Feeling The Effects Of Hundreds of Workouts, Thousands Of Hours At A Desk, and A Couple More Years Of Wisdom?
Discover How Training TO Increase Your Mobility CAN ACTUALLY Decrease All PAIN and REDUCE Those NAgging Aches Without Stretching OR foam rolling
Cause That Shit Is Boring And Ineffective And We can Do Better
It's Ok To Admit It, Bro. AFter Two Decades Of Clearly Consistent And Wildly Successful Muscle-Building Mastery, I Woke Up At 35 In Pain.
And perhaps you are starting to struggle with the effects of age and hard training too...
- You have to modify your training programs because this or that aggravates your lower back too much.
- You had to trade conventional deadlifts for trap bar cause you just can't reach the bar anymore.
- You seem to be getting worse at your favorite lifts And you've been stuck at the same bench press weight for years.
- You're starting to think that yoga classes look more tough than fluffy. And the thought of sitting cross legged for more than a minute is torturous.
- You have chronic aches and pains that don't seem bad enough for a specialist and surgery, but are serious enough to sideline you every couple of months.
- You can't touch your toes. Or even worse, you never have.
If even one of these issues raises a brow, it's time to stop denying that you need to change the way you train...
Because first off, there is a cost of doing business.
Everyone who's been in the gym working at high enough intensities to build muscle and hit PR's, experiences some amount of inflexibility, and aches and pains. Competitive bodybuilders and professional athletes included. No reason to be ashamed of this. It's part of the deal.
Second, that cost of business is easily offset by being just a little bit more responsible
My friend David Dellanave is a world class coach. He's also a world record holder in the Jefferson deadlift, really good at fixing shit, and is paradoxically amazing at coding in java and html.
None of that is relevant, I'm just saying: Dave's a cool guy.
He's a modern day Renaissance Man, and he's got a really interesting perspective on life. When he talks, I listen. Lots of wisdom, there.
A few years ago, David made a brilliant comparison between your fitness and finances. Your physique is a lot like your portfolio: if you go hard and invest in your 20s, make smart decisions leading to appreciable gains...you can pretty much fuck around for the next few decades and still be fine.
On the other hand, if you wait until your 30s, it doesn't matter if you're trying to lose the dad bod, TK existing injuries, or start saving for retirement: you're 10 years behind, and catching up is gonna require a really strategic plan.
Take a minute and read that again, because that's some true shit.
The earlier you build a solid foundation, the less you need to do to maintain it later on.
Now, I thought I was the living embodiment of that. I spent the earlier part of my career walking around stacked at 190 and 6% body fat.
I COULD post a picture of myself in that condition to prove my point, but if you really need to see a 10 year old picture of me making sexy eyes at the camera, we've got bigger problems.
(Besides, I'm googleable as hell, look it up yourself. Enjoy.)
The issue is, like many people, I took a...shall we say two-dimensional approach to my own training. I looked at everything from the perspective of aesthetics.
Will it get me lean? Cool, let's do it.
Will it get me jacked? Fuck yeah, I'm in.
I was operating with the wild fancy of early manhood, the smug certainty of the strong.
Perhaps I can be forgiven. I was young, after all, and the young know deep in their hearts that they will live forever.
Alas! Weep for poor, young Roman. Fool that he was.
What I should have considered, along with increased jacktitude and shredocity, was in what other ways will this affect my body?
Long story short, I
coachI'm not saying you can't keep chasing strength PRs, bigger arms, or shredded abs.
I certainly don't plan on ditching my goals just because I'm getting a little older.
All I'm saying is, don't you think it's a little ridiculous that you've spent so much time trying to look your best, and and almost no effort at all to try and feel your best?
Couldn't you stand to spend 10-weeks focusing on mobility, so that the other 42 weeks of the year, you can crush it? Those pros spend the MAJORITY of their training years on regenerative cycles.
They understand the value. We're talking about taking care of your body here. Ya now, the only one you have. Those beautiful biceps will only help you so much after that early hip replacement you're headed for.
And Mobility isn't all about passive stretching, therabands, and foam rolling...
Truth #1 Flexibility Is Not The Same As Mobility
Allow Professor Romaniello to school you on the science of mobility. First things first. That static stretching routine that you skip almost every workout? Good intuition, man. It's worthless anyway. And here's why...
Flexibility is the range of motion you have that you can passively work into. PASSIVE, meaning you have to sit in an uncomfortable position for two minutes until things loosen up. I'm also referring to the range you can only get when your best bro is using his whole bodyweight to stretch your hamstring as close to your face as possible. You have to keep at it every session because it never seems to stick. Flexibility is not the same as mobility.
