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July 13, 2020

Perform better in life with Rocky Snyder

Most of us train our strengths and avoid our weaknesses. In Return to Center, Rocky Snyder shows us how we should be training for longevity instead.

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[00:02:34.380] – Allan
Rocky, welcome to 40+ Fitness. 

[00:02:38.300] – Rocky
Great to be on your show. I really appreciate the time. Thank you.

[00:02:41.550] – Allan
I actually lived in the San Jose area during my career as I was there for about a year before they promoted me and forced me to move to Massachusetts. So I took your route backwards. 

[00:02:55.470] – Rocky
Well, that's fantastic! Now San Jose, yeah we're right over the hill in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the coast here, Central Coast in Santa Cruz. But where did you move to in Massachusetts? 

[00:03:06.200] – Allan
Well, we our offices were in Marlborough. And so I rented a house in Groton and, you know, I would do that drive. But, you know, I I loved, loved, loved going down to Santa Cruz.  That Mountain Pass driving was a little scary, especially sometimes coming back when I was driving and depending on who was drinking? Beautiful, beautiful coastline. Beautiful, beautiful place. And like every time I went down there, I had a good time. So I think you're in a really, really sweet spot there.

[00:03:34.320] – Rocky
We are. You know, Chuck Yeager was the test pilot and fighter pilot who is the first to break the sound barrier. So he was going up in these machines not knowing if they were going to stay together or anything. And the story goes that when he was asked what was the scariest ride he ever took and he said the drive over Highway 17 from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz.

[00:03:55.120] – Allan
 I can believe it. 

[00:03:56.990] – Rocky
I don't know if it's true or not but I'm not going to doubt it. 

[00:04:00.220] – Allan
I can, I can attest to that. It's definitely the scariest ride I've ever done. And I did a 763 foot bungee jump, so, you know. But anyway, your book is called, Return to Center: Strength Training to Realign the Body, Recover from Pain, and Achieve Optimal Performance. And I think everyone here will kind of resonate with the word pain when you're over the age of 40. In many cases, that becomes a regular daily occurrence or a daily part of our lives, unfortunately. And then, you know, when we talk about performance, I was trying to say on here, it's not that we're asking you to run a 100-yard dash or pole vault or run a marathon or anything, but performance is just being the best you you can be. And in many cases, the things we've done in our lives structurally have made us unsound.

[00:04:52.710] – Allan
And your book is basically designed to help us somewhat self diagnose that a little bit and do some exercises that are going to return us to center. So its a really cool book and I was telling you earlier before we got on the call, I was reading the book and I was just thinking the other day I was in my gym, it was  empty because there's no one working out. But I was I was looking in the mirror and I looked at myself for a minute. I said, OK, but after reading your book, I was thinking, damn, he's right. I've got some work to do. 

[00:05:24.690] – Rocky
Well, I think that's the case for everyone in our culture and society. We have evolved so far with technology that it's taken away purposeful physical activity of the human form. And if you don't use it, you lose it. And combine that with maybe surgeries or accidents, illnesses, whatnot. It just draws the body into these places subconsciously that we're adapting into to be the most efficient we can be at any given moment with whatever we're dealing with.

[00:05:57.260] – Rocky
But there's no magic reset button when that experience is all over. Like, you sprain an ankle and you learn subconsciously how to limp around to avoid the pain. And before you know it, that gets normalized. And now the way in which you promote movement and support your body weight has shifted. But the exercise in the gym don't necessarily take that into consideration because most of them were built with the understanding that we're perfectly symmetrical when that actually isn't the case.

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[00:08:00.740] – Allan
So like I'll go into the gym and I'll say, okay, let's load up the deadlift bar and I'll get down and I'll, I'll do a good deadlift with good solid form and then, you know, unlike, crossfit athletes, I'll actually set the bar back down, you know, but I don't think of it in terms, and you kind of brought this up and it's something I don't think about is if I were actually trying to use that in any functional way, let's say like, you know, my wife wants to buy a refrigerator and I want to be able to help bring the refrigerator up a flight of stairs to get it into our apartment.

[00:08:34.700] – Allan
I'm not just lifting the refrigerator up and setting it back down. I'm now going to lift it up and actually start taking some steps with that load and if my structure, you know, it's easy for me to keep my structure intact when I'm just standing still, or at least I think it's easy. It's easier for sure but then I do that lift, but because I'm not necessarily properly aligned, because you know, I've had issues that have happened in the past.

[00:09:02.750] – Allan
I'm so much more prone to injury. And it's not through strength and as you said in the book, it's actually not even really, if you think about it, a true functional strength for me to be able to do a deadlift.

