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In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why cardio exercise is NOT a natural way of exercising. (1:41)
  • The “ideal workout” that makes you fit, lean and strong without working out 2 hours a day. (3:42)
  • How weak hand muscles can shorten your life. (11:28)
  • Forget barbells and machines, here’s how to get strong with nothing but a broomstick. (20:15)
  • Why your way of breathing says more about your strength than your biceps. (24:29)

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Get to the bottom of what's truly healthy in this crazy complex world so you can take back what is rightfully yours. Welcome to the health sovereign podcast. This is your host Logan Christopher.

(00:20): Welcome. I'm Logan Christopher and this is the health sovereign podcast. Joining me today is Russel Jones. Russell is co-owner of my back in my body clinic in New Jersey, master level rehability trainer, strength athlete and motivational speaker. And he's delivered over 1000 presentations since 1992. That's quite a lot. He got in contact with me, we knew each other through Peter Ragnar. The first interviewee on this podcast sent me his book, sick and tired of being sick and tired of solutions for better, healthier life. And we're pretty much kindred spirits in a lot of the ideas we have here. So we'll be discussing that and strong men's stuff and health and all the topics. Thank you for joining me today, Russell.

(01:03): Oh, thanks Logan. Thanks for having me.

(01:05): So 1000 performances. That's quite a lot. You got into the song and stuff through Dennis Rogers who just I believe the previous podcast of this one was David Whitley who else had got started in the art because of that man, as did I, one of the topics that I've been thinking about lately is just how important strength is to health and wellbeing. Like the stronger you become really the healthier it's, it's like building a reservoir of strength. What are your thoughts on that topic?

(01:32): Oh yeah, I totally agree. I mean, and I talk about it in the book, the great American fitness and exercise paradigm is always a strength flexibility in cardio and it's, everything's separated out. But I think in my experience over time, I would definitely put way, way, way bigger emphasis on the strength aspect. I think the cardio, I cracked up when I hear about these people, you know, on the treadmill, you know, and on the ellipticals and doing all these things and they're gasping for air. But to me, I mean, I can do risk roles and get my heart rate elevated, but I'm working my strength. You know, I'm not just plodding along on a device that has, it looks like it's a human action, but it's really not because the earth doesn't spin at that fast beneath our feet. And so all these issues come up I think from not developing strength properly.

(02:32): And I have, you know, pretty strong opinions on strength as well because that has to be very intelligent because I think when it's not done intelligently, injuries come up and we're not able to resolve those injuries because of the compensations we develop. Yeah. So strength is definitely where it's at. But again, you know, at every workout is a whole body workout because even if I'm working my, you know, my arms, I still have to be engaged. My whole body has to be engaged. If not, you know, that's why machines and things like that are great about you. I was like in my world, so some machines have a place, but overall most of them you could throw away 99% of them and be better off. I definitely agree. The division, we humans are very good about cutting things apart and there's obviously utility in doing that, but oftentimes in doing so, we lose the bigger picture.

(03:29): We lose the holistic picture. So in training, you know, separating strength and cardio and flexibility, all these components are important. But if you treat them as components, you're not doing them together at all. Like the ideal workout should be working your strength or cardio and flexibility all at the same time, at least to some degree. That should be part of the training methodology. There are times to you like a wrist roller, you can make it a whole body. You can be breathing, but it is mostly a strength exercise. Right? Totally. Yes. So we wanted to bring you the best example that just kind of got me going. I do help athletes heal quickly from injuries and we can talk about that at some point if you'd like to. But I ran into a guy, his name is Jay Schroeder, years ago. He kind of took a liking to me for some reason.

(04:13): I have no idea why, but this is probably maybe 15 years ago now. And he was espousing a way of training that I had never, I would just totally not familiar with. And so we use my son as the experiment. My son at the time was a sophomore in high school. He was a tall, skinny dude. He had probably, he had good hand eye coordination, but he was not overall, he wasn't fast. He was not. And he wasn't strong like me in high school. Right. He was a, he was a very good wrestler because of his length and because he was very smart and you is pretty good baseball hitter. But once he got the hit, you never knew when he was going to get to first base. And it was like, not for lack of effort, but it was just inefficient athletically.

(05:06): So anyways, so this guy showed us this to me. He says, well, let's do an experiment with your son. And so I said great. You know, cause he was already, he was getting injuries and everything else that he was my baby. So all my other kids had suffered through high school sports, college sports, all the injuries that go with it and everything else. He challenged my son, he said, all right, we're going to go three months and all you're going to do exactly what I tell you. And so they tested them at school in may, presidents' tests, how fast you can run the mile. So he ran a mile, not dogging it or anything like that, six minutes and 48 second mile all out for him. Then we started the program. The program was working out four days a week. There was four exercises. Each exercise was done for five minutes continuous.

