Day 3 PaleoFX

The final day of PaleoFX is upon us. ūüôĀ

Today, I attended several talks and two fitness workshops. I learned some useful things from all.

The first workshop was Advanced Core, Balance, Strength and Stability by Aleks Rybchinskiy. The workshop focused on the muscles which control the diaphragm and back stability. A lot of emphasis on transverse abdominal muscle (TVA) on its application to hold the organs in place, and provide a foundation for the upper and lower halves of the body to connect and stabilize.

Key take away was:

  • While on all fours, palms flat, inside of elbow forward, arms bent slightly.
  • Breathe in which should EXTEND the belly button toward the floor.
    • While holding one’s breathe, suck in the belly button toward the spine
    • This is an extremely back-safe and stable position.
    • As an exercise to feel the stability. Extend the right arm forward and left leg backwards, parallel to the floor.


Next class was Emily Johnson’s super fun workshop on Bulletproof joints and Movement Gains.Emily has a background in Functional Range Conditioning, Kinstretch and Ido Portal¬†techniques. All of which were new to me, and has led me down a multi-hour Google search rabbithole of intriguing modalities.

Main point: functional loading of connective tissue through the desired flexible range of motion.

I can’t remember the exact order of things taught, so I will shot gun out a rough order and some key takeaways.

  • Neck rotations…with a twist. No pun intended! Both arms straight, by your sides, clenched fists, squeeze everything from fingers, upto your neck.
    • Slowly, under tension as if dragging your head through honey, bring chin down to chest and rotate head through the full range of motion 360 degrees, and switch directions.
    • The clenched fist and tension is to provide a dynamic/isometric loading to the connective tissue.
  • Arm rotation, vertical. Right arm, palm open by your side, arms straight. Left arm clenched fist with tension radiating toward right shoulder.
    • Arm forward and up, thumb up.
    • Once arm is vertical, rotate thumb laterally until back of hand is toward your midline as you continue to rotate arm behind you.
    • As arm approaches your butt, back of hand should scrape your thigh, thumb facing behind you.
    • Like the prior exercise, arm is rotating though honey. Lots of tension.
  • Hip rotation. You may need to grab a chair or a super buddy for balance.
    • Knee comes straight up.
    • At the hip, knee points to the side 90 degrees.
    • At the hip, rotate the thigh, which will rotate the shin parallel to floor, foot behind you.
    • Bring knee back down to center, with knee still bent. Should now be cocked¬†to simply pick knee straight up and repeat.
    • Lots of tension!
  • Sitting on the floor
    • Legs rotated in a spiral to one side. In BJJ we call this S-mount.
    • Take your shoe off and put it out in front of you.
    • Pick your front foot off the floor, straighten your leg and pass it, slowly and controlled over the shoe, and set it down on the floor.
    • Now pick your leg up, pass over your shoe and curl it back to the starting position.
    • Advanced method does not have hands on floor for balance or support.
    • This is PERFECT for BJJ!
  • Games! Several games were played. A lot of fun and amazingly strenuous! I will make up names for these as there are no official names.
    • Drop Stick game.
      • Everyone in a big circle with their PVC pipes, broom handles or random longish stick. One end on the ground, vertically held in place.
      • At coaches prompt, run to the next stick, everyone, moves in counter-clockwise or clockwise. It might be a good idea to say which direction before prompting.
      • The goal is for everyone to shift to the next stick without dropping it. Harder than it seems!
    • Partner Stick catch game
      • One person holds the stick in front, on the ground, vertically. Then randomly lets it fall toward the other person.
      • Option #1 catch it with your hand as LOW as possible.
      • Option #2 catch it with your foot as LOW as possible.
      • Make sure the stick dropper, makes the drops interesting, and full of variety.
      • Other options running through my mind are:¬†fastest catch — reaction time, hop over the stick as it falls, before it lands — agility, immediate return — partner vs partner competition etc…
    • Quadripedal Stick passing
      • This was crazy and awesome!
      • Both people on all fours. Knees off the floor. Back arch curved downward.
      • Stick¬†balanced on a partner’s back.
      • Transfer the stick to the other partner’s back, by any means possible, without the use of the hands.
        • This often means, some weird upside down, backwards, twist rotation to use a leg to help drive the pipe.
      • TOUGH STUFF!
    • Crawling
      • I LOVE CRAWLING! Crawling fits with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, core work, isometric holding, agility, balance, and all sorts of stuff.
      • First game was to get into a random¬†crawling stance with all limbs touching the floor.
      • Remember the STARTING¬†wall is where you start, the FINISHING¬†wall is where you are going.
        • Option #1: Limb closest to the¬†STARTING¬†wall must move first. The other three limbs may rotate on their axis, but may NOT lift or shift position. Then the next limb closest to the STARTING wall moves, then the next limb¬†closest to the STARTING wall¬†moves.
        • Option #2: Same as before the limb closest to the STARTING wall moves, but it must now become the closest limb to the FINISHING wall. Now things get super twisting and tough. Once moved, the new limb closest to the STARTING wall must now become the limb closest to the FINISHING wall and so on and so goes the human Twister game…
    • Partner Balance Drills
      • Great stuff for balance and coordination.
      • Game #1 – Hand to Hand
        • Partner stands on one leg entire time.
        • Other partner has 360 degrees of freedom around their partner. DO NOT just stand there in front of them. Go behind, go around, go under etc…
        • Moving partner pops a hand up, and calls right/left.
        • Balancing partner must now reach for their partner’s hand, which is probably placed in the most annoying complex location imaginable.
        • Once touched, hand partner moves and holds up their hand and calls out a random left/right and so on.
      • Game #2 – Foot to Hand.
        • Balancing partner on one foot again.
        • Other partner takes off their shoe and uses it as a footstool for their partner’s foot.
        • Balancing partner steps their lifted foot lightly, upon the sole of their partners shoe.
        • Shoe holding partner moves around in complex movements, toward, away, up and down and around, while their partner tracks with their foot.
      • Game #3 – Part balance, part squats
        • Partner points with a stick, their finger, their foot as thermonuclear laser, or whatever is handy at the floor nearby.
        • Other partner steps on that point and squats, until one knee almost touches the ground then stands back up, but doesn’t move feet from position.
        • Partner points at another random spot…evil minded of course.
        • Other partner uses other leg to step on the point, squat, and stand.
        • New point chosen, new step taken, always alternating left/right, with a deep squat.
        • Random point is 360 around the squatting partner. Be inventive!
    • Wrist mobility
      • This is one thing I am suffering with due to BJJ and stupidity is wrist dorsiflexion sprains and tightness. I was excited when emily said we were going to work on this!
      • Key is loading and flexibility. Move under tension!
      • Mobility #1: On all fours, elbows locked, insides¬†of elbows forward
        • Hands flat, directly under shoulders. My wrists are super tight, so I had to unload them a bit by putting my arms forward a few inches.
        • Make giant rotations with the upper body in circles centered over the wrists.
      • Mobility #2: Same position as #1.
        • Press up palms off the floor, so that fingers stay on the floor, but palms are now vertical.
        • This is a like super mini pushup, with straight arms.
        • One can eventually move to pushup position for more loading.
      • Mobility #3: Same position as #1.
        • Back of hands to floor. Loading on wrist flexion.
        • Roll hands to knuckles on floor.
        • …and back.
        • Do this on your knees first, then try full pushup position.

