Published on December 14, 2016
[0:52] Stance Socks
[2:12] Exo Protein
[3:30] Introduction to this Episode
[5:04] MindPump Guys
[16:35] Why Justin is Creating a Special Stick That Can Measure Your Central Nervous System Integrity
[23:59] Q&A For The MindPump Guys/ Micro-Workouts Vs. Full Workouts
[28:13] What Would a “Trigger Session” Looked Like
[29:24] Commercial Break/Onnit MCT Oil
[30:55] Harry's Razor
[32:59] Continuation of the Podcast
[36:05] Melatonin and Sleep
[46:35] The Best Way to Block Blue Light from Screens, Phones, Street Lights and Oncoming Cars…
[50:36] Three Proven Ways to Turn on your Butt, Deactivate your Hip Flexors and Eliminate Low Back Pain
[1:07:32] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey. What's up? It's Ben Greenfield. I'm in San Jose, California. Or it might be San Jose. I don't know. They don't teach us these things in the Washington backwoods. But either way, I came down here to hang out with some really interesting guys called the MindPump guys. I'll introduce them to you in just a moment. They've actually been on the show before. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mindpump, you can listen in to them. Their names are Sal, Justin, and Adam, and they're a very fun group of guys. This podcast gets like slightly explicit in a couple places, but, hey, what can you expect when you throw four full-grown, red-blooded American males into a room together to talk about things like biohacking, and sleep, and sex, and beyond? So, this one ought to be an entertaining episode for you.
Before we jump in though, a couple of things. First of all, socks. Yes, socks. So there's this company called Stance, and I actually own now about 10 pairs of socks from Stance. They're some of the coolest canvases for self-expression. I bet you never thought about using your foot as a canvas for self-expression. But they're some of the coolest canvases for self-expression that I feel you can find anywhere. Why? Because they have socks such as Lundy, which are these cool collections of flowers and leaves on your socks. They have one with fireworks all over it.
I have Darth Vader underwear, I have cherry socks that I got from them. For the women, they have the Sagittarius, the Makamae sock, which is perfect, I suppose, if you're going to do yoga in your socks. I even bought my kids a bunch of socks. I bought them the camo socks, the Surfin' Santa socks for Christmas, their camo trip socks. So all sorts of different things that you can find at Stance for awesome gifts or for yourself. It's just stance.com, STANCE.com, and if you order by the 20th if you're listening to this in time, if you're really on top of things, they can still get them to you by Christmas, just in case you need some extra Christmas stocking stuffers, or, heck, just a stocking to stuff something in. So check them out, stance.com.
This podcast is also brought to you by a company that makes some kind of weird bars. Now, these bars come in a variety of interesting flavors like cacao nut, and blueberry vanilla, and apple cinnamon, and one of my favorites, peanut butter and jelly, although pretty much anything peanut butter and jelly flavored will be my favorite. But that's not what makes them unique. What makes them unique is that they're made out of a dried cricket protein powder. And not only that, but they're delicious. They're designed by like a five star Michelin chef. And the cool thing about crickets is they have all the essential amino acids in them. They're very complete source of protein.
They're actually 65% protein, compared to like 33% for beef jerky, 25% for salmon, 12% for eggs, and crickets also have two and a half times more iron than spinach. So you can actually try any of these cricket protein flavors if you go to exoprotein.com/Ben. You get a sampler pack with all of their most popular flavors for less than 10 bucks and free shipping. So it's a 33% discount, and it's EXOprotein.com/Ben. So get your cricket bars fast 'cause there are a small and nimble start-up, meaning they sell out of their cricket bars all the time. So you got to get 'em while the getting's good. Alright. Let's jump into this episode with the MindPump guys.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“You want to look at muscles that are tight and improve extensibility in them, but you also want to look at muscles that are loose and weak and strengthen those as well.” “I think the biggest mistake that people make with the microworkouts or trigger sessions is mirroring the full workouts or still in the intensifying.” “Just sitting up and down without using momentum to get out of it basically, like you're emulating a squat, but you're really just focusing on connectivity in posterior chains. So I'm trying to make sure that I'm properly recruiting by utilizing force more through my heel and giving my hamstrings and my glutes fire.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: So, a couple of months ago these guys showed up at my front door and you may have heard the episode that ensued when we sat down in my studio out in the forest in Spokane, Washington after I had force them to bale hay for me, which they all enjoyed thoroughly. That episode was actually probably one of more entertaining episodes that I've recorded the past couple of months. You can listen to it if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mindpump2, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/mindpump2. I'll put a link to the original podcast that I did with these guys who are the three men who make up MindPump…
Justin: The three amigos!
Ben: What is it called? MindPump Media?
Sal: Well, the show is MindPump, but the actual company is Sal DiStefano's MindPump Media. (inaudible)
Ben: How come you didn't call it MindBlow?
Sal: ‘Cause, well, for obvious reasons. You don't want to Google that, by the way. We checked that out.
Justin: Anything with “blow” in there is a red flag.
Adam: I think we went around and around for a while on the name, didn't we?
Sal: We did.
Adam: We couldn't settle on the name for the longest time.
Justin: The Bro Show.
Adam: That was not going to be the name.
Sal: I was sold pretty early on MindPump though. I wanted “mind” in there.
Adam: This the bad [0:06:16] ______ (crosstalk) is everything that you accomplish in your business, you get all the (censored) credit.
Adam: Sal has this beautiful thing that he does. We all come up with these great ideas, we do things, and then somehow it turns out to be his idea always at the end of it. It's like, “Wait a second. Justin, didn't you…?”
Justin: No, it had to be though.
Adam: “Didn't you say MindPump? I can remember?” No, no. Sal's like, “No, I'm certain it was my idea.”
Ben: Well, that's like the Three Stooges. Larry, Curly, and Moe, right? Who was the mastermind? It was like Moe who was the mastermind, I think. So you we're the guy with like the black crew cut…
Justin: Did you just compare us to the (censored) Three Stooges you (censored)?
Ben: Well, actually, just so folks know who you guys are. Actually, let me continue to lay down the scene here. I came down to San Jose. I'm now down in San Jose on these guys' turf in their studio. We just recorded a podcast for their podcast feed, and what you're listening to now is a little bit more insight into these guys and also some fabulous questions that we had coming on Facebook that we're going to delve into on lower back, and sleep packing, and something called micro-workouts. But just real quick, 30 second intro of you guys. I've got, to my right here, Adam. Bodybuilder.
Adam: What's going on? My name's Adam Schafer. Yeah. You know what? I don't know if I even like being called a bodybuilder. I did do it though. I did do it for a couple years. I got into it. But the main…
Ben: Now you just sit down and eat nuts. He's got a canister full of nuts here. And by the way, sorry to interrupt.
Justin: Always nuts on his face.
Ben: I want to let you get back to your intro, but I just got to throw this out here. Live. On a podcast. For all the world to hear. Your guys' chairs suck.
Sal: Really? You don't like it?
Ben: These are big, old plush couches.
Justin: You're used to standing.
Ben: Yeah. What you need are like the chairs that are shaped like a pelvis that you lean against.
Adam: Oh god. This comes from the guy who stands up when he podcasts.
Ben: Or like a topographical mat.
Sal: Well, hold on a second.
Adam: How 'bout a pogo stick?
Ben: I'm not going to have low back pain…
Sal: Someone do me a favor and take a picture of him right now 'cause I know why you think the chair sucks. ‘Cause you're sitting on it like you're a flamingo. Like I don't know how…
Ben: This is my…
Sal: You have to have your legs…
Ben: This is my “take a dump in the woods” pose because…
Sal: Well, no wonder it's not comfortable! It's not made to poop in!
Ben: I don't want keep my hip flexors and turn off my glutes the rest of the night. You never know, on a typical evening in San Jose, when you're going to need your glutes. And I don't want to sit here for two hours with my hip flexors shortening.
