Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's Like Scales Falling From My Eyes...

I-Phase was really incredible. It totally put R-Phase into perspective. I can honestly say it was the best professional educational experience of my life so far (at least crammed into 4 days--Alfonso's weekly mentoring was pretty good too...). In fact, everything fell into perspective.

I/We learned just how much the nervous system controls everything from how fascia is wound and unwound to how you are what you think you are on a synaptical level (and you thought that old proverb wasn't really true: "As a man thinks in his heart so he is.").

With just a tape job on my patella and my adductor area I was able to squat truly pain free for the first time ever. I know I've said that before, but those were just a couple of reps. This was multiple sets of multiple reps. Here's the really cool part: my gait was changed as a result. (It's still changed two days later...)

Speaking of eyes, here are some of the things we learned about the eyes.

The muscles that control eye movements can actually become imbalanced. We learned a test to detect these. And then we learned how to correct the imbalances. This is important to know because if these imbalances/weaknesses exist, they affect how the body moves and what happens on the myofascial level. This means your eyes can set you up for structural imbalances and injuries without you even knowing it. Take home point (mine, not Dr. Cobb's): quit using the foam roller for tissue quality until you know if you have a visual problem. If you do, your body will wind your fascia in the opposite direction of your weakness.

The same holds true for the vestibular system: If you have an inner ear problem (and yes, we learned a test for this too) than the same holds true for the fascia. Take home point: Get off the foam roller.

We also learned how to determine if an imbalance is occurring on the fascial level and how to correct it. It's much easier than you think and yes I've corrected mine. Take home point: (all together now) Get off the foam roller.

[I don' know why I hate the foam roller so much. Oh yeah, now I remember--it never worked long term for me or my clients. And how many clients like pain as much as us muscle-heads? (Hint: not that many...)

OK, not only do you need to get off the foam roller, but Z-Health will make you rethink your corrective exercises. I no longer waste time with many of the traditional exercises like YTWLs for shoulders, bird dogs, dead bugs, hip bridges, planks, etc. Controversial for sure, but Z is truly like the Matrix: You can't experience it unless you take the red pill...which means you gotta suck it up, slap down the plastic, and go to R-Phase.]

We also learned that people with various forms of chronic pain usually manifest all of the above problems, one, two, or even all three of them (like yours truly used to...). This is important for anyone dealing with post-rehab patients and athletes, since we often perform in pain.

Those are just a few quick points.

I can honestly say I feel prepared to handle almost any type of client. I thought that before, but now I know it for sure. There was just so much great info in I-Phase. There was a lot of confirmation of my intuition.

The money I have spent with Z-Health, although seemingly expensive for both my wife and I, has been worth every penny. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. I can help my clients in ways (almost instantaneously) that no chiro, PT, or Orthopod can. Is that a bold statement? You betcha. How can I say that? Cause I've already helped clients by using Z that chiros, PTs, and Orthos couldn't. How would you like to say that?

Now go sign up for R-Phase and tell them I sent you.


Blogger Frankie Faires said...


In my experience, it seems I-Phase adds another 10-15% of people you can help to effectively eliminate their pain. (R + I = 80 to 90%).

There is a large contingency of people I have "treated" with visual, vestibular and myofascial issues that are non-motoric in origin.

It seems they initially respond well to visual, vestibular or myofascial work or any combination thereof but then regress if the core issue isn't addressed.

It will be interesting to see the progression of the people you work with working within the I-Phase template.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Frankie Faires said...


Could you clarify this statement?

"SAID is really interpreted as you always get exactly what you train for. But, is for motor patterns only? No, the same holds true for motor qualities (speed, speed-strength, etc) and joint angles."

I fear some could interpret your statement as an admission that there are general motor qualities (not specific to joint angles/ROM).


that training these motor qualities in a particular ROM has a high (or specific) transfer to nonspecific ROM.

An explanation for SAID which I use is:
You ALWAYS get better at WHAT you practice HOW(ever) your practice it.

The "what" AND "how" of training transfers.

If you specifically train high tension, you specifcally get very tense in those ROM and your general state will be more tense.

The "what" of transfer is specificity.

The "how" of transfer is generality.

Do you agree?

8:45 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...


I'm looking forward to playing with the tests. I have clients that have tested positive since I've returned.

As far as you other comments, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying--a little over my head. I'm guessing you're saying that you always get exactly what you train for where (joint angles) you train for it and there's some spillover to other joint angles, correct? So, just because you can power clean 400lbs doesn't necessarily make you a good field athlete, even though you're developing speed-strength, strength-speed, and power. Power cleans don't train the body for the forces the body encounters while planting and cutting on the football field. However, it is possible that they will make you a better rebounder under the rim. Am I close to what you're saying?

12:30 PM  
Blogger Frankie Faires said...


Nope, not what I'm saying. Let me see if I can be any more clear.

