3 Warm Up Errors For The Shoulder

There are 3 warm up drills that I would change that I see young pitchers do…I think the problem is they think of overall movements too much and they don’t really think or know how the joint works. These 3 are really in response to the shoulder…

Questions are asked all the time about J-Bands and what do you think of with Crossover Symmetry? If you have broad disciplines…there are many things you can do with those disciplines. It boils down to who are you doing them with… and what kind of techniques are you doing while you are using them?

Problem with throwers is that they get really loose in the front and what happens over the course of time and you go into the layback over and over to throw as you develop more and more external rotation the ball will want to ride forward in the socket. So what happens is you acquire this anterior laxity in the and the ligaments in front of the shoulder have a little more give to them as you keep throwing and throwing.

This is one of reason why throwers need to take some time off through out the year to regain some of the anterior stability. This is why we are seeing more surgeries called anterior capsule plication. What that means is throwers get too loose in the front and they go in surgically and tighten that up.

The problem is in addition to throwing stretching somebody in external rotation or extension can create more glide forward in the bone in the socket. Beyond what we acquire from our throwing we can create more from our training. Be really cautious about whether we stretch the shoulder at all and if we do how do we actually do it. My thought is we should never stretch a shoulder into external rotation and never stretch the shoulder into humeral extension.


img_3420 Stretching into humeral extension…not good


All in all keeping the shoulder healthy is about keeping the ball and socket central. We tend to see a lot of guys grab their bands and stretch themselves into arms way back behind them (extension) and doing so the ball rides forward in the socket and creates laxity in the front. So stay away from anything behind your body. Likewise bringing your arms up in 90/90 degree angle stretching in that position is going to crank on the ball and socket into external rotation and create more anterior instability.

img_342190/90 External Rotation poor form

Second you are also putting medial stress on the elbow, which is called valgus stress. A lot of throwers have a carrying valgus elbow in which the elbow protrudes at the inner elbow in the shape of a triangle. That can lead to UCL injuries and other medial elbow pain. So we should add in things in our training or warm up that will exasperate that. We get enough of that from throwing so we need to make sure our pre throwing regimen caters to our needs. If we are really loose then we need more stable work and if we are really tight then we need to do more mobility exercises BUT they do need to be done correctly.

Core posture let’s say in the 90 degree position and we fall into more extension there what happens with the shoulder blades?

Many times in this position falling into extension in the lumbar spine while in external rotation we tend to crank down into depression therefore you cant upwardly rotate into a good arm slot. Awareness of your core positioning while you’re doing RTC stuff is very important.



If you must…90/90 in good form


What should you do instead? Turn around and face the bands…go into that 90/90 position and maintain centralization of the ball and socket while keeping active the correct position of your posture. Don’t fall into forward head position, lumbar extension. Maintain core engagement.




Hope this gives a better idea to maintain the centralization of the shoulder. Remember methods are many, but principles are few.








Early Sports Specialization Phenomenon

A study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences looked directly at the youth sports specialization issue. The study found that young athletes who competed in three sports at ages 11, 13, and 15 were significantly more likely to compete at an elite national level in their preferred sport than those who specialized in only one sport at the ages of 11, 13, and 15.

Why is this the case?

Emphasis on playing for select youth (10-15yrs) teams or winning games and tournaments may actually deter your child’s athletic development for the following reasons:

  1. 1)  Athletic development doesn’t occur during games, because players are often afraid to take chances or try new skills because a mistake may cost the team the game or a spot on the bench. In training, players have a chance to be creative, try new moves, and take risks. Soccer players in Europe and South America are often more skilled than those produced by our soccer system is that their programs emphasize training, skill development, and creativity, and focus less on playing game after game after game, tournament after tournament. A good analogy would be if your child’s math teacher were to limit actual teaching to one day out of the week and give tests the other four days.
  2. 2)  Playing on select teams or travel programs who are all about winning, creates an environment where player development often becomes secondary to the goal of winning. With the coach playing the “best” players in order to win. I’m all for fostering competition both in games and practices. But if you kid is sitting on the bench they are not developing their skills or gaining confidence. Furthermore, at the youth age level it is impossible to tell which kids will physically develop as they mature. You should not sacrifice long term goals or development for short term success. What makes an elite athlete great at the varsity, collegiate, and pro levels is very different then what makes a kid succeed in youth sporting leagues.
  3. 3)  Some studies suggest that sports specialization may actually lead to reduced motor skill development. Focusing on the motor skills needed for their sport but ignoring the motor skills developed through participation in multiple sports will reduce athletic development. For example, a child playing baseball will learn hand eye coordination but it will do little to teach the athlete proper footwork or agility.Early Sport Specialization can be Detrimental

Children who specialize in a single sport account for 50% of overuse injuries in young athletes according to pediatric orthopedic specialists.

A study by Ohio State University found that children who specialized early in a single sport led to higher rates of adult physical inactivity. Those who commit to one sport at a young age are often the first to quit, and suffer a lifetime of consequences.

Overuse Injury: In a study of 1200 youth athletes, Dr. Neeru Jayanthi of Loyola University found that early specialization in a single sport is one of the strongest predictors of injury. Athletes in the study who specialized were 70% to 93% more likely to be injured than children who played multiple sports!

Side note: want to know the fastest way to slow development in a youth athlete? It’s getting injured, and missing out on play, pick-up games, practice at a time when coordination and physical qualities are developing at a rapid pace as the youth athlete goes through puberty.