Adam: I think there was an acoustical strategy to getting these big cushion-ey seats, right? I mean they absorb some of that. Your voice sounds so much better standing.
Justin: Adam has a lot of gas, so this helps.
Ben: That's true. It absorbs. So, Adam, anything else?
Adam: Not really. I'm pretty much the least important guest, or host that we have on the show. I am the better looking one out of the three of us. No. I kind of represent the meathead side. I did do bodybuilding that was kind of how I made my social media name, if that even makes (censored) sense. I started with Men's Physique and…
Sal: Men's Bikini.
Adam: Yeah. Men's Bikini. Worked my way all the way up through the…
Ben: Eventually strip the pasties off.
Adam: That's right. And I worked my way all the way up to the professional level, and the main thing I was trying to get across to people was there's a better way to do that. And I didn't do it with a coach, I didn't do it with a team, and I really did it to show people that there is a healthier approach, and I feel like there's a major problem in the bodybuilding industry, or the bodybuilding world right now with these extreme ways of dieting, these extreme ways of training, and it's turned into like people have just trying to become a martyr, and hammer themselves, and put themselves through misery to get up on stage, which is such a small, you get handed a plastic trophy, you know? So…
Ben: Oh, yeah. I remember, when I was in bodybuilding, I don't know if you've experienced this, when you go to the shows, to the expos where all the bodybuilders are walking around backstage, or front stage, or at the expo, in between the judging, you look at 'em and from a distance, they are cut, they're like Adonis, like they stepped out of an Avengers or Marvel Comics movie or something. Then you get up close, and their skins like the grandma from “Something About Mary”.
Sal: They look unhealthy.
Justin: It is like connective tissue inflammation, acne…
Ben: And of course, if there's connective tissue inflammation on the surface, it definitely goes muscle deep because muscles are connective tissue as well. And these people are just walking around in constantly inflamed states.
Sal: Oh, I remember going to Adam's competition, the last one that he did. Me and Justin were hanging around.
Justin: We wanted to give 'em food. They just looked like they're dying.
Sal: There were girls that were obviously competing that day that were sitting on the floor. I mean, they looked like they were dying. They're sitting on the floor and they're eating like Rice Krispies treats.
Ben: Ugh, so sexy.
Sal: Or they were eating like gummy worms. And you look at their faces, and these are young girls. They're like 25…
Adam: It bummed me out, man. I'm going to be honest.
Sal: It looked bad! Like if I didn't know any better, I would be like, “Do you need some help?”
Ben: They could've easily got on the cover or Cosmo though. Just imagine. It's all worth it.
Justin: No pain, no gain.
Ben: Actually, when I was bodybuilding…
Sal: It's a really crazy sport.
Ben: When I was bodybuilding, I was a student. So I was studying, and then I'd come home, and I'd work out for two hours, after having worked out an hour in the morning. Then I'd just lay on the couch. I didn't have hormones, didn't have testosterone. I was like a piece of meat laying on the couch.
Adam: And that's why I'm just teasing Ben, like I'm really offended that he said that or anything. I've been a trainer for over 15 years, I became very fascinated with bodybuilding. Not because I wanted to become a bodybuilder, because I saw that these were the people that were influencing the fitness market more than anybody else. They're the ones that are on the cover of the magazines, they're the one doing the interviews if there are any of them on TV. They're these big bodybuilders or women's bikini girls and they're giving all this advice out. And I'm just cringing on what they're telling people is good, or healthy, or the best way to get in shape.
So I knew that if I was going to come out as an authority and tell people otherwise, I first had to show them that I could get in that shape, or else I felt like I would never get the respect. Because I don't have a PhD, I didn't even finish college, and started as a personal trainer when I was 20 years old, pretty much self-taught and self-educated all the way through my entire career. So I knew that I had to first show everybody that, and that was the whole mission, was to show them, and then I could come back and just kind of shed light on all the ugly secrets of the bodybuilding world.
Ben: Yeah. But now, all you need, you don't have to be big anymore. That's not even in.
Adam: No, it's not.
Ben: It's the Justin Bieber, Cameron Dallas, skinny jeans, Converse shoes, stringy arms look.
Adam: It is. That is what's…
Sal: If you put the Converse on, you would hit that a little bit.
Ben: Probably I got that. Yeah, I got all the cover except my Jesus sandals. So, Sal, that voice was the voice of Sal. And you're like, well, you're the Moe of the Three Stooges. The person who takes credit for everything.
Sal: Yeah. No, I don't know…
Justin: You'd better stop calling us Three Stooges. I'm going to reach over there and grab him by his neck.
Sal: So I've been in the industry for a very, very long time as a professional trainer since the age of 18, and I managed health clubs at a very young age, I've owned some gyms, I owned a wellness studio more recently, but I really have a passion…
Ben: What is the difference between a wellness studio and a gym? Let me understand this.
Sal: Well, you have your big box of gyms, which is like your 24-Hour Fitness, your Gold's Gyms where you've got equipment like cardio, weights, people go and they workout on their own, sometimes there's trainers in these gyms, sometime there isn't.
Sal: Yeah. Classes. Then you have your personal training studios, which are much smaller where you have personal trainers and their clients, and that's it. There's no public workout. There's no like I-pay-a-fee-and-then-I-work-out-on-my-own. A wellness studio, our approach was much more holistic. It was a small facility. I did have personal trainers, but I also had physical therapy, I had acupuncture, I had bodywork, I had somebody who…
Adam: Massage therapist, chiropractor…
Sal: Yeah. I had people who tested for food intolerances. And the goal was really to be a place where people could go to that maybe modern medicine didn't help them, or they had lots of pain, or even if they just want to get in shape, but we have everybody there under one roof that can help that person get there with ways that are not typically done, not the Western…
Ben: Wow! Wellness studio sounds way better than a gym.
Ben: Did you guys do gastric bypass, or stomach stapling, or anything…
Sal: None of that stuff.
Ben: Have you done the cool sculpting? Looked into that?
Ben: Where you use like a freezing cold laser to cause fat cell apoptosis?
Sal: Have you seen that?
Justin: That is actually…
Ben: It actually works. They did a study on like Yucatan pigs and they found that it actually reduced fat. I'm not kidding.
Ben: You can Google Yucatan pics cold surgery.
Sal: It just seems…
Adam: Ben's audience has no idea right now he's totally prodding Sal in everything that he's throwing at him right now because he knows this is the stuff that we talk (censored) about all the time.
Sal: You know what trips me out about that is that people don't think that there's a problem with killing your tissue with a laser.
Ben: Well, how's that different than doing like a cold shower if you're inducing fat cell apoptosis when you're…
Sal: I don't know. One's cold and one's a laser? (laughs)
Ben: Cold laser.
Justin: We're talking about lasers, man.
Ben: But it's a cold laser. It's called Cool Sculpting Surgery. There's like banners and ads all over the…
Sal: One thing I've learned with like you know cosmetic stuff, the more it sounds a harmless, the worse it typically is.
Justin: It's “Cool Sculpting”.
Adam: Like, “Oh (censored).”
Justin: It's harmless.
Ben: That's right. Just like foam rolling. Hurts like hell, but they just call it foam rolling.
Sal: Who wants to roll on some foam? It sounds like a party. So just did all that, and then started this podcast with these three gentlemen in the room. Fitness and health are minor passions of mine, and my major passion is people, and I love communicating quite a bit, and so podcast is just, I mean getting paid to talk? Are you kidding me? I can't believe that's my life now. It's pretty awesome. So I really enjoy talking on the podcast, talking about fitness, wellness, and whatever else is on my mind.
Adam: We've been sharing our journeys a lot like Ben. I think that's what has definitely, we all hit it off. I think he has a very similar approach where we're all kind of going through this journey together of health and wellness, and trying to find out the best path for each of us. I think we do a lot of that on our show too.
Ben: How about you, Justin?
