Episode #123: Chris Duffin: The Mad Scientist of Strength, 1000 lbs. World Record Powerlifter, How Your Demons Can Help You
My guest today is known as The Mad Scientist of Strength, Mr. Chris Duffin. Before all the females run for the door, Chris shares his tale of growing up in the forest, helping support his younger sisters while on scholarship in college, and, oh yes, how he squatted and deadlifted 1000 pounds for multiple reps.
Chris was a guy working as an engineer by day and being a strong man by night. How does one believe they can lift 1000 pounds and what is the approach to the pursuit? This is a human conversation with a highly intelligent man who reminds us that we all have moments of superhuman if we believe and figure out how. You can not lift this kind of weight by being really “strong,” you have to also have a brilliant mind to understand the mechanism at work. He shows us some of his equipment to make our workouts safer and smarter.
Chris also shares how sometimes your demons can be helpful, but then what do you do with them when they don’t serve you any longer? Enjoy.
Listen to the episode here:
- Playground Physics: Knowing the Correct Positions [00:05:46]
- Movement and Body Position Education [00:10:51]
- The Real Captain Fantastic [00:38:59]
- Mind-Setting and Goal-Setting [00:56:04]
- Getting Into Competitive Lifting [01:02:33]
- Cardio Elements in Weightlifting [01:17:59]
- A Partner Through the Lows [01:38:15]
- On The Prerequisite to Success [01:43:34]
- Squat Hiatus [02:12:41]
- Spirit and Identity [02:15:36]
- The Deadlift [02:32:15]
- The Secret to Chris’ Adrenaline Pop [02:33:35]
- Come Downs [02:39:15]
Chris Duffin: The Mad Scientist of Strength, 1000 lbs. World Record Powerlifter, How Your Demons Can Help You
My guest is known as The Mad Scientist of Strength, Mr. Chris Duffin. I joke before all the women run for the door. I kid you not, for multiple reps, Chris was able to deadlift and squat 1,000 pounds. This conversation has so much more to do with Chris the person, the man, the brilliant engineer, and somebody who was raised in the woods. At one point, his parents lost him and his sisters and siblings to the state. This is a human conversation about somebody who has done some superhuman things.
We also talked about some of the ingenuity and creativity even in dumbbells and things where there hasn’t been a lot of change or progress. You have an engineer’s mind coming and bringing ideas to ways that we can work out safer but also how you pursue things that almost seem impossible. Chris is loving, kind, and, like the rest of us, a little bit scared human being who have done some incredible things. I enjoyed this conversation. Also, if you’re looking for any of the information, you can get anything directed whether it’s the training information or the equipment by going to ChristopherDuffin.com. I hope you enjoy the show.
Chris, thanks for coming to my house. I appreciate you coming all this way. You live in a different state and you’re probably doing other things. I’m excited to have you here. I will say that this is the first interview I’ve done with a piece of weight equipment right here. It’s appropriate. I like it a lot. Can you tell me about this? I can’t wait for Laird to get home. Laird would be like, “Finally, someone I can talk to.”
From a design philosophy, a lot of things that I work on are based on improving the mechanics of the lifter. It’s around getting the joints in the right position and being able to load them appropriately. There are some misnomers that weight is this be-all and end-all. People are not realizing that the load is created by a torque moment on the joint.
There are a lot of things that happen when we accommodate how the body is designed to operate. Being able to stack the joints to get the prime movers working the way they should and the stabilizers working as they should also happen from a neurological perspective. You get this from your background. My background is in engineering so I did aerospace, automotive, and all sorts of stuff.
What I’m trying to do is load the top of this conversation about your smartypants-ness because then we can talk about your 1,000 pounds of lifting. What is interesting is the only reason you’re able to lift 1,000 pounds for multiple reps is because of your smartypants.
It was a dedicated effort to know that I have to use more than my brute strength to be able to accomplish these things. I do a lot of things with vehicular or other analogies because that’s my background. In a lot of vehicles, you’ve got this traction control button. People think that when you have traction control on your vehicle, it’s going to take the power from the wheel. It’s slipping and sending it to the one that’s gripping. In fact, that’s not what happens. It’s an engineering system. It’s built to make the car safe or the airplane safe or any of those things.
When we’re in an unstable condition, we detune the vehicle, the system. The brain of the car goes out, reduces the timing on the engine, changes the shift patterns, and does all this to reduce the power output. As you’re going around that corner on some slippery water like coming up here to your house where there are lots of curves, it reduces that and makes everything less power output. It reduces the chance for you to fly off the road and burn in a fiery death.
We’re the same way. We’ve got muscles, which are the vehicle, the power train. We’ve got a brain. We’ve got the nervous system. It’s the same thing. We’ve got that connection to the ground, our feet, or maybe our hands. If you’re surfing, it’s feet on the board. Once we get in those risky positions, we detune. This is not a theory. Go try to sprint on ice and you will not be able to put your maximal force. This is how it works. It’s crazy when you start playing with this stuff in design and you start looking at the center of mass versus the center of rotation and where those are balanced in relation to joints and all this stuff going on. It sounds complicated.
For a third-grader, let’s say you’re squatting. You know a lot about deadlifting and squatting. Talk to me about those positions, which location is what? When people hear about these places of rotation, what is that?
We’ll simplify this. We’ll do playground physics. I’ll talk deadlifting and benching and then we’ll cover squatting too because I have this phenomenal bar. You walk into a playground, teeter-totter. It’s always sitting on one side or the other. It can balance. There’s a balance point but it’s infinitely perfect, which means you can’t ever get there. That’s because the center of rotation is all at the same point when you get them a little off-axis on a plane.
If you’re pressing and you come out with what we call a neutral grip bench bar or it could be any implement that’s like that, it’s in your wrist and it’s trying to go one way or the other. You’re trying to stop it from hitting your face. You bench, which is fine, except you have the traction control on because we’ve got this instability.
What I would do is arch the bar and be able to put the center of mass below the wrist and create some stability like a kettlebell. Now we’re starting to stack the system and joints. For people to understand, it’s not just the muscles. It’s the neurological inputs to the brain to say that it’s safe, which then comes back around to the force output and also the pain. This bench bar, for example. When I first developed this one, I had a lot of relationships in Major League Baseball. I work with 29 or 30 teams.
Who’s the bad guy that’s not working with you? I’m kidding.
The Rockies. I know that most of the strength coaches on the teams all have bad shoulders. They can’t bench press. They can’t even take a bar to their chest without pain. There are a lot of shoulder injuries in this sport and not all of them are baseball backgrounds. For some reason, all the strength coaches, that’s the case. I already know it.
[bctt tweet=”Do more than yesterday. Get up off the couch. Go for a walk. Go for a five-minute walk if that’s all you can do. Start progressing slowly, not too much.”]
I take the bar and I go to spring training because it’s my best opportunity. I usually visit three teams a day for the week, make the rounds, and talk with everybody. On average, 2 of the 3 teams each day have a coach that can’t press, which is fine. It’s not the be-all and end-all. This story is going to show how pertinent it is. They can’t take an empty barbell to their chest without pain. Over the course of a couple of days, I had five people that were like that.
Where’s the pain showing up?
Different places. For them, they’re feeling it in the shoulder. Some have had surgeries. Some have pending surgeries. They all tell you their injury history. It doesn’t matter. I give them the bar and their staff is like, “No.” I’m like, “Try it.” They’re scared because it’s now a greater range of motion so it’s even scarier. Every 1 of those 5 worked up to 225 pounds and did it between 3 to 6 repetitions, depending on who it was, weights they used to train with to a three-inch greater range of motion, zero pain.
It’s because they’re set in the correct position.
We’re getting everything stacked. We’re also changing those neurological inputs, which are then creating those safety mechanisms of detuning, which is turning on some of those stabilizers or doing things around the joint. It’s this stuff that people don’t grasp and the impact of that. That’s a story and an example of how this stuff works.
You have children. When you see a kid and their primal patterns are perfectly intact, it’s the way they get up, get down. When they’re smaller, it’s easier. Take it from me. I see certain movements. It’s almost like a different language. My femur is long. I look at certain movements and I am jealous. I don’t remember ever when my body moved that way. I’m curious. You’re high level and I want to get into how high level.
If I was a baseball coach and you came in, based on what you’re able to move, I’ll listen to you. What you’re saying is making sense because you have to be into the physics of it to do it. What if it’s somebody who’s like, “I go to spin class and I like to lift a little bit of weight.” My favorite is women going, “I don’t want to get too big.” We’re going to direct people to you. In those cases, how are you encouraging people to put this into that type of movement?
We do offer a lot of free education. There are a lot of things from understanding the body position. I would like to touch on the squat that you were asking about because that is a primal pattern. You’re talking about children. During the first nine months of development, there’s a sequence and it’s all ingrained in our bodies. It happens at the same time all the way up unless there’s some neurological developmental issue. The final being and one of the basic motor patterns is moving into the standing position, which involves the squat. There are a lot of other primal crawl positions. We move towards it.
Every able-bodied person should be able to squat effectively. It starts breaking down in later years because of a lot of environmental and sociological factors. The stress in our environment all starts doing certain things in our bodies. I like to try to teach people about this stuff. I teach people a lot about breathing and bracing.
Fundamentally, the ability to control your spinal mechanics has the largest global impact on your body. The second if we’re looking at priorities based on that would be the foot and ankle complex. Bringing awareness to this has been a huge passion of mine. I started this over a decade ago in the strength training world when no one was having these discussions or doing any education on it. From a product standpoint, I try to take it and simplify it. One of our products, if you use it, makes this stuff happen. You love kettlebells. Do you do goblet squats?
Goblet squats are a great teaching tool. Because of where the load is positioned, it causes an alignment of the pelvis to the diaphragm, which is going to help us do some things. You don’t have to worry about the complexity of what I’m going to cover here. It creates this intra-abdominal pressure, this eccentric loading of that cavity 360 degrees around without a spike because we’re out of position. The balance from the muscles to the front to the back and how they’re going to work comes all the way down to muscle fiber filaments and their positions. They all work more effectively that way.
We have to have this alignment. Having that load in front has that to happen and then it automatically queues. It’s like a hot water balloon, you need to load it from the inside and fill it but you also have to have the restriction pulling in to create the stabilization. That’s that outer sheath, which is the thoracic lumbar musculature, the obliques, the abdominals, all this stuff contracting down the other way. In the fitness world, everybody talks about bracing and crunching down tight, which is not it. All this stuff all starts happening automatically with a goblet squat. Unfortunately, if you do them, you’re limited by your biceps and shoulders. You can’t load it.
You can’t go crazy heavy. Your grip, too. I’m a decently strong female. I’m not uptight but my bones are not the same as yours. My grip will give out long before my legs.
We can’t build the adaptation in the hip and leg strength and stuff that we’re trying to lift because we’re limited by these other things. I made a barbell so that we can move the load in space. With the kettlebell, we didn’t put the load in front of you. What we did is the load always stays over your midfoot. It’s simple physics. Otherwise, you’d fall over if you put 200 pounds in front of you. People don’t realize the load is staying right there over your midfoot so you’re causing the spinal upgrading behind the bar. You can manipulate it.
You made a point about, “I feel jealous sometimes of the child, the position, the femur length, and all this.” We’re all different. Not everybody who’s built has a barbell on their back and is able to get in certain positions. Many people in the fitness world, professionals, all push that everybody needs to be able to do this and needs to be able to get to this position. You’re not of average height. You don’t have the average torso length or femur length. You’re not going to be able to do the same thing as someone else. This is why I work with 90% of the NFL, the NBA, nearly everybody in the MLB, and any major college you can think of because a lot of those are outliers, too.
Weird shapes that make you good at something but harder over here. Let’s say we have a sedentary person. Let’s say maybe it’s without weight. What’s the best way to get them to squat? We’re going to get deep into the performance. I’d like to also remind people where to move if they’re not moving, if they are moving, and maybe if they’re by themselves. What are the best ways? The goblet squat. Maybe you’re not going to squat as much but that is a better way to squat.
We’ve been getting technical. Let’s bring this back to somebody that wants to live a better quality of life. Resistance training is the ability to adapt, which is going to improve the quality of your life and be able to respond to the environment and be more resilient. Do more than yesterday. Get up off the couch. Go for a walk. Go for a five-minute walk if that’s all you can do. Start progressing slowly, not too much.
When it comes to squatting, there’s nothing wrong with bodyweight squats. I do them in my program. There are things that we want to be able to do with a squat. The first thing is we want to understand what it is. It is a movement through the hip. It’s not a hinge. It’s different. A lot of people call it a hinge but it’s not. We’re moving power through the largest prime moving group in the body.
What we’re doing is we want to do that around a stable spine complex. The first thing that we need to do is learn to breathe, brace, and control the spine position. Breathing is the biggest thing that you can do. We’re talking neurology and all this other stuff that I mentioned that things get broken down. Breathing is easy. I breathe.
