T Nation

Double Trouble: Cressey/Robertson Guest Forum

As promised, Mike and I will be available to field all your questions from Monday through Wednesday of this week. Feel free to bounce anything that’s on your mind off of us; all it takes is a post on this thread. We figured that this would be a good tag-along to the release of Part V of the “Neanderthal No More” series; questions relating to the program (or progress reports) are welcomed and encouraged.

Hopefully, some good discussions will add to everyone’s holiday season. We just ask that you all keep it clean and civil. With that said, fire away!

Awsome!! I have a question for Eric and/or Mike. First thing in the morning everyday, I get up to (don’t laugh) do yoga. I always hear people say, don’t stretch a cold muscle or muscles, you should do a warm-up first. My question is what kind of warm-up should I do before my yoga session or is this even necessary to do a warm-up before a light-stretch session?

Ohhh! One more question, is there anything that you guys could suggest I do for my arthritis in my lower back (certain exercises,supplements,stretches,etc)? Vioxx used to help me be able to train pain free, but as you’ve heard it’s been pulled off the market.

Thank you so very much for your time. I know I’ve told you guys before, but because of your NNM articles, my wife is able to go back to work. This is after three years of back pain, back surgery, depression, etc. NNM helped correct her posture and strengthen her back!! You guys are truly the best!!!

OK, this may have been covered elsewhere-but I dont think so. External rotations (“L-fly” type seated & lying) target the rotator cuff, but is there a difference in the work done by each muscle? The main reason I ask is; after suffering trouble with my left supraspinatus, following the advice of the physio and avoiding benching, stretching doing external rotation when symptom free then re-introducing bench and getting back to 130kg I suffered a problem with my infraspinatus on the same side.
In an attempt to get round this I try to do reverse shrugs followed L-flys (seated 6 weeks, lying 6 weeks)and have seen improvement. I have taken my grip in slightly (from 32in to 30in) and last week managed 125kgx1, with no problem shoulderwise. I want to stay away from further rotator cuff injuries, but still bench. I train bench using Westside type ME exercises so actual bench is not done every week (mainly do DB Bench / 24" grip floor press / 20" grip board press)
Thanks, Old Dax

[quote]Sancho wrote:
First thing in the morning everyday, I get up to (don’t laugh) do yoga. I always hear people say, don’t stretch a cold muscle or muscles, you should do a warm-up first. My question is what kind of warm-up should I do before my yoga session or is this even necessary to do a warm-up before a light-stretch session?[/quote]

Hi Sancho,

I don’t agree that you necessarily need to warm-up before stretching. If you just focus on gradually introducing the stretch, your body will adjust. Otherwise, people would never get any stretching done unless they were exercising; it’s just not convenient to warm-up several times per day. Stretch as often as you feel is warranted; I know of some protocols that have people stretching 6-8 times per day with outstanding results. So, again, don’t push it at first; just work your way into it. Obviously, for best results you would warm-up beforehand, as body temperature increases joint range of motion; however, you’ll still get some benefits if you just get right to it.

Fish oil has proven highly effective in clinical trials with arthritic patients, although I should note that they used some pretty high dosages (10g of pharmaceutical grade fish oil, as I recall). I’d start with 6g combined EPA/DHA and give it roughly two months before upping the dosage. Anecdotally, I’ve known several people who have seen a marked reduction in symptoms following this protocol. In terms of exercises and stretches, just keep active; any kind of blood flow will do a lot to keep you pain-free.

Thanks very much for the kind words, Sancho; glad to hear that your wife is back on track! :slight_smile:

EC

[quote]Old Dax wrote:
OK, this may have been covered elsewhere-but I dont think so. External rotations (“L-fly” type seated & lying) target the rotator cuff, but is there a difference in the work done by each muscle?[/quote]

Definitely. Each of the four muscles contributes to dynamic stabilization of the humeral head; which one(s) is(are) active depends on the movement in question. I assume that you’re referring primarily to the infraspinatus vs. teres minor contribution to external rotation with the arm abducted or adducted?

[quote]
The main reason I ask is; after suffering trouble with my left supraspinatus, following the advice of the physio and avoiding benching, stretching doing external rotation when symptom free then re-introducing bench and getting back to 130kg I suffered a problem with my infraspinatus on the same side. [/quote]

This isn’t all that uncommon. The infraspinatus is often a component of stage 2 and 3 impingement symdrome, as it’s the more superior of the two external rotators (excluding the posterior deltoid). For this reason, some individuals (stage 1) will be able to include external rotations with the humerus abducted from the beginning of their rehab, whereas others (stage 2 and 3) will actually get pain at the end of the range of motion with such exercises. This pain isn’t always specific to the infraspinatus region; pain is typically referring to the middle deltoid.