Justin: I guess I'm Larry, then. Is that who I am?
Ben: Yeah. I was gonna say.
Justin: It's alright.
Ben: You said it.
Justin: You could say it. You could say it. I'll own it. Yeah. For me, I guess I'm probably more, as far as like my contribution would be more like sports performance-based, like strength coach. That's sort of more of my background. Not exclusively. I've worked with a ton of different types of clients. Like I'm a trainer at the Core. So that's what I'm passionate about.
Ben: You're in the sticks, dude. I have to just say that.
Justin: I am in the sticks! Yeah, I am.
Ben: So I want to paint a picture for you. These guys have their studio in kind of like this CrossFit-y gym space, and there's these like flexible sticks, CrossFit-y wellness studio.
Sal: Stick mobility, they're stick mobility…
Ben: Yeah. They're these sticks, and Justin, you've like invented some kind of a stick that measures force production?
Justin: Yeah. Force output. So, yeah. It was interesting. Like some of my buddies that I actually worked at this gym with, they went through this course from Dr. Faygenholtz, I believe his name is, who does Stick Yoga. And going through that process and with their background, they also had a sports background where they're like heavy into strength training and performance, and what they did was they basically branched off and created their own version of that which was Stick Mobility.
And Stick Mobility, I went through and worked through the concepts that they’re working through to really enhance their experience as far as mobility is concerned and how to apply muscle tension to these specific poses. It was a really very simple concept, but it was so effective. And so it just sparked this idea for me, going through a lot more of the isometric type movements that they did and how they were really able to use the stick as a tool to apply more muscle tension throughout their body.
Ben: Just stick? It's a lot like a PVC pipe with handles.
Justin: Just a stick. That's it. And they actually, theirs is flexible. So when they use it…
Ben: Actually. Yeah. That's what I noticed, that it flexes but it's super strong. Like really strong, flexible PVC pipe.
Justin: Exactly. Yeah. It's some kind of special PVC. But anyway, so that kind of sparked this idea for me as far as like we would do these specific poses, and I would apply all this pressure, but I was thinking, “Man, I have no idea how much pressure I'm really applying here and…”
Adam: Are you progressing…
Justin: Am I progressing. Yeah, do I really have the type of connectivity in recruitment that I optimally could, and what does that look like? And so my brain kept kind of going with this, and then I started to develop, with one of my partners who was a client at the time, this concept with the stick, and then we kind of found an engineer and started building it, and we're pretty close, but it's…
Ben: And it measures your central nervous system?
Justin: Yeah. So basically, whatever the output is for the specific movements. So, yeah.
Ben: Okay. So give me an example. Like what would a movement be that you'd do holding a stick?
Adam: Give him the therapy. I think that's a good way for most people. When you explain that to people, I think that's the best analogy. We talk about like somebody who's rehabbing, and if you were trying to go through therapy, how you'd use that tool.
Justin: Yeah. So let's just say like they're getting no muscular connectivity adducting. So I'm going to place the stick in a specific spot to test that. So I want to see how hard you could actually move isolating the specific movement. And so applying that force into the stick, you'll be able to measure, quantitatively speaking, so you'll be able to find like the actual number to that so you can see progress later on. So this can be really helpful for physical therapists, chiropractors. There's a lot of different elements there.
Ben: Does it have like an app that you can look at from your phone to see what kind of force you're producing? Like there's like an actual force, what's it called? Like a force plate or accelerometer?
Justin: Yeah. It'll actually have a display on the stick. So you'll be able to see real time, you'll be able to capture all this data. So what's cool about it is all of this is a new metric, and nobody's really capturing this type of information yet. It's experimental. Like I honestly don't know where exactly it's going to go, and that's what's exciting because I want to see how fitness professionals use it, how chiropractors are going to use it, and there's lots of different applications for it.
Ben: What are you going to call it?
Justin: Axon, the saber.
Ben: The saber?
Sal: Light saber…
Justin: It's definitely inspired by that.
Ben: The Axon?
Justin: Axon, yeah.
Ben: That's kind of cool.
Sal: You know, this was a game changer for me 'cause I had, tension is as a concept I've understood for a long time as a trainer, but a lot of it's intrinsic. Like you tell a client when they're doing a stretch or a position, “Create this tension in your body.” And it's hard for a lot of people to be able to do without actually moving, you know what I'm saying? Like if I'm holding a stationary pose or stretch, you have to tell people to stuff like, “Push your energy outward,” or “Push down on the floor,” but you're telling them at the same time not to move. They're just kind of creating this tension.
Well, this is a device that kind of helps to measure that. And I'll tell you what, moving through mobility positions and stretches, and applying tension in the right way was a game changer for me. ‘Cause for the longest time, when I'd improve flexibility, it would be dynamic stretches, it would be sometimes static stretches. But learning how to apply tension within certain positions, I'm getting strength within that new mobility and it's a real usable mobility. It's not just a larger range of motion.
Ben: Yeah. There's a guy who I interviewed a while ago named Jay Schroeder. He works with some NFL athletes and I think some of the pro like speed and power athletes. He uses like high, high-end like Russian electro-stim, this thing called an ARPwave on his athletes. He has a lot of isometrics, and he does a lot of tension holds to improve range of motion and mobility instead of just stretching. Jay Schroeder. I forget the name of the episode, if you went to my website and searched for his name, you'd find it. I'll try to put a link to it in the show notes.
Sal: Mark my words. You're going to see a huge trend in fitness…
Justin: Well, Dr. Spina too.
Sal: Does he do that?
Justin: Yeah. The concept of irradiation and to be able to ramp up at max tension for that specific pose, you'll increase range of motion.
Ben: Have you guys ever done electro-stim?
Sal: I have.
Ben: Like the high, high-intensity stuff?
Justin: I haven't.
Sal: Not the high-intensity stuff, no.
Ben: It's crazy. At PaleoFX, one conference that I go to every year, they have one of these ARP units that you can test, and you can roll in there and tell 'em, “Hey, do a session with my quads.” “Do a session with my hamstrings.” “Do a session with my abs.” And with 10 minutes of stim, you'll wake up the next day feeling like you did like 10 sets of 30 reps of squats.
Sal: That's got to be painful, man.
Ben: Some kind of crazy hypertrophy. It's not…
Sal: It's like a gnarly muscle cramp.
Ben: It's not like those vibration platforms that the women at the gym stand on with their Jamba Juice in one hand, and shaking the body… Like it's full-on, like teeth-gritting…
Adam: I just had a great…
Justin: Makes 'em all tingle-y.
Ben: If it hurts, it must be doing something though. That's my philosophy. So your guys' format on your show is typically you do Q & A, and you have like a few questions that people write in and ask you about, nutrition, fitness, injuries, et cetera, and I was looking at some questions that actually came through for you guys on your Facebook page, and I figured I'd put you on the hot seat…
Justin: Oh, there we go.
Ben: Do your podcast, your podcast style on my show, although you're not in the hot seat. You're in the plush chair that absorbs farts.
Sal: If you sit properly…
Justin: Great description.
Ben: The questions that I have chosen are going to challenge your mind and your body. So prepare yourself. Hope you used your Axon for this, Justin.
Sal: My body's ready.
Adam: I saw what you did there.
Justin: I did.
Ben: So we have a question that came in from Ian. Ian wants to know about the efficacy of something called micro-workouts versus full workouts, and I'm going to tell you guys right now, I have no clue what a micro-workout is. I don't know exactly what’s you’re referring, so you're going to need to set me in and my listeners straight on what a micro-workout is, and how it differs from a full workout, and how you'd actually use something like that.
Adam: Well this is definitely something that I think is the fun part about Q & A for us is half the time we try and figure out what exactly they're asking, and do our best.
Sal: This is not a normal term.
Adam: My best guess would be he's referring to like our trigger workouts. That would be…
Sal: Trigger sessions, yeah.
