Beware the Gym

Reverse-Engineering World Class Talent

Before going on, be warned: if you need a peer-reviewed study to substantiate every piece of information you read and hear, then I have to inform you that you are allowing others to think for you. There is no study proving gravity exists. You believe it exists because you feel and see it everyday. Utilize rational thought and learn from what’s in front of your eyes. Nature has been performing her randomized control trials for 4.6 billion years..

https://youtu.be/0urU4M9n078
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What is the definitive proof there is gravity?

There isn’t one. That is not how science works.

Gravity is the name we give to the phenomenon that objects accelerate towards each other when they are otherwise left to their own devices.

The “proof” of gravity is the demonstration that the phenomenon happens.

Table of Contents

Let’s begin by becoming clear on our purpose. Without defining a clear objective, you’ll be lost wandering the desert. Is your goal to become a better footballer or improve your numbers on your squat? This is one of the first things you must ask yourself. You must get clear on your true objective.

Missing the Forest for the Trees

I’ve seen many footballers go full steam ahead down the path of strength and never come out. They look great aesthetically and are beloved by the strength coach, but does this result in on-field performance?

No, often times quite the opposite. Injuries and poor performance are quick to present themselves. These players usually end up going in circles of injury, pain, and ultimately poor performance.

This same theme can be applied to nutrition, cardio, and even ball mastery. We get so enthralled into a specific field that’s supposed to improve some aspect of performance, but then we lose sight of the over arching goal: to become a top footballer. Every single training, recovery, and lifestyle strategy is a means to an end. It’s not the goal itself.

Going against the Mainstream

While some react quite aggressively to going against the grain, it’s the actually the smartest thing you could do. Following trends never took anyone anywhere. You want to be the one seeing the trends before they become one. If you want to be a top 1% footballer, you can’t follow the 99%…

Playing it safe doesn’t offer rewards. Just like in football, you need to break lines and penetrate to score goals. While doing this takes courage, allow your nerves to settle knowing that 99% of people will not have the will or coherence to forge their own path. You’ve already won half the battle by merely opening your mind to the possibility there is another way. Read below for quite a fitting introduction for what is to come.

It’s rarely a comfortable road to cross when going against what is mainstream. My expressed opinion is always based on experience; I guess that’s a common denominator for most humans.

Why has weightlifting become so popularized? Is it due to a lack of thinking outside the box in terms of fixing biomechanics, or the urge of doing something that conceals the decreasing testosterone levels in men, or just because lifting heavy weights and looking muscular is now more important than being pain free and ‘functional’ in a society based on materialism?

The most frequent question I’m asked is: how do you ensure strength development in your patients without weight lifting?

As if weight lifting should be the only source of strength development. Strength development is a concept, not an index of exercises. Weight lifting is excellent – if you want to become good at lifting weights. But, when done for alternative purposes, such as to move better, become pain free or improve biomechanics in sports, it’s merely a waste of time.

The unique erected posture of humans has given us the advantage of running, walking for extraordinary distances, and hunting, which are all happening in the unilateral plane – as the majority of sports are likewise. Isolating muscle movements and locking up motions, such as solely exercising in the bilateral plane, is not going to improve this innate capability, but might instead impair it.

The fascia does not know how to cope with isolated movement that over-stresses individual areas. Then it becomes dry, sticky and loses its flexibility, which is impairing biomechanics, mobility and may cause injury and dysfunction.

When respecting the fascia, we primarily move in the three-dimensional plane, where stimuli is applied throughout several parts of the body to interact and counteract with one another.

Mads Tömörkényi

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In the simplest terms, a muscle-based training paradigm that isolates both muscles, ranges of motions, and dimensions is not what happens on the pitch, let alone in life. The body does not work in parts. It is not simply one muscle does this and one muscle does that. The body is much more than just a collection of muscles and joints.

A major source of confusion in the practical application of kinesiology is that no muscle exists in isolation.

The Endless Web (pg. 91)

World Class Talent

First, have you ever actually spoken to an elite athlete in person? Have you seen their habits and personal training choices or do you only see what’s posted on commercials and social media?

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Understand that they are not gym rats. They are not grinding away under a barbell. They are not constantly studying different forms of weight lifting trying to perfect their technique and squat form. They are basically the opposite of what a gym creates.

This is merely marketing campaigns to sell you workout equipment, nutrition guides, and training programs. Do not fall for it.

They are outside on the court developing their trade. The Game pushes their athletic creativity and potential by having fun, getting into flow states, and the endless possibilities of free unstructured play. Most other times, the naturally gifted athletes are relaxing, having fun with friends, and more or less doing nothing while the less talented hard working kids are grinding away in the gym or at the field. You know who ends up performing better on the field…

How all of that physically turns them into world class athletes is what my work reverse-engineers. Understanding the athletic power of fascia as well as the importance of mitochondrial function is center place here.

Nothing in the gym involves the ever-changing reactionary scenarios that exists outside on the court. I have no problem if you want to look better or feel stronger, but be honest about your goals and understand the long-term implications.

Prominent tendons and curled toes of all top athletes

My game is based on improvisation. Often, a forward does not have the time to think too much. You have a second, rarely more, to decide whether to dribble, shoot or pass to the right or left. It is instinct that gives the orders.

When I was young, my father used to tell me that it was better to practice playing the ball with bare feet, in order to have complete control over the ball. But in reality, he did not have the money to buy me football boots and clothes. He was heartbroken and wept tears of regret, so that I did not feel that he had failed to meet my needs. When I won the Ballon d’Or, I did not cry with joy… I cried because my father is no longer there.

Ronaldinho

Check out The World Class Footballer and The Natural to learn more about what elite athleticism really is.

Trouble in Paradise

Why are world class players at the peak of their athletic careers at the best clubs in the world falling to pieces?

You would think they’d be improving after taking the step up from their previous smaller less funded less sophisticated clubs who have far less resources for medical and gym staff…

Gareth Bale – Fragile and hurt more often than not
Eden Hazard – Injury after Injury
Kaka – career curtailed with constant injury after joining Real Madrid
eymar – constantly hurt at PSG

And then we have young talented prodigies who are supposed to be indestructible, yet we see their careers derailed after one seemingly innocuous injury begins a cycle they never get out of.

Namely among them would be Jack Wilshere, who at one point was one of the world’s highest rated young players with an amazing performance against Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi of Barcelona.

A seemingly mundane ankle injury in 2009 set off a sequence of events that would result in multiple surgeries and leg breaks. He’s now a free agent after Bournemouth chose not to renew his contract.

Jack Wilshere – Arsenal

It seems now that Ansu Fati is now becoming the next young star to see his career derailed.

When a young prodigy like Ansu Fati is having a 4th knee surgery to remove his meniscus, you know the current level of health and performance management is in disarray.

Ansu Fati – Barcelona

After three failed arthroscopies in an attempt to save his original meniscus, the forward has decided to heed the opinions of some outside experts who advised the definitive removal of the meniscus as the only solution to his recovery problems…..After noting that the problems remained, the doctors, with the player’s consent, have decided to remove the internal meniscus, the cause of all the problems. Source

The internal meniscus is the symptom of all the problems, not the cause. The meniscus is not causing anything. The body and the knee specifically is in pain because it is trying to tell you to stop doing what you’re doing. Other parts of the body are dysfunctional in some way causing the knee joint to compensate. The human body is very clever and will do whatever it takes to survive. This usually comes at a cost if you disrespect how the human body wants to operate. Joints being asked to fulfill the role of absorbing force will eventually crumble.

That’s the real problem with mainstream medicine. They treat the symptoms not the root cause. They even tell themselves that the symptom is the bad guy and the cause of the pain.

Symptoms of athleticism People aren’t able to think. They see big muscles and think big muscles. They see a photo of Ronaldo in the gym and think “gym, gym, gym.”

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It is our professional experience that knee problems originate in the knee only when there has been direct trauma to the knee.

The Endless Web pg. 99-100

The problem is never where the pain is. They are explaining here that the only time the origin of an injury is in the same place the pain is occurring is that of direct trauma as opposed to non-contact chronic pain. With that said, I will mention that by improving your level of fascial connection even contact injury can be prevented. This is possible by way of biotensegrity. Where your bodies ability to spread incoming force across the whole fascial network of the human body.

“Our studies show that the incidence of injury is high in adolescent elite athletes.” Study

This is not normal and should not be considered bad luck. The human body is powerful and resistant to most things when the laws of Nature are respected.

When Things don’t Add Up

If every sport is played on the ball of the foot, why does all lifting go through the heels?

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We know heel striking is terrible from an athleticism and injury prevention point of view, so then why would we train this way in the gym? Seemingly we would be then reinforcing these poor movement strategies under load which has a greater neurological impact.

To add further fuel to the fire, antiquated ideas of proper limb angles are put forth as a pre-requisite to proper athleticism. Many strength & conditioning coaches will advise increased ankle mobility is needed so you can have the proper angles while squatting.

The unintended consequence there is that fascia tension through the ankle gets broken down. Western weightlifting tries to force their rigid model upon athletes playing dynamic sports where these movements and linear joint angles never occur.

There is a nuanced difference between forced dorsiflexion and dorsiflexion with fascial tension, but the two different results are huge. The former creates unathletic injury prone players while the latter creates elite athleticism.

You are setting off a completely different muscle firing pattern by having someone squat off the heel; and the heaviest load is going to happen at the joint angle that is most compromised The engine of the car in humans is a lot more horizontal, it’s push-pull; this is the engine that really drives the car, and if you really (axially) stack the body, chances are you are not going to see that turn into more fluid movement If I’m doing a little too much sagittal lifting, the movement is too much about the bar and the bar path, and the athlete has to mechanically adapt around that load. – Matt Cooper

The human body does not work in straight lines.

At the level of the joint there is no such thing as linear movement. There are muscles that pull on tendons that pull bones in arcs and circles. By understanding this, we can see linear motion as a finely choreographed sequence of arcs and rotation, that when pieced together create a straight line.

Kevin Foster

Many “experts” were quick to roast Lebron James for his squat technique

It’s quite common for major athletes to get roasted by strength coaches when photos like these get passed around. The irony is missed on them though. Trying to tell Lebron he’s doing it wrong when he’s been dominating his sport for over a decade is like telling the king lion he’s hunting wrong. Experts should ask what is wrong with their model of athleticism if it doesn’t fit the best of the best.

Usain Bolt – you can see here the insane levels of fascial molding. The anterior tibialis tendon extends almost up his entire shin!

Elite Athletes do not dorsiflex the same as a person who is not an elite athlete. You need to toss out the assumption that all people are built the same. Any work upon that assumption gets tossed out with it.

Elite athletes don’t need to squat to parallel to activate the glutes. They can’t and have no reason to. They have extreme levels of fascial tensioning built up in the foot & ankle making those joint angles impossible and less efficacious.

They have the neurological connection to the glutes and abs built up over many years that allows them incredible glute activation from very little knee bend.

Looking below you’ll see Kylian Mbappe. These photos are meant to help illustrate the stiffness created by fascial tension, establishing a stiff lever in the foot. The weight is always on the ball of the feet (even when the heel looks to be touching). See how the foot acts as a spring in the world class fascial-driven footballer. This is the only way force can be transmitted upstream through the fascial network.

