Joining me on the show this week is the one and only, Dr. Jordan Shallow, also known as, the Muscle Doc. Jordan and I first connected back when we ran the online Human Performance Summit back in 2020, so this is a conversation long overdue. We hit on a handful of different topics, but the real meat and potatoes of the episode is our conversation surrounding powerlifting and hypertrophy training, and how the two feed off of each other nicely over the course of a periodized training plan.
We then do a deep dive into the quirky elements of human nature and how each have an impact on the training process. If you’re interested in learning how to build strength and put on muscle (while staying pain-free), this episode is for you.
Jordan Shallow: Real legit.
James Cerbie: It’s slick, dude. It even gives me, like, little sound effects things like I could have a crowd, like, clap in the background and do shit like that as they do this. What a production.
Jordan Shallow: I don’t know if I’m worthy of this.
James Cerbie: All right, well, we are here live with Jordan Shallow.. Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and just chat about picking things up and putting them back down with me.
Jordan Shallow: Pleasure, man. I feel like this has been a long time in the making. It has long email chains and just back and forth old email chains.
James Cerbie: Yeah. I think the email chain I kicked back up here from like 2020 or something along those lines.
Jordan Shallow: Which is where we landed on probably the most inconvenient time zone for both of us to be in. To actually finally make it happen is what it is.
James Cerbie: It’s good, dude. It’s good. But less of this for people listening who maybe don’t know who you are. Can you give them just a real quick elevator pitch on you?
Intro to Dr. Jordan Shallow
Jordan Shallow: Maybe? Okay, let’s do the cold notes. I’m a chiropractor by trade. I own and operate a few companies in the ecommerce fitness space. One is sort of like a software company. The other is, I guess, more of an education company, maybe. Let’s say I still am a competitive powerlifter. So I’m a competitive powerlifter by vocation or hobby. Yeah. I do some strength and conditioning. I still practice a little bit on the concierge side. I have a handful of clients that I work with across a few sports teams in North America, and I currently reside in Dubai. Yes, that’s like the super cold notes version of it. So basically, a chiropractic strength coach, did some time in the NCAA, worked at Stanford University for a bit, did the corporate chiropractic at Apple’s World headquarters, and owns a few businesses. I like lifting weights and talking about lifting weights. And I just figured out a way to do that and still pay my bills.
James Cerbie: Beautiful. I love it. That’s great, man. So I think where I’d love to kick this conversation off is where did the love for strength and conditioning and the iron game start for you? Yeah, because I have no idea.
Where Jordan’s Love for Strength and Conditioning and The Iron Games Started
Jordan Shallow: Now it seems like a lifetime ago, starting with sports, man. I was a hockey player growing up in Canada. So I grew up in a town called Windsor, Ontario, which is like a small little border town just opposite Detroit, Michigan. So I played hockey. It was decently good at a young age and started in actual conventional strength and conditioning to just get better at hockey. Before that, I never lifted a weight, no real inclination to until someone was like, if you really want to kind of take this, your hockey career and see what you can make of it, you’re probably going to have to try and get a bigger, faster, stronger and all that. So I worked with a couple of guys when I was younger who had played in like the Ol and NHL and things like that. So that’s where like dry land training or as we call it now, probably more just conventional strength and conditioning sort of started. And my only aspiration, my only objective outcome was to get better on the ice. So off season between age 1516, I really started to kind of get after it as far as everything strength and conditioning.
And then I really sort of enjoyed it at that age, like the seemingly instant progress. And I was like, Holy shit, this is crazy. I remember going from the 9th grade to the 10th grade and I think I grew like eight inches over the summer and put on 30 or £40 and I was like, I’m going to be a superhero if I keep doing this. I’m going to be seven foot ten and 400 lbs. But that really kind of spiked because everyone I worked with, as you start to stay in the industry long enough, everyone has a scheme or a system or whatever, and I probably know better, but it’s like in the early days everyone had like a large kind of reason and it could be flawed and half of it probably was, but it was enough to keep you engaged like 15, I think. I read my first Charles Poliquin article and I started diving into it as a teenager and stuff, and strength and conditioning kind of started to meld with hypertrophy training. And then as you age out in sports, which happens so quickly, you don’t even realize that it’s coming where it’s like if you’re not in the League by 18, you’re like, oh, fuck.
So I ended up playing juniors in Canada and then obviously saw the writing on the wall. It’s like you can either go to school or you can muck around in the ECHL or something like that or the West Coast Hockey League and try and backdoor it in. So it’s like, no, I’m just going to go to school and keep training. And by that time I’d really kind of taken a foothold in hypertrophy style training. I think I was. I finished my hockey career at maybe like 245 lbs, which as a goal was quite big. So I just sort of kept on the hypertrophy thing as far as how I like to train and kept diving into things like the anatomy, biomechanics, sports science periodization stuff, just really on the side as a hobby. And that hobby, 30, 2015, 14 years later, is now kind of my career a little bit. So it was really sports that got me into it. It was actually sports that kind of recapitulated my trajectory into chiropractic. Actually, I had a really good chiropractor that helped me through a few knee injuries. I didn’t even know the stigma of chiropractors being like, they just crack your bones because I never really had that.