(05:57): Right.

(05:58): And the rule was he wasn't allowed to do anything else cause it was an experiment for the whole summer. So 25 minutes of work, four days a week. Two of those days involved me, applied a little bit of pressure in the different positions. But other than that, that's all he did. He didn't run to the mailbox. He played a little bit of baseball during the summer and so, and it was torturous mentally torture us to do it. It doesn't sound like that long a period of time, but it was, yeah. And so anyways, so it comes September, new high school. He's going to be the new captain of the wrestling team. They get the wrestlers out on the track in September, Iran, six minutes flat. He runs around the track and he calls me dad. I could have went faster, but I never went that fast in my life before it cut 48 seconds off his all time.

(06:47): Best not running. Now that's so counterintuitive to way we think. Right? I mean, how do you become a faster runner? Run more. Right. And then he ran sprints and he would always be, I mean, you know, he was tall. He wrestled it. I feel a weight. He wrestled at one 89 even though we never weighed one 89 in high school. And he was always last. He run every sprint except for the one guy that was coming out for the team for the first time. It was actually a track guy and he said his recovery was like so quick and I was like, you know, I was stunned at what was going on, but what we figured out was is that instead of worrying about working as heart and lungs directly and you know, getting that whole gasping thing going, we worked where his muscles got so efficient to utilizing oxygen that and we worked in perfect athletic position. He became so much more efficient as an athlete and it was just a, it was amazing to me. It was just amazing to me. So it changed my whole idea of exercise and strength cause it was strength, it was strength in the right position, you know?

(07:52): Yeah, yeah. I feel like if you can get cardio, quote unquote, and flexibility to a certain base level, but then just pushing up strength higher and higher, that's really going to have, and I'm not saying like you got to compete as a powerlifter or anything like that. I think the diversity of movement can be a really good thing. Although as you were just saying with your son, they're in that program, limited movements and everything. Just working on the foundations and really building those had big impacts. So

(08:19): Yeah, he wasn't moving, there was no movement. He was hauling. The four exercises were just holding in a perfect athletic position. I mean, he was in an elevated lunge, but it was, his feet were going forward. His upper body was in proper position. Everything was in alignment and it was, I mean, it was really tough, but Oh my goodness. The difference. I mean, you know, we all have this thing where we think we're going to be the next great athlete. You know? I mean, you've had enough experience. The gray, you know, they were born that way. They were born with such genetic superiority to the average person. But we have, yeah, we can go the average person, we have a big range go. I mean, we're not going to get to that place without driving ourselves crazy. But yeah, it was a pretty awesome time. It was. And the residual of it was, it was just tremendous. But anyway,

(09:16): Yeah, genetics is interesting and most people think about the few sports that are out there and the more popular they are, but the people that are actually built to be able to perform at the highest levels on that. It's a very, very small percentage. But the average person, you know, you and me, we can get into some of this off the wall stuff where there's not as much competition and perform very well in doing that. Right. And one of your quotes is genetics load. The gun lifestyle pulls the trigger. I don't know if that was that your quote or you heard it from someone else, but I thought that was good. So genetics is an a, it's an important piece, but it's important is over floated in our society. I mean even now, like we've made big promises with the human genome project and that yielded basically nothing, but it still is an important piece to get. But our lifestyle is so much more important than after all. It's the only thing we can control. So let's put our focus there.

(10:09): Exactly. Yeah. I'm totally with you on that. You know, I think too, I mean the genetically gifted, no, they have their own challenges because a lot of them don't follow a healthy lifestyle because they don't need it when they're younger. Right. So you know, that cuts back on their longevity. But the person that's willing to put the time in and put the effort in and build that really solid foundational base strength base, that's always the conversation too in our culture. I mean instead of it starting this with a strength based for young people right away we got them into sports and skills. You know, the stronger the human, I think the skills will come. I mean the skills will come a lot easier if you have strength, if you have your coordination and everything going in one direction. Well now it's like, you know, let's work those skills. I mean there's a lot of money and skill training, you know, but then the injuries, it's just, I, you know, I don't know if you follow school sports and all that. I mean it's such a young age. I mean, you know, the ankles and knees, the shoulders, the elbows, it's just, it's just sad, you know? I mean that's where our culture is.

