Mobility (special guest: Kelly Starrett)
Why don't we bring a good friend, Kelly Starrett? (applause) Into the fray. What's up man? Good to see ya.
(stuttering) This is your show
Get in to it, get in to it.
Did you see how everyone just sat up when I came out? You guys were hanging in this slouchy, terrible position Even you guys were like a little bit perky. That's good.
He's the posture man. Look at this guy, posture.
It came with the kit.
I know. Twenty years of ballet, no I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
He's not kidding, mostly.
You'd never guess. Let's start off with that and then will take a back step. Actually let me do a very short bio which will do no justice at all. So Kelly is one of the best P.T.'s I know. One of the best performance coaches that I know. Based in San Francisco, I've gone to him for injuries that I've had in the past. I've gone to him for mobility issues which we're really gonna delve into, but he's worked with gold medalists, Tour de France cyclists, probably not the one your thinking, a...
nd then the list goes on and on, but in terms of a well-rounded athlete who understands injury prevention, injury repair, mobility. This is the guy that a lot of top athletes go to. And you're in pretty decent shape yourself.
Not the man you once were, I'm kidding, what you tell me at on point? It was like power clean was like, how much?
300 something. Standing back flip.
Then also you ran an ultra marathon.
How much training on the ultra?
I had to run three 5K's, it was terrible. So using--
For people who don't know, an ultra marathon is?
Like 50 K's of running, like 50 kilometers of doing the same thing for eight and a half hours.
Too many K's.
Too many K's all at once. (laughing)
And the point being, that was the Quad Dipsea right?
That's a tough one too. So the point being it's not all about quantity, it's about training intelligently. What was the longest distance you had run before the 50K?
Oh at least three miles.
All at once.
Intel--, (laughing) all at once. So intelligent training. This is one of my go-to guys and he was in the four hour body, so we're gonna talk about mobility in a lot of things. Let's address the question that came through. If you're doing really intense training, multiple times a day, what type of, whether it's supplements or dietary, modifications that you suggest?
First piece is that's a ton of training. We'll probably seeing a lot of type one errors underneath there. We're seeing what's your sleep look like? So I know a lot of the best athletes on the planet and when you train like an Olympic athlete, there are no days off, there are no percentages you get to mess around with, your nutrition has to be perfect, your hydration, your sleep, all of the details. What we see that people end up burning the candle in five places and a lot of misplaced precision in other places. So nutrition is awful, right, and not taking it seriously. And probably we're seeing a lot of junk volume to be honest. So what ends up happening someone sort of spins their genetics to a place where we see fundamental breakdown and then we get to have an intelligent conversation at that place.
So the first thing is before you try to mask the symptoms of over-training, the question is am I applying the training in the right place? Among many other things. What was it waxy maize starts, B Mack, what does he use?
There are you know, you can.
Assuming your doing those things properly, doing a high volume training.
There are some new carbohydrates that are resistant starches that allow you to sort of trickle feed yourself, like these waxy maize, kinds of things, that allow us to still, cause ultimately the end of the goal is whoever secretes the least amount of insulin wins. That's the dream. So how do we keep someone fed in a long state and still be able to support these things, right?
So a little bit of back, just so people understand that and the importance of insulin. When you put something in your maw it gets converted into different things that go into your blood stream cause that's the highway that delivers everything to where it's needed. In order to store, the carbohydrates, the glucose, the amino acids, you need something called insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone that's secreted by the pancreas. This little thing that kicks out insulin. When your pancreas starts to malfunction, when you overload it, that's when you end up with things like diabetes, Type I diabetes, injectable, et cetera. And what you realize when you start to look at over taxing the pancreas and secreting a lot of this storage hormone insulin, you put on a lot of body fat, it's correlated to syndrome X, cardiovascular disease, et cetera, et cetera. So keeping insulin low is a really, really good idea for longevity, for performance.
So I'm not sure even where to start with you.
This is a great place to start. You just laid this excellent piece, but hey, is your nutrition set? So we've got this big lifestyle piece, nutrition piece, then comes this movement piece. What I love is that we see errors in nutrition. We see errors in your quality of your lifestyle. How you sleep, how you think, how you perform. But also that error in your nutrition really lays the foundation for what happens to the quality of your tissues and that's probably a nice place to start. So we've kind of tricked the world through our side thinking that mobility matters.
Well and the issue is that really understand, people understand that is it's position. If you ask my kids, is your dad the stretching guy? They'll be like, pff, my dad's the position guy, right. They will. My seven year old can identify. She's like dad, what's wrong with my standing? I'm like I don't know, Georgia, your standing a little over-extended and your feet are turned like ducks. She's like precisely. (laughing)
Keeping you honest.
I'm saying what's great about this is that, you've done a good job for people, kind of laying out the principles behind how to be a good human being. And that's probably where we should start today, but let's start with one of the biggest type one error we see all the time. How many people in here have some kind of pain? Raise you hand. Raise your hand. That's a lot of us, that's most of us. That's interesting. So it turns out that, typically we see--
Type one error, just to define that. Is that like at the top of the waterfall that affects everything below it?
That's right. That's a nice way of thinking about it. Thank you.
So when we make a foundational--
I'm competing with your daughter.
