February 9, 2013
[00:00] About Jay Schroeder
[07:04] Client Experiences of Jay
[14:38] Eccentrically-Contracted Position
[23:25] Significance of Extreme Isometrics
[38:03] On Manual Overspeed
[55:54] Regarding Electrical Muscle Stimulation
[1:02:51] What Is Loosening?
[1:04:49] End of the Podcast
Ben: Hey folks, it's Ben Greenfield here. A few weeks ago, I actually put a blog post up at bengreenfieldfitness.com in which I talked about an experience that I had at a conference down in San Francisco. It was called the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, and a big, big part of that conference was a couple of days spent with two fellows who actually work with a bunch of professional athletes and use some very cutting-edge training systems to be able to enhance the body and improve performance, and decrease injuries at a much faster rate than what you get with a typical, conventional training. Jay Schroeder and Charles Macca were the two guys who presented at that conference from evoathlete.com, as in evolutionathlete.com. And Jay is on the call with me today, I was able to convince him to come on and share with you some of these cutting edge concepts that he uses and how you can actually use them in your training because some of the stuff blew my mind, especially when it comes to you endurance athletes out there, I know a lot of you listen to the show, but also those of you who are power-strength athletes who maybe aren't athletes at all but who are trying to get over an injury or renew a movement pattern. So, we're going to delve into some of this stuff, and Jay, thank you for coming on the call today.
Jay: Yeah, Ben. Thank you, I'm happy to be here and excited to answer some questions.
Ben: Well, you have a really unique story in terms of getting started into the field of human performance and the type of coaching approach you have now. So, can you talk about how you got in into this field and the type of training techniques that you're using now?
Jay: Yeah, going through high school and college, I played football and had the dreams like everyone else of going to the NFL, having a career. But unfortunately, I probably wasn't good enough in the first place, and then I was in a motorcycle accident and sustained some injuries that didn't allow me to move, and I went through a process of investigating why did this happen to me? What's wrong with me, what's going on? Once I got over that, I had from the osteopathic physician that was working with me, basically I was at home and for some unknown reason, they put me in traction. So, I was in traction all day long.
Ben: So basically, that's just bedridden?
Jay: Yeah, I was bedridden. My girlfriend would come over and tutor me and keep up on some schoolwork, just have some activity, but I had a shelf built above where I could place books and, with a pointer, move them and read. Basically, the books that the osteopath gave me were translated Soviet training journals.
Jay: Yeah, and they were in English. I don't know how to read Russian.
Jay: I read through them and I really couldn't figure out why he gave them to me because they were just about training, and then after reading the same one many times over, I started to get an idea of how this might help me in my situation. Because what I got from this was that no matter what level you're at, whether you already are making millions of dollars participating in sport, or you're just a weekend performer or anywhere that falls in between, we're all trying to get to the same place. We're trying to move efficiently at high speed, injury-resistant. And if you can create a situation neurologically, then these things can easily be displayed. So, what I started doing was exercising. People say well, in your imagination or whatever, but in reality, it was really inside me. I could feel after a period of time. I could feel all these things happening inside which is totally different than what we were used to feeling. We ride a bike, we lift weights, we jump, we run, we swim, whatever it may be, and we comment about we feel tired. Well my heart rate was this, well my blood pressure was this, well my blood lactate was this. But what they really miss out on is all of that energy and the feeling of it moving through your body and what effects it has everywhere that it reaches. That's what I got the experience to do. I think that now, I was really fortunate. At the time, it's not always fun to you know be in an accident and sustain injury, whatever level it may be. But I look back and obviously, God had another plan for me. I certainly wasn't going to be a good enough football player to go where I wanted, but yet something was seen, and maybe I could communicate this to others, and that's the basis of the whole system. I took it and then over many dreams, I calculated and formulated the system as it exists today, evolutionary training. People shortened it to EVO, and a lot of people think of it's EVIL. The basis is to feel what's happening inside, not worry about what's happening on the outside. I felt my foot here, okay? Well what happened inside that allowed you to feel your foot there?
Ben: Now I, of course, was subjected to what you may be considered evil, and I think there's a photo of me over on Dave Asprey‘s site. I think I may have posted on my site where I was talking about that biohacking conference where I've got electrodes all over my abs, and I'm more or less, as crude a term as it may be to describe this, getting the hell shocked out of my abs, and this is part of these Russian training techniques that you talk about I know that we're going to get a chance to delve into here in just a second. But before we even get into the nitty gritty and some of the specifics of some of these training methods that you use, you've worked with endurance athletes, and you actually told a couple of cool stories about a swimmer that you worked with, as well as an older female marathoner that you worked with and utilized some of these training methods with. Can you delve into some of your experiences with those athletes and endurance?