Burnout: Children who specialize early are at a far greater risk for burnout due to stress, decreased motivation and lack of enjoyment

Reduced Overall Skills and Ability: Research shows that early participation in multiple sports leads to better overall motor and athletic development, longer playing careers, increased ability to transfer sports skills other sports and increased motivation, ownership of the sports experience, and confidence. I’m sure everybody has witnessed an athlete that was just good at every sport they tried, from ping pong to football. I can almost guarantee that this athlete had played a variety of sports for fun/play as part of recess, gym, and recreation. When an athlete has a played a variety of games/sports, they have a large sample size of experiences to pull from to execute a maneuver. Fun games like tag, dodgeball, kickball, and Frisbee all have carry over to competitive sports like football, soccer, basketball, baseball. Again, the more movement skills the athlete has experienced the less they need to physically learn when playing a sport.

Smarter, More Creative Players: Multi-sport participation at the youngest ages yields better decision making and pattern recognition, as well as increased creativity. These are all qualities that coaches of high level teams look for.

Most College Athletes Come From a Multi-Sport Background: A 2013 American Medical Society for Sports Medicine survey found that 88% of college athletes surveyed participated in more than one sport as a child

10,000 Hours is not a Rule: In his survey of the scientific literature regarding sport specific practice in The Sports Gene, author David Epstein finds that most elite competitors require far less than 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Specifically, studies have shown that basketball

(4000), field hockey (4000) and wrestling (6000) all require far less than 10,000 hours. Even Anders Ericsson, the researcher credited with discovering the 10,000 hour rule, says the misrepresentation of his work, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers, ignores many of the elements that go into high-performance (genetics, coaching, opportunity, luck) and focuses on only one, deliberate practice. That, he says, is wrong.

Free Play Equals More Play: Early specialization ignores the importance of deliberate play/free play. Researchers found that activities which are intrinsically motivating, maximize fun and provide enjoyment are incredibly important. These are termed deliberate play (as opposed to deliberate practice, which are activities motivated by the goal of performance enhancement and not enjoyment). Deliberate play increases motor skills, emotional ability, and creativity. Children allowed deliberate play also tend spend more time engaged in a sport than athletes in structured training with a coach.

There are Many Paths to Mastery: A 2003 study on professional ice hockey players found that while most pros had spent 10,000 hours or more involved in sports prior to age 20, only 3000 of those hours were involved in hockey specific deliberate practice (and only 450 of those hours were prior to age 12).

Parenting and Youth Sports

Many parents feel tremendous pressure from youth coaches, other parents, and finances, to pick a sport and stick with it. So, what is a parent to do when confronted with statistics like these and a child that only wants to play a single sport?

If your child is young, say under the age of 13, most experts believe it is crucial to participate in more than one sport. When I get parents of 8 year olds who tell me “My son only likes soccer,” I say “how do you know, what else has he done?” Maybe he has never tried basketball, or he tried and had a bad coach or bad teammates. Do not be afraid to try again, because playing basketball can help him become a better soccer player through increased agility, balance, coordination and pattern awareness.

The more sports a child is introduced to, the better chance he has of finding the one he is passionate about, taking ownership of it, and becoming a high-performer in it. There is nothing wrong with a parent of a young athlete asking their child to try something, and if it does not work out, then so be it. The problem with early specialization is that many kids who have only played a single sport, at age 13 or so, say “I want to try something else.”

If your child wants to play at the next level (and you want them to), would it not be better to have a multi sport athlete decide to specialize in high school, instead of a one sport athlete who then decides to play multiple sports in high school? That is why athletes should diversify early. Explain to them how it helps them in their sport of choice. You will develop a better all around athlete, and potentially help a child appreciate his first sport, his coach and his team even more.

A young child certainly does not need to participate in elite level competition in multiple sports. Far too many well intentioned parents, in trying to ensure their child is not a single sport specialist, turn him into a multi-sport specialist, with swimming at 6am, soccer at 4pm and basketball at 7pm. I think one organized sport per season, especially for kids 10 and under (an age I selected, not researched based) is entirely appropriate. Remember overuse is the number one cause of injury in youth athletics. And injury is the fastest way to make an athlete less athletic.

By late middle school and high school (again, my opinion), I think many athletes are mature enough, educated enough, and capable of having high aspirations and ambitions in a singular sport, and thus may choose to participate in only one organized sport. They may have jobs, significant others, musical or artistic pursuits, or a social life that only allows time for one high level sport. I think it is important that coaches, athletic directors, and parents ask these kids what their goals and ambitions are, instead of trying to determine them for them.

This does not mean these athletes should not be encouraged to pursue other athletic interests in a casual, fun ways. Free play is a way to refresh the body and mind from high level competition. High school level sports are hard and a timely commitment, and are not for every athlete. We can

respect their decision to only play one sport while helping them periodize their specialty sport training.

People point to the Lionel Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s of the soccer world as examples of people who only played soccer from a young age. This may be true, but they ignore three crucial points:

  •   Many of Ronaldo and Messi’s early hours in the game consisted of free, deliberate play. In free play, kids play multiple positions, and focus solely upon the enjoyment and fun of the sport. They are allowed to be creative, play fearlessly, and rely solely upon themselves for the motivation to pursue the sport. This is exactly the opposite of structured, organized training with a long term goal in mind, and has been scientifically shown to yield better overall athleticism.
  •   Messi, Ronaldo and other high level soccer players were brought into the youth setup of very high level soccer organizations at a young age. These clubs, such as La Masia at FC Barcelona, have dozens of full time staff attending to the needs of only 300 athletes. They have coaches, physicians, physiologists, nutritionists, chefs, psychologists, academic tutors, and more. Every need is attended to, from proper training to medical attention to school to nutrition to rest. We have nothing similar in the United States, so to argue that we just need better educated coaches and then kids can specialize, because they do overseas, is comparing apples to oranges.
  •   There are a huge number of professional athletes that were multiple sport participants growing up. I recently read Ethan Skolnick and Dr. Andrea Corn’s Raising Your Game: Over 100 Accomplished Athletes Help You Guide Your Girls and Boys Through Sports, which interviews over current and former professional athletes, from Lebron James to Steve Nash to Brett Hull. The common link: they all played multiple sports. I high recommend this book if you are on the fence on this subject, as it will give you a lot of reassurance that multi-sport participation and elite performance are not mutually exclusive.