[00:09:13.850] – Rocky
No, in fact, you're doing a deadlift with a compromise structure, repeating the pattern of movement you've developed over the course of that time, which is going to favor the body to bring certain muscles into play, but not others. And then what happens over time is not only does a wear pattern occur probably in joints or tissue like ligaments or tendons, but an imbalance in the levels of forced production that the muscles are generating. So now it's not actually self-correcting in bringing you back into a more balanced align place, but further taking you out of alignment, compromising your structure to a greater degree.

[00:09:55.190] – Rocky
But the interesting thing is now you can generate more force and heavier loads, but your structure is more compromised. So it's just piling more and more weight onto a structure that is weakening over time. And you continue to do that and something has got to give. Whether it's the lower back or a knee or a hip or or headaches or migraines or irritable bowel syndrome, it can manifest in a whole bunch of different ways. It doesn't necessarily have to mean joint pain.

[00:10:22.400] – Rocky
You know, we have so many wonderful approaches in our culture these days that have mainstreamed in to our way of health and fitness, such as chiropractic medicine. It's 125 years old today. It's not today, but this year. And its primary focus is to bring the body back into alignment where joints are properly spaced, where muscles have a proper balance, where internal organs are in their proper position and the nervous system flows unimpeded.

[00:10:53.540] – Rocky
The same thing with acupuncture. If people will go to an acupuncturist, they have a different philosophy. But the fundamental approach or the philosophy is the same. But the approach is different. So they're trying to get the energy to flow unimpeded. And then even massage therapy or yoga. These are all approaches that are all about restoring the body back to a central place. Unfortunately, our culture has created a fitness movement that is based upon the aesthetics of bodybuilding, the explosiveness of Olympic style weightlifting, and the brute force of power lifting, all of which do not take into consideration trying to restore the body back into a more balanced form.

[00:11:40.310] – Rocky
So the whole thought behind the book was, well, can't we take these movements that we're familiar with and create a way in which we can use them as tools to guide us back to a more balanced place where joints have their best spacing, where nerves can actually conduct proper messages to the muscles to produce even greater amounts of force. So we have greater amounts of balance with less wear and tear on the body. And these movements can actually benefit us over the long run and create an enhanced longevity rather than diminish us. That's that's the whole goal within the book.

[00:12:17.470] – Allan
Yeah. Now you put something in the book, and when the first time I read it, I said, OK, I know I obviously misread that. I then I read it again. And then I read it again, like. He just said what I thought he said. And then I read it a third time and like, OK, I'm going to have to keep reading, but I'm also going to use this as a question and ask, you said something in the book that was, the joints move and then the muscles react. 

[00:12:49.780] – Rocky
That's right. Joints act, muscles react. It's one of the laws of motion. According to one of my mentors, Gary Ward, who is the author of What the Foot and an incredible education course for physical therapists, movement specialists, chiropractors and medical doctors even have taken this course, called Anatomy and Motion. And essentially, it's this joints move where joints act and muscles react. Imagine this, Allan. You're standing up and you want to sit down in your chair. Are the muscles pulling you into the chair? 

[00:13:23.870] – Allan
Well, no. In that instance, I'm definitely allowing gravity at the moment.

[00:13:29.190] – Rocky
Gravity, Yes. And therefore, the joints must move. And just moments before the muscles kick in, because the joints move into a falling position and then the muscles control the deceleration of your body into that chair. So the joints act followed by a muscular reaction. That's one way in which we move. The other way is that muscles must lengthen before they shorten. And that would be maybe getting out of the chair as you get out of the chair, you need to lean forward and load tissue, muscle tissue into a lengthened position in order for the nerves to understand that they need to actually now start shortening to lift you out of the chair.

[00:14:12.030] – Rocky
So joints act, muscles react. And then muscles lengthen before they contract and using those those governing laws of human motion, now we can start to look or filter through that how exercises are planned out or even just looking at the common exercises in a gym. Most of them don't really abide by that. Such as just a simple bicep curl that everyone loves or bench press. You know, we focus on the shortening of the muscle, but not necessarily lengthening and loading into the tissue all that much.

[00:14:47.610] – Rocky
It will lengthen, as you say, lower the bar down. But it lengthens back to just the neutral point before shortening back up again. So how we move through space is actually we we elongate the muscle tissue, followed by a very short concentric contraction to propel us forward. Most of the time, it's all about controlling the fall of landing on planet Earth with a very short kind of powerful contraction to leave planet Earth. Then in biomechanics, we call that pronation landing on the planet and supination driving off the planet. 

[00:15:21.350] – Rocky
Those are really our two options when we consider movement. And then it's just variations of pronation or supination. If you do it properly, then all the joints move the way they should. All the muscles react the way they should. Whether you're landing or leaving. But so many people don't do that properly. And so we take that that understanding of biomechanics and apply it to strength and conditioning so that we're not only getting a person stronger and building a more aesthetically pleasing frame, that's those are byproducts. It's really can we get the efficiency of movement re-established, balance better created a posture, restoration occurring. And and just overall, the organic function like organ function, actually restoring if we bring the body back in balance. It's more than just, you know, lifting weights and putting them down.

