Questioning Conventional Strength Training – Rocky Snyder
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Guest: Rocky Snyder
Release Date: 2/21/2022
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth. I am your host, Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and ultra Fitness Business 101. In today’s episode, I speak with Rocky Snyder. You can find rocky at Rocky underscore Snyder on Instagram, he is a strength and conditioning coach. He is an author, including a book called to return to center, which is partially what we touch on today talking about postural alignment and how we use traditional exercises or maybe even new sources of information to make sure that our clients are in proper positioning and how important that is for the body long term and to meet our client’s goals.
Rocky and I talk about a lot of things concerning the fitness realm and industry. But I would say to sum it up in a macro approach. We really talk about why we believe traditional or conventional wisdom concerning strength training doesn’t always integrate into what we need for our clients, especially in today’s age, and a lot of information, we need to ask ourselves, why are we doing this? Where did this information come from? There is a lot of 70s and 80s 90s kind of exercise prescriptions for lack of a better term that we’re using now with our clients that are antiquated, and based upon our client’s goals, we may need to reassess how we’re doing things and rocky goes over exactly how he does that with his clients and how he uses assessments to help his clients get to their goals. It was a great conversation.
Obviously rocky isn’t just the utmost professional in the industry and does things the right way. So we see eye to eye on a lot of things and I can’t wait to have rocky on again down the road. With no further ado, here’s rocky Schneider. Rocky thanks for joining the truly fit podcast. We talked a little bit on the front end here. But why don’t you give the listeners in the audience a background a bio on who you are your credentials in the industry and what exactly you do in health and fitness.
Rocky Snyder: Basically, I am a gym rat and I have been that way since my teenage years. I used to think that working out was boring until somebody actually put me under their wing. And then I discovered that I really liked learning all about movement in the body. And I’ve been pursuing that for the last 30 years as a strength conditioning specialist in Santa Cruz, California.
I’ve written a few books, conditioning books, perhaps on adventure sports, but also wrote one that is kind of a culmination over the period of time that I’ve been studying all about how to bring the body back into alignment and how do we use conventional exercise to do so. That books called return to center.
Then like yourself, I like doing podcasts I’ve got a couple of one called The Rockford Files. The other one is Zelis Z ELO s where I interview colleagues that are coaches in the professional sports world strength coaches, Pts athletic trainers and the like. I just I love it on the outside. I love surfing and snowboarding. So I’m strategically placed on the central coast of California where Santa Cruz is the mecca for a lot of surfers. And within a few hours ride, I’m up in Tahoe or Sierra’s carbon some turns on bigger mountains than what rolls through the ocean here. But that’s and that’s it in a nutshell.
Steve Washuta: Tell me a little bit more about the podcast. Rocky, did you pick that because you felt like there wasn’t a podcast currently doing that sort of thing? Was it just a driver because you enjoyed it? How exactly did you come about that?
Rocky Snyder: Yeah, Steve, you know, I started with this one called The Rockford Files. And perhaps some listeners are old enough to remember James Garner in this television show in the late 70s called The Rockford Files. So it’s kind of like a little spin-off of that, at least in the intro, but I was just doing health and fitness and, and then as time went on, some of my guests were more in the sports industry.
And I thought well, that’d be cool. I’ve got a whole bunch of connections within the NFL and Major League Baseball, NBA, NHL and the like, but I should just tap into that, but I don’t want it to be The Rockford Files. So zealous is one of those winged gods, I think it’s like a sister or brother of Nike. And instead of the winged god of victory, it’s the winged god of competition, hence the name zealous and then I just started pursuing all of these friends and colleagues within the world of professional sports and, and I found out Yeah, it’s this is great there.
I don’t think there is a podcast that is really actually interviewing or talking to the people that are behind the scenes. You’re always talking to the head coaches and the athletes themselves, but not necessarily the strength coaches. And there are a lot of aspiring young fitness professionals that really have the stars in their eyes when they think about where they want to go and the direction they want to take.
So I thought, well, this would be nice to understand where these people came from and how they got into the positions that they’re in. But also, what are they doing with some of the most elite athletes on the planet. And it’s turned into a wonderful series, and it’s a labor of love and, and I truly enjoy it like, like this podcast here, I can tell, you know, you’ve definitely got some energy in this. And, and it’s, it’s great to in honor to truly be part of it.
Steve Washuta: So that’s super interesting. You know, I don’t train athletes, it’s just something I’ve never really done. It’s not like I won’t try to an 18-year-old who’s playing football. But I never worked with an elite athlete, I’ve always found myself working with seniors and the general population.
And that’s what I enjoy, especially for seniors who have a lot of medical issues. I’m working around those finding modifications. It’s just what I fell in love with. But do you see, when you’re interviewing all these professionals, do you rocky see an overlap in either their training styles or maybe their success stories?
Rocky Snyder: Yeah, there is an underlying theme for sure. And that is to volunteer for everything in anything, try and get internships, and, and you just put in the hours and work your way up the ladder. At least that’s what athletic trainers and the strength coaches, and most of those professional sports teams are having to do to get up to those ranks.
