Being born into an athletic family, dan and tom grew up playing sports throughout their childhood. As a result, fitness training followed as a natural consequence. Unaware of the long-term effects, they continued training aggressively throughout the 80’s and 90’s. They had no idea that what they were taught to believe was helping them, was actually causing them harm. Turns out, during that time period there was much that the fitness industry had yet to learn. As a result, they (like so many others) trained their way into what are now more clearly understood to be very predictable patterns of injury. It was painfully obvious to each of them at this point, that there had to be a better way to improve physical strength – without doing any harm. This realization really set the stage for what was to follow in their professional journey.
THEIR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY
Their innate passion for fitness and desire to help others, made their professional pursuit a natural fit. It was then that they decided to dedicate themselves professionally to learning everything they could about how our bodies function, and how we could potentially enhance them, without doing any harm along the way. The short-term goal was to use that information to help resolve their own injuries and assist others in avoiding the same mistakes. Like so many others beginning a journey of discovery, they had no idea where it would ultimately lead them. They simply armed themselves with the confidence that the outcome would justify the efforts and guide them to a better understanding about the things that they felt so devoted to.
THEIR INDUSTRY CRITIQUE
Well, it’s been more than 20 years since then, and suffice it to say that it has indeed proven to be a valued pursuit. They each feel incredibly privileged, and something they would do all over again – given the same opportunity. Initially, they spent much of their early professional years studying functional anatomy, biomechanics – along with many of the world’s leading professionals in an attempt to acquire the highest level of understanding of today’s available information. Without question, their quest clearly illustrated the high level of competency and dedication that so many of today’s leading professionals are contributing to the various fitness related fields. They are grateful to have learned so much from so many, and to have had the opportunity to employ many of those strategies with their own clientele. However, having done so for several years, they also came full circle in many respects. As such, tom and dan have respectfully arrived at the following basic critique of the protocols that are pervasive throughout the entire industry:
- That we needed to empower individuals with a method of promoting a healthy spinal architecture and recognize the primacy of doing so.
- That we need to provide people with improved protocols for core strengthening, that the currently accepted bridging and bracing protocols yield marginal results at best.
- That excessive compressive loading associated with traditional fitness is the primary malignant force contributing to most training related injuries
- That the manner with which we introduce external loading to our bodies was the key to injury prevention -that our relationship to gravity is the determinant factor in this equation, and that we should re-examine the long-term effects of loading our bodies in a vertical orientation.
- That the fitness industry needed to make a clear distinction between engaging in functional movement, and progressive resistance training.
Without question, dan and tom had to overcome a few challenges to arrive at this critique of today’s mainstream fitness. But the truth is that once they were able to step outside the currently accepted paradigm, the real challenges that lay ahead had only just begun. Because it’s not enough to simply see things differently and to express that critically. Meaning that you can’t expect that things will evolve into a void. Rather, you have to actually develop an alternative solution that makes more sense and provides people with a better model. Notably, even once you’ve successfully overcome those developmental challenges, helping people to see the wisdom in viewing a different model through another lens is altogether yet another interesting challenge. Essentially, because this inherently implies that one must begin thinking about something differently. Suffice it to say, that the study of what and why human beings “believe” the things that do, is an interesting area of study indeed. For example, we’ll give you a short list of the top three “beliefs” that control the narrative of so-called functional training that exist today. Provided it’s possible for you to at least consider the possibility that these are in fact antiquated concepts, then tom and dan would certainly applaud you, and encourage you to continue reading further…
- That any form of machine-based training is non-functional and is therefore wrong.
- That functional movement and functional progressive resistance training are intrinsically coupled together, and therefore should always be considered under the same domain.
- The idea that you can achieve a lifetime of progressive resistance sustainability by periodization / or reducing the amount of weight / or repetitions that you’re lifting in a vertical orientation.
THEIR PARADIGM CHANGING SOLUTIONS
It is worth noting that dan and tom never intended to innovate technologies that would disrupt both the equipment design and fitness industries. In fact, initially they were recommending that people move away from any machine-based training for the same reasons that so many other leading professionals still do to this day. Rather, it was an evolutionary process. One that was really the appropriate heuristic response to the available evidence, coupled with today’s best scientific understanding. They simply followed a path of truth, to what they maintain is the next logical progression in the optimization of human function. Their hope is that one day these new scientific protocols will be fully assimilated into both the professional and public zeitgeist. In doing so, they could potentially usher in a new era and platform for the modern optimization of human physicality and help people throughout the world ascend to the next level of becoming. Here are just a few of the protocols that represent a new scientific understanding for the fitness industry:
- Promoting self-spinal architectural mobility safely and effectively in the sagittal plane (i.e., with the Back Reformer) with a leveraging principle is primary and should be done daily.
- That we acknowledge that our bodies are inexorably engaged in an adaptive reciprocity with the environmental conditions with which it finds itself, and that this reality is most vital with respect to proximal to distal sequencing – This means that our bodies relationship to gravity and motion will evoke different physiological responses – This reality can be quantified and should be intelligently applied.
- That our bodies are primarily phasic dominant while we’re in a vertical orientation
- That only when the human body is safely secured in a relatively horizontal orientation, coupled with unsupported 3rdclass lever biomechanics can our bodies innately optimize deep structural activation / realize ideal ratios of co-contraction with the more superficial core structures – because of the integral relationship between unsupported 3rdclass lever biomechanics and optimal core function. Learn More…
- That the sustainable optimization of the human body requires the intelligent application of both the horizontal and vertical vectors.
- That in order to facilitate #3 – we must decouple progressive resistance training – from functional movement – which should only be done unloaded for 99% of today’s population
What are the Implications of this New Technology / Understanding?
- That the industry can now begin implementing a next level center body strategy, that more fully honors the complexity of optimizing human function. This includes extracting the most favorable constituents of intelligently adapting horizontally as well as vertically.
- Appreciating that unsupported horizontal shear is directly associated with optimizing proximal stability, which then more effectively prepares the human body for vertically orientated compressive loading.
- This also re-defines the industry standard of how we approach what we consider functional, and a mechanisms role in that equation.
- This specific horizontal strategy also simultaneously optimizes the body’s four major subsystems synergistically with the center body.
- Irrespective of the extent to which you progressively load horizontally with the right biomechanics, you’ll always maintain the optimal ratios of co-contraction (without ever being phasic dominant).
- Lastly, that when you horizontally minimize compressive loading that it’s also joint protective when engaging in upper extremity progressive resistance training.
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