Jay: Yeah, again all humans are looking for the same thing. Move at high velocity, be able to remain in position that's biomechanically efficient so that you're resistant to injury and be able to do it as many times as you wish. The weakness of endurance athletes certainly isn't aerobic capacity. However, they want to measure it. That's not really the weakness. The weakness is the inability to remain in position to allow muscles to be eccentrically contracted, so that they can create and absorb as much force as is necessary and or beyond. So obviously, I was more into the strength aspect 'cause to me that was appealing, but when I was first queried by some individuals as to can you help me do this or can you help me do that? And the first one was a swimmer. He was injured many times. He was injured when I met him, he was told his career was over, and I don't remember his age exactly, but I'm going to say he was 18 or 19. And that's no reason to have your career end at 18 or 19. I mean that's crazy. Within a week, we had him back in the water, and he was swimming as efficient or more efficiently than he did beforehand. A few people asked, ‘what did you do, what's going on?’ Because he had been to a lot of specialists and doctors and different types of therapy, and nothing really seemed to work. There was the basic shoulder injuries, rotator cuff, elbow problems that almost all swimmers experience at some time or another and end up having to take a break. Well, a period of time passed because he had another part of his life to live, and he contacted me after a couple years and said, ‘I'd like to begin swimming competitively. I'd like to go to the Olympics, and I'd like you to train me,’ and I know, pretty wild, huh? And I said, ‘look, I don't know anything about swimming,’ and he goes, ‘I know swimming. You know how to train.’
Ben: Yeah, I was going to say, you're built like a linebacker.
Jay: Well, yeah. In my younger years, even more so. I'm 5'10 and a half, 5'10 and three quarters, depending on the day, and I weighed around 252, 253, and people would look at me and go, ‘well what could you do to help him.’ But let me get to what we did. He was a distance swimmer, and I told him that he was not a distance swimmer based on what he displayed, and once I convinced him that it was okay to train for something other than 400 meters and beyond, he said, ‘all right, let's get started with this.’ Well we ended up having around six and a half, seven months to get ready for the Olympic trials, and his favorite event was the butterfly. So, we began, and we predicted what it would take to not only qualify for the U.S. team which the U.S. is always loaded in swimmers, especially fliers, and we determined what time that would be. We went out and measured how long he could actually maintain that velocity for. And when we first started, it was less than 10 meters that he could maintain it, before a compensation pattern occurred. So, what we did is we devised a plan where we went out there and swam 10 meters in position until he couldn't maintain that position any longer.
Ben: Ten meters?
Jay: Ten meters, that was it.
Ben: Which is not very far?
Jay: The swim club that we trained at, they were housing at the time quite a few of the American sprinters and this gentlemen's old coach, and we would be out there, and we were like they're free entertainment. We'd show up, we would do a few things with an electrical modality and then he'd get in the water, and we'd swim 10 meters which, as you all know, is not very far. Get out of the pool, measure for our recovery parameters, and then if it were okay, back in and swim 10 meters again. Yeah, I mean we were gawked at and laughed at. We were the joke, we were their entertainment. Well long story short, this 10 meters became 15 meters, 17 meters, 20 meters, 50 meters. We actually worked our way up to 75 meters. During this time, and we were swimming at world class speed, at the end of this long battle, we had to qualify. We were in meets where he was 41st out of 42 people, not going very far. And then all of a sudden, we start coming on the scene and get faster and faster, and it's always the same people at all these meets, and a couple coaches then from some you top universities looked at him and said, ‘what are you doing? Because your progress is really amazing 'cause you were terrible when you started. What are you doing?’ And he said, ‘I don't really know, you have to ask my coach.’ Every time they come over and they look at me, they'd go, ‘well this guy obviously doesn't swim.’ It's like, ‘well what did you do?’ ‘Well I started at 10 meters.’ ‘Wait it's a hundred-meter race, how can you started at 10?’ We gained a lot of interest to say the least, and on our last day, we were getting interviewed by the local newspaper, and the coach from this club out there came over afterwards and said, ‘you know, I've coached this guy for many years since he was three or four years old, and I thought you were going to ruin him for life, and I've watched you turn him into a real athlete, and we're really impressed, we wish you well.’ Well we went to the Olympic trials, we made it through to the finals, and we lost but we were right there with the best in the world for 75 meters, exactly the way our plan went. We just ran out of time, and what we see essentially did was prepare his muscles to stay at length. Prepare his nervous system to understand the information to be able to maintain this eccentrically-contracted position while in the water.
Ben: Jay, for people who are listening in, when you use a term like eccentrically-contracted position, what exactly do you mean when you use a term like that?
Jay: Well muscles contract in one of two ways. They either shorten concentrically or they lengthen eccentrically. Muscles, you can't stretch them, you can't do anything else with them. They contract to shorten, or they contract to lengthen. When they're in their lengthened state, they can absorb and create. I mean, our current research indicates 10 times. In reality, when I've measured, when muscles eccentrically are contracted, we can absorb sometimes up to a hundred times. I measure with a V. Scope, and so we measure the force at any angle in any position and any range we're looking at. But a hundred times sounds crazy and ridiculous, so 10 times sounds a little more believable and understandable. But when we're in a position where we can absorb force and create force, we're energetically efficient, and we don't fatigue, and that simply happens because less issues, hamstring and quad, and obviously there's many muscles involved in the quad, but we'll just refer to it as a quad right now. If my quad tracks to a thousand pounds of force, in one tenth of a second for three seconds, my hamstring must eccentrically contract to those same parameters. If not, then I'm going to have to muscles competing for energy, and I'm going to be very inefficient, and rather than using muscles to propel myself or displace myself each direction, I'm going to be spending a lot of time resisting into a position, and that's what we did. Whether it's with this gentleman in the water or the woman you're talking about, she's very special to our business because she's a great friend, not because of anything else, but she's just a great human being. She got to be a really good friend.