Next I had a talk by Jon Mike on The Benefits of Eccentric Training and Application

This talk was focused on what some people refer to as a negative lift. This motion is the deceleration of a load back to a starting position. Such as when a bench press is locked out, arms straight, then slow bending of the elbow back until bar hits the chest.

Some key takeaways:

  • Eccentric action is a shock absorber-like function.
  • Unconscious/accidental eccentric training examples: walking or running down hill, plyometrics, landing from a jump etc.
  • One needs to train a good mix of both eccentric and concentric movements.
  • Eccentric movements can often exceed concentric one rep maximum considerably e.g. +60%!
  • Eccentric training can cause some serious soreness and should be used in the off season to build a lot of strength.
  • 6 seconds of eccentric movement seems to be about the magic number.
    • Slower than 6 seconds, and there is less gain.
  • Submaximal training is best.
    • People try too hard and high intensity.
    • People also focus WAY too much on sagittal plane. Which causes quads to be awesome, but hamstrings to be weak.
  • Eccentric uses fast twitch muscle fibers.
    • Which is why eccentric training is GREAT for old people, since fast twitch is the first to go.
  • 2/1 technique – 2 seconds up, 1 second down.
  • Super duper mega slow e.g. 6 seconds, and never more than 10.
  • Negative with 105% one rep maximum.
  • Multi movements – concentric lift to a position in which an eccentric movement can take place e.g. snatching a weight up to the shoulder then eccentric reverse curl back down.
  • Max twice per week of serious eccentric training.

Next talk was The Balance of Aerobic vs Anaerobic Training for Athletes by Aaron Davis. Interesting talk, with several new views on the complexity model of fitness. He challenged some of the typical models of energy systems with his own triangular models. He backed up his theories with science and personal experience.

Key take aways:

  • All activity is, for the most part aerobic.
  • Intervals of oxygen usage is an ideal method to monitor performance, and to choose when the stop training session.
  • He used a device called a Moxy to monitor blood oxygen levels using NIRS technology.
  • Three basic training models using real time oxygen monitoring:
    • Basic interval. Work at max pace until O2 is gone. Short rest, work again until O2 is gone. Goal is to go go go until O2 no longer recovers to ideal levels to start work again.
    • High Intensity Progressions. Work low intensity, increasing slowly, in a stair step pattern, until O2 is gone. Might take 2 minutes, might take 10, it’s up to the athlete and modality etc.. Medium¬†rest. Repeat.
    • Brutal mode. High intensity, longer duration, hold work during a period of O2 loss, hold, hold, then long rest. Loss of O2 should come on fast, and create a square wave.

Final talk of the day and for PaleoFX was In the Zone, Bruh: Psychology of Flow and optimal Experience Panel. Panelists were Aubrey Marcus, Mark Dhamma, Kyle Brown, and Cecilia Garrec.

Key takeaways:

  • Optimal state
  • Pain but no suffering. Such as on a long, tough run.
  • To get into the flow:
    • Clear goals – make the basket
    • Immediate feedback – made the basket
    • Balance between challenge and skill – playing against 5 year olds vs Michael Jordan.
    • Mental feeling of focus
    • Eliminate distractions – cough phone cough
    • Get into alpha wave brain state – pharmaceutically via nootropics, mechanically via external devices, psychologically via mediation etc..
    • Remove self observer – dance as if no one is watching
    • Wide gaze – Open your eyes wide and watch everything simultaneously – visual focus
  • Watch a movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi


I cannot wait for PaleoFX 2017! This has been a fantastic experience and I now have tons and tons of info to work on and digest. I only posted about half of my notes and not nearly all of the detail.


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