[00:16:11.040] – Allan
Yeah. And you were in one part of the book. You were talking about this hairdresser, hairstylist. And I think that that one was where it kind of all resonated with me because it was like there was there was one kink in the armor. You know, we'll talk about chains and other bodies, a chain, and if you mess up one little bit and we do, that is a part of corrective exercise. We'll talk about. 

[00:16:33.150] – Allan
We have to deal with this imbalance or this problem or that. But taking it to that level of the joint before the muscle, you had the situation with his hairdresser. And it was a big toe. 

[00:16:45.680] – Rocky
Yeah. You know, the hardest thing for me to unlearn doing what I do is to not go to the muscle or soft tissue first because we're trained as trainers to know what muscle does what. But we're not trained in terms so much of what the joints do. And when we talk about joints now, I'll tell you about the hairstyle, the story a second. But when we talk about joints, we've got three hundred and sixty joints in the body and those joints are surrounded by a whole bunch of muscles, not just one muscle or one big muscle, but dozens of muscles around most joints like the big ones, especially like the hip and pelvis, had fifty seven muscles that cross over the pelvis.

[00:17:25.950] – Rocky
Some go down the legs, some go up to the spine, a rib cage or a couple go to the arms. You know, we've got all these muscles that cross a joint and conventionally we've been blaming one particular muscle that being weak or using the word inhibited in trying to get that one muscle to turn on and all the world's problems will be solved because we get the glute medias to fire. But in truth, maybe it's just the way in which the joints are moving that are shutting that muscle off.

[00:17:53.390] – Rocky
Maybe if we got the joints to properly move through three dimensional space that we awaken and restore all the soft tissue so that it's not just the glute that's turning on that we need. What about turning off other tissue? So in the case of the hairstylists, this neighboring salon a person came over from and she could not lift her arm beyond shoulder height and without excruciating pain. And she had worked pretty well with the physical therapist to get her arm, at least up to that point over the course of weeks or months. 

[00:18:27.610] – Rocky
And she just came over and say, is there anything you can do to help me? I had to go home yesterday. I couldn't even cut. I'm in so much pain, I can barely lift my arm. I can't even hold scissors right now. So we just went through a history of what her life had been like. What has she experience? And maybe it was something really recent. Like she had fallen and landed on her shoulder.

[00:18:48.140] – Rocky
That could have been it. But it wasn't she didn't have anything wrong with her shoulder. She didn't hit it or hurt it in any way. It's something that developed over time. We found out she had a hysterectomy. She told me about you shared that information, which could very well the scar could have pulled her out of alignment  and put strain on her frame and made it harder for her to lift her shoulder. She had broken her big toe, and actually had surgery where she had pins in the base of her foot had to be implanted or inserted so that they could create, I guess, a better position for the foot. Whatever the orthopedic thought was the the way of doing it. That's what they did. And there was some other kind of things going on. What we found out, was well, I honestly, I just asked her to lift her big toes off the floor with her feet on the ground just to see what kind of movement those toes might have.

[00:19:41.840] – Rocky
And she couldn't lift her injured foot, the toes of that foot off the ground at all, which to me, knowing how joints have a relationship with one another was something I really wanted to explore. And so we started looking at that. She said, oh, you know what? I had this this fall and when a few years after I had that surgery on the foot and actually the pins dislodged through the surface of my soul and they had to remove them.

[00:20:10.750] – Rocky
I'm like,  Wow. Well, that's pretty significant information. What do you think the likelihood of her brain is thinking about putting weight on a foot where the last time that happened, like pins shot out the base of it? Chances are no one's going to want to put some weight on that area. So we started to get some weight onto her foot and get her to load weight properly over that injured site, which is no longer painful because the injury was so long ago.

[00:20:40.040] – Rocky
But the brain doesn't know that it's still on this feedback loop of doing the same pattern over and over to try and survive that injury and surgery and so on. So once we got weight over that foot, I asked her just to check in with her range of motion on that shoulder and she was able to raise it up over shoulder height, not quite overhead, but without any pain. And she was just kind of like, wow, that's OK, I didn't do anything for your shoulder. 

[00:21:07.460] – Rocky
We didn't do any stretches or rubber band exercises. All we did was put weight on the front of your foot. And now your shoulder moves better. Well, isn't that something worth exploring? So we did a little bit more loading onto that that foot loading into the leg, getting the joints to behave in a way that they should. The knee should go this way. The hips should go that way. The pelvis should tilt this way.