Mainly I wrote everything, and Charles implemented, and that's the way Charles and I work together. Charles gathers data, and he's expert at gathering data and providing accurate data. With that then, I can make decisions on what positions we should be in, whenever we want to execute different protocols, and this woman, she had a tough time in her life, multiple forms of cancer, brain surgeries. She was told that right before we met her that she needed to get her life in order. She did not have much time, and they were hoping she could get prepared for the death process, basically. Rather than do that, she decided, and this tells you a lot about this woman. She decided to do something productive, and she was going to run because she loved running. Never really got a chance to do a lot with it. She was a nurse and a public speaker and very successful in the world, in every endeavor she involved herself. So, she decided she wanted to, and she wanted to run across the United States. She chose the southern route which, in the summer, no one had completed because of the heat, but she trained with us and I don't remember the exact number of days, but it was between six and seven months. She ran a mile to a mile and a half a week. Everything else was done in our facility. When she joined us, she had a bad back, she had a bad shoulder, she had a bad knee, and her feet gave her problems also, in addition to the cancers and the brain surgery and everything else she was going through which these are alternately minor compared to the cancer. But we prepared her in the exact same way that I described preparing this swimmer.
We knew the distance she needed to go, we knew how far she wanted to run each day because her plan was to run and stop every day and go to the local hospital and speak to the cancer patients, and explain that it isn't a death sentence, it's a life sentence. It's a chance to explore something new in your life and become maybe something greater, do something great. That's what she wanted to do. She was raising money for cancer and just trying to bring awareness that it doesn't mean death, it means life. And she ended up running from Southern California to North Carolina. She set the all-time record for crossing the United States. The only one to cross the southern United States, at that time, I don't know if anybody's done it since. She ran a marathon every day for 93 days in a row. Now keep in mind, Ben, she didn't run more than a mile and a half in a week.
Ben: Wow that's amazing. I've always been a quality over quantity kind of guy, who's into minimalist tradition, but that's really minimalist. Obviously, you weren't just using running a mile a week. You were also incorporating some of these other training techniques. We'll get into some of them here in a second. Basically, that's pretty minimalist.
Jay: It is. Keep in mind, also at the same time, we were getting over a knee problem, a back problem and shoulder problems, okay? Which I don't know if you've experienced any injuries or limitations in your career, Ben, but many of the listeners out there will have, and that's not an easy thing to do. Overcome just one of those, but all three in order to run across the United States. I mean you can't afford anything to go wrong. Otherwise, it ends, so she outlasted three drivers actually. They had to return to the start because they were fatigued from all the driving.
Ben: It's crazy.
Jay: I know, and since that time, she's been running still. I believe her next endeavor is to run from Canada to Mexico and set a record and bring attention, and the reason setting a record is important because that causes people to listen. If you just go on in your run, well that everybody listens even though the message may be extremely important to your life but setting a record or doing something unique causes people to take notice. And just for the listeners now, she had a couple other types of cancer come into play over the past few months, but yes. She's still running, she's still speaking, she still does everything she desires. If you go on evoathlete.com. you can read her story. Her name is Haleen, and she's written several books now, and she's just a great human being. She should be what we all want to be as a goal. I watched part of the Super Bowl this weekend, and everybody's talking about, ‘oh my God, these are tremendous athletes.’ But when you look what they accomplish compared to what Helene did, it's nothing. It's really nothing you know, and you know, Ben? I think one of the things that we talked about, a lot actually when we were at this Bulletproof Conference was that humans are miracles. We're a miracle from the moment we're conceived, through birth, through death and death itself is a miracle because many things will happen after that. To give ourselves the opportunity to live is a miracle is what we really need to prepare for, and that's what we try and do in our training.
Ben: Yeah, interesting. Well let's delve into that because these are fascinating stories, and I want to teach people now how you do this stuff. There are some different concepts that you went over, when we were at the conference, and in one particular scenario, you had us all basically down in this lunging position and that I think was called something like extreme isometrics. How can this type of training, if it's isometric training or this kind of super, super slow training? Well first of all, what is it? I mean how's it work? And second of all, how would that benefit somebody who is running long distances or swimmer or endurance athlete or someone like that, much less of a soccer player or a basketball player or something.
Jay: Good question. First of all, let me preface the answer by saying that while I was reading the Soviet training journals, The Soviets never created anything, they perfected. Want a Rolex watch, but you don't want to pay the money? Buy one of the old Soviet watches because they copied Rolex, and they perfected it. They could they could build these things for 1% of the cost that we buy them for. And when I was reading through there, they investigated isometrics, they investigated what was called at the time dynamic isometrics and every type of training, and it's where I first got exposed to learning about other training systems of the world because they talked about the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians and what they did to prepare and or to compete and or to recover afterwards. And what they noticed was that every system throughout the world, at any time, was looking for high volume, high load, high velocity. The other thing they noticed when they were investigating this was that was the point when you would reach that high load high volume and high velocity, that we call it burnout and injury or an increased propensity for injuries occurred.
