Kelly Starrett on what modern healthy living should look like

hey this is Mike Matthews from multiple and in this podcast I interview Kelly Starrett you've probably heard of Kelly but if you haven't he's best known for his mobility project mobility WOD comm and his book becoming a supple leopard which is kind of like the Bible of mobility exercises Kelly is a physical therapist and he works with elite athletes all around the world ranging from professional sports players to endurance runners cyclists and so forth in this podcast we're going to be talking about the detrimental aspects of sitting too much which I've been reading up on recently so I was happy to have someone as knowledgeable as Kelly to come on talk about it we're also going to be talking about some different lifestyle choices that people make that either have profound negative consequences or positive consequences benefits especially over time and kind of how that relates to longevity and just overall health and some simple things that we can do little changes we can make in our in our day to day life that can improve our overall well-being we're also going to be talking about Kelly's new book ready to run which is coming out in October and there's gonna be as you'll see there are a lot of other little things thrown in your little little pieces of wisdom from Kelly so I think you're gonna like the interview let's get to it okay thanks for coming on the podcast Kelly I really appreciate it oh it's my pleasure cool all right so here's the first thing that I'm excited to talk to you about so you know a lot of us kind of sit at a desk all day I mean you probably don't but I do and a lot of a lot of the listeners also you know we sit for at least probably five or six hours a day and then goes sometimes in some people's case to come home and then sit even more that's kind of like the standard sedentary life ah totally yeah and I guess a fair amount of my listeners and my readers and followers are you know they're gonna be moving around in terms of going to the gym and doing cardio and stuff like that but still there's a lot of sitting and I think we all know that the human body like it wasn't made to just remain seated so much right well you know here's the deal you know it's easy to say to people hey you know just you know you shouldn't sit yeah and you know and sitting is a skill by the way right because sometimes you have to sit it's it's tough to be on airplane unless you're flying first class laying down there's gonna be some time you know most cars unless you drive a bread van or ax are sitting you know but the real issue is that you know we know you're gonna be compromised you're gonna be compromised on your cell phone you're gonna be compromised on your your technology is not going away you're gonna be forced into these positions and so we just have a have to have a plan around that and to we sorta need to understand what some of the downs from the facts are so we're not surprised jumps up and bites us in the butt you know and you know the research is really really clear about and everyone's heard this yes sitting causes cancer and it spikes your blood sugar and but you know there are some real other things that we're not talking about you know the the orthopedic back pain problem you know there's a half a million spinal surgeries in America every year half a million and you know in the CDC the Center for Disease Control the the official position is like back pain is poorly understood and I have to say what a bunch of horse crap that is I mean you know we really clearly understand the mechanisms of back pain back dysfunction but the the problem is you know we have this in we've been in down with this incredible body that just puts up with our crap yeah for so long you know and and and everyone knows this I mean everyone has has can relate to having some friend who's like the greatest athlete of all time and smokes once in a while eats little chocolate donuts still like it's the best in the world and you know the key is we confuse this sort of genetic bounty this inheritance with the fact that that's optimal and we can you can buffer it and all of a sudden you can't buffer it and you know people are you know we work like you with the absorption that people are doing the best they can with the information they have but once you really start to wrap your head around sitting then it ends up being you know we tell the story for example of like we think this is what there's the chief mechanism of childhood obesity right we you can mandate go crazy about trying to have people have access to fresh food you try to exercise even though there's no PE money anymore right but you know if you stand we the research is that you burn extra fifty to a hundred thousand calories a year standing so boy all of a sudden you've just taken off that's thirty three marathons for my wife for example thirty three marathons or you could just stand and okay so we have this childhood obesity thing well you know if we look at the pelvic floor dysfunction in the United States the adult diaper industry is a two billion dollar problem and you have listeners who have wives and girlfriends and boyfriends and that and you know it's certainly bladder incontinence is not just a gender specific issue but we tend to see a little bit more and our women athletes but we notice is that no bladder incontinence and exercise is sort of is just taken for granted oh yeah you're gonna pee yourself once a while and and they think we think that's normal it's a two billion dollar adult diaper industry so what we're know though is you know what the heck's going on well it turns out we can have this greater conversation around spinal mechanics and that when you sit you know like if you pull a bowstring the Bowflex is beautifully but if you stack one end of the bowstring all the sudden the bow doesn't work right no it doesn't load correctly well that's one way to think about your spine is that you're basically putting one end on the ground and it's designed to be this beautiful bow and instead you're just basically stacking one end and what you're gonna do is you're gonna get weak areas that tend to hyper flexor over flex but well we know unequivocally is that when you're in a good position tissues work right musculature works right the the system is set up to work correctly you don't have to do a lot of muscle activation you just need to move but when you're in a bad position you see a lot of what I call positional inhibition is that things just don't work right and so for example one of these we know absolutely is that when you sit in a flexed position or that means you just slouch a little bit or if you're sitting up like you're like the nun that you're you know Catholic high school did sit up and you just overextend a little bit like most people sit up both of those positions are not optimal position they're sort of putting kinks in the nervous system and big bends around the spine well what we know for example is that the pelvic floor doesn't activate very well in that position so that when you're over extended over flexed your pelvic floor turns off and people can listen to this because you know if you go pee in the bathroom men standing up peeing the only way you'll initiate a stream is that you'll dump your pelvis forward into an over extension and that sounds weird that I've thought about it but it's true but if you try to maintain neutral pelvis what you'll see is that your pelvic floor activates it's actually harder to pee most women will pee in a flexed spine position and so that neutral spine position again accesses the pelvic floor turns it on but a flexed one even dogs kind of tuck under when they pee a little bit right and so with the same thing happened with the spine so we see that you know and I'll tell you remember I'm a physical therapist and so when I deal with pelvic floor dysfunction athletes the first thing we have to go after is resetting the relationship of the pelvis to the to the leg pelvis to the spine and once we neutralize that then all of a sudden we can actually talk about pelvic floor turning on okay so we see that this pelvic floor problem sitting not only are we sitting on the coccyx right which is like the back end of a diamond tenth of your pelvic floor the pelvic floor is like a diamond and you're sitting on one end kind of doing wheelies but the other way that we tension that whole system is through creating rotations through the hip and so when you stand straight with your feet straight ahead what automatically happens it really sort of these normal fascial windings the fascial spiral the way your connective tissue your body works is that when you stay on your feet straight there's automatically this normal torsion tone that happens in the pebble floor and that also makes the pelvic floor stable and so what we see is that we have a lot of weird dysfunction about the floor turned off because we're sitting and I can actually activate my public forum