The weight distribution is through the ball of the foot which acts as a stiff lever propelling the body forward.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=qciq5ubWKv0

The weight distribution is through the balls of the feet which is made even more obvious with the man on spring blades below. There are no heels to speak of. The heel was never designed to the point of contact nor a point of significant weight distribution. Try running barefoot and you’ll see how it feels. Very painful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsnAFu5MCOE
Double Amputee Races in London Olympics on spring blades

This man is competing against other fully bodied men. Albeit, he’s not in the front, but to have made it in the Olympics shows the mechanism of the spring in the feet. These prosthetic limbs are unable to fully replicate the ingenuity of nature’s designs fully materialized in world class athletes like Mbappe and Haaland, but make it abundantly clear that the human body is not a brick wall of merely muscle and bone.

Animals make it more obvious their weight is constantly on the ball of the foot. They achieve this through higher levels of fascial tension that elevates the heel. This diagram shows quite an unathletic human on the left, but shows the mechanism from which some animals have such incredible elasticity.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=6RARHrDuXFY

Now imagine if all your training was breaking down and destroying the function of this spring in the feet?

What if all the lifting was actually worsening your athleticism and degrading the quality of your fascial tension?

Barbell Back Squat

Consider how linear any mode of training is inside the gym. It’s impossible to train the multi-dimensional reactionary demands of football with repetitive strength training and isolationist muscle work.

I find in the world of strength training there is a big underlying assumption being made, and people don’t even know they are making it. All of this work to get strong and to make muscles capable of producing more force, but how do you know any of that transfers over to sport? What makes one possibly think that squatting more weight will somehow make you run faster, jump higher, dribble better, etc. Then how does one know if any of that transfers over to the actual game?

Does it matter how fast you can run if your reaction time is poor or you miss the ball with your foot? These are all questions that experts want to ignore resorting to claims that speed, reactions, and coordination are different things. Well, that’s your problem right there. There is no such thing as isolated functions in the human body. It is all entangled. It is all connected. Thinking that your strength, power, or speed work doesn’t affect everything else simultaneously is at best naïve and at worst ignorant.

When you go too far down that maximal strength pipeline, you often will create governors and limiters on your brain, where for survival’s sake, to protect your joints the brain will rewire the way you contract the muscle…

– Matt Cooper

Another conundrum: how is it possible that two people can do the same exercise with the same technique and feel different sensations and get different results? Because that is happening all over the planet every day.

We have millions of aspiring athletes in the gym and then the Natural rises to the elite level? The elite few who aren’t really in the gym during their development. They break into the first team at 18 or 19, get put on a strength program with the older men, and sooner or later we see injury every time.

The key here is to understand that, elite athletes are literally built different. The feet show how and are the common denominator you see time and time again.

“I’ve seen people be weight room strong, but not necessarily sports strong…My best athletes in the weight room were not my best athletes on the field”

– Matt Cooper

When you consider that up to 95% of the exercises that people are performing in the gym setting are sagittally based, with no differentiated function, it is no wonder that we are declining and de-evolving functionally with ageing.

Mark Mcgrath

We have to come to terms that the up and down linear thinking occurring in most strength training is not how actual movement occurs in the best movers out on the pitch. Humans don’t run like robots. We move in spirals. No lion or jaguar needed a sprint coach to teach them how to run. Strengthening muscles for the sake of strengthening muscles and then expecting them to work together on the field in unison is not going to happen.

Coordination

When you train in a segmented manner then you’re going to create a segmented body. When you isolate both muscles and range of motions, you create adaptation for that specific action. The quote below explains that your brain will develop coordination to fit what you train. If you’re training slow rigid repetitive movements then the body will adapt to meet those needs. This means you have no need to coordinate the multi-dimensional movement that occurs on the pitch.

The results suggest that prolonged training in a specific sport will cause the central nervous system (CNS) to program muscle coordination according to the demands of that sport.

Source

Maximal weight lifting retards coordination.

Nick Curson
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Another often misunderstood point is that muscle is better suited to lifting heavy things. You can think of it like a turbo in a car. It’s made for short intense actions as evident by lactic acid build up.

Lifting heavy things slowly retrains the body to prioritize muscle not elasticity (fascia). The fascia is supposed to be the engine, not muscle.

Biotensegrity – Fascia’s mechanism for elasticity

Muscle Memory

Another often tossed around point is that muscles supposedly have capacity for memory. I’ve heard it more times than I count. I always assumed it was true, but then I learned that fascia is really the system that proprioception occurs. This is why top players never lose their ability because they have the body-wide system of well connected fascia.

Proprioceptors facilitate balance and conduct movement, and the reason fascia is important in proprioceptive ability is that you have 10 times as many proprioceptors in your fascia than muscle fiber.

Source

When I suggested to Coyle that repetition in practice also develops muscle memory, he claimed that physically there’s no such thing. “Muscles are actually really dumb,” he pointed out. “Muscles are like the wooden part of the puppet. The action is with the strings.” These “strings” are the connections in the brain, and the faster information travels through them, the better you perform. More of the right kind of practice means more myelin to transmit neurological signals even faster.

– Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code
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Speed Development

I’m often asked “How do I get faster?”

We’re told you must get your muscles stronger so then you can move with more power. We’re told you need to produce more force so you get put on a heavy lifting routine. Something with low reps and high weight. This is what I thought, was told, and did for many years.

18 year-old Pedri for Spain

I even try different methods of plyometrics, depth jumps, and French contrast training. Only until I was met with incredible pain, suffering, and poor performance was I forced to reassess my methods.

Only when failure forced me to open my eyes to all the skinny 17-year-olds excelling against senior pros did I realize that maybe it wasn’t all about what you see going on in the gym. Just maybe, there was a reason why these thin kids were gliding past men who could lift twice their weight in the gym.

These observations made me question everything and at the same, it’s the trainer and physio who wants these talented young fascially driven players to strengthen in the gym…when they’re literally doing better on the pitch than the guys who’ve already put so much time in the gym.

True speed comes from the elasticity and tension built up within your fascial network. It’s about first unlocking the full power of your glutes which most people don’t even have access to (they don’t have the fascial connections).

The vast majority of glute fibers insert into fascia. Textbooks say 70-85% but it might be even higher.

Source
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In simplest terms, the more you weigh the slower you move. The more muscle you build the heavier you’ll be. The real explanation though is the more fascial-driven you become the more of your weight is suspended through tensegrity. The more fascial tension you build, the more your elasticity you will develop. This means you build the spring that top athletes have.

Bodyweight Training

Is bodyweight training bad?

No, but it’s not the answer either. It won’t level up your fascia connections. It won’t begin the neurological metamorphosis we need to become glute dominant.

Even some exercises like pistol squats and more advanced calisthenics will increase quad dominance and fascial adhesions.

I spent so much time doing different workout programs and disciplines. Even extreme isometrics where you hold certain positions for 5 minutes. I had bigger arms and larger legs, but I wasn’t a better player on the field (far from it) or pain free and injury free. I find bodyweight exercises to be much more effective after you have a higher level of fascial ability.

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The downward spiral of injury rehab

What if I told you that the exercises prescribed to rehab your injury is actually making it worse in the long run?

This is the core failure point of treating the symptoms and not the root cause. When you get thrown into a series of rehab exercises after an ankle sprain, hamstring pull, or even an ACL tear, the initial symptoms feel better and pain goes away in the short term, but do you have the same elasticity and athleticism as before?

Many rehab exercises focus on isolating muscles or range of motions under the pretense you are strengthening. Many times, muscles are already strong enough but are understimulated or overworked (because other parts of the body aren’t doing their job). This is why it is vital to work backwards from the elite and have a plan with a tangible end goal as opposed to just getting stronger.

This is what happens with many top pros like Neymar, Hazard, and Bale. They get one seemingly minor injury caused by poor circadian lifestyle that causes lowered hormone output which reduces tendon performance. Then the trainers get their hands on him and put him on a new training program. From there, the cycle of wack-a-mole therapy begins and sometimes they never get out.

It is terrible when I see physio’s recommending stretching to heal a hamstring injury. This is actively making the hamstring injury worse. The muscle is extremely tense and only wants to be able to relax and heal. You force a stretch and gain short term relief merely because the pain signal is dampened in the brain, but you make the problem worse in the long run.

Your environment

Something that many will gloss by and even outright ignore is their environment.

Do you know nature designed your body to live and function optimally outside in fresh air and sunlight connected to the ground?

Do you know man-made artificial lighting and technology is the biggest cause behind most, if not all health problems?

(Start with my resource section if you have more interest in this topic)

Doesn't this look like a spaceship?Doesn’t this look like a spaceship?

Sunlight not fake light in a gym builds hormones like cortisol by building dopamine using aromatic amino acids that absorb UV light. It does this to cortisol too. That light is used to power up electrons and this electrons have to get assigned a spin in mitochondria. So light acts as the currency in the compound pharmacy in our pituitary every day to make things we need from light. If you understand factorial math, that means within our octave of the visible spectrum that retinal cells that control bio chemicals can handle 8,683,317,618,811,886,495,518,194,401,280,000,000 different frequencies. This is a staggering level of power and control. So when you open up any biochemistry book and realize that biochemistry only uses 100,000 substrate in reactions you realize light can control it. When you factor in that the photoelectric effect acts instantaneously, with no time delay, then you begin to see how 100,000 biochemical reactions can occur per second using light frequencies from the visible spectrum easily.

There is no substitute for training outdoors under Ultra Violet (UV) light and with your feet connected to the earth to complete the DC current and make triplet state oxygen vs singlet state=low NAD+=low oxygen=degeneration. And light only flows to tissue made out of triplet state. If you want optimal bad enough, you will make no excuses. Getting out in the sun with your feet connected to the earth will help you to see how important the right choices are in your journey.

– Dr. Jack Kruse

Don’t do yourself a disservice and step inside a glass box and train like a zoo animal. Go outside with the fresh air, sun, sound, and smell. There is no reason to not be giving your body the best environment to grow and prosper. There is so much to say here but I’ll save it for another article.

Natural Muscle vs Artificial Muscle

If you understand that the human body is really a giant network of fascial webbing and muscles only exist within pockets of connective tissue, then you’ll see why your body falls apart if you focus on the parts and not the whole.

Giant or overly contracted muscles without the structure in and around them will lack the connectiveness to operate in unison.

This is why we laugh when we see bodybuilders attempt to sprint or play sports. This same dynamic is occurring on a smaller scale when you weight lift as an athlete. Although you might get some aesthetic or metabolic benefits in the short term, the opportunity cost and long term damage still remains. All those short term gains go out the window when you’re out injured…

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Counterfeit muscle is what bodybuilding & western weightlifting creates.

Matt Furey

Comparing natural muscle development to counterfeit muscle, we see a totally different relaxed characteristic to the Natural. The muscles are relaxed because the potential for contraction is only as much as they can relax. For a bodybuilder where speed, agility, and coordination is not an issue this gets disregarded. Where the only concern is how you look then this constantly pumped state is desired.

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In Nature, form and function go hand-in-hand. When you see someone that looks athletic, you subconsciously assume they are athletic. This was a natural evolution for survival in our brains. If we saw another tribe of men or animals that looked strong and dangerous then we assumed they were and acted accordingly. This same dynamic remains today. The only trick is nowadays we’ve figured out how to cheat the outward form and simultaneously disregard the inward function.

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Don’t be tricked…

Before modern man figured out how to cheat Nature and create muscle that is only for looks, we could trust that someone’s appearance inferred truth about their ability. Now you must train your eyes to see through the lies of this+ facade. You must learn to decipher natural muscle size and counterfeit muscle size. Bigger is not better. Bigger is not stronger. Stronger is not better.

This process of manufacturing artificial muscle in the gym by way of isolationary, acute range of motion exercises creates this counterfeit muscle. Going after form and not function is an extension of treating the symptoms that infects our society.