So, while I was reading, I thought, ‘damn, all I really have to do is find a way to be able to maintain that.’ Well one of the things that they had really looked at, I believe the gentleman's name was in the United States here. I think he was up in Oregon, Pat O'Shay, but I'm not I'm not positive on that but I believe that was his name. He was investigating isometrics, and he was looking at dynamic isometrics in the old Bob Hoffman, Isocage and things. He determined that it was somewhat successful, but it was difficult to maintain and keep up, and there were other areas of human performance that would have suffered. Well the Russians decided to take dynamic isometrics to another level, and they used heavy loads and they would move a heavy load at high speed to an isometric position, and it had its flaws also and they ended up dropping that as part of the train system. But I got really intrigued by it because while I was visioning these things and feeling them inside myself, I found myself continually moving while I was doing this isometric, or I sensed myself continually moving while I was doing this, and that's where I came up with what I call iso-extreme, and the only reason the name iso is on there is because of what I read. And obviously I got to live and still living a wonderful life, moving around where I couldn't before, and I owed it to reading these journals on the Soviets, and whether that's true or not, it's at least the way I felt. So, I put this name iso on there because that was the context of most everything I was reading in this first manual. But in reality, it's not an isometric at all. It's an extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely slow concentric, and there's some very interesting things that happen when you move extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely. I don't know how many extremelies I need to put on there.
Ben: Just real quick, when you say extremely, if I were going to go and do an extreme isometric squat, how long would it take?
Jay: A minimum of five minutes.
Ben: Wow, that's a long rep.
Jay: Yes, it is, and it’s continuous movement. You see, Ben, if you stop during that, well we have to start all over again. I'm older so I have a lot of stories, but I'll tell you another story in a second here, but you see the interesting thing that happens when you move extremely slow is that everything to support that inside is moving at high velocity because the control it takes to move at these very small speeds is the exact same control that it takes to move at high speed. The mistakes you make during what I term iso-extreme, these extremely, extremely slow concentric movements, are exactly the same mistakes that you'll make when you're out there moving at high speed. What happens is this, we get out of position. When we're out of position, muscles shorten because they're doing a job they're not designed to do. They can't be fed properly by the energy systems, or at least in the order of the energy systems are supposed to work. So, we create what's called compensation, patterns of movement that aren’t normal.
Now again, we're miracles as humans, so we could still accomplish the task, but the idea is to accomplish the task to achieve the highest level of performance, not one time, not 10 times but any time, Ben, that you want to do it any time in your life, and that's the goal of this system, to do it whenever, however many times that you would like, injury-resistant, energetically-efficient. Because then, we're going to do it over and over because we get enjoyment from it, and that's the whole point. Ben, I know you compete in triathlons and the way you look, you obviously compete in many other types of events also. But there are times where I'm sure you wish man, I wish I could just do this every day. I wish I could run this mile in this time or cycle at 32 miles an hour for 12 minutes instead of 11 minutes or whatever it is. Because that then was what drives us and allows us to create and learn new things, not only about ourselves but about life to make everything more enjoyable.
Ben: Gotcha, so extreme isometrics when you're doing these, I know people are going to ask how is it that physiologically you're doing something like helping out your VO2 Max or your endurance capacity or your ability to buffer a lactic acid or something like that when you're doing something like a slow five-minute squat?
Jay: Another good question, Ben. I'm going to answer it this way. As I said, high velocity movements are really what's taking place. That means all of the support mechanisms, all of the ancillary muscles that have to become involved and the energy systems and the endocrine systems and every organ of the body has to go into support because it's traumatic, it's chaotic to the brain. It then gets the support it needs. I'm going to use my son as an example. I like fixed-gear bicycles. I mainly got interested in them because I wanted additional hamstring work, and I wanted to see how efficient they were. So, I love fixies, okay? And I did some velodrome racing and playing around, and it's just an awesome experience. So, my son, needless to say, got into riding a bicycle, and so he wanted to train with me. Basically, here's how we trained. We did a total of 200 meters in sprints every day. Now we may go 10 meters, 20 meters. Very rarely did we go more than 30 or 40 meters at any one time because we had to maintain a certain velocity in proper position, and if we couldn't maintain that after 10 or 20 meters at speed, we were done, and we would fully recover, heart rate, respirations, body temperature, and then we do it again until we total our 200 meters. Now I have a very good friend who coached some top cyclists in the world. He's a great endurance athlete himself. He's near 80 years old now, he's still in the gym training, and he liked the way Colin pedaled the bicycle.