because I'm sitting down I don't have the the torsion through the hip my spines in a bad position we'll spin that up to the diaphragm all of a sudden the diaphragm is just another you know pelvic floor but upside down they're like two halves of an egg what we know is that when you sit in a flexed position over an overextended position you don't have access very well to your diet so you end up stress breathing and so suddenly this is an issue of well I'm practicing breathing in a bad position that's ten thousand breaths a day and a wretched bent-over position where I'm compromised diaphragm gets stiff as I'm an athlete real power that hyper flight like what would that position look like if you just if I just said sit-up and you basically took your pelvis and you just tipped it forward a little bit right yeah like like a little banana back yeah that's an overextended position okay if you want to know what position is straight if you stand up with your feet underneath you right feet straight and you just squeeze your butt as hard as you can yeah pelvis shouldn't change positions and most people are gonna find is that when they squeeze their butt their pelvis reorient takes itself that's the straight up-and-down spinal position okay so I'm doing it right now okay so you stand up squeeze your butt and you four you probably were overextended yeah and your pelvis tipped backwards a little bit right when you squeeze your button that what happened yeah yeah so what normally happens is that you're hanging out in a dysfunctional spinal relationship that's your baseline and that when you reset it with a butt squeeze which is why we initiate deadlifts with a butt squeeze squats or the blood squeeze when we're in the air we point our toes and squeezer but I mean that same concept over and over again right but the issue is that most people are sitting in a dysfunctional position and what we know through the brain right if you've read Daniel coil's book you know you know what you look at is we look at skill acquisition as a complex biological anomaly that your brain when you start to move a certain way and pattern a certain way so my pelvis overextended gets mapped in my brain is certain a certain position your brain is clever and that what it does is it Rex are II he wrote the talent code that's right that's right yeah yeah and then what we start to see is that the the cells in your brain that are responsible for for myelination the Schwann cells come in and they literally reinforce those motor patterns those physical motor pathways and they basically lay on others you know layer of cement and concrete around that and so this is what habits are so stinking hard to break when they're physical yeah because they've been wired into your brain hardwired and so it's really hard to undo that so if you're taking 10,000 breaths in a day or you're sitting in a 14 hours in this wretched position then what ends up happening is that becomes your default and so your breathing pattern becomes inefficient so forget about your ability to stabilize your spine forget about your ability to create in trouble no pressure forget about your ability to you know have good vo2 Max and diaphragm function check this out because you're in the stress breathing pattern you don't access your parasympathetic nervous system very well and so what we see is that our best smartest most badass people on the earth are literally they're all go-getters they're out there working their butts off and they can't down regulate that means they can't turn off at night and what we're seeing is we're getting caught in this sympathetic loop versus being able to access that parasympathetic turnoff off switch like part of our bodies and so what we start to see and if you've ever done any measurement around heart rate variability right is that I should normally have a lot of variation in my heart rate when I breathe in my heart rate slows down right when I breathe out my heart rate accelerates and that's one of the reasons the Yogi's were holding their fingers is that we know is that they were measuring that change in heart rate and what we start to see is that people who are breathing in their necks all the time you know they get caught and are stressed and drink a ton of caffeine and can't down regulate and they're on their phone right before they go to bed literally they caught in the sympathetic loop and their brains think that they're always in this stress environment boom now we start to see cortisol flip so when you know the the relationships that came about when they're like hey you know sitting position except you know changes cortisol well this is the mechanism for that and so literally you know what the best thing you can do is understand that boy sitting has these complex downstream effects if you've ever tried to meditate how difficult is to sit in a good position for 30 minutes it's almost impossible so what we found is the best thing you can possibly do is to remove that stimulus and look it's that you know look had you know sitting like going drinking with your friends is that like you know you know you're in for three or four tequila shots right but at some point you're like I got a got to manage this I'm gonna you know because it's gonna it's gonna bite me in the butt tomorrow and that's where I think the Revolution is and I'll tell ya you know we just bought my wife and I just just threw down we feel so strongly this week converted our daughter's fourth-grade classroom to a standing classroom we went to the district went to the principal showed them the research and they were like we're in we're totally in and if you've read people probably have read they've read the sports gene another great book you have to read by David Epstein and brilliant but there's a great piece of research in there where they looked at sort of genetic predisposition for movement and that the mice they were they noticed that some mice were running a mile a day on average and some mice were only three miles a day and on the treadmill the mice wheel and so what they did is they bred those three mile mice and in a couple generations they had seven mile mice and then they gave those mice who had this desire to move they weren't driven by food or anything just want to run run around Born to Run and they literally give them ritalin boot there in one mile and so what we think is happening is that we're giving some of the kids who we think have this high genetic predisposition for movement we're giving them ADHD drugs and we're literally suppressing their movement desire and what we know is there's a book another book I'm going to keep throwing out there called raising cane which really looks at this this division between boys and girls at elementary school middle school high school and boys are getting their butts kicked by girls because boys are viewing school is unfun they have to sit they squirm they get in trouble and it sets up this horrible reinforcement what's the same reinforcement we're seeing for adults you know we got interested in like sort of the more the lifestyle components that we're notice that people aren't sleeping right they aren't they aren't sleeping you know they're not they're they're not hydrating they're sitting too much and the reason that was in our face was because we were dressing it in our best athletes and you know I think we're you know you've done such an amazing job on your side of promoting mobility right which is our language for reclaiming normal position right really we really pushed that language we got away from stretching which is just doesn't even make sense yeah stretching is a concept out of French hospitals in World War two dealing with flexion contractures literally that's where it came from and what we're see now it's okay we can be a lot more sophisticated people are more sophisticated and so now they're eating better they're moving better there's you know there's they're mobilizing we're still seeing them stuck in these old patterns right of lifestyle and that's when we're like holy crap let's we just gotta fix it once and for all yeah yeah I think it's awesome and you know with that also comes obviously nutrition to me talking with kids we're totally if a kid if his breakfast consists of like 90 grams of sugar what do you think is gonna happen in 30 minutes well go ahead and go ahead and give 90 grams of sugar to your little dog and then lock your dog in your class a little tiny room and watch them tear apart the house I mean that's what that is right yeah yeah and then see then and then comes lunch which could be more sugar and then comes you know is that that alone could be creative what would seem like a hyperactive kid when you know it's all home and you know just as an end of a couple but we we really value the case study and the end of one we really feel like people should be n of one all the time thinking themselves is the great experiment and it's not it's not a universal you know application the principles are universal