[00:21:29.420] – Rocky
The rib cage should tilt this way and so on, and just get her to feel these movements. And then she checked in with her shoulder again and her arm shot clear up to the ceiling. No pain. She was able to reach back behind her as if she was like sitting in a chair and reaching back for her purse. No pain. She was just dumbstruck. And really, it just shows you that symptom based approach. When somebody, if somebody goes into a doctor or some type of professional and says, I have shoulder pain. The first thing they're gonna do is look at the shoulder. 

[00:21:59.540] – Rocky
If there's inflammation, they're going to tell them, take anti inflammatories and rest it. When the inflammation is just saying, I'm using this maybe too much or I'm using it in a way that it's not meant to use. Maybe there's some other areas that aren't doing their fair share in life. Maybe we should hunt down those. They don't do that. They just look at the symptom. They may give them some type of shoulder action and then send them on their way.

[00:22:23.900] – Rocky
And the problem wasn't there at all. It was just the problem was really the foot and how she managed the mass of her body standing at work and walking through space. And that opposite shoulder was taking its toll because of it. 

[00:22:39.560] – Allan
Yeah. Now, we touched on this before. And I think it's. I think it's. First, a circle back around and actually go through them, but you said your mentor came up with this anatomy of emotion. In the book, you shared five rules. Could you go through those five rules, which we touched on one of them? Could you go through the rest of them?

[00:22:57.200] – Rocky
Certainly. So joints act, muscles react, which is a very hard one for a lot of people to get their head around. Once you do, it opens up a greater understanding of human movement. In essence, muscles lengthen before they shorten. So we have to like a rubber band, we have to cool back before we let it go flying. That's just how muscles will work. We lengthen and load before we explode. Then we're also hardwired for perfection.

[00:23:24.200] – Rocky
So if we think about the brain's primary purpose, it's first primary goal is to survive. And in order for that brain to survive, it must have oxygen. Fuel. Blood flow. And that means that anything that takes away from its primary purpose is going to be not as efficient as it needs to be. So the brain is constantly adjusting on a subconscious autonomic level, the way in which the body is moving and existing in the most efficient way it can.

[00:23:59.120] – Rocky
And that means that say you sprain your ankle. Now, what way are you going to move? Well, the brain is going to say, well, we've got to shift the weight a little bit over more onto this leg. We'll let the person push off their toes. But we're not going to come striking down on the heel because that's going to be painful. So we need to adjust it. No, it's not the most efficient way, but it's the next most efficient way that we can do it.

[00:24:22.460] – Rocky
You don't sprain your ankle and suddenly the brain says, you know what? Let's start by doing handsprings or walking on your hands. That would not make sense. So we are hard wired for perfection. On the flip side of that, if we give the body or the brain an efficient, a more efficient way of moving than what it currently is doing, then the brain is going to say, oh, that's actually a better way. It's reducing the need to expend excess energy.

[00:24:49.910] – Rocky
So that means better survival for me. Let's reinforce that movement pattern more. So if we can put somebody into a place where they are moving more efficiently, the brain is going to reinforce that, especially if that movement is reinforced physically over time, the brain will just continually try and strive for that. And so there's three we orbit around a center, meaning that as you stand still, you're not really standing still. Your breath is bringing the rib cage in and out.

[00:25:23.360] – Rocky
The food that you digested is moving through your body. Blood is coursing throughout your body and your mass is constantly shifting over your feet to try and keep you from falling down. So we're always orbiting around this ideal center. And the further we travel from center, the more compromised our structure and the weaker we typically are. So when the chiropractor adjusts your spine or hips or whatever, and pulls you back into better alignment, you're actually in a much more balanced place.

[00:25:55.790] – Rocky
And you have a center that is closer to the ideal from which you can orbit. And so that's that's a big part of what we look for, as is where is a person's mass and where is their center? Can we restore it into a more efficient manner and halfway between both feet, halfway between forward and back, where ideally, no matter where you go, you're starting from a central place. And then the other one is your your movements are dictated by your perceived center.

[00:26:28.530] – Rocky
So not the the true ideal. But wherever you find yourself shifting your body, that normalizes. And the further away you get from center, the less you are going to move optimally. You will, there are plenty of athletes out there that are not properly aligned and they are some of the best ones to get around their imbalances and their restrictions and still be world class athletes. But just imagine if we were to take that world class athlete and actually bring them back into a much more centrated place. What might their potential be from there? 

[00:27:05.600] – Rocky
So those are the five rules of movement. And so we're for a motion that I will not only abide by, but I use as a governing kind of compass to help direct the programs we design in our studio to be the most effective they can be for all people that come in here. And I've had NFL players, NHL, NBA,  Santa Cruz isn't the hub for those sports, but they wander through here and they'll train with me.

