Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body: Two Dudes, One Product, and the Predator Handshake
Today is the last day of Muscle Imbalances Revealed initial launch, and as such I thought I’d share an interview that I did with fellow contributor and good friend, Dean Somerset. Coincidentally, it was roughly a year ago right about now (during the original release of the series) that Dean and I “met” and instantly became cyber BFFs. He asked if I’d be interested in doing an interview for his website, I obliged, the world became a better place, and the interwebz has never been the same since.
In all seriousness, Dean’s a great guy and pretty freakin smart to boot. Since he knew he was going to be on his honeymoon during the actual launch this week, he and I decided to plan a head and cross-interview one another about life, nerd stuff, and of course MIRU (you can check out my half of the interview HERE).
As a quick heads up, Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body is on sale for the inital promo until TONIGHT (August 11th), and the price pretty much doubles after that. So, um, yeah………you do the math.
Nevetheless, enjoy the interview, and again, thank you to everyone who’s supported the product!
Tony Gentilcore (aka Dragon): You’re basically a veteran when it comes to the Muscle Imbalances series, having taken part in the original Lower Body version – what topics are you covering this time around? And, more importantly, is Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body going to get people swole?
Dean Somerset (aka Nighthawk) – Well, if by veteran you mean I was a part of the one and only other Muscle Imbalances revealed DVD, and am the only returning shmo alongside Rick (Kaselj) from the original, then yes, I am a veteran. I’m going to be talking about myofascial training for the upper body, which is a continuation of a discussion on the same topic for the lower body.
I’m also talking about Advanced Core Training: From Rehab to Performance. It’s pretty boss. The lineup on Muscle Imbalances Lower Body was pretty stellar. I mean, when guys like Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman are dropping knowledge bombs like Sonny Corleone in a front alleyway, it’s pretty tough to measure up. That said, this edition definitely delivers a shot to the dome in a fishing boat, if you know what I’m saying.
In all seriousness (poop), this edition has some smart guys on it and some jerk named Somerset, dropping knowledge on areas they know a lot about and are considered experts in their field. The lineup is solid, it has an interdisciplinary aspect to it, and it’s jam-packed with easy to put to use information that any trainer, physio, athletic therapist, strength coach or dude looking to get his swole on in the gym can start working with right away.
TG: Now I know you’re not into World of Warcraft or anything, but when the topic of fascia comes up, I know you like to get your geek on with the best of them. Can you give a little teaser as to what you cover in your presentation on the topic?
DS: Yeah, I was never into those kinds of games. I grew up in a small town in southern British Columbia, Canada, and for fun I would do things that today I pay a lot of money to be able to do again, like go mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and all that stuff. I never got into WoW or Dungeons and Dragons, but I still like to get my geek on. If you get this product for only one lesson, this is it:
- Medical science previously thought of fascia as a vestigial support network that just held stuff in place. They also thought the meniscus in the knee was a vestigial organ and often removed it with knee pain complaints, but that doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do. Doctors also thought running more than 1 mile would lead to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, so they discouraged everyone from running, which is why the push to run the 4-minute mile versus the sub-2 hour marathon all those decades ago. Sorry, back on topic. We know that fascia is more proprioceptively active than entire joints, and that it has the ability to contract and relax just like smooth muscle.
- Fascia is considered the new frontier of research into how the body functions, heals and improves performance. The whole concept of foam rolling is built on the tissue response of fascia, but it’s incomplete, only working on half the specific receptors necessary. I’ll show you how to work on the other half.
- Muscles don’t “hold tension” very well over long periods of time, which is why someone with jacked up posture can still be weak and inflexible. A muscle that’s chronically activated should theoretically be strong, shouldn’t it? That being said, fascia holds tension extremely well, and can explain how someone can sit in a Mr.Burns-like hunch for years and never have any complaint of pain. Can we fix these problems? Absolutely.
TG: The core. Do people even know what the hell that word even means? Taking it a step further, where are most trainees missing the boat in terms of how to train it?
DS: I think for the most part, people understand what it means, but not how it works. If I said that the core is the abdominal muscles, the multifidus, transverse, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles, most people would nod approvingly and say “yeah, that sounds right.” But if that was the case, we’d easily be able to address low back problems in a heart beat, we would never have to worry about chronic postural issues, we would never have to think that pelvic positioning problems would result in shoulder impairment issues. So is the core simply the aforementioned muscles? Nope.
I think most people miss the proverbial boat when it comes to core training by getting stuck in the mindset that there’s only one way to train the core. Sure, (Dr. Stuart) McGill presents a unique way of training the core based on research, but the Australian method showed a very specific adaptation from their research as well.
Note from TG: For those wondering, the Australian method entails focusing on TA (Traverse Abdominus) activation; or, the “drawing-in” maneuver. Also, the picture above is of Australian swimmer, Stephanie Rice. She’s kinda hot.
Are they both right? YES!!! They have specific uses for specific situations. It’s like trying to build a house and only using a hammer. You’re gonna be at that sucker for a long time, and I sure as hell don’t want to live there!!
Different people need different ways of approaching core training, so stepping outside of a comfortable box means you will probably have more tools available to get better results for your clients.
I can understand someone’s enthusiasm for training some elite athletes and saying that “this method works awesome for all my guys!! It’s all I use!!” Sure, but what if they train someone who has back pain? When the spine is injured, the muscles AT THAT SPECIFIC SEGMENT OF THE SPINE begin to atrophy faster than J-Lo goes through husbands, which means conventional core training programs are a waste and possibly dangerous.