Foundational error, foundational assumption that's wrong. So what ends up happening sometimes, we use pain as a sort of an indicator about the quality of our positions and mechanics. And the problem is you're set up for survival, you're set up for adaptation. So let's do a little experiment. How many of you guys have ever been in a fight?
Okay, so when you're fighting, did you feel pain?
Not in the moment. Not in the moment and the issue is, when the adrenaline is going, you can't hear that pain signal. Turns out the pain and movement pathway is the same pathway in the brain, so that when you're moving, you don't get those pain signals. That's a problem. Then you spend your whole life, sort of training to be an athlete, what ends up happening you down regulate your capacity to hear those pain signals because you're blocking them out. So you get the triple whammy and by the time pain is punctured through your consciousness to tell you your running sucks, or your lifting is bad, or your sitting. Your deep into some kind of injury disease process.
It's like dehydration.
By the time you feel thirsty, it's too late.
Exactly, so the issue is that we're using a set of lagging indicators to tell us about our bodies. Now you're set up to be 110 years old, it's pretty cool. So by the time you've worn a hole in your kneecap or herniated disc, or ended up with some really, really bad, you sneeze, and you're 70, you fracture a vertebra. Like what is going on? And the issue is that we have been using a set of lagging indicators instead a set of leading indicators. And those leading indicators are based on the language of being a human being, which is movement. So we need to switch the paradigm a little bit about understanding, hey I'm not just gonna roll around on the foam roller. It's can I do all the things that a human being should be able to do. So one of our tenets is that you should be able to perform basic maintenance on yourself. Piece of cake. You're a genius level person out in the world but you have knee pain you sort of don't know where to start, right? When we break down movement into kind of it's two pieces, what we really should do is break it down into it's two constituents. And the first piece is kind of motor control which is the expression of technique. That's why we go and study with masters cause they've worked out the human physiology. It turns out putting your shoulders together overhead in yoga is the same shoulder position for Olympic lifting. Turning the gymnast, the way they turn on the rings, is the same weird lotus position that we see in a lot of things. It turns out human beings have solved this problem for two and a half thousand years.
Over and over and over again.
The difference between your physiology and Tim Ferriss a few years ago, like two and half thousand years ago, you're a little fatter, and your femur is a little longer, but it's the same shoulder.
I can't march for a 100 miles either.
You could if you had to.
So but that's it, that's the only difference. The real question is why can't we solve these problems? Why have we seen this before? So what we need to understand a set of principles that help us to figure out what's a good position and bad position. I think this is where we can then start to apply the set of mobility tools to affect our bio-mechanics so that ultimately we can influence our position in mechanics, right? And the expression you mean in the world, right? And as a side effect of moving well, guess what nothing hurt. That's pretty nice, right? So one of the biggest problems we see, no one taught you to sit, no one taught you to, who taught you to stand? No one. You were just like I woke up one day and I was like this is me, right? You've been spending your genetics freely and then because you're designed not to feel any pain until you're pretty bad ass in terms of your engineering, you can buffer a lot of hate for a long time. Right, you were saying, like you know, you're an amazing human being and all these things going, back surgery, and finally you're like you got the religion, but until that point, your body's still, you're still killing it. We need to understand then is how are we gonna get people to think about these principles so that they can identify these positions. One of the difficult things of being a modern human you have to do a lot of sitting, don't you? And sitting is disaster. All the smart people out in the audience who are tech, women and men, it's hard. Even the offices here, we're seeing, is that everyone, they have low desks. All of the creative people here like people who've invented the internet work here, right? And what we're seeing is everyone is in these terrible positions, like gollan like positions, right? You're like it's so sexy. We had to come up with a term for this shoulder position in our gym, right? Because what we were seeing is that people were adopting these terrible positions and they'd stand up. We called it the delta bravo shoulder position, the douche bag shoulder position, because you're like that jerk's just showing, right? What's up Tim? You work out.
I just write a lot. (laughing)
I don't know, I'm just an excellent writer, right? And so it's difficult to be a modern human. Forced to sit, forced to be social. What we need to do is try to have a system. Right now we're seeing in the audience a lot of people are doing what we call just hanging on the meat. You're just leaning on the chair, you're hanging on your discs, right? And this is a pretty stable position for a while. I can lift some heavy weights like this for a while.
There are people who make a career out of doing it.
I put my head back, right? So if you saw me hanging out in this position and that's a disaster. And yet it's not really a disaster after a while. Or my favorite, I saw a lot of bad behaviors in the audience earlier. The texting. So it really is, you talking about creating a culture or awareness, you are what you practice, right? Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. And there it is.
Okay, hold on, this is really, this is wild. That is a quote that comes up in the introduction for our chef, from a world-class chef. His policy was practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent. I want to point out whether it's power lifting, whether it's movement, mobility, positioning, whether it's writing, the people who are the best at what they do, have very simple, similar operating systems like the rules are the same, anyway.
That's exactly right. We're in an era right now where we're seeing universally everyone's talking the same language, finally in the same place and hopefully we can get it right this time.
How do we start undoing all this damage, like I can feel it in my back?
You've been standing all day. You saw him kind of standing earlier trying to get out of extension.