But I gotta say, where we are very similar, I don’t necessarily train a lot of the high-level athletes I have in the past and from time to time, they do come in and see me because of the particular work that I do with biomechanics and whatnot, but the majority of people that I see are seniors, or those that are the general population, like yourself, we have had contracts with a local hospital, where we’ve taught senior strength conditioning through the hospital, as well as working with people living with Parkinson’s disease, stroke, recovery, cardiac rehab, we’ve got a really wonderful kind of networking with our local orthopedic surgeons, and they send people our way prior to the thought of them having to go under the knife.
So it’s, it’s a romantic idea to train Olympians right and, and to be the trainer of Michael Jordan or LeBron James, or whomever. But it’s, it’s one of those things that where I live in California, we are far enough away from the large cities where the sports are that I gave up on that kind of pursuit a long time ago, because I found that getting someone who can barely walk through the door, and working with them for about an hour and having them almost skipping out.
That is, that’s a powerful thing that you’ve just given the gift of movement to somebody. And it doesn’t have to be that they’re trying for, for this year’s gold in the Winter Olympics. Now, because they’re living their own world and you just opened up, you’ve given them a key to the jail cell that unfortunately, they were living in. And now they have this sense of freedom, that the world’s our oyster, and to be a guide in that, man, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I don’t know what it feels like to train an Olympic athlete. But I feel like I’m just as happy getting my 81-year-old client down on the ground to train, excuse me to play with their grandchildren and backup, if that’s their goal. And I think we need more people who are willing to do those sorts of things.
Rocky Snyder: I think it’s harder doing what you’re doing what we tend to do with the general population, it’s easy to train the pros, because of the compliance level, they buy into what you’re doing. And they put their faith in you, they’re gonna do everything you say. But that’s their career, that’s their job.
So they better well do that compared to somebody that’s in the general population, or that’s in the third stage of their life, and they want that longevity to play with their grandkids on the floor, and so on. They have a lot of things going on in their world, and they’re not being paid to play. So oftentimes, things take priority, that probably should be lower on the totem pole, than than what they really should be focusing on.
So how do you get them to do the things to encourage them to do the things you know they need to do in order to get the happiness that they seek? That’s a lot harder, the way you’re doing it, is five to 10 times harder than working with any of the pros?
Steve Washuta: Well, I appreciate that having not really worked with many of them, we assume the other side, sometimes it’s harder, but it does make sense. You’re at the compliance level, I never really thought about it, you have people who are already bought in who are willing to give it all up for that one goal. Meanwhile, when you’re dealing with the general population, you have to understand that their lives are centered around work and family and all of these other things.
And a lot of times, unfortunately, health be as a secondary thing we have to coach into them for lack of a better term. Exactly. I just wanted to add one point to what you said earlier because I don’t think I’ve ever had a podcast where I don’t talk about networking, but when you mentioned The kind of underlying theme between all the successes in the coaches and the trainer’s that you’re talking to a high-level people working with athletes is that they’re going for all these internships and they’re taking on all these free accounts and whatever they have to do to climb the ladder.
And I think a part of that that people sometimes don’t understand or they can’t see the future is that you don’t know who’s your golden ticket and what one of those people you’ve met, starts to climb the ladder, maybe you don’t, maybe you’re stuck in a place. And it’s seven years and you haven’t really grown even though you’re good, you just bad luck having gotten discovered whatever.
But that friend who really appreciates you, and trusts you, and maybe your knowledge, let’s say it’s in golf fitness, and he is in some other sort of fitness ends up being some, you know, high-level CEO of a company, and he’s looking for a golf fitness guy to help out all of his people. And, and there’s your golden ticket. So I think it’s if people have to understand it’s not just, of course, it’s a knowledge thing. You’re learning from all of these other people when you meet and take on these free jobs to do this, but it’s also a long-term sort of networking growth opportunity.
Rocky Snyder: Correct. I couldn’t agree more. I mean, and, and they may be quite blatant, where you’re going to get your clients or get your business from. And then there are other times where it’s completely obscure. One example would be a fellow who owned a vitamin store in our area who was plagued with knee pain he came in, and what I noticed was that his, movement around his hips was extremely limited, which would make the knees have to work that much harder.
So he came in, I gave him just a couple of movements, to start to encourage the hips to move a little bit more freely. Instantly his knee pain was gone. This is a common kind of story that you might hear. So I didn’t really think much of it because it is kind of common. Somebody comes in with knee pain, I look to the ankles, and the feet and the hips and see what’s going on there.
They walk out most of the time feeling better, just because you get the body moving. So fast forward, I start getting all of these referrals, people keep coming in and saying yeah, Jack told me to come to see you. Well, little did I know a lot of people that are going into the vitamin store, of course, they’re going in for pain relief. And so he’s seeing a whole bunch of people going in there for vitamins and pain relievers, and, and homeopathic solutions, and so on.
He had a stack of my business cards that he took that day he left, and every now and then he would call me up and say you know what, I need another stack of business cards, I’m all out again. And just for that one time, it just you never know that one little thing makes a difference. And, and it just it blew up. In fact, to this day, I still get clients because of that time, 10 years ago, or whatever it was,
Steve Washuta: that’s a great story. And I feel like Rocky, most trainers will have a similar story along their path of success. Right something happened, there was some sort of trigger for me, it was the one of the I filled in for TRX suspension training class, somebody last second, one of the ladies in there happen to own like a big hair dress shop.