So that really sent me down the trajectory of that career path more specifically. And I just kind of meld them all together and that’s kind of what I do now.
The Glory Days of T-Nation
James Cerbie: It is funny how many people, I think around our general age group that are in any way involved in the strength, conditioning powerlifting bodybuilding world can trace back some inkling of interest to those early teenation days, like the glory days of teenage before they’ve got to become what they are now. Dude, there was a stretch there. T Nation was the shit.
Jordan Shallow: They’re just dropping dimes, everything. It was, like, hard to find. But once your hand was stamped and you got into this forbidden city, there was no sifting through to find good information. It was all deadly. Early days. EliteFTS is another reference that comes to mind. And Paul’s article, before it kind of split into Polygon group and before he started to rest in peace, before he started selling everyone bajillion. I use a vitamin D and Bajillion, grams of Glutamine or whatever the fuck. But, yeah, I honestly think it was easier for our generation because there was no real uncertainty. Like the only people because there were no followings, right? It was all meritocracy. It was like, who’s this? This is Joe De Franco. What does he do? He trains everyone that goes to the NFL. Okay, who’s this? Charles Paul. What does he do? Have you seen the Olympics? All of those people? Yeah. Okay. All right. Sick. And you’re like, who’s this? I don’t know. He’s got 100 million followers. It’s like, does that count? How does that rank next to so I think it was easier for us to find principles and find, like, just critical thinkers, because if there’s the only way to make it.
James Cerbie: Yeah. I remember finding Eric Cressey there. Like, when I first kind of started getting going into strength and conditioning, I was like, Hold on, this dude deadlifts 600 lbs. But then he sits around and talks about anatomy and biomechanics and movement and the scapular Emerald rhythm and all this other stuff. Because the issue I ran into in College is I just got hurt all the damn time. Like, traditional strength and conditioning kind of very much broke me. And so I was like, there has to be a better answer, like a better way of approaching this thing, of getting as strong and as big and as fast as I can without just perpetually being hurt all the time. And so that was how I kind of, like, wound my way in the back door and I saw Eric Kasi talking about this stuff. Like, this is very different. I need to go spend some time with this man. And so, yeah, the very first thing I did, I basically just bugged Pete Dupuisi until they gave me an internship in Boston. And that essentially just like, let everything else downhill from there.
Jordan Shallow: What a legend. What a guy.
James Cerbie: I know he is. He very much is, man. So hypertrophy was kind of like the first love there. And then eventually I think it’s just like strength in general. Right. Hypertrophy powerlifting, what people have now like to call people call it power building now because we have to have a label and title for pretty much everything nowadays or whatever it is. But with that style of training, I think it’s always really interesting to kind of approach this. What are some of the Big Rock things that you think you’ve carried with you over time with regards to how you approach? I purchased training and then what are maybe some of the more nuanced things that have changed for you in the last one to two years? Like things you’ve updated and changed.
The Big Rocks Jordan has Carried with him in Regard to Hypertrophy Training
Jordan Shallow: Okay. Yeah, the Big Rock one is interesting because it’s kind of come full circle where I probably train now more like I did when I first started. And it was like why did I ever deviate away from that? That’s like the biggest question Mark in my brain. Like I said, I was putting on and obviously the hormones when you’re a kid and the novelty factor and the novelty stimulus that comes with doing nothing and then doing something and having a more competitive environment, you’re in high school, it’s just a cesspool. You’re just trying to knock it beat up and then maybe beat someone up. So confusing. But yeah, that’s tough. I think in the last couple of years, the thing I’ve been forced to respect about hypertrophy training is like fatigue management over weeks and load management in sessions and being much more, I don’t know. Again, what are the labels? What are people going to cling to? Like being more like almost like RPE based in the way I train rather than being by the book, which is like it’s tough because when I am actively competing in powerlifting or when I was when I first started being competitive in powerlifting, it was very much like linear progression, percentage based, almost like prelpinsque.
And I just had a great training environment. I learned how to power lift at Boss Barbell Club at the peak of Dan Green and Andrew Herbert’s domination of the 100 abs. There’d be five of us training on a Friday night doing deadlifts, and I’d be the only one without multiple world records. So all to say, living out of a suitcase for the better part of the last four years, those things have helped me continue on. And making really incremental progress is like on days where you’re not feeling it, just fucking pack it in, man. But I think there’s two sides to that coin. I think it’s because for so long I was by the book. That almost like the work is done, the foundation is there, and if you still want to keep building, you need to alter your approach a little bit because I think people hear that and then they’re new and they go, oh, I’m kind of tired today. It’s like, yeah, but I can parse out the difference between being tired and being fatigued. So being more intuitive with the way I train, how I train, the volume within a session, the number of sessions within a week, it’s not by the book anymore.