Most of us are breathing wrong.
The diaphragm is a cone-shaped muscle. The front of it is across the ribcage. It’s why the diaphragm, the pelvis, or the sternal position is important. It’s a cone-shaped muscle and it descends. It’s also responsible for stabilization. The sphincter has three functions. It’s important to understand that because if one of them is not working correctly, it’s going to affect the others.
We’ll talk about other factors here. As a man, you’re trying to walk around and showcase your chest. Women are trying to do that. I’m not saying everybody does that but it does happen. Stress is not just the text posture. Immediately, when you’re connected to an electronic device, it starts shifting your breathing patterns into chest breathing. Stress does it as well. If you’re going to the gym to train and you’re dealing with traffic, it’s going to start shifting that stuff.
Fundamentally, learning to relax and learn what we call diaphragmatic breathing. It’s not lifting. It’s not squatting. If you don’t take care of this, it’s the largest global impact on the body. It may be your shoulder pain, your hip pain, your knee pain, all this other stuff. If we dive into it, I can show how all that works together. We probably don’t have several hours to walk through the whole body. It’s vastly important.
We start getting these breakdowns, one of those being the loss of position. That’s called an open scissor position when they’re open this way. We want to do that. Diaphragmatic breathing is this wave-type breathing up from the bottom. You can think about filling a water vessel. I don’t want to repeat content that maybe you or Laird do a lot because I know your type of breathing quite a bit.
What’s the difference? This is you. This is not about us. We could talk about breathing all the time. Most of us, including me, have to be mindful of that circular, full, round breath that you’re talking about. A lot of times, we’re holding our breath and we’re up in our chest.
What I like to have people do standing when I’m talking is put both their fingers on their collarbone and see if they’re rising. We have vertical breathing versus horizontal. A lot of people believe that they’re breathing correctly. They’re like, “I’m training all this stuff. I know how to belly breathe.” Belly breathing is a fault as well. It’s all forward. We need to learn to expand through the obliques. You can take your thumbs around your back, find your lowest rib right in the middle, push it in there, and feel that expansion. It’s not going to be near as much as in the obliques. Take your two fingers, go right into your obliques, and push hard.
It’s hard to do too, by the way. Do you encourage people to lay down first? I’m speaking personally. I was like, “Stoicism sounds like a good idea.” You then find yourself taking all the hits and holding your breath. I found it good to lay on my back. Also, you could feel the circular pattern push you up a little bit off the floor and that you are getting it up in that high back.
I do have some incredible content on this. It’s on the Kabuki Strength YouTube channel and also the @Kabuki_VirtualCoaching Instagram page. We drop free content all the time. There are probably over 1,000 hours of free content there. If you want a guided solution to this, it’s $12 a month or something. It’s an index video library with hundreds of videos. You can search by these features. We can guide you, too.
Why Kabuki? What does that mean to you?
Everything comes in threes for me. I’m going to get back to breathing because it’s important.
I’m not going to get off the topic that quick.
I get this question a lot. I was doing a turnaround for an aerospace company at the time. I moved my private home gym and created a public home gym. I wanted to be the best athlete in the world. I needed three things to do that. I needed to have the right methodology. I can do that anywhere. I needed the right environment, the culture, the people, all this stuff, and the right tools. One of those when it comes to the environment is also the mental mindset.
I can’t give that to you. I can write a book. I can get on a podcast and I can try to help. It comes to you to put your game day face on, your squat face on, or whatever it is to step to the plate when it’s time to do that. I can’t help you but I can provide you with the tools and I can provide you with the methodology, which is what Kabuki does. I can help guide that other one but you have to be the one to be able to step up and help create that internal environment.
It’s the hardest thing in the world to do. I want to get into that.
The Kabuki mask is a rendition of my face during a squat. When my kids are young and they first start being able to speak, the two youngest that were born while I was building it always go, “Daddy, look inside of my shoe, there’s a little Kabuki face.” They see it and nobody else does. It’s always a surprise. It’s like, “That’s yours.”
Someone can do it. They can go. You’ve got a ton of stuff.
The most basic, you’re right on. Instead of laying down, kick the feet up, a 90/90 pattern. Kick them up on a couch or a chair. This is the most regressed pattern. It allows the diaphragm to come in relation to the pelvis. It takes all the strain off of that. These are tied back to the same developmental patterns when you’re growing that first nine months. This is the most regressed. If you’re struggling, this will give you the ability.
With the queues, my favorite is thumb into your oblique, fingers right below your beltline, up in front of your pelvis, feel both of those pressing out, and feel that fill. It should come in a wave up and go into you. You should feel some expansion. People miss the little bit of expansion in the ribcage. Not elevation. Doing the check to make sure that we’re not elevating but we’re coming in a wave all the way up. The air is going into your chest.
People do get confused. Think about it, filling in that manner helps bring that to happen. That’s created. That’s the eccentric loading that happens during that. When we start moving to exercises, now letting that happen and then creating some tension overlay over the top of that and that creates all the pressure on the organs and everything around. Look at a spine, massive structures all over here. In the most important area, there’s nothing. You can flip that over into a quadruped. Now it’s the same thing, except now you’ve got some challenge.
Now we want to stabilize but be able to add some movement. You can do that in the regress pattern first. Take the chair or couch away and then start moving. It’s called the dead bug. Start moving the leg or foot. You can do this in an ipsilateral. Start moving opposite or the same. People miss the point. They’re like, “I can do those all day long.” No. If you do them right, they’re really challenging. There are lots of different ways to do them like on a roller. I teach some great cues to certain parts of your spine to bring some awareness. More is not better. If you could put a load in your hands like KyūBell or whatever and go up over it, it’s the point where we’re adding movement while being able to maintain this.
Not sacrificing that. The other thing you’ll see is the position you were doing where you have the weights in front of you or you’ll see it with people where they’re trying to somehow get more extension in front but now they’re lifting and they’re not moving.
Understand the intent.
I’m sorry yogis. I don’t like yoga because I’m bad at it.
Not all yogis but that’s where a lot of the belly breathing breakdown happens. Bad teaching.
Poor exhale on the fold. Don’t do that. Protect organs. Someone did say to me once, “Where are we trying to go?” I thought, “That’s important.” When we’re doing these things, especially if we’re trying to learn to do them correctly, there is no, “Go a little further,” if you’re going and doing it right from where you are.
Go to the edge of where you’re at and learn to control it. It’s okay.
I squat and deadlift 1,000 pounds. I work on this stuff.
It’s the foundation.
You got to come back. You got to check it.
Do you ever lay there and think, “I’m still doing this.” I used to think that when I played volleyball much later into my career. You’d hear, “Move your feet.” I’m like, “Oh my god.” These are the basics that we’re always doing. I call it making your bed and brushing your teeth. Finding the beauty of this is most important but it’s still fundamental. It isn’t sexy. People aren’t going, “You were doing that breathing. That’s amazing.” They want to see you lift 1,000 pounds.
To be clear, when you’re in load is when you have to be supported by the breath. Remind people that you don’t want to be, correct me if I’m wrong, exhaling as you’re moving. Maybe you can get into that and also how people can support themselves because a lot of times people hold their breath. What does that look like?
We finished the last one real fast. Now we go to the quadruped. Let’s add movement, the foot, the leg, or the arms, which became Bird Dog popularized by my good friend, Dr. Stuart McGill. People do them all day long. Focus on this and, all of a sudden, it becomes challenging. Now you can move into the standing position, squatting, deadlifting, and so on, which is the hardest because now we’re fighting all those forces.
Back to the question, what can I do if I’m getting into lifting? It’s understanding that if you’re in pain because of using equipment or being in positions, you shouldn’t be in pain. There’s something wrong. It means we’re doing something wrong. With my equipment, we try to alleviate that to allow those positions to happen and get that so that you’re training. Pain is gain and all that.
Yes and no.
The struggle pain is good. I don’t know how to describe it and I don’t think I need to. The bad pain is bad. Everybody gets shoved into the fitness industry saying. We all have to do a barbell back squat. We all have to be able to get to this depth. We shove everybody through the same tools. Let’s go back to playground physics. In preschool, you learn that the round peg goes in the round hole and the triangle goes in the triangle one. We don’t try to shove everybody through the same system because you’re not going to be able to move in the same way.
I’m looking at your maths and my maths.
This is the tiny version of me.
You haven’t trained in three months or something. Are you getting back into it?
I quit training heavy after I got the big squat. The breathing, the bracing, and we now move to load. This is an important concept. The diaphragm has three functions. We need to think about this in a dial like your AC to heat. I know you don’t use that much heat here but there are times. On a scale of 0 to 10, we’ve got full stabilization on one side and zero being none. The opposite scale is for respiration. The more resources you consume for one take away from the other.
The more I turn towards a marathon or whatever it is, you’re not going to get to zero. People may think, “Nothing.” You still have to keep the body upright to squat 1,000 pounds. You are not going to breathe. Most of what we do is a continuum. You’re not going to just lock down for random stuff. Some people will teach that. Understand the continuum. That’ll help guide you.
CrossFit workouts would be a good example. Sometimes there are great coaches and there are not so great coaches. Some of them will mix highly respiratory challenging metcons with a basic core movement, maybe an overhead squat or a deadlift. You don’t want to mix those together because once we consume the diaphragm resource through respiration when you reach your failure point, you’re going to not be able to stabilize. We have to separate some of this stuff. Let’s make this more usable. There is no fixed answer, unfortunately. Let’s say a kettlebell snatch. It requires a high level of respiration, some stabilization, but only at certain points fast.
You’re going to be inhaling and exhaling during the movement. During the spike, you won’t. This is going to be different. Let’s go to squatting. If I’m doing a single or even a triple, I may inflate, lock down, and create that stabilization. There’s a little bit more if we go through the whole body but just that one. I might do 1, 2, or even 3 reps without taking a breath. It’s not a big air. Let’s clarify that. This is a big misconception. Air is so you don’t die from lack of oxygen. That’s not going to happen during the squat so you don’t need to do that. Did you see what happened when I did that?
Elevation and expansion. I broke the pattern before I even started. I can’t recover this position and then be able to create the loading. There’s going to be a gap. I’m going to have a miss. Have you ever seen somebody miss and they miss right here with rolling over at the spine? They go, “I got to arch.” The more they arch, the more they end up breaking down so they’re chasing it. They’re missing because they’re arching too much, to begin with, because they’re not able to get the right pressure. I might hold my breath for 1 to 2 reps or whatever. Let’s say I’m going for 5 or 10 reps, I might squat a couple of reps, take a breath when I’m standing, and keep going.
Because you’re under load, where are you pulling? How are you getting it down there?
It’s going to vary a little. Let’s say it’s 5 to 7 reps.
Let’s say it’s a psycho weight but it’s heavy.
It would be during a pause for half a second.
Is it mouth?
Preferably, it’s the nose. We would want to think about inflating two balloons in this fill. Think about that fill again. You can do it with your mouth.
I’m asking what you like.
If it’s heavyweight and we need to stay stabilized during the whole lift but there are so many repetitions that you’re going to run out of oxygen. If we’re getting up to the kettlebell snatch, a twenty-rep squat, or something like that, you’re not going to require as much stabilization because the loads are now down lower. You’ve got so many repetitions, you don’t want to be spending forever taking breaths between reps and so on. It’s a continuum. At the start of the descent, I’d be filling. I’d go through the hard part and have the contraction. There is a little pulsing that you can have.
What does that mean?
We can cause a momentary further descent of the diaphragm to spike the IAP. You’ll see people in the snatch. When I do that, there’s a momentary descent of the diaphragm, which spikes it temporarily to a higher level. That’s a dynamic movement. You’ll see people naturally do that and that’s why. You would exhale as you get towards the top. When the loads are down, you’re in a better position and you’re not going to lose compromise. It’s a continuum. You have to find that. There’s no, “This is the way it has to be done.”
[bctt tweet=”Most of what we do is a continuum. You’re not going to just lock down for random stuff.”]
It’s good that there’s a conversation about what it looks like. The way everyone moves and what activities they’re doing, this is going to be varied. It’s important to know.
With people recovering from back pain, I work a lot in that population. They’ll be taught how to brace and everything. To get in and out of their car, they’re locked down. I’m intent with my words when I say to be able to control spinal mechanics. It doesn’t mean locking them down.
I always think of it like when scientists get into banging iron, it’s such an interesting mash-up of bringing physics and these concepts to what is perceived as meathead movement. What you find is those people who do it at a high level. If you don’t understand the physics of it, usually, you’re not getting into these positions. I want to come back to some of these practices. Thank you for your book. This is the second edition of The Eagle and the Dragon. You’re an entrepreneur, you have companies that build things, and you give away a ton of content, but you’re a unique person. When I was learning about you, I couldn’t help but think about Captain Fantastic.