Here are 6 ways adults take the enjoyment out of sports:
1. Parents coaching from the sideline: When I travel and speak at schools and sports organizations, I often talk to the athletes. When asked, “what would you like your parents to say on the sidelines during your games?” 99% of those kids respond immediately with a resounding “NOTHING!” No athlete has ever told me “I love when my parents tell me what to do” or “it’s great when my dad yells at the referee.”

Here is the funny thing, though. When I ask audiences of parents “what do your kids want you to say on the sideline” they immediately respond “NOTHING!” as well. They know what their kids want, but here is the kicker. I ask “but what are you going to do this weekend at your kid’s’ games?” The answer for many parents, as we all know, is yell instructions, disrespect the officials, collectively groan when kids make mistakes, and pretty much do exactly the opposite of what our kids want. The next time you see a player turn to the sideline and yell “shut up, I got it” you should probably take their advice. Watch this video and you’ll understand what I mean.

2. Yelling instructions while the ball is rolling: Any adult giving instruction to a player involved in the play, under pressure, and trying to make the decisions that the game requires, is confusing. It is also scientifically proven to diminish performance (see the book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman for more on this). As my friend Tom Statham, who has coached in the Manchester United youth set up for over 20 years, is fond of saying, “we don’t coach when the ball is rolling.” Let players make decisions and let them learn from both the good and bad ones. Every time we solve a problem for a player in a game we delay learning. It’s better to ask after the play “where could you have been on that play” than to tell a kid to pinch in, get rid of it, or my favorite, “SHOOT!” If a teacher gave your kids the answers to the math test, they would get a good result, and learn nothing, right? That’s what many coaches and parents do in sports.

3. Disrespecting officials: We teach our kids to respect authority figures, from teachers to parents to coaches and yes, referees and officials. Then as soon as that official makes a disagreeable call, we lose the plot. We yell, scream, lose our cool, and then wonder why kids do the same. We ride an official and then admonish a player who gets a card or technical foul for dissent. It is especially confusing to a kid when the official object of the adults’ scorn is only a few years older than he or she is. Next time you see parents screaming at a 12-year-old linesman, look at the reactions of the kids on the field. Please, be consistent in what we ask our kids because they will do not as you say, but as you do.

4. Parents questioning the coach: When parents question coaching decisions, player positions, playing time, tactics, and more, they undermine a coach’s authority, and the players respect for that coach. You teach your kids to question everything a coach tells them, and this makes them indecisive come game time. It also takes their focus off things they can control, like their attitude, their effort, and their focus, and turns it towards uncontrollable like coaching decisions. Yes, your child might have a coach that sees things differently than you do, but so what? If you really know that much more than the coach, you should coach. If you do not have the time or energy to do so, then be thankful someone does and support that person.

5. Commenting on Their Teammates’ Play: An athlete’s teammates are very likely their friends as well. When a parent tries to make her daughter feel better by saying “I don’t know why Jenny always gets to play forward instead of you, she gives the ball away too much” it is very uncomfortable for her child. When a coach makes disparaging comments on the bench about a player on the field, when you put your substitutes in, the only thing they are thinking is “what is he saying about me right now?” You are talking behind the back of their friend and you are destroying the critical trust that teammates need in each other and their coach. Keep your thoughts to yourself.

6. Making the ride home/post game talk a “teachable moment:” Ah yes, the ride home, kids’ least favorite memory in sports. Every time I ask a room full of student athletes to tell me about the ride home, the collective eye roll is enough to cause a small earthquake. Most kids tell me that they don’t mind some feedback from mom and dad (if

they actually know what they are talking about) but very few actually like it on the ride home.

The feeling is mutual about criticism from an angry coach immediately after a tough loss. Kids feel post-game speeches are often focused on what was wrong, and not what went right. They are emotionally and physically exhausted, and they just want to get onto the next thing. If you think about it, there is not much that has to be said immediately after a game that cannot be said before the next practice, or in the hotel that night, when the emotional component has eased.

What should parents do about it?

There is an easy solution to this, believe it or not. Ready for it?



Why should you ask these question? Because it works! If you don’t think so, ask yourself “why do kids play so many hours of video games?” It’s because the video game makers ask kids what will make you play more, and then they give it to them! It’s because they take user input and make the next version better than the last by implementing user suggestions. If parents and coaches took a moment to ask their athletes “what could we do more of so you would want to play more,” and then we implemented some of their suggestions, great things would happen. Kids would take ownership of the experience. Parents would let their kids go, and show respect to their kids, the coaches, and the officials. Coaches would have teams full of more self-motivated, hardworking, and fearless players. We would return more joy to sports, and that sounds pretty good to me.

ACLs And Why They Tear


The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) … we all have heard the term and recognize it the most when we see an athlete go down holding the knee.