And you know, if you’re doing hair, nobody talks more than the people who are sitting down doing hair together. So you know, before you know it, I did a good job, she passed all my carbs out. And that was sort of like, you know, the spark, the igniter, the catalyst to how I grew my career. And again, I’m sure a lot of trainers have those sorts of stories, but it’s all about being able be willing to step into that and take over that class or to step in on or run a free assessment in a park so that you’re getting to meet 20 or 30 people and one of those people decide that, you know, you’re the guy, they want to hand their business card out to everybody.
Rocky Snyder: Yeah, in fact, my studio where it’s located, our neighboring business in the same building here is a hair salon. And, and honestly, to any burgeoning fitness entrepreneur who’s looking to open up their own studio, you couldn’t do better than positioning yourself right beside a busy hair salon. Because like you said, people talk, they start to see it, and it will trickle in.
Eventually, it may take a few months or a year but people start watching, I understand where I was located. I had some great visibility in terms of drive-by traffic. And it turned out on average, it took two years for people to drive by on a regular basis to the point where they just finally said, You know what, I got to stop in there it’s two years of driving by on a daily basis. So it takes what it takes. But you can position yourself quite well in the world of fitness to be successful, depending upon who you surround yourself with.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and you know, we have a lot of other things to talk about here. But it’s it’s hard not to continue down this rabbit hole. But I you know, I always preach to everybody, whoever comes on whether they’re a nutrition or fitness or health or some sort of related field that the future of this is to really have people not have these scalable programs but rather have you know, a smaller set of clients.
They really care about are doing a really good job because they’re becoming, unfortunately, the barrier to entry is very easy now in the fitness industry. And that’s another whole conversation. And I think you know that everyone wants to scale No, just thinking about numbers, right? How many followers do I have, how many people can I reach? What is one easy blanket program I can send to 1000s of people instead of saying, you know, how can I really help eight people, and those eight people will be with me forever, because of what I did for them. And that’s really how you grow your business.
Rocky Snyder: Yeah, it is about relationships, and creating really long-lasting ones. I agree.
Steve Washuta: So let’s get into the topic I had you want to discuss thoroughly today, and that is talking about traditional and conventional wisdom in strength training, can you maybe just give a brief definition of what people consider to be conventional wisdom concerning strength training are major issues are in the industry that you say?
Rocky Snyder: Yeah, some of the things I’ve been promoted to us over the years are you want to walk work on the major muscle groups of the body, and working from the larger muscle groups down to the smaller groups. And typically, you would find a program that is focusing on certain areas of the body on one day, well, the next day focusing on different areas, and they’re often broken up in terms of major muscle groups like this is my chest shoulder day, this is my leg, an arm day, this is my back and an AB day or whatever the case may be.
But that’s one of those things. And also, it’s just strengthening itself that in order for us to get bigger muscles, we need to lift heavier and heavier weights. So it’s all about just how much can I lift? How much can I pick up and put back down again, and those are those I would say are on the top of the pyramid when it comes to conventional or traditional thought when it comes to strength training.
Steve Washuta: You may not agree with this one, I’m not sure. But I think a third might be, you know, no pain, no gain, which I don’t necessarily agree with. I mean, I if it’s from a sort of a macro perspective, meaning like no pain as in like you need to put in the effort, then I agree with it. But if it’s actual pain, I don’t agree that you need the pain to get games.
Rocky Snyder: No, in fact, a mentor of mine by the name of Gary Gray has often said that he wants the body to sing and not scream. And I think that’s a great kind of motto to live by. You want the body to feel alive, vibrant, and feel like it wants to move.
You don’t want the person to finish a workout and feel like they have to bend over double in the bushes and just let that morning’s breakfast go out their mouth, or they have to go and lay down on a couch for several hours or go take a nap. That’s not really I mean, you got to really check in with what the true goals are. If that’s kind of your mentality. Yeah, the no pain, no gain goes along with that whole thing.
Getting the point, it’s interesting to see because we are now in a society that is more sedentary than any in history. And so in order to offset that, with weight gain and everything else that comes along with a sedentary lifestyle, suddenly we’re seeing high-intensity programs up up the mountain top I mean it is just all over you’re looking at you know the we had the p90x and we had the insanity workouts but and then CrossFit, of course, started out in 2000.
For the last 20 years, there’s been that push, and then the Spartan Races as fun as they can be the Tough Mudder is all of these are truly intense, highly intense programs for a nation that is becoming less and less active. Which really you wonder what is that recipe and that’s really a recipe for disaster in my head. Because that’s like taking an old beat up VW bug, and throw in a Formula One race at car engine under the hood. And let’s just see what this puppy can do. And sure, it may be able to go fast and go around the lap around the track for so many laps.