That movie was a little hard for me to watch. It struck home.
It’s one of my favorite movies and it’s different. When the boy is going, “Why are they swollen?” Without hitting us over the head, it was also about how unnatural we have lived. If you don’t mind, someone like you who is powerful in a numbers way, there’s no denying it when you can do multiple reps, deadlift 1,000 pounds, and squat. That’s not my opinion that is. With that comes somebody who’s interesting and challenging. I’m glad you’re born with a high IQ. I think about that. When I was studying you, I was like, “Here’s a guy who was born with a high IQ.”
People do like to use me as an example of pulling it up by your bootstraps. Like anybody, no matter where you start, how far you can come? I do know that I’ve worked my ass off. I’ve been through some major trauma and stress that would destroy a lot of people. I also had some innate capacity to be able to move, some of it is mental resilience. I’m thankful.
If you’re comfortable, we could back up a little. If people haven’t seen Captain Fantastic, it’s an incredible film. It talks about this family that grew up in the forest. They made theirs sexy. Yours wasn’t as sexy. Maybe you could share a little bit of your journey. The fact that you can move the weight is inspiring. The fact that you’re smart enough to develop new ways of training is inspiring. For me, your humanity and ability to overcome things are the most inspiring of all the things that you’ve done.
We’ll dive into the story. I grew up homeless in the wilderness of Northern California, north of San Francisco. My parents decided they didn’t want to be part of society and forged their way outside of that. You could go, “You’re romanticizing it like in Captain Fantastic and other stuff.” When you’re in that environment, you’re also bumping against other people that don’t want to be part of society. A lot of times, those aren’t necessarily for altruistic reasons.
I opened the book at 6 years old. We’re living out by a stream. In the wilderness, we’ve got beams lashed up into the trees because there are rattlesnake dens right around us. We’d climb up there and sleep at night. I was being taught at 6 years old how to capture and handle live rattlesnakes so that I could be safe and protect myself and my younger brother who was three years younger than me at the time, running around the wilderness. You look back on stuff and you’re like, “That’s messed up.”
Do you ever think about that sometimes? God loves your parents and everyone goes, “Everybody does the best they can.” I do believe that. Sometimes when you become a parent, you think, “What were they thinking?” You don’t even have to be mad about it but sometimes it’s like, “Interesting choices, people.”
I understand my mother’s reason for doing that. I’m not going to talk about that on the podcast but you touched on it. It’s difficult to talk about it. We’re talking about unsavory characters. I dealt with a murderer, a serial killer, a human trafficking pedophile ring that affected me and my siblings.
You have a brother and three sisters.
That sounds wild. One of the areas that we lived in for a number of years and frequently dealt with some of these issues and has a documentary on that area specifically is based 50 miles from where we were. We were deeper and more remote than where the documentary was. It’s called Murder Mountain. It’s on Netflix. If you watch it, you hear the stories of human trafficking, serial killers, and police corruption. We’re in the middle of the drug trade. This is back in the ‘80s. There were people with machine guns running around. It’s messed up and that’s because my parents were in the drug trade. You’ll realize, “That’s crazy.”
My parents lost us for a little while. My mom was in jail. We were picked up, which ties into the human trafficking story. It’s still hard for me to talk about some of that without breaking up a little. We’ll move through that. My parents got us back in Oregon and then got out of the drug trade. They never wanted to lose us again. Pretty quickly, they fell back into the same habits of living in the wilderness. That’s in Oregon, colder, and other stuff.
I’m sleeping in winter in the back of a pickup truck. You’re going to school stepping out the back of a little shack with some water heated up on a wood stove to dump over your head to try to get clean so the other kids don’t make fun of you because you smell. During the summer, it’s filling up a gallon jug in the stream, setting it on a rock, and letting it warm up so you can take a shower. That’s the way we lived.
What’s going on in your mind? First of all, are you a physical person? Are you angry? How is this showing up for you as a young male?
For the most part, it was living. Outside of those trauma-based things, it was different from the way most people live today. I did deal with a lot of self-confidence issues. I started dealing with some depression in high school as well. The self-confidence stuff was challenging socially, dealing with my perceptions of other people’s perceptions of myself and then fed by comments or other things as well. Those were things that were hard to get over. That’s where the strength training started to come in.
Physically, I was much like Captain Fantastic. We read books all the time. My parents would challenge me with difficult conversations on all sorts of topics. My mom was going to school to be a chemical engineer beforehand. My father was a member of Mensa. My stepfather was the one that raised us. He was super, hyper-intelligent. It was a weird mix. They were hippies and didn’t want to be part of the world or weren’t able to function in the world for their own reasons. Because you’re intelligent, it doesn’t mean you can successfully navigate the world sometimes.
Sometimes when you’re highly intelligent, the world hits you in a different way. Also, a lot of it doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t. You’re looking at this and you highly tuned in and you go, “This doesn’t make sense.” However, once you start having kids, how do you balance out creating safety? It’s certain things. I was thinking about going through your side but then you had three younger sisters. Do you think that there was something that you’re like, “I have to keep my act together because I’m the big brother for everybody.”
The survivor mentality is something that’s stuck with me throughout my whole life where I’ve continued to put myself in that position while dealing with my own baggage. I took custody and raised my three siblings.
It’s like you’re in college, academic scholarship. You then take your three sisters in.
I was working full time, too. There’s no fallback plan.
Are you sitting there going, “This isn’t fair.” What’s going on in your head?
Honestly, it was what needed to be done. There was no other alternative. When I left home, things got worse. Somehow, I was some stabilizing force in the home. When I left, things started to fall apart badly. My three younger sisters all ended up homeless. In high school, we had a mobile home that we lived in. We had a stable house over the head, running water, and electricity.
It was three years that I was in high school. We continued to have that even though the fire department burned it down because it was unsafe after my dad passed away. It was not a great place. We had doors on the inside. I don’t want to get into the story but they ended up outside of that. They were young and I couldn’t take care of them. It’s what had to be done. College was easy for me so I didn’t go. I had the highest graduating engineering GPA. I didn’t buy the books. I show up for a couple of lectures here and there. I show up for finals and take the test. I got a job. I bought a house in my senior year in college.
Have you ever been deep in the crap and you somehow go, “Somehow, this thing is for me.” Were you able to recognize that you had some wattage in your brain that was for you, that wasn’t a typical distribution? You’re in it. It’s tough. Were you able to recognize, “This is a special thing I have.”
Yeah. It’s an interesting conversation. We almost were touching on it earlier because I was talking about self-confidence, the social side of it, and all that other stuff. At the same time, growing up, I was challenged to be in an environment where I had to use skills and use my physical effort. When you’re doing that thing to survive, you’re overcoming things, you’re winning, you’re accomplishing things. That starts building yourself up. You continue to start believing in yourself.
Maybe you fail because it’s like, “I didn’t know how to hang this tarp in a manner that’s going to do this or start the fire effectively or whatever it is.” There are a lot of struggles and failures and then you figure out a way. The confidence comes from overcoming the failures. Knowing that failure is not failure is the first step in the learning process and then developing this unbreakable confidence in yourself.
No matter what the current circumstances are, you will overcome them. I believe that. The underpinnings of a lot of what I do now, what I talk about in the book, and what I do with the tools is adaptation. You’ve got to have life. Life’s essence is the challenge. Without the environment beating down on us, there’s nothing to work against.
There’s a great story about the biodomes where they couldn’t figure out for the longest time where the trees would fall down at a certain height. There’s no wind beating against them to say, “Dig those roots.” That’s what life is, it’s working against us. When we remove struggle and challenge, it starts changing your position on your thought process in the environment that you’re living in.
I don’t think I had all this stuff figured out at 21 years old while I’m raising my three sisters and doing my stuff. I’m working through it. I started building that mindset consciously but it was unconscious by that point and time. I chose that point. I said I was socially inept. I was working on my double engineering degree. I said, “There are jobs. What am I going to do? I’m going to go be a leader.” The thing that was most challenging for me, that’s the path I went on.
I started getting up and speaking in front of people. My world, my work, and my ability came through my ability to interact with people. I was raising my sisters, doing all that. I’m chasing. I decided to go get my MBA. I’m moving up the corporate ladder and the next thing you know, this poor kid from the sticks is running and doing turnarounds for companies as a corporate executive because that’s what I do. I engage people. I bring change. You’re sitting there and you’re like, “Where am I today? My life is surreal.”
Was the easy uncomfortable at all? Was that an uncomfortable language? If anything was too easy as far as like, “My house is nice. That car is clean.” Was there anything in that? I don’t want to say addicted to the chaos but there was a tone about that comfort in that. You’re hardwired for the other when you’re raised and we can do work to change some of that physiology. Was there part of you that was like, “This is awkward,” like everything’s okay?
If I ever got a job, I would change every few years because I’d fix the company or the division or do whatever it was and I get to a point and be like, “What do I do?” Every day, It felt like I was stabbing myself in the eye. I’m like, “I can’t do this.” I then jumped to the next thing. It rapidly increased what I learned.
I’m in my early 30s and I’m doing a turnaround on an aerospace company dealing with the banks and Boeing execs and all that stuff. It’s like going out and doing pitches to private equity. I’m like, “This is something that most people would be lucky to be able to do in their 50s.” I got there fast from doing it but it’s not always good. I seek it probably too much and I put myself there too much. That’s something I’m constantly working on.
This is important. The reason I say that is because, not to the extreme that you have experienced, I feel like a lot of people were raised with certain tones and tonalities that don’t always serve us later. How do we find the way to take what is working and then make those changes? Life is going to be challenging but it doesn’t always have to be hard. If we’re used to everything being hard, we don’t have to make it so hard either.
It’s the same understanding with the squat, it shouldn’t be painful but it should be. It’s the right kind. It’s being able to discern that. Also, the bigger piece. What I do with The Eagle and the Dragon is to push people and guide them on this path of introspection to understand why you want the things that you want in life. A big mess that people have is there’s so much focus on goal setting. You can’t go out and set goals if you don’t know why you want those things that you want.
It’s diving deeper and pulling back those layers on that onion to get to those root things, those things that you can never have. They’re more a way of being. Once you have that, once you know why you want to play in the NFL or have the fancy house, once you get deep down in those things, and I work through that process here, you can learn how to set goals and understand that your goals are an expression of those values. People are like, “What are you going to do after you complete your 1,000-pound squat? What’s next?” I’m like, “I’m done.” “You can’t be done. You’ll have to go back. You’re addicted to it.” I’m like, “That squat was one way that I expressed some of my values.” In that instance, my values are the challenge, the competition. There’s not a singular word.
I want to get into that a little bit. Let’s say you’re setting that goal. I have specific questions about it because we thought a lot about it. We’ll slide over to this moment since we’re talking about it, the mindset. How to set the goal? How to approach it when it’s not going great? What’s keeping you going? Even the moment. That’s a moment. You’re walking up to this weight and here’s a moment. What’s happening up in your head?
Let’s talk through the goal-setting and where that came from. If you dive deep, you’ll scrub up maybe 5 to 8 core values or whatever people want to use. You should understand who you are.
“It’s a good idea. What are we doing here?”
For me, the challenge is a big one, continual learning, creative expression is big, and recognition. Let your ego aside. Decide what it is. A sense of family, community, or whatever word you want to have. Having a family isn’t necessarily the same thing. You can also have the same thing without family. Also, the ability to inspire and motivate people in that process. Inspiring and motivating is also teaching people. Maybe that’s a separate one. Maybe it’s the same thing. Empowering them with the ability to move forward. I call these grand goals. When I set out to do it, I didn’t say what the thing was because it was too over the top that I would be laughed at. I was at this point in my life.
Verbalize to people reading exactly the goal.
The goal was to deadlift 1,000 pounds but to do it for repetitions. At the time, only five people have ever done it and they were all between 360 to 440 pounds. I was weighing a whopping 260. Nobody had ever done it for reps. Also, to squat 1,000 pounds and do it for reps. At the time, only 3 or 4 had ever squatted 1,000 pounds. There might be some people that have doubled it at the time. I’m not sure. No one had ever done both, let alone do them for reps. That was my goal.
Did it come to you in a dream or a nightmare? Where do you get that from?
Usually, most of my stuff comes from dreams. Most of my product designs come out of a quasi dreaming state. This is a bigger thing because this came about at the time when I had taken an industrial equipment company and grown them from a regional to a national presence. I had two kids. We lived in a house with a white picket fence. Life was comfortable. I owned my gym. I had been ranked number one in the world for eight years straight in the squat, the deadlift, or the total.
This is your biggest nightmare. Everything’s cool.
I’m in a hot tub, sitting there with my kids, and I’m like, “Life is surreal. I’m not happy. Why is this?” I had a nice comfortable relationship with my wife, no fights, nice and easy. I walked away from everything except for my kids. My wife and I have great co-parenting.