Likewise, using a rehab protocol to ensure proper core activation in highly trained and powerful individuals is not only a waste of time, but also incredibly redundant. If they’re not in pain, it won’t do anything to have a guy who can deadlift 600 pounds work on spinal stabilization.
Another major faux pas is the belief that the spine should never go through flexion. In all honesty, I’ve never heard of a spine being injured going through flexion, it’s usually when the spine comes out of flexion!!
Think about it: the typical injury is when someone bent down to pick something up, moved wrong and wrenched their back. They entered into flexion fine, but didn’t have the requisite strength to get back out with the additional load or to handle the new position without getting injured. Does that mean they shouldn’t have gone into flexion, or that they should have trained their body to better handle being in a flexion posture without adverse affects?
Tell a gymnast or a diver or even a fetus that spinal flexion is a bad thing. To that end crunches won’t kill you any more than deadlifts will, but BAD crunches and BAD deadlifts are some of the worst things you can do for your spine.
TG: Well played sir, well played. I agree that oftentimes we as fitness professionals get caught up in semantics and tend to swing the pendulum either too far to the left, or too far to the right. Thanks for bringing us back to the middle.
So, while Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body is geared towards a wide spectrum of fitness professionals, I think the one population that has the most to gain are new and incoming trainers. Obviously we can tie this question into the product itself, but speaking in general terms as well, what do you feel most upcoming trainers should do or concentrate on in order to get better at their craft?
DS: The funny thing is that when I came into training, I thought I knew everything there was to know about training everyone, and that I was going to be the best ever. Well, maybe not to that extent, but I was pretty close-minded to a lot of things. I mean, I had just finished an intensive science-based degree from a pretty good school, had some hands-on experiences with people you normally wouldn’t find in a gym (cancer patients, high-caliber athletes in different disciplines, firefighters, mental/physical disabilities), plus I had an 8-pack and looked awesome in a pair of gym shorts!
The downside is that I had no idea what I was doing, and it took me the better part of a year or two to figure this out and to change my head to figure out that there was knowledge to be gained from other sources outside of my comfort zone. New trainers coming into the profession need to know that this isn’t something that they will be good at right away, but rather it will take years of cultivated effort just to be thought of as merely “good.” Too many trainers come into it thinking that it’s glamorous, that they’ll make crazy bank overnight, and that their thought process is somehow “unique” and “better” than everyone elses.
By getting out and taking courses from a wide variety of different coaches, they have the ability to learn a lot of different methods of training different clients, which will increase their value across the board. It may also show them how similar or how different their thought process is compared to those people, which can either add feul to the fire or cause them to completely change their approach to make the best of their capabilities. Like the old GI Joe paid service at the end of their cartoons used to say, “Knowledge is power,” so come get some!!!
TG: Wow, a GI Joe reference – nice! Okay, being that I’m the only American affiliated with this product (and currently residing in Boston), how mad are you that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup?
DS: You son of a bitch. I grew up in BC (the province where Vancouver is located) and always waited for the day when the Canucks would make it to the Finals and get a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Yeah, the Bruins may have won the championship but like 80% of the players were Canadian, so that’s something, right? By the way, how did the Celtics do last year? Patriots? Red Sox? Thought so. For making me relive that travesty, you’re no longer on my Christmas card list.
TG: Ahem, seven world championships in the past ten years. Just sayin…..
With regards to myofacial considerations (and we might as well throw corrective exercise into the mix as well), do you feel there are coaches/trainers/practitioners out there who tend to focus TOO much on these components? This isn’t to say that I feel neither are unimportant, but I do get a sense that many out there tend to go a little overboard. Thoughts?
DS: Oooooh, totally!! We used to have a trainer who would take beginners, intermediates, advanced, and any kind of athletic individual he could get his hands on and spend about 4-5 weeks on just soft tissue work, whether they needed it or not!! He had one guy who had a bang-on PERFECT squat right out of the box, and he insisted on spending about 20-30 minutes at the start of each session rolling out his legs, which did absolutely nothing for the guy because he wasn’t pushing any kind of weight and wasn’t getting any kind of training that would result in any alterations in soft tissue pliability.
Suffice it to say that jack-bag didn’t last very long, as most of his clients started requesting another trainer within a few weeks.
Sure, most people need SOME, but if someone has never worked out a day in their life, odds are they don’t have the same need to break up soft tissue restrictions as someone who works out 10-12 times a week in athletic competitions.
TG: And wrapping up, if you had to pick THREE reasons why people should pick up this product, what would they be? And no, you can’t use “one of the bonuses is a signed 5×7 picture of you and I re-enacting the Predator handshake.”
- Where else are you going to get a product that has info about fascia, core conditioning, breathing mechanics, corrective strategies, shoulder health, and a bunch of other topics coming from an elite strength coach, a chiropractor, a kinesiologist, and a post-rehab specialist? Answer: no where else, baby!! This is packed with more knowledge bombs than you can shake a stick at. And believe me, you can shake a stick at a lot of knowledge.
- You’ll get ripped, have hot chicks hanging off you all over the place, become rich and famous, have puppies cuddle you all day long, and probably find the cure for cancer. NOTE: None of these claims can be substantiated, but hey, you never know.
- THIS IS TONY’S FIRST PRODUCT, YO!!! The fact that he had the choice of who he wanted to pony up with in a lot of different products and he chose to hitch his wagon to the MIR freight train in order to pop his cherry means this is going to not only be crazy informative, but also reek of awesomeness.
And that, my friends, is a wrap. As I noted above, today (Thursday, August 11th) is the last day to take advantage of the initial sale price of MIRU which is $77. After that, it bumps up to $147. So, if I were you, I’d take advantage of the savings and order your copy today. Do it for the children!