I have spent a lot of time confused on the transfer of training effect. Over the years I have asked many of the so called “gurus” (that both you and I know) why they thought resistance training improved athletic performance. Honestly, I NEVER got a answer I thought was satisfactory. In fact, I don't think anyone really gets it. Or, at least those who get it aren't able to articulate it to those of us don't.

I have seen study after study which showed resistance training did not directly improve specific aspects of athletic performance. This led researchers to theorize that there are no such things as “general” motor qualities. Everything is activity or movement set specific.

Empirically, both you and I know resistance training does improve athletic performance, at least generally. So, why does resistance training often have a positive transfer?

Let's forget about motor qualities for the time being. For meatheads like us, it is hard, I know.

As Pavel says, "Everything is a skill," so let's look at everything as a motor skill.

Now, let's forget about motor skills and call motor skills “movement sets” instead. (nice use of the transitive property, huh?)

A Power Clean is a different movement set than a box out rebound right? There are movements within the power clean that might be component movements of the box out rebound. If an athlete needs work on those particular components, a Power Clean might have a positive transfer.

If an athlete has never done a PC before, the simple act of learning something new may be stimulus enough for a general increase in performance ala neural novelty. Beyond the acquisition of that skill, further focus on that will likely be a case of diminishing returns.

Lastly, how an athlete learns movement is of the utmost importance. If they learn movement approaches that increases overall efficiency, then overall they are becoming more efficient.

High tension, unsynchronized breathing, poor alignment, broken joint rhythm leads to inefficiency.

All we are as trainers are movement coaches. We can create positive transference to our athlete's movement in three ways.

1.Train the components of sports and all movement:
(R-Phase, I-Phase, S-Phase-sport specific)

2.Train novel movement
(for the skill of skill acquisition and macromovement fluency)

3.Train quality movement using the 5 Elements of Efficiency in training all movement. Make sure someone moves well before increasing speed or load.

Honestly, I rarely use weights with athletes unless I am trying to affect body comp (they need to be bigger or sometimes leaner) or myofascial density.

I spend most of the training time on the components and mirrors of sporting movement. It has the highest transfer.

I think I have heard DC say, “Weights are the worst thing to happen to athletes.” I would have to agree.

We as trainers have been slaves to the myth of motor qualities. It isn't about movement (motor) qualities, it is about specific movement and the quality of movement.

Make sense?

4:53 PM  
Blogger Mike T Nelson said...

Excellent discussion!

My view is that the best training program for an athlete (say football player) is one that makes them a better football player. Call me crazy.

Now, how do you define being a better football player? That is tricky.

But, let's take a powerlifter. A better powerlifter is one that operates in the confines of the rules and lifts a bigger total. Easy. Football player--not so easy.

I agree that weight training may not be the best tool to make an athlete a better player. Learning better movement for most will probably have a higher pay off, esp if you are under time constraints. Now, how you rate this better movement is not as easy to demonstrate and convince others. Z trainers look at gait, but most people do not look at gait.

I think the hope is that if you imagine the athlete as a car, if we add a bigger engine to the car (strength/hypertrophy), this will automatically equate to better performance--and this is not true.

Look at the NFL combine test? How often by using that data ONLY does it predict the best players? Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.

Some studies show that the best players rated by their performance in the weight room SIT ON THE BENCH! Why? Because they are not the best football (insert fav sport here) players.

Maybe just more confusion
Mike N

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a 5th element of efficiency discussed in S-Phase or is that just a typo?

If there is a 5th, would you please elaborate? I'd be interested!


6:33 PM  
Blogger Brad Nelson said...


5th EoE is Rhythm. Bone Rhythm is where the distal ends of a specific bone start and stop simultaneously and also move at the same speed throughout the ROM the entire time.


6:52 PM  
Blogger Brad Nelson said...


I understand what you are saying on the 'novelty' of new 'movement sets.' Very powerful as I was talking to you on the phone the other day about my pressing. I have not done any vertical pressing for 8 weeks (hard not to go stir crazy ;) and only focused on band horizontal presses and horizontal rows. I started vertical pressing again on Monday of this week and I barely had any drop off in strength which is amazing. I am going to ramp up for another week and then max out of sorts to see where I am at.


6:55 PM  
Blogger Frankie Faires said...

Not so much bone rhythm as joint rhythm. Eric hasn't expounded on this as much as I would like him to....I think of it more as joint sequencing. Let's get his $0.02 on this.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Brad!

Was this specifically discussed in S-Phase. It wasn't added into R or I Phase specifically as an EofE. Although, it sure does make since as an EofE!

Maybe it will be updated into R and I next year!

7:07 PM  
Blogger Frankie Faires said...


Yes. It is a part of S-Phase. Consider doing your movements rhythmically through using a metronome.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Franz Snideman said...

Wow Geoff,

Z is really so much more expansive than I have experienced. I guess Eric doesn't really "spill the beans" in the little one day seminars; damn!

Visual imbalances, vestibular challenges, geez? This is getting seriously in depth!!!

Here's a question? What if the vestibular or eye imbalances are reactions to muscle or structural changes (let's say someone injured their body in a car accident or while playing a sport)? Might the body change visual and auditory patterns in order to keep up with changed structure?