But eventually, that chassis is going to start to break down and, and things are gonna fall off that poor thing. And I think that’s what we’re seeing. We’re seeing a lot of nonimpact or noncontact injuries, not just in sports, but just in general, how many people are in the gym, who have these neoprene sleeves over their elbows over their knees, or wrapping something around their body because they’ve got some pain. Most people are walking in pain or being in pain, and they don’t realize that the programs that they’re doing at their gym are probably exacerbating the situation.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and I mean, I would, I would add that I believe that is what I would call naivety on their part and really not their fault all the time. Right. It’s the people who are pushing these other programs to them, like, for example, the anecdotal experience here, my sister’s 39 And she probably needs a knee replacement sooner rather than later, she’s not overweight by any means. But she had probably not worked out at all in our 20s in our 30s, just jumped into insanity and was probably doing it twice a day.
It’s a lot of impacts. She certainly had muscle imbalances leading into it has not worked out prior to jumping into it. I know that’s what led to her knee problems moving forward. I don’t think that she is too far from the general public who also like you’re talking about fell into the same trap where they thought, Okay, let me go from zero to 60. Here, let me go from not doing anything to pushing my body beyond its limits because I can lose a lot of weight not thinking, Well, you know, there’s a trade-off here, you might be losing a lot of weight, but you’re also doing long term damage by not looking at the whole body.
Rocky Snyder: Yeah, I mean, exercise in general strength training, and you can throw in those other programs you mentioned, that’s repetitive stress, right, or repetitive stress on the body. We even count repetitions, how many reps how many sets? What’s my volume of work, when really if we just step back and look at that for what it is? Is it no wonder that we’re seeing repetitive stress syndromes that are popping up somebody’s got elbow tendonitis tennis or golfers? Somebody who’s got rotator cuff issues or a labrum tear, somebody has got some runner’s knee, or patellofemoral syndrome or, or hip bursitis, or sciatica, low back pain, inversion sprains, all of these things can be attributed often to the repetitive stress that continues on when we’re talking about fitness.
And of course, you know, the natural inclination for somebody who feels good when they’re doing something is to do it more, and not to necessarily change it. Because why change it when it’s working and makes me feel better. But you get any guy in the gym and women for that matter, you ask them what’s in their program.
There’s almost always going to be in terms of strength training, there’s going to be easily two or three exercises that they’re always going to mention. And I’ll throw that out to you. What do you think those are benchpress back squat deadlifts. There we go. Yeah, those are the powerlifting competition lifts. Right. So that’s where our exercise world has come from. It’s come from bodybuilding, which is all about isolating the body for aesthetic purposes for looking better naked in the mirror, and powerlifting, which is how much can I lift and put down again, compared to somebody besides me? And that’s really you can throw in Olympic weightlifting, I guess into that too.
That is the fundamental foundation for the Western traditional workout. And none of that is about bringing the body into a balanced state, improving alignments, improving joint function, it is something that if it is there is very secondary, or somewhere down the scale it the primary purpose for today’s workouts in the gym, are Can I look better? And can I have bigger muscles? Can I produce more force by any means possible?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I mean, ask Ronnie Coleman how he feels today? Yeah, he’s, I think he’s had eight spinal fusions. And, and he’s a mess, right? And all of these bodybuilders and Olympic lifters if you look at them in their 60s and 70s, if they make it there, and most of them don’t, are in horrific shape, because the body is not meant for that.
Certainly not at all ages. I again, I don’t specialize in this, I can maybe foresee why a 19-year-old athlete would do some of these things. If it pertained to his or her sport, maybe I would argue that there are other ways to train them. But again, the gym-goers who are naive, who think that the antiquated Arnold Schwarzenegger way of moving in one plane of motion, to build my muscle and short my muscle only is, again, that they’re going to learn a lot when they’re, unfortunately, the wrong way. 40 years from now, when they’re in pain,
Rocky Snyder: well, that’s just it, it takes a while for most people to experience the errors of their youth maybe will say that or the actions of their youth. And I’m no exception to that I did a lot of those exercises growing up in the 80s and 90s. Before functional fitness started rearing its head a little bit.
There were a lot of machine-based exercises in the health club, and many clubs still have upholstered machines where you can comfortably sit and do movements that you actually will never do on a regular day. But for some reason, we’re told that this is what we need to do. So there needs to be a re-education, there needs to be a little bit more exposure to what it is that true fitness really is. And what it means to have a fit body that is able to do what you would like for a long time to come.
Steve Washuta: And when you say reeducation, You mean I’m not putting words in your mouth. I’m asking do you mean specifically for the fitness professionals as opposed to the general population like explaining, maybe through the National Academy of Sports Medicine or these certifications that, hey, we need to focus on whole-body approach and maybe not just doing, you know, movements in the frontal and sagittal plane and that sort of thing. Or do you mean, we need to really educate the entire general population to this,
Rocky Snyder: I think a smattering of both would be appropriate already. The NSCA and ASM idea world conventions have a lot of that information out there, multi-planar tri-planar movements, and what it’s what’s really important. But it takes a while to filter down into the certified professionals that may not go to the conferences, that get certified, and they do little continuing education, things around their neighborhood.
And now with a whole bunch of information on the internet, it’s, it’s kind of dangerous, because there’s a whole bunch of information on the internet, some of it is really accurate and worth its weight in gold. And the other stuff is put out by fly by nighters, who are still living in the past with just fitness competitors, or, I mean, it’s great when you’re in your 20s, you should be looking for your soulmate. I mean, that’s it in from teens to mid 30s, you are going to be training, because you want to go down to the beach and find Mr. Goodbar, Mrs. Wright or whoever you want to call. So I can see that.