yeah but the application sometimes is more nuanced but what we found is no I'm you know I've been trained in the physiology I've been trained and you don't have to be trained to walk into a classroom and see the one kid out of 50 who truly may have an ADHD diagnosis that kid is you know like just needs to move to live but we have a lot of kids who have this high desire to move right we have a couple friends who they've been talked to by the district about their son and we're like hey you know don't put your kids on drugs try this first just give them a standing desk you know like yeah just work it out in them and and they do and the kids are like model model citizens and so so we think we think that there's this large component this the tmjd dysfunction that's you two and a half hours a day on your cell phone bent over you know take a look at carpal tunnel people are internally rotated flattening out their carpal tunnels the same thing happens if you know if you walk like a duck you know you see that your arches collapse right if you stand like a duck your basic collapse well imagine is you internally rotate your shoulders to that dreaded kind of slouchy douche-baggy shoulder position we are well the same thing happens to the the arches in your hands and wrists you missing flatten those things out and so let me just go down the list of problems and and what's interesting is these are the things that get in the way of elite performance and it's the thing that like this is preventable disease and so so much of this if we just make a little concerted effort to change the shape or change the course you know and everyone power listening or having this experience that we see tremendous tremendous changes in their output that they literally start to feel better they move better everything just starts to upregulate a little bit because we I really feel like and most experts will agree that the body is seeking homeostasis yeah seeking back to where it wants to be yeah if you just give a little feed and caring and you know I'll tell you the strength and conditioning community is gonna be responsible for like really like saving the planet not medicine not big business its coaches and seekers like the people listening to this who are like you know I can do better I can take responsibility that's the revolution yeah and that what understand how the body actually works and and it also comes back to the end one point you brought up where as you said yes the principles you know so mean that applies to you know take metabolism and when we talk about weight gain or loss our met our metabolisms all run on the same laws but there is a some people to tablet as a faster than others you do have to learn what where your body's sweet spots are and what you can and can't do yeah yeah you know a hundred percent and you know we the more you know I'm so lucky that I get behind the scenes everywhere I see everyone's dirty laundry I mean like everyone's dirty laundry but also I get to talk to like guys like Ben Greenfield and and Dave Asprey and Tim Ferriss is a buddy of mine and those guys are like you are like you know you know co-leaders of information you know like your repositories for best practice and one of the fun things about that is that we've seen that everyone ends up really with all of our boats pointed the same direction yeah in one of the ways that because because you know we're all experimenting and ultimately the experiment it's all sort of yield the similar well one of the exciting things that we're you know we've been advocating for a long time and continue to advocate for is you know people have to get a good blood panel you know how do we know what we know you know and well and people been saying this forever about other things what gets measured gets managed well we always say great diet and exercise which diet which exercise okay we have some good we have some good templates for that now the next piece is how do you measure and truly understand well you've got to look at your blood panel and blood chemistry and to do that you know we worked with a company called wellness effects brilliant company really just got a little bit more sensitive about just not saying hey your functional you're alive the cars running but like what's going on with the car and then we've recently started working with a company that out of Stanford brilliant physician they're richard lee and it's called gene salt and what they've done is basically been able to take this really full blood panel and genetic testing i i'm tanja it's like Star Trek you know it turns out for example so Rob wolf is a buddy of mine right yeah and he was like hey we all need to back off on the fish oil we were going crazy on the fish oil for a while right okay and and we were all a lot of us were just you know dose and dose and dose and then and he was like hey you know once we pull out all these grains it turns out we don't need all this massive amounts of fish oil right so we all back off on the fish oil oh because we're not eating the Solway we're not eating the grains well it turns out I have this gene that doesn't allow me to process a mega threes very well and so I actually have to double the fish whole or triple it to have it have any effect the only way you would know if this you know these these keys know so this is what's so interesting I think is I'd like to get that test done yeah well you know we on our site we have a free interview we did a lecture with dr. Lee on the website and it's about an hour long and it's really talks about this neuro endocrine axis of looking at testosterone looking at cholesterol looking at vitamin d3 looking at cortisol and you know just to your point you don't have to be an expert in it but you should understand you know everyone understands how the car it's got a little oil it's got some water well we just don't even have the basics of that and then we're surprised when the engine blows up you know yeah yeah I mean III think that there are of course the the physiology that of the body is vast but there are certain key metrics that anybody can just understand easily and keep an eye on and see I mean something you can do you know get your blood tested how often I mean what would you say for the average person that you know they they eat well they exercise regularly just to kind of make sure that everything is working the way it should be well get a get a baseline start by actually doing this the test right you know so an example for my wife for example is that when we've talked about this before but publicly is that you know my wife we had a daughter who showed up a little early it's a little bit of a surprise right six weeks early and Julia had seven blood transfusions during that process and she basically burned out her bone marrow burned it out and what we noticed was that her hematocrit was totally low right so her capacity to her ferritin was low her hematocrit was low basically hemoglobin is low so she she feels anemic all the time and Azen able to she isn't able to sort of you know perform she feels sluggish well it turns out when we go in to look at her B vitamins zero like just like in the single digits and which is just so freakish and when we started asking that question what's going on you know it turns out she doesn't process B vitamins and then one of the reasons is that she has this gene called the MTF r gene and which means it doesn't allow her to process folate very well and the folate super important for this B vitamin piece and so she has this she burns out her bone marrow and then also has this genetic piece position for not processing B findings very well it takes us six years to put that together when we should have figured that out day one right right and so at least you know it turns out for example I don't process saturated fats like everyone else does and so what that means is I can't eat bacon three times a day I can't my cholesterol go through the roof okay and believe it or not we've had a lot of really good friends who our excellent meticulous coaches but eat in the paleo way yeah their cholesterol has been 300 or 400 which is you know why we don't necessarily look at cholesterol as an absolute number anymore yeah we'd still look at it as kind of part of the diagnostic what we're seeing as man maybe you don't need to eat 17 pounds of macadamia nuts and avocado you know I mean you need enough that you can actually moderate the fat and the only way we know that is to really take a look so you know what's great is to get a baseline understand the relationship of your diet and your lifestyle that's how we're measuring that stuff and then we tweak up and down accordingly you know and that's I think we're just living in this age where we've been able to have access to so much extraordinary information and being able to just synthesize this a little bit really means that you can feel better yeah you can tack your pain you can go faster and you know the goal is not to be 110 and dead and barely