Might it be dangerous in some specific cases to fool with people's vision and hearing?

Obviously there are people that need help and correction in many instances, but I'm talking about leaving some issues alone when they shouldn't be touched.

Without sounding too cynical, everyone's body eventually breaks down (law of entropy)so more or less our job is to keep that breakdown to a minimum or at least attempt to retard the process (anti- aging). Is correcting these vision, auditory issues the true key to biomechanical health and optimal function?

9:44 AM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Frankie, now I get what you're saying. The "movement sets" transitive property (big word, transitive) thing got it for me. This was something I figured out a long time ago, but couldn't figure out, if you know what I mean. For some athletes, using the PC again as our example, there was some sporting transfer. For others in the same sport, none. It's funny that you stated that you don't even use weights with athletes anymore except under certain circumstances. I was thinking about that approach myself just based on R-Phase. Then I went to I-Phase and had a "eureka" moment. The key to athletic success is truly being able to move through seemingly unlimited ROMs. This of course cannot be addressed by traditional weight training. And at this point, I think I agree with you: movement quantities and quality of movement quantities allow you to express so-called motor qualities.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Franz, Z is so much more than anyone who hasn't been through it can understand. It's like your faith--you can share it with others, but only when they are ready to make a commitment and follow through with that commitment can they see/experience what you are talking about.

Dr. Cobb makes this statement about Z: Much of the information you already know. The problem with the information is that it's presented in an isolated manner. Z presents you with the logical structure and conclusion of much of the information you already know.

R-Phase is 6 days long. There isn't any wasted time in those 6 days. You are constantly learning, be it how to move, or theory. I-Phase is 4 days long. The same holds true except it provides the rationale for why R- comes before I- and it makes a lot of the R- philosophy fall into place.

As far as the visual and vestibular testing--you are actually testing eye musculature, not sight and the functioning of inner ear structures not hearing. And yes, people's body's change based on injury. Here's the thing: the body is a wonderful creation designed to do one thing: Survive. Performance is a bonus feature. So in the case of injury, the body compensates so it can survive. Z gives you the tools to get people out of survival mode and back into performance mode, which is where we all want to be, whether we admit it or not.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Frankie Faires said...


To your excellent observations/ are my opinions/reactions:

"Might it be dangerous in some specific cases to fool with people's vision and hearing?"

Any stimulus whether it is visual, vestibular, proprioceptive or any combination has the potential to be noxious. When we "fool around", we assess the effect. If it is noxious, we don't assign that movement set.

"...what if the vestibular or eye imbalances are reactions to muscle or structural changes (let's say someone injured their body in a car accident or while playing a sport)? Might the body change visual and auditory patterns in order to keep up with changed structure?"

You make a great point...and yes, I think you are absolutely correct.

If there is a structural issue, dealing with someone on a purely functional level probably isn't going to be very effective.

In my experience, there are quite a few people with head injuries (structural issues) that don't respond to motor patterns in as predictable ways as someone with a pure motoric or movement bottleneck issue (like someone who sits twisted looking down at a computer screen every day).

Here is the caveat: If we have any functional issue, we have some degree of a structural issue.

Yes, form follows function and function follows structure. What we forget is that structure also “follows” function/dysfunction. A dysfunction will cause a structural change. That change may be minor and easily reversible but there seems to always be a coincidental structural change.

Performing motor functions the body doesn't perceive as noxious will cause a positive structural change/reinforcement. Something as simple as looking up or turning one's head can reverse the inertia of both dysfunctional function and a dysfunctional structure.

In some cases (structural bottleneck), it takes combination movement much, much more precise to arrest and reverse the inertia of dysfunction.

“Without sounding too cynical, everyone's body eventually breaks down (law of entropy) so more or less our job is to keep that breakdown to a minimum or at least attempt to retard the process (anti- aging). Is correcting these vision, auditory issues the true key to biomechanical health and optimal function?”

Forgive the foray into philosophy. I don't think Z is solely for damage control. I like to use Z for perpetuating awareness of myself and what I perceive. More awareness may equate to more occasional pain but conversely much less suffering (pain with ignorance of the source).

I wonder how living the Elements of Efficiency affects how we relate to the end of mortal life. Perhaps we have more command over entropy than we perceive we have.

Growing up as a minister's son, I have visited people on their death beds. I have seen case after case of people “choosing” when they go. This is much easier for the individual and the family to deal with compared to the people who have no sense of when they go.

They were fine one day and then the next they are gone. I'm sure inertial switches are often that fast and sometimes imperceptible. When you become more aware of your inertia, you effectively distort time in a way in which you can perceive those inertial shifts.

Franz, I am one of the ones with structural dysfunctions - from birth. These dysfunctions have made me more susceptible to my current state - which is chronic pain.

Living with the awareness of my own personal inertia seems to make my life much more tolerable to myself (and those around me). Hopefully it will be at the end of my life, as well.

2:22 PM  

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