So, he wanted to take my son out with him and ride, and they would go on 40, 50, 60 mile rides, and not only could my son complete them, but he finished right up in the front with Collin Lang, another Colin. It was like, ‘wow, how do you do this, what are you doing with your dad?’ We're only out there for 20 minutes, and then were in. I don't even really get tired to be honest with you. We then went over to the velodrome in San Diego, and I was doing my training, and I took Colin's bike out there for a minute, and he wanted to ride around 'cause velodromes are really fun, really cool, high banking, all fun stuff, and he made friends with seven or eight gentlemen out there, I'd say at least in their 40s and beyond, and they were out there and they were going to ride for two or three hours. Well Colin rode the whole time with them and kept up with them. They, again, were intrigued and said, ‘wow, how many miles a week do you ride?’ He said, ‘I don't know, I'd have to ask my dad, but he's right over there, I'll ask him.’ Colin was 11, 12 years old at the time, and so he came over and said, ‘Dad, how many miles a week do we ride?’ I asked him why, ‘'cause all these guys want to know,’ and I said, ‘well basically, we ride about three and a half kilometers a week at most.’ So, he went over there and told him three and a half kilometers, and they just started laughing. So, then they said well let's go ride some more, so they took him out there and he was able to ride with them again. And you see, if we train ourselves to move at a high velocity by remaining in position, eliminating compensation patterns, keeping muscles, eccentrically contracted, agonist and antagonist doing their rhythmic dance in order to allow this to happen, then we recover, Ben, at the exact same time we're working. That's part of the miracle of the human, we can recover at the same time we're working.
Not unlike what we did with the POV that you had attached to your abs out there, and you work, you contract at extremely high velocity, but the information that's sent from that modality tells the muscles to eccentrically contract immediately after this concentric contraction. Allows you to remain in position and allows you to recover afterwards. That's what we're after. All the protocols that I've created, rebounds, altitudes, iso-extreme, as I term it, tangos and manual overspeeds. They're nothing more than ways for us to apply velocity and remain in position. When we do that, energy systems developed, endurance consistent develops, and it's a whole lot less wear and tear, not mainly on your body, but on your brain. I'm sure you would be the first to admit that when you go out there and you train, and you have a challenging day, no matter how wonderful it feels at that time, that expenditure of emotional participation and intellectual participation wreaks havoc with you another day down the line.
Ben: It can be mind-numbing, and after we finished the conference, one of the things, one of the workouts that I did shortly thereafter is actually even before I left San Francisco, and I was just in my hotel room was I did a series of very, very long, and it took a lot of focus in and you could you could feel intense burn, but very long squats, lunges, push-ups, and then I had a suspension trainer in my hotel room. So, I also did single-arm rows, basically hang on one arm taking about three or four minutes to bring myself up and down in the other arm, and I felt as though I had completed a hard endurance workout. So, you could feel a similar amount of lactic acid building up, and the body felt as though it was being trained to buffer the stuff. So it's super interesting, and you just rattled off a bunch of other unique training methods that you use, and I'm hoping to be able to open up the listeners to some of your other training methods as well that I plan on incorporating my program, but there were a couple that I wanted to be sure to hit on just so we can give people a flavor of a couple of other things, and you just mentioned one of them, manual overspeed. Overspeed is something that sounds silly to a lot of endurance athletes because we aren't moving very fast. Our legs or arms aren't moving very fast when say we're a triathlete, and we're swimming and cycling and running. How in the heck do you use overspeed training? What do you mean when you say overspeed, first of all, and how does that actually benefit the endurance athlete?
Jay: All right, I'm going to regress very briefly, Ben, because we're talking about buffering lactic acid. You see that's not what we do at all, we allow ourselves to use lactic acid as a fuel source.
Ben: You got me.
Jay: By doing all of those things, that's one of the reasons that iso-extremes become so effective, okay? So now we'll get to your question. How does overspeed or manual overspeed or whatever type of increase, seeing the velocity one is moving out applied to endurance athletes? So, it's really simple. Again remember, if we don't already know this, that muscles, to work in the appropriate order need to move at high velocity. The slower you move, the more compensation patterns you have. We're stimulated for each muscle to work as designed by moving at high speed. Humans move at thousands of degrees per second, yet we allow ourselves to move in hundreds of degrees per second, and we test when we come back from injuries at hundreds of degrees per second and then pronounce ourselves fit, yet they go out there and injure more catastrophically or the same injury over and over and over again. We prepare you to move at high velocity. Then the more we do that, going back to the example of 10 meters at a time, five meters at a time, 20 meters at a time. Whatever that distance is that we can move, the energy systems begin to work in the order that we were designed to work in. So that as we progress through this 10 to 100 to 300 to a half mile, whatever distance we're looking at, our energy systems have been continuously prepared. One of the things that I've learned over all these years in researching, whether it's myself or others or we have research programs going on in Europe, is that, and this is a very important fact that everyone listening will really want to take note of. Your brain will not allow you to do anything you can't recover from. It doesn't want you to get hurt, so if we prepare you to absorb ten thousand pounds of force, a hundred thousand times, your brain will allow it to be displayed. If we have energy systems that can supply your energy to do this, then you're going to go out and you'll do it. You know I've dabbled in the world of triathlons. I've done some team triathlons. It isn't my cup of tea, but I wanted to see how I would fare in these things, and I usually did the cycling.