What you need, is range of motion that you have readily available to you. What you need is mobility, the range that you can move your joints into without the assistance of time or a stretching rope.
So that when you have to bend awkwardly to grab the groceries every week, or get into that back squat position that you haven't messed with in years, it's no problem.
And you're not causing damage or locking yourself up worse by forcing your body into ranges of motion that your joints and tissue can't handle. This is how injuries happen.
But Roman, how do we apply this concept?
Well, after years of seeing chiros and PT's and various body work people to no significant improvement, I finally took the advice I give all my A-List clients, and I called an expert to help me do just that.
How An Early 2000's Emo Band Changed My Training...
"You see, it's never bad enough to just leave or give up
But, its never good enough to feel right"
These are the words I heard through my ear buds as I felt that all to familiar left side QL twinge coming on, the one that never seemed serious enough to stop what I was doing. It wasn't getting in the way of my ability to build calves that defy the expectations of normal humans. But it was getting ANNOYING - aggravating enough that after eliminating back squats, lunges were starting to feel shitty too. And I wasn't about to give up another leg exercises.
And right there, to the whiney sound of Adam Lazarra reminding me that just ok is not good enough, I st
arted typing a text to a good friend and fellow Taking Back Sunday fan. She called me back right away.
MeEt Ashleigh Kast
Ashleigh spent her teens like I did, running around the tri-state area, hanging out at clubs to get lost in the sounds of our favorite emo bands like Brand New and Boys Night Out to escape the whole teenage wasteland we fancied ourselves a part of.
But, while I spent my 20s focused on learning everything I could about fitness from an aesthetic perspective (because, abs, I guess), Ashleigh spent her more formative years studying the areas of fitness that seemed boring to me: stuff like biomechanics, movement quality, mobility, and...I dunno. Running or some shit. Gross.
Movement, not just muscle.
At the same time she was playing with nutrition and chemistry to get ready for her first fitness competition, she was studying neuroscience and physiology to learn how to improve quality of life through movement.
Her clients were both banged up New York Football Giants players, and suburban moms looking to maintain their physiques through childbirth and busy schedules.
Now, to give that context, I want you to take a moment and picture two people.
First, I want you to picture the average NFL linebacker: 6'4", and 285 pounds of muscle.
Next, I want you to picture my mom. Yeah. That's right. My mom.
***INSERT PIC OF ME AND MOM QUESTION MARK***
Momma Roman stands a towering 5'1" and tips the scales at 121 pounds. She's a fiery little Italian lady who loves cooking, Fleetwood Mac, and bitching at me about not calling her enough.
Got it? Okay.
Now, holding those two very distinct figures in your mind, I want you to picture one more thing...
...I want you to picture them training in the same place. At the same time. With the same coach.
That right there is a typical day for Ashleigh Kast.
Because Ashleigh, under the guidance of her mentors, realized, that the way she approached building programs for these two very different demographics, were actually strikingly similar.
The footballers were trying to stay injury free through the hits and repetitive stress, and the housewives were trying to fit into their old jeans. Despite these differences in goal, Ashleigh noticed that... Actually I'll let her go here.
The similarities between housewives, pro athletes, and superheros
Hey all, Ashleigh here. As John was saying, I noticed that
- If I could get my clients to move better, inflammation decreased. With less inflammation athletes could move more freely. My ladies could cut fat more easily, and both had less pain.
- Static stretching didn't work well on it's own. But, if I used it to create a window of opportunity and then challenged it immediately, mobility increased over time.
- Everybody needs the same stuff. Mobility, stability, strength, power. It's just a matter of starting different people at the right place, choosing the right exercise progression on the same path. "Corrective exercise" became something I no longer used because I got better at assessing these needs and prescribing appropriate challenges.
So good, that I started helping out with the programming for some Marvel superheroes you may have seen on my IG. But before we get into that, I've got another science lesson for you.
Truth #2 Stability Is Necessary For Mobility
Everything affects everything. That core stability you know you need from reading functional training articles has even more benefits than decreased back pain and deeply rippled abdominals.
"Proximal stability creates distal mobility."
My friend and mentor Charlie Weingroff is often credited for this insightful quip.
Broken down from high level trainer speak to slightly less obtuse language, it means that creating greater stability in the trunk leads to greater joint mobility in your appendages.
Looking at things economically: body has a limited number of resources. The more of these your autonomic nervous system has to dedicate to creating tension in the muscles protecting your vital organs, the less there are to allocate to being able to move well.
In bro speak: if you can't keep your torso upright in a squat, your hips are gonna lock up to protect your spine.
