Eric Cressey, Cressey Sports Performance — Tactical Deep Dive on Back Pain, Movement Diagnosis, Training Principles, Developing Mobility, Building Power, Fascial Manipulation, and Rules for Athletes (#675)

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“You screw up your taxes, there’s a way out of it. You screw up your body, you might have a lifetime of pain.”

— Eric Cressey

Eric Cressey (@EricCressey), MA, CSCS, is president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance, with facilities in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and Hudson, Massachusetts. He has worked with clients from youth sports to the professional and Olympic ranks but is best known for his extensive work with baseball players; more than 100 professional players train at CSP each offseason. He also serves as Director of Player Health and Performance for the New York Yankees.

Eric double-majored in exercise science and sports and fitness management at the University of New England and then received his master’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science at the University of Connecticut. He has published books and video resources that have been sold in more than 60 countries. He regularly lectures both nationally and internationally, and his research has been published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. He serves as a consultant to New BalanceProteus Motion, and Athletic Greens.

Eric’s free blog and newsletter can be found at You can also find Eric’s podcast at

Please enjoy!

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#675: Eric Cressey, Cressey Sports Performance — Tactical Deep Dive on Back Pain, Movement Diagnosis, Training Principles, Developing Mobility, Building Power, Fascial Manipulation, and Rules for Athletes

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Want to hear another episode with someone who understands the magic of movement and mobility? Listen to my most recent conversation with Dr. Kelly Starrett in which we discussed how our environment shapes us, optimizing vital signs and range of motion as we age, why we should be walking and fidgeting more, why balance training isn’t just for “old” people, how to extend the end range of motion, simple corrective exercises, cultivating timeless movement in a busy world, breath as a mobilization device, and much more.

#664: Dr. Kelly Starrett — The Magic of Movement and Mobility, Training for Range of Motion, Breathing for Back Pain, Improving Your Balance, and More

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Eric Cressey:

Website | Training Facilities | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


  • [06:08] The email responsible for this conversation.
  • [09:19] Why pinpointing the cause of lower back pain can be so challenging.
  • [20:22] Initial diagnosis through movement.
  • [22:59] How seemingly unrelated meds can exacerbate pain.
  • [24:38] Posture considerations.
  • [26:55] Addressing and correcting suboptimal patterns of movement.
  • [28:55] Resources for understanding movement screens.
  • [30:00] Ingredients that make up a lower back pain cocktail.
  • [34:42] Even with the greatest care, wear and tear over time is normal.
  • [40:19] Improving thoracic mobility.
  • [43:56] Conquering Quasimodo.
  • [45:14] Defusing deskbound damage.
  • [48:25] Practical exercises.
  • [53:37] Shocking controversies surrounding fascial manipulation.
  • [1:02:18] Role of the glutes.
  • [1:04:02] Strengthening the posterior chain.
  • [1:06:06] Power and strength vs. aging.
  • [1:08:57] Recommended reading.
  • [1:12:21] Medical diagnosis vs. movement diagnosis.
  • [1:24:53] How to ask the right questions when seeking treatment.
  • [1:34:00] Overrated exercises?
  • [1:35:39] What a movement diagnosis will look like for me.
  • [1:36:23] Infrasternal angle.
  • [1:39:06] Age and injury predisposition.
  • [1:41:58] “Get long, get strong, train hard.”
  • [1:45:34] The downstream effects of orthopedic interventions.
  • [1:48:21] Creating bulletproof athletes.
  • [1:52:42] Worst advice given often.
  • [1:55:29] What has Eric recently changed his mind about?
  • [2:00:06] Important upstream variables.
  • [2:02:38] Good stiffness. (Oh, behave!)
  • [2:04:49] Vetting reliable sources of information.
  • [2:11:39] How Brijesh Patel changed Eric’s career perspective and other parting thoughts.


“We are big bags of water. And probably what’s happening with fascial interventions is that we’re changing the way that fluids move so that folks do have better gliding of tissues that are adjacent to one another.”
— Eric Cressey

“I hate it when people say, ‘I failed rehab.’ It’s like, ‘No, sometimes rehab failed you. You were trying and you just didn’t get the right coaching cue or the right intervention that you needed.'”
— Eric Cressey

“The hardest part is sometimes you have to counsel athletes away from something that they might really enjoy.”
— Eric Cressey

“Don’t specialize young.”
— Eric Cressey

“Try to find a way to do a wide variety of movements well into adulthood.”
— Eric Cressey

“You screw up your taxes, there’s a way out of it. You screw up your body, you might have a lifetime of pain.”
— Eric Cressey


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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17 Replies to “Eric Cressey, Cressey Sports Performance — Tactical Deep Dive on Back Pain, Movement Diagnosis, Training Principles, Developing Mobility, Building Power, Fascial Manipulation, and Rules for Athletes (#675)”

  1. Very interesting discussion. I’m not a baseball player but I am a runner and I love Eric’s approach to maximizing performance in a way that reduces injury and is beneficial to the body long term.

  2. Hi Tim- loved the episode as always.

    Hearing about your low back pain, I wonder if you’ve considered it being a sleep issue? There are ways in which our soft tissue can be engaged during sleep to our detriment depending on the sleep surface. I fixed my low back pain by sleeping on the floor.