Sometimes I did the running, but I was going out there and I was 250 pounds, running alongside cycling, alongside 140-pound individuals, 170-pound individuals, and they're looking at me like the football field's over there, and yet we get on a hill, uphill, downhill, and I am accelerating past them. How can you do this? In some of the some of the bicycle races I was in, these guys were five-foot-six, a hundred and forty pounds, and I'm not quite double their weight, but 80% over their weight, and I'm sprinting at the same speed or faster. Well who's really in the best shape, Ben? It wasn't the little guy. Imagine if the smaller individual brought their capabilities up to this level, what they could truly display. Yeah, it's very cool. Now I've had some triathletes, and they were younger, and this is 22, 23, 24 years ago, and we trained. They would run a mile and a half to two and a half miles a week. They would bike about eight or ten miles a week, and they would swim about three to five hundred yards a week. Everything else was done in the weight room, and these guys would go out there and just blow their competition away. Now interestingly, Ben, after very successful competitions over a couple of years, they stopped doing it because it didn't fit the mold of a triathlete.
Jay: They were getting grief because they weren't putting in mile after mile after mile. They were getting grief, Ben, because they weren't hurt. They didn't have the basic overuse injuries, and they were being put down for it. Unreal, so I changed my focus. I got to tell you when I met you over there, it was quite interesting because you have a belief in your abilities and you look like you believe in your abilities, and yet you were open, and you caused me to take an interest again and that's why we're doing this podcast.
Ben: I've written manuals on quality over quantity, what I would term minimalist style of triathlon training. I've written about how to train less, how to have more time, how to optimize your results by using it a lot of minimalist strategies, but what you were revealing down in San Francisco went way over and above the stuff that I've looked into like. When I say overspeed training to triathlete, I'm talking about like getting on a bike and doing 10 by 30 seconds at a hundred RPM, maybe a little more than a hundred RPM. What are you talking about when you say overspeed?
Jay: Well the best way to do that is to tell you about what we did for a runner, and I had a van at the time, and off with a hitch, I made a handle that went right into the tow hitch, came up and it was a 37 and a half degree angle to the outside of the van with a handle, and you would hold on to this handle and then I would tow you in the van. We would tow until we heard the sound of slapping feet on the ground. Then I would slow down until it became quiet or as close to quiet as possible, and we would tow at that speed. What were those speeds? Well they were anywhere from 22 to 32 miles an hour. Now, it's hard enough to run that way, never mind not using your arms, and I would tow individuals for four or five miles at a time, at those speeds. So, we're talking massive overspeed. Yes, if anyone's interested, I did have one accident. I was following alongside. Another individual was driving the van and this gentleman who happened to be a football player, and we were working on speed and his ability to maintain it, so he could do his 10th game of the year as opposed to just the first quarter of the first game of the year, and I made this really, really big mistake that I know better, Ben, and I said don't let go before we slow that van down to under five miles an hour. Well guess what he did? He let go around 15 miles an hour. Well imagine all of the sudden having to move your arms in sync with your legs at that speed. Well he a rubbed a half an inch at least off his nose, and that's the only thing that happened, and he had a few pavement burns.
Ben: So, folks maybe a little bit wary of doing that.
Jay: When we're doing overspeeds on the bench press, what I call manual overspeed, I've had people. Well yeah, I mean it can be intimidating. How does that saying go? You must be willing to forgo the good in order to obtain the great, and that means you have to sacrifice, Ben. That means you have to challenge yourself, and again, if you believe such as I do, that humans are miracles, then all you have to do is allow your mind to be open to doing it and you'll be able to do it. How else did Haleen run across the United States with all of these problems. I didn't tell you when she got to the end, she wanted to run back and she had to get back quickly for a wedding, I believe it was. But when she came back, she didn't feel real well. Well turns out she had thyroid cancer. Now there was no fluctuation in her weight at all, Ben, this whole time. Most of the time, people will lose weight when they do this, running a marathon. Never in my 93 freaking marathons and 93 days and go to the hospital and visit and talk to all the patients and go to the local malls 'cause she like to shop and go eat ice cream because she liked to eat ice cream. And eat a diet that was laden with meat. She didn't eat carb-rich foods, I guess the ice cream. It was high protein because that's what it takes to sustain this high velocity movement, this ability to move that fast. We overspeed people regularly on a bench press, and overspeed is relative to the speed that you can move, Ben, and I can move and every one of the people listening can move.
So, I'll just create an example here that if you can bench three hundred pounds in half a second, I'm going to overload at least 25% on that bar, and I'm going to move you, so you complete that movement, and we're looking at the concentric face, the pressing to completion in a third of a second. We may do a hundred of those, a hundred fifty of those, two hundred of those in a day because remember one very important thing. Is that if you move it max velocity, when I say max velocity, I'm not so ridiculous to believe that we can just move maximally every moment of everything, every day, but it's 93% or greater. Anything last that the 93%, we found that our research allowed for compensation patterns because muscles would not work in the appropriate order. They wouldn't make the appropriate contraction at the appropriate time, which in turn, created compensation, compensatory movement. So, we're talking 93% or more, so we would move 60% faster typically, and we would do that until you could no longer maintain that, and that was the end of a training day. Now you can imagine that it might be one today. It might be one for 20, 30 days in a row, and then all of a sudden, you see when the energy systems and the endocrine system and all the organs understand their role in recovery, then you all of a sudden can do 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, 100. You can do them all day, every day. We might do five or six thousand in a day. We have a platform, Ben, that we drop from, well depends on the machine you're using, but anywhere from 42 inches to 64 inches. Not only do we drop it, but we throw it down on the individual. Measured with a V-scope, it's up to 10,000 pounds of force that's created upon impact. Now you imagine if you're a runner, Ben, or a cyclist and you can absorb 10,000 pounds of force a thousand times, what is three, four times your body weight on a running stride? If you're 200 pounds, I think you're around 180 to 200, you're a big guy.