Adam: I would think he's referring to the trigger concept that Sal created in the first MAPS anabolic program.
Ben: What is that? What's a trigger session?
Sal: So, a full workout, so if you look at the whole concept of exercise and resistance training, the idea is to create damage, elicit a healing, and then an overcompensation, or super-compensation response of adaptation response. And the main stimulus for that is damage. But a while ago, I identified that damage was not the only signal that told the body to build muscle. An easy example to understand that would be just to give somebody elevated levels of anabolic hormones, and without any additional damage to their body, they'll probably, and they usually do, build muscle.
Ben: You get a needle poke. That's damage.
Sal: Right. It is. But I'm talking about how muscle damage tends to be the main…
Ben: I'm just giving you hard time.
Sal: I know you are. So here's the problem with that though.
Adam: He becomes a smart-ass when he gets the driver seat.
Sal: And I love it.
Justin: I love it. Yeah.
Adam: Roast him.
Sal: That problem with that, that constant “always focusing on the muscle damage aspect of stimulus for muscle growth or for change in the body” is you become limited by your body's ability to recover. Not only that, but if you constantly hammer the body, the body will prioritize recovery over adaptation. So you end up getting sore from a workout, recovering, working out, getting sore, recovering, and never really adapting, not getting any stronger. You're kind of stuck in what I call…
Adam: The recovery trap.
Sal: Yeah. The breakdown recovery trap. And so a micro-workout, or a trigger session as what we call it, are very low intensity, small workouts that you do on the days in between your hard workouts, and you do them frequently throughout the day. So I may take some resistance bands and do five or six exercises, two, three sets each. It's a grand total of 10 minutes. Very low intensity, I'm getting a little bit of a squeeze, I'm getting a little bit of a burn, little bit of a pump, but nothing intense.
Ben: This is like greasing the groove. Is that kind of where, if you're like really, really good at pull-ups, like I did this when I started getting into obstacle course racing, every single time I walked into any bar or any object I could do pull-up from, like a door frame, whatever, I would have to do three to five pull-ups, and got to the point where on a typical day, I'd be doing 50 to 60 pull-ups, sometimes more.
Sal: And you get a lot stronger.
Ben: Yeah. Or when I'm at a conference where I know I'm not going to get a chance to workout, I just have like a rule where I'll do 30 burpees every hour. And by the end of the day, I've done 240 burpees and gotten a lot of these, I guess what you'd call, I mean would that qualify as a trigger session? Or does a trigger session have to be like more therapeutic?
Sal: So that's definitely a micro-workout. A trigger session is much more specific because we include, so the principle of this has to do a lot with that body responds very, very well to frequency, frequency of stimulation. And we forget that with resistance training in particular because we focus just on damage, and it becomes this “hammer yourself real hard”, hit your chest really hard on Monday and then don't touch it for a week, and they miss out on the fact that frequency really does a fantastic job of eliciting adaptation. And so what you're talking about is kind of a version of that.
I mean on our other MAPS programs, we have other versions like focus sessions, or mobility sessions in our other programs. But with the original MAPS, it was a trigger session, which is the one I was explaining. But when people apply this principle, especially people who are natural, who rely upon that muscle building signal to come from working out and really nothing else, when they apply more frequent smaller workouts, or trigger sessions instead of breaking the body up into body parts, training the full body three days a week instead, the results blow them away.
Ben: Well, yeah. But let's say you have three hard full-body sessions per week, but on the off days in between those sessions, what would a trigger session look like?
Sal: So let's say today's my off day. In the morning, I would wake up and I would do five or six band or bodyweight exercises, low-intensity. All I'm doing is trying to feel the muscle, get a little bit of a squeeze, maybe a little bit of a pump, a little bit of a burn. Not anything high-intensity 'cause I don't want to cause damage. I just want to send a signal for a grand total of 10 minutes. I'll do that again at lunch, and then I'll do it again before bed. And so I'm sending this signal throughout the day.
Adam: And mind you, those numbers that he's even using right now are not, it's not like it's 10 minutes, this magical number or whatever…
Sal: You just don't want to do it for a long time. That's really sure.
Adam: The greasing the groove, I think, is probably the best example of something else that's similar to that concept. I feel like…
Ben: I dig that concept too 'cause you don't have to get sweaty and go to the gym.
Adam: No. It's…
Sal: It facilitates recovery, which is trippy too. You'll find that your body will recover faster and faster from your hard and heavy workouts. Things like sore joints start to feel better. It's one of the most…
Adam: It's shattered all of our paradigms. I remember…
Sal: It's a game changer.
Ben: I am interrupting today's show to tell you about this magical oil. So the idea behind oil is that usually doesn't dissolve very well in things like teas and coffees, and that's why if you are one of those people who, say, puts a stick of butter and a bunch of MCT oil in your coffee, you get like this nasty oily lining on the top of the coffee.
Well, there's this company that has figured out how to emulsify MCT oil. So you just stir the oil into your coffee and go. And not only that, but they've taken their MCT oils and they've given them amazing flavors. My favorite, by the way, that I've been using this fall is pumpkin spice. Yes, you can get pumpkin spice MCT oil, so you can not only get all the advantages of shoving your body into ketosis and staving off appetite cravings, but you can also make delicious, tasty pumpkin spice teas and pumpkin spice coffees.
They've also got a coconut flavor, a vanilla flavor, a strawberry flavor. You can find all this and much more goodness, functional food goodness, over at onnit.com. ONNIT.com. Here's how you get a discount: go to onnit.com/Ben10. That gets you a 10% discount on anything. ONNIT.com/Ben10 and add that pumpkin spice MCT oil to your order. You won't be sorry. Unless you use too much of it, in which case you will get diarrhea. But don't do that. Don't exceed like whatever they say on the label, tablespoon, two tablespoons. Act wisely and with responsibility with your MCT oil.
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Music Plays again…
Ben: There's that concept that they've shown in research when it comes to some elements that influence mortality, that no matter how hard you work out at the beginning or the end of the day, if you are seated for eight consecutive hours, and in some cases for even just two consecutive hours, you have a really increased risk for mortality. And something like that, this whole like greasing the groove, or micro-workouts, or trigger sessions almost like forces you to use that Pomodoro Technique in a slightly more structured format.
Sal: And you want to talk about an energy boost. Nothing, I swear to god, midday when you're tired or whatever, maybe you didn't get good sleep the night before, you get up and do an eight minute trigger session, and you feel energized.
Adam: Well, wouldn't you say the closest thing, and this reminds me of the takeaway I had from we hung out with Ben last time was he got me into do in the freezing cold showers, that same surge of energy is very, very similar. The same feeling I feel when I do like a little trigger pump. That's…
Ben: When I wake up at night and can't get back to sleep, I do a trigger session.
Adam: Hey, that would count.
Ben: 8, 10 minute trigger session.
Adam: That would count, actually.
Sal: That's like three times.
Ben: Ian's wondering, in his question, if you can just use those micro-workouts as a replacement for a full workout or if you still need to do the full workouts.
Adam: No and yes.
Sal: So here's the thing…
Adam: Yes, you could. But is it as effective? Absolutely not.
Sal: No. Because you get benefits, you get specific benefits from the heavy hard workouts that you're not going to get from the trigger session-type sessions. And the trigger sessions complement the full, hard workouts quite well. You've got to do both. I mean, it's like you're sending the loud muscle building signal with the hard, heavy workouts, and then you're just kind of keeping that signal up and keeping that volume on high with the trigger sessions without causing too much damage. So they really do work great together. But if you're pressed for time, or you're traveling and you can't make it to a gym or whatever, yeah, I do three trigger sessions a day. You won't lose muscle, you'll maintain your strength, you might even get a little stronger cause it's different, doing it on every day basis. I mean I could definitely see there being a benefit with that as well.
Ben: Yeah. Nice. They're like the perfect partners, like Larry, Curly, and Moe. Actually, you know what? I'll switch to The Three Amigos. (Crosstalk) the Three Stooges.