[quote]In an attempt to get round this I try to do reverse shrugs followed L-flys (seated 6 weeks, lying 6 weeks)and have seen improvement. I have taken my grip in slightly (from 32in to 30in) and last week managed 125kgx1, with no problem shoulderwise. I want to stay away from further rotator cuff injuries, but still bench. I train bench using Westside type ME exercises so actual bench is not done every week (mainly do DB Bench / 24" grip floor press / 20" grip board press)
Thanks, Old Dax[/quote]

Not too shabby. I would recommend two external rotation movements per training cycle (one on each upper body day); perform one with the humerus abducted and one with it adducted. Also, do some specific scap stability work (prone lower trap raises work well) and plenty of horizontal pulling (seated rows being your best option from a shoulder health standpoint). Some specific work for the serratus anterior may also be warranted, depending on whether or not you have scapular winging. Watch out for the wide grip; the stress on the glenohumeral joint is markedly increased as compared with the close grip. Many people get more problems with dynamic benching than heavy benching, so be sure to consider that as well.

Best of luck,

EC

Do you guys have any opinion on the Alexander Technique? After two years of really working my back, core, and rotator cuff hard, I’m starting to think that some posture problems have just become habitual, especially while sitting at the computer. Does this stuff have any merit, or should I just hit the NNM routines even harder?

First, I’m a big fan of your NNM series and a huge proponent of training the posterior chain (scap retraction included).

I train partly for performance, specifically speed and agility. Any insights into speed/agility training? I do a lot of sprint intervals (50-400m) and cone drills (5-10m between cones). Typically 1-2 speed/agility workouts a week, 15-30 min each.

Also, my lower back will often “tighten up” by the end of a workout…not to the point where it affects my running, but it’s definately tight and swollen for a few hours after the workout. Is this unavoidable because of the repeated amount of torque being placed on the region or do you think there’s a way to aleviate this? Specific stretching? Different shoes maybe? I weight 210-215lbs and know the average running shoe is designed for someone about 160lbs.

Thanks for doing this Q&A guys.

-Jeff

I want to learn to do olympic lifts? Is it absolutely necessary to have someone coach you? Or can I safely learn to do them by reading and seeing pics? If so, is there a site you can recommend that has good video or pics to show proper form throughout the movement? Thanks.

Hi, I have a couple of questions about ligament and tendon strength training. It seems that muscular strength generally has the potential to increase more rapidly than ligament and tendon strength. I’ve read somewhere (in one of Tsatsouline’s books?) that the old time strongmen used to do heavy supports to build ligament and tendon strength. Taking this approach to its logical extension, isometrics would be a great method since the heaviest weight is one you cannot move.

Have you come across any solid research on how to build ligament and tendon strength?

How would you design a program that specifically improves ligament and tendon strength?

[quote]jro wrote:
Do you guys have any opinion on the Alexander Technique? After two years of really working my back, core, and rotator cuff hard, I’m starting to think that some posture problems have just become habitual, especially while sitting at the computer. Does this stuff have any merit, or should I just hit the NNM routines even harder?[/quote]

I’m not familiar with this specific technique, but I have had some Hellerwork performed on myself which is a form of myofascial release. I agree that it’s sometimes difficult to get your posture where you want it, especially if you are desk ridden for 8-10 hours every day.

If you have the time and money, I would go for it, but PLEASE make sure that your training program is on-point as well. There’s no use in paying hard earned money to get bodywork done if you aren’t working towards the same goals in your training.

Stay strong
MR

Sancho,

I agree w/the stuff EC said about the yoga; ease into things and you’ll be fine. You can also do this after a hot shower to help speed things up and get the tissues more pliable.

As far as the arthritis goes, I would also consider supplementing with glucosamine & chondroitin, as well as some high-dose antioxidants. If you haven’t read the book “The Arthritis Cure” it goes in-depth into why you should take glucosamine and chondroitin, and I’ve had good results w/that combination of supps with my patients.

Stay strong
MR

[quote]Jeff K wrote:
First, I’m a big fan of your NNM series and a huge proponent of training the posterior chain (scap retraction included).

I train partly for performance, specifically speed and agility. Any insights into speed/agility training? I do a lot of sprint intervals (50-400m) and cone drills (5-10m between cones). Typically 1-2 speed/agility workouts a week, 15-30 min each.

Also, my lower back will often “tighten up” by the end of a workout…not to the point where it affects my running, but it’s definately tight and swollen for a few hours after the workout. Is this unavoidable because of the repeated amount of torque being placed on the region or do you think there’s a way to aleviate this? Specific stretching? Different shoes maybe? I weight 210-215lbs and know the average running shoe is designed for someone about 160lbs.

Thanks for doing this Q&A guys.

-Jeff
[/quote]

Jeff,

Without having seen your posture, I would venture a guess and say you probaly have an anteriorly tilted pelvis and hyper-lordotic posture. This is often very true with sprinters, as they have very strong psoas muscles. I would focus on stretching the psoas, erectors and hamstrings, while performing strengthening/motor control work for the abdominals and gluteals. Both our NNM and GYBIG articles would be of great benefit here. Hope this helps!

