Core Work

Crawling for Core Stability and Coordination

Learning Something New

The post season and early off season is a great time to experiment with new training ideas. You can learn new movement patterns without the pressure of looking for results. Cross training or learning a new physical skill is a great way to keep they body active while giving your body a bit of a rest from its usual stresses.

In the spirit of learning something new, I recently met up with Andy Keller. Andy is soon to be one of the few level 2 parkour instructors in the US. Last year I met him and his friends as they were doing back flips in the park.

Unfortunately, we won’t be learning back flips today.  Here Andy will show us some variations of the fundamental movement pattern of crawling.

Why Crawling?

Crawling is the first complex movement pattern that we learn. Crawling is so important that it has been suggested that babies who cut short the crawling phase and start walking early actually end up with less scapular (back of the shoulder) stability as adults and a less coordinated movement pattern between the opposite arm/leg.  The opposite arm/leg coordination pattern is important in walking, running, and overhead throwing (hammers anyone?).

Crawling provides a truly excellent functional core workout. In crawling you are using the core to stabilize your spine while the limbs are moving. Completely unlike crunches and situps, this is the way the core works in athletic movements.

The Basic Crawl

Pushup Crawl

Excellent for developing upper body explosive power.

Monkey Walk

I love this one because it includes a rotational component.

Cat Crawl

Excellent for developing balance, strengthening the stabilizing muscles in the hips, and for grip strength. Overall great full body challenge.

Freestyle Crawling

Be creative, have fun, and learn what your body can do!

How to Incorporate Crawling into Your Training

1. In the Warm Up

Add a crawling variation to your pre training warmup routine. Crawling requires hip mobility and shoulder stability- two things you should prepare your body for every time you get ready for throwing.

2. On Your Active Rest Day

You need to move your body every day. Even on your rest days you shouldn’t be completely sedentary. Go to a playground or other area with obstacles to try some freestyle crawling. Have some fun and take a mental break from training while staying active.

3. As a core workout

Choosing 2-3 crawling variations makes a great substitute for my typical core circuits. Choose a circuit of 2-3 exercises for 15-20 yards each or as far as you can go. Stop if you cannot maintain a neutral lumbar (lower) spine.


Next time…

Stay tuned for my next installment where we’ll look at a few more parkour exercises for ultimate players and I’ll give you a complete parkour inspired workout!

Training Principles

I am not a guru


A friend of mine from Explosive Sports Performance posted this on Facebook the other day:

phil fb


Here is the link to the article

I bring this up for two reasons.

1.  The content.  Go read the article to which Phil is referring.

I don’t always enjoy the tone of voice of T-Nation articles, but Mark Rippetoe (author of Starting Strength) says so many things here that I’d be too polite to say myself.

My favorite part is the second to last sections where Rippetoe emphasizes the difference between training and exercising.

What’s the difference? I’ll refresh your memory. Briefly, capital-“T” Training is the process of driving a physical adaptation in a specific direction for a specific purpose, while capital-“E” Exercise is what we do for the way it makes us feel today: before, during, and after the workout itself.

But go read the whole section because it’s way more informative/hilarious/insulting depending on your point of view.

2.  The Quote. “Some of us learned this on Day 1…”

Awhile back at an ultimate conference I was casually introduced to someone as “the fitness guru of ultimate.”  While I am an expert, the word “guru” has come to mean someone with special or secret knowledge.  And that is something I don’t have.

What I do have to offer is pretty much the same base of knowledge that is agreed upon by most people in the modern field of strength and conditioning. In fact, you probably have an ultimate playing strength and conditioning coach on a field near you!

I know just a few of them – Jools Murray in the UK, JP in Montreal, the Janzen brothers Phil and Alan in Texas, Tim Morril in Boston, Jorge in Bogota. I am positive that all of these experts would agree about the basic law of competing demands.  They all would agree that there is a difference between training for general fitness and training for athletic performance. They would all agree on the fallacy of high-rep Olympic lifting.

And yet, about once a week I get an email asking me if Insanity/Assylum/Crossfit/p90x is a good option for training for ultimate.

Why do strength and conditioning coaches have a conniption (see question #3) every time someone mentions Crossfit?

I dunno, why might a pediatric specialist tire of fielding questions about the link between vaccines and autism? Why might an environmental scientist dread a conversation with a Tea Party acolyte? The truth is, there is absolutely no controversy about these issues among people in the field who actually study these things for a living. And yet there remains a dangerous (or in my case, at least unproductive) level of ignorance among a far too high percentage of everyone else.

The point I am trying to get across here is that, aside from the sport specificity, most of what I offer in my products and on my blog is common knowledge  within the field of strength and conditioning.  And yet due to marketing and a lack of education this knowledge still doesn’t get through to the people who need it most, the players themselves.


Training with a capital “T”

I’m getting ready to open The Ultimate Athlete Project to new members in about a week.  As I get ready for opening day, I’ll be talking a lot about what it means to train like an athlete.  These are principles that have stood the test of time.  There is nothing magical about the training we do (though the results seem magical at times).  It’s just stuff that works. Stuff that professionals agree upon.

If you would like this “common knowledge” to become common to you, I encourage you to sign up for The Ultimate Athlete Project wait list.  Even if you don’t end up signing up for my programs, I’ll be sending you a bunch of information that will help you to better understand what training like an athlete is all about.


Knowledge (and strength plus speed!) is POWER!





How to Get Your Training Back on Track

So it’s about mid-season for club players in the US. Hopefully all is going well with you and your training plan. I hope you’re feeling strong, fit, fast, and invincible. If, however, you’ve gotten a bit off track don’t beat yourself up. Let’s figure out what you need to do to get your training plan back on track!

If you’re not where you want to be, it’s time to reassess.

Ask Yourself a Few Important Questions

What’s the main thing you want to change or improve between now and sectionals/regionals? Are my current training plans going to get the [read more…]


Protein and Poultry Days: Egg Eating Contest

I’ve gotten a lot of questions from my 25 Tips list about nutrition. Today, I finally give a few answers about protein. I’m no expert on nutrition but I can at least give you a few basics you NEED to know about protein if you’re training hard in the weight room.

As an added bonus, this gives me an excuse to talk about my fundraising efforts for the Poultry Days egg eating contest. If you like the video (or even if you don’t!) please consider sponsoring me for a donation to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Details [read more…]