[Transcript] – Getting Ripped With Yoga, Using Isometrics To Build Massive Athleticism, Five Things You Must Do Every Morning & More!

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Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/07/getting-ripped-with-yoga/

[0:09] Marc Pro

[1:46] Exo Bars

[3:47] Facebook Poll about the Podcast

[4:53] Introduction

[7:10] All about Dean Pohlman

[9:44] Dean’s Morning Routine

[19:54] Core Foundation Routine – “True To Form”

[26:09] Dean’s Man Flow Yoga

[39:24] Developing Power and Brute Strength through Yoga

[45:43] Dean on the Spiritual Side of Yoga

[48:01] Ben’s take on the Spiritual Side of Yoga

[54:01] Why Yoga doesn’t Increase your Mobility

[56:03] KnotOut – Dean’s Mobility Tool

[57:50] Dean’s Self-Massage

[1:01:49] The Mobility Project of Dean

[1:10:16] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and I figured, I might as well just start this podcast episode off by talking about shocking yourself.  So you’ve probably heard me talking about E-stim before and about how it can be used for recovery.  This is literally just like it sounds like electric stimulation.  And some electric stimulation devices are really good for things like power and strength and others are good for recovery.  The one I want to tell you about right now is for recovery.  It’s called a Marc Pro. M-a-r-c Pro.  And it produces what is called a square wave form which means that it grabs your muscles when it electrically stimulates them in a very therapeutic manner that increase blood flow to an area but doesn’t damage muscles like a more intense form of electrical stimulation might.

So this Marc Pro simply comes with these electrodes and you surround the area that’s hurting and basically shock it into submission.  It doesn’t hurt at all it just delivers this mild electrical wave that does things like increase blood flow and keeps you from losing muscles when you’re injured etcetera.  So you actually get a discount on the Marc Pro and here’s how.  You go to marcpro.com that’s m-a-r-c pro dot com and you us promo code Ben to get 5% off.  You can literally take this on an airplane.  I tried TSA doesn’t mind and you can even shock yourself when you’re sitting for long periods of time on a plane in a car, you name it.  I probably shouldn’t say shock yourself, I should say therapeutically stimulate yourself, but either way if you haven’t yet tried out E-stim or added it to your protocol, you’re missing out on better living through science.  So marcpro.com, that’s m-a-r-c pro dot com and use 5% discount code Ben.

Speaking of better living through science, let’s talk a bit about a new form of eating through science.  Now there is a special form of protein that has 65% bio-available protein.  That’s compared to 33% beef jerky, 23% in chicken, 22% in salmon and just 12% in eggs.  This is a complete protein source that has all the essential amino acids, has 2.2 times more iron than spinach and doesn’t destroy our planets.  I’m talking about crickets.  Crickets produce a hundred times less greenhouse gases than cows.  Literally, close to zero amounts of waste, have very, very low water requirements and somebody figured out how to make a tasty bar out of cricket flour.

This company is called E-x-o.  Exo Bars.  They have barbeque bars, mango curry, Mediterranean, banana bread, coconut, apple cinnamon, blueberry vanilla, peanut butter and jelly sampler pack which I’ll tell you more about in just a second, and it’s all made paleo-friendly, no gluten, no grains, no soy, no dairy, you name it and it actually tastes good.  It’s the protein of the future! Future, future.  Hear that?  That was an echo.  I made that myself.  Anyways, here is how you get some bars and you can get a sampler pack with all their most popular flavors for less than 10 bucks with free shipping, that’s 33% off, thank you, I did the math for you.  You go to E-x-o protein dot com slash ben, that’s E-x-o protein.com slash ben and that’s it.  That’ll automatically give you a discount on this cricket bars.  There are small and nimble start-up just like a cricket and they sell ’em all the time.  So grab them while inventory lasts.  Exoprotein.com/ben.

So check all that out.  The protein bars, the electrical stimulation.  And now on to today’s podcast episode.

Oh, I almost forgot one last thing.  We have a poll going.  I’m thinking about switching up the podcast to being a podcast that has 1 long Q&A and news flashes, and special announcements with me each week and then on alternating weeks, 1 big long high quality Q&A interview with a special guest.  That would be as opposed to the 2 times per week slightly shorter podcast that we currently put out.

So basically, we’re thinking about switching up to 1 time per week podcast format with long form podcast that really delve deep, deep, deep into the nitty-gritty life of the person that I’m interviewing and also that will allow more time for me to regularly put out to you the Q&A episodes with me which seems to be quite popular and which I’ve done for the past ten years now.  So anyways, you can grab that poll if you just go to facebook.com/bgfitness and at facebook.com/bgfitness.  The poll and all its glory and beauty presides.

Okay, now we really are going on to today’s podcast.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“You can talk a lot more about technique just because the poses are lasting longer as well and then because the poses lasts longer, we’re also getting nearer to that point of muscle fatigue so you can actually build muscle and get stronger.  We just relate focus on the technique and the amount of benefits would come and if you notice that you are also getting a bit spiritual out of it, that great but we just don’t mention it.  I don’t need to mention it for it to happen.  Even when we’re doing postures, the emphasis is very much still on the breath and keeping your cool so to speak.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben: Hey, what’s up?  It’s Ben Greenfield and I remember distinctly it was like 2 years ago that I was at this health and yoga e-conference, and this guy at the conference was just like a beast.  This big, huge like 6 foot, 6 dude basketball player, and I asked him what his training routine was and he said, I do yoga. I’m like, alright.  Well, that’s good for perhaps your flexibility and your blood pressure, and relaxation and breathing but what kind of strength training program do you do?  What kind of cardio program do you do and he said, I just do yoga and I play basketball.  This guy was literally, that huge.  So I remember walking away from that conversation thinking that he was a [0:07:09.1] ______.

And then I met another guy about a month later at the Paleo f(x) Conference and at Paleo f(x) Conference they have like this obstacle course set up where you’d blast through this high intensity powerful obstacle course in 2 minutes, and I remember getting my butt kicked by about, I think it was 10, 12 seconds, something significant for a 2 minute course by this guy.  This young bearded gentleman who was also ripped and I went up to talk to him afterwards, his name was Dean Pohlman, and it turns out that he too, primarily just does yoga.

And so, now I was incredibly intrigued so I talked with Dean and wound up getting him on a podcast episode.  You may have heard this podcast episode, it occurred about a year and a half ago and in that episode we talk about how Dean uses yoga to get ripped and powerful and athletic, and that’s most of what he does.  And he’s actually designed a special form of yoga.  So what Dean has if you listen to that podcast episode, and I’ll link to it in the show notes in this episode, and you can just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mobilityproject to access the show notes for this episode.

But Dean creates yoga for people that as he puts it want the physical benefits of yoga without the lifestyle change of becoming a hippie pushing a giant grocery shopping cart full of kale through Whole Foods.  You hold the postures a lot longer, you place more emphasis on the technique instead of the spiritual.  The workouts are more catered to the physical needs of guys although his workouts are also accessible to women, and Dean was a former collegiate lacrosse player who decided that he wanted to use yoga to become a better athlete.  So he designed this crazy yoga program that actually develops athleticism not just say like, flexibility or relaxation or serene thoughts.