The book is fairly ingrained that sort of makes these high level decisions. You can’t really get away from it. But today, for example, I’m not going to train. I was supposed to, but I’m not because I feel absolute trash. So I would say that’s something that is relatively new. I think the thing that I probably carried with me more than anything else is exercise selection. I feel as if I’ve done the same twelve exercises for twelve years, 15 years or whatever it’s been. That seems to be something that is true. And regardless of like the changing tides, especially hypertrophy training, it’s so interesting when application meets theory because with Instagram and especially with covet, I found that like so much of the theory theory was all people had was they just sat around in their basements and they just espoused these summaries of research articles and people are arguing about like mechanical tension and like, man, that sounds really stupid for someone who’s like £140. So I think exercise selection for me is always like, it’s just work, right? Everything. Clearly you can have a certain principle that people don’t abide by and they still put on muscle mass, right?
And then you try to get into the weeds and predict some of the negative collateral damage and the way they train, like Branch Warrant is the guy that always comes to mind.
James Cerbie: How does he have joints?
Jordan Shallow: What are we talking about here? What do you mean how does he have joints? Do you know how joints work? He has seven meter knee wraps on and he has 40 inch quads. And you’re worried about the speed in which he hits the hole in a Hack Squat machine. I don’t get how he has joints. It’s like, because you’re weak and he’s strong. Is that a good enough answer? So, yeah, I think for me, long term exercise selection, regardless really of the emerging science or the reemerging really of like strength curve resistance profiles and accommodating resistance principles with bands and different cute handles and angles and shit. I was like, okay, maybe that makes sense from an overall load management perspective in a session if I needed to offload some resistance from a global perspective. But is it doing anything in a very in that focal moment to stimulate the muscle any differently? It’s like from a net perspective, probably not. So that’s been something that I stayed fairly steadfast in as far as exercise selection goes. Yes, I think being really stubborn also helps. It’s like, that sounds stupid, but I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing.
When Application Meets Theory in Hypertrophy Training
James Cerbie: Yeah. But that’s the thing that’s important for people to hear, right? Because with the kind of the abortion that social media has come with a garage of training in particular, it seems that the way to really try to get attention nowadays is I just feel like everyone’s just like making up exercises just for the pure purpose and sake of making up exercises. And it drives me absolutely insane. And it leaves all these really dumb, pointless debates on the internet. And I’m like, what are you guys arguing over? There’s literally nothing to discuss here, right? I think the great example there is like, yeah, you’re 135 lbs soaking wet. So maybe it’s great that you read the textbook and understand what’s happening on a whiteboard, but the one that gets me, I think this is a really important distinction is like, people just don’t understand that if you’re trying to drive strength and purpose for your power, the thing that has to be challenged has to be load and or velocity. And if I’m going to put you in all these fancy stances and positions and all these other things, you’re inherently challenging the position and not challenging loader velocity.
That’s not to say there’s not a time and place for those things someplace in a program to keep you moving. Well, feeling good to manage that whole side of the coin, because it’s important. Don’t talk about those items as being things that are going to actually help you put on legitimate muscle mass and get really strong or be really powerful because they’re just not going to do it. But people are trying to carry those exercises over into this realm. And I’m like, you guys are kind of just wasting your time. You’re kind of just like banging your face against a brick wall repeatedly and expecting a different outcome.
Jordan Shallow: Yeah, I think we both come at it. My business partner kind of said this in passing the other day. Oh, yeah, but you’re assuming that people want to get better. Don’t assume that people just want to be right. They don’t want to be better. And it’s like, you can ask my ex-wife, I love being right, but at a certain point it’s like you got to get better and abandon the stuff that doesn’t work. But yeah, it’s funny, the exercise one, it always makes me laugh about just identifying because people do so much, especially people that are trying new exercises, the people who will try everything or people will try anything have tried everything. Right? So it’s like, I always make the comparison. You’re a basketball guy.
James Cerbie: Yeah.
Jordan Shallow: So I always make the comparison of the 2013 Miami Heat and try to compare the stat line or say without question that what’s his name, like Michael Miller was the reason they won it’s like, what, are you serious? I’ll make it easy with Glute training. I look at the hip thrust and there’s some benefit to it. It probably not in the way that it often gets applied, but it’s like, it’s the Michael Miller of exercises. It’s like you got your big three up front. No one’s being like, man, remember that, Miller? Yeah, I’m sure D’Wade and Boss and Brown Braun had nothing to do with it. I’m sure squatting and deadlifting had nothing to do with it. Let’s argue about the plus minus of Michael Miller. It’s like most people don’t even know who the fuck that is or whatever. So it’s so funny when people are just unable to accept or identify. But I guess, I don’t know, to a broader perspective. I guess people just need something to believe in because I think it’s the belief that drives the consistency, that if everything works and nothing works every time, the majority of people aren’t going to have like, I don’t even think mental fortitude is the right word.