Ben: Yeah, I'm personally about 175, but yeah. I used to be a bodybuilder, so I have competed as high as 210.
Jay: So that explains the good looks of your body. I was wondering if it all came from triathlons 'cause I was thinking you know something others don't when I saw you. But imagine even if it's six times your body weight on one leg, that's only 1200 pounds of force. Imagine if you're prepared to do 10,000 a thousand times, how easily would you be able to pedal your bicycle? How easily would you be able to maintain your stride uphill, downhill, put on burst, ending up with your lower leg in the appropriate position? So, your foot contacts the ground appropriately, so compensatory action doesn't take place, so you don't have muscles competing for the same finite amount of energy. How the hell much faster are you going to go, Ben?
Ben: Hopefully significantly faster.
Jay: Exactly, but it takes operation.
Ben: The thing is, and a lot of endurance athletes, this is my hypothesis, are lazy because it's a lot easier to go out and just turn your brain off and pound the pavement for two hours, you know what I'm saying? Absolutely, and that's why people do that, because it emotionally and intellectually and psychologically is not the same cost as benching a thousand, squatting two thousand, running a four flat forty, right. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but in my world, it accelerates the death process. Whatever you want to compete at I think is awesome because it furthers the development of human beings and your own personal self and your own personal growth in your life, to allow you to do what you want to do at the same quality your whole life. But on the other hand, there's something we haven't talked about yet, and you eluded to this when you were talking about going back to your hotel room, and that was the focus that it took. You see there's really only one focus that should ever come into play, and that's for Ben and Jay and every other listener out there to see and feel the ultimate end performance, whatever that means to you. And if you keep that in mind, then you'll never mind doing an iso-extreme lunge for five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes.
When we started, we went up to 30 minutes because I needed to find out what was the ideal length of time. Well it came to be five minutes. About 10, 12 years ago, we had some research being done, unbeknownst to us. A group in Europe of swimmers that they called Long Duration Isometrics was what they called the iso-extremes, and what they found was they increased their ability to perform the more often they did these, even though swimmers perceive themselves as being tired, when they went out there and tested immediately afterwards, they were performing at a higher level. If they did three sessions a day, they improved every single time, every single day. There was no break ever needed. They determined that it was five minutes and eleven seconds was the ideal amount of time, with all their sophisticated equipment. I was pretty accurate with my five minutes and just using my brain, my eyes and all my senses, notice the position. So that's where velocity comes in, Ben, long answer to the question. Velocity is a compensatory action which means we're better using our finite amount of energy, we're better utilizing our muscles because they aren't going to concentrically contract which then does not allow us to absorb force, which creates a propensity for injury.
Ben: So, there's obviously a ton more that we can talk about, and I want to make sure that we have time to squeeze this additional thing in, and for listeners who are just wanting more and screaming for more, don't worry. Jay and I are talking, and we're going to try and figure out a way to show you how some of the stuff would work into something like an Ironman training protocol. But with the time that we have left, we should definitely mention this whole electrical muscle stimulation thing because I know that's probably got some eyebrows raised out of by folks who are listening in, who are wondering where that fits in and how electrical muscle stimulation can be used to enhance endurance as well. So, can you touch on that?
Jay: Absolutely, Ben, and again, you're very good at this, great question. The POV is nothing more than another tool to send information.
Ben: And what's the POV, just for people who don't know what that is?
Jay: POV stands for Force Velocity. About 17 years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet my partner, Dennis Thompson. He saw me on ESPN, working with some athletes, using an electrostim 182I, and there may be many listeners out there who know what that crude piece of equipment is, but that's the modality I was using at the time, and he saw me using it in a way that shouldn't have been possible to be done. Because you see most electrical modalities only allow for concentric contraction, and then they turn the power down. Like when you go to your chiropractor or your therapist, they turn the power up. Muscles contract, they turn it down. Well I figured out a way to allow myself to maintain eccentric elongation and be able to get out of it what I needed, and I did that by communicating from other parts of the body, and that's a topic for another podcast. Anyhow, we met, we talked about what I did, how I did, why I did, and he said I think you'd be interested in this machine that I have, and it was called, at the time, an ARP trainer, since it's grown, because of technology, to an RX100, and it's a therapeutic modality, and Dennis Thompson, my partner, had it created for him, and we perfected it's use by using protocols to allow for all these things that I'm talking about here in the therapeutic side of life. And then I was provided an opportunity to create a modality, based on the RX100, not create it but tell the engineers what I needed, for a specific training. Now this modality is designed to send information with a biphase waveform. It has a neurological waveform and a physiological way form very uniquely when they enter your body, they never modulate. They maintain their own integrity which really allows for us to contract agonist and antagonist, eccentrically at the same time. Unbelievable, and that's what really allows for quick increases and changes in performance, whatever it may be, Ben.