Muscles have a role in the body and are absolutely needed, but the problems come when they are asked to perform the role of connective tissue. This is a result of isolating muscles and thinking of the body in parts. The body is one interconnected being. Strength comes from the integration of the whole, not the size or weight of the parts.

Graham Scar, Biotensegrity

This passage from The Endless Web, explains the inconsistencies you create in the body with muscle-based gym training. When you treat the parts and not the whole then the parts lose their connectiveness to the whole. The whole is what has to go out on the field and perform….

Immaturity in a joint is the absence of ease and full range of movement. This physical immaturity is not usually a whole-body condition. We can have a well-formed and fully functioning rib cage and sadly lacking hips and legs. This is a type that is often seen in women— fully formed, voluptuous hips and a child-like top.

These have become stereotypes, symbols of what is desirable in a woman or man. A man may have a small rib cage and through the wonders of muscle-building create massive bulk on top. He can mock up the look of male maturity that is currently favored. Yet his is not a truly mature structure; he cannot fully expand his rib cage and shoulders.

What he has created is simply heavy tissue padding over a contracted and narrowed structure. The padding can become very tough, even like bone. It is not possible for this to have the resilience and potential of a truly flexible structure.

The Endless Web pg. 115

The No Pain No Gain paradigm

Other frameworks associated:

  • “More is better”
  • “Just strengthen it”
  • “Hard work always pays off”
  • “Something is better than nothing”

Paradigm:
1. An example serving as a model; pattern.
2. A framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodology that are commonly accepted by members of a scientific community.
3. Such a cognitive framework shared by members of any discipline or group: the company’s business paradigm.

Source
James Milner, Liverpool FC

I’ve always been of a fan of James Milner but he unfortunately gets tagged with that hard worker idea. He works so hard yet every team he’s been apart of, the club eventually brings in players to replace him. He ends up becoming a role player off the bench. Of course he is a great player and an extremely hard worker, but clubs don’t make big purchases in your position if you were dominating.

This should serve as a warning to younger players that hard work isn’t everything. You have to train smart to become better. Better is better. More does not equal better. Doing more of something that didn’t work is not better than nothing. It’s worse than nothing.

This paradigm of putting in the hard work and hoping for the best is rather naïve and shortsighted. It does not matter how much you do something. It matters how well you do something. You need to be going somewhere not just walking for the sake of walking.

The Spectrum of Athleticism

I talk about this dynamic of the fascial-driven athlete vs the muscle driven athlete quite often as it is such an important concept. Fascial-driven can also be interpreted as someone who is glute-dominant, very elastic, and springy. Muscle-driven would be considered quad-dominant, segmented, and very clunky. I’ll add that just because someone is very muscular does not mean they are muscle-driven (i.e. American football players, rugby, etc). This could also apply to those who are very skinny but are in fact muscle-driven. This is fundamentally neurological and has to do with what recruitment patterns your brain chooses to utilize.

I first heard of this concept many years ago listening to Joel Smith and Cory Schlesinger. This was then compounded learning from Matt Cooper and then finally Chong Xie. The only problem was that even those aware of this dynamic merely acknowledged that some athletes were more fascial-driven and some were more muscle-driven. There was a fixed mindset that athletes were just what they were, and one wasn’t necessarily better than the other.

Prominent ATT
Retracted Toes

My quest for elite athleticism took me to Chong Xie where he showed how the fascial molded feet in all top athletes of all sports indicated the fascial dominance.

What this indicated was that rather than looking at this spectrum merely as a descriptive tool, it turned into a map to follow.

Everyone starts at their own unique spot upon the spectrum based off what’s passed down from their parents and their environment during childhood. We can however consciously move along the spectrum with the correct training that gets at the root cause of athleticism. Some will need more time than others, but we can always improve.

Why should you care about being glute-dominant?

The gluteus maximum is the largest muscle in the human body, and that its main role is propulsion: jumping, climbing, and sprinting. It is often referred to as the “antigravity” muscle.

Source

If you’ve never felt your glutes sore after running or playing football, then you likely are quad dominant to a degree. If you do however feel your quads and calves as the main burning muscles while exercising then this would highly indicate you are muscle-driven and quad-dominant.

Maximum utilization of your glute muscles is the epitome of athleticism. This doesn’t mean big glutes either. I’ve always had huge glutes but never had ever felt my glutes (my whole life!) burn on the pitch until my recent fascial work.

Aren’t big, strong quadricep muscles good?

Well it all depends. Are they playing their role inside the interconnected unit we call the human body or are they compensating for other dysfunctional systems? It’s all about things being connected and working well together.

As we know the glutes are 75-85% fascial inserts, this means that the glutes can’t activate unconsciously unless you have the fascial connections. You’re never going to be able to cue yourself into the right biomechanical position to force glute activation on the pitch like you can in the gym.

This is why see ACL and Achilles tears occur in people who have abnormally large quadriceps and dormant glutes. I was one of those casualties.

Another misunderstood notion is the idea of fascial adhesions. Many mainstream experts don’t even acknowledge their presence let alone their significance.

From my own personal experience in traversing this spectrum from muscle-driven to fascial-driven, fascial adhesions are very limiting for optimal function, injury prevention, and even posture.

If you think of your fascial system like a giant spider web wrapped around muscles, joints, bones, and organs, then a fascial adhesion could be considered like a knot in that web.

What causes fascial adhesions?

Overuse, poor posture, and dysfunctional feet (creating upstream muscle dominance) are major reasons why your body chooses to create these adhesions. Throw weightlifting, injuries, and surgery on top of that then you are asking for a jumbled jagged fascial web that can’t glide smoothly like it does in elite athletes.

Muscle Sequencing

Fascial adhesions and muscle dominance go a great way to maintaining constant muscle tension in a body that has very little fascial connection meaning the muscle has to attempt to fulfill the roll of fascia by stiffening up. This can cause an inability to relax on and off the field. This can cause injury as well as sexual dysfunction. This can cause poor joint mobility as again other parts of the body attempt to compensate for fascia not doing it’s job. The body truly is entangled.

This is also why you see the best athletes with such relaxed muscles because their fascial tension is so high. This allows their muscle to relax better allowing for a higher potential contraction.

image

One muscle can only contract as much as the opposing muscles can relax. Lifting heavy loads is ruining this dynamic by creating constant contraction under heavy loads.

The Endless Web pg. 104

Relaxation and contraction are proportional. You will only be able to contract as much as you can relax. Maximal weight lifting works against this.

Nick Curson

In the hip the usual concept is that the leg must be tightly held so that movement will be stable. In actuality, sequencing of muscle use is necessary for stability in the leg as well as the shoulder. As one muscle or group of muscles is called into action to induce movement of the leg, the opposing muscle or muscle group should relax and lengthen. Muscles are held in readiness (tonus) and can then contract and lengthen as needed.

The Endless Web pg. 104

Mainstream sources?

When talking about anything science-related, a question will ultimately arise: where is the research? Unfortunately, this is usually a way of stifling or ignoring new research because it doesn’t agree or align with the currently accepted models of thinking.

Not to say that there isn’t research but that if it doesn’t pop up on the first Google search with multiple cookie-cutter articles on big-name sites, many people immediately regard it as having no research.

A conundrum I’d like you think about would be if all new research that doesn’t agree with past research gets ignored or attacked, how can there be any improvement at all?

Revolution or Evolution?

Ground-breaking science always comes from the outside. Anything new must be different by definition. Anything evolved on shaky foundations will take you down a dastardly path. This is one of the fatal errors of today’s science: operating upon false assumptions without even knowing it.

Dr. Jack Kruse likes to say that “Half-truths lead to full lies”. This means that incomplete information gives you full misconceptions. This means that making decisions with inadequate information will lead to bad decisions.

Unfortunately there will many jobs and salaries built off those half-truths who will not like when you bring up the full lies.

Great minds are always met with violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Einstein

Its human nature to kill anyone that breaks their paradigm. You can always tell who the pioneers because they have arrows in their back.

Paul Chek

Thomas Kuhn argued that science does not evolve gradually towards truth.

Science has a paradigm which remains constant before going through a paradigm shift when current theories can’t explain some phenomenon, and someone proposes a new theory.

A scientific revolution occurs when: (i) the new paradigm better explains the observations, and offers a model that is closer to the objective, external reality; and (ii) the new paradigm is incommensurate with the old.

Thomas Kuhn – Source

I’ve pulled quite a fex excerpts from a great essay Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science by David H. Freeman which covers Dr. John Ioannidis who has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science. It’s critical to understand that things are not always they seem, ego and laziness affects all levels of science, and the science is never settled.

It didn’t turn out that way. In poring over medical journals, he was struck by how many findings of all types were refuted by later findings. Of course, medical-science “never minds” are hardly secret. And they sometimes make headlines, as when in recent years large studies or growing consensuses of researchers concluded that mammograms, colonoscopies, and PSA tests are far less useful cancer-detection tools than we had been told; or when widely prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil were revealed to be no more effective than a placebo for most cases of depression; or when we learned that staying out of the sun entirely can actually increase cancer risks; or when we were told that the advice to drink lots of water during intense exercise was potentially fatal; or when, last April, we were informed that taking fish oil, exercising, and doing puzzles doesn’t really help fend off Alzheimer’s disease, as long claimed.

Peer-reviewed studies have come to opposite conclusions on whether using cell phones can cause brain cancer, whether sleeping more than eight hours a night is healthful or dangerous, whether taking aspirin every day is more likely to save your life or cut it short, and whether routine angioplasty works better than pills to unclog heart arteries.

—————

For starters, he explains, the odds are that in any large database of many nutritional and health factors, there will be a few apparent connections that are in fact merely flukes, not real health effects—it’s a bit like combing through long, random strings of letters and claiming there’s an important message in any words that happen to turn up.

But even if a study managed to highlight a genuine health connection to some nutrient, you’re unlikely to benefit much from taking more of it, because we consume thousands of nutrients that act together as a sort of network, and changing intake of just one of them is bound to cause ripples throughout the network that are far too complex for these studies to detect, and that may be as likely to harm you as help you.

Even if changing that one factor does bring on the claimed improvement, there’s still a good chance that it won’t do you much good in the long run, because these studies rarely go on long enough to track the decades-long course of disease and ultimately death.

Instead, they track easily measurable health “markers” such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood-sugar levels, and meta-experts have shown that changes in these markers often don’t correlate as well with long-term health as we have been led to believe.

————

Scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.

————

Science is a noble endeavor, but it’s also a low-yield endeavor,” he says. “I’m not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life. We should be very comfortable with that fact.

To carry on from the notion above that we must learn to be okay with knowing that we don’t know, did you know that muscle fiber composition of elite athletes is something that has not really been studied?

Dr. Andy Galpin is a tenured Professor in the Center for Sport Performance at CSU Fullerton. In 2011, he earned his PhD in Human Bioenergetics and has done incredible work in regard to muscle fibers and how we understand them.

Dr. Galpin is one of the leading experts on muscle fibers, and he has talked before about how most people don’t realize that getting sample tissue off actual world class athletes is more or less impossible. It;s another realization that world of sports performance has much to learn and still much to grow.

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may be simply untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes. tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.

Dr. Richard Horton
Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England journal of Medicine.