[00:27:37.230] – Rocky
I've got some World-Class surfers, of course, being in Santa Cruz, but then we've also got grandparents and little kids. Everybody can really abide by the philosophy of restoring a person back to a central place for optimal movement and performance compared to the conventional way that it's been going on for four decades now.

[00:28:00.950] – Allan
And the conventional way, which is the way we were brought up, you know, muscle fitness and the whole bit. And we always thought about movement. And, you know, you talked about the pillars of human movement when you got into this strength part of the book, and I thought it was fascinating because I got into there and it was you know, we talked about level changing the push and the pool, which I think any fundamental exercise program is really going to focus on those three things.

[00:28:28.380] – Allan
They just always have and always will. It's the rotation and the locomotion, which are the other two that seem to get ignored in the strength formula. Can you talk a little bit about the pillars of human movement and how we can utilize those to optimize the work that we are doing? Because we're going to do some strength training. We need to know how we can optimize it using those fillers.

[00:28:52.080] – Rocky
Well, the interesting thing about the first three level change, which is examples, the four major examples would be a squat, a deadlift, a lunge and a step up. Two of those, more often than not, are are performed bilaterally, meaning that both legs are doing the exact hopefully the exact same thing. At the same time, when you're doing a squat, both legs should be flexing at the hips and knees and ankles on the lowering down and then reverse directions as you come up.

[00:29:21.180] – Rocky
And the deadlift we're hinging at the hips and we're tilting in the pelvis and so on. But if. The same thing is kind of holding true when we think about push and pull more often, when somebody thinks about pushing exercise, they're going to think of push ups and bench press. When they think of pulling, they're going to think of some type of inverted pull up or a pull up itself or a seated row. All of these are bilateral movements.

[00:29:46.930] – Rocky
And so the interesting thing I find, Allan, is that the majority of programs that that I see sometimes from other trainers, from professional sports teams even, is that they are so heavily biased toward these bilateral movements that all they're concerned with is this forward and backward action. In fact, most every exercise I've just listed, the squat, the deadlift, the bench press, push ups, pull ups, they can all be performed inside a doorway. So there's no real lateral movement and there's no rotational movement.

[00:30:19.990] – Rocky
And yet we're trying to train maybe athletes with these programs, say, a basketball player or a tennis player where a lot of their movement is three dimensional. They are shifting side to side covering the court. They're having to spin or turn to return a ball or to pass it or to pivot around a defender. And yet they're doing the majority of their strength and conditioning is all forward and back. So what happens is if it hampers or or dampens their ability to move in three dimensions.

[00:30:50.650] – Rocky
So when it comes to rotation, there's many ways that we can create rotation. In fact, if you looked at an anatomy chart, you'll find that most muscles attach not in a complete vertical or horizontal manner, but they're diagonal that the striations are attaching in one area in either going up or down in a slanting action before attaching somewhere else to the body. So when those muscles shorten, they actually cause rotation. And when we run, we've got to have one leg swing forward while the other pushes off from behind or the opposite arm is swinging forward while the other one is driving back, creating rotation through the rib cage and the pelvis.

[00:31:28.930] – Rocky
And there's even rotation occurring down into our ankles and our knees, our neck, our elbows. And yet, if we're not incorporating some kind of maybe a reeducation or a renaissance of movement with rotation, then chances are they're not going to be doing it properly and only areas that are really willing to rotate are going to take on the role of that. And unfortunately, one of the most common places that's not really designed for rotation, but take on the rotation when the hips or mid back or locked up is the lower back.

[00:32:03.260] – Rocky
And 80% of the people that we come into contact with sometime in our life are going to have a lower back issue, some greater than others. But the the amount of sitting that we do as a nation and the amount of standing in place without purposefully moving through space are going to lock down the hips and lock down the middle back. And the place in between that. That link in between is going to wreak havoc on our whole existence because the back is only meant to maybe rotate five or six degrees left and right, not as much as, say, it is asked to on a regular basis.

[00:32:36.520] – Rocky
And then when it comes to locomotion. Well, I mean, we've been we've been on our feet for two million years being hominids, you know, on contralateral bipeds, meaning that one arm swings opposite with a leg. And we do that. Hopefully the average American does five thousand steps a day. But ideally, we want to do 10000 steps a day like the average Europeans, I guess. So we wear those little Fitbit to let us know that we're not moving enough.

[00:33:03.310] – Rocky
Right. So even if you did the math, if we were to ideally do 10000 steps a day, that's three million six hundred fifty thousand repetitions over the course of a year. And if you're not doing it well, if you're not actually landing properly, then you're going to do that for almost four million repetitions, almost two million times on each leg improperly.

