Crelling's Corner


Cal State Northridge assistant strength and conditioning coach Jeff Crelling will be contributing a fitness blog to highlight some of the strength and conditioning activities he goes through with the CSUN women's basketball program.

Coach Crelling and the Matadors suggest you have proper supervision when exercising and to consult a physician before beginning any exercise regiment.

September, 2011

Exercise of the month:

Inverted Row


The inverted row is a great exercise for developing and/or testing posterior shoulder strength.   Performed correctly, this exercise targets the rear delts, lower traperzius, and rhomboids (all the muscles responsible for proper shoulder function and good posture).  It can also be used to asses an athlete’s ability to properly activate these muscle which are often weak and neglected, which can lead to shoulder dysfunction and injury. 


Athlete starts lying on the group, facing up, with feet flat and knees bent.  The hip MUST be pulled off the floor and kept up throughout the entire range of motion, keeping the glutes activated at all times.   Keeping the head back and the chest and hips up the athlete pulls their sternum to make contact with the bar, focusing on pinching the shoulder blades together, and depressing them towards their hips.


-Avoid hip movements up or down, hip must stay locked in full extension (straight body) at all times

-Avoid elevating the shoulder blades (shrugging) at the top of the movement

-Keep the head back and chest up

-Start with a supinated (palms facing the athlete) grip




To make the exercise more difficult, try straightening the legs, or elevating them on a bench or box.  Additionally, once the athlete masters the supinated (palms facing them) grip, try switching grips around to add variety.



June, 2011

Exercise of the month:

Single Leg Lateral Bound




The single leg lateral bound is great for developing explosive power from side to side. Aimed at enhancing lateral movement speed and deceleration, it also serves as a great exercise for improving balance, coordination, and proprioception at the hip, knee, and ankle. More importantly, getting an athlete proficient at this movement can decrease the risk of knee injury.



The athlete starts on the left leg, with knee bent, shoulders over the toes, back flat, and arms back (see picture). On cue, the athlete jumps as far as possible to their right, landing on the right leg, finishing in the same stance they started in, except on the opposite leg. After sticking the landing and gaining control, the athlete jumps as far as possible back to their left, and repeats the cycle for as many reps as prescribed.   



-When first learning this exercise, the focus should be on soft , controlled landings, using the leg and hip like a shock absorber. Landing with a stiff, straight leg defeats the purpose and won’t train the deceleration component of the exercise. The less noise upon landing, the better.

-Be sure to use the arms when jumping, driving them from behind the hips, up and slightly to the side to generate as much power as possible. Envision what a speed skater looks like. (“Speed Skaters” is another name for this same exercise).

-The leg that is not in contact with the ground (right leg in the photo) should also be used to generate power and momentum. Drive that off knee high and in the direction you are jumping.

-During landing and take-off, be sure the knee tracks in line with the toe, DO NOT let the knee cave inward.

-Start with 3-5 repetitions each leg, for 2-3 sets, with at least 60 seconds rest between sets. 



-Once the athlete has mastered the exercise and can execute it efficiently with the rep and set scheme above, try some of the following:

-Instead of sticking the landing, work on getting back off the ground as fast as possible.

-Go for time instead of reps, how many good reps can you get in 15 seconds? How about 30?

-Perform each jump at a 45 degree angle, moving forward as well as to the side.










May, 2011

Exercise of the month:

The Push-up



For decades the push-up has been a staple in just about every exercise program across the country, from Military basic training to elementary physical education class.  Unfortunately lack of attention to detail has slowly transformed a once great exercise into a go-to movement when a coach or athlete wants to do something easy.  Done correctly, it can not only develop upper body and core strength, but also be a good indicator of core and shoulder dysfunction.  Watch an athlete closely when they do a push-up and you can learn a lot about their strengths and weaknesses.   Use strict push-ups as a test of total body performance. 



Start in a push-up position with the shoulders directly over the hands, and a straight line between shoulder and ankles.  During the decent, keep the upper-arm at a 45 degree angle with the body, avoid flaring the elbows, or keeping them glued to the ribs.  The nose, chest, hips, and thighs should all touch the ground, and leave the ground at the same time, avoid doing “the worm” on the way up.



-Keep the chest over the hands at all times, avoid leading with the head and face toward the hands.

-Maintain a rigid midline at all times, abdominals and glutes should be engaged at all times, avoid sticking your butt-up, or letting the hips sag.

-Shoulder blades should be pulled towards the ankles at all times, and the elbows should be externally rotated at the top. 

-Avoid shrugging with the shoulders and pointing your elbows out to the side.

-Full range of motion for every rep. Chest, hips and thighs all touch the floor, full elbow lockout at the top.



-Make them easier for novice athletes by elevating the hands on a bench or box.

-Make them more difficult by doing the same with the feet.

-No matter which variation you choose, the movement standards can never be sacrificed.






Mar. 23, 2011

Exercise of the month:

The Broad Jump

The Broad jump, or standing long jump, is a great tool for developing explosive leg strength, teaching an athlete how to land and decelerate effectively, decreasing knee injury, and testing an athlete's relative lower body power.


The athlete starts with the feet parallel at about hip width, arms extended over head, standing tall, and initiates the movement by swinging the arms down quickly behind the body, bending at the hip and knee. After spending as little time as possible in this hip loaded position the athlete propels the arms up and forward while extending at the hips and knee in an effort to jump as far as possible. Upon landing, the goal is to land as softly and quietly as possible, finishing with the knees bent, and hips back.

-Avoid stomping the landing, or landing with straight legs -Be sure the knees do not move inward (toward each other) during take-off or landing

-Emphasize the take-off by jumping off of one foot and landing on two -Emphasize balance by jumping off of one foot and landing on the same foot -Emphasize deceleration by jumping off of both feet and landing on one. -Measure the distance covered to monitor changes in total body power.

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