So I think we're at a place now where I'm trying to kind of get some traction. I think it's a great time to take some questions from you guys about what's going on. Any questions about what you're seeing? Specifically to what? Or we can bounce us back to the intertubes. Wait, what? The interwebs. Here we go.
Anybody here in the room? If not, while you're thinking
Oh, we've got one.
Oh there we go. Yeah.
So Kelly so we're talking about when we're not under a load, we're kind of discussing how it's okay to be globally flexed, or kind of round your back or whatever. But is that, I mean, would you want to work more on the flexibility portion of that to avoid from doing that over and over and over again, to kind of get in the habit of doing it the right way?
When we see this question about kind of these flexed positions and shapes, right? I can handle some flexion. When I'm in these globally flexed positions, what I'm usually not doing is actually loading my spine. I'm not putting...
a big weight through the system. I'm rolling. Those are those shapes. But I notice that even though what you'll typically see is that people will adopt a flexed position and then stay flexed. What ends up happening is that if I reach down to the ground, I should be able to keep my back flat for a very long time, and as I dump did I dump globally or did I dump locally? I dumped locally. I have a few segments that are taking the load. And like the paperclip that I bend 50 or 60 times, times a million, that's when I start to see those segments. That's why when someone says "Hey I reached down and grabbed the pillow and herniated my disk," that's what we mean. So we're always looking to work at full expression, and as safe as possible, and it's a conversation. Because very few of us, arrive on full potential or come into this world at full potential and we start to discover ourselves as athletes. As long as we're thinking about hey, it's okay for me to turn my feet out when I squat to 30 degrees, because that's the only position I can get to the toilet, fantastic. Are me knees safe? My back prioritized? Am I in the best position possible? Is this the optimal position? No. So it allows me to have a conversation now about hey, how do I work towards optimal? Did that answer your question?
You talked about being duck-footed a bunch today I'm wondering about drills other than specific mobility stuff which maybe we'll cover tomorrow, but exercises you could do other than just walking with your feet straight that you could do to correct that, say that there's maybe a muscle imbalance?
Well so, that's two things. One is that we're always working on this position of trying to put the foot into position to create the most stability in the system, right? And if you're on an unstable surface or uneven surface, even turned out here I can create as much torque. If I'm in like, "warrior," aren't I still trying to create torque with an open foot? Instead of defaulting? So I'm always looking at whatever foot position I'm in, I'm going to be trying to put myself into the most optimal position. So one of the nice things about the way we practice is that all of these systems are integrative. And so if I start to maintain a good jumping and landing position, that whenever I go I'm always adopting these basic stable shapes, what ends up happening is that that becomes my default for everything. So that, let's say that I'm reaching a wall and I have to come in an clear the room like they did in Oh Dark Thirty or whatever that is, right? That scary, scary movie. Those guys come in, and look what their basic shape is, right? It's the same jumping and landing position that I teach my kids to jump up on the box. And what ends up happening that this primary pattern that I practice all the time gets practiced all the time. It just happens that this low kind of cost iteration times ten thousand is such an easy way to begin this conversation. But we all know that the gym delivers big stimulus for results, right? Being in a Pilates class, being with an excellent yoga instructor. What's happening is that someone is forcing me and meticulously re-grinding these good movement patterns. And this is why I believe in the power of coaching and teaching. It's so many times, you know, you have had a coach your whole life, in college as a high-level athlete then I'm like, so you're going to the gym? You just didn't think you needed a coach? You know, you needed a coach for everything. And suddenly maybe we do need a little coaching. And that's why we should be able to do it ourselves and then still find the resources. But in terms of you know, is this a mobility restriction, that's the piece for tomorrow. Because now we can start, we're starting to ask the question "Why am I adopting these basic shapes that are less efficient, if I'm doing my best to correct them consciously? Is there something underlying that's keeping me tight?" Now we can have a conversation about it. Great question.
Alright. I think oh, uh go ahead. One more.