Stay strong
MR

[quote]super saiyan wrote:
I want to learn to do olympic lifts? Is it absolutely necessary to have someone coach you? Or can I safely learn to do them by reading and seeing pics? If so, is there a site you can recommend that has good video or pics to show proper form throughout the movement? Thanks.[/quote]

Sure, you can TRY to learn them by yourself, but it’s going to take a lot longer and you put yourself at an increased risk of injury. If I were you, I would either seek out a qualified coach or take a USAW coaching course so that you at least have a good idea of proper performance. If you absolutely can’t do this, I would at the very least purchase Jim Schmitz(?)'s videos on the Olympic lifts. Good luck!

Stay strong
MR

At my gym I have access to a hot tub, steam room, and sauna. Could you give any pointers to use these to help in recovery? Is one better than the other?

Thank you very much Eric and Mike for your responses!! If there is ever anything I can do for you guys don’t hesitate to ask! Mike I know your competing in PL meets. If you ever need me to pull a Tonya Harding on your competition, just ask;) In all seriousness, Thank you!
“Sancho”

[quote]super saiyan wrote:
I want to learn to do olympic lifts? Is it absolutely necessary to have someone coach you? Or can I safely learn to do them by reading and seeing pics? If so, is there a site you can recommend that has good video or pics to show proper form throughout the movement? Thanks.[/quote]

I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but it certainly makes things go a lot more smoothly and quickly. I have some stuff saved on my computer, too; if you’d like to take a look, shoot me a PM.

[quote]Ouster wrote:
Hi, I have a couple of questions about ligament and tendon strength training. It seems that muscular strength generally has the potential to increase more rapidly than ligament and tendon strength. I’ve read somewhere (in one of Tsatsouline’s books?) that the old time strongmen used to do heavy supports to build ligament and tendon strength. Taking this approach to its logical extension, isometrics would be a great method since the heaviest weight is one you cannot move.

Have you come across any solid research on how to build ligament and tendon strength?

How would you design a program that specifically improves ligament and tendon strength?[/quote]

This is about a two-hour muscle physiology lecture, but suffice it to say that programs designed to generate appreciable amounts of lactic acid will do the trick (some studies have found correlations between lactic acid and collagen synthesis). From a purely muscular standpoint, lower reps will more favorably influence the contractile elements and organization of the neuromuscular apparatus, whereas the higher rep stuff will have beneficial effects on the extracellular matrix and subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton. It kind of goes to show you that the line between purely structural and purely functional training is really somewhat blurry; you need healthy tendons and ligaments to be functional. This is especially true when you consider that some aspects of the cytoskeleton (e.g. costameres) are highly important in terms of providing lateral “tethering” to facilitate force transmission.

In the grand scheme of things, you can see programs to build ligament and tendon strength in rehabilitation settings: higher reps with less intensity. Longer eccentrics may prove valuable, too. Essentially, beginners need to start with this, and more experienced lifters need to incorporate some higher-rep work most of the year, especially if they’re really hammering on the heavy, low-rep stuff. I think it’s one of the reasons that a conjugated (e.g. Westside) or undulating (e.g. Waterbury) approach is so effective.

[quote]Soco wrote:
At my gym I have access to a hot tub, steam room, and sauna. Could you give any pointers to use these to help in recovery? Is one better than the other?[/quote]

I wouldn’t use any of the three immediately after training (which people often do). The sauna can be good immediately before training to help you get your body temperature up and prepare you for the session ahead. Use the hot tub as often as your schedule allows, especially on off-days and early in the morning if you’re feeling stiff or sore. Sauna and steam rooms are great for relaxation; hit 'em up whenever you’re tense or need to avoid getting tense in advance.

Nothing too exact on this front, but with relaxation/recovery implements, sometimes the unregimented strategy is the best one.

Kinda would be odd to “relax” by precisely alternating 5 minute cycles in the sauna and hot tub.

I’ll stick with it in on my two off days.

Thanks for the info.

  1. You wouldn’t happen to have any links to references relating to this subject, do you? This is a field I am highly interested in and a good friend of mine is trying to figure out his topic for his doctoral research.

He might be interested in this, but especially if he sees previous research protocol as a basis to set up his study.

  1. Along those lines, are you guys able to write a program for knee strength?

  2. In NNM V you wrote to do standing abductions with the leg because most people have inadequate strength ratios between the adductors and abductors:
    a) Is there an appropriate ratio you adhere to for your athletes?
    b) (To show my advanced knowledge in the field of anatomy) I thought the ITB / TFL served as an abductor for the leg. Based on this (I guess faulty) reasoning I found my ITB / TFL tight in comparison to the adductors and subsequently worked on tightening them while performing myofascial release with a foam roller on the ITB. Was I completely off here, or is just me?

  3. Other than the really common things, what are some not as specific things either you have seen in regards to muscular imbalance that have cause joint pain.

Thanks guys for anything you can throw at me. I feel when I start PT school up in a week that I will be much more advanced than my fellow students solely based on the knowledge y’all have imparted upon the T-Nation crowd.