200,00 athletes tear their ACL every year. That number was recorded some 5+ years ago and it still hasn’t changed to date. And still amongst those numbers a 9:1 ratio of ACL tears belong to females than males.

The age range varies amongst this excruciating tear but the most common sufferers range between 15-45 y/o with (Griffin, 2000 & Chapman, 2001) stating the focus was on youth athletics being the culprit.

Most oftentimes, a greater number of ACL injuries reside in non-contact situations. This is most likely due to factors such as pattern overload and compensation and also insufficient strength and stability. Poor movement in the participation of sport requirements also come into play.

The lesser degree tears are contact injuries where an external force causes the ACL to snap. Football, soccer, rugby come to mind.

These sports represent the higher risk to ACL injuries with contact or not: basketball, soccer, football and skiing.


We Must Ask Why Do ACL Tears Occur?

The Female Target

The first assessment area to focus on is the Q angle.

The Q angle is quite evident in wide hips or the outside width of the pelvis. From there look and measure if need be to identify the line straight down to the floor from the outside hip or outer pelvis and then remeasure from the starting point to the knee. The distance between the 2 lines is the Q angle measurement.

Women either naturally and/or from giving childbirth have an average Q angle of 11-15 degrees which is 4-5 degrees greater than males. This position adducts the femur and makes the pathway for a vagus knee (see below) to occur and lead to an all tear.

The second factor to mention is this… we tend to just think of quadricep dominance to be all about females. All athletes at some point in time over compensate through the quads because they have learned to fire the posterior chain. There are other factors to discuss here but that goes beyond this blog today. But getting the glutes to activate and be dominant force is key. Get this we have less stress on the knee.

Lastly, the menstrual cycle monthly visit reads havoc on the ligamentous system and therefore causes laxity in various regions in the body that increase risk to ACL tears.


Knee Valgus Angle

A knee valgus angle is defined by the angle formed at the knee joint and you get “knocked knees”.

When athletes are not trained correctly and/or do not have the proper body awareness during functional and sports specific movements, increased knee valgus angles at the knee are common causing significant amounts of stress on the ACL. (Hewett et al, 2006)


Early Specialization In Youth Athletics

One of my favorite sayings is, “We can thank the club sports in the world for destroying young athletes.” Why is this so? Back in the day it was an absolute accomplishment to be a 2-3 sport athlete in high school. And as youth athletes we were well rounded by playing a number of sports throughout the year. This indeed developed the whole athlete. A good athlete.

Nowadays,  early specialization equals lack of overall skill development with basic human movements…which in the end we have undeveloped, under-prepared bodies who are over-exposed to one sport they play.

If coaches and parents won’t allow full exposure to developmental movements then inevitably those little athletes will endure more physiological stressors that use to only happen soon the collegiate and professional level. That is why you have so many injuries with kids these days with extreme sprains and tears to tommy john surgeries and UCL complications from throwing sports. Let them participate in multi sports over the year instead of demanding they play one sport as if they are a professional already. What you put them through today will most certainly be borrowed from their tomorrow.


Poor Technique and Lack of Muscular Activation/Strength 

One cannot stress the value and need for proper technique with all sports specific movements and the developmental process of building a strength in all musculature groups important for their given sport.

It is common to see several athletes on a field or court performing sports specific movements with poor form…a lot.

Take the time to work on balance, coordination, mobility, strength and stability to with your athletes to decrease risk of injury and elevate their level of performance. That is high performance training. You do this you have less punishing suicides and gassers because they are not performing to ‘your standard’  and less injuries to boot. Killing 2 with one stone lol.


Balance and Proprioception Deficits

Balance is defined by the ability for an athlete to maintain stability and control during sports specific and functional movements. Proprioception is the ability for an athlete to understand where the body is in space during a given time both on and off the field.

If you have these one will be better able to demonstrate control in practice and competition.



The best action is prevention and develop your these young kids to be well rounded from the start and as time goes by let them pave their legacy.

Train Like A Pro?

train like a warrior. a navy SEAL. a spartan

train like a linebacker. like a fireman. like a professional.

train like your life depends on it.

the thing i notice most about the individuals who write such things is how rarely any of them are actually professionals – and how few professionals they actually train.

what i am trying to say is that you probably shouldn’t train like a professional – and if you are actually a professional than i assume you are also well versed at identifying internet advice that you would be better off ignoring.

i have said it a million times – training is nothing but a nudge in a direction, it is a step – think of it like directions on a map: your goal is located 134 miles north/northwest. training is the path you take to get there. rarely do any of us take the straight path, and depending on the “terrain” that might not even be the fastest or easiest way to get there. the point of this thought process is to always remember that while someone else’s training can teach you how to approach an obstacle, blindly following directions without understanding the differences in starting place and goals will probably just get you lost, maybe worse.

true professionals are at the sharp end. they have put in the work and (in most cases) physical improvements are becoming incredibly specific and expensive. for the few actual professionals i have trained the gym has a different purpose than most – they are here to be better students for their other coaches. they are here to stay off the injured list, to balance out the side effects of all their technical practice. they are here for fine adjustments, for sand paper – not sledge hammers.

being an amateur is a stage, not a judgement. in general it means that coarse tools are still useful and that the timeline isn’t so demanding – that you can afford to take a winding path, to explore and enjoy the process. as an amateur the benefit of wandering off a path, of trying something new is often worth the time and energy expended. a perpetual amateur is simply someone who is focused more on the journey then the destination – someone who would rather explore a bunch of foothills than summit a single peak. and for those who’s goal is to be the best one day – to reach that summit: recognizing and acting on the fact that you are an amateur will actually be the quickest way to not be an amateur anymore.

being a professional is just a reference of how important the outcome is. if your life or livelihood is dependent on your physical fitness then i am not very concerned with how much you enjoy the training. you can be happy on the podium. look cool at the finish line. you get to come home alive. as an amateur the goal is to learn and to explore. to make mistakes and to find out if this is even the correct path. sure, the goal is to improve – but generally the main goal is to improve in a realm only tangentially related to the task at hand. it is the difference between an intern and a mercenary, and should be approached accordingly.