Marcia Angell

The science today is incoherent. One thing doesn’t tie into another. It’s a little bit here and a little bit there. This is what they call the cult of the specialists. When a specialist says their work is evidence-based, the problem is that specialist is totally unaware of all the possibilities that lay outside anything he’s been taught. To talk about evidence-based science today is rubbish simply because the evidence can be right in front of their eyes, and they can’t see it because they’ve been trained not to see it. They’re trained not to see alternatives. If someone like me comes along offering an alternative which is way outside what they’ve considered before, the of course knee jerk reaction is to ignore it, forget, or be hostile”.

The problem with being an expert is it doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about. It means you know what you know what you know and anything outside that is a complete mystery to you so you have to take the words of an expert with direct caution.

Peer review is a form of anonymous censorship.

Wallace Thornhill

What does all this mean?

That means new information is stifled and attacked because it goes against the norm, regardless of it’s merit. Understand that scientific innovation always comes from the outside. It is has to be something that goes against the norm by definition.

Let your logic and critical thinking guide. Always do your own research and go off what makes most sense to you. Don’t trust a headline or what you see on TV as gospel. Most things in this world are meant to distract you.

Now let’s move on the final section.

How does the human body really work?

Now that we’ve dispelled many myths and false assumptions regarding the human body, let’s ask a serious question: Can you balance on one feet with the heel off the ground for 15 seconds?

Are you able to remain in the same position without bouncing around or touching down for balance? What sensation do you feel?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZoFiH4eCu8

A simple test like this can tell you a lot very quickly. Any top to medium level athlete should be able to do this quite easily and feel a good sensation in the glutes. On the other hand if you can’t do something as simple as this then we need to rethink all the weightlifting, speed training, plyometrics, and other symptom-based training players seem so focused on these days.

“What part of a watch tells time? The whole thing, you can’t take one part out and expect it to work”

– Paul Chek

We must realize that the human body is interconnected. Everything is there for a reason and has a part to play. I would argue that there are certain properties of the human body that we are incapable of or not ready to grasp. Fascia is the start of that. Mitochondria is another avenue.

Only a small sample of what we as humans have able to grasp so far. By looking to Nature and working backwards from her best designs (elite functioning athletes and animals) we can begin to unravel the secrets hiding in plain sight.

This is how Nature operates. Complexity hidden within simplicity. There are no lies in Nature, only humans misconceptions. Her patterns of design exist all across Nature everywhere you look.

Decentralized and self-sustainable is how Nature operates. It is how your body was meant to operate. Simply tapping into the root cause will fix everything above ground. There’s no need to go around playing wack-a-mole with your body.

The fascia network throughout the body is archetypal of Nature’s designs. It’s not a new template.

Dr. Jack Kruse

Nature is self-regulating. This means the thousands and possibly millions of processes occurring simultaneously in the body all seamlessly fall in line at the exact time required based on the circumstances. Do you really think your trainer can cue you into better movement? Do you really think you can consciously outsmart Nature and self-quantize? Do you really think you can “turn on” your glutes when you run and then think your way through change of direction?

Looking into Nature

Here below we have some true naturalized men molded by Nature. You don’t need a gym to be ripped. You don’t need trainers to teach you how to run or jump. That knowledge is inside you if you would work with Nature instead of against. You could let your body show you how to move more efficiently than any slow motion camera could do. You can tap into the briliiance of Nature merely by letting Nature mold you. Your body was meant to work a certain way so why not follow’s Nature blueprint?

Hunter-Gatherer – Son, Grandfather, Father

The Maasai are a local tribe native to northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya in Africa. Here below they are actually exhibiting the power of fascial tension and ankle stiffness to jump great heights with very little muscle to speak of. No gyms involved. No coach needed them to train their technique. Watch here to see a NBA trainer react to this video who says they have NBA level bounce.

https://youtu.be/whBd2kKRdCg

The human body as we’ve covered before is a interconnected system that uses the power of the whole as opposed to the just the sum of its parts. The biotensegrity model goes a great way to explaining how. This western model lines up with eastern thinking’s of the meridians which have been proven by western science to exist.

Human Biotensegrity
You can see the extreme levels of molding in the feet and lower leg. This function has been known about either indirectly or even directly for far longer than western science has been around.

“if one’s fascial body is optimally elastic and resilient, then it can be relied upon to perform effectively while offering a high degree of injury prevention”

(Schleip et al., 2012).

88% of soft tissue injuries occur on the fascia, not on muscle fibers.

(Dr. Robert Schleip, FRS)

“While every anatomy lists around 600 separate muscles, it is more accurate to say that there is one muscle poured into six hundred pockets of the fascial webbing. The ‘illusion’ of separate muscles is created by the anatomist’s scalpel, dividing tissues along the planes of fascia. This reductive process should not blind us to the reality of the unifying whole.”

– Dr. Thomas Myers

There is the proprioceptive, visual, and vestibular system

Strength and power is much more than just muscles

– Dr. Ryan Foley & Dr. Kyle Paxton
Leonardo DaVinci’s findings on fascia

Bones are hard connective tissue elements within the softer connective tissue elements of the body. Each bone floats with respect to the other. The skeleton as a whole floats within the fluid connective tissue bed. A joint is a more organized area of this structure, one where movement is expressed.

The Endless Web pg. 115

Form follows function. Fascia is responsible for the bodies proprioceptive network. This translates to coordination, technique, movement efficiency, and all most everything on the pitch.

Movement can be evaluated from the outside by a trained observer. It is evaluated from the inside by proprioception. This is the internal physical sensation of position in three-dimensional space.

Proprioception is the summation of our physical history into the moment of present activity.

Where there is a gap in proprioception, there is a habitual inhibition of movement. This is anchored in the flesh by loss of elasticity in the connective tissue, a reduction in its ability to stretch and then return to its original shape.

The Endless Web pg. 83

There is a toy called a Slinky, a highly tempered, very long spring coil of steel. One of the things that a Slinky will do is pull itself downstairs. If you start by pulling one end of the coil down one step, each circle in the coil will pull the next one after it. This is an example of movement reverberating through a structure. Although it is not made of steel, the elasticity and organization of the connective tissue reverberates like a Slinky in the body.

The Endless Web pg. 109-110
https://youtu.be/Ql_dfhMYM1Y
https://youtu.be/ZaaK36mX_Pk

This antelope is capable of running up to 90km/h and outrun cheetahs and lions with a musculature that appears harmless to say the least. This is because it primarily uses the elastic fascia and tendons to create power instead of big, strong muscles.

The difference between conventional training and training that focuses on fascial elasticity is whether power is produced by the muscle or the fascia. Producing explosion through the fascia (and tendons) is the most economic source of power since the muscle doesn’t change in length. That brings another perspective into whether the use of traditional weightlifting is best for optimal athleticism or even injury prevention.

In evolution, largeness is often the first step toward extinction. What is immense and bloated has no mobility, but must constantly feed itself. The unintelligent are often seduced into believing size connotes power, the bigger the better.

Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power pg. 428

We must very cautious when the bigger is better line of thinking is used to justify a choice of training modality. We want optimal performance and health. Does this mean being really skinny? No, it means prioritizing what gets the most out of your body and doing what needs to be done to accomplish our goals. Elite physique is of course a side effect of a truly optimized Natural so it is not an either-or question. You can have both when you work with Nature.

So Should You Weightlift and be in the Gym?

Well, people like to phrase the conversation this way, but in reality, there are dozens of different options. It’s a false paradigm that your only options are to lift or not. It is merely a lack of knowledge that creates poor decisions. You have the whole of Nature available to you if you wish.

Instead of trying to trick Nature and cheat athleticism in the gym, you can actually work on the intrinsic function that creates top athletes. This is done through the feet and through the biggest sensory organ in the body, your fascial network. Animals in Nature all exhibit these indicators and yet humans want to do differently. Humans want to be God. No cheetah or jaguar had to spend 16 weeks in the gym building a strong base with different phases for concentric and eccentric phases of movement. No animal in Nature is doing box jumps and plyometrics. There are no gazelles tearing an ACL or hurting their hamstring.

Don’t you want to know why and how?

Final considerations for the individual

N=1 will always prevail over the textbooks. Trust what you see and feel and then look to collaborate your personal findings with the available research. Let your experience guide as opposed to merely bending over for a headline or because someone says “studies show…”

Finally, learning to adapt to each new circumstance means seeing events through your own eyes, and often ignoring the advice that people constantly peddle your way. It means that ultimately you must throw out the laws that others preach, and the books they write to tell you what to do, and the sage advice of the elder. “The laws that govern circumstances are abolished by new circumstances,” Napoleon wrote, which means that it is up to you to gauge each new situation. Rely too much on other people’s ideas and you end up taking a form not of your own making. Too much respect for other people’s wisdom will make you depreciate your own. Be brutal with the past, especially your own, and have no respect for the philosophies that are foisted on you from outside.

Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power pg. 429

Thank you for making all this way! I hope you made it one piece. Please understand that this is a living document and will continue to me optimized, streamlined, and improved. There very likely was a mistake or two, which I’ll gladly rectify time withstanding.

Hope to see you in the Tribe one day soon!

Sources

There are no Experts: Primal Training in the Modern Age – Just Fly Sports Performance
We are a Pimple of A pimple. A tiny speck of dust on the unimaginable size of the universe. A blink of an eye in the timeline of the world. And we will all look like idiotic apes in 10,000 years.
www.just-fly-sports.com

A New Paradigm in Biomechanics: Fascia, Rotation, and Waves – Just Fly Sports Performance
Biomechanics is the application of physics to the human body. Yet it seems as though there are gaps between our understanding of physics, our understanding of human movement, and its application to sport, training, and coaching. There’s a lot of conversation revolving around topics like velocity based training, ideal force vectors, activation of, and forces imposed upon, individual muscles, horizontal vs.

www.just-fly-sports.com

Troy Polamalu Workout: Faster Not Bigger Makes Him Best | Pop Workouts
Troy Polamalu Workout The Troy Polamalu workout is a series of iso-kinetic movements meant to mirror the athletic movements that one is going to repeat on the field. Injured as a Junior in college at USC, Troy Polamalu looked to Marv Marinovich and his iso-kinetic training in San Juan Capistrano, California.
www.popworkouts.com

Ansu Fati: Four operations in six months
Ansu Fati has decided to put an end to the real hell he has been living since he injured the internal meniscus of his left knee on November 7 last year.

en.as.com

Jack Wilshere’s injury hell – Arsenal midfielder’s career setbacks
Jack Wilshere has been dealt another injury blow after scans revealed he has broken his leg. The midfielder limped off during Bournemouth’s defeat to Tottenham on Saturday. Wilshere, 25, underwent an initial X-ray which did not show a break, but further checks revealed he had cracked his left fibula.

www.mirror.co.uk

www.researchgate.net

Thomas Kuhn Paradigm Shift | Simply Psychology
By Dr. Saul McLeod, published 2020 Take-home Messages of Kuhn’s Idea Thomas Kuhn argued that science does not evolve gradually towards truth. Science has a paradigm which remains constant before going through a paradigm shift when current theories can’t explain some phenomenon, and someone proposes a new theory.
www.simplypsychology.org

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
M
uch of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors-to a striking extent-still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.
www.theatlantic.com

Quotes

How Do We ‘Prove’ A Well-Established Theory Like Gravity?
What is the definitive proof there is gravity? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Answer by Simon Bridge, Scientist, on Quora: What is the definitive proof there is gravity? There isn’t one.
www.forbes.com

www.instagram.com

Major Influences:

Dr. Michael Tal Rischer

Gavin MacMillan

Dr. Jack Kruse

Matt Cooper

Dr. Leland Stillman

Dr. Tommy John

Joel Smith

Paul Chek

Reverse-Engineering World Class Talent

Before going on, be warned: if you need a peer-reviewed study to substantiate every piece of information you read and hear, then I have to inform you that you are allowing others to think for you. There is no study proving gravity exists. You believe it exists because you feel and see it everyday. Utilize rational thought and learn from what’s in front of your eyes. Nature has been performing her randomized control trials for 4.6 billion years..

https://youtu.be/0urU4M9n078

What is the definitive proof there is gravity?