And so today we’re gonna talk a little bit about that form of yoga but also about, more about mobility ‘coz Dean’s got some pretty cool stuff he’s been doing lately with different mobility techniques, and he’s a very outside the box thinker which you may already know based on my introduction.  So get ready to learn more about how you can use yoga to get ripped, to get fit and also how to increase mobility in new ways.  Dean, welcome to the show, man.

Dean:  Wow!  That was quite the introduction.    

Ben: Wasn’t it? 

Dean:  Thanks for having me, Ben. 

Ben:  I practice. 

Dean:  That was good. (laughs) 

Ben:  I practice.  So anyways, man the first question I have for you, though just so folks can get to know you a little better get inside your head, a lot of yogis that I talked to, I mean, people in general but people who do yoga especially, they tend to have these elaborate morning routines, and I’m curious.  Are you just the guy who gets up, crushes some eggs and steak, man flow yoga style, and just jumps into the day or do you have a specific routine that you follow?

Dean:  Well, first up I think I’m gonna disappoint you because I’m not a terribly weird yoga guy.  I’m weird in my own terms, in my own regard but not terribly weird yoga style.  If I just got up and ate eggs and jumped into my routine or jumped into my day probably a pretty crappy day, but morning routines are something that I’ve worked on a lot for the last 2 years and actually just talked about this maybe a week ago or so, but I’ve tried almost everything for morning routines.  I’ve tried cold showers and going for runs, and doing intense workouts and doing regular yoga every morning for 60 minutes, and just a lot of miracle morning type of stuff.  I’m sure you’ve gotten sort of some of that.  And what’s really stuck…     

Ben:  But did you say miracle morning? 

Dean:  Yeah, the Miracle Morning.  This is more geared toward success and business people but I figured…

Ben:  What is the Miracle Morning?       

Dean: The Miracle Morning, and I’m not an expert on this I don’t think I even know the components but it involves affirmations, visualizations, 10 minutes of intense exercise and a few other things, but it’s nothing special in terms of morning routine but it’s geared more towards sales people as opposed to athletes.   

Ben:  Oh.  Interesting.    

Dean:  Yes.

Ben:  I don’t want any part of that thing.  I don’t need a morning routine for real estate agents.  I want something for athletes.  No, I’m just kidding.

Dean:  Yeah, it’s nowhere near weird stuff for you.

Ben: I’ve probably just insulted everybody who does miracle morning.  Anyways though, so you do something miracle morning-esque?

Dean:  Well, I’ve tried out all that stuff and some of it sticks but my morning routine wasn’t only based on this, but I’ve tried a lot of those aspects.  The 5 routines that have stuck with me and I’ve gotten into a nice even, well, a nice odd but memorable number have been things that I’ve done in the different variations of morning routines that I’ve done over the last couple of years, and the one that just kind of stick.  So I like to get outside when I wake up.  I make sure that I get outside and living in Texas makes it really easy ‘coz you can always go outside, it’s not too cold and I spend at least 15 minutes outside.  I’ve dogs so that makes it easy that I have to go outside.

Ben:  Can I interrupt you for a second?

Dean:  Absolutely.

Ben:  First of all, I think that anybody like I used to have that mindset that you couldn’t go outside in the winter or in the snow, and I started doing it like I started putting on boots and going outside in the snow.  I’d go outside in like my boxer shorts.  You’d be surprised at the amount of not just UVA and UVB radiation that can get through grey clouds, and they’ve actually done some research on this.  Like even when the sun isn’t directly hitting your skin, you get a decent amount of Vitamin D exposure and you also get a decent amount of kinda like that jumpstarting of your circadian rhythm when light hits the photoreceptors in your eyes, but I think everybody should go out of their way to just be comfortable trying to step outside.

Just try it for like 30 days no matter what the weather is like.  Just step outside no matter what it is outside, raining or snowing or sunny or whatever.  The concept of getting outside in the morning, Dean is fantastic.  I think too many people don’t get that burst of fresh air and sunlight, and negative ions and earthing and grounding, and all those benefits that you get in the morning, but I’d take it one step further and say, sun, rain, snow.  Just like the postal service, right? Step outside.

Dean:  Uhm.  Yeah, I mean 200 years ago we were living outside right? (laughs) We don’t need to go that far back when we were living outside.  You don’t have to be in 68 degrees to function.  So I think that we’d forget that a lot.  Your body was made to survive in winter.  We’ve got people living in Wisconsin right now and Washington so. (chuckles)

Ben:  Yeah.  Well some people’s bodies were made to survive in winter.  I guess it depends.  I know there are some folks who have done the genetic testing thing and come from say a Southeast Asian or a Sub-Saharan African population, and they might be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to trudging outside in the snow for a morning yoga routine but yeah, you’re right, people need environmental fluctuation.  So what’s number 2 man?

Dean:   Number 2 is solitude.  So it doesn’t have to necessarily be meditation.  It doesn’t have to be visualization or a mental process of some sort.  I just have to be by myself with my own thoughts with nobody talking to me.  So, I can spend a few minutes talking to people in the morning but as far as functioning during the day or that morning, I need to have at least 10 to 15 minutes by myself.  And I can meditate during that time, I can do visualizations.  I can run through my day.  I can journal but it just has to be me by myself without somebody else bugging me.

Ben:  Yeah.  I hear you on that and as a parent I can tell you right now, my best mornings are when I get up long before my kids are up.  If I get up and my wife is up and my kids are up, and this sounds super selfish but its true people are already socializing and impeding on my day, and I’m even horrible having house guests over who are up in the morning when I get up to make coffee, and they’re like, “hello Ben, how was your morning”, I am just like an arrogant, selfish bear in the morning like, I’m right there with you.  I need that solitude and that silence and that alone time, and a lot of times if people are already up my kids, my wife, whatever, I will find a quiet place in the house or in the yard, and just lock myself away.  I’m right there with you.  What’s number 3?

Dean:  Number 3 is I drink.  Well, this is out of order but I always have water.  So cold water mixed with sea salt, maybe some lime and then whatever supplements in the morning that I’m supposed to take before I eat right upon waking.  So right now, that’s been Ciltep for a long time.

Ben:  Ciltep?

Dean:  Yup.  The Natural Stacks nootropics.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s the one with the artichoke extract in it?

Dean:  Yup.

Ben:  Is that right?  I forget what else.  It’s not like a central nervous system stimulant, it’s more of acting in I believe like more of an adaptogenics sense if I’m correct.  It was like one of the first smart drugs out there that’s not like central nervous system based.      

Dean:  Yeah.  I know it’s unique from others, and I think I had to talk with the guy who developed it at the conference that you and I were at earlier this year but I was hyped up on all sorts what’s called caffeine, and a lot smarter than I usually am.  It made sense at that time and then I forgot what it meant later. (laughs)

Ben:  Yeah, its artichoke extract.  I’ve got the ingredients here in front of me.  Coleus Forskohlii is an interesting one.  I know it’s good for thyroid and it can also reduce LDL particle count to a certain extent, and apparently when combined with artichoke, that’s where you get a little bit of an enhancement of neural function.  It’s got Vitamin B6, L-Phenylalanine and Acetyl L-Carnitine.