[00:33:26.320] – Rocky
So if you land not so well on your foot, that's going to have an effect on how the knee has to behave in the hip and the spine. So much so that then people want to go and run. So now you've taken improper gait mechanics, people that are compromised in the way of moving, whether great or small, and now you're going to apply more force and activity to it. It's no wonder that we're going to see a lot of Covid related running injuries already, if not over the next few months, because that's one of the things people can do while they're sheltered in place, is just go outside and go for a jog.

[00:34:02.560] – Rocky
Well, if you've been sedentary for a prolonged period of time, there's no magic reset button you can hit when you walk out the door. It's just going to restore it. So it's probably a good idea to get a sense of where your missing movement, what's moving too much. Can I create a program that helps to address those issues and balance things out? 

[00:34:24.180] – Allan
And you've got some great guidelines and exercises in the book. So someone can actually physically look at themselves in the mirror or have someone else look at them and kind of give them somewhat of a diagnosis of saying, OK, there's an issue here that we want to we want to drill down a little bit more into.

[00:34:40.430] – Rocky
Yeah. Exactly. There's three assessment tools that we put in the book. One is simply an easy way, a quick kind of resources. Where is the weight in your feet? Because by knowing that we can have somewhat of an educated guess what might be going on with the rest of your structure. Just where your mass is migrating toward. If you have more weight on one heel and the opposite forefoot, that's telling us you've got some torsion or rotation in your frame somewhere.

[00:35:08.970] – Rocky
And we can kind of just map it out where it might be and get a sense of. OK, well, these these movements these drills may be good for you to start to explore and see if you benefit from them. Then you can do, like you say, a posture assessment standing in the mirror where my shoulders  relative to my head or where is my pelvis? Is one slightly higher on one side than the other. Do I tilt forward into my hips or do they tuck under.

[00:35:34.650] – Rocky
And so on. And then the third way of assessing is the breakdown of gait mechanics to a very basic degree, like can my hips and pelvis tilt forward and backwards? Can they sway evenly side to side? Can they tilt evenly unrestricted side to side? And can they rotate left or right? And you can do the same thing with the rib cage and the shoulders. And once you understand what's missing in these are where you struggle. It tells you, well these are the movements that you should have at your disposal every time you take a step across the room. 

[00:36:08.200] – Rocky
And if you struggle with these basic movements, then, you know, you're compromising  your whole way of moving and compensating and asking areas to do more than they should. So you can take the gait mechanics and this movement kind of assessment. You can do a static posture assessment or you can do foot pressure. Any of those will lead you down the same trail to get to where maybe you might want to explore in terms of movement, flexibility and what now?

[00:36:34.260] – Allan
A lot of times when we're not moving well and we do that for a number of times, we could be three million, it could be one hundred million, because we've been doing it for decades. We're going to invariably end up with a side effect. And that side effect we typically call pain because we want to groove. And that's not the kind of groove we want to have. So we have to deal with pain. And in the book, you share some guidelines for pain. Could you share those with us? I think this is I think this is really important for us to know, because really, I think this brings forward something that most of us are looking for help with pain. And I think many cases when a recognized movement can actually be part of the solution. 

[00:37:13.140] – Rocky
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. First, I mean, pain pain is a wonderful thing. It may not feel great in the moment, but pain as it is, is  the subconscious brain's way of trying to communicate with a conscious mind and letting you know that whatever you're doing in this moment is not necessarily what we need to do.

[00:37:37.200] – Rocky
It's stressing us and it's creating a threat within those, you know, ultimately the survival of the brain. So the brain is going to send a threat signal to the conscious minds to let it know whatever is going on right now. Can we change that a little bit? It doesn't mean that we have to stop necessarily moving and rest and ice compression elevation. That may be the case for some things, but it could be that your brain is saying, you know, when you do this, let's take the squat for an example. When you do the squat and your knee is creating some pain. It doesn't mean that there's something going on in the knee. It could just mean that the mechanics that you're creating here are not the most ideal and it's putting strain in a place that isn't ready to handle so much. 

[00:38:25.830] – Rocky
So pain can come on many levels. A low level of pain might be simply itching.  And a high level of pain is obviously something so excruciating that your frozen can't move or you've got to find a place where you can get out of it.

[00:38:41.580] – Rocky
So there are some guidelines. Like one thing is don't try and move into pain. And this is the whole, can we smash the no pain, no gain mentality that we've been brought up with generation after generation? In essence, I want to quote Gary Gray with the Gray Institute. He's out in Michigan, a phenomenal physical therapist who has done remarkable work for the entire fitness industry and physical therapy world as far as I'm concerned. He once said, I want the body to sing, not scream.