There isn’t one. That is not how science works.

Gravity is the name we give to the phenomenon that objects accelerate towards each other when they are otherwise left to their own devices.

The “proof” of gravity is the demonstration that the phenomenon happens.

Table of Contents

Let’s begin by becoming clear on our purpose. Without defining a clear objective, you’ll be lost wandering the desert. Is your goal to become a better footballer or improve your numbers on your squat? This is one of the first things you must ask yourself. You must get clear on your true objective.

Missing the Forest for the Trees

I’ve seen many footballers go full steam ahead down the path of strength and never come out. They look great aesthetically and are beloved by the strength coach, but does this result in on-field performance?

No, often times quite the opposite. Injuries and poor performance are quick to present themselves. These players usually end up going in circles of injury, pain, and ultimately poor performance.

This same theme can be applied to nutrition, cardio, and even ball mastery. We get so enthralled into a specific field that’s supposed to improve some aspect of performance, but then we lose sight of the over arching goal: to become a top footballer. Every single training, recovery, and lifestyle strategy is a means to an end. It’s not the goal itself.

Going against the Mainstream

While some react quite aggressively to going against the grain, it’s the actually the smartest thing you could do. Following trends never took anyone anywhere. You want to be the one seeing the trends before they become one. If you want to be a top 1% footballer, you can’t follow the 99%…

Playing it safe doesn’t offer rewards. Just like in football, you need to break lines and penetrate to score goals. While doing this takes courage, allow your nerves to settle knowing that 99% of people will not have the will or coherence to forge their own path. You’ve already won half the battle by merely opening your mind to the possibility there is another way. Read below for quite a fitting introduction for what is to come.

It’s rarely a comfortable road to cross when going against what is mainstream. My expressed opinion is always based on experience; I guess that’s a common denominator for most humans.

Why has weightlifting become so popularized? Is it due to a lack of thinking outside the box in terms of fixing biomechanics, or the urge of doing something that conceals the decreasing testosterone levels in men, or just because lifting heavy weights and looking muscular is now more important than being pain free and ‘functional’ in a society based on materialism?

The most frequent question I’m asked is: how do you ensure strength development in your patients without weight lifting?

As if weight lifting should be the only source of strength development. Strength development is a concept, not an index of exercises. Weight lifting is excellent – if you want to become good at lifting weights. But, when done for alternative purposes, such as to move better, become pain free or improve biomechanics in sports, it’s merely a waste of time.

The unique erected posture of humans has given us the advantage of running, walking for extraordinary distances, and hunting, which are all happening in the unilateral plane – as the majority of sports are likewise. Isolating muscle movements and locking up motions, such as solely exercising in the bilateral plane, is not going to improve this innate capability, but might instead impair it.

The fascia does not know how to cope with isolated movement that over-stresses individual areas. Then it becomes dry, sticky and loses its flexibility, which is impairing biomechanics, mobility and may cause injury and dysfunction.

When respecting the fascia, we primarily move in the three-dimensional plane, where stimuli is applied throughout several parts of the body to interact and counteract with one another.

Mads Tömörkényi

image

In the simplest terms, a muscle-based training paradigm that isolates both muscles, ranges of motions, and dimensions is not what happens on the pitch, let alone in life. The body does not work in parts. It is not simply one muscle does this and one muscle does that. The body is much more than just a collection of muscles and joints.

A major source of confusion in the practical application of kinesiology is that no muscle exists in isolation.

The Endless Web (pg. 91)

World Class Talent

First, have you ever actually spoken to an elite athlete in person? Have you seen their habits and personal training choices or do you only see what’s posted on commercials and social media?

image

Understand that they are not gym rats. They are not grinding away under a barbell. They are not constantly studying different forms of weight lifting trying to perfect their technique and squat form. They are basically the opposite of what a gym creates.

This is merely marketing campaigns to sell you workout equipment, nutrition guides, and training programs. Do not fall for it.

They are outside on the court developing their trade. The Game pushes their athletic creativity and potential by having fun, getting into flow states, and the endless possibilities of free unstructured play. Most other times, the naturally gifted athletes are relaxing, having fun with friends, and more or less doing nothing while the less talented hard working kids are grinding away in the gym or at the field. You know who ends up performing better on the field…

How all of that physically turns them into world class athletes is what my work reverse-engineers. Understanding the athletic power of fascia as well as the importance of mitochondrial function is center place here.

Nothing in the gym involves the ever-changing reactionary scenarios that exists outside on the court. I have no problem if you want to look better or feel stronger, but be honest about your goals and understand the long-term implications.

Prominent tendons and curled toes of all top athletes

My game is based on improvisation. Often, a forward does not have the time to think too much. You have a second, rarely more, to decide whether to dribble, shoot or pass to the right or left. It is instinct that gives the orders.

When I was young, my father used to tell me that it was better to practice playing the ball with bare feet, in order to have complete control over the ball. But in reality, he did not have the money to buy me football boots and clothes. He was heartbroken and wept tears of regret, so that I did not feel that he had failed to meet my needs. When I won the Ballon d’Or, I did not cry with joy… I cried because my father is no longer there.

Ronaldinho

Check out The World Class Footballer and The Natural to learn more about what elite athleticism really is.

Trouble in Paradise

Why are world class players at the peak of their athletic careers at the best clubs in the world falling to pieces?

You would think they’d be improving after taking the step up from their previous smaller less funded less sophisticated clubs who have far less resources for medical and gym staff…

Gareth Bale – Fragile and hurt more often than not
Eden Hazard – Injury after Injury
Kaka – career curtailed with constant injury after joining Real Madrid
Neymar – constantly hurt at PSG

And then we have young talented prodigies who are supposed to be indestructible, yet we see their careers derailed after one seemingly innocuous injury begins a cycle they never get out of.

Namely among them would be Jack Wilshere, who at one point was one of the world’s highest rated young players with an amazing performance against Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi of Barcelona.

A seemingly mundane ankle injury in 2009 set off a sequence of events that would result in multiple surgeries and leg breaks. He’s now a free agent after Bournemouth chose not to renew his contract.

Jack Wilshere – Arsenal

It seems now that Ansu Fati is now becoming the next young star to see his career derailed.

When a young prodigy like Ansu Fati is having a 4th knee surgery to remove his meniscus, you know the current level of health and performance management is in disarray.

Ansu Fati – Barcelona

After three failed arthroscopies in an attempt to save his original meniscus, the forward has decided to heed the opinions of some outside experts who advised the definitive removal of the meniscus as the only solution to his recovery problems…..After noting that the problems remained, the doctors, with the player’s consent, have decided to remove the internal meniscus, the cause of all the problems. Source

The internal meniscus is the symptom of all the problems, not the cause. The meniscus is not causing anything. The body and the knee specifically is in pain because it is trying to tell you to stop doing what you’re doing. Other parts of the body are dysfunctional in some way causing the knee joint to compensate. The human body is very clever and will do whatever it takes to survive. This usually comes at a cost if you disrespect how the human body wants to operate. Joints being asked to fulfill the role of absorbing force will eventually crumble.

That’s the real problem with mainstream medicine. They treat the symptoms not the root cause. They even tell themselves that the symptom is the bad guy and the cause of the pain.

Symptoms of athleticism People aren’t able to think. They see big muscles and think big muscles. They see a photo of Ronaldo in the gym and think “gym, gym, gym.”

image

It is our professional experience that knee problems originate in the knee only when there has been direct trauma to the knee.

The Endless Web pg. 99-100

The problem is never where the pain is. They are explaining here that the only time the origin of an injury is in the same place the pain is occurring is that of direct trauma as opposed to non-contact chronic pain. With that said, I will mention that by improving your level of fascial connection even contact injury can be prevented. This is possible by way of biotensegrity. Where your bodies ability to spread incoming force across the whole fascial network of the human body.

“Our studies show that the incidence of injury is high in adolescent elite athletes.” Study

This is not normal and should not be considered bad luck. The human body is powerful and resistant to most things when the laws of Nature are respected.

When Things don’t Add Up

If every sport is played on the ball of the foot, why does all lifting go through the heels?

image

We know heel striking is terrible from an athleticism and injury prevention point of view, so then why would we train this way in the gym? Seemingly we would be then reinforcing these poor movement strategies under load which has a greater neurological impact.

To add further fuel to the fire, antiquated ideas of proper limb angles are put forth as a pre-requisite to proper athleticism. Many strength & conditioning coaches will advise increased ankle mobility is needed so you can have the proper angles while squatting.

The unintended consequence there is that fascia tension through the ankle gets broken down. Western weightlifting tries to force their rigid model upon athletes playing dynamic sports where these movements and linear joint angles never occur.

There is a nuanced difference between forced dorsiflexion and dorsiflexion with fascial tension, but the two different results are huge. The former creates unathletic injury prone players while the latter creates elite athleticism.

You are setting off a completely different muscle firing pattern by having someone squat off the heel; and the heaviest load is going to happen at the joint angle that is most compromised The engine of the car in humans is a lot more horizontal, it’s push-pull; this is the engine that really drives the car, and if you really (axially) stack the body, chances are you are not going to see that turn into more fluid movement If I’m doing a little too much sagittal lifting, the movement is too much about the bar and the bar path, and the athlete has to mechanically adapt around that load. – Matt Cooper

The human body does not work in straight lines.

At the level of the joint there is no such thing as linear movement. There are muscles that pull on tendons that pull bones in arcs and circles. By understanding this, we can see linear motion as a finely choreographed sequence of arcs and rotation, that when pieced together create a straight line.

Kevin Foster

Many “experts” were quick to roast Lebron James for his squat technique

It’s quite common for major athletes to get roasted by strength coaches when photos like these get passed around. The irony is missed on them though. Trying to tell Lebron he’s doing it wrong when he’s been dominating his sport for over a decade is like telling the king lion he’s hunting wrong. Experts should ask what is wrong with their model of athleticism if it doesn’t fit the best of the best.

Usain Bolt – you can see here the insane levels of fascial molding. The anterior tibialis tendon extends almost up his entire shin!

Elite Athletes do not dorsiflex the same as a person who is not an elite athlete. You need to toss out the assumption that all people are built the same. Any work upon that assumption gets tossed out with it.

Elite athletes don’t need to squat to parallel to activate the glutes. They can’t and have no reason to. They have extreme levels of fascial tensioning built up in the foot & ankle making those joint angles impossible and less efficacious.

They have the neurological connection to the glutes and abs built up over many years that allows them incredible glute activation from very little knee bend.

Looking below you’ll see Kylian Mbappe. These photos are meant to help illustrate the stiffness created by fascial tension, establishing a stiff lever in the foot. The weight is always on the ball of the feet (even when the heel looks to be touching). See how the foot acts as a spring in the world class fascial-driven footballer. This is the only way force can be transmitted upstream through the fascial network.