She lives nearby.
It’s about five minutes away. I quit my career. Here’s how I was expressing those goals at the time.
Do you think this was like, “Everything’s too good. I got to blow this up because this is who I am.” Was this something else?
It’s something else. We look at the value proposition again and I’m like, “Here’s how I’m expressing those.” With my creativity, I’m building custom vehicle suspension, steering design engineering, and fancy stuff in my garage. I’m building equipment for my gym that’s cool. I’m competing. I’ve got my hobbies, fabrication, engineering, competing, and doing a high-level career. I’ve got my family. This clicks a lot of those buttons but there was something missing. I’m inspiring people with my work.
What I loved about the leadership was not the success story of the company but I did it by changing the people, which then changed the company. There are so many million stories like the coaching. That coaching was that piece. If we think of my values, you understand that. I’m like, “What is missing?” Also, I’m like, “I can’t sustain this. The kids are getting older and they’re going to be involved in other stuff. I can’t do this stuff on the weekend or this stuff in the evening. Something’s got to give.” I’m even less on this. I’m like, “What’s got to give?” The high-paying career got to go. I walked away from that first.
Another piece of advice is passion. I want to live with passion for everything that I do. I want to be passionate. The grand goal was a piece of that. That comes with competition and challenge. I started Kabuki Strength. One of the fundamentals that we talked about from a coaching standpoint, from an equipment standpoint is the ability to control and manage biomechanics.
That’s a big goal, by the way.
What are two basic human fundamental lifts? It’s the epitome of the first nine months of development as well as the basic fundamentals of being able to pick something up off the ground. I want to demonstrate that by going over the top. Not with people that have already done it but to do it with both to show that I’m not necessarily a specialist. It’s not because of my arm length in combination with incredible strength and all the others. I’m not taking away from anybody.
I wanted these two pieces to show that and also inspire people. It was to demonstrate the methodology that I teach to also walk the walk. There’s creativity with the expression of this. “I’m quitting,” so I walked away from competitive lifting. I said, “I’m done with this. I’ve set all-time records. I’ve done all that. There are no records for this stuff.”
Back that up. What prompted it? Were you naturally always good and powerful so you got into competitive lifting because it was something that you’re good at?
I was physical growing up. I was a valedictorian and was good at school. I was packing rocks up the mountain and mining. I was splitting wood. I was doing all that stuff. We were a physical family. My stepfather pushed on that hard because he was a big believer in a strong mind and a strong back. I started lifting in 1988. I was around 12 years old or so. That is something that helped me. We’re talking about the overcoming thing, starting the fire, setting up the camp, but this is another aspect of doing that. That had a phenomenal impact on my mental state. That has been something that’s been with me for a long time.
In 2000, I was in Hi-Tech. I was training at a gym because I always train. There were a couple of bodybuilders prepping for a show and they looked great. They were bigger than me. I’m like, “It would be cool to do a competition someday.” I got Bill Pearl’s book. I got Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book. I’ve had a bunch of others.
I’m like, “I’m already stronger than them. I run circles. I have a work ethic. I blow these guys out of the water every day in the gym. Clearly, bodybuilding is not my thing. I like bench press and I’m going to do a bench press competition.” I got online and found a bench press competition and it was a bench press and deadlift competition. I’m like, “I better learn what a deadlift is.” I showed up six weeks later and I deadlifted 523 pounds and benched 440. I was like, “Is this a one-time thing? I’m doing this.” It stuck. I’m like, “This is what I’m doing.”
That’s how you got deeper. Are you getting coached as you go? Is someone coaching you? Are you using your background in engineering to say, “I’m going to also look and apply this to mechanics of lifting.” Are you naturally doing this?
I started on the programming aspect at the beginning. I started building Excel spreadsheets with different variables of loading. I started building out all this stuff. I did that for the first three years or so. There was one of the heads of the federation because my form was horrible. This guy was Buzzsaw on The Running Man, a 1980s Arnold movie. He’s this 6’6”, massive 400-pound guy. He’s the first guy who pulled 900 pounds over his knee in a deadlift way back in the ‘70s. He owns this federation that I was competing in and he pulled me aside and he’s like, “You need a coach.” I’m like, “Okay.” I started getting coached by some people locally that were in powerlifting.
My technique looked clean and I was known for that. Now we’re starting to get YouTube. In those days, it’s coming up in forums. People were like, “Chris Duffin’s lifts are clean.” I then had this year. I detached two heads of my pec. I tore my groin. I had elbow surgery. I’m like, “Something is wrong.” I started doing clinical continuing education. This is spurred by a doctor that I worked with, Dr. Philip Snell. He founded this neuro centric approach, this nerve tracing lens looking at the human body and neurology. I met him and I talked with him and he had a respect for me and back and forth. He’s the one that sent me on this route of developmental kinesiology. He’s like, “I don’t have the answers.”
Were you in your grown-up job and then taking this extra class?
Yes. I was traveling there on weekend courses and stuff. I came down here. I borrowed a device from Dr. Craig Liebenson, who brought DNS from a private school of medicine to the US. I know most of the DNS instructors. I’ve taught at some of them. The next thing you know, Craig asked me to speak with him at a certain thing. I met Dr. Stu McGill, who’s the lead spine biomechanics in the world. Stu had me speak with him. I’m doing this clinical continuing education but then quickly getting to personally know the best people in the world because I put it to work.
How did you experiment with how to now bring this into real movement?
It was hard to figure out because nobody had that answer. Even in DNS, they were anti-lifting.
For people reading, what’s DNS?
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization is taught at the private school of medicine. Those courses take a lot of time for even the clinicians. You go to them and they’re like, “Practice it for 2 or 3 years and then you’ll start understanding it.” Dr. Snell didn’t have an exact answer on how to put that but he’s like, “Here’s what I believe.” It was this back and forth process. I’d be at the course and talk to the person. I ask questions, and back and forth.
[bctt tweet=”Once you get deep down in things and work through the process, you can learn how to set goals and understand that your goals are an expression of those values.”]
The next thing you know, it’s day three of the first time I was at one of Liebenson’s courses. He’s like, “Chris, can you get up and teach on this?” I got up for an hour and I taught how this stuff applies to deadlift and how to put it in place. Over the years, I started refining that further and breaking it down into simple cues that are then transferable, which is crazy. Now, this stuff is commonplace in strength training work. People talk about it, foot mechanics, and all this stuff. Nobody had the conversation. This is egotistical. We mentioned the recognition piece.
I have my YouTube videos out there. For the first time, I started lecturing and pushing on this before anybody else had. That was the cornerstone because a lot of people did follow me in the professional coaching world and so on. That was instrumental in bringing this whole discussion. Now it is ubiquitous in the world around these concepts. Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t get the execution right, which is why we teach courses and all this other stuff.
Heavy is the sharp end of the stick. What that shows is where everything can break down.
That’s where you learn.
You’re at the place where everything would unravel. What’s great is that you can teach people from the beginning regardless of what level they’re at.
I would work with a clinician. Let’s say you get a 65-year-old grandmother who’s never lifted a weight in her life. She’s in a 7 or 8 on the pain scale, near crying. They’re going to walk through this exact process and by the end of it, have them deadlifting a 35-pound kettlebell. That grandmother may be crying because there’s no pain or a 1 or a 2 but they’re realizing they can pick up their granddaughter. That’s the biggest thing in the world to them. It’s the same stuff. This stuff applies all the way across.
My value proposition is that you can teach this stuff philosophically. You can teach and learn it in sedentary populations or rehab populations, which I deal with as well. Where you learn whether you’re doing it or not and whether your system is working or not is when you’re pushing those limits. The essence of life, adaptation, and all the other stuff that we get back to where you see it unraveling. You’re hitting it 100% on the head when you’re saying that because that’s how I pulled off the things that I did.
How is it under load? It’s still holding up.
How do I know when I’m not doing it? I was chasing the 1,000-pound squat. I was going to tell that story earlier.
I want to finish this one thing. I want to remind people movement is movement. They look at you and they think, “I want to remind people that correct movement and real movement is movement.” This is for anyone. It’s not just for someone like you or somebody who wants to lift a ton of weight. Did you ever work with any of your opponents? Did you help them?
You told them almost everything. Let’s say you go through this, you’re kicking ass in competitive weightlifting and powerlifting. You go, “I’m over this.” Now, you have this epiphany to go to 1,000 pounds. How heavy had you lifted prior to setting the goal? How far away?
I had done a 944-pound squat in the gym. It was a little bit high.
What does that mean, you didn’t get down as far?
I was about this much. From a technical perspective, everything has rules.
How the hell do you even get 940 pounds onto your body?
People have no idea what that’s like. It’s crazy. It feels like it’s going to come straight through you. It’s mind-boggling. There’s that side of dealing with it, too. The all-time world record that I held was a lot less because I was cutting weight for it. I did 881 pounds.
Why were you cutting weight?
It’s a weight class sport. I had the highest, what we call four times body weight. At 220 pounds, I squatted 881 pounds. It was the heaviest four times bodyweight squat. I’d attempted 915 in the meet and hadn’t got that. In training, when I wasn’t pleased and not quite to rules, I’d done 944. I’ve been over 900 pounds. I’d done 900 for a set of five before and I was closest to the deadlift. I attempted that one first. I trained for eleven months and I did the deadlift.
Before you go there, what does the food look like for somebody who’s lifting that weight? Is there a certain type of way you’re eating leading up to it? What are you eating? How much are you eating?
It’s not what people think or maybe what they want to hear. They go, “It must be all organic and clean.” Honestly, at that point, it’s a numbers and energy game. You’ve got to get your base-level protein in. That’s easy. Any athlete is going to deal with that. It’s a matter of pushing the calories to be able to support the training.
Unfortunately, that becomes hard on the gastrointestinal system if you’re doing it on a chicken, broccoli, kale, and rice diet. You’re going to go with some more palatable, easy-to-digest foods. You’re going to drop out the brown rice and go with white rice. You’re going to have a brownie or three. It comes down to that to be able to keep up with the training.
It’s certainly not the healthy approach. No sport out there is healthy when you’re pushing the extremes of performance. People get this confused because they think the utmost in health is going to lead to the utmost in performance. Any extreme has those compromises and people don’t understand that so it’s different from how I eat today.
Those calories, I always laugh, too. I say to people, “You don’t realize that any professional sport or repetitive is hard on you.” Whether it’s the repetitive pattern or having to eat a certain way. In your case, it’s all three. It’s the load on your joints and your spine, it’s the calories, and it’s the repetitive motion. I have friends that are my age and I’m like, “Their joints are good.” They never did a ton of sports. They did enough and their joints are in great shape.
That’s what I’m trying to bring and that’s what I am bringing. We talked about good and bad stresses. There are certain stresses on the joints that are non-adaptive but there are stresses that are. On the bones, training is tremendous, especially for women, for bone density and stuff later in life. I’m sure you’ve had DEXA scans, looking at your bone density. Mine is four standard deviations above the norm. My business and training partner who is 72 is five standard deviations above the norm. At 72 years old, you have to worry about falling down, breaking a hip, and shortening your lifespan. That’s not going to happen to him.
Do you think that’s a straight load for him?
It’s a straight load. It’s a welding process in the bone. When you put a load on the body, it creates a bending moment. We’ll try to do this easily. If I’m supported here and here, a bending moment would be the force that’s causing the bone to bend. If you’re putting a direct load on it, most of that is not bending but it does create some bending moment in there. The bending moment creates this electrical reaction.
This is a good and important topic. I’m not going to go into the science of osteoblast, calcium, and how all this stuff works. Many people are like, “You got to have your calcium for bone health.” Yes, but it’s not going to do anything unless you have the demand. You have to have the demand as well as the nutrients for that. If you train without sufficient nutrients, you’re not going to develop strong bones. Like anybody in survival mode, that’s not going to happen. It doesn’t matter how hard they train.
You could also train hard and not have it. Taking your supplements, drinking your milk, and things like that are not going to do anything unless you impose a demand for its use to go in place. It’s an important concept. It’s entertaining that the bone is the same process that’s in welding with positively and negatively charged ions that cause that deposit within the bone.
Are there cardio elements? What other type of training goes around? Never mind 1,000 pounds. Let’s say powerlifting. What does that look like?
Cardio is good for cardiovascular health.
Is that an opposing activity to what you’re trying to do in a certain way with keeping size?
Depending on the timing. We have limited resources. As you get closer to a specific competition, whatever that is, you’re going to be getting more and more specific. Earlier in the process, you should be setting things up so that you can. For myself, it’s what’s called axial loading. It’s the loading of the spine in a downward fashion, which is the hardest to recover from. The more capacity I can deal with to manage that is going to allow me to train heavier when I get specific.