(11:20): Yeah. We'll be talking about injuries, but when I cover a little bit more on strength first you mentioned, and this is something I've come across before, is that grip strength. It's actually one of the best predictors for death. So basically you get stronger hands, you're going to die less of anything, which is a pretty good trade off in my mind. When did you first come across this information and how did that kind of tweak your thinking? I mean, you were probably already doing the strong man stuff, right?

(11:46): Yeah. I think it was during the frustration of you know, when the seeds of this latest books are and tired was coming about, I think you know, I just started looking at predictors and things like that and you know, people would exercise and they wouldn't exercise. They'd have a diet that they follow. They wouldn't have a diet that they followed and you know, and they're getting sick younger. And it was, somebody actually sent me one of the articles and I started digging about it, about grip and hand strength. And I mean I got to give, you know, Dennis Rogers to credit for that. I, I stumbled into the strong man thing a year before I met Dennis. And that's a whole other story we can talk about. The first time I broke a stack of bricks, but Dennis from the elbow down to the fingertips, I mean I don't know that there's ever been anyone at any size in weight.

(12:36): It was more efficiently built with tendons and ligaments. And you know, Dennis always talked about tendons and ligaments and is the only thing he really never talked about each muscles or anything like that. You know, so yeah. So, and the variety of exercises that Dennis gave me cause I was, I don't know about you, but I didn't, I'm not like the natural at any of this stuff. Basically when I entered this whole thing, I was an old basketball player, you know, like 39 years old. So the keyword was like fold, you know, but I was a basketball player and so to do this stuff, I remember the first time Dennis was and John Brookfield. Do you ever meet John Brookfield person, but have talked? Yeah. So at the downtown athletic club in New York city, the home of the Heisman trophy before nine 11, we're in the lobby of this hotel.

(13:21): And I had met Dennis the night before and John Brookfield and Dennis are teaching me how to bend a 40 penny nail, you know, in the lobby and with these tiny little rags. All right? Not these big luscious wraps that everybody seems to use today. These are these tiny little washcloths. That's what they were like sections of them. And I was there and I remember whimpering with the pain and the palms of my hand, and they're going, nah, you got to get stronger now. And then the next day I was taking Dennis to the airport and he said, ah. He said, well, you gotta start on cards till you might as well start with a deck of cards. So we pulled out a deck of cards and the most I was able to rip with 17 cards without my hands. I was just whimpering it just a blubbering fool, you know, dead is, come on man, this is killing me.

(14:09): Now remember I'm Dennis, this first student, I'm not saying it's the number one student, but I'm his first student, you know, so he must've been, you know, I guess he figured if he had success with me, he could have success with anybody. Yeah. So, and the variety of exercises he gave me, you know, we're doing all kinds of risks, rolls, pinch grips, every variety of things. Rolling newspapers, goose snacks, you know, all these different things that he came up with and Oh my goodness, you know, 39 years old and you're not supposed to be getting stronger at 30 now you're supposed to be hanging on for dear life at 39 you know, and all of a sudden my strength is going through the roof. You know, like what happened here. So, and I think too that the grip strength too, I mean that's one of the great ways to improve. A testosterone production as as was arm wrestling. Well that was one of the most, cause it's super intense and everything. Obviously if you get somebody if equal to your equal. So the grip strength stuff, it was just, I guess it was ironic that the, the research backed up what I was feeling about developing that.

(15:08): Yeah. Well it's interesting to think about that, not just physically how it's going to correlate to a whole bunch of stuff, but even neurologically, you know, a lot of people are worried about and justly so Alzheimer's, dementia, that sort of thing in our hands. I don't know if you've ever seen the homunculus, I believe they call it, but they'd look at the amount of the brain that is dedicated to moving the hands in different areas of the body. And the hands are used much more of it than anything else. So just being able to move your hands and because there are so many ways we can move them, whether that's ripping next the cards or squeezing the gripper, all kinds of different things that a lot of movement here is going to correlate to not only bodily strength but neurological health as well. At least that's my theory. I haven't seen something back that up. But seeing that, yeah, there's less deaths from all causes. That would be one cause at least in there.

(15:57): Oh yeah, for sure. It's just interesting to see too. Again, if we come back to our culture and you know, you join a gym and you have all the great intentions and everything and you go into the gymnasium in America and it's, you know, there's the cardio section over there with your mindless movement. Okay. And then there's the machine section for all, you know, we said pretty boys worked on all that stuff. You know, where you don't have to balance or coordinate anything. You just go from point a to point B and back again and then you know, then they have the real manly or actually now women, some of the women are lifting some unbelievable stuff, you know, the real weightlifting section. But most gyms don't even let you use chalk anymore because you know, or things like that. It's too messy. And then you have this room now that you know, they'll might have some ropes and some, a heavy bag or something and then they have the yoga classes room and everything like that.