Adam: I like that.
Justin: I like the three…
Ben: Can you guys sing My Little Buttercup? Yeah!
Ben, Justin, Adam, Sal: Singing…
Ben: Do you have any beer?
Justin: It's a sweater!
Ben: We could probably fill up the rest of this show with quotes.
Adam: I think the biggest mistake that people make with micro-workouts or trigger sessions is mirroring the full workouts or still intensifying them. I think…
Sal: That's why I hate calling 'em workouts. It's a trigger session.
Adam: Yeah. And I think that's the thing to make sure that people understand that the idea behind it is you're not trying to create damage, which is tough for people to understand that…
Justin: Once you get into to it, it's like, agh, you wanna keep going. You can't stop yourself.
Ben: Katy Bowman who wrote a really good book called “Move Your DNA”, she's a biomechanist. I think she calls them “movement bites” you do throughout the day. Yeah. It's a cool concept.
So, we do have a couple other questions though. I want to make sure we get a chance to delve into. So Sal wants to know what you guys think about melatonin as a supplement. And I'm actually really curious about this too because I have my own thoughts on melatonin, but I'd love to hear, not just your guys' thoughts on melatonin as a supplement, but I know for example, when we were at dinner last night, you were talking about how you've used binaural beats and specific formats of binaural beats to get very, very effective naps, or to enhance sleep, or creativity. You guys seem like you're kind of into this concept of things that could help one with napping, or sleeping, or sleep cycles.
Ben: So do you each have, and Justin, I'm curious, since you've been a little bit quiet over there, give you a chance to pipe in. Do you do anything special for sleep? Melatonin or beyond?
Justin: Well, really, this is experimental for me. So with these beats and what he's talking about with the Brain.fm, which we just got introduced to.
Sal: Which, by the way, is not binaural beats. Brain.fm is very different.
Adam: It's not…
Ben: That's a website, it's Brain.fm?
Sal: It's different…
Adam: And trust me…
Justin: They've actually created songs.
Adam: The scientists and the CEO will get mad when you…
Justin: I know.
Adam: I already offended him a couple of times when I was like, “Our buddy, Ben. He talks about binary beats. Is that the same thing?” And he'll go like, “No. It's not that. It's totally different.”
Sal: Yeah. There's a little bit of a stigma…
Ben: I actually thought it was binaural beats.
Adam: I thought it was too, based off of what you had shared with us with your experience. And then when they were explaining, they sound similar, but supposedly, they're further along with the science…
Sal: It's music too.
Adam: Yeah. It's music, but…
Justin: My takeaway with it is that like just using it, and I've used it for naps and for sleep. I mean they even have like specific types of beats for focus and to stimulate that. For a lot of it, for me, is like my brain doesn't shut down very easily at the end of the day. And so just putting these on, it's almost like you just get immersed in this sound, and it moves and it travels, and so it almost distracts your mind a bit to let it relax and just really kind of take in the environment.
Ben: It's like white noise. I'm looking at their website. They call it artificial intelligence. And if I recalled properly, or if I recall correctly, when I went to their website, I like had to answer a bunch questions about what I wanted the session to actually do, and then you play sounds.
Sal: I don't think it's like that anymore. This is when you did it a year ago?
Adam: Yeah, you were…
Justin: We're on the mobile version.
Sal: No. It's not like that anymore.
Justin: It's very straightforward. They have like specific sections where you pick like, “Okay, I want to do a 30 minute nap,” and that's actually what I did today. You just…
Sal: You fall asleep!
Justin: It's hard to describe it. Yeah. You fall asleep, and you wake up, you feel refreshed. And you're like, “Did I even sleep?” It felt like it was 5 minutes.
Adam: Well, I like that Ben took it to that direction because I actually would compare it to a very similar feeling that I get when I take melatonin. So, I actually do use melatonin occasionally. And the reason why I only use it occasionally is I see how quick my body gets used to it and I have to keep upping the dose to get that same…
Ben: Really? That's what you find?
Adam: Yeah. I feel like after I've done it, like I remember…
Ben: At how much?
Adam: What's the typical milligram? Is it 5 or 10?
Ben: Usually it'll be like 3 to 5.
Adam: I think 5 milligrams is what mine are, that I have. I literally have them right next to my bed. I took 'em last night because we were just, all of us entrepreneurs in the same room…
Ben: Feed a bunch of entrepreneur’s oysters and garlic bread.
Adam: Yeah, dude. We were buzzing all night long with all that energy. So it took me a lot to come down. And that's kind of how I'll use melatonin when I need that, and I actually use the Brain.fm. So I took my two melatonin, put the Brain.fm in, and finally went to sleep. And it did take some time. I feel like they're the same, but I try and not use the melatonin if I don't have to. Just because I feel, anytime I have to take a pill that I notice my body adapts to really quick and I have to keep upping the dose to get the same effect. And if I can find something like a Brain.fm type of tool that's a more natural way of doing…
Ben: Except for coffee. Coffee, just keep on drinking more. You get to the point you're 50 years old and you need a 60 ouncer. The big gulp.
Adam: Well, let's be honest. Something like coffee, which I'm actually interested to hear you and Sal probably geek out a little bit on the melatonin because I don't know how adverse it can be when you start getting up into higher dosages of it, and if it is something that can be bad for us. ‘Cause caffeine, more and more we keep learning caffeine. I mean you could have quite a bit of it…
Sal: If you have a high tolerance…
Adam: Depending on your…
Ben: Sixty cups a day. That was the philosopher Voltaire. I want to hear your thoughts on melatonin too, Sal. But really quickly, I went to the Brain.fm website. They call it neuronal, or oscillatory brainwave entrainment, where apparently the oscillations that you hear in the sound entrains your brain into specific brainwave frequencies like alpha or theta. They have a really interesting scientific white paper on their site.
And up until this point, I have used something called SleepStream, which is almost like a DJ with a bunch of binaural beats, and piano tunes, and white noise, and stuff like that that you can use. But it seems that what they're saying on the Brain.fm website, maybe I'll have to get them on the podcast at some point for a little more detail, but they say it's not binaural beats, it says it's completely unrelated to binaural beats. It is, instead, auditory beat stimulation. I don't know. It all sounds the same.
Adam: I would love to hear that you grill them. You would be a great, we had them on the show, and they were great, and we did ask some…
Sal: They're great guys too.
Adam: They are. Yeah. And I love what they're doing and where they're going, but I would love to hear you pick on them and kind of dive into, especially since you've been using, is it binarial or binary? How do you say it? What's the proper way of saying that?
Sal: Bisexual. Oh, sorry.
Adam: Is it?
Ben: Bi-L-V-O-lar. Biareal.
Justin: It's entering my ears. I'm a little worried.
Adam: I would love to hear you interview them. I think that would be great, actually, to dive into that stuff.
Ben: Yeah. Well, one of their lead scientists or whatever was at dinner with us last night.
Ben: I just need to get his contact information. We'll talk to him. So, Sal, melatonin? What's your take?
Sal: So melatonin is interesting. It is classified as a hormone. Up until recently, it was theorized that it was coming from the pituitary. Now I think we've pretty much established that the pituitary gland, or releases melatonin. Here's the interesting thing about melatonin, we know having low levels of it is very bad for health, we know melatonin has got antioxidant properties, it's neuroprotective. As you get older, the production of melatonin tends to decline. In fact, melatonin is being studied as a potential cancer treatment, and now they're testing it on animals right now 'cause it's got some anti-cancer properties.
Here's the problem. Melatonin, initially, was set up as a medication at a particular dosage. And when you sell it over that dosage, they can sell it through some loophole as a supplement. So when you buy melatonin at the store, even one milligram, which we think is a low dose, is a high dose of melatonin. When you talk to the melatonin experts and scientists, they think that you should take something like .1 to .3 grams of melatonin max per night.