[00:39:13.230] – Rocky
And I've used that as a guiding light to to know what movements I really want my clients and for that matter myself to try and explore. The body shouldn't be burning, burning, burning. Like, I'm really just trying to get the burn going, because that's not really truly what I need. I want to feel that the body is after a workout that I am almost floating, that I am springing almost weightless, that I'm feeling taller in my body, that I have better alignment, that my movements are not something that I have to premeditate in regards to how am I going to climb these stairs or how am I going to bend over? 

[00:39:56.350] – Rocky
You shouldn't have to think how to move. The body should naturally wanted to. But so many people are hesitant to move because the pain response has been something that has been reinforced over time. So don't move into pain. Recognize pain for what it is in that it's your brain's way of telling you we might need to look at this, maybe modify the movement.

[00:40:21.220] – Rocky
Maybe you're going too far and you need to just shorten it a little bit to a point where you can accommodate the movement and then start to explore the ranges a little bit more. Those those are basically the guidelines that that I encourage people here. And I'm constantly saying, how does that feel after every movement? Go ahead and walk around, use even simple walking as your assessment. Does that feel better? Where do you feel this? There's a whole bunch of ways we can assess after every movement.

[00:40:50.030] – Rocky
But simply put, walking is a great way, especially for me doing gait analysis. I can see an immediate effect following an exercise on anybody that does it more often than not and go, OK that's that's what they need right now. That is actually drawing them back into a more comfortable swing with their arms, their bodies more lined, whatever the case may be.

[00:41:10.930] – Allan
And I think I appreciate you saying that. No pain, no gain, because I just think that mantra is going to take us a long, long time to kill that one. But, you know, one of the key things that I came out of this with as we were talking, you know, the whole strength part was fascinating, was that we don't often think about the value of efficiency. We think about the brute force of big, strong and moving big things, particularly guys, you know, the egos of how much can you bench mindset. 

[00:41:39.100] – Allan
But if you can move more efficiently. Then you're moving more weight without that additional muscle mass or effort. And I think that's a key thing that a lot of people miss, is that,  you'll see them.  We used to call them Grandpa strong or farm boy strong where they're wiry and thin. But somehow they're a lot stronger than you would ever give them credit for. And it's just because they have good movement patterns.

[00:42:07.380] – Allan
They work outdoors, they they do their things and they've just developed good movement. And they're efficient. They're very efficient with the way they're using strength.

[00:42:15.870] – Rocky
And the brain itself, the brain is the governing wire here in terms of the ability to shrink levels or force production. However, you'd like to consider it, if your body is in a compromised position, the brain is going to lower the level of forced production as a protective mechanism so that you don't get injured more often than not. So if you bring yourself back into a more structurally integrated place, that is balance where the joints can communicate and they have this beautiful, connected, integrative relationship with each other, then the brain is going to say, hey, we're good.

[00:42:52.830] – Rocky
Let's let's go for it. Let's let's exert more force. So that brings into question what strength really, what is strength? Is strength just your ability to produce force? If so, I can actually get somebody stronger in just a matter of seconds. Like, for instance, just have them do some particular exercise where they're challenging their strength level and then give them a movement that draws them back into better alignment, whether it be a mobility drill or actually strength exercise or maybe it's honestly just using the foam roll and hitting some target spots that have been drawing them out of alignment and then have them try that same movement again and reassess their strength levels.

[00:43:36.210] – Rocky
And I can easily make it so that their strength levels elevate then compared to the initial time or, you know, opposite in the spectrum, I give them the wrong thing and their strength levels decrease because it's pulled them further out of alignment. We're constantly in flux. And the other thing I'll say is that everyone is has a tendency to do the movements they are good at and not necessarily the movements that they need to improve upon. We focus on our strengths and neglect the areas where our bodies struggle to move into and out of.

[00:44:12.840] – Rocky
So everyone that goes to the gym has a certain program that they follow. And if they change the program around, they're still going to be a couple of exercises they'd like to do. And that's good to some degree, we have certain movement. So and then we reinforce that. So we never ask the question, well, where is it that I'm weak? Where where do I need to actually move my body? Where do I not go? Because  the less we go there, the more likely the brain is just going to negate that movement entirely. So we're not going to know how to experience it. So a key here to get the body to be more efficient is to explore all movements that we can create. And  that takes time. But it's a nice process nonetheless.

[00:45:00.810] – Allan
And that's why I appreciate the self realisation as I thought back of looking at myself in the mirror, because I do think there's there's a lot of improvement that I now see in myself that I think I was a little bit blind to before. If you're hitting your numbers, you know, I've got that deadlift down to about where I want it for this age. I've got that squat and now my bench press is OK, but it could be better, you know, kind of thing. But the bilateral Push-Pull level stuff that was always been out there and I just see a huge opportunity for for me to improve. 