(16:52): But there's no place, there's no section, there's no, even most places don't have even one piece of equipment for hand and grip strikes. Right? No, I mean, how crazy is that when you think about, you know, how powerful an indicator it is? Like you said too, I totally agree. If you don't have hand in grip strength, like when we're treating people, a lot of the issues with it, it comes from your cervical spine. And so, you know, in today's world, I mean, I guess the modern term is called technic. You know, we're so people are not getting the strong signals go into their, their hands and fingers. They don't have strong grip strength, so no. Yeah, it's a definite sign. It's a definite warning, like Holy crap, if I don't have grip strength, I mean sometimes I can do things with people's necks when I'm working with them that it'll just free up the nerve sensation go in there. So yeah. So it's pretty cool thing to think about. Okay.

(17:46): Yeah, I definitely think fitness as a whole come a long way. Even though we still see those conventional gyms. I like to pick on CrossFit because that's everyone's favorite target and definitely some great stuff there. But we see, even though it's like cross training fitness, there's no grip training in there. Do you have some grip involved in some of the exercises, but it's an afterthought? Not a forethought, but yeah, just a little bit of grip training can go a long way.

(18:09): I think that'd be, I don't want to, I don't want to pile on CrossFit. I've only been to two CrossFit gyms. One was a place where I was going to set up an office there with working with injuries and stuff and I went to one class. Of course the day I picked it was today on how to do the clean and jerk and I saw all these people there all different shapes and sizes, but most of them look like it never really. It worked out in a gym before with weights and I watched like a two minute instruction time and then I saw them practicing doing a clean and jerk and yeah, I mean and they are cheering each other on to go higher and higher and the form, I mean

(18:59): That was one of the most critical lifts out there. Two minutes of instruction isn't sufficient. Like I've been training a long time and I do not clean jerks. Not a main thing, but that is not something, because it's so technical, it's something I'm not really focused on.

(19:14): Oh Lord have mercy. But I remember fleshing back when my daughter was a, I think she was eighth grade and you know we're going to the old time strong men banquets in the, the last president of his name was already Dressler and he wrote the Bible on Olympic lifting. He's on all the committees and stuff. He runs a place out in Queens, New York teaching Olympic style lifting. He's got, you know, he's on whatever Olympic committees and everything else and ours is a great guy. And actually I quoted something on his book but that was about steroid use and stuff. But anyway, my daughter and I go over to this place in Queens, New York, I can't remember the name of it, the loss, but not the loss battalion. Something about the battalion or something. And so there's these really, you could tell they were like European Eastern European men that were there probably four or five guys that were waiting to get Ortiz instruction and everything.

(20:06): But these guys were like, you could see they were checked guys. I mean they had hips and hamstrings and I mean they were in shape guys. And they're there with a broomstick practicing their poles, right. With a broomstick. I mean the whole time we're there, that's all they're using was improve stick. And so I said to RDS, so when did these guys get to like lift the weights? He says, he says, I gotta be honest. Most people are using the stick for the first six months before we even introduce weights. So of course with that in my head, you know, I'm like I don't, I'm watching the CrossFit class. I got up man. But anyway, you know, my, my oldest sister is a big cross fit person. I got some friends that are dig into it, but you know, they're a little bit older, a little bit more mature I say. I think they know when to, when they're form breaks, that really depends on Jim as well and the coaches there and all that.

(21:00): Yeah, I'm sure it's individual thing. But anyway, so speaking of

(21:04): Predictors of death and another one I've been going into recently is lung capacity is another one. Those good predictors and this ties into the end. This is a bit more of a personal question. By knowing your performance as you've blown up the hot water bottle, that's one of your feets you've done. And that's not something I've ever tried. So I'd be curious your thoughts around breathing exercises, but also how'd you get started with blowing up the hot water bottle?

(21:29): Yeah, so the first thing I ever did in the strings feet world was breaking a stack of bricks. And the night that I did, and I can tell you that story if, if you like how that happened, but the night I did it, the hot water bottle, somebody was doing a hot word, somebody else was doing it. And after that night I felt that I wanted to put a presentation together that would involve feature strength because I saw the effect it had on the audience. My thing was always getting to people, be an uplifting whatever it was going to be, right? I didn't really have to be the best of the world at any particular thing. And so I got myself a hot water bottle and I called the guy up. He was from, from California actually. And gave me some basic instruction and warnings back then.

