Friday, December 01, 2006

Sometimes Things Spill Over When You Stir the Pot...(Part 1)

Alright, for those who know me, I've drunk the Kool-Aid with regards to Z-Health. But, I must also mention that I've also drunk the Kool-Aid with regard to the RKC. Both have made a huge impact on the way I train. For example, I never knew how to, let alone that I should, press with my lats before I met Pavel. I tend to be an all or nothing guy and have tended in the past to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. I think age has mellowed me out at least a little. At least now I see the baby in the bathwater!

So what I hope to accomplish in this post is to reconcile some ideas I've had in the past with what I currently believe and perform.

Here's a typical excerpt from my training log from almost three years ago when I read and practiced a lot of the Paul Chek/NASM methodologies. At this point, both knees were chronically painful and I diagnosed myself with weak hamstrings:

Tuesday, 4.27.04
Warm-Up: Foam roller + Active Stretching including hip flexors and hip rotators (left chronically tight)

Core: Reverse Hypers, sets of 8 to 8RM: 200/8, 250/8, 300/8, 350/8, 400/8, 450/8

Single-leg squat, back leg hanging off back of box, 2x8: 12" box 8+8, 18" box 8+8

Strength: Snatch-grip DL to TM___: then back down to 80% and perform 10 sets of 2, with
60s rest for hypertrophy
TM=180kg, then 145kg/2 x10sets
Medium grip Behind Neck Press to 3RM: 80kg

Cooldown: Stretching of legs, back and shoulders

Comments looking back: I made relatively good progress on this type of program. It was a speed day/strength day template. I never got rid of all my knee pain, but most of it. Still had some in the right. But I noticed that over time, it took me longer and longer to "warm-up." More foam roller in the beginning and more stretching of the hip flexors and rotators. This type of training is now the accepted method being espoused by many "performance coaches." Like I said, it worked for awhile. The problem was, the more you lift, the more pre-hab and recovery work you have to do, until you spend more time than you have available to train. Life gets in the way.

Eventually, I cut back on my lifting for that summer and ramped back up in the fall. January of 2005 was when I hurt my right hip.

I've talked enough about how Z was the ONLY thing that helped my hip. So I'll skip on a bit.

Here's an e-mail I got yesterday from Randy Hauer, an accomplished Master's class athlete and fellow RKC. I'll insert my answers after his questions.

Hi Geoff,

In response to your Z-stirring the pot on your blog. I received my R-Phase kit last week and frankly I'm a little disappointed...I don't mean to be negative...but after reading the material and practicing the movements Z so far strikes me as simply a diluted if somewhat more structured Amasov/Super Joints mobility routine. Frankly, I don't get it.

Randy, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I felt the same way when I first saw the manual and DVD. In fact, I discounted it for almost 2 years until I needed it. Here is the major difference between Z and Amosov: Intent. Z's purpose and intent is to stimulate the CNS. Other DJM systems are for joint health. Any are good. Z is better because it does both. DJM is not flexibilty work like some are mistaking it (performing mobility drills that are really flexibility drills). Pavel makes the distinction in SuperJoints.

I know you are very enthusiastic about it and I am willing to give it time and practice, but I am definitely missing something. What improvements am I supposed to notice? I keep seeing Z related posts on DD that pain gets reduced on a 1-10 claims or how-tos like that in my R-Phase materials. Another bothersome point, Cobb claims this is scientific but offers no scientific explanations, for example, as to the significance of the cuboid as a stretch focus. Or any other stretch foci for that matter. Someone, (Frankie??) posted awhile back on DD that someone's shoulder pain was reduced from 8 to 3 to 0 through, I think he said, medial toe pulls. Really? How does that work? Scientifically, I mean. Interested in your comments and suggestions.If you recommend I stick with it I will.

Best regards, Randy

Here's the major problem with Z: Content. How do you distill the science down to a 100 page manual and a DVD? It's similar to Pavel's books where he makes reference to science but doesn't go into long boring detail. The R-Phase is so intensive that your head swims after the 2nd day, and you still have one day to go on the first part. Then two months later after you've digested and applied the content, you finish the cert in two more days. However, even that's not enough: Starting next year, R-Phase is going to be 6 days. Quite frankly, it needs to be.

