An Interview with Eric Cressey Part I

I first learned about Eric Cressey back in 2004 when he wrote a cool article on rotator cuff training for T-nation. Since that time Eric has quickly climbed to the top in the fitness industry. His knowledge of strength training and performance development is awesome (Cressey has a monstrous deadlift). But his techniques for corrective exercise – especially the shoulder – is what really sets him apart. In fact, when my brother recently injured his rotator cuff, Eric Cressey is the first person that came to mind to help him. Cressey Performance in Massachusetts has become one of the most sought-after training facilities in the country for everyone from professional athletes to weekend warriors.

When Cressey talks, I listen, because over the last 7 years he’s spent more time in the trenches than just about anyone I know. And that’s why I’m happy to have him as a guest this week.

So let’s get to it!

CW: First off, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to chat. Here’s my first question: Since you work with a lot of high-performance athletes, what are three principles that apply equally to athletes as well as non-athletes?

EC: I think people would be surprised to realize just how similar the Average Joe or Jane is to a  professional athlete – both socially and physically.

The lay population often sits in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day, but many pro athletes have 4-8 hour flights or 10+ hour bus rides where they’re sitting – and because they’re taller, sitting is even more uncomfortable and problematic.  Like everyone else, they spend time surfing the internet, Skyping, playing video games, and goofing around on Facebook/Twitter.  The advances in technology have hurt everyone from a physical fitness standpoint – but brought the “Pros and the Joes” closer together, believe it or not.

They’re also very similar in that they want the most bang for their buck.  Most pro athletes are no different than anyone else in that they want to get in their training, and then go to visit their families, relax, play golf, or whatever else.  They really don’t have interest in putting in six hours per day in training outside of the times when they have to do so (especially during the in-season).

With that in mind, three principles that are crucial to the success of both populations are:

1.  Realize that consistency is everything. I always tell our clients from all walks of life that the best strength and conditioning programs are ones that are sustainable.  It’s not about working hard for three months and making great progress – only to fall off the bandwagon for a month.  This is absolutely huge for professional athletes who need to maximize progress in the off-season; they just can’t afford to have unplanned breaks in training if they want to improve from year to year.

If a program isn’t conducive to your goals and lifestyle, then it isn’t a good program.  That’s why, when I created Show and Go I went out of my way to create 2x/week, 3x/week, and 4x/week strength training options – plus five supplemental conditioning options and a host of exercise modifications. I wanted it to be a very versatile resource.

Likewise, I wanted it to be safe; a program isn’t good if it injures you and prevents you from exercising.  Solid programs include targeted efforts to reduce the likelihood of injury via means like mobility warm-ups, supplemental stretching recommendations, specific progressions, fluctuations in training stress, and alternative exercises (“plan B”) in case you aren’t quite ready to execute “Plan A.” Continue reading

Relieve Joint Pain and Prevent Muscle Strain

Here’s a situation I’ll bet you’ve experienced many times.

You run into an old friend. That friend recently started working out again and he or she is looking more fit. So you ask your friend how things are going with the exercise program and he or she replies, “It was going great. But now I have this shoulder pain that I can’t get rid of.”

Or maybe it’s a neck, knee, or low back problem?

More importantly, maybe that “friend” is you?

The truth is, virtually everyone will eventually suffer with some type of joint pain or physical limitation. And I really mean everyone.

In the spring of 2007, Debbie Siebers, a worldwide fitness expert who’s been featured on The Swan and the creator of the immensely successful Slim in 6, hired me to help her correct some nagging injuries. Her right shoulder and upper back were bugging her, and she suffered with occasional back twinges and zingers that just wouldn’t go away. (Yep, even fitness experts can throw things out of whack.) She tried everything: chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, massage, and acupuncture, just to name a few. She got some temporary relief, but only for a few hours, or if she was lucky, a day. In the end, nothing ultimately worked.

Debbie heard about the success I’ve had working in Los Angeles with everyone from elite athletes to the average Joe and Jane. Even though I’m known in many circles for helping people build size and strength, joint rehabilitation takes up most of my time these days. Yes, joint problems are more prevalent than ever.

So I put Debbie on a program comprised of movement drills that she could do at home. Within 30 days, she restored mobility, gained strength, and was pain-free. She was so pleased with her results that she asked me to help her bring a training-based joint therapy program to the masses. I, of course, agreed that such a product is long overdue.

Before I go any further, let me explain why the other types of therapy she tried didn’t work.

Most joint pain is due to a lack of mobility, a lack of endurance strength, or both. Mobility is the ability to move freely. So if you’ve ever felt restricted while picking up a bag of groceries or chasing your kids around the park, it’s probably because you lost mobility. Endurance strength is simply defined as your ability to maintain muscle contractions for an extended period of time. I’m sure you’ve felt strain and pain in your low back while hunched over at your computer, or working in your garden, or just standing in line at the movies.

Stretching isn’t enough because it doesn’t restore movement, it just restores passive range of motion. Lifting heavy weights won’t help either. Research has demonstrated that people who lack endurance strength are more likely to experience low back pain. Even if you’re strong enough to lift the back-end of a minivan, you could still suffer from back pain. Why? Because heavy weight training doesn’t build endurance strength. Plus, you need a balance of strength around your joints, not just on one side.

Getting cracked by a chiropractor, poked by an acupuncturist, or rubbed by a masseuse is akin to putting a band-aid on the problem. You must restore mobility and enhance endurance strength to solve the problem. Up to this point, no one has effectively tackled both of those limitations with one, simple, do-it-yourself system.

To take control of your life and restore knee, low back, shoulder, or neck health without training gadgets just click HERE

Stay focused,
CW