The weight distribution is through the ball of the foot which acts as a stiff lever propelling the body forward.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=qciq5ubWKv0

The weight distribution is through the balls of the feet which is made even more obvious with the man on spring blades below. There are no heels to speak of. The heel was never designed to the point of contact nor a point of significant weight distribution. Try running barefoot and you’ll see how it feels. Very painful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsnAFu5MCOE
Double Amputee Races in London Olympics on spring blades

This man is competing against other fully bodied men. Albeit, he’s not in the front, but to have made it in the Olympics shows the mechanism of the spring in the feet. These prosthetic limbs are unable to fully replicate the ingenuity of nature’s designs fully materialized in world class athletes like Mbappe and Haaland, but make it abundantly clear that the human body is not a brick wall of merely muscle and bone.

Animals make it more obvious their weight is constantly on the ball of the foot. They achieve this through higher levels of fascial tension that elevates the heel. This diagram shows quite an unathletic human on the left, but shows the mechanism from which some animals have such incredible elasticity.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=6RARHrDuXFY

Now imagine if all your training was breaking down and destroying the function of this spring in the feet?

What if all the lifting was actually worsening your athleticism and degrading the quality of your fascial tension?

Barbell Back Squat

Consider how linear any mode of training is inside the gym. It’s impossible to train the multi-dimensional reactionary demands of football with repetitive strength training and isolationist muscle work.

I find in the world of strength training there is a big underlying assumption being made, and people don’t even know they are making it. All of this work to get strong and to make muscles capable of producing more force, but how do you know any of that transfers over to sport? What makes one possibly think that squatting more weight will somehow make you run faster, jump higher, dribble better, etc. Then how does one know if any of that transfers over to the actual game?

Does it matter how fast you can run if your reaction time is poor or you miss the ball with your foot? These are all questions that experts want to ignore resorting to claims that speed, reactions, and coordination are different things. Well, that’s your problem right there. There is no such thing as isolated functions in the human body. It is all entangled. It is all connected. Thinking that your strength, power, or speed work doesn’t affect everything else simultaneously is at best naïve and at worst ignorant.

When you go too far down that maximal strength pipeline, you often will create governors and limiters on your brain, where for survival’s sake, to protect your joints the brain will rewire the way you contract the muscle…

– Matt Cooper

Another conundrum: how is it possible that two people can do the same exercise with the same technique and feel different sensations and get different results? Because that is happening all over the planet every day.

We have millions of aspiring athletes in the gym and then the Natural rises to the elite level? The elite few who aren’t really in the gym during their development. They break into the first team at 18 or 19, get put on a strength program with the older men, and sooner or later we see injury every time.

The key here is to understand that, elite athletes are literally built different. The feet show how and are the common denominator you see time and time again.

“I’ve seen people be weight room strong, but not necessarily sports strong…My best athletes in the weight room were not my best athletes on the field”

– Matt Cooper

When you consider that up to 95% of the exercises that people are performing in the gym setting are sagittally based, with no differentiated function, it is no wonder that we are declining and de-evolving functionally with ageing.

Mark Mcgrath

We have to come to terms that the up and down linear thinking occurring in most strength training is not how actual movement occurs in the best movers out on the pitch. Humans don’t run like robots. We move in spirals. No lion or jaguar needed a sprint coach to teach them how to run. Strengthening muscles for the sake of strengthening muscles and then expecting them to work together on the field in unison is not going to happen.

Coordination

When you train in a segmented manner then you’re going to create a segmented body. When you isolate both muscles and range of motions, you create adaptation for that specific action. The quote below explains that your brain will develop coordination to fit what you train. If you’re training slow rigid repetitive movements then the body will adapt to meet those needs. This means you have no need to coordinate the multi-dimensional movement that occurs on the pitch.

The results suggest that prolonged training in a specific sport will cause the central nervous system (CNS) to program muscle coordination according to the demands of that sport.

Source

Maximal weight lifting retards coordination.

Nick Curson
image

Another often misunderstood point is that muscle is better suited to lifting heavy things. You can think of it like a turbo in a car. It’s made for short intense actions as evident by lactic acid build up.

Lifting heavy things slowly retrains the body to prioritize muscle not elasticity (fascia). The fascia is supposed to be the engine, not muscle.

Biotensegrity – Fascia’s mechanism for elasticity

Muscle Memory

Another often tossed around point is that muscles supposedly have capacity for memory. I’ve heard it more times than I count. I always assumed it was true, but then I learned that fascia is really the system that proprioception occurs. This is why top players never lose their ability because they have the body-wide system of well connected fascia.

Proprioceptors facilitate balance and conduct movement, and the reason fascia is important in proprioceptive ability is that you have 10 times as many proprioceptors in your fascia than muscle fiber.

Source

When I suggested to Coyle that repetition in practice also develops muscle memory, he claimed that physically there’s no such thing. “Muscles are actually really dumb,” he pointed out. “Muscles are like the wooden part of the puppet. The action is with the strings.” These “strings” are the connections in the brain, and the faster information travels through them, the better you perform. More of the right kind of practice means more myelin to transmit neurological signals even faster.

– Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code
image

Speed Development

I’m often asked “How do I get faster?”

We’re told you must get your muscles stronger so then you can move with more power. We’re told you need to produce more force so you get put on a heavy lifting routine. Something with low reps and high weight. This is what I thought, was told, and did for many years.

18 year-old Pedri for Spain

I even try different methods of plyometrics, depth jumps, and French contrast training. Only until I was met with incredible pain, suffering, and poor performance was I forced to reassess my methods.

Only when failure forced me to open my eyes to all the skinny 17-year-olds excelling against senior pros did I realize that maybe it wasn’t all about what you see going on in the gym. Just maybe, there was a reason why these thin kids were gliding past men who could lift twice their weight in the gym.

These observations made me question everything and at the same, it’s the trainer and physio who wants these talented young fascially driven players to strengthen in the gym…when they’re literally doing better on the pitch than the guys who’ve already put so much time in the gym.

True speed comes from the elasticity and tension built up within your fascial network. It’s about first unlocking the full power of your glutes which most people don’t even have access to (they don’t have the fascial connections).

The vast majority of glute fibers insert into fascia. Textbooks say 70-85% but it might be even higher.

Source
image

In simplest terms, the more you weigh the slower you move. The more muscle you build the heavier you’ll be. The real explanation though is the more fascial-driven you become the more of your weight is suspended through tensegrity. The more fascial tension you build, the more your elasticity you will develop. This means you build the spring that top athletes have.

Bodyweight Training

Is bodyweight training bad?

No, but it’s not the answer either. It won’t level up your fascia connections. It won’t begin the neurological metamorphosis we need to become glute dominant.

Even some exercises like pistol squats and more advanced calisthenics will increase quad dominance and fascial adhesions.

I spent so much time doing different workout programs and disciplines. Even extreme isometrics where you hold certain positions for 5 minutes. I had bigger arms and larger legs, but I wasn’t a better player on the field (far from it) or pain free and injury free. I find bodyweight exercises to be much more effective after you have a higher level of fascial ability.

image

The downward spiral of injury rehab

What if I told you that the exercises prescribed to rehab your injury is actually making it worse in the long run?

This is the core failure point of treating the symptoms and not the root cause. When you get thrown into a series of rehab exercises after an ankle sprain, hamstring pull, or even an ACL tear, the initial symptoms feel better and pain goes away in the short term, but do you have the same elasticity and athleticism as before?

Many rehab exercises focus on isolating muscles or range of motions under the pretense you are strengthening. Many times, muscles are already strong enough but are understimulated or overworked (because other parts of the body aren’t doing their job). This is why it is vital to work backwards from the elite and have a plan with a tangible end goal as opposed to just getting stronger.

This is what happens with many top pros like Neymar, Hazard, and Bale. They get one seemingly minor injury caused by poor circadian lifestyle that causes lowered hormone output which reduces tendon performance. Then the trainers get their hands on him and put him on a new training program. From there, the cycle of wack-a-mole therapy begins and sometimes they never get out.

It is terrible when I see physio’s recommending stretching to heal a hamstring injury. This is actively making the hamstring injury worse. The muscle is extremely tense and only wants to be able to relax and heal. You force a stretch and gain short term relief merely because the pain signal is dampened in the brain, but you make the problem worse in the long run.

Your environment

Something that many will gloss by and even outright ignore is their environment.

Do you know nature designed your body to live and function optimally outside in fresh air and sunlight connected to the ground?

Do you know man-made artificial lighting and technology is the biggest cause behind most, if not all health problems?

(Start with my resource section if you have more interest in this topic)

Doesn't this look like a spaceship?Doesn’t this look like a spaceship?

Sunlight not fake light in a gym builds hormones like cortisol by building dopamine using aromatic amino acids that absorb UV light. It does this to cortisol too. That light is used to power up electrons and this electrons have to get assigned a spin in mitochondria. So light acts as the currency in the compound pharmacy in our pituitary every day to make things we need from light. If you understand factorial math, that means within our octave of the visible spectrum that retinal cells that control bio chemicals can handle 8,683,317,618,811,886,495,518,194,401,280,000,000 different frequencies. This is a staggering level of power and control. So when you open up any biochemistry book and realize that biochemistry only uses 100,000 substrate in reactions you realize light can control it. When you factor in that the photoelectric effect acts instantaneously, with no time delay, then you begin to see how 100,000 biochemical reactions can occur per second using light frequencies from the visible spectrum easily.

There is no substitute for training outdoors under Ultra Violet (UV) light and with your feet connected to the earth to complete the DC current and make triplet state oxygen vs singlet state=low NAD+=low oxygen=degeneration. And light only flows to tissue made out of triplet state. If you want optimal bad enough, you will make no excuses. Getting out in the sun with your feet connected to the earth will help you to see how important the right choices are in your journey.

– Dr. Jack Kruse

Don’t do yourself a disservice and step inside a glass box and train like a zoo animal. Go outside with the fresh air, sun, sound, and smell. There is no reason to not be giving your body the best environment to grow and prosper. There is so much to say here but I’ll save it for another article.

Natural Muscle vs Artificial Muscle

If you understand that the human body is really a giant network of fascial webbing and muscles only exist within pockets of connective tissue, then you’ll see why your body falls apart if you focus on the parts and not the whole.

Giant or overly contracted muscles without the structure in and around them will lack the connectiveness to operate in unison.

This is why we laugh when we see bodybuilders attempt to sprint or play sports. This same dynamic is occurring on a smaller scale when you weight lift as an athlete. Although you might get some aesthetic or metabolic benefits in the short term, the opportunity cost and long term damage still remains. All those short term gains go out the window when you’re out injured…

image

Counterfeit muscle is what bodybuilding & western weightlifting creates.

Matt Furey

Comparing natural muscle development to counterfeit muscle, we see a totally different relaxed characteristic to the Natural. The muscles are relaxed because the potential for contraction is only as much as they can relax. For a bodybuilder where speed, agility, and coordination is not an issue this gets disregarded. Where the only concern is how you look then this constantly pumped state is desired.

image
image

In Nature, form and function go hand-in-hand. When you see someone that looks athletic, you subconsciously assume they are athletic. This was a natural evolution for survival in our brains. If we saw another tribe of men or animals that looked strong and dangerous then we assumed they were and acted accordingly. This same dynamic remains today. The only trick is nowadays we’ve figured out how to cheat the outward form and simultaneously disregard the inward function.

image

Don’t be tricked…

Before modern man figured out how to cheat Nature and create muscle that is only for looks, we could trust that someone’s appearance inferred truth about their ability. Now you must train your eyes to see through the lies of this+ facade. You must learn to decipher natural muscle size and counterfeit muscle size. Bigger is not better. Bigger is not stronger. Stronger is not better.

This process of manufacturing artificial muscle in the gym by way of isolationary, acute range of motion exercises creates this counterfeit muscle. Going after form and not function is an extension of treating the symptoms that infects our society.