(22:15): The standard, a hot water bottle was out of the carrier corporation out of Rhode Island. It was pretty stout but it was pretty consistent over the years. People have handed me out water bottles, you know, some of them are like blowing up a party balloon and some of them are pretty stout. So the consistency and things like that. So it's two facets, right? Number one, you have to get strong enough to blow the thing up. You have to remember above all that you cannot let air go back in. So you have to figure out, you know, how to have your mouth cause I never used, you know, a lot of people use the plugs and different things so that the air doesn't come back in. Like if you, you know, we would call that cheating, but a lot of people do it, you know, they holding it up to their mouth and I'm wanting cheese.

(23:00): I don't even have it held tight to their mouth. How are they doing this? Then I said, Oh, they have these things that they have made up, these little plugs so that the air goes in but the air doesn't come back out. But part of the real challenge is to hold it from blowing back in. And so I had to figure out a way to increase my ability in that area. What I came up with was breathing squats. I remember the book super squats, you come across it, right? So I would religiously do that. I would do a set of no once a week and then I do the deep breathing pullovers where you hold your breath, then you, you know, you're reached back right? Immediately following the, the real heavy squats, you know, 20 rep breathing squats. That seemed to really help as well as practicing with the hot water bottle.

(23:47): But then I was getting strong enough to inflate the thing, but then fear became a big factor because now it's Holy crap, this freaking thing that allegedly it's 500 to 700 pounds of pressure into this thick, heavy rubber thing is going to explode in my face, you know? And so, you know, how do I know which way it's going to go? You know? So that took me a couple of months, like once, I think I was strong enough to actually blow it up to actually just let it go. So yeah. So it was a twofold process. But yeah, that was a mainstay for years. I stopped doing it. My supplier's supplier ran out and it was so sketchy. And I don't know, I kind of got away from doing it. But I think too, as you get older, I think the elasticity of your lungs, my big signature one on, I don't know if you saw that in the book, it was probably not well done, but it was in 2000, I don't know, it was about 10 years ago at the strong man's banquet where I was trying to figure out something to do when, you know, when you're performing in front of strong men, you know, it's kinda like you can't do,

(24:51): They've seen it all. You got to do something a bit creative, right?

(24:55): Yes. So I talked to Dennis Rogers about it and he said, I don't know, man, that sounds a little too dangerous. He said, and I don't even know if you could do it, but we do a lot of of strength lying across two chairs face up. And you know, so sometimes you know, somebody standing on our stomach and we'll bend a spike or tear a deck of cards, whatever. So I thought, well, gee, why don't I have somebody stand on my stomach and I'll blow up a hot water bottle. But you know, your diaphragm fatigues. That's part of the thing when you're doing a real hot water bottle, your diaphragm fatigue. So you know, your first number of breasts are very powerful. And if it takes, sometimes it takes 2025 breasts, you know, and you've got to pause in between each one. So anyway, that was my big signature one, which almost killed me, but my wife's standing on my stomach and I did it at the banquet, but I had a headache for it two days. I don't get headaches. I was I didn't even want to talk about it. I did it. It's in the books, but yeah.

(25:50): Yeah. I can just imagine because you don't have the Ford flection, which I imagine helps doing. Your abs have to stay tight so you're actually able to breathe less into the balloon. Yeah, that's

(26:00): Right. And your glutes and hamstrings have to be engaged as well just to hold you in position. Yeah, it was, yeah, that was nightmarish. But like that's that like that's probably the only thing, but I haven't seen anybody else try it. There's probably a reason, you know, let smarter people out there

(26:19): If you're going to be stupid, be smart about it. As I always say. That's true.

(26:23): Right? Well that doctor Bob was there, dr Robert, dr Bob Goldman. No, he's everywhere with know and Stallone and he's a medical doctor as well. And I mean he was literally right outside where there he was taking pictures of himself and I mean he quoted, I put his quote everywhere, you know, when that thing comes up I, he said came

(26:43): Up to me really concerned afterwards and he goes, listen, he said, you can't do this man, the color you turn, you're like a half a breath away from a stroke. I, you know, he's going crazy. And I was like, okay, okay. I won't do that anymore. Right. That's the world we live in though, right? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Thank you for listening. My guest has been Russell Jones, and we'll be back next time to continue the conversation, especially talking about old injuries, what to do about them and how to fast track the healing response. So stay tuned at lost empire herbs. We guarantee our herbs will change your life or your money back, more energy, mental focus, better sleep, sex hormones, workouts, and more. Unlike the vast majority of supplements out there with us, you can notice a feelable difference to perform at your peak or you don't have to pay for them. That's what performance urbalism is all about. Get started by going to lost empire herbs.com and take our new quiz to find the right herbs for you.

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