    Katy Bowman discusses this in her book Move Your DNA.

    Hoping you feel well.

  3. Amazing insights. As an ex-professional martial artist I really wished that I could have had this insight 20 years ago. And Tim, the incredible value that you bring to clarifying, summarising, and prompting is incredible. Best podcast of 2023, amongt such a high standard.

  4. Excellent podcast Tim. It’s fascinating to listen to how you worked with Eric to underline and focus his key points.

    I’ve been wondering how best to send you a message. How does business events fit with your goals for the podcast. Is this something you’d be open to discussing?


  5. Thank you thank you thank you to Tim and Eric for this wonderful conversation! So grateful that someone is finally recognizing the mother of Movement Diagnosis, Dr. Shirley Sahrmann. This year, she is turning 86, and still going strong with teaching weekend courses and doing webinars. I have envisioned Tim and Shirley talking for at least 7-8 years. Please make my wish come true! She’s HILARIOUS, and a legendary physical therapist.

  6. Great episode, have you considered hosting Shirley Sahrmann herself? She’s the OG of movement and an incredibly insightful professional that shaped how many of us look at and treat the body. She’s also a spit fire as a speaker!

  7. Tim- What do you think is the best post-workout supplement/BCAA to build muscle fast? A little out of context but I thought this might be the most appropriate podcast to comment and ask this question. 🙂 Thank you!

  8. Obviously Mr Cressey is super smart and very knowledgeable, however whenever Tim asked him for some practical tips (what exercises should someone who sits at a desk all day be doing, for example) Mr Cressey never gave any actual answers and went off on another (impressive) tangent. All in all and enjoyable listen but at least for me very little actionable information could be extracted.

  9. Interesting, state-of-the-art discussion. Tim, I’m sorry to hear about your recent developments in back pain. In the interview, as noted, back pain can be a mysterious and difficult-to-treat issue. For the last decade, whenever I’ve had low back pain I have spent a week following daily practice of the movement pattern recommended by Dr. Eric Goodman as “Foundation Training 12 Minute Back,” simple exercises you can find and follow on Youtube. It may not work for everyone but for me and my friends, this seemingly simple set of exercises has given profound relief after 5-7 days of daily practice. It’s so simple I can hardly believe it works but it often can relieve pain dramatically and the logic behind it is sound.

  10. Fascinating discussion. I was especially interested in the concept of movement diagnosis.
    It is a hard to understand why mainstream medicine has not been able recognize faulty movement patterns as an important factor in causing musculoskeletal injuries.
    It would be great if you could go deeper into that topic with one of your show’s references – Shirley Sahrmann. She was originator of the concept of Movement System diagnosis.
    Thanks for a great show!

  11. Hey Tim,
    Brilliant episode, as usual. A consideration about your recent/current back pain woes: emotional pain. Considering the recent break-up, loss, and transition, if everything else pans out as A-OK spending some mindful time processing the loss and seeing if it’s attached to the emotional loss may be surprising. Just a thought. Best wishes, get well soon!

  12. This was an awesome episode I have followed Eric and Gray Cook and many of the others mentioned in this podcast for years. I want to recommend that you check out PDTR for your back. It’s is a method based on functional neurology. It fits with all the methods Eric mentioned but addresses how the nervous system integrates with muscles ligaments and tendons. It’s the work of DR Jose Palomar. You can google him
    And PDTR or please contact me if you would
    Like more information or help finding a practitioner near you. Thank you for the awesome Interviews. I know you will find PDTR a and the methodology fascinating! It may just be the answer you are searching for.

  13. Enjoyed the episode, as always. One thing that I didn’t hear mentioned was taking a more active approach to releasing fascia on your own. Foam rolling is obviously one option but I’ve recently come across flossing (not just for teeth!) and I think it’s a game changer.

    Look up The Floss (@fasciaflossing) channel on Youtube. There’s a few free videos there that give you an idea of the concept and whether you’ll find it helpful. There is a video specifically for runners (takes about 10 minutes) and another addressing lower back pain. Worth a look.

  14. Eric knows his stuff and I agree with everything he says about the biomechanical issues, but I’m curious why there was no mention of the emotional/unconscious element that determines pain and asymmetries? I wish you would get Pat Ogden and/or Thomas Myers on the show and let them open your eyes on how big our emotional past and trauma influences our somatic patterns/habits. Dr. Gabor Mate would have something to say about it as well, I’m sure…

  15. Very insightful. I wish everyone knew just how beneficial exercise is. Most people understand that it’s good for you, but they don’t understand the sheer magnitude when it comes to the benefits!

  16. Tim, I was losing my mind listening to this podcast! Please look for the Washington Post article titled, “Chronic Pain is Surprisingly Treatable – When Patients Focus on the Brain”.

    We are in a golden age of neuroscience, and the vast majority of chronic pain has been found to be brain-induced pain that becomes a conditioned response, triggered by stress. I had 15 years of back pain, neck pain, GI issues, and migraines, but healed myself overnight by learning about what was causing my pain.

    I’d love to see you have as a guest Dr. Tor Wager (Director of Cogntive and Affective Neuroscience at Dartmouth College). He is known for his for his research into the placebo effect and into the way the brain processes pain, using emotion-related brain circuitry.

    [Moderator: YouTube link removed per embed policy.]