Ben: Actually, by the way, just a complete aside. I take .3 every night.
Sal: They say between .1 to .3 because when you take the big doses, like Adam did, which 5 grams doesn't sound like much, but that's a big dose of melatonin, you may, in fact, suppress your body's own melatonin production. Like most hormones, there's probably a negative feedback loop where if I'm taking melatonin and then my body senses this massive amount, it's probably going to reduce its own production, maybe reduce, or downregulate some of the receptors that it attaches to. So when it comes to supplement…
Ben: I think in the absence of microdosing that that's true.
Sal: Yeah. Maybe.
Ben: However, the other is that I've found, for jetlag, like when you cross multiple time zones, like when I came back from Finland, yeah, I do like the hot-cold, and the sauna, and everything, but I do a lot of melatonin the first couple of nights. I mean 50 to 60 milligrams of melatonin. And this is about the amount that, for example, I have a naturopathic physician, he'll give this to cancer patients for pain at night, that dosage of melatonin. But if you're jetlagged the first couple times that you get back, I mean you can hit the reboot button on your body with exercise, and cold, and bright light in the morning, and absence of light at night, and all these other techniques, but huge dose of melatonin can help a ton.
Sal: Yeah. And that's more of an acute, like okay here's this, I'm jetlag, I'm going to use it for this particular purpose. But I think a lot of people are by melatonin and using it on a nightly basis and they're taking 5 grams every single night, or 10 grams every single night.
Adam: Well, that's what I was…
Sal: And they're finding that, yeah, they get less and less results from it.
Adam: Yeah. I noticed that. That was me. I've definitely noticed that. Man, the first time I did, I definitely got great sleep, and I got great sleep again, then I found myself, every night, doing it where now it's more intermittently. Like last night was a very rare case where I felt like we were just zinging. I could not, typically if I take two or three hits off of a joint, that normally is going to put me right to sleep. No problem. And that's all…
Sal: Didn't work last night?
Ben: A melatonin joint? For all the kids listening…
Justin: Stick to melatonin.
Ben: For all the kids listening in who want melatonin joints…
Adam: Yeah. Normally, I'm utilizing CBD to help me sleep at night. So that's…
Ben: That's what I do. I use melatonin. The microdosing I get is from, actually, a guy who I'm going to be with this weekend 'cause I'm heading down to San Diego, Dr. Kirk Parsley, who's a Navy SEAL who makes this stuff called Sleep Cocktail, and it's gamma-Aminobutyric acid in a very small form that crosses the blood-brain barrier, microdoses of melatonin, and there's like some little things in there that have been shown in research to help with sleep, like vitamin D, and fatty acids, and a couple different amino acids like…
Sal: Moose's Magnesium.
Ben: Some HTP and some magnesium in there. But it's in very, very small amounts. So it's…
Sal: Well, that's the thing. Like 5-HTP, I remember when 5-HTP came in the market and it was like, “Oh, take this. It'll help you relax and sleep.” And I did, and I could not sleep when I took it. Same thing with melatonin, if I take a big dose of melatonin, I will fall asleep and then I'll wake up in the middle of the night, and I'll have crazy dreams.
Ben: Well, if you don't take enough, you wake up like clockwork, at like 2 or 3 AM.
Ben: And you can't get back to sleep.
Sal: Or if you don't get like the extended release. I remember listening to a scientist who, I can't remember his name. Unfortunately, I can't remember the names like you do, but he, again, he was an expert on melatonin and how to use it, and he said, like you said, .1 to .3 grams, extended release is what he recommended.
Ben: Yeah. But none of you guys wear the blue light blocking glasses.
Sal: I actually have some at home.
Adam: We got to get into that.
Sal: I actually have some at home.
Justin: Yeah. Sal's doing that. I got to get into that.
Adam: I changed my…
Ben: It acts like birth control for your face.
Adam: I started, I changed all my phone, computer, all that stuff to do the, what'chama call it…
Ben: Like Flux. Actually, there's a better one now. It's called Iris. I interviewed this Romanian computer programmer who developed this one called Iris that goes, like it reduces like flicker, and temperature, and all these things. Like Flux reduces just blue light, but there's still flicker on your screen, and there's still what's called increased temperature that they measure in Kelvin. So Iris lets you basically just like hack your entire monitor. It's really interesting. Yeah. You should listen to the podcast I do with him. Anyways though, so you don't wear a blue light…
Adam: No, I don't but it's something that I know that I do want to experiment with because I notice a difference just like literally cutting out the TV, and the computer screens, and the phone. If I do that a couple hours before I'm trying to settle down, my ability to get into sleep is so much easier than it is if I'm looking at my phone right before I go. So I do want to play with the blue blockers and walk around with them at the… But I feel like, don't you feel like in the order of operation, that would probably be more important is to cut out the small screen in your face?
Ben: No. If I could pick one thing at night, I'd use blue light. Because when you're at a mall, or an airport, or driving down the road with the bright fluorescent lights from the car shining in your face, or looking on your phone, or your iPad, or your computer, the blue light blockers pretty much cover 'em all. Like they cover any scenario in which you want to avoid modern artificial lighting at night, so that you naturally produce your own melatonin later on in the evening. And so you could have no special piece of software, and no special expensive bulbs in your house, and just at least have something like blue light blockers on.
Adam: So, yeah…
Justin: I'm sold…
Adam: See how you just sold [0:48:25] ______ they're like, “Okay, now you…”
Justin: Are you sure that wasn't the infomercial right there?
Ben: This podcast is brought to you by the blue light blockers I just invented.
Adam: Yeah. No, I absolutely will. ‘Cause I felt like that, to me, I felt like I'd be an idiot. I'm wearing these, but them I'm still doing the TV and the computer screen like 'til midnight, like that, for me, I felt like a difference in…
Ben: But the weird thing is you get, like I had them on at the restaurant last night, and I was getting sleepy at about 8 because if you have them on, your body starts to get sleepy at about the time when you would be camping in the wilderness. So it's really interesting how it can work in reverse where you become like a social isolate around the time the sun goes down when you're wearing 'em.
Adam: Dude, Moscow mule?
Ben: Which is why biohackers never get laid.
Adam: Moscow mule? Was that what we had?
Ben: We did have a Moscow mule.
Adam: That was the first time I ever had that. It was amazing.
Sal: That's a very good drink.
Justin: You were talking about the copper, something about the mug with the copper…
Sal: Yeah. Why do they serve it in a copper mug? Do you know this?
Ben: It's some special tradition. But there's also pretty serious issue with like copper toxicity in people who drink and use copper, eat out of copper like that, almost like plastic and cast-iron. Like cast-iron, that's a non-absorbable form of iron that can cause like hemochromatosis from, I mean like having an occasional Moscow mule or cast-iron skillet steak, I don't is a big deal. You may want to test your…
Sal: Like hold on. Pass me that alcohol, but make sure it's in a glass.
Adam: I really enjoyed that, and I'm not a drinker at all. So to have that, I was like, “Man, that was…”
Sal: It was delicious.
Adam: Nah. It was awesome!
Ben: That's amazing. Ginger beer. It's anti-inflammatory. So it must be good for you.
Justin: I see.
Ben: It's like putting vodka in kombucha. That's the drink that I tell people it (censored) your liver and heals it at the same time 'cause kombucha has glucaronic acid and gluconic acid in it, which great for liver cleansing, and then you throw a little vodka in there to put some fire or put some fuel in the fire…
Sal: So you end up in the middle.
Adam: Counters it all.
Ben: Baseline psoriasis. We have a question that, you guys had a lot of questions come in about low back, and I personally used to struggle with low back pain all the time, especially when I would race triathlon and spend a lot of time in the saddle. I've learned a lot about the low back over years of training, and also not sitting, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, like a normal person. But I'm curious to hear your guys' take on back.