I’ve used it before I remember distinctly I think it was last year that natural stacks and we’ll link to this in the show notes by the way, for those of you who would wanna check out Ciltep.  I remember you have to load with it for like 1 or 2 weeks before you begin to notice much of a change in function.  Have you noticed that?

Dean:  You know, I actually I think I noticed the benefits right away, and that could have been placebo but I think I remember using it for the first week and I noticed my week was a lot better afterwards.

Ben:  Interesting.  Okay, so we’ve got Ciltep and a morning glass of water.  Did you say cold or warm water?

Dean:  Cold water.

Ben:  Okay, cold water good for the vagus nerve and you’ve got getting outside, you got solitude.  What else?  Was that 4 or was that 5?

Dean:  That was 3.  So number 4 is movement.  So, getting outside is really nice having a dog because I can do all of these things with no excuses like well, I have to take the dog outside, I’m leaving.  So you know, I can go outside and I’ve been doing a lot of shoulder mobility and core exercises using a strap overhead lately, and this has been really nice, and I found that my shoulder mobility has really improved greatly from using this.  And so, I’ve been using my dog’s leash as my strap.  So whenever I get outside I do just some variations of lunges, some spinal flexion, and some just side stretching with a strap overhead.

Ben:  And you hold that strap almost like a PVC pipe, right?

Dean: Correct.

Ben:  Like for mobility, like overhead stretches?  Yeah, it’s kind of funny, you do the dog leash and I’ve a wooden dowel out on my porch.  And a lot of times when I’m out there doing my morning mobility, I alternate between a little bit of yoga, and I know we’ll talk about this in just a second like your form of yoga and your form of mobility, but I’ll alternate in one day I’ll do yoga and then another day I’ll do this thing called the core foundation routine, which is basically a program designed by a chiropractic doc that it kinda turns on your butt and decompresses your spine.  I wrote an article about it recently at bengreenfieldfitness.com.

Dean:  Yeah, I read.  It looks awesome.

Ben:  Have you tried this before? 

Dean:  I’ve done a lot of reading.  I’ve read your article a few times but I haven’t clicked on any of the videos and looked at the movements involved yet.  But it looks pretty awesome.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s a book called “True To Form”, and this guy used to work with like a bunch of Tour de France cyclists and professional athletes to teach them how to like re-turn on their gluts, and breathe more deeply throughout the day and then also decompress the spine especially if like they sit a lot or they have a lumbar pain and dude, I swear by this program now.  And I do it almost every morning like you.  It’s kinda interesting we have parallels like I’m big time into solitude in the morning.  I have a morning routine, I drink my big glass of water, take my supplements, etcetera, but then I go out on the porch.  And this doesn’t count as my workout right, it’s just my little bit of movement for the day to gain, it’s almost if you do that 10 minutes or so of movement, you gain momentum into the rest of the day to perhaps be inspired to do your actual exercise routine, or anything else just like alright, I already moved for ten minutes now I can move a whole bunch more.  You kinda get that feeling?        

Dean:  Yeah, absolutely and the prospect of waking up and trying to do a 60 minute workout would just not be totally exciting, but after you do those just 5 or 10 minutes of stretching you’re like, okay, now I can do something.  So yeah, I get that.

Ben:  And what’s you fifth?

Dean:  Fifth is just having a good breakfast.  I know that I’ll probably get hungry within an hour or an hour and a half.  Probably it takes about 2 hours to get hungry, but I eat within an hour, an hour and a half of waking and I’ve a very consistent breakfast.  It’s pretty much the same every day.  It’s eggs, spinach, sauerkraut, avocado and sweet potato, a lot lately mixed with ghee.  And it’s the same every day and it’s delicious and yeah, I’m set for at least 5 hours to 6 hours after I have a giant plate of that.      

Ben:  That sounds very much like what my kids have for breakfast in the morning.  They get up and they do eggs and bacon and some vegetables.  I’m a smoothie guy.  I take out the giant Vitamix-esque, I use one called an Omni blender.  It’s kinda like a generic version of a Vitamix but typically I’m dumping everything from ice to prevent oxidation.

I don’t know if you saw I wrote an article on this, but if you put a little bit of lemon juice and a little bit of ice in with the smoothie in which you’re gonna like pulverize vegetables, it keeps the vegetables from getting warm and also from oxidizing as you blend.  So you get a little bit less heat-based damage to the vegetables when you’re using like a high-speed blender.  So you put a little bit of lemon juice and ice in first then you dump the rest of your ingredients on top of that, so usually for me that’s like coconut oil and vegetables, and avocado, some nut butter, some sea salt, some cinnamon and then I just blend that all up but the ice and the lemon juice work really, really well.  I’m not a big fry-up guy or an egg guy in the morning.  I’m more of the smoothie variety.

Dean:  That lemon juice hack sounds pretty cool.  I need to try that.  I was at Costco a few months ago and they had a ridiculous sale on the Vitamix, and I’ve been looking at this thing for 3 years now, just get it (chuckles), but I need to use that thing more.

Ben:  It’s worth owning.  You can do so many things.  We’ll do nut butters where you blend almonds then you strain them through a cheese cloth, and you’ve got almond milk coming out of the bottom, then you got almond pulp left over that you can make almond cheese with or you know, I recently wrote an article about this on bengreenfieldfitness.com where I’ll take a bark tea.  You can get this stuff called Pau D’ Arco bark tea and it’s like an anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, it’s a precursor to an anti-aging molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. 

And you can blend the bark with fats like MCT oil or you can blend it with liquid fish oil or coconut oil, or anything else, and it’s essentially a bio-absorbable fat-soluble form of this NAD molecule, and then you can use what you’ve created after you strain it as a mixture for smoothies where you can drink it straight or whatever.  It creates almost like this bark tea milk and dude, it’s kind of like up there with bone broth in terms of something that will “raise the dead”.  So it’s good stuff, man.  You’ll have to get your hands on some of these bark.  I’ll put a link in the show notes to the article I wrote about how to actually make this stuff.            

Dean:  Yeah.  What’s your MCT oil?  What do you use?    

Ben:  I use the form that is most efficacious for neurological function is primarily what would be called C8.  So coconut oil is a mix of C8 and C10 relatively diluted with things like lauric acid, etcetera, and then MCT oil is also a blend of C8 and C10 but a little bit more concentrated, and then there’s this stuff called Brain Octane oil.  I get it from Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Company, and that’s just basically pure C8 and that’s the stuff that really spins the dials in your brain, satiates the appetite, etcetera.  So I use this stuff called brain octane or C8 but…

Dean:  Yeah, I’m a BulletProof ambassador that’s why I know that thing ‘çoz I’ve tried out a few different ones, and I’ve got the brain octane and I use that.  I kinda alternate between that and this giant tub of refined coconut oil I found at [0:26:00.2] ______ a gallon of refined coconut oil.  It comes in a bucket (laughs).     

Ben:  Nice.  I like it.  I like it.  Alright, so let’s talk about your flavor of yoga, this Man Flow Yoga.  Now, I know that we did a podcast episode on it, and we talked a little bit about this but I still need to wrap my head a little bit more around what it is that makes it so unique in terms of building more fitness than other forms of yoga.  And I was wondering if you could kinda like walk me through a sample session and give me some examples, like in terms of the actual biomechanics or biochemistry of what’s going on during a Man Flow yoga session that allows it to build fitness, or build tolerance to lactic acid or power, or whatever else it is that you’re building when you do one of these sessions.