Most people aren’t going to be on a spectrum enough to be like, I’m going to do the same twelve things, six days a week for 15 years. I’m totally okay with that because monotony is such a comforting feeling for me. So I love that. But if only people recognized or admitted that that was the real science behind what they were doing. It’s like I’ve created a system or something that’s really just going to get you to go into the gym more often. Like, you go for the hip thrust, but you stay.
James Cerbie: It’s just going to make you be consistent.
The Need for People to Believe in Something
Jordan Shallow: Just be honest with people. I understand that it is probably like the need for people to believe something is the prevailing science in hypertrophy training or really strength training, weight training in general that no one wants to talk about because no one wants to admit that their system is flawed and that humans are flawed. And in a weird way, those two flaws seem to meet together and then they can both move forward into the future and make progress. So it’s just, I don’t know, man, people are silly. People are strange. And again, I’m no different. And I have a system and internal logical consistency to the way I make decisions around training that I look forward to. And I don’t know, maybe ten years, maybe five years, maybe tomorrow. Figuring out is all wrong. But at the end of the day, it was enough for me to be like, that machine isn’t being used. Do I sit around and wait? Well, I’m going to go into my Rolodex of how I think about exercises and just pick a quick substitution and just keep going. And then that has led me to compound more reps and more sets, rather than just sitting there being like, how many sets do you have left?
Right? Oh my God, the gym doesn’t have a leg press with a 35 deg angle. I need the 1987 Nebula leg press. Fuck off.
James Cerbie: Yeah, it’s kind of an inability to really focus on the rocks. I think everybody loves pebbles and sand and maybe it is just a human nature thing of we have Add and we love shiny objects and we just want a piece of candy ourselves to death because we just get bored. Like maybe that’s what it is. And yes, I think a lot of our job as coaches is you give them a little candy, but then we make sure that we have the things in there that we know they’re going to need consistent exposure to to actually get the change in adaptation that we want. Because if left on their own, they’re just going to change it all the time. And then they work their ass off for three to six months and they’ve gotten pretty much nowhere.
Jordan Shallow: Yeah, it’s always like the way my mom used to get me to eat vegetables. She just grinds them off of my spaghetti sauce. So that’s kind of the same idea with people. But also too, I think it speaks a lot to the landscape of what draws people into training. Like, we could sit and have this nostalgic laugh about teenagers and Pauloquin and West Side and elite FTS and say what they fall into now, some good, some bad, some unchanged for the better or worse. But that was a medium that demanded your attention. You were in forums trying to not get kidnapped by some weirdo guy, but also trying to improve your bench press. Like, this guy’s probably got like a mattress in the back of a windowless van, but he looks like he’s got big triceps. So I’m going to roll the dice on this. You come out to the other side and someone sends you a link to this website and you end up on it and you’re just like, oh, and it’s like you had to have a long attention span to go through. Like the journey to Mount Doom in this weird, Mordor Frodo Baggins journey to find this.
Social Media and its Effect on One’s Attention Span
Well, now it’s like everyone’s got Instagram and they just said, I fundamentally don’t understand how social media platforms work anymore. And not to get too deep into it, but I posted a real one yesterday on Instagram and I didn’t even know how to post it or put it together. And then I’m looking at some of these numbers. I’m like, this is insane. Like, there’s no way that’s real. There’s no way that amount of people are sitting there. But then, sure enough, I started to notice in public. I was on the Metro train here in Dubai and I was looking at everyone on the phone and I was like, they’re all just scrolling into infinite space. And one of them will probably be two of them. Three of them might be on some sort of fitness thing, but if that’s your vetting process of your attention to go into an endeavor like weight training, it’s like those two things don’t meet the means in which you find it and the demands of the task that you just found. Short attention span does not find you well, like, being on some sort of Asperger’s spectrum is like such a gift if you want to get into resistance training, like, you talk to people who are very smart, very athletic.
I was thinking, like, Kobe Bryant guy, he’s in the gym at three. He was in the gym at nine. He was in the gym at noon. It’s like you got to be kind of like there’s a chromosome that’s doing fucking jumping Jacks or something. Like you’re not right in the head. You got to be like, so. Yeah, but the hard part is, it’s like you said, how do you drive? How do you keep that interest? It’s like, okay, you got to string that shiny red ball in front of them. And then it’s the old bait and switch. And it’s like, isn’t this didn’t we did last week? It’s interesting, man. The more you deal with people, the more you realize that, man, we are messy, messy creatures.
James Cerbie: Especially, I think the social media one is interesting because the attention span continues to get shorter and shorter.
Jordan Shallow: Right.
Understanding Your Audience Within the Different Social Platforms
James Cerbie: And it’s like the length at which you’re allowed to post things on social media now, it just keeps getting shorter, shorter, shorter, shorter, shorter and chunk down. It’s like, now it needs to be under a minute because a real one can’t go longer than a minute and you have to be under a minute because Tik Tok is getting really popular. And so Ariel is just trying to copy what’s going on on TikTok and you’re playing this thing. I’m like, I don’t know what kind of value I can reasonably bring you in under 1 minute. I can probably give you a tip on one exercise that’s going to help with one thing. Right. As opposed to if you think back to those earlier days, it’s like you have to go searching for this resource, and then you have to read the whole damn blog post or you’re like me and it’s like you really want to dig into it. So you have to figure out, how do I order these old Russian manuals I hear all these people talking about all the time, but I can’t fucking find them because you can’t buy them on the Internet.