If I’m doing all the volume and other movements at that phase, it’s going to detract from the training there. For the squat, I knew that I needed to develop a lot more upper back strength to be able to support the weight up here. Early in the process, I’m doing a lot of heavy bent-over rows. I’m doing squats with my transformer bar, which is putting more demand on being able to control the spine at the TL junction.
Later, I’m going to start tapering that stuff out, and then I’m going to start making the squat more specific. Early in the process, I started with front squatting, and then I moved to squat with my transformer bar, which is adjustable because we can vary the load. I started changing those settings as I got closer and closer to being more and more specific. I finally switched to the Duffalo bar, which is the curve bar on which I did the squat. It still removes the negative stresses that a barbell squat puts on your shoulder.
For anyone who doesn’t know, a barbell back squat will destroy your shoulders over time. It’s trying to shove that round peg through the square hole. It puts this huge external rotational demand on the shoulder to be able to maintain it. If you don’t, you cave in. You try to force it and you lose this position right here. You move it on the shoulder. It’s putting that stress there. You also have this huge stress on the bicep tendon insertion in the shoulder, which people will feel in pressing. On their pressing day, they’re like, “My shoulders hurt.” It’s typically squatting.
This is a basic question. I’m curious. You have the load on your shoulders. You’re going to start to squat. Where do you move first?
We talked about the sequence. The setup sequence is all about creating tension in the body. If you create the right tension in the body, there is nothing to happen except the movement that can happen. That sequence is being able to start with spinal stabilization. The first is inflating and filling that cavity and then contracting down over the top of that. That’s one, creating some IAP.
What mental state are you in? Are you ramping up? Are you calming down? Where are you?
This is a five-step process.
You lead. I’ll follow.
Now we’ve got this stabilized. The next thing is I’m going to take that bar and draw it over my back like a lat pulldown or a pull-up. I’m pulling my elbow into my side and that is going to start creating the tension between my shoulder and then tying that into the core with the lat as a spinal stabilizer, which stops this from happening.
The next is I’m going to think about what we call routing but it’s how we grab the floor. I got tons of content. I’m not going to get too much into it. If you think that you’ve got flat feet and there’s some problem that you need to fix, watch my videos because it may or may not be a problem. People lump stuff together. It’s the ability to be able to manage and control the foot and ankle complex. We do that. You get that with surfing.
With Laird, you should see those feet.
Now we’ve got that to happen, it’s what I call sit between the hips. There’s nothing else that can happen. The knees and the hips both break simultaneously and your hips sit down between your legs. We don’t have to worry about knee position. We don’t have to worry about anything. All the things that you think that you need to manage are all in the peripheral. If we have the right tension, this is the only thing that can happen. If you have a breakdown, it’s somewhere in your ability. For me, with the setup on the deadlift and the squat, people would be like, “This is brutally hard.” I’m like, “Yeah but then the movement becomes easy.” It’s the mindset.
Out of curiosity, what’s your inner Chris saying? It’s like, “You got this. You’re an animal.” Are you focused on, “Do this. Do that.” Where do you go mentally? Because it’s scary. I would imagine a squat is scarier than a deadlift for obvious reasons.
With the squat, you’ve got to go into and be okay with whatever the outcomes are.
What does that mean, not doing it?
Not being able to do it again. You could injure yourself with that type of weight. These are all the things that could run in your head. If you walk up to the bar and you break it and you’re second-guessing and all these second thoughts running through your head, that’s setting you up for that stuff to happen. Before that, you’ve got to be able to get to this point where you’re okay with all those outcomes so you can let that fall away and be in the moment.
For me, there are two things. People don’t realize that some of my hardest squats are warm-ups. I need to get some nice music playing when I roll in. I need to be as calm as I can be because there’s this little window. It’s not just physical strength and not just mental but stuff that’s happening at a neurotransmitter level to stimulate both the neurology and what’s happening in the brain. You can cue that. There are drugs that cue that. There are all sorts of stuff.
It depends on which neurotransmitters we’re talking about. It’s momentary to cue and have a release, a shot of adrenaline hits the system. It happens. You can feel it in your body. It courses through. You can’t do that all the time. If you do, it’s depleted. It’s about staying calm. My hardest when I’m working up to that weight is some of those last warm-ups, 900 loads. I have to do them in a completely chill state.
People watch my videos online and they think I’m this incredibly intense person because all they see is the twenty-second snapshot. In fact, it’s this the whole session. That’s the hard part because you’re bottling it all up for that moment. You’re going to have second guesses and question yourself but you’ve got to be able to let that drop away at that moment. Some of that is accepting some of those outcomes. It’s that game-day face. It’s that ability to become another person than you are. At the end of the day, we’re lifting weights.
I get it but it’s dangerous. If we were saying, “I’m going for this.” You’ve made a declaration. You said, “Eight months prior, I’m going to start with the deadlift.” There’s a declaration. It’s like someone going out and saying, “I want that.”
I had some bad sessions where I got up to the weights and passed out.
What does that mean? Did you overdo it and over ramp-out?
I don’t know whether it was trapping a nerve. I don’t know but I would go down on the squat and I’d start coming up and I passed out. The guys would have to catch the bar and I’d be like, “Whoa.” Here I am. This whole thing is all set up. This is the last day. There is no delaying it. This is it. It’s live-streamed online. I’m like, “I don’t know if I’m going to walk out and look like a fool and not even do anything.” When you walk to that bar, you have to let all that go and bottle that intensity.
For me, it’s the meditative state but it’s a different meditative state of creating this unfathomable belief in myself and my capabilities and that I can accomplish it and nearly anything. It’s getting in that state. There are different cueing that I use and then it’ll hit. It’ll feel like electricity shooting down my spine and then the hairs on the back of my neck in my head will start standing up. The skin will start tightening up. Everything disappears. All you have right then is this moment. You don’t know that there are people around. You’re walking up and it’s you and the bar. It’s an intense experience. It took me a long time to develop the will to do that.
All of a sudden, I could barely lift 910 and I’m going to go do 975 for three. I found that I could cue that maybe about once a week for about three attempts. If I miss one of those, it’s done. It’s not a brute strength thing. It’s interesting. I don’t have a good answer for it. In life, you’ll never know whatever is going to come at you and hit you. We talked about developing the body and mind resilience and all this other stuff.
You need to put yourself in the practice of being uncomfortable and being in those positions. It could be a lot of different things that you get every day, every week, whenever it is that you’re afraid of. Your gut is twisting on you and you’ve got this anxiety, fear, but also excitement. Those are your moments. That’s maybe a career change. Maybe it’s taking on a scary project at work that the boss is throwing up. Maybe it’s an uncomfortable conversation with your mother, your kids, or your partner.
Any of these things are your chance to be in that moment of fear and anxiety and know that you can take it on and overcome it. You’re not going to walk in the gym and squat 300 pounds your first time in. You’re going to go in, you’re going to start with the bar, and then you’re going to add some weight. You’re going to hit this workout. You’re scared of being able to do it and then you go do it. You come back and you’re like, “I can do that. Next time, I can handle a little more.”
In life, you need to keep continually practicing this because something’s going to happen. Lose a job, the economy goes to crap. A family member or close friend dies. A car hits you out of nowhere on a random Tuesday. Life comes at you and crap happens. That’s the brutal truth of it. Develop resilience. You’ll see people in your life that don’t have those challenges and something will come along eventually. They won’t be able to respond. They’ll lock up. It might be a death in the family or something like that. All of a sudden, they can’t manage because they don’t have that capacity. We need to be able to practice that ability to be in that space like your training because that gives you the ability.
“I wanted to take on that project at work. It tanked.” “I wanted to start this business and I started it and it didn’t work out. Now I’m back doing this.” Sometimes they’re not going to work out. Because Duffin got on a freakin’ podcast and told you to chase that stuff, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work out every time. You’re going to come around and you’re going to be successful on the other side.
That practice is the practice of what you need to do when it comes to that 1,000 pounds. That could break me. I could not be able to lift again potentially from that but it’s okay. I’m going to be on the other side of that. I’ve encountered things and I’ve overcome them time and again. It builds that ability, that resilience, and that belief in oneself to go, “I’m okay with those.” If you’re not okay, don’t go do it.
Was there ever a time you wanted to back out? You’re like, “Why did I set this goal? This is nuts.” With your wife, were you ever like, “Can I tell you something?” Did you ever have those?
Yeah. We all have those in life. These moments of self-doubt, I still have today with everything that I do.
What do you say to yourself? This is the universal thing for people, which is, “I’m scared. I’m unsure if I can. Maybe I’m out over my skis but I want to.” What things did you put in place? What things did you say to yourself to help you continue that pursuit? It’s also a little bit lonely. It’s only you under the weight.
There was this time I decided I was going to squat 800 pounds every single day for 30 days to raise money for charity. About twelve days in, I was like, “I can’t do this. I’m done.” I’m sitting there and I’m hitting up the THC hard, eating, and watching some TV with my wife because I’m in pain. I’m like, “I’m done. Tomorrow, I’m not doing it.” I’m like, “I’m going to go to bed tonight because this is just a moment. I’ll assess how I feel in the morning.” I wake up in the morning and I go, “I’ve got one more day in me.” That night, I’m done. That was it. That was the last day. That started about day twelve.
Understand it’s a moment. Be like, “This is a moment. I need to rest and understand and learn what I can learn from it.” What am I scared of? What are those outcomes? Take the opportunity because that’s going to help you. Also, give it time because it is a mental state and that state is going to pass. Is it the sum of your average state?
The second is to celebrate it. Thank yourself for having the opportunity to be in this moment where you are completely overwhelmed that you’re ready to give up. You feel that the world and the universe are coming down on you and that there’s no way out and failure is the only thing in sight. You’re going to celebrate that.
In the future, you’re going to look back and know, “I overcame that.” That’s the opportunity. You’re going to look back in the future and go, “Let me tell you about the time I squatted 800 pounds every single day for 30 days. Nobody else in the world has pulled that off. I was at the end of everything I had to give. There was nothing else. I thought it was done. I kept pushing through and I did it.” At that moment, you’re devastated, you feel that the world and the universe are coming down on you, you need to celebrate because it is one of your glory days.
I always say that meeting these hard times is a ton of resistance, especially if people are in business. Even if something’s going on, it’s like, “I must be going in the right direction because now I’m starting to get resistance. I’ll receive that as an indication.” Sitting on a fence, sitting in nowhere is easy. You don’t get a resistance anywhere. It’s when we move in any direction and people have to realize, especially when you’re moving toward things.
There’s a great book by Phil Knight, Shoe Dog. You’ll read that book and you’ll see that for the first twenty years, they were on the verge of bankruptcy and non-stop chasing no way out. What is the book about? The glory days. He and his team all looked back on it and they hated the later years when it was complacency and easy. I’m not kidding when I say this stuff. What are you going to think about when you’re on your deathbed? I’ve been with some people in my family on their deathbeds.
Don’t have any regrets. Live your life like you’re an action book hero. Chase the things that you want. Those are all about understanding those values and those deeper things so you can align your life and make sure that you cut away the fluff, the things that are not essential to living in the fashion that is your true being.
[bctt tweet=”In life, you need to keep continually practicing because something’s going to happen. Life comes at you and crap happens.”]
First of all, Jacqueline looks like a hell of a cook. You’re a lucky guy, if I’m not mistaken.
I can’t say which network but she’ll be on some competition shows.
Jacqueline with the meat in the fire. She has it all going on. What space does Jacqueline provide for you when you’re having that, “I can’t do it.” It is interesting. Sometimes we’re in these family dynamics, we’re in a partnership with one partner. Can you imagine, for eighteen nights in a row, Jacqueline’s got to listen to you go, “That’s it. I’m not doing it.” She’s probably like, “Here we go.” It’s also understanding what your partner is setting up and understanding that this too is part of the process. What did she do that was good and helpful for you? Was it to create space and be like, “Uh-huh.”
Yes. That is a hard skill for anyone to learn. One of the best things that you can do with a partnership is to understand that you’re not responsible for the other person’s emotions. Sure, you can care for them but the state that they’re in is not something that you can control nor are responsible for. That helps a person on the other end.
Giving you the room. That’s the thing. In a partnership, you want to do both. You simultaneously want to protect yourself so that you have the stamina to continue but you also want to act the right way that helps that person. Help them. You can’t fix it or solve it for them, but you at least want to be a person who’s like, “I made it 1% easier for you.”
Also, putting some borders around it. It’s like, “You’ve set out to do this. This is challenging. I’m going to give you your space. Understand, sometime in the future, we need a break from this stuff.”
On day 31, she’s like, “Sweetie…” That’s right. One thing I’ve learned is, a lot of times, the same thing that we love about our partner is connected to these things that you go, “That’s challenging.” It’s recognizing the line.
My ex-wife told my wife, “Good luck. Now you get to deal with his crap,” in a positive way. My ex is supportive.
That’s what all exes say.