[00:45:33.990] – Rocky
Yeah. Well, I love the fact that your listening audience at the 40 Plus Fitness podcast, obviously you might have some under 40, but that's about the cutoff point for those that have been exercising all their life in the conventional way.

[00:45:48.210] – Rocky
And and repetitive action, shoulder impingement could be considered repetitive stress syndrome for bench pressing repetitively over time. Right. It's not just carpal tunnel, but somewhere along the way, in the forties, we start to realize, oh, OK, this I got to think of my future in longevity and do I want to go through surgery after surgery of replacing this joint or that joint and so on. Now we have to rethink the way in which we exercise. And it's not just about the mating ritual of life in the 20s and trying to find your significant other in a bikini on the beach or whatever it is.

[00:46:24.570] – Rocky
We actually have to think about what true fitness and health is for me as I go into my 50s, 60s and beyond. So  the routines that we've been following, bodybuilding based circuit machines in the gym and those type of things have had their time in the sun, I guess. Now it's time to rethink how it is we want to treat our bodies as we go into the summer of our life in the autumn and so on. 

[00:46:50.390] – Allan
Now, Rocky, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:47:00.860] – Rocky
Wow, that's a great way of defining wellness. You know, I don't give a lot of recommendations on nutrition because that is a science unto itself that would require an entire lifetime to focus on. There are certain things that I have a tendency to lean toward, and that is food not made by man. So those that are found in nature and hopefully those that are grown in that manner are the things we might want to put into our body that we're working with. Staying away from from processed issues.

[00:47:38.720] – Rocky
So the fittest. Well. I guess would have to think about what fit is fit for me is the ability to have the ability physically to pursue whichever activity I so desire. Now, it may need some conditioning. For instance, I enjoy surfing and mountain biking. But if I were to start to change my enjoyment towards, say, oh, maybe running or basketball, well, I'm not in running or basketball shape. I am in surfing and mountain biking shape. So I might have to create a kind of a different approach to that in order to get there.

[00:48:25.100] – Rocky
And happiest. Happiest. All right. Happiest is we're talking a mood that can change at any point in time that actually can shift much more readily and more quick than, say, healthy and fit. But happiest for me is community service, because getting outside the self. Anything that's self-serving. I guess healthy and fit would be more the self. Focused the centric way of of helping to create wellness within.

[00:48:57.460] – Rocky
But then we have to think of the other aspect, the duality of nature and how I find happiness is going outside of myself, doing things for others without being found out and not telling anything to anybody about it. That's that's a huge one for me. OR just offering things out to the community. For instance, since we've been in sheltered in place March 16th, we've just opened up online exercise for the community at large, senior fitness classes, kids, P.E. classes, Spanish speaking classes, webinars for health and wellness  and asking nothing in return, just simply putting it out there for the community free of charge and whatnot, because that's hopefully that's what we do, is we help each other out and and we we grow as a society and help one another. So I think those for me, those are strategies and tactics that I would take. 

[00:49:55.700] – Allan
Thank you, Rocky. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about what you're doing and your book, Return to Center, where would you like me to send them? 

[00:50:05.950] – Rocky
Rockysnyder.com.  You can go to rockysnyder.com. You can also go to YouTube, because the one thing I didn't mention about the book is within the book we have embedded these little QR codes. So as you're reading through the book or the e-book, which will soon be released, probably by the end of July, if not right about now, you'll take that QR code with your phone and just scan over it with your camera.

[00:50:32.470] – Rocky
And instantly, a YouTube video pertaining to that drill or concept or exercise will appear on your phone to give you even more insight and it'll be maybe two to four minute video. So it's hopefully going to be more like a pocket personal trainer, which will give you even more information than the written word would. So they can they can go to the YouTube channel that all the videos are housed on, which you can just search my name, Rocky Snyder, CSCS, which is certified strength conditioning specialist.

[00:51:03.160] – Rocky
And we've got hundreds, literally hundreds. I think I'm up to about 400 videos on there. And some of them are the ones I spoke of earlier about the community service where if you are, say, 60 plus or more and you want some movements for you or your say 40 and you want to learn how you can get a workout just using a backpack only, there's a whole bunch of different things you can check out.

[00:51:28.030] – Allan
Cool. Rocky, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. 

[00:51:32.970] – Rocky
It's been my pleasure. And I just appreciate the opportunity to come on in and share and and I hope that somebody finds some good within the pages of the book. And if you do, I'd love to hear about it. You can email me rocky@rockysfitnesscenter.com. I'd love to get feedback whether you think it was a good book or not. Let me know. I take criticism, I guess. No, I don't take criticism very well. I'd like to say I do, but I'm not that big of a person. 

[00:52:00.730] – Allan
It was a good book.

[00:52:02.080] – Rocky
Thank you.

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