So it’s like you’re talking to super sketch people on the Internet. Like, hey, can you like Western Union? You money. Yes. If you’ll send me these Russian manuals translated into English. Right. It’s just different. Yeah.
Jordan Shallow: And it’s tough because I think part of the responsibility lies on the backs, like, if you’re in a creator position. And I kind of resent the term, but I think people will understand what I mean by that. If you have a business that can be benefited by a presence on social media, I think it’s understanding that the medium really is the message and understanding your audience. I get shit all the time from people. Like, you talk too complicated. It’s like, you’re not my customer, your coach is my customer. I get it all the time. Why is it so complicated? It’s like because we’re fucking evolved chimpanzees with universe for brains. It’s not your job to understand it. You hire someone that I talk to to understand it and then give you reps and sets. So for Instagram, it’s like, oh, man, what do I do? I’ll put a few longer wordy things in there, but it’s like, oh, here’s a picture of my dog. And then Instagram is like, oh, my God, I love dogs. It’s like, yeah, me too.
James Cerbie: You can’t go wrong with dogs.
Jordan Shallow: That’s why I love the podcast, because you want to talk about exclusion criteria if someone’s interested in what we’re doing, like me and you, if they’ll sit through all this, God bless your soul. If you made it this far. Hi, mom. But it’s like they’re going to be down with what we’re doing. So I think it’s like people. And I literally remember the first Instagram had actually just expanded its video capability on a story post to a minute or not a story post. Sorry, stories weren’t even a thing back in the day. Just like a feed post. Video could be a minute. And I tried to do some sort of video on core training or something like that, and it kind of went pseudo viral because I talk fast when I’m in no rush. But I had 60 seconds to say everything I thought I knew about core training. And it was literally like I was just auctioning people’s ideas. I was just going. And everyone like, no one was commenting on the actual content itself. They’re like, Get a load of this guy. Get a load of how fast this guy is talking. But then I was like, okay, if I want to talk about things, I need to have a longer form and then the podcast.
And then if I want to do things more, like infotainment, then it’s like, okay, I got to be on YouTube. It’s like, all right, if I just want broad spectrum, wide net, like, more notoriety, I need to be on Instagram. So it’s like understanding what? Because there are three totally different audiences and you almost like, no, for whatever reason, whenever I’m in airports, it’s always people that listen to the podcast. And I’ve noticed this whenever I’m in gyms, it’s people that follow me on Instagram. And maybe there’s a mix of YouTube in there, although I don’t pay much attention to it. But I can tell if someone’s kind of walking up like, okay, and it doesn’t happen often. I’m not like it, but when it does happen, I can tell by just, like, the look of someone like, okay, this person listens to the podcast, okay? This guy follows me on Instagram. That’s their point of entry. And it’s valuable to know that because it’s like you can put out whatever you want, but it’s how you’re perceived on the other end, really, from a business perspective that matters. So I think it’s something that parsing out the different ecosystems on social media platforms from a business perspective has been, like, infinitely interesting.
It has been such a like, I feel like Jane Goodall and it’s just a bunch of chimps in different environments. I’m just sitting there, like, taking notes.
James Cerbie: So I would love to know that the podcasts are always so hard because, like, the question asking aspect of it, it’s like you don’t want to be a Jackass and ask questions that are too broad, but at the same time, you don’t want to ask questions that are like, super hyper specific. And so I am curious about knowing if you start off more in this hypertrophy bodybuilding realm with a big interest, you eventually get in and start competing in powerlifting. How did you like to manage those two worlds in terms of bodybuilding and powerlifting? Because obviously each of them are their own sports. But I think you’re getting more and more athletes now who are actually blending the two and blending the two incredibly successfully. It makes a lot of sense. There’s a lot of carry over there. Right.
Jordan Shallow: But I’d be curious to kind of hear your take on that inadvertently doing a pretty good job in sort of like macro periodization for both sports. So the other has mechanisms that the other needs. And without having to really go too deep into some sort of concurrent training model, you can kind of run them in series with one another rather than sort of trying to overlap in a parallel. So, I mean, Stan Efferding is probably the goat when it comes to this. Right. And I had Stan on a podcast when Pat was in town. Stan actually came to the seminars. You want to talk about pressure, stand next to Pat Davidson and try to deal with something that Stan African doesn’t know. It’s like, I’m just going to get coffee. Does anyone want coffee? I’m going to go get coffee. There’s no point in me being here.