You should see him, I visited SF cross fit at one point and I walked in on him typing. It's like proper posture is so uncommon. So I just saw him and he's sitting down, like everything was positioned so he's just like.
What's wrong with that guy, he's like all prissy?
No, no, no, I'm not pissed. I was just like, it's so uncommon that it looked weird.
And yet you've been telling me, have you guys ever gone drinking in a bar? I'm not saying you have. We're up in Seattle and there are these things called bars here. So we know, for example, that standing puts a lot of load on your low back. We'll call extension sensitivity that you kind of hang on the bones. If I took Tim's elbow and just hyper-extended it a little bit all day long, that's what happens to his low back. You're standing a while, you're partying, no one here is very attractive and the drinks don't taste very good, right? You start doing all the weird postures like oh no you didn't, right? And it's really not so strange. The bartenders have figured this out. And this is what we'll come back to this what we're talking about. If you've ever gone drinking at a bar you'll notice there's a bar at the bottom of the bar. What's that for? We've solved these problems. It turns out that putting your foot up puts you into a pelvic neutral position. You take all that load out of your back and pretty soon you can camp out all day long.
Buy drinks for five more hours.
That's right cause you're like we do these cocktail hours for five hours. And I was like oh god, the standing would kill me. And so what really is, we need to give you a template. So let's start with the spine because that's really the biggest limiter. If you injure your spine, injury to the central nervous system is a bummer. It's hard to unring that bell. We also see it's the biggest potential force loss. And one of the fun things that we're talking about today is that the same languages, the same kind of principles that guide how I sit and how I operate, pick up my kids, are the same conversations we have at the highest level of sport. Our tactical athletes, everyone, same conversation. So we prioritize the spine first. And the second reason we prioritize the spine is that it turns out to be the biggest force dump and the biggest way to shut down sort of your creative process and mental processes. So for example, if Tim puts his arm straight out. Go ahead and face the wall. This is a demo for one of our fighter friends. Spread your fingers out. What I've done is I've given him a cue to make his elbow stiff. So eyes level, head is in neutral. This is your spine, it's in a beautiful position. I'm gonna go on this side. I'm gonna try and bend his elbow and if I bend his elbow everyone in this room is gonna die. Then be banished, okay. So don't let me bend your elbow. No pressure, eyes up, eyes up. There's no way I'm gonna bend him. Pressure here, there's no way. He's not even warmed up, I'm not warmed up. There's no way. Now I'm warmed up and watch this. Eyes up or put this hand up again, spread out. And this time I'm just gonna ask him to change his head position a little bit. The same position you were in when you type, okay. So hold here. Don't let me move you.
Where am I doing, putting my head?
I'll tell you when. So in the meantime hold that position. Same rules apply, don't let me kill you. Okay, I don't want to kill you. You don't want to be dead. And look up. As soon as he looks up we see his force production, boom, drop off. Same thing happens when my head is down. Same thing happens when I hinge at the ribcage. Same thing happens when I tilt. Any of those hinge elements in the spine cause loss of force production and then it means I can't stabilize my hip and shoulder which is the third reason. So we think of it really simple. Here's your spine system, is it organized? You have a template, yes, no? Most of us don't. And then we hang these big engines on the spinal frame. So, where's Seth? Come up here Seth. Let's pull up Seth for a second because Seth is a fighter and a good dancer. Lay on your back Seth. So here's a simple template. I'm gonna give you some basic rules. The body is organized, it has to get organized from the trunk to the periphery, from core to sleeve, from axillary skeleton to peripheral skeleton. That's the definition of functional movement. Anyone will tell you that. So lift both your legs up fast, go. Then come on down. We're just gonna do 'em one inch this time. That was legit, but one inch, okay. (laughing) Here we go. And fast, go, and hold. Did you all see it? It was terrible, wasn't it? Did you see his spine come out his stomach? (groans) Do it again. Whoa, there it is. So what happens is he unwent a spinal flinge, he's lost his spinal position. Hold that, do that lift again. Now flatten your back out. You can't. Once he's under load he's toast. Hold, hold, hold, now take a big breath for me. You were breathing so efficiently, I don't understand. Why is your breathing up in your neck not in your diaphragm, where it belongs? So it turns out bad positioning throws everything off. See how you're shaking on camera. That looks bad. (laughing)
Here's something I want to show you. If I bend your leg up, okay, if I bring your hip into this kind of hip below knee, so relax for me here. He should easily be able to get to here. That's full range of motion, but when I grab his posterior chain. Relax for me, don't help, don't help. That's right where you're kicking on, that's when, that's the end. That's the end of his kind of his range. And we start to feel tension built there and he wants to help me. So watch what happens, though, when we get him organized first. And he's a good athlete, right? But that's not full range, he's still missing 30% of his range of motion in his leg. Can you imagine, the biggest engine in the body missing 30% of its range of motion? I mean imagine if you were missing 30% of your range of motion to your face.
You can't brush your teeth.
It's hard to eat, right?
I have to help Mark Bell, who's coming up later, I have to help him brush his teeth. That's a different problem.