But after a while you find your soulmate, hopefully you you create a family or whatever path you want to be on your career is off and running. And, and those times that you play and and the amount of sports you do is probably limiting. And your body is going to start to feel the effects of these changes.
Doing the same program that you’re doing in your teen years, and 20s probably isn’t something you should be doing in your 40s. So yeah, that re education for the general population would be wonderful. It takes a little time. But the nice thing is, Steve is that we already have certain types of movement practices that have the fundamental philosophy of bringing the body back into balance in our culture already. And it’s integrated in from Eastern philosophies like we’ve got Tai Chi, now, we’ve got yoga, and traditional yoga, I’m not talking California fusion yoga, where you have to balance on top of a goat or something I’m I’m talking like Hatha or IGN gar, these traditional approaches to yoga, where it is all about aligning your body.
And whether or not you get caught up with calling it chakras, energy meridians, or just your body, it doesn’t really matter, you’re just trying to bring your body back into balance, there’s martial arts, there is chiropractic medicine, all of these things, or have that same fundamental center in which we bring the body back into that place of balance, and things started working better.
Now, we just have to find a way to have the traditional approach to strength training, the western approach starts to take on more of that, and more of those attributes more of that philosophy. And that’s, that’s kind of, you know, I don’t want to stand on a pulpit or anything or a soapbox, but that’s kind of what I’m trying to get out there is that we really need to rethink how we are working out and what we really need from one individual to another, because it’s going to be different, but you need is different from what I need.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And I explain it a lot to my clients in the general population, much like finances, you’re trying to save money, right, and be more conservative when you’re 4050 6070. So you have that money, well, you also have to look at your body, you don’t want to have the most amount of money, when you’re the least capable of using it.
If you’re decrepid, you have to make sure your body is also holding up so treat your body like you would your finances in a sense, where we have to also worry about long term. And part of that is different movements, different modalities. I teach reformer Pilates, I don’t currently because I just have too many projects going on. But I’m trained in it. I taught it for years. I found that men over the age of 40 loved it because it was such a new modality, especially I worked with like a lot of golfers.
They were able to stay strong focus on their core focus on engaging muscles. It was different. It wasn’t just you know, picking up a bar and dropping it on the ground. And I think, you know, as we get older, we need to learn the new modalities and focus more on movement and less on weight.
Rocky Snyder: Yes, yeah. The thing that a lot of people don’t understand, and it’s almost like witchcraft, when you explain it to them is that the brain is always the governing wire when it comes to how strong you are. Because the brain controls the muscles and the brain is going to protect the body the best it can. So if the brain is incorrect, it is interpreting that the body is not in the best position to exert a lot of force. It will not allow the muscles to exert a lot of force The better we get into a more balanced plate, the more likely the brain is going to say, Oh, we can actually produce more force in the muscles that we have.
So then, if that’s the case, which it is, it’s called an arthro Kinetic reflex. And it’s part of our autonomic nervous system, where the brain is always fluctuating how much force the muscles can generate, based on any given moment. So if that’s the case, then we got to wonder, well, what is strength? Is it really just how big our muscles are?
Or is it the efficiency of our brain to send proper messages to the muscles, so I, in essence, can take somebody and give them a few movements that bring up their strength levels, in real-time, like as fast as nerves travel, it doesn’t take weeks and weeks to hypertrophy the muscle meaning growing the fiber size, to make the muscles bigger, that is just the that is the, the priority in most strength cultures now is we need to get hypertrophy in the muscles, when that is just one part of how the body can get strong.
What if we started to increase the ability of the brain to upload or upregulate force within the body when it’s appropriate. And so now we’ve got two ways that we can train not only lifting heavy things but actually driving the body into a place where it can produce more force with what it already has.
Steve Washuta: Rocky, can you walk me through maybe your client experience? So a client comes to you? Maybe they’re in their I don’t know, the mid-40s, early 50s. And they’re just the general population, they have issues, maybe arthritis, low back pain, they don’t really work out? Do you do like an initial assessment? How do you go about this process?
Rocky Snyder: Yes, I do initial and continual assessments. In fact, in everything they do, I am assessing every movement that they do, I’m assessing. But initially, when they come in, there’s a couple things that every body should be able to do. And one is for the most part, for those that can stand, I want to see how a person stands in the presence of gravity, meaning what is their posture doing, because that brain that we just spoke about, is also trying to balance over the two feet that the body is standing on.
And there’s many ways that the segments of the body will balance on top of each other, kind of like a like that game Jenga or a stack of cups, right, we have these ways in which if a person’s hips are tilted in one direction, what is the rest of the body having to go through in order to stay balanced over the feet, if the head is tilted slightly to the side, from answering the phone all day of the office? Well, how does that affect the spine and the hips and the shoulder and the elbow. So I really want to know in three-dimensional space what that person’s posture is doing.
Because as soon as they as soon as I know where their resting posture is, that tells me what muscles are being lengthened, that need to be a little bit more shortened to bring it back to balance, which muscles are shorter than they need to be that need to be lengthened in order to bring the body back into a balanced state. It also gives me an idea of most likely how they’re going to start moving. So there’s a gait pattern that we begin to look at.