James Cerbie: As a random aside, that dude is so nice. We had him on the podcast a couple of weeks ago. The first time I met him, I was like, Yo, you’re so nice. We were just texting the other day. He sent me a video of one of his daughters crushing it on an overspeed treadmill. And I was like, dude, you’re just like, I’m hanging out with you.
How to Manage the Two Worlds of Bodybuilding and Powerlifting
Jordan Shallow: You’re like a big brother and dad at the same time. He’s done everything. He’s seen everything. But I remember just walking through Winwood with Stan and him telling me about how he thought that his periodization of always going bodybuilding powerlifting, bodybuilding powerlifting help keep him continually putting on muscle. But also help maybe bypass some of the downfalls that just going hyperspecific into one of these strength sport disciplines. One of the downfalls I carry or come with is going into one of these bodybuilding or power lifting specifically. So anything for me, like never really stepping on stage, always just being more of like a gym pro. It was a little bit easier, especially under the tutelage of Dan Green. Like, you just do what you’re told and you sit down and you shut up and no one talks and everyone just goes on the phone after sets. But I think it was good because Loading is hopefully as close to max as you can. Some of these squat, bench and dead, they might not give you a ton of information about individual joint movements or something like that, but at maximum load, it’s like you’re going to figure out real quick if all your dogs are barking right and then if they’re not, you’re going to have to then go through and dissect.
Why does my knee hurt? Why does my hip hurt? Why does my back hurt? Outside of the obvious load management issues that could come in prepping for a sport like that. So I feel like that peels back a layer of the onion that you never really get exposed to at the relative intensities and the common training modalities of bodybuilders use. If you’re on a leg press all the time, you might not ever succumb to any sort of negative consequences of Loading through like an asymmetry of the pelvis or anything like that. It’s externally stabilized to the entity. You have so much reference that your body can fill in these gaps for you and you can sort of autocorrect between where your feet are on the giant steel plate and your back is on the giant throne that you’re sitting in everything sort of self corrects. So that could be tough, because when you have bodybuilders that are purely bodybuilding and don’t get under barbells or don’t put barbells in their hands, this doesn’t become readily apparent until we’re pretty far advanced in these movement biases. So then it’s like, well, your elbow issue, you probably would have figured that out really quick.
You probably would have had shoulder pain or elbow pain at 75% of the Max. But you’ve been sitting on a plate loaded prime machine overloading the fully shortened position or whatever the fuck for the last eight months. So you weren’t giving yourself a window into the actual underlying function of the shoulder instant shoulder, hip, pelvis, rib cage scapula, whatever, because you didn’t have that specific demand on it. So I think oscillating or undulating between these two training styles kind of sets you up. Like powerlifting is going to expose not to oversimplify it, but it’s going to expose your imbalances per se. And then if you want to keep getting stronger, you might want to sort that shit out, or you might want to learn how to manage load. But if you come out the other end of it and you’re really strong, all of your submacional work now is increased in its potential resistance. So then you can kind of go off and do higher volume training. And this isn’t being disparaging, but a lot of times people’s inability to get stronger, especially at heavier weight classes, means they have no work capacity. Because I think bodybuilding training and bodybuilding are different.
The Part of Bodybuilding that Often Gets Missed
And I think the reason that Stan got so much benefit from it is in order to actually be on stage in a bodybuilding, at a certain point, you’re going to have to do cardio. I don’t know anyone who successfully or done well, at least the level that Stan has or better excuse me, who hasn’t done cardio, but you see these powerlifters who they’re joking about, but they’re kind of not that eight reps is cardio. It’s like eight reps should never be cardio. If eight reps is cardio, you’re not as strong as you could be. If that output is taxing to you or your tapping into that energy system so early, that’s actually what’s bottlenecking your strength. So to really take the bodybuilding pursuit to a point where you’re maybe moderate, like 30 minutes five times a week or something like that leading into a show, which is, I think with maybe it’s drugs, maybe it’s better science, I don’t know. But bodybuilding has seemed to move away from the 2 hours, twice a day cardio of like the late 80s, early 90s bodybuilding. However, it’s like if you’re looking at concurrently training or in series training these two subdisciplines, I think the one thing that the power builder misses in the conventional power building program and that potentially makes it difficult to run them concurrently is the cardio aspect needed in true bodybuilding.
And I think that really is the linchpin that successfully links those two training styles together, that it’s the hardest part. So that’s why no one does it. So I think that if we’re going to look at bodybuilding and powerlifting training, it’s one thing to be like I’m going to lift two by two and I am a powerlifter or I’m going to lift three by eight and I am a bodybuilder. It’s like maybe, but if you’re actually a bodybuilder, you’re going to lift three by eight and then you’re going to go on the StairMaster for 40 minutes and it’s that part of bodybuilding that I think people don’t really go. And when we meld them together in power building, gym rose type things, it’s that cardio that I think gets missed. And that is the key to how both of those guys, those two things are complimentary.