Dean:  Yeah, so when I was going to other yoga sessions I noticed that we moved out of the postures very quickly.  So if you’ve ever been to a Vinyasa class which is the most popular type of yoga, or even a Bikram class, in a Vinyasa class the poses last for maybe 15, 20 seconds, it’s kinda one or two breathes and then okay, next pose.  So when I was doing those classes I was super inflexible and I need way more time to work into the posture to actually develop flexibility, but also to make sure I was doing everything correctly.  So we make the postures last a lot longer in Man Flow Yoga whereas in typical yoga you might do 15, at most 30 seconds.  We’ll hold the posture for 60 or 90 seconds so a lot of isometric strength doing…        

Ben:  Which is a long time.

Dean:  Yeah.

Ben:  I mean, if you’ve tried to hold a pose like a lunge pose for 60 to 90 seconds vs. 3-5 breathes.  Sixty to ninety seconds doesn’t sound like long, but that’s a decent amount of time to actually be holding a pose correctly.

Dean:  Yeah.  So that really helps with endurance.  So first off, it helps with physically, it’s just gonna help with endurance a lot more, but it also helps with building flexibility because the longer we stay in a pose or holding the pose for more than thirty seconds, we’re actually giving our muscles a chance to open up, to lengthen, to get more flexibility for those muscles to release.  It can take up to ninety seconds for your muscles to relax and lengthen.  So the flexibility aspect is there as well.

And then because we’re spending more time in it we have more of an opportunity to really delve into the technique.  We can talk about breath, alright, make sure you’re using your breath to inhale to come up a little and exhale to go deeper.  And we can talk about making sure that you’re externally rotating your front hip.  Make sure that your arch is lifted and your ankles are externally rotated.  Make sure that your chest is lifted.  Make sure that you’re thinking of pulling your ribs away from your hips and tightening your core.  So, we can talk a lot more about the technique just because the poses are lasting longer as well, and then because the poses last longer, we’re also getting nearer to that point of muscle fatigue, so you can actually build muscle and get stronger.         

Ben:  You talk about muscle fatigue but I know that in some of the studies that they’ve done on isometric contractions, one of the things that they found is you get a significant amount of motor unit recruitment when you drop into a position and you hold it for a long period of time, like when you get to that point where the muscles are really burning.  You can actually train for increased motor unit recruitment and that actually staves off central nervous system fatigue.

So what I mean by that is like I’ll have some of the folks who I coach for running for example, I will begin their run and end their run with a long isometric contraction in a lunge position more like a 3-5 minute contraction in a lunge position to grab as many motor units as possible to prime the central nervous system or after the run is done to fatigue the central nervous system, and I’m a huge fan of these type of isometric contractions even thrown in during the day.  I don’t know if you’ve tried this before Dean, but a technique where for example, when you’re on a phone call you just drop into a wall squat or an isometric squat and you hold it for 3-5 minutes, and you’re actually training motor unit recruitment when you do that.

Dean:  Oh yeah.  I was gonna say that.

Ben:  The other thing, I learned this from Jay Schroeder.  Have you heard of his extreme iso routines?

Dean:  It sounds familiar.

Ben:  Yeah, this guy trains a lot of NFL athletes.

Dean:  Yeah, I’ve heard of this!

Ben:  Yeah, he’ll have them go through a range of motions but it’s extremely slow, right? Like you’ll do say, an overhead press or push-up and you’ll take like five minutes to do a push-up.  And one of the things that he talked about when I interviewed him, and I’ll link to that interview in the show notes for this episode.  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mobilityproject.

He talks about how you actually build up a lot of lactic acid in muscle tissue.  And normally your muscles would shuttle that lactic acid out of the tissue up towards the liver, and the lactic acid gets converted into glucose and then that glucose becomes an available energy source for you to use.  But when you do a very, very slow contraction you get much less of that milking action of lactic acid out of tissue and so you build up a bunch of hydrogen ions and a bunch of acidity in muscle tissue and you actually have to increase the density of the enzymes responsible for buffering lactic acid in tissue.  So by doing a very, very slow isometric contraction you not only increase motor unit recruitment but also your lactic acid threshold in that particular section of tissue that you’re training.

Dean: Wow.  Yeah.  That sounds awesome.  I mean, I’m just thinking of holding a 3-5 minute lunge after going for a 2 mile run or any run.

Ben:  Yeah.

Dean:  That sounds really difficult.

Ben:  It’s hard but it can be used as a finisher or an ender to any routine like a chest or an upper body routine, you can finish that up with an isometric push-up hold at the bottom of the push-up to failure, or you can finish up a squat routine with an isometric squat to failure, or you can start with that again to prime your motor unit recruitment.  It’s a cool technique to try if you’re listening in and you’re masochistic and you’re glut in for the burn.

So Dean, you’ve got this yoga routine and basically are you going through a typical half a yoga?  I know you did down dog and sun salutations and all your different lunge positions.  Are you pretty much as doing that and just holding each one for 60 to 90 seconds or are there other things thrown in?      

Dean:  There’s a lot more exercises thrown in and it’s different from a typical yoga session because we’ve kinda modified the postures.  The way that you would do let’s say, the bottom position of a squat in yoga, it’s not really an athletic squat.  You wouldn’t be focusing on keeping a slight arch to your back and keeping your chest lifted.  It’s more of a stretch.  So you’re kind of more relaxed.  Your elbows are inside your knees, so we incorporate a lot more what you would see in a body weight exercise or like calisthenics workout.

So we’re not afraid to incorporate things that aren’t considered yoga into the workout.  So I’ve heard it called yoga calisthenics a lot more from people who are familiar with it.  You can also call it a slow burn yoga type class, but we also have for it for in a gym and I have the use of throwing pull-ups or just get on a bar and hang just to make it, so that we’re getting in more recruitment of the muscles in the back of your body as opposed to what yoga tends to focus on.

Ben:  That’s one of the things I’ve noticed.  In yoga it’s very easy to get quite kinda like chest and shoulders centric where you’re doing a lot of these pushes from the ground and you almost create a muscular imbalance so to speak in terms of not getting a lot of those pulling type of exercises, and I don’t know about you, but I found a couple of moves that tend to help out quite a bit with that.  One is whenever you’re doing like a squat in yoga or even when you’re doing lunges, I will sometimes do isometric or very, very super slow rows with my upper body where you imagine that you’re holding on to a cable or rope apparatus, and pulling it very slowly into your body, and it’s just your own body weight that you’re using, but you’re contracting all your back and your scapular retraction muscles either from above your head and down or out in front of you and pulling in towards your body.  I feel like an idiot ‘coz I’m actually doing this in my office as I’m talking.

Dean:  (chuckles) I am too. 

Ben:  So you pull in.  Everybody listening in try it once you’re driving, and just use your stirring wheel which I also do.  But basically yeah, you pull and you’re essentially doing an isometric contraction for a lot of your pulling muscles, and you can do that in a lunge position or in a squat position like isometric super slow pulls in a lunge or a squat.  And then the other thing that I’ll do if I don’t, like you mentioned, have access to a pull up bar wherever I’m doing the yoga if especially I’m outside, I’ll use one of these kind of like TRX style suspension trainers.

