Inside Cressey’s Head: Some Nuggets from EC’s Corrective Exercise Workshop

Inside Cressey’s Head:  Some Nuggets from EC’s Corrective Exercise Workshop

After 5+ years of following Eric Cressey’s work, I finally had the opportunity to see him present at a workshop – 5 minutes from where I live, no less. Needless to say it was worth the wait. Eric treated the course participants to an impressive 1-2 punch of top notch theory and some universally applicable assessment and corrective exercise techniques. The following are some selected knowledge bombs from EC’s “Nuts and Bolts of Corrective Exercise” course.

  • Structure dictates function and function dictates dysfunction.
  • Symmetry is important to a degree, but our bodies are not symmetrical by nature and we are also either right or left handed. This makes perfect symmetry nearly impossible.
  • What if a coach/trainer had 100 athletes and; 82 of them had disc bulges/herniations, 27 of them had vertebral fractures and 34 of them had rotator cuff tears? Is this the sign of a bad trainer or is it normal?
  • Studies have shown that over half of people that have bulged discs don’t have back pain.
  • Studies have shown similar results for people with rotator cuff tears.
  • Because many of these conditions remain “silent” until there is pain it is best to manage these potential pitfalls by helping the individual move efficiently through targeted mobility/strength and soft tissue work.
  • “Inefficiency” and” pathology” may not be the same thing. Correct the “inefficiency”, however and you will also correct the “pathology”.
  • A pragmatic training goal would be to re-distribute stress from an area of inefficiency.
  • Eric on bagging your head against the wall: Traditional medical model – patch up the wall and take some aspirin for the headache. The smart way – stop banging your head against the wall!
  • Active vs. Passive restraints: Passive restraints are; muscles, tendons and bone. Active restraints are; meniscus, labrum, and discs. Suboptimal passive restraint function (strength, flexibility, tissue quality) leads to stress on the active restraints.
  • Muscles operate on mobility/stability continuum. Some joints are typically too mobile (which provides poor force transfer) and include; the scapulae, lumbar spine and the shoulder joint.
  • Joints that are typically stiff (and thus provide poor force production): ankles, hips, thoracic spine, shoulder joint).
  • There are no “contraindicated exercises” just “contraindicated people”.
  • Ankle mobility is important as it keeps the heels down and spine neutral while squatting.
  • Poor ankle mobility forces the knee to become unstable.
  • The advent of ankle taping and high tops has undoubtedly contributed to higher incidences of ankle sprains.
  • Nike Shox are horrible – go with “Free” if you choose Nike.
  • Orthotics should be used sparingly. They can cause more harm than good by actually perpetuating structural deformities.
  • The knee is the bastard child of the ankle and hip.
  • Hip mobility is important as stiff hips can cause problems above and below (lower back and knees).
  • Common hip problems include; rotational deficits and hip flexor imbalances.
  • Core stability is important for resisting extension/rotation/flexion and maintaining posture.
  • Eliminate sit-ups, side bends and hyperextensions from your program!
  • Thoracic spine mobility is important for lower back and shoulder function, posture and respiratory function.
  • 100% of shoulder problems are related to scapular diskinesis (abnormal shoulder blade movement). Scapular problems are often the result of scapular winging and downward rotation.
  • Unstable surface training: Very effective for ankle rehab – craptacular for athletic enhancement.

For more information about Eric Cressey, I encourage you to check out his site, which is packed full of amazing information on performance.

Here is a list of books and/or products that Eric has published or co-authored.

Here is Eric’s upcoming seminar schedule.