James Cerbie: Yeah. We’ve talked on a handful of episodes that length about the work capacity issue that essentially creates the ceiling for a lot of these people. Right. Because it not only limits your capacity within a given session to train at high enough volumes, but it also just totally hinders your capacity to recover between sessions. It’s like an intra and intercession limiter. Right. You don’t need to be able to go run a 5K or do anything along those lines. But it’s like if we see somebody and you got a resting heart rate of like 80 something and we ask you to do anything over eight reps and you’re like painting and walking your way around the gym, you could be super strong, but you’re not going to be able to actually push it the way that you need to in these different domains to get past where you currently are. Right. You can get crazy stupid strong before you start running into this being, I think like a really significant issue for you. Right. But at a certain point in time, you need the requisite work capacity so you can train at the volumes that you need to train at so that you can actually continue to improve strength and depending on the weight class.
And if you’re trying to manage that appropriately, like the amount of muscle mass. But yeah, I think pretty much everybody, unanimously across the board, will benefit from, like, low level, call it zone to call it. Actually, I wrote something about this today. You have four independent parties that essentially all came to the same basic heart rate range with this, like, low intensity conditioning. Right. Like, Joel Jameson 131, 50 beats per minute block period is looking like 141, 60 beats per minute Isserin. And then celebrate. Ovin Hart is not a machine. He’s more like 110, 150 beats per minute. And then you have some other guy talk about this maximum aerobic heart rate method, and that puts you about sub 150. So like, all four of these people are intersecting somewhere in 135 to 145 beats per minute. So spending like 30 to 45 minutes there a few times a week is not going to ruin your gains. It’s going to help you in the long run.
Jordan Shallow: I think that’s the key. Right. The long run, especially now with the I look at powerlifting and just realize how dependent powerlifting was on the actual competition. Powerlifting really took a nosedive if you couldn’t see people on a platform. Like, it is fundamentally different from seeing someone squat heavy in a gym and show up on the day and kind of do what’s necessary to compete against someone else in a weight class. But the one thing is it’s almost like I look at long term periodization for powerlifters, at least the ones up, like the very top, like an elongated periodization cycle for offseason. Crossfitters it’s. Most of these guys and girls came in with a very strong aerobic base. Kevin Oak is a guy that comes to mind like an absolute mutant of a human being. But he was a Villainueva track star, right. So it’s like the likelihood. So it’s as if this base of work capacity across his lifespan was like something he was really good at. And let’s just say somewhere along the line, Kevin Oakle did his last powerlifting meet. Will the performance at his last powerlifting meet be met at a point where his cardiac output has declined so much that that’s his bottom line.
It’s probably not right. It’s probably always going to be more than what the sport demands and won’t be where he needs to focus a lot of his attention on. In the same way that my business partner is a really good Olympic weightlifter. So coming out of a CrossFit competition, Moving into an off season training cycle, didn’t really have to do that much Ollie work. And even if his snatch and cleaning jerk started to deteriorate a little bit, he’s probably still going to be top of the pack, and he’s going to be better collectively if he spent some time on gymnastics or long distance running or something like that. Right. So that’ll have a higher yield, like, weighted variable against the final outcome. Because there’s so many different systems that play at a sport like CrossFit, where it’s like all of the good ones. And the hard part is we never see them do it now, but we never gave a shit about what they were doing before. And they all come with this. And it’s the same with, like, maybe they’re football players. They come with a football background. Dan Green is a little known fact, and I love to put them on blast.
Every chance I get is used to be a male cheerleader at the University of Michigan. So, like, everyone sitting there like, man, this guy’s rotator cuff. It’s like, fuck a kettlebell, man. This guy used to hold people on humans. Beings. Humans. 160.
Dan never does shoulder rehab stuff. It’s like, yeah, he preemptively struck all that, like, proprioception overhead position. Like, my man is good. He spent most of his life just, like, literally picking up chicks.
James Cerbie: Yeah.
Jordan Shallow: So, yeah, people don’t. They only see, like, through this paper towel roll lens at what they’re doing now and then they base all their decisions where it’s like, sorry, man, you gotta start from go collect $200 and move around the board just like everyone else.
The Things You Did in Your Teens and Their Effect on You Today
James Cerbie: Yeah. You have to pay attention to what’s been going on for the last 12, 15 years of this person’s life. It matters quite significantly, especially since we don’t need to go down that path. When you start looking at the structure of the heart and other things like that, the things you’re doing when you’re 1213, 14, 1516, 1718. They matter in a really significant way. When you get to be like, 252-8303 two of these are all compounds. And I think that’s a perfect point. People love to do this, right? You see somebody in, like, a split shot of right now. Oh, it must be nice. I can’t stand that. I hate when people say, must be nice. Oh, yeah, it must be nice. You missed the other 15 fucking years that this person had to dedicate themselves to get to the point they’re at now. You just see this result. You don’t see everything that took place before it to actually get them there. Yeah.