It’s been something that the human body has been doing for roughly 2 million years. Over that course of time, there’s a certain pattern that every bone should do, every joint should move in three-dimensional space. If you can understand what that is all about, then you can even go deeper into what the body is trying to tell you. So I do a posture and gait analysis. Then that tells me exactly what muscles need to be lengthened, which ones need to be shortened, what body parts need to go left or which ones need to go right. Their body is going to actually give me the information to design the program.
It’s not an arbitrary program that a lot of certified professionals are going to do where we go, okay, well, here’s a 40-year-old male who is 21% body fat. He’s got a repetition maximum on the benchpress of 165 pounds, and he can squat 185 like that, honestly doesn’t tell me anything. I want to know where their structure is, what their brain is trying to do, and how they move through space. I mean, that is the ultimate essential that I need. In order to know okay, well, this person actually needs lunging on his left leg much more than his right leg needs to be doing some pressing overhead with his right arm much more than his left arm will need to do some rotation, a little bit more bias rotation of the ribcage to the right.
So I need movements that we’re going to encourage more so than the left. And as soon as we start to do these kinds of patterns. It’s a personalized program to bring the body back into a more saturated place and a much more stronger position. So that’s kind of the process that we follow.
Steve Washuta: I think that’s a fantastic approach. And I love the little tidbit you said about them like leaning on one year, maybe talking on the phone, I think there are so many day to day things that are important as personal trainers, fitness professionals, health professionals, we make sure we understand what our clients are going through on a day to day basis, because those are the things causing the problems.
They think it’s the 35 minutes they spent at the gym the other day where they might have Yank something doing a you know, a low row. Typically, it’s because they have a 110-pound dog, they’ve been walking, who’s been yanking on their shoulder. And you know, now they have AC joint issues. So make sure you know what your client is doing from a day to day because they’ll they’ll never blame it on the day to day. And
Rocky Snyder: this comes back to why it is so much more challenging to train those in the general population. And those in the senior class, shall we say, because they are not the regimented athletes who have a certain diet that they follow a certain behavior, they follow certain movements, those that these vary quite a bit in the general population from having to take a day off from work because they were sick, or they had to take their kids to school, or they were at the desk because a project had to be done, there was a deadline to be met.
So they worked all day through without moving their bodies. You know, that’s why periodized programs, meaning setting up a six-week or eight-week program, and expecting nothing to change in that period, as they follow this path is very difficult. In fact, we do not do that. That’s why we meet people where they are when they walk through the door.
Every movement they do is an assessment. And it’ll guide us to the next assessment, it’s it’s a lot more involving than just simply coming up with this cookie-cutter recipe that here you go, you’re you’re 165 pounds, 29-year-old, you’re going to do this six week program. And for the most part, it can be very effective. But you’re also going to be like you say reinforcing compensatory patterns, which are going to bring about even more imbalances. In 10 years down the road, they’re going to start really feeling that neck bothering them or that right shoulder that was just kind of talking is is now really worn down. And and somebody’s talking about going in and getting some surgery done. So I ramble on, I apologize. But that’s kind of that Oh, awesome tangents.
Steve Washuta: That’s great. And a lot a lot of things sparked in my mind when you were talking there. And what I want to ask, because you know, we’ve talked so much about weights, I want to ask about like equipment because we haven’t really brought equipment up. Hypothetically, could you get rid of weights? Could I just give you a cable machine and bands and you complete all of the goals you need to for your client? And if that’s the case, should we be using less weights? Or use your bells and dumbbells? By law?
Rocky Snyder: I would pose that question to an Olympic gymnast. You know, they don’t hit the weight room. They did gymnastics. It’s that’s how fitness began in the 1800s. And we had a few cable systems on the wall and the gymnasiums. But for the most part, there were parallel bars, vaulting horse and Bumble horse moving rings, climbing ladders, climbing ropes, an inversion table, all these things that were truly all about the education and the physical form.
Nowadays, yeah, we took the bodybuilder approach, and we just we injected the culture with steroids when it came to the concept of strength training with bodybuilding, I do not use a whole bunch of weights, I use resistance bands. I use foam rollers, I use medicine balls, I do like playing with Indian Clubs, and kettlebells.
And from that, it’s not to say that I don’t do traditional lifts. But there’s got to be a reason for it. I’m not just going to do it, because I need to fill up time for the person’s training program, or there’s got to be some reason for it. I want to see, can they move properly with the least amount of restriction? And then can they do that under load? And for the most part. I think we, in our culture in our fitness industry. Actually apply load faster than we really should.
Especially because our society, every passing month, every passing year is getting less and less structurally sound. It’s becoming disintegrated. The more we have our smartphones, the more technology advances. Yeah, here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They just came out with a car. That is kind of like a drone that can also take off and fly. And now we’re going to have personal flying devices somewhere down the road. And the need for traveling on both feet is going to be less and less.