You see, your brain is constantly assessing threat to your safety by gathering information from different sources like the environment, memory, bias, and your body itself. It then compiles this information to update a constantly changing map of the body. Using this information, your brain is able to determine it's risk of completing a task and the appropriate courses of action.
In applying this concept to our stability/mobility theory, consider that if you can create more stability in the right places and contribute to building a clearer and stronger map of your body, your brain will perceive less threat and literally allow you to move more freely because the risk of injury is lower.
Conversely, when you are lacking stability in certain places and the map is less clear, your brain will assess threat with greater sensitivity. Your body will literally become tighter and your breathing mechanics will be alter. Over time, this can lead to chronic issues like pain, inflammation, "frozen" joints, and hormonal disruption. You already know from following Roman that hormonal imbalance is no bueno for your goal of gainz
Long story short: you can do all the focused mobility work you like. But, if you have poor core stability, you'll always be accelerating against the emergency break provided by your very smart and protective brain. Stability is necessary for mobility.
***transition statement - a good example of this concept is Nick Esposito. A high level strength coach blah blah blah
I'm able to deadlift pain free for the first time in two years.
“Although I'm a coach and trainer, I wasn't taking care of my own body and needed something to get me back on track mentally and physically.
Despite a lower back injury, Mobility for Bros led to consistent progress/recovery while improving strength and performance.
I got leaner, stronger, and was finally able to go back to conventional deadlifting (pain free!) for the first time in over two years.
Nick Esposito, CSCS
Owner, Esposito Strength Club, Nashua, New Hampshire
Back To Roman's Story...
That's some serious next-level neuroscience being laid down.
And that's why I went to Ashleigh when I realized I needed a new approach.
And then I thought wait a second. Hold up. If I'm feeling beat up, what are the chances that you guys are also feeling a little broken?
Well, I started asking tough questions and talking to my friends like ___ . My assumptions were confirmed.
And since helping others has always been more important to me than anything else, I asked Ashleigh to help write me a program, not just for myself, but something I could share with you.
So that's what we did.
What This Program Is Not
But before we got started, I told her what I didn't want:
- I didn't want to lose my gainz. I'm not too proud to be vain. Above all else, I didn't want to sacrifice muscles for mobility
- I didn't want to be bored. This sounds silly. But if it was gonna be tedious, I wasn't gonna do it.
- I didin't want to spend half of my gym time on correctives. Again, I'd be good for two weeks and then feel guilty as I progressively missed more and more sessions.
And the real challenge...
- I said I wanted to smash all my previous PR's. I wanted to be definitively stronger on the other side.
But that's not what happened.
I did smash all of my previous PRs. But the most important result of this experiment, is that I am now working on bilateral back squats without pain again. And if you know me, you know that I completely gave them up due to back issues years ago.
Welp. What can I say? I was wrong. And getting that ability back has made me think that maybe I wrote them off too soon. My body feels good after squat day. Like sleeping the whole night through and not waking up stiff kinda good.
All because I trained a program that honors the way the body was meant to move...
Truth #3 Some joints are meant to be more stabile and some joints are meant to be more mobile
And you can totally fuck yourself up if you don't know which is which.
This idea dates wayyyy back. JOINT BY JOINT THEORY, as we now call it, has beginnings as early as the 1800s. And to be fair, the Eastern world probably knew this well before our Western world could scientifically define it. We've known this truth for a while:
Your body is comprised of many joints, and many different types of joints at that. And from top to bottom, your joints pretty much alternate in priority.
You have joints that are supposed to be more stabile, like your lumbar spine, sandwiched between joints that are supposed to be more mobile, like your hips and your thoracic spine.
Now, let's say your hips are lacking adequate mobility for an exercise like a squat. If you keep jamming away at those squats working towards a 1-rep max, the surrounding joints will be inappropriately and overly stressed. You'll probably have to tilt your pelvis or "butt wink" to get it done.
This is why your lower back seems to get tighter with each set and your knee seems to twinge a little more than usual the following day.
Similarly, if your lumbar spine is lacking stability, you can end up with all sorts of chronic pains relating to increased compression of the joints. And you already know that a lack of stability there, can result in a lack of mobility in the surrounding joints.
In order to keep your joints both strong and resilient as you add years and training age, you need to focus on loading the mobile joints in a full range of motion and challenging the integrity of the more stabile joints.
***These truths are not even all there is to it. We didn't even get into the importance of proper BREATHING and how that factors into all this mobility stuff. It's estimated that at least 20% of all chronic/non-infectious issues that require doctor visits are due to faulty breathing mechanics. And these go largely improperly diagnosed.
Still think you can shoulder on through the pain for a couple more years?
