Last Thursday, I got up fairly early (considering the 3 hour lag that is) packed my stuff up, and headed out to Hudson, MA and Cressey performance training. I left at about 10. I didn't need to be there till 2, but it was a 45 min drive, so I figured: I'll find it, then go to a Starbucks and sit and work on some stuff.. maybe watch a movie on my computer and just relax.
Well.. my directions had a wrong turn on them, so what should have taken 45 min took over two hours. Thanks Google maps, while you’re at it why don’t you kick me in the junk while shaving my cat and stealing my lunch money.
I still got to town with enough time to stop and get a sandwich and relax.
I got to CP, and sort of wandered in.
“Hi, I’m some toolbox from the internet. Please let me interrupt your work day and ask a lot of questions.”
CP is a big open area, with a Astroturf track along the back wall, squat racks along the front, and various benches and stuff in between.
I met everyone. The guys were very welcoming and each shook my hand and chatted for a minute before getting back to work. I sort of felt like a poser, but the more I thought about it: I made no claims to be anything but some tool, so at least I have the power of low expectations working for me.
I quickly did my best to blend in, and started watching the athletes and staff as unobtrusively as possible.
Each athlete has a clip board on a wall outside the office. On it they have their training plan for the month. Each kid grabs their clip board and heads to the warm-up area. In the warm-up area there is a white board with a sequence of movements/foam rolling/ect. When they've completed the warm-up, they go to back wall and do explosive movements (box jumps, med ball throws, sprints, etc). After that they lift.
Squats/deads, pulling vertical/horizontal, then either bench or resisted push ups are the general order of the day. The folks who need to drop a few lbs do some "post-work" which is sled pushing or heavy thingy flipping, or sprinting. From there, eat something and go home. At any given time there are 5-15 athletes on the floor, and 3 coaches and two interns who walk around compliment and correct as needed. The more experienced athletes help the less. Everyone values technique, and work.
It is an ideal environment to train. Some of the smartest guys in the industry working literally with every athlete, all of the basic tools to get strong, and enough ‘toys’ to keep things entertaining. Great prehab/injury prevention planning and copious amounts of attitude.
My take aways from that visit:
1) Eat more often. Tony and the guys must have eaten 3 times in the 4 hours I was there. That may be too much for me (I'm not exactly a skinny dude by nature, but I need to be eating more meals)
1a) Eat more vegetables. I eat a lot of vegetables, but not enough, neither do you.. yes you!
2) More energy systems work, and explosive work. I'm not a power lifter, I don't need to compartmentalize my energy systems work as much as I do. I have really been trying to push my deadlift up, now that the 5 bill dead is on the horizon, it’s time to work on my ability to move on the mat. That means lighter and more explosive (while keeping my limit strength up).
3) Resisted push-ups can be damn hard, and are better for athletes than benching. It's a more natural movement and forces you to stabilize the weight, and control your body.
3a) chain resisted push-ups are better than band. They feel more natural.
4) Attitude is vitally important. It is easier to have a good attitude in the right environment, but your attitude exists within you. Get your mind right and the rest will follow.
5)The secret is, there is no secret.
Warm-up, lift heavy things and do explosive movements, eat something, go home, rest, repeat. None of the exercises I saw there from the pros to the 8th graders was terribly different from any other performance training center I’ve been to, just precisely executed and full bore. There are a couple of things they do to prevent injuries with the pitchers that were unique, but that's it. The rest is hard work and attitude. That attitude starts at the top.
I have been to training centers in the Midwest where all of the athletes are trained by interns, the guy whose name is on the door meets with the athlete once, and never again. Interns can be great, but if it’s your business you should care enough to make sure the athletes are getting the results. At Cressey Performance, they do.
All in all a great experience.
While I was there I was given the opportunity to get a lift in.
Worked up to a single at 485.. just missed it.
Weight came off the floor and torqued counterclockwise away from me.
By the time I got it back under control I didn’t have enough gas to finish the lift.. it happens.
Backed off to 455 hit a single.
My hips were not happy about all of the sitting that morning, and the day before so I called it good from there.
Chins sets of 5 at bw+15 dead hang, no kip.
Push-ups worked up to 2x6 at 4 chains.
1a rows sets of 5 at 90
They have a thingy.. rubber matting rolled up to about a 3 ft diameter, then taped shut.
5 sets of 10 thingy flips.
These were brutal.. and fun.. but brutal.
From there I had to go pick up my buddy Wayne at MIT. So I had to bail pretty quick.
Many thanks to the staff and athletes at CP for putting up with me.