We’ve got one wheel, we got hovercrafts, we got segues. I mean, it’s just remarkable how little you actually have to move your body in today’s world. And so the fitness industry, I don’t think we are taking that into consideration. Very well, when it comes to program design, we’re still living back in the 70s and 80s. With the programs, they’re not taking into consideration. The fact that every year somebody is going to come in with less and less proper posture. A weaker frame.
Steve Washuta: I think it’s important to, like you’re doing is to question these things, right? Like, why are we doing these movements? Oh, because they did it in 1965. And we just, we were taught it in gym class, and then that’s the only movements we know. And, that has to continue in the industry. Because I’m sure there are things that I did wrong at some point. Or maybe that I’m still doing wrong, and they’ll figure them out.
And I’ll do them differently. But we have to question them, that’s the only way we’ll get there even know. So I don’t use the NASA op T model. I don’t, I don’t have a huge issue with it. But they teach stabilization at the bottom. I work with seniors. That doesn’t work for me, because a lot of these seniors have muscles that are completely atrophied. They don’t know how to engage a muscle yet. So for me, I rather actually put them on a machine. Put them up really lightweight, but allow them to understand. Okay, when I’m pushing out, these are the muscles I’m engaging, right? When I’m squatting, these are the muscles I’m engaging.
And this is after assessments, this is after bodyweight stuff. It’s sort of my second step is to make sure that they understand what muscles firing. When they’re doing an exercise. And for the stabilization, it’s just, it doesn’t work that way. There’s too much going on, there’s too much going to the brain. And too many afferent and efferent neurons right away. At least that I find with my senior. So I just I feel like it’s you know, we can’t just be dyed in the wool. Somebody says it who has credentials. Then we believe it, we have to test these things out on our own. And, and sometimes, you know, push whatever the limits are, even if it’s taboo. Yeah, I
Rocky Snyder: couldn’t agree more that the most important question is why? And the moment you stop asking that question, you stop learning, you stop understanding. So and then also the whole push to stability. I mean, that’s been around for a little while now. But it’s, it’s amazing that everyone is all about bracing, brace, brace, brace, you got to be stable. Well, here’s me, that’s great. If you’re a power lifter, about to squat, 200 pounds on your shoulders, you better be stable there.
But if your grandma who is has to go down and and reach in. To get her laundry load out of a dryer or front-loading. Or has to bend on top of a top-loading dryer. And lift things out of it, the you need to be dynamically stable. We need to be able to move in three-dimensional space, stop and come back. Stop and go somewhere else. When the spine is not one bone. We’re not trying to wrap everything around one solid object. The spine is 24 segments that are meant to move in different directions.
Dynamic stability is the place that very few people are talking about right now it’s all about static stability. How long can you hold a plank? You know, how, what can you do in these different plank positions? When in fact, really, I would much rather see grandpa on both feet and taking the rubber band.
I want to see you reach down toward the ground or reach up over your head? And or can you just hold on to and walk around with a little resistance? Can I put the band around your hips. Have you just march in place with a band off to the side. Or in front of you or behind you? Let’s just start to kind of wake up the muscles that need to keep you on both feet. Right? So that’s kind of where I go. Yeah, the whole stability push is like reading a book, but only reading the odd pages. You’re missing half the story. Yeah,
Steve Washuta: I couldn’t agree more. And to have a, you know, to have sort of a training model. In which you don’t even know what the client is yet, or the client’s goals. Seems odd to me, because you can’t really deal with everything the same way now. Insofar as having an assessment and having a conversation before the training session start. Yeah, okay. That’s it. But after that, I mean, it’s all it’s a blank page, because people are different goals are different.
You never know what you’re dealing with. And I think, not having that mentality. You’re eventually going to run into a problem where you’re going to see. Well, you know, this doesn’t work for them, and it’s going to be an eye-opener. Then you’re going to have to shift how you do things anyway. So you might as well treat it as a blank page now and know that each client is different. You can’t just have a blanket program.
Rocky Snyder: True. True. I mean, there will be trainers that just have a blanket program. I would say 60% of their clients, and being generous 60% will really benefit from that program. If it’s worth its weight in gold, right? It’s if they have the basics of human movement in it. But then what about that other 40% That’s Oh, this bothers my back. I can’t do this or they get injured because these programs were not developed for their people. Particular ability to move and where they are in space? Well, if you’re a trainer, you’ve just got to be wondering. Am I okay with that, with just being somewhat successful. And for me, I prefer to create individualized programs. Based on the person and their experiences in life. The goals that they want to achieve. And because of that, that that 60% goes up a lot higher.
Steve Washuta: With the current state of fitness, and Instagram, and all of these other things. Are you glass half full, that things are gonna turn around and be maybe more of what we’re talking about? Or do you think that this is just an uphill battle and too much disinformation is being spread?
Rocky Snyder: You know, I, I am typically very optimistic when it comes to everything. I look at life. Whether it’s half full or half empty, I’m just grateful to have a cup, right. But most of the time, I really look forward to when it’s half full. But honestly, Steve, I just gotta say. When it comes to this topic. I do not really feel like there is a bright light in our future. We are think of this, what is the obesity rate, or the overweight percentage of Americans currently? Do? Have you seen it lately? It’s
Steve Washuta: going up? I don’t know, I thought it was like 70% or something. Thought it was, yeah, something around there. Yeah.