I’ve got one called a MostFit which is kinda like a TRX except that it’s like a poor man’s version of TRX.  It packs a little bit better in my opinion as far as portability, but I’ll use this MostFit suspension strap and hang that from a tree or a bar or whatever happens to be nearby while I’m doing my yoga, and then you can throw in like really super slow rows and pulls and with the yoga routines you address like you mentioned, some of those muscular imbalances in terms of yoga not seeming towards the back or the upper back that much or the scapular retractors.         

Dean:  Yeah, so what I’ll do is I have people do goal post arms and kind of like you were saying before that also helps with the scapular engagement and that scapular muscle activation, but it also helps because most people who are just starting yoga or who don’t have a flexibility movement practice of any sort, they can’t lift their arms straight up overhead without arching their back.  So if we do goal post arms, number one, we’re actually stretching the pectorals, and also engaging the scapular stabilizers.  So it’s much more appropriate for someone who doesn’t have that flexibility, and also to help balance the workout.        

Ben:  Yeah, that’s one thing that I’ll also do.  And for people listening in, goal post arms and correct me if I’m wrong, Dean, but basically you bring your arms up as though you’re like a football referee indicating that someone just kicked a field goal and you’re likening the goal post arms with 90 degrees.

Dean:  Correct.  Yes.  Ninety degrees.

Ben:  Your palms are facing behind you and what you do is you basically squeeze your shoulders back as you make the goal post arms, right?   

Dean:  Uhm, yeah and your palms can face forward I think, palms forward, but yeah.     

Ben:  Yeah, fingernails facing behind you basically.

Dean:  Correct. 

Ben:  Fingernails is facing your back.  And one thing I found is that this one tends to be really effective if you do an isometric contraction either against the wall as you’re doing your goal post arms, or one of the better ones to really get a good chest stretch and this what I was actually doing this morning.  If you get on to a foam roller and you bring the foam roller up about to the level of your upper back, then you do goal post arms and you try to get the back of your hands to touch the floor behind you while you’re in that goal post arms position and you just press the back of your hands as hard as you can into the floor while using the foam roller as like leverage to stretch the upper back and open up the rhomboids and the traps and the levator, and a lot of those upper back muscles as you’re doing goal post arms, and if you have issues with like a shoulder hunch or a tight chest or any of those other issues that can pop up if you’re doing just yoga or just push-ups or you’re bench pressing a lot, this is in my opinion one of the best exercises to get rid of a lot of that kinda like chest tension.  So cool one to add into the routine.          

Dean:  That is not a relaxing exercise at all.  It is intense the whole way through. (chuckles) 

Ben:  Uhmm, yeah it is.  It’s like getting a sports massage.  It’s not like hands of serenity relaxing oil massage, like it’s teeth-grittingly good.  The other question that I have for you regarding yoga, actually I have a few questions for you about yoga, this concept of power. I mean, obviously and the folks who are into exercise physiology are probably trying to jump into the podcast screaming through their headsets that we’re not really developing much power or much brute strength.  If you don’t have an external load like a barbell or a dumbbell or kettlebell or stone or keg, or anything else, how are you going to develop much brute strength and also how do you develop power? Like you beat me on that obstacle course down at Paleo f(x), jumping over walls and flipping heavy tires.       

Dean:  Proudest moment of my life.

Ben:  Yeah, well yeah.  Proudest moment of your life.  You haven’t had kids yet obviously or getting married, right.  It’s just beating Ben in an obstacles course.  The power though and the brute strength.  How do you develop that?  What’s your response to that?  Are you including like explosive exercises in the Man Flow Yoga routine?  Are personally every once in a while getting out in dead lifting or doing heavy squats, or anything like that?  What’s your approach for power and for brute strength?    

Dean:  Yeah, so I used to be all yoga.  I used to be like 90% yoga and then some pull-ups to help balance, and then when I realized that yoga wasn’t all that I wanted to do, that I wanted to start playing lacrosse again and start doing athletic things, that’s when I started doing some other things.  So yeah, I lift not often, not regularly at all, maybe on average once per week, but I get my power movement in elsewhere.  Yoga is one aspect of fitness but to say that it would cover everything would just be a lie.

So I get a lot of the power ‘coz I do kettlebell swings, squat jumps, dead lifts, I get out and I do sprints.  I live right next to a park, so I put my quips on and I do a lot of explosive agility drills.  So I get enough stuff from my other workouts and I don’t really combine the two just to kinda make a differentiation, but as far as incorporating them into yoga workouts in the future, I think that’d be a cool idea as long as you’re down in a squat why not add in some squat jumps or why not use some other tools and combine it.  So, it’s definitely the ability to do it within a yoga workout.  I just haven’t done it yet.             

Ben:  Yeah, there’s a guy, I believe it might be Dan John, I could be wrong in that.  He has a kettlebell yoga program.

Dean:  Heard of that. 

Ben:  Where it’s an actual kettlebell yoga routine and you’re doing yoga with a kettlebell.  I’ve experimented with that one a little bit, and I’ll link to it in the show notes but I wanna say its Dan John but I’ve to re-research it and remember.  But the other thing that I’ve personally done, Dean, during yoga sessions and I’ve done some of these Man Flow-esque yoga type of stuff where I’ll hold these positions for a really long period of time and use some of the other strategies that we’ve talked about like goal post arms, like the use of a suspension trainer, but I will also sometimes set up my yoga mat, and I’ll take one of these big kettlebells and I’ll use for example one of the Onnit kettlebells like the monkey ones but the heavy ones like the gorilla, and rather than doing light kettlebell swings or some basic kettlebell rows, things like that during the movement, I will do after a series of say like, a sun salutation series.  I’ll grab the kettlebell and I’ll do ten heavy, heavy swings.  So you’re getting the strength and you’re getting the explosiveness.  The heart rate goes up and then you go back into the super slow yoga.

The other thing I’ve done like you mentioned, is you’ll occasionally throw in explosive sets.  So for example, if you’re doing like a lunge a yoga routine that involves a series of lunges, you’ll throw in a series of like 10 lunge jumps or t10 super explosive scissor jumps, or some type of clap push-up or something power based after you’ve done the slow stuff. And then, what you’re doing kind of returning what we talked about with motor unit recruitment is you’re recruiting a whole bunch of motor units with the super slow hold and then you are training those motor units to grab as many as possible in terms of your central nervous system grabbing as many motor units as possible creating the power, and then if you follow that up with an isometric hold, then you’re introducing a bunch of lactic acid in into the tissue and creating lactic tolerance in kinda more or less finishing off the muscle, and that gets into a strategy.  I don’t know if you’ve heard of Neuro Mass?  Have you read this book at all, the “Neuro Mass”?

Dean:  No, I haven’t.