Cramping? I Got Your Juice

Muscle cramps can bring even the strongest athlete to his or her knees. There are a number of theories as to what causes cramps but we never really get a lot of answers to why they happen.


But to quickly jump to what seems to be working, here is the answer to your cramp issue… Pickle Juice.


Pickle juice.




Most experts think it’s the vinegar.

It seems as though vinegar pulls sodium and calcium together to eliminate cramping.

Bring a small amount of pickle juice with you on your next training session (2 ounces is usually enough).

Mustard contains vinegar in smaller, but potentially effective amounts as well. However, it has not been as well studied as pickle juice. Packets of yellow and honey mustard are portable on the trail or road, and often easier to consume than pickle juice. Mustard has up to 100 milligrams of sodium per packet and also contains turmeric, which is helpful for muscle soreness and inflammation.


Beyond the cramps, pickle juice and mustard provide other benefits for athletes:

Sodium: Adequate intake can improve hydration and reduce cramping, at least in practice. Just 1 tablespoon of mustard has 200 milligrams sodium and 2 ounces pickle juice has more than 400 milligrams sodium. Just 2 ounces of the pickle juice sports drink has about 225 milligrams sodium.

Glycogen Replenishment: Vinegar, which is chemically known as acetic acid, can provide the acetyl group. This is a fundamental building block for the Krebs Cycle and helps to metabolize carbohydrates and fat to produce energy and ATP for cells.

If you’re prone to cramps bring a bottle of pickle juice or packet of mustard to your next training session or race. Consume them at the first sign of cramps and you might be able to keep training or racing and full speed.

You Won’t Lose Your Coat Of Fat If….

1) You’re Eating Too Many Calories

This should be pretty obvious to most people, but there are still those who are claiming that you can eat all you want as long as you avoid carbs.

That’s just not true. At the end of the day you need to eat less. It’s really that simple.

If you’re eating the right amount of healthy food it would be hard NOT to lose fat. Most people eat way more than they think they do.

Eating less is challenging. That’s why most people look for another answer. Consuming just 2500 calories per day requires some discipline. But then so does anything else worthwhile that you’d want to accomplish.

When you’re not losing fat the way you want to the solution is pretty simple. Eat less food.


2) You’re Not Eating Enough Calories

So this too is obvious but people omit this information or are in denial. Some people diet too hard and in turn basically shut off their metabolism.

When you cut calories too low your thyroid will shut down and losing fat will become very difficult. One easy way to monitor this is by taking your temperature when you wake up. If it starts dipping way below normal you’ll know you’ve royally ‘bleeped’ your metabolism.

At that point the best thing you can do is crank your calories through the roof for a while. Nothing else will help. Unfortunately, this may be a very long process of eating your way back to a steady 98.6 degree temperature. But you’ll be a lot healthier in the long run for it.


3) You’re Looking for the Quick Fix or Latest Celeb Diet

How long did it take you to get fat? How much time and effort went into it? How many shitty meals did you have to eat and how many training sessions did you have to miss?

Add all that up and you’ll get an estimate of how long it’s going to take you to lose that fat.

There are no quick fixes. That kind of crap doesn’t work and you always rebound and gain the fat back later. The only thing that works is a complete lifestyle change.

Eating healthy has to become habitual. It’s something you do every day without thinking about it or frantically counting and weighing all day some kind of neurotic lunatic.

You have to accept that eating a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat is where it’s at. No foods are solely responsible for fat gain. And there is no food that will magically make the fat fall of your body.


4) You’re Eating Too Much Fat

Speaking of trendy diets…

Some people buy into the no carb crap. They cut carbs and assume that they’re good to go and there’s nothing else to worry about. Unfortunately, the low/no carb diet isn’t as much fun as Dr. Atkins made it out to be.

You can’t just eat pounds of bacon and mayonnaise with reckless abandon and think that you’ll magically end up ripped.

Fat contains calories; nine per gram to be exact. That’s more than twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbs. At the end of the day total calories still matter, and if you’re eating more than you burn you’re never going to get ripped.

Please don’t mistake this as my advocating a low fat diet. That’s just as bad as eating too much fat.

About 20% of your calories (and at the most, 30%) should come from healthy fats like pastured egg yolks, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and coconut oil to ensure optimal health. Just be careful about going overboard with it and thinking that low carbs automatically leads to single digit body-fat.

You still need to keep a handle on things like total calories.

And carbs are NOT evil. They help you lose fat, feel better and perform optimally.


5) You’re Drinking Too Many Protein Shakes

When you want to get ripped it’s always better to chew as many of your calories as possible. The very act of chewing and digesting solid food burns more calories than drinking shakes does. Most physique competitors cut out shakes when getting ready for a show. Take note and learn the lesson. One small one after a workout is okay but that’s it. I wouldn’t be slugging down three a day. And if you really want to get ripped I strongly consider cutting them out completely.


6) You’re Eating Too Many Nuts

Nuts have a lot of calories that can add up quickly. When dieting for fat loss you’re better off filling up on nutritionally dense foods that don’t pack a lot of calories, like green vegetables.