Avoiding mobility training can:
- Crush your spirit. Chronic pain lights up the inflammatory response and sets hormones off balance, negatively influencing your mood and perception. This can negatively affect your relationships with yourself and others.
- Halt your gainz. When stress is chronically elevated from old, unaddressed injuries and lingering pain, cortisol levels can also become chronically elevated and put the kabosh on all ability to lose weight or build muscle as your body struggles to fuel those inflammatory responses.
- Harm your brain. When you experience chronic pain without addressing the problem, the mechasnim that controls pain in your brain can become defunct. Pain that normally takes up about 5-10% of the real estate in the correlating area, increases to 15 and 20%, interrupting the other functions that area is responsible for like memory, problem-solving, motor control, etc.
- Kill your future. Being in chronic pain is being in fight-or-flight mode 24/7. In this hight-threshold state, you;re more sensitive to irritation. You're more resistant to change. And daily operating procedures get sidelined as your body focuses more on that inflammatory response, sending your overall health into a downward spiral.
And this all leads to a less than optimal later life spent in rapid decline, isolation, and confinement. Don’t you wanna still be able to ride a bike, hike, or jet ski in your final days? I don’t why jet-ski-ing came to mind. Mostly, I really just want to be able to crush some weights and smash all the widows who’s husbands didn’t take care of themselves at the senior center.
Sounds too real, right? Well, it is real. Stop being stupid. This shit is important.
So important, that I’m going to give you a super deal on this program. I paid Ashleigh’s going rate of $250 an hour for 3 sessions a week for 3 months and well, you do the math. I can barbell squat again, man. WITHOUT PAIN. It was worth every penny.
I believe good training should be available to everyone, -Ashleigh
And I totally agree. Movement education is really compulsory education. I want you guys all to experience what I did and
LEARNING how to really take care of your physical body, the way we were never taught.
REGAIN lost mobility and the confidence to jump back into activities and sports that you had to give up because you were getting too old and
BULLET-PROOF that body to ensure your golden years aren't spent sadly reminiscing about the good old days when you could bench press your bodyweight for reps and you actually had legs.
So, anyway. Ashleigh's a cool chick, she know her shit, and she helped me hurt less when I'm squatting. Sadly, my quads still suck, but that's not her fault.
We teamed up to put this together because I KNOW there are so many people walking around as banged up as I was, and if we can help a few of you feel better on your way to looking awesome, you pretty much have to name your first born son after me. It's science.
Mobility For Bros is offer offer offer offer
Dude, that’s like a quarter of what I paid for one goddamn session.
What you’ll get:
Not Sure If Mobility Fo Bros Is Right For You?
Here are some questions our beta group had in considering participating...
Roman's answer: My general thesis progressive programming: every program should build on the last to you forward towards your ultimate goal. So, I'm not big on setbacks.
Even in the worst of circumstances, taking a break from your regular training to take care of injuries and mobility would be a lateral move.
But when things are programmed correctly, as in MFB, there's still forward motion. In fact, MOST of the participants in the beta made significant strength gains and busted through some previously frustrating plateaus while reducing pain and drastically improving movement quality - [insert appropriate testimonial]
Roman's answer: Pain knows no gender, bro. And while we're at it, let's just mention again that the term bro is gender neutral. So. That is to say: whatever your gender identity, you need the ability to move your body freely and without pain.
Roman's answer: Lift whatever the hell you want, dude. I'm not trying to run you life. Look, you still get to do the big lifts, and with as much weight as you like. MFB just does it while highlighting different parts of each of the big lifts to improve neuromuscular connection.
Also, bands are great.
Ashleigh's answer: ABSOLUTELY. *****john - say this simpler*** I actually pitched the idea of Mobility For Bros to John with the intention of creating a program that could also serve as a skill-building pre-requisite to his more advanced bodybuilding and fat-loss programs. You'll build a solid foundation of strength to ensure your body is ready to tackle tougher tasks. Completing MFB first will improve your results and decrease your risk of injury. Confidence comes included.
Roman: How much does your doctor lift? He probably doesn't. Thankfully, my doc does. I asked him, and this is what he said:
Ashleigh: Respectfully, the subtleties of the way the body moves are not taught in standard med school programs and mobility is not really the expertise of most physicians and surgeons. I'm not saying that you should disregard the opinions of a trusted professional(you should totally talk this over with a physical therapist you trust if you have concerns), but know these truths: There is always room to get better. And I've made it my business to figure out how to restore movement and IMPROVE the quality of life for all of my clients successfully. This is my scope. Secondly, physiological abnormalities like herniated and diminishing discs do not directly correlate to pain or loss of function in that area. MOST people are living with similar issues without ANY pain. You CAN improve your situation by learning to move, breathe, and respect your body.