If we're talking about cycling, swimming, biking or just thinking throughout the day, your ability to focus longer without fatigue, because you see fatigue is nothing more than a compensation pattern. You breathe inappropriately, you are sitting inappropriately and used energy inefficiently, just another compensation. So, this sends information that's easily duplicatable and replicable every single time it's turned on, so your brain receives the exact same stimulus every time. It gets there so fast, 245 times per second where we can send information typically two times for a second our own self. Every second it's doing this, so we're getting 122 times the normal amount of work every second? It allows us to create these results, and I found out that it took, just like research says, four to seven years, to create an elite athlete. Well I can do it now in just over a year. Unbelievable because that means you can be doing what you love doing at a high level, sooner and or longer. Now what we do with this modality is we find out which muscles turn on and turn off appropriately, which ones do not and then we create protocols to send information via the electrodes that are placed on your body. To the other areas of your body, we need to respond appropriately, and hence, you have efficient movement. You can think of it as you don't make very good circles when you're peddling. You're dropping your heel too soon or you're not pulling with your hamstring or whatever it may be. You see we can remedy that quite quickly because we can tell the brain it's okay for the hamstring to work. There's nothing keeping it from doing what you know it needs to do, and when we do that, well then performance is increased. Then, Ben, it's up to guys like you and I to create training protocols to support that.
Ben: And this use of electrical stimulation is another way that we're talking about getting more bang-for-your-buck because trust me. We talked about me getting my abs shocked or whatever. I wasn't sitting on a couch, sipping a coke, watching a cartoon. I mean this was focused. This was not some of what you see on the made-for-TV electrostims where folks are just sitting around with their legs up, undergoing a little bit of mild shock therapy. Anyways though, I know that we're going to get a lot of questions about the stuff that we've talked about so far, and folks if you listened in and you have questions, then please, please, please feel free to leave them in the show notes for this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com, and I will do my best to hunt down an answer for you. In addition, Jay and I are in discussion about how we might be able to roll some of this stuff out to the Ironman triathlon population and potentially use guys like me as a guinea pig, so to speak, for really showing how powerful the stuff can be. So, stay tuned for some of that information as well. If this is the type of stuff that intrigues you, we'll definitely be able to deliver you more. In the meantime, check out Jay's website. It's EVO Athlete, right Jay?
Jay: Yes, sir.
Ben: Okay, it's EVO Athlete, and I'll link to that in the show notes for everyone, and Jay, any last things that you wanted to mention before we go?
Jay: Yeah, Ben, there is one thing. There's a protocol technique that my partner created about 30 years ago with this POV. We simply call it loosening. Within a sixteenth of a second of the application of this modality at a certain frequency power level and placement, your muscles are commanded to eccentrically contract. You can increase performance for up to three hours by ten to a hundred and 80%.
Jay: Yeah, I just like to leave them with that.
Ben: That's called loosening?
Jay: It's called loosening. Yes, it's awesome. Ben, we use it for athletes. My partner, Dennis, would make a living going to the combine, mainly working with linemen because if a lineman could run five flatter faster, and we're talking 360, 380-pound guys, normally if they're fast, they're 5-1, 5-2, but if you can get into the 4-8, 4-9 range, well now you're talking about multimillion-dollar swing, and it only took two minutes to do this. These guys would go out there and run at these speeds because why? Their muscles were prepared to absorb up to 10 times more force by being lengthened, eccentric contraction. And that's what we can do for all the triathletes and any other person and, Ben, I plan on having you cycle, run and swim with this modality on, so get ready, big guy.
Ben: It's going to be super interesting, and folks, stay tuned for more. So, in the meantime, Jay, thank you so much for your time today and for just delving into some of this with us. I know we've only scratched the surface, but for people listening in, we'll be able to get you more and you can leave your questions on the show notes for this episode, so Jay, thanks.
Jay: Thank you, Ben.
Maximum Overspeed Training.
Arcwave Electrical Stimulation.
These are just a few of the advanced endurance training techniques that Jay Schroeder reveals in today’s interview…
You may remember Jay (pictured right) from the article: Top 10 Lessons Learned at Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Biohacking Conference.
He’s the guy that hooked up my abs to maximum electrical muscle stimulation that left me engaged in a maximal stomach muscle contraction with sweat pouring down my face as every muscle in my body contracted at 100% intensity to stabilize my core.
When I finished, I felt as though I’d literally done 1000 situps, or worked my core for a full hour.
YES, HOOK ME UP!
But Jay was just getting started, and in today’s interview, he reveals the techniques he uses at EVOAthlete to achieve extremely fast results with minimal training.
Jay has trained Olympic swimmers who swim just 100 meters per workout.
He prepared a woman who successfully ran 93 marathons in 93 days, with just a mile of running every few days.
A man after my own heart, Jay has prepared endurance athletes to achieve maximum results with minimal training – although he uses tactics I have not yet begun to implement, but plan on “guinea-pigging” and revealing on this website as my personal training for Ironman Canada progresses.