hold on the goal is to be you know 110 and then just flame out yeah that's it totally live you live live fast live strong and healthy and then one day you just go to sleep and don't wake up and that's it that's right that's the that's the great death and so you know that's where I think you know the key here is that it's hard to talk to people about longevity yeah they feel fine Yeah right so you know it's so off in the future or whatever impossible and and honestly I had this conversation with like you know world's best athletes the guys like I'm a 23 year old millionaire in the NFL what are you talking about you know I'm the best in the world you know I'm like I won the siyeong award you mean I have this conversation I'm like now imagine if it you're you're the best pitcher in the world but you're only at 50% and then their minds start to explode and so the key for this is that we are we get immediate benefits of performance plus we just start putting money in the bank and that's what's so extraordinary you know we start to make sense of what's going on and and it's this democratized prices have come down suddenly you have access to science fiction and you know it's easy it's easy yeah that's awesome I just want to check it out Jean Sol's right yeah and that means good I know and I don't have any fiduciary relationship right now other than I'm a fan I'm just a user going through this experience and as a 41 year old male finding out like boy my vitamin D wasn't where I thought would be yeah and I was taking the drops that wasn't taking enough how much were you taking no I was just taking like you know casually you know I'd be like oh I should probably take five drops here you know five thousand three thousand yeah I just I wasn't leaning on it every day yeah and we were finding some letters on the vitamin D intake yeah every day that's so good I know I just saw in my wife to have everybody like if you had I know some people are like you know item ins yeah whatever oh no or certain there are certain ones you have to make sure that your that you that you get enough of certain other other ones you could you probably okay if you eat if you eat decently but that's right and you know and I put the vitamin D drops out for my girls every day ya know basically you know at the climate the hike that we live we physically cannot get enough vitamin D in the winter you can't you just not exposed to the Sun enough and so I mean most people aren't going to be exposed to Sun enough anyway even I I'm in Florida and if you I think it would take I wrote an article on this in looking at just the simple research of it it would be I I would need basically like 75 to 80% of my body exposed to 20 to 30 minutes of Florida Sun a day but you know I don't have I don't do that I'm going sunbathe every day only well can you imagine Sun your boss like hey it's it's P th prime tanning hours I'll be outside in my speedo I mean 80% of my body is garish so much people people like start I don't want to see any percent of you you know I think this is where we start to be able to dial in and really say hey I'm getting enough vitamin D or I'm not getting enough versus just sort of shotgunning it you know I that's it it's ish it feels good ish you know and and here's the other piece is that you know we know that if you miss you get a bad night's sleep you're thirty percent of them compromised you can be pre-diabetic you know for 24 to 48 hours and you can measure that yourself with a cheap blood meter but what I found is that when I was traveling I started pulling way back on dessert and I love ice cream but I literally like it was like I am I'm traveling just no way I can eat dessert and I started making a different decision about wine you know my good friend Matt la lon of Harvard he's you know kind of a he's in the you know measured quantified self Paleo sphere stuff and he's like Kelly you are gonna die you cannot eat dessert and drink wine when you travel he's like you just your body is too messed up wrong I was like no Matt I'm Kelly Starrett the laws of physics don't apply to me and of course as soon as I had to stare down some of those metrics you know my cholesterol was low but we pulled it apart and I had radical inflammatory markers even though I thought I was doing really I'm not I'm not headon but they thought I was doing best practice but it turns out it's the lifestyle component pieces that are playing a bigger role than you think you know you've got to get seven and a half hours of sleep at night you've got to do it as the baseline most people need eight or nine if you're training we were children ten and a half baseline right and if you're training the way people are training now that's a ten hour piece you know um we work with Alan Lim who's he was a sports performance sports physiologist sports performance expert and he was he was with the Tour de France like he was a team Radio Shack's guy right and he invented skratch labs as his company if you've ever seen the scratch hydration stuff you know and he's like look you can't cheat your physiology you just there no shortcuts around it and and you know we were just where were we Juliet oh it was a la we saw all these testosterone clinics tea clinics everywhere super big right now Oh Lord well it turns out that just pumping people full of tests just basically back fills and floods the system into cortisol into cholesterol and like it's not just the solution and we really have to do is we need to take a much more sophisticated organic look yeah saying hey you're eating right you've got to get enough sleep you've got to drink two to three liters of water a day and then we can have a conversation if you have to exercise you have to you know we we um you know I love to lift weights I love it I'm a big strong guy you know people don't realize but I am six about six to 235 you know and I thought little abs on the side I mean but the thing is Juliet and I prior Juliet is like if you saw her this is an example my wife is that we were out working with the WWE about three weeks ago and all the entertainers like John Cena like everyone and as we're walking in some of the fans thought Juliet was one of the divas right she's so jacked and you know they're like Charlotte sure I'm like something's doing right Juliet cuz you look good right my 40 year old wife has confused with a diva and the 41 the the issue is we prioritize our conditioning above all of the things just like you're saying you've got to suffer a little bit if your strength athlete you can still suffer if you're a rope but you've got to do some kind of suffering yeah inside something that looks like a movement practice not just exercise but every day you guys suffer yeah yeah I totally agree and you know that's just one of those things it's it's a basic element of just it's probably the healthiest thing you can do is just exercise regularly and put your body under that stress regularly and I would say that probably training your muscles is especially if you look at you know and back to longevity where the amount of lean mass that you have in your body is just it's just correlated with all cause mortality especially as you start to get older for obvious reasons like well if you're strong and you're 75 you're probably not gonna fall and you know break your hip but then also you know related to immune system the more lean mass you have the more immune more of a reserve you have for your immune system if you ever get sick or experience a you know an extreme trauma so yeah when I when I when I have kind of like simple conversations with people that are new to the whole because you know it's very confusing and there's so many so much contradictory information you have the balanced attrition side of things get them get the majority of your calories from nutritious foods high protein diet and in every way like there's just no arguing that anymore use carbohydrates depending on what you do if you move your body a lot you need more if you don't move your body that much you don't need as much and then exercise and train your muscles and you know it doesn't have to be hardcore weightlifting I mean I'm like you I like to lift I like to lift heavy I like being strong I just find it fun you know I think you're more into Olympic lifts and stuff too as well right well we like to lift and you know you know I'm friends with Mark Bell and Jesse burnick and you know all the power lifters ameno all these guys that hang out with them and so there's a little bias toward some heavy squatting and I what I love to do I love to oh yeah love it love it love it so you know the key here is what you're saying is a movement practice and you have to you have to put yourself under some kind of load even if you're not push jerking you better be pressing heavy dumbbells over your head yeah you know you know and and you you can't actually express good movement patterning unless you're like doing a little deadlift thing you know here's an example our Evelyn