It’s challenging to be with any driven person. You need to understand that impact on the other person as well and be a good partner and do everything else around that you can do to show your support, your love, and being able to make that not all-consuming all the time.
She works with meat and fire. She’s probably got some perspective on some things.
Check out her Instagram. She does cooking content, particularly on meat and fire. She’ll be on some competition shows on Food Network and Netflix that will be airing this 2022. It’s @Jvcqueline on Instagram. She does tutorials. This is something both of us believe in because, in the fitness realm, food is like a religion sometimes. It’s got morality around it and all this other stuff and has these beliefs to be ultra-healthy. We try to showcase this. She does the work on this, showing that you can have a well-balanced diet and eat good, amazing food and still be healthy. It is not this, “I got to have this package of the classic chicken, rice, and broccoli.”
I don’t eat rice anymore. Rice is gone now.
Whatever it is today. If you’re going to be lean, it’s got to be keto or the carnivore. You can enjoy yourself. She does amazing content. We’ve got a masterclass for nutrition as well. She does recipe development for that. She does content for Weber, Certified Piedmontese, which is an incredible and healthy beef option, and Green Mountain Grill.
She’s in it.
She spends the day cooking amazing, five-star meals. Go to her Instagram. I come home and she’s like, “Whoa.” I’m like, “Okay.”
You don’t need to tell me. I know.
That’s what we call Tuesday at our house.
Oftentimes, people ask me about success. Maybe I’ve done a variety of things that people thought were so well thought out. I’m like, “No, a lot of this was fear. I was paying attention.” The way I grew up, there was no safety net. You understand, there was no plan B. I would love to say I was thinking ahead. Some of it came from fear. I shifted and looked at things and went, “Don’t squander an opportunity.” To lift 1,000 pounds, metaphorically, does one have to have a chip? Does one have to have gone through the fire? Do you think it’s possible to come from a place of peace and lift 1,000 pounds or someone’s 1,000 pounds?
I do believe that you can come from a place of peace. I do know that much of my experiences did fuel me to be an overachiever in everything. I’d be stupid not to recognize that. If I feel growing up that I’m being judged and I’m lesser than everyone else, I’m going to beat you at everything. I’m going to beat you at business. I’m going to beat you at intelligence, lifting, all these things. Of course, that’s freaking my ego. Those are things that I need to work through, some of my baggage.
I don’t believe that is where you need to come from. This conscious effort of putting these tools in place will help you. I talked about the practice of moving into the fearful space to be in the moment and recognizing and celebrating that moment. I’ve got this dream and I’ve got this place that I want to be. All I’ve got to do is to put one step in front of the other. I’ve got to go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow and reassess. I got to do one more day, one more squat. One step in front of the other.
We’ll move this back from the 1,000. This poor kid from the sticks has to get through one more term. To be able to drain from there, how far you can go. If you spend all your time in that dream world on that thing, it is going to feel overwhelming because it’s far away and it’s not going to come quick. In this world, people are like, “I’m going to do this stuff and I’m going to be there in 2 or 3 years.” No. Multiply that. You’re going to talk. That’s why you can’t focus out there. You’ve got to focus on those steps that are in front of you today but make sure that they are the ones heading there.
This is why it’s important to understand your values. What people do is they get caught up in feeling busy, feeling like they’re accomplishing stuff, running around doing all this stuff. Because they don’t understand that, they spent five years not making a single step. All I did was make a step every week, and then 10 years and 20 years. The next thing you know, you’re like, “My life is surreal.” I’m sitting here. This poor kid from the sticks. I worked with nearly every major professional organization out there. I got my equipment in the White House, the Navy SEALs, the army, everywhere. That didn’t happen overnight.
The other part of this that feels important is we all have a contribution, we all have a purpose. It may not always be clear. You may not have thought you’d use your engineering expertise to design equipment. People have to believe in that.
I certainly didn’t have a vision that I would do this.
It’s a beautiful thing also when it’s genuine. This is genuine. You’re like, “I need to solve a problem and I can.” It’s important for people to realize that you didn’t have an easy childhood. You have said this many times, it’s not like you fly out of bed every day and you’re like, “Everything’s easy. I feel happy.” Everybody’s different in their natural disposition. You talk a lot about overcoming sometimes feeling a little sad and managing that. This applies to that tool. Deal with today. It’s sufficient enough.
In this world today, there’s a lot of stuff. I try to be real on social media because so much is catered to. We’re lonely. We have challenges. We have all this stuff. We’re there. It’s all okay. It’s okay to be yourself. People made fun of me. I’ve got ADHD.
You’re doing good. I don’t see it.
I am bipolar.
You’re a guy with testosterone.
I wore sweats today because, half the time, I can’t remember to zip up my fly. I’ll forget to comb my hair. People are like, “I got to have this picture-perfect life online.” I went on the Lex Fridman Podcast with 200,000 views with my hair sticking all over the place. I’m like, “I don’t care.” That’s a representation of me. You got combed hair today.
You’re slick. It’s windy.
My wife is going to be so proud of me.
She probably is. Let’s talk about that. You were married before. What did you do differently? Obviously, it’s a different combination, two different people. We bring out different things in each other. Also, maybe we’re more mature and you’re a little older. What did you do differently? What was it that you think, “This was a good idea. As a partner, I didn’t have this skill and now I do and it is helpful.”
That’s a long one. A lot of it is spending more time and accepting who you are yourself. For me, it’s having a shared vision. It’s having this ability to sit down every night and be able to talk about where we’re at right now and where we’re going together a year from now, 3 years from now, 10 years from now. How can we strategize in what you’re doing and what I’m doing so that it’s this aligned approach? Instead of like, “We’re comfortable. We have a relationship. You do your job, I do mine.”
We’ve got kids together but not investing that time and being real about what you want out of life, why you want it, how that aligns with your partner, and how you can share that together. Being able to sit there and do it over a glass of wine or in the hot tub or wherever is doing that and making the time to invest in that is a regular piece as well. It doesn’t sound mind-blowing or anything. It’s such a big thing for me to be able to have that.
It’s a way to connect. You’re connecting. Sometimes we think, “We’re living and it’s good. We had a date night.” You’re talking about real connection.
You’ll understand, like, “Here’s where we’re going right now. Here are the next steps. This is where we can be if we’re on this path.” That’s not quite what I want. Being able to have those thoughts as you’re projecting out a million different ways of where you’re going and what you’re doing but still getting back to one combined allows you to work through and understand your partner and what they want. Also, make sure you’re moving there.
With my prior, it’s like, “This is what I want.” I’d say, “I want to go get a new car. We should get a new house.” It’s like, “I don’t know.” It’s already time to talk about that stuff instead of like, “What is this bigger picture, and how do we want to live in the way that we want to be? What is that bringing to us?” Talking in depth through those decisions. Having a shared mission and values. Think about how often you’re sitting going through your own stuff like that in your head about the future. That needs to be a regular practice because you’re constantly in the process of having these iterations.
It’s also moving towards who you’re becoming. A lot of times, it’s a liberation for people when they don’t. We’re, hopefully, always changing. In the partnership, it’s nice that each person is able to claim who they’re hoping to be as well.
You’re not going to grow apart if you’re doing it authentically and openly. Being able to share every aspect with nothing left out there. I’m in a bad spot. How can you grow apart if you’re authentically doing those things? That’s what happened in my first relationship. That’s a fault of my own. I also was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. I was trying to be the partner that they needed and not who I was. I’ve got no one to blame but myself. I knew to be able to move forward in a life of having a passion for everything and everyone in it, I was going to have to make that difficult decision and navigate that challenging path, which is not easy. Do it in the best possible way to preserve things for our children so that we can have a family.
Do you ever trip out when you have your ex-wife, your wife, and then all the kids?
We do Christmas together.
I’ve been with Laird for over 26 years. Laird has a first wife. She and I have been family for over 26 years. We’re at our oldest daughter’s graduation and I wonder what that’s like for him. He’s sitting with his ex-wife, his wife, and his kids. Thank God but it must be like, “We’re doing something right.”
It’s a different kind of relationship. That happens quite frequently.
What about parenting? You have three kids. I ask a lot of people this question, for you as a dad, what’s showing up for you that something that works? I don’t mean fixes, solves get the results you want. When I say works, the way that you’re conducting yourself that you feel when you do it, you’re like, “This is what being a father is,” or shows up a practice or the way that you respond. We learn more about that as we go deeper into parenting and living.
That’s a good way to frame that. A lot of people ask more or less depth on those parenting questions. It’s good.
I’m looking for answers. I need them.
For me, the biggest thing that seems to have an impact is showing my children through my actions. I talked about walking the walk. I’m a big believer in how I can articulate the messages that I want and demonstrate that with my actions. For me, I want to show my children that they can create whatever life they can create. They can create the world around them however they see fit. I do that by showing them every single day.
There was a no-school day. My daughter who loves to come in and train with me every now and again challenged me to a push-up competition. She beat me again. I got to run in for a marketing meeting and she’s like, “I’ll go with you.” I’m like, “Great.” She grabbed some books and other stuff. I’m like, “Do you want to go to the meeting?” She’s like, “I can?” She runs and grabs her notebook, which by the way, her notebook is her invention book. She makes inventions. Exercise equipment type stuff usually, but sometimes other things. She draws them up and then she’ll go make them and proof them out.
I’ve never told her to do this but as it comes, she’ll ask me and I’ll encourage but she sees daddy do it. She shows up to our marketing meeting, opens up her notebook, and starts taking notes because she’s like, “Daddy, I need to learn this so I know how to run my company.” My son has no interest in that stuff, training, or anything like that and that’s okay with me because the things that I also want to show them are in the physical world. I don’t care. I’m not like, “They’re going to be the next great powerlifter.” I sure hope not.
Why do we do that to our children?
I don’t know. If they fall on it themselves, that’s fine but usually, it’s an indication that out of all the things, they chose that same one. It does happen. So many people have asked me that question that it makes me think that that’s not the case and we see that a lot. You don’t need to have your kid get the wrestling championship that you never did or whatever. What is important is you have some physical culture in your life.
I have this conversation all the time.
That’s it because you need to challenge yourself, body, mind, and soul.
Also, be tired enough to go to sleep.
That’s one of those. I don’t care if you swim or do whatever. He’s fast. He’s a runner. I always see him where his interest in stuff lies and he gets the opportunity. My kids do go to work with me quite a bit. They get the experiences and other stuff. He’s never been that interested in the mechanical side of stuff but in the last couple of years, he’s taken an interest in that. A couple of years ago, I gave him his own toolkit and so he helps his mom with house projects with larger problems that an adult may take care of a lot of times. He takes great pride in being able to do that.
Do your kids behave at work? You can bring them to work and they behave?
They will go down to the gym and then do stuff down there. For me anyway, I want to encourage them to push themselves. I want to encourage them to have a physical culture in life, but I don’t want to define that path and I want them to fail.
Do you ever think about how easy you’re making it for them?
How is that?
That is something I have not figured out but I let them fail because that is something that I see people miss all the time. I can’t say that I have it figured out but I definitely know when I see it missed, and I significantly see this all the time where people are helping get your kid into college, helping them get their first job, helping them do all these things so that they’re protected from these things. That’s the worst that you can do because you can never build up that resilience that I had in my childhood of knowing I failed but I learned and that’s the first step in the process. When I win that builds character in the discipline and the things that I need.
It’s like developmental kinesiology. We talked about their standing in the last couple of months. Let’s grab their arms and help them walk, the best thing that you can do. That breaks down the sternal position. That’s another stuff that’s bad physiological, but also the more practice they have, the more they fail, the more that they’re going to practice. The best thing that you could do is swipe their legs out from under.
A good dad. I like that.
I say that tongue in cheek but I don’t.
You’re like, “We provide running water for our children. Get on with it.” You never noticed that in life, there’s a fine line of how life has enough tension for them. Ultimately, you want them to be strong enough so they can be adaptable but it’s such a weird thing because we’re all spending our entire adulthood trying to heal from all our bullcrap from when we’re young. What’s the line of the right amount? It seems almost impossible.
I don’t have the answer but I can tell you what I see on the extremes and where there are breakdowns. That’s all I can do.
What scares you? Is there something in the back of your mind? Is there something where you’re always looking at something and thinking, “I’m going to have a better relationship with that?” You’re still the big brother. Do you spread that for everybody like your nieces, your nephews, and your own kids? Does that ever load up on you? Where you’re like, “I’ve got to be the person for everybody.”
It does. We were living in this cabin one time. The length and width of this table in both directions, the whole family. There’s no running water, no electricity, no plumbing and there was a bucket behind the curtain. My job was to take the bucket, which was full of crap, go find a hole, and bury it. Sometimes I wonder when I’ll quit carrying everybody else’s crap around. I still do today. I want to get to a position where all those nieces and nephews provide scholarships to help them when they decide a path if they want to go to school.