This is referring to something you just said about getting some coaching, and to all the viewers out there who are maybe not too physically active or sedentary. Wouldn't you agree that going to your local crossfit box would be a smart idea?
I would say that I personally am I big believer in the crossfit. I started over at the 29th crossfit, I think this is a fantastic model. We can start having a basic conversation about I think that that's one of the best if not the best expressions of performance mechanics, but there are a lot of ways. I know a lot of amazing universities and strength coaches who use systems like that. They're exposing their athletes to full ranges of motion, metabolically condition them as long as someone is moving appropriately, because I have some friends who are like, "You know I just don't care to lift weights, I want to do yoga. I want to be in Pilates." So then my idea is are you being coached yes/no? And more importantly are you practicing some of these archetypal shapes, yes/no? Are you practicing lifting, squatting, you know, are you doing that? Let's get that conversation started first, and then we can go onto the next piece. Absolutely. And finding a qualified coach, is so, so important. I mean if you went to Mike Boyle's gym, right? They practice you know, their Mike Boyle strength and conditioning, those guys are extraordinary coaches working with very high-level athletes with a very different expression of how to get athletes into a better position. But the more important is, are you in good shape yes/no? And are you getting results, yes/no?
Alright, we have plenty of questions from the internet so let's take a couple here while we have time. Erin Ovace Brant, and a number of other people were wondering whether you could address optimal sleeping positions. They would love to know what you recommend specifically to avoid low back and hip pain.
(groans) So mea culpa, one of the things that happened early on in my career was that I was like hardest surface ever (audience laughs). Like if you could sleep on a piece of glass, that'd be great. And my poor wife, during both of her pregnancies and with our children slept on a bed surface that was like glass. And she complained bitterly of hip pain on and on. And then I woke up because I started to understand that really what we need to do is apply the same set of movement principles and organization principles to our sleeping. So, if I'm on my side sleeping, where should my head be? In line with my body. How much pillow do I need? Enough pillow to maintain my neutral head position. So if suddenly, my shoulder jacks forward, and I stuff my hands underneath my neck, maybe this isn't a great sleeping position for seven or eight hours, and why am I so stiff? What's going on? So you can start to identify that people do crazy things on their basic shape. If I'm sleeping on my back, and I have enough pillow to support my neck because I'm a little thick, and I put my hands by my side, and my shoulders jack into this strange position which we're going to look at tomorrow, is this a reason why my hands might go numb as I sleep? What do people end up doing? They sleep with their hands up by their face. So what we've done with a lot of our swimmers who have cooked shoulders sometimes is we tuck a pillow underneath their shoulders and they sleep in a more neutral position. So the real question is, what position am I sleeping in? Because I can buffer my mechanics when I'm awake and conscious, what happens when I go to sleep? I go unconscious. And I'll default to all my pulling states. The same thing that happened when Carl put me in the air on the trampoline, he was like "waaa," I couldn't hide who I really was, I was so stiff, right? He was like "you're naked all of the sudden! Not naked. Naked. Not naked. Naked." And the real question is when I put myself into a better shape and block that. So my feeling is that you should be on a bed surface that supports your neutral position. Whatever that is. For most of my athletes, it turns out that's a little bit softer surface than we thought. Because if I lay on my back, and clunk, drop into extension all night long, no wonder I wake up with this horrible piece. So what have we said? Oh, block your knees. What am I really doing when I block my knees with a pillow underneath my knees? Oh, I'm really impacting my spinal position. And if you have to sleep with a whole bunch of weird props to get comfortable that's fantastic, but maybe your bed isn't the perfect medium for you to maintain these neutral basic shapes. So the only thing I would say is and this is like, religion, and veganism, and meat-eating, is you should not sleep on your stomach. And the reason I'll mention that I'm not a fan of sleeping on your stomach is that I see athletes very over-extended, especially as I'm a modern human being I tend to be living in this dominant paradigm anyways so it cooks me, and it's difficult to breathe on your stomach. Do you agree? If I maintain this neutral spine all night long, what position do I breathe in? I turn my head, and then I breathe. And you literally, can you imagine? Let's everyone do that. Turn your head to the side, and breathe, cook it back a little bit, good. Seven hours. Ready? Go. You'd be like "you are insane." And I'm like, "you're insane!" How do you sleep like that? So you know, one of the keys is, How do I optimize my position when I go unconscious? I would like for you to be sleeping in a cocoon. That'd be perfect. On an elastic hammock, there it is. That answer the question? And I think episode 38 and on MobilityWOD, I just so happen to have that in my head you know in my syphilis, brain-eaten, crazy self. I don't have syphilis (audience laughs). The issue is, no it's really it eats the brain. You just uh, it's a PT joke. Sorry. Spirochetes aren't funny. 38 and is the episodes about sleeping.