He has a whole bunch of people. So let's give him a plan. Now check this out. We've been talking about core forever. In fact 350 years ago, Musashi wrote The Book of Five Rings says where your short sword goes your belly should be firm. Right, it's almost like he was saying core should be organized, right? Make your combat stance, your everyday stance. So we need to give you a plan to make you organized in a simple template. Squeeze your butt as hard as you can. Good, now what that's done is his butt has pulled his pelvis into neutral. He's not gonna over tilt. I didn't say tilt or do anything crazy. Butt squeezes sets pelvis in neutral. Now he starts breathing in the belly automatically. Take a big breath in your belly. Exhale, belly button to your spine, stiff. Now we're not sucking, we're not hulling, we're not drying, we're stiffening, stiffification. Now he's got a template. Now get as tight as you can. That's dead lifting stiffness, that's how I pick my daughter up out of the crib. That's right, (grunts) right. Like a cobra, flexing your cobra hood all the time. You can't really go through the world like a cobra. Even cobras don't go through the world like cobras. So we need to give you a template to be able to manage this. So give me 20% of that, 30% of that. That's all the time. You always have to have your abs on. You never wanna do an ab vacation. Now watch this, I'm gonna take your leg here, take a breath in your belly, exhale, keep stiff. Now all of that neural tension goes away. What ends up happening is things that look like they were stiff, we see the nervous system trying to protect itself. So the old school is, oh your ham strings are tight, let's stretch it. Right, that's the level one grade school thinking. Now we're saying hey let's be organized. Make sure our body base is basic principles. Can you come stand up for me? Now did he get braced before he moved? No, so here's the problem, bad teacher, right? Thank you. Why would you do that? You're in front of all these people making me look bad. He needs to get a little bit braced before he moves, otherwise what are we doing? We're just messing around and that's the point. We need to connect the dots between how people eat and how they feel. How they move and how they go through the world. All this training that we're trying to do, dead lifting with Mark Bell, and picking up my daughter, it's the same thing. So get a little bit braced. Good, now you can pop up anyway you want. So come on up, much better. These are complex ideas, right? And yet we manage to teach them to our seven year olds, our five year olds in our gym. This is how we do it. (laughing) Oh, he's a boxer, that's why I chose him. Now look, he never, he's good to go for the rest of life. I'm not saying we should see a generation of people whacking each other in the stomach.
Hold on, he's not saying that but I just want to do a demonstration here. I was at a conference once talking to a buddy of mine, relax and chilling, doing this thing that he said. This is how Kelly chooses to say hello. Don't break my shoulders. Bah, bah, bah.
Just sneak up behind and you give a little shock. (grunts)
That's how he says hello, hrrrrr, it's better than caffeine. But that's how--
That's how he says hello so if you're gonna hang out with this guy you kind of have to be prepared.
So what happens now, he's braced. Now here's the deal, 20% all the time. Do you guys have 20% on your abs? Now you do, right? But what were you doing before, hanging on the chair. Thank god there's a chair, thank god I have all this skin because it puts me into a bad position. Right and that's what we need to start to think about how difficult it is to maintain those spinal positions. Everyone stand up real quick.
Watch your head guys?
What I just did was do a screen about how you squatted, oh boy, movement number two. Let's give you a template first. So squeeze your butt as hard as you can. Now you notice how your pelvis came back into a neutral position. Now you don't have to worry about over tilting on this thing. If you just squeeze your bum, you end up in a good position and it's because it's your butt. It's designed and engineered for you which is so cool. So we don't have to worry about all of this. If you just squeeze your bum and your set. Now take a breath in your belly. Exhale, oh this is diaphragmatic breathing. This is singing breathing. This is yoga. This is what people have been talking about forever, prana breathing. (puffing) That's not about building heat that's about dissociating your diaphragm from your stabilization. Okay, same concept. So now back that off, give me like 20%. Nice, now you have a template. Anytime you're not in that position, it's gonna be like Fight Club. Tim or I will walk over and kill you. If we see you in public, alright. You can just tell the four hour bodiers because they are hitting each other on the side.
He's good to go. Okay so now you have a template to get so your spine's organized, right? So if you're getting up or down or picking anything up, this is the most important piece, the movement. Second piece now is understanding how everything is organized around that system. So now I have this template for the stable pelvis, right? And what you're gonna see is we're gonna see different feet positions. Now everyone can do this at home, but if you squeeze your butt, belly tight, take a big breath, exhale. Now what I want you to do is I want you to have your feet straight under your lungs, which is a normal standing position. In sanskrit this translates to todosona or being awesome and screw your feet into the ground as hard as you can, like they are on dinner plates. Because this is the same technique Mark talks about. It's weird. Mark will say hey, before I deadlift, I squeeze my bum as hard as I can. I screw my feet into the ground as hard as I can, right? So now, see how much torque you can create. What's happening there is that you're taking the head of your femur and your winding it up.
Head of your femur is right here at the top of that big like Flintstones thigh bone.