Ben:  Okay there’s this book called “Neuro Mass”, there’s a guy I’m trying to get on the podcast who wrote it but that’s all what his program is.  You do a super slow grind and then you do a power movement, and then you finish it up with an isometric movement, and so you’re getting brute strength, the isometric training and the power all at the same time.  And it actually pairs really, really well with yoga like doing a yoga routine one day and doing something like this neuro mass routine another day.  So that one’s another kinda cool resource if you’re listening in and you want another program to try with just a kettlebell or with just bodyweight.

Dean:  Yeah, so I would actually not respond to that, the motor unit recruitment thing. So I do a lot of workouts where we focus on just priming your body.  So you know, you wanna avoid static stretching before you warm up, but there’s nothing wrong with doing static posture as your static isometric exercises before you warm up.  So I do a lot of stuff that focuses on glute engagement and hip opening and inner thigh engagement and core engagement with yoga.  So even if I’m not doing a full yoga workout, I’ll use yoga exercises before I go into a weight training session or before I play a lacrosse game or something like that and I recommend that to my clients too and in my videos as well.

Ben:  Right, and the other thing that I wanted to ask you about when it comes to your yoga practice is I guess this whole idea, ‘coz I know there’s probably some people wondering, why do you say so much that you aren’t into the spiritual, that you place more emphasis on the technique and that you’re more into the physical benefits without the, and I quote, “lifestyle changes” of being a yogi so to speak, why is that?    

Dean:  Yeah, so that the spiritual aspects of yoga really never made sense to me.  I find that a lot of people who do yoga weren’t athletes before.  They didn’t have a regular fitness program.  They weren’t working out regularly.  They start yoga as something else and then they also started at the same time they were also working out while they’re doing yoga but for them the spiritual aspect has always came first.  So for me, I was an athlete, the first time I did yoga I was 22.  The first time I did yoga I stepped into a studio as a lacrosse player and I had been working out my whole life, and for me to get into the mindset that yoga was a spiritual activity didn’t make any sense to me.

To draw a comparison it would be like me doing bench press with the spiritual aspect.  So it just never made sense to me.  And when I started talking with other people and trying to get other people to come to yoga classes they like, I don’t wanna do the spiritual thing, I’m like well, I don’t either I just ignore it and focus on the process.  I mean, since then I’ve somewhat evolved from a Neanderthal and started incorporating some spiritual practices in my life but you know, journaling and meditation and visualizations and all sorts of mental processes but as far as doing yoga in conjunction with spirituality, those are just separate activities.

Ben:  Isn’t that though like historically at the risk of you like blaspheming yoga or defiling the practice of yoga, I mean isn’t a big part of yoga historically is the breathe work, closing our eyes and activating the pineal gland by envisioning your third eye’s chakra, doing like the humming and the chanting to activate the vagus nerve, and to settle the central nervous system focusing on the deep breathing so that you get not just like the oxygenation benefits but also the parasympathetic nervous system activation.  I mean, do you ever wonder if you’re making yoga like, too fight and flight, too sympathetic nervous system based when you are perhaps neglecting or ignoring some of the spiritual aspects of it?

Dean: I get accused of that a lot.  And kind of my response to that has been well this is the kind of yoga that I wanna do and this is the kind of yoga that a lot of other people wanna do as well.  But as far as neglecting the sympathetic response system even when we’re doing postures, the emphasis is very much still on the breath and keeping your cool so to speak.  So we are never doing it and say, alright now pant, breath as fast as you can.  So we keep that fight or flight response to a minimum as much as possible.  We really do focus on keeping things slowed down so that there is that mental stillness and there is that aspect of calmness to it, so that number 1) that you can actually hold posture longer when you’re focusing on breathing slowly and keeping your body in control (inaudible) the posture longer which obviously brings more endurance, but you’re also going to be able to tell your muscles that they can relax and that you can build flexibility.

So we don’t neglect those aspects.  We just take out the kind of a life advice of the spiritual advice that you would typically encounter in a yoga class.  Kind of, somebody saying, alright now I want you to make the theme of today’s yoga class about forgiveness or whatever else they would say.  So for me, just really focus on the technique and those mental benefits, the mental benefits will come and if you’re also getting something spiritual out of it, then that’s’ great but we just don’t mention it.  I don’t need to mention it for it to happen.

Ben:  Yeah, since we did our podcast together last year I’ve talked to a lot of people who have done your Man Flow Yoga program, both guys and girls and they love the workout like they get an amazing workout with again just bodyweight.  And if you’re listening in, you wanna go try out any of these Man Flow Yoga workouts, I’ll link to some of Dean’s videos.

But you know Dean, I personally really like the spiritual aspect of it and I can go in and have an intention for practice, like I want to focus on gratitude or forgiveness where I wanna devote this morning’s yoga session or this morning’s movement session to whatever I’m feeling gratitude towards.  I wanna devote this towards the amazing sunshine that’s on my body right now, or the wind and the air that’s surrounding me, and the deep freshness of nature that I’m immersed in, and I can get kinda woo woo and still have an amazing workout.

I think I’ve found more of that since I started doing kundalini yoga.  And again, I don’t want to make it sound like there’s one form of yoga that you have to do like man flow yoga or kettlebell yoga or kundalini yoga.  I like to experiment with a whole bunch of different types, but since I started doing kundalini yoga and throwing that in on Wednesday mornings and Sunday mornings, and that has really helped me get a little bit, I guess like get in touch better with being able to close your eyes, focus on that third eye chakra, engage in deep breathing, engage in almost like aggressive quick powerful movements, get the heart rate up, do something like holotropic like Wim Hof style breath work, and kinda like roll it all into one and still get the spiritual aspect.

Not just like dedication and focus on the positive attributes of yoga but for me focusing more on God and prayer and what I may have read in the Bible that morning.  I’m not necessarily an Eastern mysticist, I’m a Christian.  I actually found that yoga is good for tapping into your spiritual side.  Maybe that’s just like the old wise man in me coming out.  But that’s my thought.  I like spiritual stuff.                      

Dean:  Yeah, I think for a lot of people that’s awesome, and I think that some people like even both.  And actually some people will really want like if your dad really want a spiritual workout or would I get a lot of people coming in to Man Flow yoga and they would say, ‘hey, I do a lot of yoga but I just wanna learn a little bit more about the postures and I’m not getting enough focus on that in the typical yoga that I’m going to’.  We get all types of people doing man flow yoga people that really like the spiritual, people that come here because they just don’t like the spirituality aspect at all, and then people who are kind of in the middle, like I appreciate both.  So I think yeah, yes, it’s just what kind of yoga do you want to do today?         

Ben:  Yeah, of course you could’ve just called a yoga for meatheads.  All good.    

Dean:  Am I mistaken?

Ben:  No spirituality. You should look that up.  Get that URL – No spirituality required just yoga, meathead yoga.

You know, speaking of yoga like a lot of people will do yoga for flexibility.  I think this is one of the prevailing myths out there that I think with some of the programs I see you’re developing now, you’re starting to bust but this idea of yoga making you mobile.  Can you go into why it is that yoga would not necessarily be the best thing to increase mobility versus say, flexibility?