Alright fantastic. We have time for just a couple more questions, so.
Several came up that were somewhat similar to for those people who have had bad posture and they're starting to work on things. Is it, as far as posture, this is from Cynda Lin What would the reason be for having discomfort or pain, from actually sitting up straight for a period of time? Is my body just too adapted to slouching or bad posture? So sort of other people were asking is it normal to start to feel some discomfort versus pain, as you start to correct these things.
What a very reasonable thing. Boy for the first time in my life, I'm not here and as I do this, these muscles are working so hard and I'm burning and I'm stiff, and I really, yeah, absolutely. The key is to be thinking hey, this is a process. We like to say boy, honestly, if we're going to really change you, we need to look at like what the skeleton life cycle is. And your body is constantly, I think it's Wolff's Law, is constantly tearing down bone and rebuilding bone. And so if you start to force yourself consciously into these positions, what's going to happen is your body will actually start to reflect a completely different genotype. You'll look different. A phenotype, excuse me. You'll look different, where literally your body's attachments will start to change. Your bone will start to reorganize. It happens over time. You're connective tissue will normalize. Comma, I wonder why if I'm stiff in the mid-back, which we'll hit tomorrow, no wonder I'm working so hard. The key is to be constantly thinking about what's my optimal position, and certainly, sitting upright as a rigid, neutral roboton, is not the best thing. I need to be moving and supple and changing these different positions. It is a practice, and we will see that if we start you today and take a picture of you 18 months later, you look different. You look very different. We can even measure that on radiograph you look so different.
That's fantastic. Alright let's have one more question to kind of sum up the day. The Rainy Day Store, you've given us a whole lot of different things to work on and we'll be given even more tomorrow, Rainy Day Store is wondering should we start with one habit and work on that one issue until we've accomplished it? Or work on all bad habits at the same time?
Well, I don't know, you know. Maybe we should just burn our shoulders, no. The key concept is just to work at the limits of your understanding, and capacities. And those will change, and if you get busy, when you're working on changing and cultivating this awareness, this is what we call deep practice. Do musicians practice very, very, hard 24 hours a day? No, they gym or my training ends up being a cycle or time where I'm engaged in a very deep practice to change these things and then, maybe during my life during the course of the day I try to optimize. You know, one of the we kind of have this joke around the gym called "The Fight Club Drill." And it's imagine that if I see you with a collapsed arch, I'm like "okay you've just been Fight Club'd." Which means that if someone sees you in a bad position, they're going to tag you in a bad shot, or give you a whip, or kink. And what happens is that was make this about culturally being aware. One of the things that happens is when people are all moving better, you actually start to see and reflect that. Our girls on the swim team have been an interesting case. We had to undo 20 years, 22 years of some elite level performance for those girls and they just made it a practice and a habit of cultivating and reminding each other. Do the best you can, the second you have some awareness, work on it, you know? And you catch yourself in a bad position, correct. We don't expect you to completely rewire your brain overnight. This thing will take some time. For a child learning a new skill, six to ten thousand repetitions, that's all. Just ten thousand repetitions. And one of our good friends says, "the key to adult learning is repetition." So practice, practice, practice, practice.