There's this thing called the femur. It's your leg bone. Sorry I was too technical, leg bone, that's right. These are basic principles and it winds up and becomes stable. What you've just done is adopted a stable hip position. Instead of letting your hip bang around in the socket or your knees bang around, the whole system becomes organized like this. So everyone turn your feet out like 35 degrees, 40 degrees, 50 degrees, doesn't matter. How most of us stand and walk like a a duck. Now squeeze your bum as hard as you can, belly tight. Now create the same amount of torque for me there. Screw your feet into the ground. What happened? It's like a torque vacuum, a loveless home. That's right, so the problem is once your mechanism has stabilized this big trunk if you can't create any of that stabilization because, if you come back to straight again. Toes straight, squeeze your bum, belly tight, and screw your feet into the ground. Notice what happens to your back, it unloads your back. What we've done is we've just taken this system out of, kind of balancing back and forth, and defaulting to these kind of other positions or positions of stability, now we've created stability. This is the technique that we've been trying to get people to understand with power lifting, with gymnastics, with yoga forever. And it's the most important understanding of how the body works and now we can talk with the next pieces, right? Thank you very much Seth, I might grab you in a second. Okay, so you've got a template now. It's a real simple idea and look at this. You guys sit down, that was a quiz. Did you make your bellies tight before you sat down? Did you get organized or just flop? Don't be that girl, don't do it. So sit and organize for me. So now if you understand how the hips should work, you understand how the shoulder works, same joint. So check this out. Creating that torque, that external rotation, what happens if you flip your hands into this position? What is that? What happened to your shoulder? It got organized and now it's stable. And does that look pray tell like anything you've ever seen before in your life? It's the same idea. In fact if someone walks away from here with one idea it's how to type. Let me show ya. Go ahead and flip yourself, organize your spine. Head is in neutral, I'm gonna get my best thinking, best spinal positioning, flip your hands up, and it's not squeezing the shoulder blades, it's flipping the palms up into this external rotated position. Look what happens to my shoulder, it winds back. Now you're stable, I didn't tilt to do that. That looks weird. This doesn't change, it's the chassis, I'm organized on the chassis. Now how are you gonna type? What do you need to do? Just flip your hands over. I call this the eastern keyboard approach. So you think about getting setup, and getting organized, and cooking your meals, and you know doing your day planner, but you just slip right into the bad typing position, you can't reclaim it. So let's bring some awareness to that system. Head is in neutral, flip your shoulders back, flip your hands over, totally setup. Isn't that easy? Let's use the same approach now, head is in neutral, totally organized, how are you gonna text? How you gonna man your own texting device? You flip your shoulders into a neutral position. I even happen to have a phone here. Live TV, now watch hands come right here. Anything that's not this position is killing you. And what's it doing to you? Practice is making perfect. Why did you get that weird fat hump on your neck right here that you don't talk about and everyone loves? Because your body's putting down fat trying to pull your head back. It's easier if you just put your head into the position where it belongs. So this is your texting position, you can even do this like this and be all stealth and still maintain the rule. But if we see you texting in the world like this, we'll kill you, metaphorically. We'll just bat the phone out of your hand. So organized and look at this neutral position, and now look if I'm a fighter, doing a little fighting, I'm tactical now, aren't I?
You're ready, jump the phone, whoa.
Yeah I got you, yeah that's right. So okay those are the basic tenets for how to get organized. So now as you're sitting here, is your abs, are your abs still on 20%? Yeah, are your shoulders in a good position? Now what happening is that when we used to sit in yoga, or sit, we'd sit in these deep positions of flexion and external rotation, which did what? It got the hip all organized. The problem with sitting is this. There's a couple of things that our problem is. If I'm sitting I don't have my hip into a stable position, I have to create that stability. So my hip flexors get tight trying to pull my pelvis up, right. And there's a muscle in your back, in your belly called the psoas, which is the filet mignon of the human being since we're talking cooking, right? It runs next to your spine and comes right down into the front of your pelvis, and it goes from spine to femur. What ends up happening is that thing gets short, that's how you're holding yourself up. So now I go to stand up, and I'm deeply, deeply--
Pulls on your lower back.
broken and then I'm this girl again, right. So what we should do is talk about the other problem. I'll give you a quick easy fix for this and I'll talk about the other problem we're seeing. You're about a hundred degrees. Let's just say you're an adult size male, like 200 pounds, just for the math, that's easy, right? You have a hundred pounds of butt pressure, and high temperature, sort of moist environment. You're up in the Northwest here. What happens when you take tissue layers and put 'em in high pressure, high temperature, what happens? They become laminated, you're undergoing a complex process of butt lamination right now as you're sitting. So you're shortening your hips and you're laminating the strongest, most supple body tissues in your body. Now let's do a thought experiment, right? Look at the palm of your hand. It's pretty gnarly. You've dissected a hand, I'm sure, because you're Tim Ferriss, right? (audience laughs) Who hasn't, right? So when you dissect the palm, it's difficult to dissect. And it has tissue that's designed to resist sheer and deformation, it's thick, right. Think about the balls of your feet, same thing, right? Now here's the thought experiment, total Tim Ferriss style. Think of the most beautiful person in the world you can think of, got it? Now think of their butt. What does their butt look like, the palm of your hand, in your mind? No, it's a non-weight bearing surface, right? You would have the butt of like a gibbon or a baboon, that would be terrible. What we're gonna do today, I wanna show you guys a couple of techniques to open up the front of your hip, really simple. And a couple of techniques to unglue your laminated, tacked down warrior self. That seem reasonable?