Dean:  Yeah, so I don’t need to go through the whole analogy of a rope stretching ‘coz you guys have heard that and Ben specifically told me not to, but in terms of mobility, flexibility is just one aspect of it and you can stretch as much as you want, but the goal of when you’re working on flexibility, your goal is to increase mobility with flexibility with just being one aspect of that.  So to really work on what your overall goal is which is to improve your overall mobility, you need to do soft tissue work.  You need to get into the fascia, you need to work on restrictive muscle tissue and adhesions.  So you know, in order to really do that you have to incorporate some self-massage or some self-myofascia release into what you’re doing.  Let’s say yoga is level 1, let’s say there’s flexibility to be gained from yoga, of course, but if you really wanna increase overall mobility, you have to do soft tissue work.  I think that’s where the real significant dramatic increases in mobility come into place is when you start using mobility self-myofascia release techniques and you know, what I would like to do is I put them together so I’ll work soft tissue at a minimum using a foam roller but really getting into some harder mobility tools like I use the tool called the KnotOut which have peanuts but they also have really huge peanuts which are four balls across and about the size of a softball.               

Ben:  And what is a peanut?

Dean:  So the peanut is the 2 lacrosse balls taped together and there’s a lot of… 

Ben:  Okay.

Dean:  Kelly Starrett loved these.  He talks about them a lot in Mobility WOD.  Yeah, the one that I really like using is made by a company called the KnotOut so K-n-o-t-O-u-t.

Ben:  KnotOut, right.  Okay, K-n-o-t-O-u-t, KnotOut.  I’ve seen these.  I think I actually have one of these.  It’s kinda like a really hard version of 2 lacrosse balls taped together but it’s in like a whole bunch of different sizes, like one for the bottom of your feet, one for your spine, etcetera.    

Dean:  Exactly, yeah.  And so they have one where the balls are largest like soft balls that are huge and I use these.  I don’t even use a foam roller anymore, I just go straight to these things because they’re so much better at addressing restrictive tissue and really pinpointing where you wanna hit.  And so I’ll use these before a workout and this is what I do with all of my clients in all my workout programs now too.  We’ll do a minimum of 10 minutes of soft tissue work, and then we’ll go into postures and exercises that focus on lengthening, on stretching and on engaging that muscle that we just worked into with the soft tissue work.     

Ben:  Right, okay got it.  So starting off prior to doing something like a man flow yoga-esque routine by getting rid of muscle knots using like deep tissue work.  You also mentioned self-massage, what do you mean by that?    

Dean:  So self-massage, there are also some techniques that I do where you’re just grabbing onto restrictive tissue and squeezing.  I mean that’s a very brutal way of explaining it, but you can also use you know, one thing I like to do is I like to use my ulna. So I will lather up my forearm with lotion and then I will use that to massage my forearm, so I’ll just really dig into my forearm from my elbow down to my wrist and that’s another way to do self-massage.  So in self-massage I’m normally just referring to self-myofascia release but I can also talk about that as in just giving yourself a massage.   

Ben:  So you’ll use your elbow.  You’ll hit specific spots using these KnotOut tools.  What about areas that you can’t get yourself, do you work with a massage therapist at all to increase mobility to specific areas?  The reason I ask is I have had to start doing that maybe it’s again ‘coz I’m getting old and wise.  Can’t get old without getting wise, right? 

Dean:  Just say you’re getting wiser instead of older.  Sounds better.

Ben:  I’m getting wiser, yeah.  Anyways though, I’ve found that I have had to start working with a massage therapists more ‘coz there a little spots right like, the back upper part of my butt that I just have a really hard time getting at even with lacrosse balls and a foam roller and stuff like that, or like separating the soleus from the gastrocnemius down in the calf area.  And so about two times up to four times a month now I actually have a massage therapist come to my house and work on me and we get super-duper like, woo woo.  Like I lay on the Biomat.  We put the biomat on high and then I put in these Wholetones music frequencies now which are like healing music frequencies that vibrate the body, and we do like essential oils, and I have a special ayurvedic oil blend that’s specifically for my ayurvedic type and like totally geek out on.  I’m trying to get every aspect of the massage dialed in.  I’m curious if you’ve yet tapped in to the use of massage therapy much?          

Dean:  Man, I have not had a massage like that.  I mean, you were going all out to as far as making sure that your body is just a piece of putty, that’s awesome. But as far as…

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  I mean, why not right, if you’re gonna hire a massage therapist and they’re gonna come to your house to give you a massage, you’re in charge, right?  So I tell my massage therapist we’re gonna do the biomat and she’s totally on board with it, right?  The music frequencies, this oil a lot of times, and this is actually a tip I got from Aubrey Marcus from Onnit, if you use like hydro CBD for example prior to a massage, you do melt into the table.  I take about 5-6 of the Nature CBD capsules which are designed for relaxation at high dosage, but I almost mega dose on them before a massage and you just melt, and the massage therapist can get super-duper deep into the tissue if you’ve got a bunch of cannabidiol in your system when you get the massage.  For those of you listening in, this isn’t THC, it’s not the psychoactive stuff, not that I have anything against that, but its closer to I guess like a Rick Simpson oil or CBD oil, but it’s CBD capsules and you can take a bunch of that before a massage too.

Anyways though Dean, what were you saying before I… my bandwagon about cannabidiol?

Dean:  I was gonna say that I do get massages but I don’t get them at home.  So I don’t think I can try either, I have to drive home about twenty minutes after I get my massages. So I think if I did all that, I would probably cause multiple fatalities.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s why I get them at home and I get them at 8:30 at night.  I wanna finish up my massage and just basically go to bed.  Occasionally I’ll do a bath on epsom salt or magnesium salt and then go to bed.  But yeah, that’s one of the reasons I get home massage.

So, I know as far as like the routine that you personally use for mobility, you have put it together into almost like an actual routine that similar to your man flow yoga you have videos and stuff online that shows how you implement these techniques.  Can you tell me a little bit more about what you call The Mobility Project?

Dean:  Yeah, so I started doing these workouts which is the Mobility Project myself probably a year ago.  I started really working with these self-myofascia release techniques and I started blending them with yoga, and then I thought well, afterwards why don’t I just do some really deep stretching so that we really work on the flexibility and the soft tissue aspects.  And then I started doing these workouts because if people are doing them for yoga, they kind of want an authentic workout.

So I started doing this with a small group of people that I was training in a group online class.  We started doing these workouts that spent the first 20 or 30 minutes doing mobility techniques like these self-myofascial release techniques using a KnotOut, using lacrosse balls, using foam rollers and then we would go into isometric exercise or into yoga postures where we’re targeting the muscles where we had just done the mobility work on, and then finishing off the workouts with some really deep longer lasting stretches to just pull that tissue as much as we can and to create as much flexibility as possible.  So I realized well, we should probably put this into a workout program.  So I created the Mobility Project and I called it Mobility Project because I couldn’t think of a better name honestly, but it’s a total…

Ben:  It’s a good name.  Gets the point across. 

Dean:  Yeah.  Actually the most successful program we’ve ever had so far.

Ben:  Really?  

Dean:  Yeah.    

Ben:  What do you mean the most successful?

Dean:  Most successful as in most workout program sold.

Ben:  Okay, got yah.  So people like it.

Dean:  People really like it, yeah.

Ben:  And is it like a single workout that you do each day?  Is it kinda like your man flow yoga where it’s a series of mobility/yoga workouts or how does it go?    