Rocky Snyder: So 70% of our nation is overweight. And at one point in time. They delineated between those that are overweight and those that are more in considered obese. And it used to be that there were more people that were overweight than there were obese. But it wasn’t long ago with that switched over. There are now more obese people than there are that are just simply overweight.
We have been doing personal training now for 30 years. Since the late 80s 90s is really when personal training came about fitness clubs. Jacqueline opened one back in the 30s. But really, the health club started to come around in the 80s. So for about 40 years now, we have fitness clubs and personal trainers. And we are more overweight and obese than any other time in history.
So it’s not working, is my point here. No one has really come to the forefront to say I will lead the charge. On the on this fight against the disease of obesity. Because it is a disease. It’s a pandemic. I mean, we’re dealing with one right now. But we’ve been dealing with the other for the past 30 or 40 years.
Unfortunately, how many of the people that are in that obese category, actually pursue fitness and go to health clubs. Or hire a personal trainer, you ask most personal trainers. How many of their clients are are morbidly or clinically obese. And they out of their 20 clients that they have or their 10 clients. You might just find that one of one of their clients may fall into that category.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And most of my clients or some of my clients were in much better shape than even I was. They just had the money in the time to have a personal trainer. To continue to keep their healthy lifestyle up. So it is a problem.
We have to make sure that the general population has the motivation and the information to do these things properly. And I like you maybe not, I’m always glass half full. Maybe not in this case. But I do think it just starts one trend. One Firestarter at a Tom Brady type person to say I’m just going to work with bands and mobility. I’m going to be 45 and still winning Super Bowls. And then these trends catch on and people go you know what I mean? I don’t necessarily need to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. If I can be healthy like Tom Brady, and have a little bit less muscle tone, but understand my body.
And I think that does play. That’s another whole conversation but I think there is like a. Again, this is well out of my realm of expertise. Like a body dysmorphia thing that a lot of training is specifically for vanity, it’s really not. It’s masker it’s masquerading as strength. People say that they’re lifting for for strength. But really, if you were if you were to somehow separate the two. And so you can be we could find a way for you to train. But you’re only going to be 125 pounds. You’re a six foot guy, you’re gonna be 125 pounds. You could have no muscle tone, but I’ll make sure that you can bench 550 pounds. They really wouldn’t be interested. If I said the opposite.
I said you can be you know, six foot one 215 pounds. You can only bench 115 pounds, but I can make your pecs look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sign me up. So I think it’s all masquerading as vanity and that’s that’s going to be a key moving forward. Is to say you know, if you’re only getting uglier and older.We need to keep our bodies together we need the more of a Tom Brady approach.
Rocky Snyder: Yeah, and the real component is the the food that is available to the average American. So the day that whole organic foods Are as inexpensive as a happy meal. That’s when we’ll start turning things around. It’s not exercising and it’s not information, we could look online in a matter of seconds or microseconds. To find out what the proper diet should be and what the proper exercises for the average person should be.
So it’s not for lack of information. It’s it’s and or nor opportunity. So it’s, it’s more about changing the culture. And unfortunately, the way that our society is lined up is that profits are made off of poor quality foods. But if we could find a way for the capitalist kind of corporations to see that way. It would actually pay much greater profit. Create better profit margins. By having whole organic foods as the staple for the average person. Ah, that’d be something else.
Steve Washuta: I couldn’t agree more. There’s a you know, there’s a consumerism issue, I do think there is an avenue for people to do that. And it’s, it’s in corporations where you provide, let’s say, a tiered health program, people already do this, right? Let me just I think Johnson and Johnson is doing it.
But I could be misspoken here. Where they take your body fat percentage, and they find out if you’re smoking or not. And they find that all of these things and then your health insurance is tiered off of that thing. So everybody gets equal health insurance. But how much you’re paying for your health insurance, I’m just going to make up percentages here. 5% of my salary 10% of my salary 15% of my salary is based off of my current health.
So you know, I’m a sticks and carrots guy. I don’t think people just do things to do things. They need incentives or disincentives. If that’s the incentive or disincentive we have to give to say you know, corporations. Your people by not calling out sick by not having to be home with their kids. But not being stressed they’re going to be better employees. And you’re going to give them the incentive to pay less on their health insurance. Well, here’s you go here you go. And I think maybe that’s how we move forward in the future.
Rocky Snyder: Well, that would be nice. That totally would be nice. I would be on the optimistic side and more so if that were the case. But as it stands now our customer base is only 30% of this nation.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, well rocky I hope we helped at least somebody today see the light. I’m sure we’ll have you on another podcast down the road. But let everyone know where they can find everything Rocky. From your content or if maybe a personal trainer who listens to this. Found that they want to reach out to you directly and they have a question.
Rocky Snyder: I present for the National Strength Conditioning Association in a lot of their state and national clinics. As well as perform better so they can go to those organizations. But Instagram rocky R O CK Y underscore Snyder that’s S Y D N E R. You can follow me on Instagram, Rocky snyder.com website or Rockies fitness center.com. Are all places you could check out I’m on LinkedIn as well. And most social media as well. And I love talking shop. So if there are any trainers out there that are interested in. Or have questions, they’re welcome to contact me for sure.
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.
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