Stevens at our gym she is the number one road cyclist in America top five in the world she's just won the this inaugural seventeen stage race and former East Germany called the bull and she's she's like mean badass right and you know this year we had her squatting a ton and she was like hey look I'm afraid to get big and I was like I know I know and we do a lot of rest but I'm like we used a squatting to just reclaim good function you know my nine-year-old daughter overhead squats and front squats now a lot of weight but enough to challenge her position which sometimes is just 35 pounds yeah and so that's really what I think people are missing is they're missing that you're you're wired this way and you've got to do all the things that your body is set up to do so if that's Pilates you're gonna hit all the corners if it's yoga you're gonna do all the things your body is supposed to do so why yoga is so difficult for people but then you've got to also breathe hard and lift some heavy weights if you're doing those things otherwise you know some some version of Olympic lifting plus some hard running you're in there if you do kettlebells chances are you probably hitting all of those pieces the pistol is in there does goblet squats in there all the snatches are in there you know you're getting pretty full movement patterning that's why guys like Pavel you know and Cooke are all about the kettlebell cuz like hey you can swing the rest of your life you know but to your point you've got to have a movement practice I was just lecturing at the Stanford Medical School and their lifestyle class and I was like hey who here is a movement practice and they're like everyone raised their hands and I'm like what are you doing is like remember like exercise non-moving practice autumn like what do you think run I'm like exercise not ruined practice the girl says her hand she's like Pilates sounds like movement practice good job like and I think that that's the the problem is that we've confused exercise I need to get some exercise with it I need to practice moving like a human being and and that's why you know part of the mobility you know prescription is though people ask us all the time hey can you prescribe you know a general plan for me every day I'm like yeah you're responsible for all the ranges of motion and all the tissue health from your head to your feet so hard right so you know here's to 15 minutes today but then that's seven times a week that aggregates in the 90 minutes a week and then pretty soon you can start to see how he make changes but you've got to touch all of the corners regularly otherwise are gone yeah yeah I've noticed big changes my own body over the last four or five years when I started focusing on heavy compound weight lifting whereas before in the past when I started working out it was a lot of isolation stuff and a lot of show reps and bodybuilding yeah I didn't know what I was doing right so no one did so so dicking around with that stuff and then I make the change four or five years ago my yeah someone four years ago and of course I mean my body looks much different now and I'm I mean I'm lifting two or three times the weight that I was able to lift then but also my I've become much more flexible I mean my mobility has improved a ton just by doing that and of course doing these exercises with proper form you know squat deep making you know hit hit the deadlift correctly benchpress correctly military press probably do all these things correctly and I'm amazed at how much more functionally I guess you'd say my body is just by doing that well you know there's this idea that um you know people talk about this but if you move inefficiently your body it's like it's like having one of the wheels in your car pointed the wrong direction and when it's up happenes it creates you can drive hundred miles an hour with your handbrake on when your wheels go in the wrong direction but you start to create you know patterns and problems in the car and the same thing happens in your body that if you're running with your feet turned out you're gonna create sort of tension and connect it shooing your calves and in your hips that are supporting that movement pattern which is the inefficient manner so you get stiffer and that creates even worse problems and unfortunately the more efficient you move and the more you really air towards that virtuosity concept really making sure that you know I'm using load and cardiorespiratory to man and speed and metabolic demand I'm using that to challenge the robustness of my position right you know Brian Mackenzie does this thing was like hey we're gonna go run and the second you break technique you got a walk and people were like why can't run very far I'm like that's because you suck that bad at running you know and and people are like what but I can still run I'm like well I could still lift this deadlift with a rounded back yet should I continue to do it and I think once you sort of understand that we can make this look if you just need to sweat your balls off get on an exercise bike you're less likely to hurt yourself yeah and go ahead make yourself vomit right you know or drag a sled or or do something that we're just the margins for errors you want to just be a piece of meat go be a piece of meat right but the rest of the time you've got to be this conscious technique-driven person and that's on lifetimes work and we know we always say now we're like no no we play the long game we're in it to just be extraordinary and as you noticed you know you came into the game with a huge engine I'm sure isolation you know leg press still meant you could squat a ton but my thought was actually terrible because I did this I did the standard neglect legs and do half squats and do it all wrong well right you you were a man who grew up in the 80s and 90s right and I think what's amazing is that when you realize it's practice then you literally can get better and better and better and better you know I'm 40 years old you know I just cleaned 370 not long ago I deadlift 600 but the things that matter most to me is that I can run a 5k all out and kill people that I jump into the pool and swim that I can race that I can do palaburn and I don't hurt one of the keys I think that we're helping people understand is the resting state of the human being is pain-free and it's so shocking when you talk too much that's totally normal I was up you know I played soccer in college so of course I am arthritic and I hurt every day and have to take ibuprofen to get up out of bed you know you know you should get out of bed and feel extraordinary and what's happening is that that's not the case so what's going on you're designed to be ridden hard you just can't ride hard and put yourself away wet every single day and that's really the the secret about the sitting is that that's what we're doing we're basically taking this extraordinary machine and then just crushing it yeah and back to that I wanted to actually ask you on the sitting okay so then how do we sit properly like what can we can do do we need to get up every so often and stretch or less yeah I think that's intuitive you know for example I really when I work with professional football teams I try to mitigate the amount of sitting they do on the sidelines okay I tell them to raise this height of their benches right so that we don't close the hip down so there's a couple things you know that you can understand around the spine is that if you stand up there's sort of three components to spinal stabilization one is the butt sets your pelvis position just like we did before you do squeeze your butt right that sets that pelvic position the second is that my abs and spine and the muscular my trunk then brace that position so I need to know how to brace without pushing I'm trying to create a belt around myself and if I want to stabilize my spine to make a smaller belt my abs shouldn't bulge out like I'm a bodybuilder I'm a fat guy I should be like my stomach should be flat like a gymnast and the gymnasts who are brutally strong none of them have sort of distended bellies they all have flat bellies right then you can see that in your head so you know if you go to Cirque de Soleil you'll see one time and all the strongman all the acrobats all have this rock flat bellies right because if you push your belly out what you're really doing is creating more space to stabilize and your abs don't work really well in there an arc they want to be flat right right you're not sucking in or hollowing we're stiffening the third component to that is the torsion that I set in my hips so that that slight torque by screwing my hips into the ground and by the way what I just described to you was Tadasana and yoga I mean that people have thought critically about how to do this for a long time it gets kind of muddled in the translation is modern right but this is the same setup as your deadlift setup and and so what ends up happening is if you sit down can you squeeze your