My son wants to go into trades. I’m a big believer that our educational system is a whole side topic. It’s broken coming from a highly educated person. I’m proud of that because it’s not necessarily the best thing now to go down that path. A lot of parents would encourage you not to do that. They’re like, “You’ve got to get your degree. I got my degree and our family always got those. You’re going to go to this school.”
I don’t have a distinct answer for that but we all have our own crap buckets. It’s not just me. We’re all carrying that baggage for what we need to be for those around us. Unfortunately, for me, a lot of that is tied to how I kept myself alive and here today because I did always put myself either in that survivor role, either when it was my sisters, or my kids, or wherever.
Even in my work environments, I would put myself in a position where I couldn’t fall down because it affects everybody, their families, and everything. There is nothing to happen but for me to make that and succeed. That puts on tremendous pressure. It’s probably not healthy but it’s my mode of operation. There are positives out of it, too. I do enjoy and love helping people. Also, bringing about change in people’s lives, and pushing in those directions. I do what I can.
My nephew was in the hospital. I spent a weekend with him. I missed our first podcast because of the death of my grandmother. My nephew was in the hospital. He needs care 24/7. They put his skull back. I’m there with his father who is my sister’s ex-husband. We spent a lot of time together and he’s an amazing man. He was a little jerk when he was young. My nephew was born when my sister lived with me. He’s turned into a father. He’s such an amazing man and we have some conversations. His son is so strong and he’s recovering super-fast. I’m proud of where he’s going.
His father was there bringing up and pointing out that, who he is today, who his son is, and all these other family members are a result of the path that I set forth for everyone. It didn’t guide them. I didn’t give it to them. I expected it and I provided the resources when struggles happen and when they needed them. More than anything, it was guiding and setting the expectation. My family would not be around today if it wasn’t for me. They would be dead or in prison or a junkie in the mountains like some of the people that I grew up with.
Maybe there’s a way now. You’re done with the heavy lifting. I can only imagine what your light lifting is. It must be like, “We’re only going to squat 400.” Maybe some of that weight is getting taken off. Maybe there’s a way for you in your life, to let prop everybody up and be like, “Now you guys do it.” It’s important that we do it and then when everybody’s okay that we don’t have to do it. I know it gives purpose, and it’s a thing we can do but there’s something. I’d be interested to see if that can be lightened too because sometimes that’s almost easier than, “I’ll deal with my kids, my wife, and me.”
[bctt tweet=”We’re all different and not everybody is built to have a barbel on their backs and be able to get in certain positions.”]
It’s interesting because I know how to do that in the business world. That’s how people unconsciously become fixers. They’ll put themselves in this position where they’re absolutely needed. In an organization, they handle problems and they go, “When I go away, everything falls apart.” It comes around to how my job has been to build strong teams and to be able to walk away from that. This is stuff that I practice and I know from a leadership perspective.
It’s hardwired into your family, for sure.
It’s always so much harder when it’s personal.
I’m smart by myself on top of a hill looking down at everything. Get me right in the middle of taking my kid to school and whatever it’s game on. Do you have a chiropractor?
What does your spine do that’s different from other people? What happens in a spine that’s able to lift that much weight.
It takes about three years to develop the structure within each vertebra to be able to handle some of that loading so we talk about what happens on the bone side. That axial loading causes all this support structure that’s within the vertebrae to start building and at the top of the vertebrae is this dished area where the disc sits. A lot of disc injuries happen when some of that starts breaking down, collapses, and then you get the open scissor. It squishes and pushes out the side. Maybe it hits a nerve and all the stuff that happens there.
Three years of heavy weightlifting starts building that structure so that that support for the disc can handle that stuff. Outside of that, it’s more on the fascial changes. Fascia is interesting stuff. I had the interesting experience of articulating this. The fascia runs out over the muscle and a lot of it is that tension that the muscle works against. There’s a neural network that runs through it.
I tore two heads of my peck off. This is the remodeling that happens. I knew what happened and I went to a surgeon and said, “I need an MRI.” They’re like, “No, you don’t.” It’s a hospital and they refused an MRI. They gave me a little thing for my shoulder, a sprain, some Advil, or some ibuprofen and sent me home. They’re like, “We’ll give you an x-ray.” I’m like, “That’s not what happened.” I went through three surgeons before one of them finally said, “Okay. I’ll give you an MRI so it gives you peace of mind.”
What would happen is they would have you do a test and raise your arm out here. They’d see if the muscle is pulled up or not. Everything was perfectly in place. The guy doesn’t even check. He checks it when I get into the office. He looks at me and looks at the MRI. He goes, “It is detached.” He went in for the surgery and two of them were detached. They moved four millimeters where normally when the muscle belly would retract, you’ll hear a calf coming off. We would retract and pull down here but it didn’t because so much tissue remodeling had happened to support that muscle, that fascial network, and all this stuff. That takes time.
There are differences, but the differences are things that can happen, and that creates resilience, the things that are normal like, “I’m not going to get injured the same way someone else would do everyday tasks.” Anybody who’s physically fit at some level is reducing their risk of injury. People think about lifting as a potential risk factor but the stronger you are, the more resilient you are to the forces and the things in the world if you do it correctly. About 80% of injuries are usually based on training faults as in programming and overworking yourself. Where 20% are movement quality issues. I quite agree with that depending on what the scientists perceive as issues, but that’s what the studies indicate.
You shift your training, and now you’ve taken a few months off. Do you ever have a psychological thing of, “I’m not as big as I usually am. Don’t those guys know?” Do you ever go through that thing?
The last big squat was done two days before the world shut down in 2020 which is why it was then or never. I was supposed to be at the IHRSA show in San Diego, which early that week, shut down. We moved it to the gym, but then two days before they shut down, things were attended by more than 25 people. We turned it into a live stream and then everything closed down. That was it so that was it.
That was the last time I trained heavy. Since then, my focus has been on health and longevity, for me. It’s a shift in focus. When I did that squat, I was about 280 pounds. I’m about 225 now, the little version. I knew to be prepared for it. I’ve been through it before and the times that I’ve cut weight, but it doesn’t matter whether you prepare for it or not.
That shift in your physical presence is something that is a mental game. If you’re used to being this version of a person and you walk in, and you’re not, that’s been a long time getting comfortable with seeing other people lift the weights, hit the records, and do all that. I knew that that was going to be a problem and it has. I’m slowly working through that but I do feel comfortable with where I’m at. It’s different walking into a room and not being that person even though it’s your physical presence and not who you are at the end of the day.
How much guy conversation do you have when you’re at that weight? I can only imagine the dialogue about, “What do you lift?” I can imagine, “I lift 800. I lift 1,000.” I can’t imagine but it is an interesting and important thing because it’s your identity, regardless. You’re as powerful and as important and special whether you’re at 180, 228, or 285. Everybody in their own world experiences that. What’s so beautiful about your story is you can talk about it in its physical way. You can say, “I go from this weight to that weight.” “I can live this weight but now I’m lifting this weight.” It’s all still representative of what people go through. We are our spirits and when we live there, we feel pretty good.
The identity, yes. Let’s dive into the spirit piece. The physical presence, sure but we see this in athletics, so much the identity of I’m a football player. I’m an Olympic discus thrower. All that stuff ends. We do see so many athletes, at the end of their career lose themselves. Not all but there are many who struggle to find themselves. There may be drug and alcohol problems and weight gain. There’s suicide and all these things. Is it across the board? No. Is it highly prevalent? Yeah. They attach themselves.
A mom decides to raise the kids and then people go, “What are you doing? Are you just a mom now?” That’s my favorite. People have to realize that this is for everybody.
You have to switch it because I knew this was a choice. I’m lucky that I got to go out on my terms. That rarely happens. This is exactly what I’m going to do. This is going to be the pinnacle. I’ve spent five years doing it. I did it and moved on. Usually, in those days, you’re taken out or you’re chasing until you’re too old for it or burned up. I keep taking it back to this value thing and understanding these are expressions of those. If you understand, you can switch that to something else and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Do I still chase grand goals? Heck, yeah, I do. I’m trying to change the face of fitness all the way through with his integration with clinical care because it’s disconnected. I’m trying to create tools that integrate with the coaching flow and movement philosophies that integrate with how we care for people in the rehab process. It’s a big grand goal. It’s another expression. It’s not squatting 1,000 pounds, but it is.
Being purposeful and intentful with understanding those helps you make that shift. I get this all the time. I posted a picture of myself in the gym. I said, “Here’s a picture of me. I weighed 220 pounds having not lifted for the last three months, had COVID, and been busy with a whole lot of my family life. I’m excited. I’m starting to lift again. I’m three days in and trying to decide whether I dropped some more weight or maybe I will fill out a little bit. What do you guys think?”
There was someone who said, “You should go for the 181 records?” I have no interest in the records anymore. I did that. That was how I was expressing that stuff at that point in time but now, it’s over here. It’s still the exact same game for me but I’m chasing it in business, family, and personal life to create those same things. That can help people too when things get taken from you. That can help people too when things get taken from you.
On a random Sunday, that person that wants to be in the NFL their knee gets taken out falling down a flight of stairs. It’s not the end of the day if you know why you wanted to be that person. What are some of the things? Was it the recognition side? Was it the ability? There are a million different reasons that you could want to be that thing and there are a million different approaches to that same piece. Before going down this route, back in 2014 when I said, “I’m going to quit my job.” I contemplated going to become an orthopedic surgeon, to be a chiropractor, and to do a whole lot of different things that had the same impact on people’s life, my skills, all this stuff. For me, the deeper realization of wanting to be more involved in people’s physical health but I want to have a much larger impact and reach. It’s not one person at a time for me. I want to be an educator and motivator. I want to go in this direction.
Maybe you can prevent it too. Unfortunately, with orthopedics, they’re doing amazing things, but they’re fixing or maybe you’re going to have opportunities to keep people out of certain positions in the first place, which would be amazing. Justin, do you want to ask any man questions?
It’s great how you view challenges as opportunities, which is pretty cool but that’s a side project. The main thing is how do you invent all this? Did you hit a wall and you’re, “I’m going to make a KyūBell or a flywheel and all this other stuff.” Can you go from that?
The KyūBell specifically was a collaboration and the main design was done by this gentleman who’s hiding over here. It was a small product that had no recognition, no visibility, and no understanding of why it was but it fit the fundamental philosophy of everything else that I have developed. For me, it comes down to the lens that I look at the training world with and that lens is through the principle-based how we should be moving, how we should be preserving positions, joint integrity, and accommodating for the variability of the individual as well.
We take that lens, which also includes my lens as also a performance high-level athlete, a coach, and an engineer, and it gives me a unique look at the world and when you have that look, there are things that are glaringly obvious. I mentioned the bench-pressing bar. The other version of the bar that doesn’t have the benefits has been around since the 1960s.
A lot of different companies all make the exact same bar. They copy each other and sell it but they didn’t do the piece of creating that stability points, the handle position as your hands go wider or narrower. It changes the internal and external rotational bias of the shoulder so each grip should match that leaving a little bit left to cue for external rotation for the stabilization through the lap. All these little subtle, fine things that most people wouldn’t see become super obvious to you when you use that lens.
We’ve created that within our curriculum within our coaches that Kabuki Strength so it’s not just me. When you do that, you see things. How long have dumbbells and kettlebells been around? This allows you to do some things and there are some revisions on this that you couldn’t do with Derek’s original designs. He’s a great designer. This looks almost exactly like it, but some minor changes like texture and things like that, allow some things to happen with how we load the joint.
I can do the same rack position which you can do with a kettlebell but this puts the weight further out. Let’s say I’m in any pressing position, imagine I’m laying down, but I will do an overhead press. This right here, in any of these positions, still has the weight off of the shoulder, which is creating a torque moment like on a fly or a press. There’s no break. It’s constant time under tension, which is pretty cool.
One thing you can’t do with a dumbbell, or kettlebell is I can reach through this and create a center mass effect. I can do variable loading. In a kettlebell, you can offset and do bottoms up and things like this but you’ll notice the position that I’m holding it in here. I can hold it in all these and that’s not a wrist exercise, which is why we have different diameter grips here. If I was doing a curl, if you’ve ever done curls, they’re easy at the bottom and all the work happens at the top. I’m only working the muscle, or most of my work is being done in the contracted position not the elongated position of the muscle fibers.
I can change that. I’m going to stand up and do a curl here. At ten pounds, you can see the tension on my bicep already. It’s out here off of the joint. It’s almost got the same exact torque moment as it does here. This would have the same as a normal dumbbell would. It’s the same length arm so it’s the same ten pounds but down here, a normal one, the weight would be in here. All of a sudden, I’ve changed the force curve. I’m going to fatigue yet I’m going to fatigue these muscles all the way through both the extended and elongated position.