Not too many people can eat ten almonds. And that’s about the most you’d be allowed per day on a fat loss diet. Most people eat ten handfuls of almonds. That can easily put you over your daily calorie and fat limit.

Nuts can also be problematic/allergenic for a lot of people, especially those with digestive or auto immune issues. As Paleo Solution author Robb Wolf has noted, nuts should be used the same way you use condiments- sparingly.

The last problem with nuts it that they contain a lot of polyunsaturated fat. People get into trouble when they have too much Omega 6 in their diet and not enough Omega 3. Saturated fat is usually better for improving your metabolism than unsaturated fat.


7) You’re Not Training With Enough Resistance

When you want to lose body-fat the first inclination is often to crank up the reps and cut the rest periods. I actually have no problem with fairly low rest periods.

But not if you’re used to resting two minutes between sets and all of the sudden cut them down to thirty seconds because you decided it was time to get shredded you’ll be in trouble.

That never works. All that happens is your weights start plummeting on every exercise and you get weaker and smaller.

When dieting, the primary role of strength training is to maintain muscle mass. That is the single most important thing.

If you’re trying to lose 10-20 pounds of body-fat without losing all your muscle mass in the process you should use strength training as a way to maintain size and strength. So the same principles that helped you get big and strong apply when dieting.


8) You’re Overdoing Cardio

Traditional forms of cardio are largely useless for fat loss.

But useless is even okay, it’s when it starts to be counterproductive that we have a real problem. Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems.

If you want to do cardio that won’t actually hurt you and could do you some good, go for a long walk.

Sled work builds muscle, burns fat and is irreplaceable.


9) You’re Not Running Sprints or Doing Sled Work

Dieting is the most important thing for fat loss.

After that you should be doing some form of strength training to maintain your muscle mass. When you have those to things dialed in you’ll want to add in some type of sprinting or sled work. There is nothing more effective for fat loss.

See all wide receivers, defensive backs, sprinters, soccer players, etc. for proof. Two 12-20 minute sprint or sled sessions per week will be enough for most people to get ripped.


10) You’re Not Managing Stress Properly

When you get stressed out your body produces a hormone known as cortisol. This increases bodyfat storage if it’s not controlled. Most people are stressed out all day long which means their cortisol levels are always high. That leads to an increase in bodyfat even if your diet and training are perfect.

So make sure to take the time for stress management every single day. It HAS to be built into your routine the same way that brushing your teeth or eating is. It’s that important.

In the hierarchy of fat loss stress management may actually be the single most important factor.

Here are some good ways to manage your stress:


Keep a gratitude journal

Get a pet

Learn to say no

Don’t feel the need to reply to every text, email, phone call, tweet or comment you receive

Cut out the negative people in your life

Get rid of your to-do list

Spend more time outside

Make time for laughter every day

Schedule more fun stuff with friends


Stop watching the evening news

Listen to relaxing music

Get regular massages

Take yoga

Stress management is an essential key to fat loss.


11) You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol goes up. Both things lead to less than optimal fat loss. In fact, sleep deprivation can actually lead to fat gain.

You also miss out on the critically important Growth Hormone boost that comes each night during deep sleep. If you want to lose more fat you have to get more sleep. Most people will ignore this and some of you are probably reading this at 2am.

Unfortunately this just might be the most important thing on the whole list.

Some tips to improve your sleep are:

Get outside in natural light for 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning.

Work out earlier in the day.

Don’t have caffeine after 12pm.

Turn the lights down in your house after dark.

Don’t look at phone or computer screens two hours before bed.

Remove electronics from the bedroom.

Use the bed only for sleep and sex.

Make your bedroom as dark as possible.

Invest in a really good bed. You spend 1/3 of your life in bed. So it’s worth investing in the best bed you can afford.

Keep the bedroom cool. 68 degrees seems to be about right for most people.

More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority.


12) You’re Not Sticking to the Plan

In the age of information overload the biggest roadblock to fat loss is program ADD. One week you’re doing high fat, the next week you’re doing high carbs, then no cardio, followed by cardio every day, and on and on.

Fat loss is a simple science. There is a proven path that works. You just have to stick with it long enough to see results. The most you can lose is about two pounds of fat per week. Unless you’re over 300 pounds. In that case you’ll lose more. If you’re leaner you’ll be able to lose less. Nothing you can do will change that. It’s human physiology.

Field athletes are the leanest people on earth. What do they do each week:

Eat protein, vegetables, fruit and starch every day

Never go too low on carbs

Strength train 3-4 times

Sprint or do some kind of high intensity interval training 1-3 times

Expend more calories than they consume

Manage stress



The last thing I’d add is to simply walk more. Get a FitBit or use the Health app on your iPhone and shoot for 10,000 steps per day.

Don’t sit when you can stand, and build movement into your daily routine. A sedentary life equals death.

It’s a simple plan, easy to follow, and it works. Forget the quick fixes and make it a lifestyle.


Best of Luck!


Metabolism And Your 5% Genetic Influence


You no doubt hear a lot about metabolism and know that it is somehow tied to your weight loss or lack of it or even for hard gainers who can’t gain weight, but do you really understand it?

Well, here is your NP crash course in metabolism…

What is Metabolism?
Basically, metabolism is the process by which your body breaks down fats, proteins and carbohydrates to produce the energy you need to survive. This energy is used to aid in digestion, nutrient absorption, tissue repair, physical movement and general maintenance of all of your organs and systems.

Bottom line: without metabolism, you would die.