That sounds great.
Okay so perfect, let's grab Seth again. Come on up Seth. So first things first, the language of being a human being is actually the language of movement. The brain is designed and wired for human movement. And so if you can perform all the movements that we typically see in a gym, we'd think your normal, right. So for example, here's a wild one, can you squat down with your feet straight? Just all the way down. We're in Thailand and we're gonna have dinner. All the way down, is that all the way down? Perfect, so this is what we call full range of motion in the hip, in the knee, in the ankle, it's all setup here. You don't have to memorize that. You should just be able to go to Thailand and have dinner, right? Or if in the woods and you had to poo, same position, right? It's an important position and you're laughing, but you've been to those places in Thailand.
I've camped in the woods.
That's right so what we see then is we have basic people, who are people who can't adopt these basic positions. We sometimes think people may go days and weeks without actually sitting down or using full range of motion. You get up out of bed, you sit at the edge of your bed, you sit in your chair, you get in your car, right, you just don't express this. Full range of motion in your ankle is when you just do a one-legged squat like a pistol. Can you do that?
Yeah you don't even have to do a pistol, just get in the bottom position. So it turns out the language of being a human being is the same language of skill training and strength conditioning. So one of the nice things about this, you don't have to memorize any of these things, can you express things that you're asking people to do in your book which is fantastic? I get into a fight with my wife sometimes. She's like look you say people aren't normal, right? And I'm like yeah, they're disnormal, that's true. And she's like that makes people feel bad about themselves. So what I'm telling you is you have a lot more potential on the table and you can go a lot faster, feel a lot better, if we just gave you full range of motion, and control through that full range of motion. So let's torture Seth for a second. Come back here Seth. So when Seth got up, what happened to his knees? Did you see it? One of the things that we need to make sure that we have a basic test, retest on is can we squat correctly? Go ahead and squat to that box for me, Seth, can you?
Just sit down to the box. See how complicated that got? Okay so what did he do? He rounded his back and his knees shot forward first. What would you think about my position if I was like, hey nice to meet ya? This is a pretty sketchy looking position, isn't it? So we violate the same rule. (whispers) That was a test and you failed. (audience laughs) Organize your spine, oh you know this already. We already covered this. Screw your feet into the ground. Good now without letting your knees just shoot forward in a wild manner, oh perfect. And what ends up happening is we taught him to squat based on some very simple principles. Standing up, means what? Prioritizes the spine, he's got himself organized. Go ahead lean forward and stand up. Much better, so basic ideas. What I love about this concept we call it hiding the reps. If we get you moving correctly, and just practicing these basic positions, you won't be as stiff and you can work on all the other Tim Ferriss projects like learning 90 languages. Come over here Seth, basic homework. Number one for everyone is that I want them to spend and work on, ten minutes a day, trying to squat. Do this for two weeks. If you can't squat all the way down, hold onto something. Let's get you just adopting a basic position. The only idea here is I want to make sure your knees aren't forward, that when you stand up, your shins go vertical. Which is the same position that we squat the most weight in. The shins go vertical and I stand up. That's how I not destroy my meniscus, okay. So here's what we're gonna do, I'm gonna teach you what we call the couch stretch. Homework number two, just open up this anterior chain. What I want you to do is go ahead and get into this kneeling position next to me. Put your knee up in the corner.
Oh yeah, this one.
Oh, you know, you said
Should we see Tim do it too?
I'm gonna be spending the next two months after book deadline and launch and everything, basically undoing all my sitting.
This is true. That's okay, you're gonna be compromised. You have to fly on an airplane, it's hard to stand in the cockpit like we used to. So now from this position, bring your other leg up into a standing position, like this, good. And this is expressing full range of motion in the hip, no problem. Keep that knee in the back. Now all I have to do is squeeze my butt, there's that back protection, and then the second position is I just come all the way up. And if I just do some analog of this, just putting this knee in the corner, I'm not on my kneecap, and working on this basic shape. What will find is when you go to stand up later, you're going to feel there is less strain in your low back. That you can actually squeeze your butt hardering. Just do a little test, retest. Now we were in that position for 30 seconds, squeeze your butt as hard as you can. Which side contracts harder?
The left side.
Weird, that's right.
And this is called the couch stretch, just to be clear, is something you'd do where the foot would actually end up on top of the cushion of the couch.
And the idea is I can do something really important like Twitter, right, or Facebook.
A glass of wine.
While I'm doing something else, right. We call that the wine timer. The idea is one good way to modulate this. We want people to think about position as a skill and your mechanics are the expressions that gonna carry the carcass around for 110 years, working ten minutes a day on improving your position mechanics as you advocate is not too much to ask. I know you're not too busy for ten minutes. Are you really? No, so lazy.
What I want to point out too is also to connect some of the dots here, so tomorrow we're going to be spending time with Dave Camarillo, UFC trainer, amazing fighter. And one of the tenets of his teaching and his approach to fighting is position before submission. All that means in the fight game is before you go for an arm bar or leg lock, whatever, you have to have good position. So people in life it's astonishing to see people pulling records in deadlift and then they go to sit down at the computer, and here they are, and it's the same thing. Before you can think about the task and the movement, you have to have the proper position.