butt nope so can you create torque in your hip and in fact know you're hit your legs are out in front of you and they're loose yeah the only way you can really tighten up your hip is to sit in full lotus position right or sit like you're doing a really really wide box squat which is almost obscene you're like hey take a look at my crotch you know and like that's never gonna fly on the airplane yeah and so what we've done is we've lost two of the three key stabilization principles and techniques and models that means it's all on my abs and so what ends up happening is that just my trunk now I can brace that but basically what's happening is I'm just gonna wobble back and forth over my sit bones right yeah my trunk is now connected to my pelvis but my pelvis isn't connected to anything so enter what we call the four horsemen and the rectus femoris is that quad that crosses the knee in the hip it gets tight and I can tell you that a lot of people tell us they get knee pain when they sit down right and it's actually there's a technical term for it and then in literature called theater sign and that that was when people first described as they were sitting at the theater and their knees would hurt but that rectus femoris is basically holding your pelvis forward in a kind of attention to position and that while it pulls forward it's also pulling on your kneecap so your knees start to grind into your leg a little bit well the iliacus which is inside your pelvis right inside your pelvic Bowl blends with the psoas but it inserts inside your leg and so now you have two big kind of movers that are related to me to pilot kind of pelvis and then inside pelvis to femur those are tight and then so as which is like the quads of your low back right which goes all the way up from sort of l1 all the way down v that it's the filet mignon of the human being it goes to your leg inside yes right that gets tight and then in the back you have to cue out there so as problem squatting oh of course well you know especially you're overextended and so what ends up happening in the back because I'm basically gonna shorten that down that's fine when I'm sitting right I'm in an overextend position I'm not sitting in a Flex position I'm airing towards a more bone-on-bone position right yeah it's like the end of the door jamb the problem is when I stand up what happens well my tissues have become adaptively short and stiff and now I have a whole system that basically is biasing me towards that dumping my pelvis floored position so I can't stabilize very well in fact I am basically putting a bunch of crazy wires and guidelines on my spine to get stable and then when I stand up they introduce a ton of shear load on my back and so now imagine if I'm running and when I come down it can be upwards of four to six times body weight on a single leg right and all of that force gets transmitted through a spine and a hip that's brutally short and guess what happens we wear out the mechanics like it's just obvious so you know why did I get interested in sitting because I was having to undo it all the time and then when my athletes stopped sitting the stuff went away Wow so practically speaking for us for the people that you know work on a computer a lot or whatever it does boil down to what I like to do is probably every 20 or 30 minutes I get up and I do a couple stretches I mean I get out I drink a lot of water throughout the day so I'm oh yeah I'm kind of going pee every hour two hours anyway so I'm walking around but I do make a point of just getting up and stretching and not remaining in a seated position for you know long long periods of time well you know Sidney understanding that when I do sit I want to sit in a good position so I can still breathe right I'm still organized like I was like if I was in Lotus but the other issue here is that I can you know with a one of the problems with the standing movement and people are on it they're getting they're getting savvy to it but one of the problems is that what we've advocated for and told people is oh you just need a ten thousand dollar desk and so you know people are like oh I need a treadmill desk and you know or need is some heist and we're like whoa whoa a cardboard box is cheap cover it some construction paper put your kids faces on it and set your computer on that cardboard box and ultimately it's nice to lean once in a while standing all day long is tough you know what we like people to do is have a bar stool so that you can lean on the bar stool that leaves your hips open but then you can also put one foot up on the bar stool you can put your hip on the barstool you can so it suddenly creates sort of an environment where you can constantly changing positions and you're avoiding the dreaded piece and then when you actually sit down it feels amazing at the end of the night you down regulate Brewer sitting is like it's like an ambien yeah I could imagine I actually want to try I'm gonna try it I'm gonna try a sort of standing setup I mean I when I'm working at home I use your put if I'm you know put my laptop on the on the kitchen bar and stand and like you said I mean after after a few hours I'm like this is actually not so easy no and it's and what you see is that people start to default to their tendencies which is like one leg turned out and so you're always trying to cultivate a good position and remind yourself to come back to that baseline you know we're we're we're you know just always thinking about can we get back into good shapes and so it's okay it's okay to wander and come back wander and come back and you know the key is that just removed the most noxious aspect of that which is the full sitting and I think when when you do that it's it's pretty remarkable you know you're you're do feel better and you'll notice that you have less stiffness in your back these are the same you know recommendations that we have around like not wearing flip-flops you know like you can just remove some of the noxious stimuli and lo and behold you know the whole the whole thing up regulates and you start to feel better and you only need to believe you you don't take my word for it go see it for yourself yeah don't need a ten thousand dollar desk you know you can get a you know get it go to Ikea and get yourself a little add-on to your little table but you know it turns out a lot of geniuses like Hemingway stood up when they wrote it's not weird huh I didn't even know that there was this guy who came to our gym once and he was a sleep researcher and they had just kept this guy awake for like six days right and you know don't you whatever I was even alive well I mean they kept him awake as long as people just stay away right so he was delirious well wait he didn't sit down and so he think the only rule is that had they kept him up right right right so after like three days something like that you know he just took this test and he crushed he's like I am he's getting all cocky so I i crushing this and they're like okay now all we want you to do is take the same test but sit down and as soon as he sat down he started to slur I started to complete and he he he accused the testers of Ted rugged him Wow and gassing him look you drugged me and he literally blacked out on his face and the only difference was as soon as he sat down he triggered the whole thing and the whole thing just fell apart wow that's really interesting you douche I know you gotta run in a second but you have a new book coming out or is this right right October 21st it's called ready to run and what we saw was that there were excellent excellent coaches around the technique of running you know dr. Romanoff Brian Mackenzie's book is excellent if you're a cheer uh nur you know there's a lot of people doing a good job of educating us on how to run but what we saw was that people physically did not have the capacity to embody the teaching and kept having the problem so what we've done is you know we we're huge fans of the Bob Christmas dongles but uh Chris McDougall I think his book Born to Run and it's so inspiring but literally what we saw was that people went out into the world with their new flat shoes and by the way everyone's shoes should be flat that's a given but you know they we think now that you should be in flat shoes all the time and if your mechanics aren't perfect give yourself a little heel like a little three to four millimeter differential will not wreck you but you can't cruise around we want you to cruise flat B flat B barefoot but when we looked at sort of the culture and the environment of supporting runners what we saw is that runners what we're in compression they didn't have healthy tissues they didn't know how to hydrate effectively you know they didn't have some base lines what we did is we basically gave people a blueprint to get their tissues strong enough and ready enough to handle the mechanics of running soundly and it's so bad that Chris Powers who has the he's one of the APTA American physical therapist