Muscles have a role in the body and are absolutely needed, but the problems come when they are asked to perform the role of connective tissue. This is a result of isolating muscles and thinking of the body in parts. The body is one interconnected being. Strength comes from the integration of the whole, not the size or weight of the parts.

Graham Scar, Biotensegrity

This passage from The Endless Web, explains the inconsistencies you create in the body with muscle-based gym training. When you treat the parts and not the whole then the parts lose their connectiveness to the whole. The whole is what has to go out on the field and perform….

Immaturity in a joint is the absence of ease and full range of movement. This physical immaturity is not usually a whole-body condition. We can have a well-formed and fully functioning rib cage and sadly lacking hips and legs. This is a type that is often seen in women— fully formed, voluptuous hips and a child-like top.

These have become stereotypes, symbols of what is desirable in a woman or man. A man may have a small rib cage and through the wonders of muscle-building create massive bulk on top. He can mock up the look of male maturity that is currently favored. Yet his is not a truly mature structure; he cannot fully expand his rib cage and shoulders.

What he has created is simply heavy tissue padding over a contracted and narrowed structure. The padding can become very tough, even like bone. It is not possible for this to have the resilience and potential of a truly flexible structure.

The Endless Web pg. 115

The No Pain No Gain paradigm

Other frameworks associated:

  • “More is better”
  • “Just strengthen it”
  • “Hard work always pays off”
  • “Something is better than nothing”

Paradigm:
1. An example serving as a model; pattern.
2. A framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodology that are commonly accepted by members of a scientific community.
3. Such a cognitive framework shared by members of any discipline or group: the company’s business paradigm.

Source
James Milner, Liverpool FC

I’ve always been of a fan of James Milner but he unfortunately gets tagged with that hard worker idea. He works so hard yet every team he’s been apart of, the club eventually brings in players to replace him. He ends up becoming a role player off the bench. Of course he is a great player and an extremely hard worker, but clubs don’t make big purchases in your position if you were dominating.

This should serve as a warning to younger players that hard work isn’t everything. You have to train smart to become better. Better is better. More does not equal better. Doing more of something that didn’t work is not better than nothing. It’s worse than nothing.

This paradigm of putting in the hard work and hoping for the best is rather naïve and shortsighted. It does not matter how much you do something. It matters how well you do something. You need to be going somewhere not just walking for the sake of walking.

The Spectrum of Athleticism

I talk about this dynamic of the fascial-driven athlete vs the muscle driven athlete quite often as it is such an important concept. Fascial-driven can also be interpreted as someone who is glute-dominant, very elastic, and springy. Muscle-driven would be considered quad-dominant, segmented, and very clunky. I’ll add that just because someone is very muscular does not mean they are muscle-driven (i.e. American football players, rugby, etc). This could also apply to those who are very skinny but are in fact muscle-driven. This is fundamentally neurological and has to do with what recruitment patterns your brain chooses to utilize.

I first heard of this concept many years ago listening to Joel Smith and Cory Schlesinger. This was then compounded learning from Matt Cooper and then finally Chong Xie. The only problem was that even those aware of this dynamic merely acknowledged that some athletes were more fascial-driven and some were more muscle-driven. There was a fixed mindset that athletes were just what they were, and one wasn’t necessarily better than the other.

Prominent ATT
Retracted Toes

My quest for elite athleticism took me to Chong Xie where he showed how the fascial molded feet in all top athletes of all sports indicated the fascial dominance.

What this indicated was that rather than looking at this spectrum merely as a descriptive tool, it turned into a map to follow.

Everyone starts at their own unique spot upon the spectrum based off what’s passed down from their parents and their environment during childhood. We can however consciously move along the spectrum with the correct training that gets at the root cause of athleticism. Some will need more time than others, but we can always improve.

Why should you care about being glute-dominant?

The gluteus maximum is the largest muscle in the human body, and that its main role is propulsion: jumping, climbing, and sprinting. It is often referred to as the “antigravity” muscle.

Source

If you’ve never felt your glutes sore after running or playing football, then you likely are quad dominant to a degree. If you do however feel your quads and calves as the main burning muscles while exercising then this would highly indicate you are muscle-driven and quad-dominant.

Maximum utilization of your glute muscles is the epitome of athleticism. This doesn’t mean big glutes either. I’ve always had huge glutes but never had ever felt my glutes (my whole life!) burn on the pitch until my recent fascial work.

Aren’t big, strong quadricep muscles good?

Well it all depends. Are they playing their role inside the interconnected unit we call the human body or are they compensating for other dysfunctional systems? It’s all about things being connected and working well together.

As we know the glutes are 75-85% fascial inserts, this means that the glutes can’t activate unconsciously unless you have the fascial connections. You’re never going to be able to cue yourself into the right biomechanical position to force glute activation on the pitch like you can in the gym.

This is why see ACL and Achilles tears occur in people who have abnormally large quadriceps and dormant glutes. I was one of those casualties.

Another misunderstood notion is the idea of fascial adhesions. Many mainstream experts don’t even acknowledge their presence let alone their significance.

From my own personal experience in traversing this spectrum from muscle-driven to fascial-driven, fascial adhesions are very limiting for optimal function, injury prevention, and even posture.

If you think of your fascial system like a giant spider web wrapped around muscles, joints, bones, and organs, then a fascial adhesion could be considered like a knot in that web.

What causes fascial adhesions?

Overuse, poor posture, and dysfunctional feet (creating upstream muscle dominance) are major reasons why your body chooses to create these adhesions. Throw weightlifting, injuries, and surgery on top of that then you are asking for a jumbled jagged fascial web that can’t glide smoothly like it does in elite athletes.

Muscle Sequencing

Fascial adhesions and muscle dominance go a great way to maintaining constant muscle tension in a body that has very little fascial connection meaning the muscle has to attempt to fulfill the roll of fascia by stiffening up. This can cause an inability to relax on and off the field. This can cause injury as well as sexual dysfunction. This can cause poor joint mobility as again other parts of the body attempt to compensate for fascia not doing it’s job. The body truly is entangled.

This is also why you see the best athletes with such relaxed muscles because their fascial tension is so high. This allows their muscle to relax better allowing for a higher potential contraction.

image

One muscle can only contract as much as the opposing muscles can relax. Lifting heavy loads is ruining this dynamic by creating constant contraction under heavy loads.

The Endless Web pg. 104

Relaxation and contraction are proportional. You will only be able to contract as much as you can relax. Maximal weight lifting works against this.

Nick Curson

In the hip the usual concept is that the leg must be tightly held so that movement will be stable. In actuality, sequencing of muscle use is necessary for stability in the leg as well as the shoulder. As one muscle or group of muscles is called into action to induce movement of the leg, the opposing muscle or muscle group should relax and lengthen. Muscles are held in readiness (tonus) and can then contract and lengthen as needed.

The Endless Web pg. 104

Mainstream sources?

When talking about anything science-related, a question will ultimately arise: where is the research? Unfortunately, this is usually a way of stifling or ignoring new research because it doesn’t agree or align with the currently accepted models of thinking.

Not to say that there isn’t research but that if it doesn’t pop up on the first Google search with multiple cookie-cutter articles on big-name sites, many people immediately regard it as having no research.

A conundrum I’d like you think about would be if all new research that doesn’t agree with past research gets ignored or attacked, how can there be any improvement at all?

Revolution or Evolution?

Ground-breaking science always comes from the outside. Anything new must be different by definition. Anything evolved on shaky foundations will take you down a dastardly path. This is one of the fatal errors of today’s science: operating upon false assumptions without even knowing it.

Dr. Jack Kruse likes to say that “Half-truths lead to full lies”. This means that incomplete information gives you full misconceptions. This means that making decisions with inadequate information will lead to bad decisions.

Unfortunately there will many jobs and salaries built off those half-truths who will not like when you bring up the full lies.

Great minds are always met with violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Einstein

Its human nature to kill anyone that breaks their paradigm. You can always tell who the pioneers because they have arrows in their back.

Paul Chek

Thomas Kuhn argued that science does not evolve gradually towards truth.

Science has a paradigm which remains constant before going through a paradigm shift when current theories can’t explain some phenomenon, and someone proposes a new theory.

A scientific revolution occurs when: (i) the new paradigm better explains the observations, and offers a model that is closer to the objective, external reality; and (ii) the new paradigm is incommensurate with the old.

Thomas Kuhn – Source

I’ve pulled quite a fex excerpts from a great essay Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science by David H. Freeman which covers Dr. John Ioannidis who has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science. It’s critical to understand that things are not always they seem, ego and laziness affects all levels of science, and the science is never settled.

It didn’t turn out that way. In poring over medical journals, he was struck by how many findings of all types were refuted by later findings. Of course, medical-science “never minds” are hardly secret. And they sometimes make headlines, as when in recent years large studies or growing consensuses of researchers concluded that mammograms, colonoscopies, and PSA tests are far less useful cancer-detection tools than we had been told; or when widely prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil were revealed to be no more effective than a placebo for most cases of depression; or when we learned that staying out of the sun entirely can actually increase cancer risks; or when we were told that the advice to drink lots of water during intense exercise was potentially fatal; or when, last April, we were informed that taking fish oil, exercising, and doing puzzles doesn’t really help fend off Alzheimer’s disease, as long claimed.

Peer-reviewed studies have come to opposite conclusions on whether using cell phones can cause brain cancer, whether sleeping more than eight hours a night is healthful or dangerous, whether taking aspirin every day is more likely to save your life or cut it short, and whether routine angioplasty works better than pills to unclog heart arteries.

—————

For starters, he explains, the odds are that in any large database of many nutritional and health factors, there will be a few apparent connections that are in fact merely flukes, not real health effects—it’s a bit like combing through long, random strings of letters and claiming there’s an important message in any words that happen to turn up.

But even if a study managed to highlight a genuine health connection to some nutrient, you’re unlikely to benefit much from taking more of it, because we consume thousands of nutrients that act together as a sort of network, and changing intake of just one of them is bound to cause ripples throughout the network that are far too complex for these studies to detect, and that may be as likely to harm you as help you.

Even if changing that one factor does bring on the claimed improvement, there’s still a good chance that it won’t do you much good in the long run, because these studies rarely go on long enough to track the decades-long course of disease and ultimately death.

Instead, they track easily measurable health “markers” such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood-sugar levels, and meta-experts have shown that changes in these markers often don’t correlate as well with long-term health as we have been led to believe.

————

Scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.

————

Science is a noble endeavor, but it’s also a low-yield endeavor,” he says. “I’m not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life. We should be very comfortable with that fact.

To carry on from the notion above that we must learn to be okay with knowing that we don’t know, did you know that muscle fiber composition of elite athletes is something that has not really been studied?

Dr. Andy Galpin is a tenured Professor in the Center for Sport Performance at CSU Fullerton. In 2011, he earned his PhD in Human Bioenergetics and has done incredible work in regard to muscle fibers and how we understand them.

Dr. Galpin is one of the leading experts on muscle fibers, and he has talked before about how most people don’t realize that getting sample tissue off actual world class athletes is more or less impossible. It;s another realization that world of sports performance has much to learn and still much to grow.

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may be simply untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes. tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.

Dr. Richard Horton
Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England journal of Medicine.