Jordan Shallow: If not, it always says more about the person who says it than the person they’re saying it about. So I’m just like, all right, whatever. And this is like, it’s kind of the cool part because I never would have given a shit about looking into human behavior or call it psychology, call it philosophy. But it’s interesting that the conduit into starting to pay attention to these things has been working out because it’s like you dive so much into the science and the application and you do the same shit forever. And then you eat the dumb food and you buy the protein powder and you do whatever other crazy shit I’ve gotten up to and you get to the end of it. You’re like, what else is there to do? And then you start people watching in the gym. I wonder why he’s doing that. I wonder if he has kids. I hope he doesn’t have kids. That was pretty dumb. Hopefully he doesn’t reproduce. Give me 2 seconds. I’ll swap my camera out here. But yeah, it’s an interesting part. I think everywhere you look there’s something to see, right? But if you have the wherewithal to start, actually just looking at the human side, it makes it endlessly interesting.
Like, what drives people? What motivates people? What motivates a bodybuilder to do? What is necessary to be a bodybuilder. But also what motivates someone to chat shit in your comment section. What is the motivation behind that? I find that so much like, I’m at a point now where I find that so much more fascinating than strength curves and resistance profiles or like, myostatin inhibitors or whatever the fuck. Yeah, that’s a really weird thing to say. Does your mother not hug you as a child? Like, what’s going on here?
James Cerbie: Good. We’ll wrap this here in 1 second. I think from my experiences, the more and more you dive down into the weeds, into the realm of what we do, the more you start to come back out and realize that you kind of have these core basics and foundations and these are the things that everyone has been doing for quite some time now. We haven’t reinvented the wheel. We may put a little bit of icing on it and some sprinkles here and there. But the big rocks really have not changed over time. We may package them in different ways. We may put fancy names on them and call them different things. But at the end of the day, you have these core big things. They have worked. They work today, and they will continue to work in the future. Despite all the noise and everything that comes around from them. And that’s just one of the things I think sometimes people get totally lost in that conversation is like, they get so lost in the weeds they can’t realize you got to be able to see the forest, right? Let’s Zoom in and out.
Jordan Shallow: I think the biggest picture is okay.
James Cerbie: Play around this other stuff.
Jordan Shallow: As much as I need.
James Cerbie: We can’t ever really take out.
Understanding the Harder You Cling to Science, the Less Personable You Become
Jordan Shallow: I lost you completely. Okay. There you go. Hello. I feel like the big thing that people have come to realize is that you’re never in the biomechanics business. You’re never in the strength and conditioning business. We all work in the people business, we’re all hospitality and management. That’s really what this whole thing is. And the quicker you realize because people realize that with no skills and it bugs the fuck out of us, right? We see people like, this guy is a guru guy, bicep twelve, and he’s a holistic functional trainer. And you’re like, but he’s figured out something that you have not yet, my friend. He’s figured out that he’s in the people business and he knows his people and his business is a reflection of that. So it can be so frustrating, like on the other side of it, to sit there and be like, how is this guy able to feed his family? He’s like, Because he understands the biggest rock, which is like, we’re all in the people business. And a lot of times the harder you lean into and cling to the science, the less personable you become. And that has a negative effect.
And it has a negative effect on why you got into it. For most people anyways, in the first place, it’s like you want to work with people. It’s like, hey, be a person that people want to work with then, yeah, I don’t know, write a force development, whatever the fuck. Don’t care, frankly, other than me and you, no one gives a shit. But I think that’s, like, the more you can realize that people are working with you for who you are, not what you know. I think the better off you’ll be in this business for the long term.
James Cerbie: I’ll just take one little snippet there and then we’ll wrap the sucker up. I remember kind of having that kind of like just starting my career and I was so just in the weeds on sets and reps and strength and conditioning and was going so hard there. Then finally someone pulled me aside like, Bro, just remember to be like a fucking human being and have a conversation. They don’t care. Like if they walk out of this room with an arm pump and they sweat, they’re going to be ecstatic. They’re going to be so happy about the session they came into. And then I remember having a physical therapist. One of my early mentors told me he’s like, James, did you know that people’s results in PT? A lot of times comes down to whether or not. They just like their therapist or not. He’s like you can look at the outcomes of physical therapy. This is actually documented research. It’s like people that had positive outcomes, they just liked their PT and a lot of times people that had no outcome they just did not like the PT because they weren’t personable, they weren’t friendly, they didn’t get along well.
So at the end of the day we are in the human business. Yeah, it’s possible to go past that. It’s crazy. It is wild dude. But Jordan, thank you so much for coming on. I really enjoyed this. For people that want to find you working.
Where to Find Dr. Jordan Shallow
Jordan Shallow: The good is probably the easiest keyhole to look through; it’s at the muscle underscore Doc. Anything on the education side is www.prescript.com I don’t know if anyone ever wants to rap or anything. Shoot me an email, Jordan@thessel.com, but that’s it. Give you my home address if you want.
James Cerbie: Sure people are buying flights as we speak. What a riot that would be if somebody actually showed up in Dubai. Thank you again and thank you as always for tuning in peace. You guys have a fantastic rest of your week.
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