Metabolic Rate: Are Your Parents To Blame?
Now that we have established everyone has a metabolism, it’s time to think about metabolic rate. This is where we start to see differences from person to person…

I almost have this discussion repeatedly and it is a question a person just cannot wrap the answer in their head.

Simply put, the rate of your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns the calories that you take in. So the higher your metabolism rate is, the more calories you will burn on a daily basis.

People often think that their metabolism rate is rooted in their genetic makeup and is out of their control. Unfortunately, this thinking can lead to a laissez-faire or fatalistic attitude that reasons, “I’m overweight because of my genes, therefore I can’t do anything about it.”

PEOPLE! The truth is that your genetic makeup only accounts for about 5% of your metabolic rate!

Therefore, no matter what your current weight or what genes your parents passed along to you, you are not a prisoner to the rate at which your body burns calories.

The other thing to ask yourself is:

“Are the members in my family (who are) overweight because of their genetics or because they eat like crap and don’t exercise?”

How to increase your Metabolism
So the million dollar question is: “Can I increase my metabolic rate?”

And the million dollar answer is: Yes!

You can ramp up your body’s calorie burn. Here are some easy ways to change your metabolism just in time for spring:

1. Lift weights. Exercise is great for increasing metabolism. But you can’t exercise all the time. That’s okay; you don’t need to! When you lift weights, you create micro tears in your muscles that require energy to repair. This is called ‘after burn,’ and it refers to the increase in metabolism that occurs for 24 hours or more after you have had an intense weight lifting session. It’s a great way to keep burning calories long after you have left the gym! By the way, the high-intensity interval training formats we use at The Transformation Club been shown to be the very best way to burn calories with the ‘afterburn’ effect…

2. Don’t skip meals. It is a common misconception that skipping meals will help you lose weight. In fact, it will have just the opposite effect. If you do not give your body the calories it needs, it will think that you are literally starving. Your body’s response to starvation is to slow metabolism, conserve energy and store fat. This is the opposite of what you want to happen in order to lose weight. The number of meals per day will vary from individual to individual (4 is what we see work most often)– find what works for you and stick with it.

3. Drink water. Such a simple thing to do, but drinking about a pint of cold water may speed up your metabolism by 30% for up to an hour. The key thing to focus on with water is getting enough each day. We recommend 1 ounce for at least ½ your bodyweight; in other words, if I weigh 200 pounds, I should drink 100 ounces of water per day. Water is CRITICAL for digestion & metabolism. Drink up!

4. Eat breakfast and include protein. By eating breakfast, you kick start your metabolism for the day. Your metabolism remains sluggish from the time you get up until the first meal of the day. If you wait until lunch to have your first food, you will have lost several hours to a slow metabolism. Including protein with breakfast is smart because protein requires more energy to digest than do fats and carbohydrates. The more energy your body expends, the more calories you will burn.

*Note: there is evidence to suggest that delaying breakfast (intermittent fasting) may put your body in a better fat burning state hormonally, however, more often than not, people (especially women) tend to do best when they have breakfast in the morning. Weight loss studies continue to show this.

5. Don’t overdo the cardio. Too much cardio can actually burn muscle tissue, and the less muscle you have the slower your metabolism. If you choose to do cardio, be sure to do intervals in which you alternate between periods of higher and lower intensity. Low intensity cardio like walking your dog is also great. It’s actually the moderate, long duration intensity (thinking jogging for an hour) that’s actually the worst for you, but that’s another article entirely…
The take away for you is this…

You are not a slave to your metabolism: YOU are in control. Follow these tips to ramp up your calorie burn and drop those extra pounds before spring!

Prone Barbell Row

What Does It Do: This is an excellent exercise that tags the upper back, specifically the (lower) lats. The exercise lends itself to taking away “body shifts” and forces the lifter to place a premium on technique and really recruits the lats to fire up.


Key Coaching Cues:


Be sure you use a set-up that allows you to fully extend (straighten out) your arms. The should be enough room for the shoulder blades to move around the thorax/rib cage.

Squeeze the glutes, engage the abs. This will help prevent any hyper-extension of the lumbar spine.

Try to keep the neck packed (make a double chin).

Think about pulling your elbows towards the hips. The barbell will more or less be in line with your belly button.

Pull barbell all the way up until barbell touches the bench. If you find that that position places you in too much glenohumeral extension (shoulders roll forward), you can add a fat pad to the barbell to help lessen the ROM.

Progression would be to eventually lift the legs off the bench, via the glutes (hip extension).

Perform for sets of 8-10 repetitions.

The Tommy John Epedemic

It’s happening. And youth elbows are increasingly wearing down. I believe the cause of the increase in Tommy John surgeries is multi-factoral. Honestly, there are no more ‘normal elbows’ anymore because of the youth sports scene and what it has become. You will either see low level calcification on the UCL, spurring, you see a lot of signs of wear and tear and this comes from playing year round, being less prepared in season… there is just more specialized training, etc.. Listen really it’s pure physics…if you throw hard there are going to be more injuries. You won’t have a hamstring injury if you don’t run fast. We are also seeing an increase from years ago in pitchers throwing sliders, cutters, which lead to a higher incidence of elbow problems.


At the same time we’ve gotten better with diagnostics these last few years and we have found that surgeries can help as opposed to guys having to walk away from the game. So therefore, this too, is a reason why more surgeries are being performed.

