Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday (Do You Really Have Tight Hammies?, T-Spine Mobility, and Dudes Eating Meat)

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1. When going through a simple movement screen with clients, one “test” that I like to do is to have them simply touch their toes (without bending their knees). For some (like myself), it’s easy. For others it’s a bit more arduous, and oftentimes they believe, falsely, the cause is hamstrings that are tighter than a camels ass in a sandstorm. WRONG. According to Gray Cook in his fantastic DVD Training the Backside of the Core, what these people typically lack is the ability to shift their weight and perform a proper hip hinge.

The reason their hamstrings feel tight is because they’re firing so that they don’t fall forward. If you’re a person who can touch his/her toes, to better understand, try performing the toe touch while leaning up against a wall. The wall will prevent you from being able to shift your weight, and thus you’ll “feel” your hamstrings fire. Simply put, we need to get out of the mindset of thinking about muscles and start thinking about patterns. Fix the pattern, and “stuff” generally clears up.

2. Just wanted to say thanks to all of my friends who treated me to a surprise birthday dinner last week which included an Optimus Prime cake. Awesomeness. And if you’re wondering, yes, I had a piece of it. And yes, it was glorious.

3. I often get a lot of requests in my t-nation training log to include more videos of mobility and/or dynamic flexibility drills that we have our clients do at Cressey Performance.

Exercise Name: Bent-Over T-Spine Rotation

Purpose: Thoracic spine mobility

Coaching Tips: Keeping a neutral spine, follow your palm as you “rotate” to one side, and then the other. All the motion should come from your mid-back, and NOT your lumbar spine.

Special Note: The exercise is apparently much more badass if you wear a ripped t-shirt while doing it.

4. I’m always telling people that in order to do well in this industry, you need to read and keep up with new information. Thing is, I started to realize I wasn’t following my own advice. Between helping to start a new business, moving, mending a broken heart (Jessica Alba got married…….DAMMIT), writing programs, and watching the new Harry Potter trailer repeatedly, I noticed I was spending less and less time reading.

I have a 35-40 minute commute to and from work, so I figured it was about time that I start using technology to my advantage. Long story short, I started listening to The Strength Coach Podcast on my iPod, and all I have to say is that Anthony Renna does a fantastic job with it. Really great stuff.

Note to Anthony: if you’re ever looking to have an extra guest on the show, my chest is always available. My abs are as well. But only on Tuesdays.

5. Saturday night, Eric Cressey and I met up with a few of our pro-baseball guys for a guys night of eating copious amounts of meat at Fire & Ice in Harvard Square.

It was great. We all drove there in our tanks, hung our cowboy hats and chainsaws on the coat rack, and then sat down for the next two hours and ate dead animal flesh. About the only thing more manly would be if we each had a stripper on our lap feeding us beef jerky while Barry White was playing in the background. *light bulb goes off* I’m on it!!!!

6. Just a little FYI. If you’re the type of person who complains that you have a weak glute medius, yet struggles to deadlift 185 lbs for one rep……Newsflash: you’re weak everywhere. Stop worrying about minutia and start lifting some heavy stuff. Conversely if you’re someone who has been struggling to lose fat and never eat breakfast…….Newsflash: Tony throws an ax into his face.

7. As the years have passed, the more I realize that troubleshooting is the name of the game. For instance, for the past few weeks I have noticed that my strength levels just haven’t been up to par. I had been struggling to come up with a logical reason; that is until Eric brought up a good point the other day. Our pro-guys have started their throwing programs, and more often than not, Eric and I are the one who are throwing with them.

Additionally, I’m constantly loading/un-loading plates for kids and walking around the facility all day coaching, so it stands to reason I’m expending a lot of energy without even knowing it. In short, NEPA (Non-Exercise Physical Activity) is a bitch, and is something that more people need to be cognizant of in regards to whether or not they’re getting in enough calories to support their training. Just some food for thought.

Which begs the question; how am I going to get more calories?

1. Start making my homemade protein bars from Gourmet Nutrition again, and use them as snacks.

2. Add olive oil/flax oil to my protein shakes.

3. Tell my mom to start sending me some meatloaf.

4. Bump up my carbs on training days (particularly during breakfast).

5. Tell one of the interns that they have to buy me lunch everyday.

6. Add more whole eggs to my omelets in the AM.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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