Dean:  So it’s a series, we got 8 workouts in there and it’s separated by body parts.  So, it’s as much as a tutorial as it is a workout, the first couple of times you watch it you’ll have to learn the techniques and this is what the videos teach you, and the third time you do it, I got it, I got this.  So you understand.  So it includes mobility self-myofascia release techniques for your entire body.

So we have a head-neck section, we have an upper torso section, arms, we have 2 hip sections because there’s just too much going on down there to put in one workout, and then we have a lower leg section and then also a mid or lower torso section.  So there’s one, two, three, four, five, six yes, seven.  Seven workouts that they all saw that technique of first going through self-myofascia release using the mobility tools, yoga or body weight exercise and the wrapping up with deep stretching.

Ben:  Interesting.  I might have to try.  This looks like a pretty good morning routine like you’ve got 20 minutes up to about 70 minutes, so you can kinda choose your length of time?

Dean:  Yeah, one of them is that upper torso one is a beast of a possession.  It’s a long time but afterwards your shoulders is as steel.  Wow!  It’s different.

Ben:  You know, when I first got Kelly Starrett’s book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard” the first thing I did was the whole 30 day routine that he had at the back of that book to essentially just like have an entire month of deep tissue work.  It looks like for example, if I were to do this and go through each of these 7 workouts like for 4 week in a row, that’d be almost like to pick out a month of the year like, January to do a metal detox and a water fast and to just work on the body, push the reboot button.  I might bookmark this and actually use this for something like my January reboot the body type of routine ‘coz this actually looks kinda cool how you hit a certain body part or body section each week with mobility.  So I’m gonna bookmark this.  I’ll link to this in the show notes too.

Dean:  Yeah, that’s kinda the intention with this because most people who would do this program have been spending way too much time on building strength, I mean, it’s the typical guy who works out and showing there like, “ah I don’t wanna do flexibility, I just wanna work on strength”.  And then they get to the point where, “oh I can’t lift my arm overhead anymore”.  Like well, maybe you should have done some stretching.  So the Mobility Project is something that you can absolutely do intensively.  Something that I recommend like, “hey just take the next 3 weeks off just do this every day, give your body a break, let’s work on your mobility and then come back 3 weeks later and start incorporating these exercise into your routine and see how that feels”.

Ben:  Yeah, I love it, man.  I love it.  I’m gonna bookmark this and actually try out these workouts, and I’ll link to them in the show notes too.  It’s called the Mobility Project.  Dean, I know you made a discount code for people, right?

Dean:  Yes, it is Greenfield25.

Ben: Greenfield25, okay.  I’ll just put a link over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/mobilityproject, but use the code that I’ll put over there too Greenfield25 to download.  You can just download the videos to your phone or your computer, or whatever?

Dean:  Yep, you can do it on your phone, on your tablet, on anything.

Ben:  Cool.  Cool.  I like it.  Well I will link to that in the show notes.  There’s a lot more you guys, listening that we could talk to when it comes to yoga and mobility and taking care of your body, but alas, we are out of time.  And so first of all, Dean I wanna thank you for coming on the show today and sharing this stuff with us.

Dean:  Ben, thank you for having me, it’s always exciting talking to you.    

Ben:  Awesome.  Cool of course, it’s exciting man especially when I’ve had my eight cups of morning coffee.  And then for those of you listening in again go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mobilityproject, and I’ll put a link to everything we talked about.  The Mobility Project, that discount code, Dean’s Man Flow Yoga program, the How to get Ripped with Yoga podcast I did with him last year, Ciltep, the Neuro Mass program, my kundalini routine, his KnotOut muscle adhesion tools, so much goodness.

So check all that out and then also if you have comments or questions for Dean or for me about anything we talked about when you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mobilityproject, you can leave your questions, your comments, your feedback there and either Dean or I will reply.

So Dean, I will catch you later, man.

Dean:  Yup, I’ll see you later.  Have a good whatever. (laughs)

Ben:  Alright folks. (chuckles)  Have a good whatever.  It’s Ben Greenfield and Dean Pohlman signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to

You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.


At a health conference, two years ago, I met a giant, 6’5″ basketball player – a beast of man – who swore that his entire fitness routine was comprised of yoga and basketball. I scoffed at this, swearing that the guy must be sneaking away to the gym to hoist a barbell or do explosive plyometrics…

…but then, just a few months later, I met another guy (a very ripped and athletic guy) at a different health conference, and this guy – named Dean Pohlman – completely destroyed me in an obstacle course competition, then informed me afterwards that his training primarily consisted of…

…you guessed it: yoga. 

So as you can imagine, I was somewhat intrigued with how one could use yoga to do things like maintain a very aesthetic body and build athleticism, and I had Dean on a podcast episode called “How To Get Ripped With Yoga“. That episode was so popular and helped so many people get fit with Dean’s special flavor of yoga, that I decided to get Dean back on today’s episode to talk yoga, mobility, athleticism, and much more!

Dean is the founder of Man Flow Yoga, a fitness-centric style of yoga dedicating to helping anybody who wants to get ripped with yoga to not just get ripped, but to also get massive increases in their flexibility, core strength, endurance, balance, and bodily awareness. It’s basically yoga for people that want the physical benefits without the lifestyle change of becoming a hippie. You hold the postures much longer, more emphasis is placed on technique (instead of the spiritual), and the workouts are more catered to the physical needs of guys (although his workouts are equally accessible to women).

Dean was a former collegiate-lacrosse player when he discovered the potential that yoga had to help improve physical fitness for athletes. He rejected the traditional approach to yoga, however, and in 2013 created a brand of yoga that catered to the more physical fitness-inclined individual. He is the author of the #1 bestselling Yoga Basics for Men eBook, and he has been featured in the Huffington Post, Fox 13 Tampa News, Austin KXAN News, Ben Greenfield Fitness (of course!), and many more top-ranked podcasts.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The five things Dean does every morning to create a perfect day…

-The one breakfast Dean has every morning, 365 days a year…

-What happens when you hold a pose in yoga for 60-90 seconds instead of the standard 10-30 seconds…

-Why yoga will create a muscular imbalance in your back and shoulders, and what you can do about it…

-How to develop power and brute strength with yoga…

-Why Dean doesn’t get into the spiritual side of yoga much, and my disagreement with Dean on this…

-Why yoga doesn’t increase your mobility, and what you can do about it…

-Dean’s top tool he uses to quickly remove muscle knots…

-How Dean uses his elbow and other body parts to massage himself prior to yoga…

-My crazy home massage routine that includes infrared, wholetones music, CBD, ayurvedic oils and more…

-Why you should push the “reboot” button on your body each year (and how to do it)…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

How To Get Ripped With Yoga podcast with Dean.

Dean’s ManFlowYoga program

Dean’s Mobility Project (use code “greenfield25” for 25% discount)

Miracle Morning


Ben’s new “Foundation” based morning routine

Brain Octane

Ben’s Pau d’ Arco bark tea article

Venom Suspension Straps for yoga

Neuromass book

The Kundalini yoga routine that Ben does twice per week

The KnotOut muscle adhesion tools

Ben’s metabolic mobility routine video

The BioMat


Wholetones music

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/07/getting-ripped-with-yoga/

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