I think that good training can improve and reduce injuries, but really I think the important thing to look at is the long term athletic development model. Here is an example:

Florida is a poor model given that the baseball kids start up January 2nd which is about 2 months earlier than the rest of the country (besides maybe AZ). They continue on through May as the rest of nation does. Most continue on after high school ball right into summer ball. So Florida baseball players technically have from October or even November till Jan 1 off. That’s not a lot of time away from the game. Whereas, here in Colorado kids start March or mid March and move through that same path. Though we are done by October. Though with the early specialization bug there are enough facilities that give opportunity to continue on as opposed to participating in another sport for full development of the whole athlete.

Of the kids I see today in 2016 and the kids I saw back in 2007 are markedly less athletic. They’ve been dramatically detrained and then we throw them in the most specialized sport on the earth. That’s why they are falling apart.

I have to say there are kids who are going to do it the right way and do well and then there are kids who are blessed with an elite arm who do things horribly wrong, but somehow manage to still get to a high level and figure it out.

Sometimes, and I’ve seen this because I have several athletes I work with, who will go down a path less traveled and decide not to play with their buddies in a bunch of games and and choose to train, learn recovery skills and at one point was clocked throwing 89-91mph and goes to throw in his first scrimmage and clocks throwing 97mph… that’s setting a good mark for being a draft choice there.

Thinking safety instead of every tournament and showcase year round is key. You can choose to work on full development, understanding your own unique body, re-establish the differences between pre-season, in-season and off-season and really take care of your arm, in this case throwers.

For me as a performance coach the importance should be placed arm care, strength and recovery methods. They do so much already that I think adding in some recoup is indicated.

Metabolic Disturbance Done Right

I have been educating in fitness for over 10 years. Over that span, I have noticed an interesting trend in the fitness industry: the more “extreme” or “intense” something is, the more attractive it seems to be.

When the “aerobics” movement was created in the late 60’s, it was about moving and having fun. There was a sense of camaraderie and although the training could be intense, the goals were clearly to lose weight, in particular fat. As the classes advanced each decade from the 70’s until present day, there became an inverse relationship between the focus on results and the intensity of training. Classes became more intense, less “fun” and people lost sight of why they were really exercising in the first place.

Today, although most people would state that their main fitness goals are still to lose fat or build muscle and strength, I believe that we have begun to value how “intense” or “extreme” a program (or energy drink) is more than the results it can produce. In addition to that, safety and injury prevention are rarely addressed and commonly sacrificed for intensity.

Metabolic aka High Intensity Training is one of the hottest fitness trends. In fact, this style of training has become the new “revolution” of the fitness industry. Today, this style of training is moving from the gym to the sports field and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, the only way most people measure the effectiveness of this style is in either pain or fatigue. With millions of people are becoming aware of and experimenting with intense and extreme styles of training, it is time to make sure some rules are in place. One goal of NP is to deliver some guidelines to make sure you produce a more effective session.

5 Principles to Insure Safer and Effective Metabolic Training

1. Technique should not be sacrificed for intensity

No matter how hard you think you are working, there is no excuse to use terrible form. If the goal is to burn fat or build muscle, there is nothing to support the risk of injury as a result of the wrong dosage of exercise that results in horrendous technique. Make sure technique stays tight.

2. Fatigue or soreness should not be confused with being productive

Just because you are wiped out doesn’t mean you are doing the right thing. Concepts like “No Pain, No Gain” have been so ingrained into us that a common goal in training is complete exhaustion. I say this is “No Pain, No Brain.” Instead of the search of fatigue, using the right dosage reminds us that we should be on a search for results. Yes, training may produce soreness and fatigue, but that is not your goal.

3. Recovery should be the first thing built into any program

You do not get better during training, you get better when you are recovering from it. During that recovery from metabolic training, muscles are built and fat is lost. Recovery, therefore, is not doing nothing, it is doing the most important thing: making gains. You must plan the proper amount of recovery in between sets and circuits as well as in between training sessions. See overtraining as nothing more than an overdose.

4. Proficiency in exercise technique is paramount

People like to do new exercises. The trouble is that most people have not spent the repetitions on that exercise to earn the right to place it into their training. Just because an exercise is added to a circuit is not an excuse to have never practiced it or terrible at performing it. Actually, a good rule of thumb is that exercises added to a circuit should be ones you are the best at, not the worst.

5. Select appropriate exercises and correct weights

Adding too much weight or unrealistic exercises does not make you tougher, it makes you careless. Too much weight can also make you slower and remove the whole purpose behind metabolic training, which is to used speed and power to create disturbance. Make sure you select the correct exercises and weights. This will insure good, safe training.

Now there are a few very poor reasons that people choose when implementing metabolic training…and a lot of the reason is the “I’m gonna smash you” mentality. Trust me this does not deliver the results that are sought out.

There are really 3 Purposeful Reasons for Metabolic Training.

  • Lose Body Fat
  • Increase Muscle Mass
  • Improve Cardio Capacity


There are 4 Illogical Reasons of Metabolic Training that people think they want and are given..

  • New
  • Cool
  • Fatigue
  • Soreness


This photo is what people think is a great workout. This photo is an excuse for poor coaching by a trainer..but this is wrong if one wants to help people.

So realize what people want is Lose Body Fat, Increase Muscle, and for some Improve Cardio capacity.

What is most often times given is New, Cool, Fatigue and Soreness. They do not equal the same nor deliver the same result. Which is results.

Lets look at fatigue. People want Fatigue and that is ok as long as it gives them the Purposeful 3. So the key is this how to deliver what they think they want but it still targets the the Purposeful 3 that does mean working hard, it may mean there is some soreness and exploring the new and cool to give them in the end….RESULTS.