at American Physical Therapy Association stars right he's the head of the USC phys with every department he literally made a position stand we said it's safer to heel strike than to run correctly and what he saw was that wasn't just a person who's casually throwing that out oh you're seeing was that people could not run correctly and not get injured that we know that there you know 30 million runners in America every year 80% of them are injured in a year yeah I mean right into my line of work just emailing with a lot of people oh I mean I'm sure you do too well you know it's a disaster I mean in fact Juliet and I call it the modern running dustry elects you know because you know we're like okay running running is the skill it's the thing that makes us human you know you read the story of the human body you know that great work that just came out a couple years ago about sort of the Anthropology of human body written by the anthropologists out of Harvard and you like it's running is the thing that allowed us to hunt to move it's the skill that links nearly every human sport we do yeah and yet we don't teach kids to run every kid runs perfectly and run on the ball of their foot they ran neutral foot right no one heel strikes no child heel strikes as they sprint in the kindergarten but no one heel strikes until about the first grade and all of a sudden we see this divergent loader pattern well half the kids run correctly and the half that could start heel striking and what you're seeing is the implication of sitting eight hours a day for 910 months of the year plus the the addition of these high-heeled shoes plus no motors practice skills no practice skills and what ends up happening is we end up sort of cycling down this pathway of defunct motor patterning and so big surprise when you've been heel striking for thirty years then you got a flat shoe and want to learn to run correctly you couldn't handle it you basically took your big engine and dropped it into a you go and you bent the frame you the blew up right yeah so I think that's what's so fun about this is we're saying hey look we know this is how you're wired you should have one skill that allows you to run fast and slow because if you take a heel striker play frisbee or sprint they run correctly you can't sprint heel striking right in fact you can't even heel strike barefoot when you can for like eight seconds and then you're gonna you're gonna start shortening your stride and running correctly and I think that's what's so interesting about the running movement is that's become such a construct of the shoes I'm wearing can you imagine and we we feel strong you should be able to run in a shoe wearing combat boots this is how you run it's the same technique yeah right can you imagine telling your sergeant major like you know what sergeant major I got to put on my maximal cushion shoes like you know no inserts nonsense and I think that's the problem is that we've really lost the idea of you know how do we get ready how do we prepare the tissues and we have amazing amazing interviews with Stacy Simms who's the leading hydration researcher out of Stanford talking about how to really look at you know delve deep into your urine are you hydrated are you getting enough electrolytes are you absorbing the water you know where can you wear a compression how does that impact you know and just developing a practice around actually being ready to run and you know even just the diaphragm stiffness we see in people we interviewed Jill Miller talked about the diaphragm you know we get women who talk about it can't go run because they they have bladder incontinence and you know we just are seeing that running is a great diagnostic tool the problem is you can run terribly for decades until you have a problem and all sudden one day you've worn a hole in your kneecap you know and you're like well I guess I guess that's it I guess I wasn't designed to run as even though I'm a human being so what we tried to do is just take all of that what we think is low-hanging fruit very actionable we gave people standards this is what we think you should be and here's how you can get there and remember you know Greg cook is really good at this he's like hey the functional movement screen is a way of sort of assessing that you're not giving up capacity to get some other capacity right people sort of misunderstood the FMS um and I think what's really great is what we've done is tried to establish movement standards like can you get into the bottom position of a pistol well if you can't that's one of the reasons that your ankles are torched and you have plantar fasciitis and heel problems yeah so let's get back to that and when you've just come through a brutal cycle of running well I bet you look stiff so how do you know how stiff you are and how far and what to keep an eye on and we've just made this like 12 easy steps so I'm where this book is amazing it's gonna it's you know it's really really good that's awesome and what's the title again it's called ready to run rate Iran cool he's heads out in October right October 21st so you can actually preorder it now okay great I'll add it to the to the bad website no worries but you know what we think is that people are already look if your act they're trying to run you kudos to you because you're doing the hard work and this is the easy work you know let's let's make it so your feet don't hurt after running or you know when my wife and I travel we always run wherever we you know when we're there and the idea is hey we can you know we always prioritize conditioning running is the thing that runners you know that travel should be able to do but boy sitting on an airplane you have cankles and then you're gonna go load those cankles with a 5k I don't think so yeah totally okay great well that's awesome this is a lot of great information and I'm gonna link that book in in the post you know you got to run to your daughter's birthday that's cool and anything else that you just want to finish and close off with want you like where where everyone can find you you know the standard kind of sure well you know our site is mobility WOD and we just posted like our 11 hundredth literally and you know there's we have a pro version of the site don't let that fool you we we basically have created a serve an open-source content where there's about six hundred free videos on there we can start you know you type in you can use all the search features and it start taking a crack at fixing yourself it's very very simple we have a book that's still on the New York Times bestseller list it's called becoming a supple leopard which we really think is like we try to make a Betty Crocker cookbook you people you know it's so simple yeah and I don't think you realize that like they really can impact their pain and their friends pain and their moms pain by just even rolling around on a ball it's so low tech and so simple and yeah it's great really you can really change your quality your life so check us out on their bills it sounds like what I when I push with mobility is it and like it goes back to you're saying about stretching where I was never much into stretching because they don't really serve a purpose I don't care if I can get another inch on this so it but mobility is is much more Purpose Driven where I can work on you know I'm in the gym and lifting weights my my sport of choice is golf which is a puts all kinds of weird stresses on the body and so I I've run into different things than I I'm gonna use your book all the time I find that use your videos find actually find mobility exercises that I can do that hit spots work through it and then immediately see improvements as opposed to you know stretching a muscle that I can maybe be a little I can get closer to a split or something but what does that do for me that's right I mean it's a hundred percent giving it context and also what we found is that a lot of the athletes I was working with and they were stiff and you know you know you know what strut doesn't stretch or doesn't move as beef jerky we had to come in a different plan you have to chew beef jerky to get any action there and people were beef jerky if I'd so what we noticed was that when we give people different tools they made the best solution and and ultimately you know where you're tight and what your problem is and as soon as you're empowered to take a crack at it it's it's remarkable yeah that's great all right awesome well thanks a lot taking time Kelly I really appreciate it I'm excited to give this out there I know that you know people are gonna or this is all what you're talking about everything is up their alley well thank you so much I appreciate the time and uh you know we always laugh when people are listener pockets I'm like you can't get that hour back you have to learn something from it please yeah no ton tons of good information so thanks again Kelly and I'll let you know when it's up please cheers talk to you soon okay cool