I love anecdotes, so here goes a "Z is like..." analogy. The current systems being promoted, apart from Pavel's and the RKC are like protein. Everyone's discovered that they finally need it, because the old stuff, high carbs, just didn't deliver what was promised. DJM systems like Warrior Wellness and Steve Maxwell's Recharge are like beef, ground beef. Z is like Filet Mignon. (Pavel's stuff is like filet that's been made into ground beef.) Get it? Try explaining Filet to someone who's never even had hamburger and only just stumbled on the need for protein. They won't understand. As far as the cuboid and shoulder, etc, you learn all that once you take the R-Phase cert. Let me just put it this way: we have clients who PTs can't fix (OK, nothing big there, many PTs suck and my wife who's a PT will tell you that.) and using Z we'll fix them in one or two sessions. Or rather, we teach the body to fix itself in one or two sessions.

Part 2 later...probably after R-Phase this weekend...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

geoff, one thing I am interested in with Z is how well it will work with hi level athletes using very heavy loads. Do you think it can eliminate the need for all other pre/rehab modalities( foam roll,static stretch, isolation weak point shoring up?)

I imagine, as you say, as you ramp up the loads and volume the need for everything recuperative goes up as well.whatcha think?

10:02 AM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Very heavy loads performed on a compensated platform equals A LOT of Z joint mobility work--A LOT. I've performed Z multiple times a day, almost every day, for the last 10 months and am still stripping off layers of compensation. However, my movement today is SOOO much better than it was in February. Even Pavel and Steve Maxwell commented on how well I was moving in September from the last time they'd seen me, just 3 months before! That, plus some stories about clients actually got Steve to the R-Phase certification.

And, yes, I truly believe it eliminates ALL other pre-hab modalities, and many rehab modalites. (Sometimes, you need scar tissue work/release and effusion stripping.) But I am absolutely convinced that it replaces all forms of stretching for pre-hab/rehab. Stretching for sports activities, like the splits in gymnastics, must still be performed, because it is a skill. The only place I see for stretching, specifically static, is parasympathetic nervous system stimulation for recovery and counterbalance of all the heavy loading.

Z DJM is the only thing I do now for pre/rehab. I am achieving INSTANEOUS results in getting out of pain. Interestingly, I'm finding ROM I never knew I had before, like Pavel's/Maxwell's cossack stretch.

I am actually about to embark on a 4 day a week mass gaining phase that will look something like the following:
Days 1,3,5: Weight Training
Day 6: O-lifts on Platform
Days 2,4,6: Focused Z to counterbalance compensations.

Here's the link to the cert calendar:
If you can't get to the cert to attend, at least get there to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cobb.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Catherine Imes said...

Hi Geoff,

We met in June 2005 (I was an assistant).

I'm enjoying your blog. I've been doing the Level 1 Neural warmup, and on active recovery days have started with the RPhase.

I will say this. I see the obvious value in the joint mobility, but moreover, just doing the 10 minute NWU, I've noticed some freaky body awareness while doing my KB Snatches and such. I would notice subtle things like I wasn't sitting back enough or position of my hands, shoulders ( I do high rep GS stuff, so this is all subtle but very important).

I would like to do the stuff for a little longer, but who knows, I may be able to attend a cert in 2007.

Thanks again for the good info in your blog.


8:42 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Is it "Iron Cate" or "Steel Cate" either way, I remember you--you're strength is hard to forget!

The NWU definitely produces results and it's interesting to notice changes in your body once your start to regain full control. I'm excited you're enjoying it. We're hosting another R-Phase at our studio in March I believe. You'll have to check the Z-Health website (

Have you noticed any difference on your grinds?

4:34 PM  
Blogger Catherine Imes said...

Yep. I don't do many these days, but I'm definitely more aware. Pressing the 32kg is a good gauge. I don't practice presses much, but can still do it.

Probably as much as snatches, it has improved my Jerks. I easily did 10 with my right (could have done 15). My left isn't so coordinated yet, but I'm confident that working this stuff will make it more coordinated.


6:02 PM  

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