Easy, so let's give you one set of skills now. Come on over here.
I was gonna hang upside down and do some--
No, no that's tomorrow, tune in tomorrow. So this is a foam roller. It's a tube of extruded foam that someone has conned the world into rolling around on to change yourself. My feeling is if this is really effective, no one would have squat pain, knee, neck, right? It would have just cured everything already. So let's have a different set of tools. Let's have some big boy tools, okay. One of these things we're a fan of is democratizing this. You don't need a bunch of fancy equipment. In fact this is a lacrosse ball. They cost about a buck a ball and it's very dense and very hard, but it's really good at delaminating your tissues. So if you're stuck, Seth, go ahead and I'm gonna have you sitting. And here's the deal, everyone knows. (audience laughs) Did he do it, did he do it? Jessica grade him, did he pass? Good work, good work. Everyone's judging you, we're just judging you. It's okay.
The first time I noticed too that I kind of like my knees went out, you know.
That's right your combat stance is your everyday stance. So everyone knows immediately where they are hurting. And what I need you to do is have a basic template, if something is soar or stiff, work on the tissues directly upstream and directly downstream. So if I'm having low back pain, what's the tissues right below my low back? My bum and my hamstrings, it's an easy way. So I'm gonna give you a couple of ideas. Now if you have grilled cheese sandwich, the last thing I need you to do is put an ice pick in the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich and expect to see change. What I want you to do is pull the grilled cheese sandwich apart. We're trying to create sheer in these tissues. So watch this. Stick this in the region of your bum, I would say stick it in your butt, but that's not appropriate for TV, okay. So what the key is he is gonna find a spot where he can't take his full weight on it. We know tissues are normal because they're not painful. Quick pause, how's your posture? Is it good or bad? Is it awesome? You gonna be hired? Good, perfect, now you're sitting up. Okay, so now Seth's on, he's found something he doesn't like. He's got the smile, this is great. I'm so light, it's such a beautiful day, I'm so happy. Okay now here's what we're gonna do. The first thing he's gonna squeeze as hard as he can, contracting this muscle. This can be done on any muscle or any tissue in your body. Squeeze as hard as you can and then release, like a light switch. He ends up going right through that painful restriction. So we're now getting our brains involved in this process. Instead of just hammering it over and over again, you're not just a piece of meat, you're an elegant meat machine. Okay, squeeze your butt, lock it, errr, and relax. He goes right through that. So this first technique is like a trigger point model, just contract, relax. Just trying to get your brain, to create some tension then releasing, you go right through it. Does that change? Does that feel different?
Yeah, oh, oh.
Oh now it's his bottom, okay. Key here--
My butt is so tight.
Let's keep this PG, shall we?
Somebody should win a prize for that clip. (laughing)
So, truth! So here's the deal, the issue is we need you 10 or 15 minutes a day, and you don't have to get the whole body done every day. Work on a section. I'm short here, let's work on these tissues. I'm short here, five or ten minutes a leg. Now that's 15 minutes a day, 75 minutes a week. We start make some change. Second technique, I wanna make sure you have. Go really slowly with your full weight, side to side. You'll notice he's sitting, this could be a bus, this could be your chair, this could be a desk.
I gotta say it's just like getting a deep tissue Thai massage, which I love. I cry during those so.
Like that only it's private, which is great.
And you can make people on the airplane really, really uncomfortable.
What is that guy doing? Hip mobility, hip mobility people. So here's the deal, we'll now give him a second technique. He needs full pressure slowly moving side to side. We're trying to get into this deep connective tissue layer, and it's slow. You don't have to work on it. You take your full pressure, you don't have to do a ton of work. And if you hand the lacrosse ball to your mom the whole body is gonna hurt. So we just need a place to start. Last technique is go ahead and find something that you don't like and just move your leg back and forth. What we're doing is creating tack and stretch, or what I call smash and floss. Smashing tissue and then we're just flossing it past. One of those three techniques can be employed on any tissue of your body. Just start to delaminate this process because stress, poor sleep, bad nutrition, bad movement pattern, we see a lot of stiffness. If we start to resolve some of this stiff features and start to improve our mechanics, we see radical changes in the outcome of the human being. Pretty simple, right?
So just to add on to that. So these are fantastic, good for home intruders as well, but I travel with one of these now after having you dismantle my achilles tendon with one of them, a technique for another time. But real simple, so for me, two very high ROI activities, I will use this on my feet in the morning before I get going. And then when people think of back, they think of sitting back, back, back. But like he showed you before is this, I will use it on my chest against a wall. I'll just roll to open up the chest. What you find is, for instance, I was experiencing at one point a bunch of referral pain in the neck, the back. And so all these people were trying to fuss with the back. Oh pain in the back, fuss with the back. And then someone pointed out well, if your pecs are contracted and a disaster, you're not gonna fix your back. As soon as I started really doing this, not even five minutes, just a few minutes a day, no more neck pain. So real cheap, worth getting these. Everything you need is already contained within. And you need to be able to own and understand some basic mechanics. It's not based on tissues, it's based on movement. It's very simple. One more thing, a trick that he also told me at one point, we're not gonna do it necessarily today, you take two of these, do you remember this?