  1. Amazing knowledge here

  2. his 9y/o squats?

  3. Kelly sometimes sounds sci-fish.

  4. I loved this podcast! It made me think about a LOT of things I don't normally think about. And the way Kelly described his wife made me smile. It's great to see that kind of love & admiration between two people!

  5. LOL at around 48:00 when Kelly talks about how standing with your feet out is bad and wearing flip flops is bad but the picture is Mike doing both. Just thought it was ironic.

  6. Hey mike I'm in a rut. Everything was going smoothly, I was gaining a pound a week, getting stronger, etc. I'm still getting stronger but now that I'm standing more through out the day, trying out the ol' but squeeze technique, I'm burning more calories. Last week I was stuck at 177, eating 2,802 calories I even tried eating a little more around maybe 70 or so calories a day, and turns out I dropped a pound this week. I'm still hitting my regular workout routine so nothing has changed in that area, just standing more during the day. Should I shoot for 3,000 and see how that goes? And add maybe 200 calories to my 2,547 on my resting days? Help please!!

  7. 9:55 Kelly's knowledge of "butt squeeze" is second to none.

  8. stretching is useless? srsly? … where did this come form? when you are 25+ and have shit movement patterns and horrible flexibility. Mobility exercises are only going to get you so far, stretching will help a SHIT LOAD.

  9. Great podcast, just a quick mythbust: sugar doesn't make kids hyper, source with journal

  10. I was sitting with my feet on my desk… Err… I guess i have to start standing at work… Thanks Mike… bastard.. 

  11. Way to go Mike. You and Kelly, the dream team 😉 

  12. Awesome

  13. Cool interview. Can you make a list of books though that Kelly recommended? I'd love to read them!

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