows out is that they lose scapular stability – and you lose that the second you hand off to yourself.

2. I’m headed to a Postural Restoration Institute Myokinematic Restoration Seminar this weekend up in Portland, ME – while my fiancee and my mother work on stuff for the wedding.  It is amazing what lengths guys will go to in order to escape wedding planning, huh?

Just kidding; I’m actually really excited about it.  Neil Rampe of the Arizona Diamondbacks turned me on to the PRI stuff and it’s really intrigued me from the get-go.

3. It’s been a fun week around here with the start of the high school baseball season.  I got over to help out with some warm-ups and movement training with the Lincoln-Sudbury guys during tryouts on Mon-Tue.  In all, we saw 33 Lincoln-Sudbury high school baseball players – from freshman to seniors – this off-season, so it was pretty easy to pick up where we left off with them in the weight room.  There was great energy, and lots of excitement about the new season.

4. Here’s a great feature on Blue Jays prospect Tim Collins and his training at Cressey Performance.

5. I was interviewed last week for an article about pitch counts.  It’s now featured HERE.

6. Some feedback on Assess & Correct:

“I was pretty excited when I received an e-mail from Eric and Mike saying that I was getting an advanced copy of their new Assess and Correct product.  Mike and Eric have had a history of putting out top notch information and products and when I saw that Bill Hartman was also involved in this new product I knew that this was going to be even more special.

“Since I own a fitness facility, I’m always looking for cutting edge information that I can recommend to my trainers.  After viewing the DVDs and reading through the manuals, my first thought was, ‘Wow, a home run!’

“Finally, a product that I could wholeheartedly recommend to all of my trainers as an excellent go-to reference tool to enhance their abilities in assessing their clients needs; pinpointing their weakness &/or imbalances and then effectively addressing these findings to make sure their clients can achieve their goals safely.”

Joe Dowdell, CSCS – Founder & Co-owner of Peak Performance, NYC
www.peakperformancenyc.com

Click here to pick up a copy of Assess and Correct.

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7. Last, but certainly not least, CP athlete Danny O’Connor aims to run his professional boxing record to 11-o tonight with a bout at Twin River Casino in Rhode Island. Good luck, Danny!

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Optimal Shoulder Performance: Video Teaser #2 – Mike Reinold

Written on March 18, 2010 at 7:21 am, by Eric Cressey

A few weeks ago, I gave you a quick peek at an excerpt from one of my presentations in our new Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD set.  Today, I thought you might like to check out a bit from Mike Reinold, my collaborator on the project.  This DVD set should be out soon, so be sure to subscribe to my FREE newsletter if you want to be among the first notified.


Stuff You Should Read: 3/17/10

Written on March 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm, by Eric Cressey

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I was actually going to take today off – not just in honor of my Irish heritage, but because I was hoping to work from home and catch up on work.  As it turns out, I went in to the facility for our staff in-service (given by Brian St. Pierre, who is featured below), some coaching of a dozen or so of our in-season baseball guys, and a quick training session of my own.  Long story short, my “day off” turned into six hours at the facility, plus almost three hours in the car thanks to Boston traffic and a bunch of detours due to flooding after all the rain we’ve received.

Long story short, all this means that I didn’t get around to writing a blog today – but fortunately for me, a few other bright minds did:

The China Study Fallacy – This is a great piece from Brian St. Pierre on how flawed the perspectives of many “experts” is when it comes to interpreting the results of the China Study.  It’s an awesome read.

Measuring Humeral Retroversion – This blog from Mike Reinold will interest those in the crowd who are (like me) shoulder geeks.  If you train overhead throwing athletes, you definitely better understand retroversion.  It’s a concept Mike and I spend considerable time on in our new Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD set.

The Proactive Patient – This is definitely one of the articles that I enjoyed writing the most, as it teaches people to be advocates for themselves during the process of trying to get/stay healthy.


CP Internship Blog by Sam Leahey – Taking Your Turn Serving Others

Written on March 16, 2010 at 8:27 am, by Eric Cressey

Disclaimer: This blog/article is not about being humble or putting your time in getting coaching experience, though those are good and necessary things. It’s specifically about something else that I feel is one of many variables in the equation of success. And that very specific thing is Serving/Benefiting Others.

It goes without saying that we don’t just wake up strength and conditioning experts one morning. A necessary process must play itself out first. We’ve all read the book Outliers, where bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell articulates the 10,000 hour rule to becoming an expert in anything.

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However I’d like to discuss the particulars of those 10,000 hours. Eric Cressey would be the first to tell you that those hours have to come from several different avenues – not just “live” coaching. Personally, I think you need 10,000 hours of:

1. Training/Coaching Others

2. Training/Coaching Yourself

3. Educating Others

4. Educating Yourself

Notice what I did NOT mention. There is no mention in the list above of any kind of selfless acts of service. There also isn’t any mention of doing things entirely to benefit someone else beside oneself. Yet, any strength and conditioning expert we all look up to can point to times in their lives when they either worked for someone else or occupied a role that required them to serve someone, something, or someplace higher up the priority list. This is because doing acts of service to benefit someone else is a VERY necessary process. This can come in the form of a collegiate coaching staff where the hierarchy goes from intern to graduate assistant to assistant to the head coach. Even still, the head strength and conditioning coach is accountable to the athletic director who is further accountable to the institution. The same thing goes for a private training facility. The flow of benefitting others goes from intern to staff to owner.

In some capacity, everyone in our field will perform a task at some point to serve or benefit others. It’s inevitable! The important question is do you do it willingly with joy or grudgingly with hate? In reality we may be somewhere in between, but I’d urge you to daily commit to falling on the positive side of fence. If you’re an intern, do you smile and gladly move to action when asked to mop the floor? Do you willingly clean up the weightroom after hours? Do you take the initiative and change the facility trash or do you wait until it’s overflowing so you can be told to do it? Do you vacuum or fill the water bottle fridge up without any grief? I’m sure many of the young people reading this have similar experiences as me. As an intern, I personally have mopped and vacuumed the entire Cressey Performance facility.

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Last summer I did the same at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning and before that College of the Holy Cross. . . and on and on and on.  You get my point, though.

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If you are already an assistant coach in a collegiate setting do you try and usurp authority of the head coach by pushing your own training philosophies? Do you get upset when you are the one who gets asked to come in and supervise the 6AM football lift, which is supposed to be the head coach’s team? Do you just do your job and go home without having a personal commitment to the institution for which you work?

If you are on staff at a private training facility do you cringe when you’re asked to take on some additional forms of responsibility, like intern education or facility scheduling? Do you try and avoid interactions with the facility owner for fear of him/her asking you to do something else? Do you just do your job and go home without having any kind of personal investment in the business for which your work?

The wise person will accept this message. You don’t always have to be the beneficiary of your actions. It’s necessary and unavoidable to help others. It is part of the process to pursuing strength and conditioning greatness! Learn to enjoy the process!

Sam Leahey can be reached at sam.leahey@gmail.com.


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