What can I do from here? I can completely change the game of how I train because I can take the same ten-pound weight and let’s say I want to do front bell raises, side belt raises, or do a drop set. I don’t need a power block or a dumbbell rack, because I can go here and this is more than ten pounds the way I have it. Now I’ve got it positioned so it’s loaded heavy at the start and even heavier still at the top. I’ll fatigue out lighter.
With 50 reps in, I’m getting tired. Let’s keep pushing it up. Now we have to get even further. I can take this ten-pound and ten pounds is fatiguing for me because it’s not ten pounds, it’s significantly more. I can get a level of fatigue that you could never get with any other tool because any other drop set, you have to set it now. Time under tension is on the whole time. I could also do a giant set because for this I need more weight. This I need less so I can sit there and loop 3 or 4 exercises together and you never stop.
What am I getting? A massive metabolic effect at the same time. For me, with my training now, it’s all about maximizing my time efficiency so I can prioritize my family and my business. Also, increase and get more for my training in a given period of time so now I can get more volume sets and reps and all this stuff in and more metabolic effects. I don’t have to do the cardio separately, the Kratos Flywheel system. I can do the exact same thing because it flows variable based on your input.
Now, I also don’t need a giant set of dumbbells. I need a couple of these so I take less space. It’s a more expensive product but the total net cost is way less. I can change the force curve of movements as well. I can do things even if my wrist is hurt. I can do this. You’ve got the center mass, the bottoms, and you can do everything that you can do with a dumbbell or kettlebell, a center mass bell, and do it better and do things that you cannot do with any other weight instrument there is. Isn’t that wild?
It’s simple once you know.
It takes some education.
It’s like everything in life meaning, it’s so simple but why wasn’t it designed 50 years ago? It’s not simple. It’s brilliant. These are for sale already now. I do love the idea of all the different weights. If people are living in a small space, then it’s like, “I have one thing that does quite a lot of things.” Have you guys created a long bar as well? I know you’ve got the chest press. Can that be translated into others or is it specifically for the chest and shoulder? How does that work?
We’ve got what I call the Duffalo Bar, which is an arched bar. It’s on your back. The arc is designed to be flat across the back. It then arches out over the scap so it’s not pushing, disintegrating the shoulder joint, and then it arcs down to take the pressure off the bicep tendon and the external rotational demand. It’s amazing. For any in the front squatting, it doesn’t want to roll away because it’s arched. I can do it. I destroyed my elbows younger in my career so I can’t do a front squat like that. That’s how well it works.
For any overhead pressing, flat pressing, or anything like that, it’s what we call an Ulnar Deviation of the Wrist. When I’m laying down like this, it’s arched up, which means I have to reach with this. Do you see what happens? Kyū’s external rotation of the shoulder. You can take that bar, put it in somebody’s hands, and normally, there’s a whole lot of coaching that has to happen to get this because you are fighting the bar.
You can hardly get into that position, even when you know.
You’re fighting the bar. It gives you a greater range of motion. You’re getting a greater range of motion, a greater training effect preserving the joint all in one. It’s the same thing. It’s taking away those negative stresses. In here, if I take all this out, too, it’s easier to maintain this position so I’m preserving my lumbar spine as well. That’s a great all-around bar.
We have a Trap Bar and I hate calling it a Trap Bar. It is the most versatile barbell in the world because we create it open and it kicks up so that you can load it without doing anything. The handle offset, every other trap out there, if there’s a low handle or a high handle position, people always gravitate to the high handle position. They don’t know why.
Is it easier?
Part of it’s easier but there’s another piece of it, which is the playground physics, the teeter-totter, the same thing as the bench bar. Ours is offset enough that you’re still getting the same range of motion but when you pick it up, it doesn’t want to dive forward on you. Now you can do much easier lunges, carries, and rear leg elevated split squats. Because it’s open, I could do ab rollouts with it. I can do bent-over rows with the bar not being in the way. I could seal rows. I could do curls. I can flip it and roll it up and do overhead presses while preserving the position. Have you ever seen people do overhead? They’re always getting in bad positions.
We’re trying to take and shove everything through this and work the body around this stuff and those are the bad pains so now I can get in a good position. I can train my shoulders. Those are some examples of its uses. Because of its openness, it’s the only bar in the world that you can use. Go look at Dwayne Johnson, The Rock’s page and you’ll see that it’s the only bar that he will squat, lunge, carry anything with. He has eight of them in every location that he goes to.
Does he lift weights?
Yeah, he lifts weights.
That’s smart. Nobody knows about how it hurts other than people who train. That’s the thing. For me, the thing I want is for people to do whatever type of movement they want. I want them to do something. However, my hope is that they don’t hurt themselves. Rights are more important than more and I know it’s hard. I can get that coming from you because you’re coming from the most macho part of the culture, which is great because you’re also being thoughtful about, “What position are you in?” I appreciate that. When you’re getting ready to go do it, what exercise do you do where you’re like, “I’m in my jam. I’m loving this.” Is it the deadlift?
It’s definitely the deadlift.
Did you crush that? That’s why you’re like, “I’m crushing this.”
I do have the Guinness World Record too. It’s the one where you can put every last ounce. It’s like a spiritual thing in that movement. You know you’ve consumed everything in your being at the same time as a bench press or curls. There’s a whole lot of stuff that can be challenging and you could push your limits but even if you push to the absolute max, you haven’t consumed everything. In the deadlift, you stand up and you’re standing there and you’re pausing at the peak, the pinnacle. You’re like, “I’ve got this.” I get in the zone.
We talked about that moment, and that adrenaline pop, but you have 1,000 pounds sitting on the ground, what’s the initial, “You have to get this hoist, this moment?” Where does that come from?
I can’t share that.
That’s the secret. That’s okay.
It’s more of the mental self-talk and stuff that you do to get that state. It’s going to be personal for every person around.
Are you savaging that way?
It doesn’t matter what I say to myself with a thought process to get to that clarity and that moment to be present but a shot of whiskey always helps.
For real? I’m missing out. I’ve got to start drinking.
Just one shot 3 to 5 minutes beforehand.
What is that veil of possibility and all of a sudden being a little more superhuman?
It’s tapping the neurotransmitters and also the energy source. There’s a bunch of stuff that happens. Drinking is bad for you. Drinking is bad for your recovery, your muscle growth, and all sorts of stuff and it’s a depressant for the nervous system. In a short window, and people don’t realize this, it shuts down the prefrontal cortex which is giving you the, “What about the future?” “What about all these?” Also, what about events? It helps you shut that down at the same time. I won’t recommend more than a couple of shots like two shots once a month.
If anybody’s concerned about that from a health aspect, that’s a personal choice. It’s not unhealthy to have a couple of ounces of alcohol a month. It temporarily spikes the blood pressure in that period of time and enhances whatever mood that you’re in so it heightens and elevates that. It cuts down pain tolerance and then is the fastest acting energy source that can hit your body that is almost as dense as fat.
This might be the golden nugget of the entire conversation.
This is why they call me The Mad Scientist because I come up with weird ideas and things, but they’re the real legit. That’s the thing. It works for about 9 out of 10 people at least based on research that was done in the shooting arena. Banned for shooting as a PD, by the way.
People can buy all of this, correct?
They can come to your site. Maybe direct everybody to all the places because I know you give away a ton of free content. You give to people the beginning part of your book. They can buy the rest. You’ve got programs and you’ve got all kinds of things.
The easiest single source is to go to my personal website, ChristopherDuffin.com. Sign up for the email list on there and when you do, you’ll get the first half of my book for free as well as exclusive discounts to Kabuki Strength. It’s the home of all these amazing strength training tools, soft tissue tools, and all this movement preparatory stuff. We’re going to work with the Shoulderök, a mace product after this, which sounds amazing. Coaching and education are all in Kabuki Strength. ChristopherDuffin.com is the central house. Barefoot Shoes developed and designed a shoe with George Esquivel who’s one of the leading men’s luxury shoe designers in the world. It’s phenomenal. I mentioned foot and ankle mechanics. It’s absolutely important.
For every other piece of the body, we train, this one is different. We shouldn’t use it and we should bind it up. We might wonder why we have so many back, hip, and knee problems because all we have to do is learn to strengthen, manage and control that complex and build resilience. Build Fast Formula is my supplement company. That’s what I do. Daily nitrates, I want to kick that. It’s in most of my formulations but they are massive for rehab recovery, as well.
For daily use of nitrates, a lot of people put nitrates in pre-workouts. There’s a four-piece formula that I have that’s a mixture of nitrates, precursors, and also lactate, which is often misunderstood. People think lactic acid is bad but it’s a critical energy source for the brain under high duress. It’s cumulative. It’s a chronic loading so it builds up like creatine would so you need to take it every single day so you don’t want it in a pre-workout necessarily because you don’t need the stimulants and the nootropics although I do sell the best for that as well. Build Fast Formula and on ChristopherDuffin.com, you’ll get linked to all of this and exclusive discounts on all these.
After doing heavy-duty like 1,000 pounds or these big lifts, do you come down with almost PTSD after that? People don’t realize that when we accomplish things or we reach goals, there’s an amount of energy it takes. Behind that is a bit of ass-kicking.
There is and there’s an immediate one and then the later following. We talk about this meditative state being able to cue things like your adrenal release. When that happens, it’s an emotional experience. We talk about spirituality or other stuff and when I say it’s that meditative state, it is. For me, it’s an incredibly draining experience. After a massive lift, you’ll see me cry a lot because of the state I’m in.
That evening, it can be an incredibly sad and crying post but then there’s the comedown of the bigger lift thing too. It’s a little bit his identity too because this period of time you are chasing. It’s this all-consuming thing. You did it and maybe you accomplished it but now it’s getting back to where I am finding this. I’m coming back to the world.
I don’t remember how long it was after the squat but it was more than a month. One day I was going to work and I’m like, “I’m back in the world because the last six months were all-consuming.” When we talk about the rehab, the prehab, all the stuff that I was doing, we’re talking about how there’s a huge depth in that side that I deal with.
It was a daily thing to be able to do that. It’s such an intense singular focus and it doesn’t have to be that intense. There are different levels. Everything’s on a continuum. You’re going to experience that with any of the things that you’re chasing. That’s a big goal to walk away from. It’s re-finding your purpose and your identity. It’s like how you have those larger things like the end of a career or changing those big changes in your life.
I bring that up so people don’t blow up their real life after big moments because it’s common and it’s okay. Ride it out and maybe if you’re able to verbalize it if you are living with somebody. It sounds like Jacqueline might be a pretty aware person. My final question is, are you physically flexible? Do you have a good deal of good flexibility?
Outside of my elbows, yes. I can’t do the splits but I don’t train flexibility and I can come close to the splits. There were times in my past when it was poor and that was when I was having the injuries but I fixed the flexibility with no stretching. I have fixed it by improving the quality of my movement because of what happens when we talk and we go all the way back to step one of this conversation, the neurological effects.
How does the body detune you? It also starts tightening the muscles around the joint to protect the joint and so it’s not the squatting that makes you lose mobility. It’s the squatting like crap that makes you lose mobility. There’s this perspective in lifting a lot of times where it’s like, “I need to have an equal balance of stretching to do this.” Stretching is almost triage work but if you enjoy stretching, do it. There’s nothing wrong with it at all. From the mental state standpoint, it’s enjoyable and can have positive effects but there are a lot of different ways to tap into that. Corrective movement is corrective.
Chris, I appreciate your story and your honesty. Congratulations on reminding people that human beings are capable of doing superhuman things. It’s a great reminder that we’re so much more than we maybe give ourselves credit for because it’s scary and hard. It’s a lot of hard-ass work. Let’s put that in front. Thank you so much. People can find you and check out all the things you’re doing. There’s a lot of it.
I try to be an open book and I’m trying to put out everything that I do with my companies is all an extension of the things that I believe in and do and that’s it.
It shows. Thank you.
Thanks so much for being here. If you’d like, rate, subscribe, and leave us a review. All of my music was graciously done by Frank Zummo and Tom Thacker. If you want to see some of the behind-the-scenes action, follow me, @GabbyReece. Remember, don’t miss new episodes every Monday.
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- Chris Duffin
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- The Eagle and the Dragon
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- Lex Fridman Podcast
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- Build Fast Formula
About Chris Duffin
Chris Duffin is an inventor, thought leader, and serial entrepreneur in Health and Fitness. He has Co-Founded multiple prominent brands the largest of which, Kabuki Strength where he serves as Chief Visionary Officer, is a globally recognized brand. Chris has invented multiple ‘game-changing’ products improving human biomechanics under load, as well as systemized approaches to assessing and correcting human movement dysfunctions. These tools and methods are used by nearly every top professional and collegiate team penetrating over 90% of those markets alone. His other companies including Bearfoot Shoes focusing on foot mechanics, Build Fast Formula in nutraceuticals, Kabuki Strength Lab a gym and performance center, as well as his Best-Selling motivational book detailing his incredible upbringing.