Feeling The Effects Of Hundreds of Workouts, Thousands Of Hours At A Desk, and A Couple More Years Of Wisdom?
Discover How The Right Strength Training Program Can Increase Your Mobility and Decrease All Those NAgging Aches And Pains Without Stretching and 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.
Second, that cost of business is easily offset by being just a little bit more responsible
I'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 get stretch your hamstring as closer to your face as possible. You have to keep at it every session because it never seems to stick.
What you need, is range of motion that you have readily available to you. 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.
That's the difference between mobility and flexibility. Mobility is the range that you can move your joints into without any help. You own it (without constant stretching), by teaching your brain that you can be strong through it.
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 right there, to the whiney sound of Adam Lazar reminding me that just ok is not good enough, I started 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, she spent her 20's running around the country, studying under the best fitness experts of our time, trying to absorb everything she could to help her clients get stronger and drop fat, but also move better.
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.
Are you picturing 6'5" 300 lb. linebackers warming up next to 5'2" 100b North Jersey Italian women like I am? Seems like they don't belong in the same place, right? But that was her every day.
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 challenge on the same path. "Corrective exercise" became something I no longer used because I got better at assessing these needs.
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 Proximal Stability Creates Distal 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.
If you can create better stability in your trunk (where most of your vital organs are located), you can actually increase the mobility of joints like your shoulders and hips without focused work.
You see, your brain is the CFO of survival, constantly assessing threat to your safety by gathering information from the environment, memory, bias, and your body itself. It even houses a map of the body where it store this information. It uses this information to determine the risk of a task and the best way to complete it.
So, if you can create more stability in the right places and contribute to building a clearer map, your brain will perceive less threat and allow you to move more freely.
Conversely, when you are lacking stability in certain places and the map is less clear, your brain will assess threat with greater importance and. Your body will seem tighter and your breathing mechanics will be altered though movements that seem risky. Over time, this can lead to chronic issues like pain and inflammation and "frozen" joints.
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.
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 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