Bryce is curious because he has a ruptured/herniated/slip disc issues. He wants to train his butt, and his glute, and his hips, and get mobility in his hips, and get his hip extensor strong, which frankly, those are two very important things for decreasing low back pain versus just getting the hands of serenity massage in your erector spinae. But what do you guys think? How do you train the back without reinjuring the back?
Sal: Okay, so…
Adam: Probably this is the most common thing that I think we deal with, right? I think…
Sal: Low back and the knee is probably second. Knee and shoulders, second, third close. Here's the thing with, if you picture the spine, if you take the spine out of the body, obviously it can't support itself. It goes in whichever direction it wants to. So it follows the direction of the muscles that pull it, or that are tight, or maybe loose…
Ben: Do you actually take spines out people's body?
Sal: Like the predator.
Sal: So besides the ruptured, herniated, or slip disc, there's not much you can do with the disc, but what you can do is create and environment around the spine that keeps it stable so that when you move in different ranges of motion, you're not relying on ligaments to support you, you're not moving in ends of range of motion. Like if I'm bending over, I want my spine to be able to move, but if I have issues with my disc, I want to avoid getting to ends of ranges of motion, and what supports that is muscle. So it all goes around correcting muscle imbalances, producing recruitment patterns that are favorable. You want to look at muscles that are tight and improve extensibility in them, but you also want to look at muscles that are loose and weak, and strengthen those as well. You want to get…
Ben: But how do you functionally, like what kind of exercises, what kind of movements do you actually do?
Adam: Let's get into that and let's talk like, okay, so…
Sal: Well, okay. Here's a common…
Adam: Ben brought up sitting down, right. And it's very intelligent of him to stand while he podcasts, even though I would never do that. But it's smart because one of the worst things that we do is sit down. People don't realize that you're in this contracted position and we're creating this recruitment pattern that is totally unfavorable for the low back. And most people, it forces them into this anterior pelvic tilt, and that's what puts all that stress in the low back. So learning to correct that and get those favorable recruitment patterns, like Sal said. So…
Ben: Have you read the book “Deskbound”, by the way? By Kelly Starrett.
Ben: Aw, dude. Because a lot of people, they stand in the wrong position too. They hear “stand up, get rid of your chair so that your low back gets fixed”, and you stand the wrong way and create the same thing, like lumbar lordosis and a hunched over back 'cause you don't have your desk, height's improper…
Justin: Lumbar lordosis or hot chick stance?
Adam: This is what I have. This is the problem that I have with a lot of people that run is they have these poor recruitment patterns, and then they think that running's going to get you in shape, which it can, you can burn a bunch of calories and lose body fat, but they have a lot of stuff going on that they're not fixing, and they're really just kind of cementing it…
Sal: They're just training that bad recruitment pattern over and over again.
Adam: Which is the same thing as the people that are standing, that you're saying right now, that are still having the issues 'cause standing just doesn't do it. It's like standing in a favorable position and understanding what a neutral pelvis looks like. So talking about things where I would take someone like this, and we actually just did a video on our MindPump TV.
So we have a YouTube channel where this is what it's kind of geared around is we take little things like this that we feel like a majority of our clients we've dealt with or had to help them with an issue like this, and I think each one of us went around and gave like a tip, like as far as an exercise or movement, and mine was a basic floor bridge. But I was very detailed about how you do a floor bridge because a lot of people see a floor bridge and go, “Oh, yeah. My physical therapist or someone told me I need to do these floor bridges, but then they still are not getting the pelvis neutral before they go into that movement. And it's really a movement to help teach you to hip hinge properly and teaching someone how to do that. So we got…
Ben: But you could do that when you're low back is hurt, to get to Bryce's question. Like obviously deadlifts are great for protecting the back, and building a strong back, and stabilizing the core. But if your back is already hurt, what your saying is you hit bridge instead of deadlift as example of an exercise, or you stand instead of sit.
Adam: I want to regress you all the way to there first before, 'cause ultimately, our goal would be to get back to deadlifting because nothing is going to strengthen than whole area out more than doing a movement like that. But a lot of clients are like this, they're in this position because, whatever, either an accident has happened or over time. So I would regress someone all the way to something as simple as a floor bridge and get them to perform that correctly, teaching them how to fire the glutes. And so, the YouTube video that I did on this was just really breaking down the floor bridge and getting people to understand what they're trying to do on a neurological level, how they're trying to connect to the glutes and get them to fire.
Sal: So that's the key. That's the key right there. The key really is before you get into these exercises where you're trying to strengthen things, you have to correct and create recruitment patterns that are favorable. Because if I focus on strength, even if I do the right exercises, even if I do all the right exercises, all I'm going to do is strengthen the wrong recruitment patterns if I don't change them and correct them to begin with.
Adam: Well the body is always going to choose the easiest path, right.
Sal: Just the way you move. A real common one that leads to low back pain is hip flexor dominance. If I have a hip flexor dominance…
Ben: He said as he sat in the couch. That's off the table.
Sal: Exactly. If I had hip flexor dominance…
Ben: Hip flexor shortage.
Sal: Here's the thing though. Sitting down a long time without training other recruitment patterns will cause that, but if I understand these things and I train my body to move the way I want, then sitting on a couch or sitting on a chair isn't going to cause as much problem, maybe ‘cause no problem at all. With a hip flexor dominance, I can train somebody to change the way they recruit their core so that the core stabilizes more than their hip flexors do, and then boom, we don't have a problem anymore. But if I don't do that and I have them do a bunch of core exercises without teaching them how to change that recruitment pattern, all I'm going to do is make their hip flexors even more dominant and cause more problems. And this is why you get people who say, “How come my below back hurts every time I work out my abs or my core?” It shouldn't. It shouldn't hurt. But the problem is they're doing mostly exercise…
Adam: You're not getting proper connectivity.
Ben: So In terms of exercises, just to give Bryce a few takeaways here, hip bridging and then standing instead of sitting were a couple of things that you brought up.
Justin: What were the ones you guys…
Ben: What were the other exercises that he could do? If he can't deadlift, he can't squat, what are a couple others?
Justin: Just get-ups off of the bench.
Adam: Even if it's with a single leg, or just getting proper…
Ben: What do you mean you get-up off of the bench?
Justin: So what I mean is like just sitting up and down without using momentum to get out of it, basically. Like you're emulating a squat, but you're really just focusing on connectivity in your posterior chain. So I'm trying to make sure that like I'm properly recruiting by utilizing force more through my heel and getting my hamstrings and my glutes to fire when I come up and down.
Ben: That doesn't involve expensive equipment.
Justin: Nothing. Yeah.
Ben: There's no way that works.
Justin: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Ben: Where's the tool I buy?
Sal: One of mine is, especially if it's in the low back, that seems to be a more common one, is to teach someone to deactivate their hip flexors through a process called reciprocal inhibition, and then working, and strengthening, and bracing their core. And that's a very effective way to do what I talked about earlier, which was change the recruitment pattern. Easy way to do that you, lay on the floor on your back, you can place your legs, knees bent, heels up on something, so a chair or a table, you want to press down with your heels so that you elevate your hips off the floor just a little bit, just maybe an inch off the floor, and what you're doing by doing that is you're activating the glutes and the hamstrings.
And by activating the glutes and hamstrings, they inhibit the opposing muscle, which happens to be the hip flexors. It's called reciprocal inhibition. So hip flexors are relaxed now because I'm keeping my hips slightly elevated, squeezing my glutes, and then I go into my slow controlled crunches to work my core. That helps teach that recruitment pattern, the proper recruitment pattern that you want. Then we can progress from there to the heavier, more complex exercises, but now you're not so hip flexor dominant.
Adam: I think it's important to note though, I mean Ben, even you know made a jab about it a little bit, because it's true though. People want the sexy exercise, or the tool, or like just give me what I'm supposed to do, and what you're supposed to do is I need you to connect, and it's on a more of a mental level than it is actual physical level, and people want the tangible thing. Just give me this thing that I need to do, or just tell me to do that, when it's like…
Justin: “Give me the machine that's going to provide this for me.”