Marcia Angell

The science today is incoherent. One thing doesn’t tie into another. It’s a little bit here and a little bit there. This is what they call the cult of the specialists. When a specialist says their work is evidence-based, the problem is that specialist is totally unaware of all the possibilities that lay outside anything he’s been taught. To talk about evidence-based science today is rubbish simply because the evidence can be right in front of their eyes, and they can’t see it because they’ve been trained not to see it. They’re trained not to see alternatives. If someone like me comes along offering an alternative which is way outside what they’ve considered before, the of course knee jerk reaction is to ignore it, forget, or be hostile”.

The problem with being an expert is it doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about. It means you know what you know what you know and anything outside that is a complete mystery to you so you have to take the words of an expert with direct caution.

Peer review is a form of anonymous censorship.

Wallace Thornhill

What does all this mean?

That means new information is stifled and attacked because it goes against the norm, regardless of it’s merit. Understand that scientific innovation always comes from the outside. It is has to be something that goes against the norm by definition.

Let your logic and critical thinking guide. Always do your own research and go off what makes most sense to you. Don’t trust a headline or what you see on TV as gospel. Most things in this world are meant to distract you.

Now let’s move on the final section.

How does the human body really work?

Now that we’ve dispelled many myths and false assumptions regarding the human body, let’s ask a serious question: Can you balance on one feet with the heel off the ground for 15 seconds?

Are you able to remain in the same position without bouncing around or touching down for balance? What sensation do you feel?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZoFiH4eCu8

A simple test like this can tell you a lot very quickly. Any top to medium level athlete should be able to do this quite easily and feel a good sensation in the glutes. On the other hand if you can’t do something as simple as this then we need to rethink all the weightlifting, speed training, plyometrics, and other symptom-based training players seem so focused on these days.

“What part of a watch tells time? The whole thing, you can’t take one part out and expect it to work”

– Paul Chek

We must realize that the human body is interconnected. Everything is there for a reason and has a part to play. I would argue that there are certain properties of the human body that we are incapable of or not ready to grasp. Fascia is the start of that. Mitochondria is another avenue.

Only a small sample of what we as humans have able to grasp so far. By looking to Nature and working backwards from her best designs (elite functioning athletes and animals) we can begin to unravel the secrets hiding in plain sight.

This is how Nature operates. Complexity hidden within simplicity. There are no lies in Nature, only humans misconceptions. Her patterns of design exist all across Nature everywhere you look.

Decentralized and self-sustainable is how Nature operates. It is how your body was meant to operate. Simply tapping into the root cause will fix everything above ground. There’s no need to go around playing wack-a-mole with your body.

The fascia network throughout the body is archetypal of Nature’s designs. It’s not a new template.

Dr. Jack Kruse

Nature is self-regulating. This means the thousands and possibly millions of processes occurring simultaneously in the body all seamlessly fall in line at the exact time required based on the circumstances. Do you really think your trainer can cue you into better movement? Do you really think you can consciously outsmart Nature and self-quantize? Do you really think you can “turn on” your glutes when you run and then think your way through change of direction?

Looking into Nature

Here below we have some true naturalized men molded by Nature. You don’t need a gym to be ripped. You don’t need trainers to teach you how to run or jump. That knowledge is inside you if you would work with Nature instead of against. You could let your body show you how to move more efficiently than any slow motion camera could do. You can tap into the briliiance of Nature merely by letting Nature mold you. Your body was meant to work a certain way so why not follow’s Nature blueprint?

Hunter-Gatherer – Son, Grandfather, Father

The Maasai are a local tribe native to northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya in Africa. Here below they are actually exhibiting the power of fascial tension and ankle stiffness to jump great heights with very little muscle to speak of. No gyms involved. No coach needed them to train their technique. Watch here to see a NBA trainer react to this video who says they have NBA level bounce.

https://youtu.be/whBd2kKRdCg

The human body as we’ve covered before is a interconnected system that uses the power of the whole as opposed to the just the sum of its parts. The biotensegrity model goes a great way to explaining how. This western model lines up with eastern thinking’s of the meridians which have been proven by western science to exist.

Human Biotensegrity
You can see the extreme levels of molding in the feet and lower leg. This function has been known about either indirectly or even directly for far longer than western science has been around.

“if one’s fascial body is optimally elastic and resilient, then it can be relied upon to perform effectively while offering a high degree of injury prevention”

(Schleip et al., 2012).

88% of soft tissue injuries occur on the fascia, not on muscle fibers.

(Dr. Robert Schleip, FRS)

“While every anatomy lists around 600 separate muscles, it is more accurate to say that there is one muscle poured into six hundred pockets of the fascial webbing. The ‘illusion’ of separate muscles is created by the anatomist’s scalpel, dividing tissues along the planes of fascia. This reductive process should not blind us to the reality of the unifying whole.”

– Dr. Thomas Myers

There is the proprioceptive, visual, and vestibular system

Strength and power is much more than just muscles

– Dr. Ryan Foley & Dr. Kyle Paxton
Leonardo DaVinci’s findings on fascia

Bones are hard connective tissue elements within the softer connective tissue elements of the body. Each bone floats with respect to the other. The skeleton as a whole floats within the fluid connective tissue bed. A joint is a more organized area of this structure, one where movement is expressed.

The Endless Web pg. 115

Form follows function. Fascia is responsible for the bodies proprioceptive network. This translates to coordination, technique, movement efficiency, and all most everything on the pitch.

Movement can be evaluated from the outside by a trained observer. It is evaluated from the inside by proprioception. This is the internal physical sensation of position in three-dimensional space.

Proprioception is the summation of our physical history into the moment of present activity.

Where there is a gap in proprioception, there is a habitual inhibition of movement. This is anchored in the flesh by loss of elasticity in the connective tissue, a reduction in its ability to stretch and then return to its original shape.

The Endless Web pg. 83

There is a toy called a Slinky, a highly tempered, very long spring coil of steel. One of the things that a Slinky will do is pull itself downstairs. If you start by pulling one end of the coil down one step, each circle in the coil will pull the next one after it. This is an example of movement reverberating through a structure. Although it is not made of steel, the elasticity and organization of the connective tissue reverberates like a Slinky in the body.

The Endless Web pg. 109-110
https://youtu.be/Ql_dfhMYM1Y
https://youtu.be/ZaaK36mX_Pk

This antelope is capable of running up to 90km/h and outrun cheetahs and lions with a musculature that appears harmless to say the least. This is because it primarily uses the elastic fascia and tendons to create power instead of big, strong muscles.

The difference between conventional training and training that focuses on fascial elasticity is whether power is produced by the muscle or the fascia. Producing explosion through the fascia (and tendons) is the most economic source of power since the muscle doesn’t change in length. That brings another perspective into whether the use of traditional weightlifting is best for optimal athleticism or even injury prevention.

In evolution, largeness is often the first step toward extinction. What is immense and bloated has no mobility, but must constantly feed itself. The unintelligent are often seduced into believing size connotes power, the bigger the better.

Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power pg. 428

We must very cautious when the bigger is better line of thinking is used to justify a choice of training modality. We want optimal performance and health. Does this mean being really skinny? No, it means prioritizing what gets the most out of your body and doing what needs to be done to accomplish our goals. Elite physique is of course a side effect of a truly optimized Natural so it is not an either-or question. You can have both when you work with Nature.

So Should You Weightlift and be in the Gym?

Well, people like to phrase the conversation this way, but in reality, there are dozens of different options. It’s a false paradigm that your only options are to lift or not. It is merely a lack of knowledge that creates poor decisions. You have the whole of Nature available to you if you wish.

Instead of trying to trick Nature and cheat athleticism in the gym, you can actually work on the intrinsic function that creates top athletes. This is done through the feet and through the biggest sensory organ in the body, your fascial network. Animals in Nature all exhibit these indicators and yet humans want to do differently. Humans want to be God. No cheetah or jaguar had to spend 16 weeks in the gym building a strong base with different phases for concentric and eccentric phases of movement. No animal in Nature is doing box jumps and plyometrics. There are no gazelles tearing an ACL or hurting their hamstring.

Don’t you want to know why and how?

Final considerations for the individual

N=1 will always prevail over the textbooks. Trust what you see and feel and then look to collaborate your personal findings with the available research. Let your experience guide as opposed to merely bending over for a headline or because someone says “studies show…”

Finally, learning to adapt to each new circumstance means seeing events through your own eyes, and often ignoring the advice that people constantly peddle your way. It means that ultimately you must throw out the laws that others preach, and the books they write to tell you what to do, and the sage advice of the elder. “The laws that govern circumstances are abolished by new circumstances,” Napoleon wrote, which means that it is up to you to gauge each new situation. Rely too much on other people’s ideas and you end up taking a form not of your own making. Too much respect for other people’s wisdom will make you depreciate your own. Be brutal with the past, especially your own, and have no respect for the philosophies that are foisted on you from outside.

Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power pg. 429

Thank you for making all this way! I hope you made it one piece. Please understand that this is a living document and will continue to me optimized, streamlined, and improved. There very likely was a mistake or two, which I’ll gladly rectify time withstanding.

Hope to see you in the Tribe one day soon!

Sources

There are no Experts: Primal Training in the Modern Age – Just Fly Sports Performance
We are a Pimple of A pimple. A tiny speck of dust on the unimaginable size of the universe. A blink of an eye in the timeline of the world. And we will all look like idiotic apes in 10,000 years.
www.just-fly-sports.com

A New Paradigm in Biomechanics: Fascia, Rotation, and Waves – Just Fly Sports Performance
Biomechanics is the application of physics to the human body. Yet it seems as though there are gaps between our understanding of physics, our understanding of human movement, and its application to sport, training, and coaching. There’s a lot of conversation revolving around topics like velocity based training, ideal force vectors, activation of, and forces imposed upon, individual muscles, horizontal vs.

www.just-fly-sports.com

Troy Polamalu Workout: Faster Not Bigger Makes Him Best | Pop Workouts
Troy Polamalu Workout The Troy Polamalu workout is a series of iso-kinetic movements meant to mirror the athletic movements that one is going to repeat on the field. Injured as a Junior in college at USC, Troy Polamalu looked to Marv Marinovich and his iso-kinetic training in San Juan Capistrano, California.
www.popworkouts.com

Ansu Fati: Four operations in six months
Ansu Fati has decided to put an end to the real hell he has been living since he injured the internal meniscus of his left knee on November 7 last year.

en.as.com

Jack Wilshere’s injury hell – Arsenal midfielder’s career setbacks
Jack Wilshere has been dealt another injury blow after scans revealed he has broken his leg. The midfielder limped off during Bournemouth’s defeat to Tottenham on Saturday. Wilshere, 25, underwent an initial X-ray which did not show a break, but further checks revealed he had cracked his left fibula.

www.mirror.co.uk

www.researchgate.net

Thomas Kuhn Paradigm Shift | Simply Psychology
By Dr. Saul McLeod, published 2020 Take-home Messages of Kuhn’s Idea Thomas Kuhn argued that science does not evolve gradually towards truth. Science has a paradigm which remains constant before going through a paradigm shift when current theories can’t explain some phenomenon, and someone proposes a new theory.
www.simplypsychology.org

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
M
uch of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors-to a striking extent-still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.
www.theatlantic.com

Quotes

How Do We ‘Prove’ A Well-Established Theory Like Gravity?
What is the definitive proof there is gravity? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Answer by Simon Bridge, Scientist, on Quora: What is the definitive proof there is gravity? There isn’t one.
www.forbes.com

www.instagram.com

Major Influences:

Dr. Michael Tal Rischer

Gavin MacMillan

Dr. Jack Kruse

Matt Cooper

Dr. Leland Stillman

Dr. Tommy John

Joel Smith

Paul Chek