Tape this with athletic tape, get these two together. And then you can put these on the ground on either side of the spine, and work on spine mobility. From sitting down for so long, from getting thrown on my head hundreds of times in judo and wrestling. My thoracic spine here, real issues with mobility in that area. So I will travel with these, real easy, stick 'em in a bag.
And you see what he's fixing? He's fixing his spine first, right. So if he's stuck in that position, first thing we do is get the spine more organized. Then the head comes back in line, the shoulders, ah. Spine first. We have just as thought, you should never be dissuaded from working on your business. And this is just a simple roller. Seth on your back real quick. This could be a romantic evening, but just as an idea, right, if I had a good friend. We call them super friends, right, if I just slowly smash, how low tech is this? It's actually called smashing, that's what we call it, smashing. And it turns out we smash. Mark Bell might smash your quads, just as an FYI. That could happen, but it's really low tech. What's the matter? Why are you making that face?
Right. (audience laughs) This is the idea is that he can't probably can't get enough pressure on that, we need to think, this is not stretching a tissue, that's designed to take billions of oscillations, this is just trying to get it to slide again. Simple way to start thinking about dealing with your tissues. If I'm having ankle pain, heal pain, foot pain, what's right upstream? Tissue right there.
I would imagine you could use a wine bottle in place of this.
Any excuse to get closer to the wine.
Just saying, just saying.
Thanks very much.
Alright, cool, we're gonna do a quick time check. How are we doing on time?
We basically are done. We have maybe time for like a question or two.
Yeah let's take a couple of questions.
So here in the audience, be thinking of a question. I've got one, this is actually, I'm gonna use my opportunity here as a person and ask a question for me. I'm clearly an overweight, out of shape dude, and all of this stuff is something that makes sense to me and that I want to do. As I was just sitting here and trying to keep my position right and do all that sort of thing, it was really straining. It was hard to maintain for me. Is this something that you recommend that we just kind of, you know what, full turkey, just go? I don't know if full turkey is a word, but full bear, just do it, or do you recommend kind of easing into it in some way? So improving posture and the way your just kind of standing.
Well think about that it's a process. You don't arrive here. We had this great therapist, teacher, he's like muscles and tissues are like obedient dogs. You know if in like a year and a half, maybe you turn over a skeleton, you'll completely look different over time. You're insertions will change, your tissues will align differently. You just have to tend that garden a little bit. Just bring some consciousness and you bet, your stiff, and those tissues are stiff, and the joints are stiff, it's gonna take a while to change. We like to make these changes in the context of exercise and nutrition, right. Like you can do all of the corrective exercise, stretching, crazy stuff, but if you're not lifting weights, moving correctly, breathing hard, eating like a human being should, you're missing a big piece of it. Correct it and when you start to devolve, you know, think to yourself, I can be better.
I think also if you choose, let's say one position to focus on, and one or two things to change. Since this is actually, thankfully, becoming more common among let's say start-ups in Silicon Valley. So there's some offices where they only have standing desks now. You don't have to spend a lot of money on a standing desk. You can look for instructions online for how to build something from basic parts from Home Depot. And for instance, I have my desk perfect body destroying height and I will just take a smaller step stool or a milk crate or something, put it on top, laptop. Not perfect, but don't let perfect be the enemy of good, right? So for me, even if I don't have everything perfectly ergonomic, it's a lot better than being a 100% wrong. So that's one thing that I'll do.
If you have to sit in a stacked position for a long time, it's difficult, isn't it? So make your next position your best position. Or you best position's your next position. So think about cultivating this position change. We're about democratizing some of this information about how your body works. And just get up, and put your laptop on the counter. Get a little bar stool, they're cheap.
Absolutely, and for instance, one thing I found very helpful with the core component of this, is focusing on it when I'm most likely to forget. For me at least, that was when I was walking. And so I would actually focus on proper chin positioning and not ending up in this type of this position. Proper head position and just maintaining that 30% tension as I walk. And I found, for instance, that as soon as I did that my back pain would go away. So it's immediate gratification also. And I started with just when I'm walking. So number one I'm probably gonna walk more. Number two just during that period of time. Then layer in the behavioral changes, right? Don't try to do a hundred things at once. Pick one thing, so maybe that's the lacrosse ball on the feet in the morning. Maybe that's the tension while you're walking. Maybe it's the stretch. There's one more I want to throw in, it's just extra credit and you can do just a quick, quick demo on this and that is.
So what he's done here is put the hip into flexion external rotation. It looks like squatting, it looks like the stale position of the hip, smells like yoga, but don't tell anyone. He can answer calls like this, can't he? He can be on the phone, he could be checking his email. Hide the reps, bury this into your routine, so it's not a big deal. It's not one more thing you have to do at the end of the day. You're too busy for this, you've gotta work on it. If you start to cultivate some hip opening, no problem, easy.
So I did this every 45 minutes or so, I'll join in four hour body. I'd get up and I'd do that on both sides. And I would just like, oh my god, my right side is two, three times more difficult than my left. Okay, fine, I'm gonna focus on the right then because we don't have to get too far into it. It's like if you have both sides that are sort of uniformly weak, it's less dangerous and problematic than if you have one that's really strong and one that's really weak.