Adam: And I think…
Ben: That's right. Not any of the vibrating foam rollers in the world are going to replace being able to sit down on the bench using your butt properly.
Sal: Absolutely true.
Adam: Sometimes, it's the simplest…
Justin: Painfully easy.
Adam: It's some of these simple movements, and I did this YouTube video, I remember what…
Sal: It was about the glutes. We did it specifically about building butt, I think…
Adam: Yeah. And why we went into it, I remember, I just saw a trainer, I was in the gym and I saw a trainer teaching the floor bridge, which is a great basic exercise and it's one that I have regressed many clients to to just get them to teach the hip hinge movement properly, and I'm watching him do it with her, and she's just kind of thrusting away with no rhyme or reason, and I'm like, “The whole purpose of that movement is to really get people to understand how to connect to those glutes and to have control of their hips.”
Just going up and down, I mean she's burning some calories, she's working some muscles, but you're really not working on the root cause of her issue. And I think getting people to understand that, like when they have issues like this that, hey, nothing would be better than doing a deadlift. That would be awesome 'cause that's what we want to work to, but we got to lay the foundation first and you got to do those boring movements, you got to do something like getting up off of a bench. I know it sounds lame, but doing that correctly is, it's tough for some people.
Ben: The two most potent methods that I've personally ever discovered for reducing low back pain, and joint pain in general, and turning on the glutes, one is a program by Dr. Eric Goodman. There's a book that he wrote called “True To Form”, and his style of training is called Core Foundation Training, and it's all a combination of stabilized breath, elongating the spine, and contracting the glutes. There's like 10 different moves in the program. I do all 10 every morning. It takes me 10 minutes to go through, I'll have 'em all memorized while the coffee water is boiling. I do each of those exercises, it completely eliminated my back pain after cycling. And what I've tacked on to that since then is something I made podcast about soon called Eldoa Training. E-L-D-O-A. It's a form of myofascial stretching…
Justin: We have a class…
Ben: It's self-traction to hydrate tissue, to reduce pressure on discs. You literally feel like two feet taller after you finish doing it. And I'm all about the 80/20, taking the best moves from these programs 'cause I don't have the freakin' time to do the full program. So I just took three of the exercise I learned in eight hours of training with this Eldoa guy, and I do those three at least once a day, especially if I've been sitting.
Adam: Can we just elaborate on what he just said because I think that's such great advice. It is the 80/20 approach with when you're finding these new things. ‘Cause one of the biggest pet peeves, and I talk about this on our show a lot, that I have with gurus…
Sal: It becomes dogmatic.
Adam: Yes. It becomes very dogmatic. Somebody says like all this, and they feel great, they have back relief, and then now it becomes their everything. That's all they do. They immerse themselves in that, and then it becomes a camp, and then it's all about this way of working out, it's superior than, no. Take what you've found that works really well, and that you've noticed from there, and then continue on in your journey of finally piecing this together. I think that's great advice.
Ben: Right. It's like any of those resources like, whatever, Kelly Starrett's “Becoming A Supple Leopard” book. Great book, great manual for deep tissue work, but you'd go crazy and wouldn't have any hours left in the day if every day you decided you were going to get better knees, like going through the 40 pages of the knee exercises and doing every single one. No, you grab the one. You know, for me? It's smashing a lacrosse ball right on the inside of the vastus medialis, holding it there and twisting a few times. And that's it. That's the one thing I took away from that chapter that I know gives me the most bang for my buck. So, yeah. There is no rule that when these books come out and these diets come out that you have to drink every smoothie in the diet book, or you have to do every exercise, or work out in your 40 of the best high intensity interval workouts book. You got to cut through the clutter. Simplify.
Sal: Did you have a back injury? Or was it all overall dysfunction from the…
Ben: It was exactly what you went into, Sal. It was overactive hip flexors, a turned off glute, some sacroiliac joint dysfunction from the fact that when you're doing thousands and thousands of repetitions a day on a bicycle, or running. If you have just a normal anatomical abnormality, like a difference in the length of your femur bone, or a difference in the rotation of your hips from one side to the other, you pile thousands and thousands of repetitions on top of that…
Sal: It's a problem.
Ben: Then it becomes a problem. So, yeah. It was certainly something that took me a while to fix after I got out of chronic repetitive motion activity.
Sal: And that's the thing people need to understand when they do that type of activity, or sports, or these endurance-based sports, that they are constantly, for long periods of time, days during the week, they are training a particular pattern over and over again. You literally practicing to move a certain way so much that your body becomes very good at moving that way, and it prefers to move that way, which can cause a lot of problems. And that's why changing it can be so hard. Like we'll get clients, we did a “build your butt”, we call it a “build your butt bundle” with this modification, teaching people how to turn on their glutes because we had seen so many people, especially women, who wanted to build their butts with their squats and deadlifts and they just weren't. And they were doing the right exercises, you know what I mean. They were doing the lunges, and the squats, and deadlifts, but they weren't getting any…
Adam: They were so hip flexor and quad dominant, which is what we come across this with hundreds, probably thousands of clients that we've trained, and they come in, and they're like, “Man, I just want to build…”
Sal: “I do all the squats, I do all the deadlifts, but my butt's not growing.” And then you watch their form, it's like…
Adam: You watch their mechanics and they're all dominating…
Ben: That's why you should've your podcast “The Butt Growers”. This is also why there's very few Instagram accounts with bootylicious triathletes. You just don't really see that.
Adam: They run their butts off.
Ben: They have nice quads, but the booty kind of disappears.
Sal: After very short range of motion.
Ben: Well, if you guys send me those exercise videos, I'm going to put it in the show notes so folks can see some of these moves you're talking about. So bengreenfieldfitness.com/mindpump2, bengreenfieldfitness.com/mindpump2. Not only that, I'm going to link to the previous episode that we did with Sal, and Adam, and Justin up at my place in Spokane, and some other things that we talked about in today's episode, except melatonin. I don't want anybody going out there and buying 60 milligrams of melatonin. Do as we say, not as we do. Guys, thanks for coming on the show and thank you for letting me invade your podcast studio.
Sal: Yeah. Any time, man. You're always welcome.
Justin: You're welcome, man.
Adam: Always a pleasure, man.
Ben: Next time I show up, I want to see those little like horsie saddle chairs in here.
Adam: And blue blockers.
Sal: We'll hook you up. Don't worry.
Adam: We got you.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Remember the guys from the MindPump Podcast: Sal, Justin and Adam?
If not, perhaps you didn’t hear my podcast episode entitled “The Mysterious Kuwait Muscle-Building Phenomenon, The Too-Much-Protein Myth, Anabolic Triggering Sessions & More With The MindPump Podcast Crew.”
It’s a definite must listen.
As a matter of fact, that episode turned out to be such a must-listen that a few weeks ago, I hopped on a plane and flew to San Jose, California to hang out with and record with these guys once again, and to delve into their extreme knowledge of all things fitness, nutrition, muscle building, fat loss, biomechanics, exercise physiology, psychedelics and beyond.
During the discussion that ensued, you’ll discover:
-Why Justin is creating a special stick that can measure your central nervous system integrity…[16:35]
-The crazy form of electrostimulation that can simulate a 600 lb squat…[21:40]
-How you can recover with lightning speed by using a strategy called “trigger sessions”…[24:15]
-The special phone app that Adam uses to induce an instant “power nap”…[37:05]
-The shocking dose of melatonin Ben uses for jet lag, and why Sal think melatonin isn’t such a good idea…[42:15]
-The best way to block blue light from screens, phones, street lights and oncoming cars…[46:35]
-Three proven ways to turn on your butt, deactivate your hip flexors and eliminate low back pain…[51:00]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode: