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109 Troy Dodson: Power Your Mind To Move, Function, and Perform Better – Part 1

Troy Dodson - Z-Health - Super Strength Show
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In this episode of the Super Strength Show, Troy Dodson takes us on his journey to becoming a Functional Health Coach and practitioner of Z-Health®, a neurology-based movement system which enhances athletic performance, injury prevention and pain relief. During this interview, Troy teaches you how to power your mind to move, function, and perform better.

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[INTRODUCTION]

 

[00:00:19] RT: What’s up, Strength Maniacs? And thanks for tuning in. I’m pleased to welcome today’s guest, Troy Dodson.

 

Troy has two decades of experience as a coach, consultant, and mentor, and has over 10 years experience as a functional health coach. He has studied under some of the leading strength and rehabilitation experts in the world by applying the sciences of biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, motor learning, and functional neurology. He performs individual assessments for clients and develops customized programs aimed at the enhancement of movement, function and athletic performance in the areas of sport, recreation, exercise, and work.

 

Dodson is a practitioner of Z-Health, a neurology-based movement system, which enhances athletic performance, injury prevention and pain relief. He’s also a USA Weightlifting Club coach, is certified in functional diagnostic nutrition, CrossFit levels 1-3, and hold Olympic weightlifting, kettlebell and gymnastic certification through CrossFit. The guy’s got all kinds of things going on here.

 

You can connect with him by visiting his website at brainbasedfitnessrx.com.  So it’s just simply the words guys, Brain-based-fitness, and then the letter “r” the letter “x”.com. Troy, welcome to the show, absolute pleasure to have you here my man. We got a lot to talk about, dude. This is really interesting here, your background. How about you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

 

[00:01:46] TD: Thanks, Ray, I appreciate it. Yes, so I basically got started in the fitness world back in 2005. I opened up one of the first CrossFit gyms in the country or world at the time, back when nobody knew what it was really. I guess just early on in that process, I realized that the clients I was seeing had mobility issues, they had coordination issues, and had challenges with compensations in their movement, and trouble learning new skills – things of that nature. I just really wanted to set out to find ways to help resolve and support them so that they could have better success in the program and not get injured.

 

I had enough experience at the time with, I dabbled in some strength-related stuff that I believe was taught through Pavel, formerly of RKC. I never did any certification or anything like that, but just some of his information he used to put out so I had some experience with using some brain hacks and stuff. It was relatively crude at the time, but enough for me to feel confident that there would be a pretty good solution for the challenges I was facing as an entrepreneur and gym owner and a coach.

 

So, I looked for a solution involving neurology to help improve and resolve some of these issues for folks and that is really what lead me to Z-Health performance. Got started with them in 2006 and did just about every certification available and have really just loved doing that. So it’s now kind of morphed into its own business so I sold the CrossFit gym a couple of years ago and have been doing this exclusively. I’m essentially in a wellness centre that specializes in recovery and rehab-type stuff for athletes, so 90% of the people walking on the door are athletes and I get the opportunity to help them move better and perform better on a daily basis.

 

[00:03:52] RT: That actually sounds very interesting.

 

You’re telling me right now that the majority of what your practice is technically Z-Health. That’s your thing now, correct?

 

[00:04:02] TD: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I called my business Brain Base Fitness because ultimately at the end of the day whether you realize it or not, when you’re dealing with fitness for yourself to improve your own health and wellness and fitness, or if you’re approaching fitness from a functional perspective like you’re an athlete that’s trying to improve performance, whether you realize it or not, the brain is the ultimate target of the exercise that you’re doing or the movement that you’re doing. Ultimately, it’s going to get changed by the way you move, and how you move, and what you do and how much, and at the same time how well you move is depending on brain function. There’s a lot more to it, the body has lots of systems so the brain happens to be the governing system but it’s not the only one. So it doesn’t mean that every problem is a brain problem, but it’s usually involved in some form or fashion because of its connectivity in everything.

 

[00:04:56] RT: Very interesting. Now, you’re saying that you’re in a wellness clinic, like you are actually one of the health practitioners within the wellness clinic. Is that the idea?

 

[00:05:08] TD: Yes, exactly. Yeah. It’s basically an arrangement where they have the right type of client who are coming in and I’ve got services that they’re not able to provide.

 

[00:05:19] RT: Okay. So you’re seeing mainly athletes on a day-to-day basis, which is fantastic because that’s actually our listener base, that’s our audience, it’s people who are into training, athletes, even coaches and I’m very interested in knowing about what is it that you see the average person when they come in. What is the average malady or problem that they’re having and I’d like to hear how you go about dealing with that and see what kind of recommendations you have for people, and if you could tell us some details when it comes to that?

 

[00:05:49] TD: Yes, that sounds good. So it’s hard for me to give you an average. Everybody is walking in with different things. I do get, a lot more people are more willing to come and try something new like this when they’re in pain, unfortunately. This is really a good solution for improving performance, but people aren’t always looking for that newest thing whenever they’re looking for performance improvements, but they’re a lot more eager to find something that resolve pain. So I do get a lot of that.

 

I’ll give an example, a few months ago or maybe more than a few months ago at this point, a functional medicine doctor gave me a referral and he sent over an Olympic athlete who’s a Taekwondo competitor. He came to see me. He was a little unique because his main complaint was that he had an injury that occurred in one of the tournaments about seven months prior and ever since that injury, every single tournament he was in – so one or two tournaments per month for six or seven months – he would get kicked in the face from the left side without even seeing it coming.

 

[00:06:57] RT: Not good!

 

[00:06:58] TD: Yes, totally. Out of all the times he got kicked, four of the times he got knocked out unconscious and one of those times dissipated his jaw as well. So from his viewpoint, he was like, “Hey, I’ve got an extremely good shot at being in the Olympics next year. I really want to be there, but at this rate I’m not going to be healthy enough to actually be worth anything.” I said, “Yes, I totally agree. We should probably do something about that.” His main goal at that point was to stop getting kicked in the head without seeing it coming.

 

So in that first session, one of the things that I always do assessments on is vision and checking how the visual system is functioning and doing his visual assessment, I’m looking at eye movements. One of the eye movements is convergence where you’re looking at an object go from farther away as it approaches closer to your face. And what I noticed with him was that his left eyes was not able to converge well, which means it couldn’t turn in well enough to track and it wasn’t being coordinated well. So it would kind of float off into a different position instead of following the target.

 

So if you have that kind of thing going on, if you play a sport that involves catching a ball, or in this case punching and kicking, or blocking kicks, then you’re not going to see something that’s coming towards you if it’s coming towards you fast enough. It’s just not going to even appear in your vision. So to me that explained probably why he was getting kicked without realizing it was coming and ultimately he left that session with one vision exercise that was designed to stimulate frontal lobe on one side, brainstem on side, and cerebellum on one side based off some assessments that we did.

 

In the process, he went off and he did that, it took him about 30 seconds each time he did a set, roughly maybe a minute and he would go and do 10 sets a day throughout the day and he did that seven days a week, and he didn’t come back in for a month because at the time I think we had some ice storms, we had a couple of ice storms in two different weeks, which is weird for Dallas.

 

[00:09:11] RT: I was going to say, “Wait a minute.”

 

[00:09:13] TD: Yes, I’m in Dallas. We had a really weird winter weather this year.

 

He couldn’t come in because of that and then he was also out of the country for two different tournaments, two different weeks back to back and he had like – I don’t remember now if it was like four or six fights total in those – and he came back in and said, “Hey, I think we resolved it because I didn’t get kicked in the face once.” I said, “Well, did anybody try to kick you in the face?” He goes, “Yes. You know at first I didn’t think they didn’t so I went back and reviewed the tapes and I realized that there was four really good ones that were really quick.” He said, “I normally wouldn’t have caught those. They would have hit me, I think.” He said that he was surprised to see his left hand reflexively block the kick without him even realizing it had happened because it was so quick.

 

So that was kind of cool and then we’re able to move on to the next thing, which sometimes it’s a challenge. When you’re an athlete and you’re not in pain and somebody says, “Well, what do you want to do next?” It’s like, “Well, I don’t know. I don’t have any problems.” That’s kind of how it was for him and he just thought about it and he said, “Well you know,” because I’d ask him a question. I said, “You know, is there a different side to side on anything?” He said, “Yes, when I do my roundhouse kicks, my right side stops halfway. I wanna kick through the target and my right foot stops at the target and I want it to go through an extra two or three feet.”

 

I videotaped it – and now I sound old saying videotaped – “I recorded it with my iPhone” [RT: Laughs] and we looked at his left-side roundhouse kicks and we compared it to his right-side and sure enough, he stops halfway there. He said it feels like it hits a brick wall and he can’t do anything to change it, and nothing he has ever tried has ever made any improvement in it.

 

[00:11:03] RT: Okay, hold on. When you say, “It feels like it hits a brick wall,” what does he mean? He means when it contacts the target, or just something in his body isn’t moving?

 

[00:11:11] TD: Picture him throwing a roundhouse kick with his right leg and picture – he’s doing this in the air, there’s no target he’s kicking. He’s just showing me. I’m videotaping it, right?

 

[00:11:22] RT: You meant recording it.

 

[00:11:24] TD: Yes, I do, golly.

 

[00:11:26] RT: I’m just teasing you. Okay, yes, so he’s just throwing out some of those kicks.

 

[00:11:29] TD: He throws a kick and then it’s like watching his foot come around from the right and then right when it gets to the mid-line, centre line of his body, it just completely stops. Like it can’t go any further past that. He’s trying and he’s telling me. He said, “Look, the reason why I’m even able to get it as far as I get it is I’m throwing my shoulders around to try to compensate to get my foot to go further. If you watch the left side, when it comes around from the left and it goes to the mid-line, it goes through the mid-line, across to his right an extra two or three feet. He’s a really tall dude, he’s got long legs and everything.

 

He said, “I want my right side to be just like my left, but I can’t get the foot to go through the target.” He said, “It feels like there’s something stopping it like the movement just stops and it’s involuntary and I can’t change it.” Does it sound like it make sense?

 

[00:12:26] RT: Oh yeah, definitely.

 

[00:12:29] TD: Then we’d already establish his primary pattern of the brain function that needed support was that left frontal lobe, left brainstem and sometimes the brainstem just needs more, extra help. So we did some more assessments and kind of the way it works is if you think about if you’re going to move your right – in this case we’re moving the right leg – so whether you’re moving your right finger, right hand, right leg, whatever, any movement that’s voluntary on the right side of the body is initiated and controlled by the left frontal lobe.

 

So, you can essentially assume that if you have a right side movement issue, that you either have a left frontal lobe issue that’s keeping you from having good voluntary movement on the right side, or the other flip side of the coin is the left side of your body – if I’m kicking you with my right leg, I need the left side of my body that I’m standing on the left leg, I need it to be nice and stable, and I needed to have good reflexive control.

 

The way it works is about 10% of the output that goes from the frontal lobe to make movement happen that’s voluntary, only 10% of that output is used to create voluntary movement. The other 90% of the frontal lobes output goes down to the brainstem on the same side to help the brainstem reflexively control the left side of the body, so that you have good stabilization, good balance, so that you can actually create strength and movement on the right side while the left side is stable. I looked at it like, “Well, either he’s got one or the other” and they’re basically related to each other. I knew that we’ve done some stuff to improve frontal lobe function, I felt like maybe there’s more we could do to improve brainstem function, we did some additional assessments and this is kind of a weird one, but it’s kind of cool at the same time. It turned out in the assessments that he had some weak function in his cranial nerve 12 and 10.

 

So there’s 12 pairs of cranial nerves, there’s a set on each side of the brainstem and cranial nerves are essentially sensory and motor nerves that originate in the brainstem and they go to somewhere in the cranium or face and they do different things like hearing, and smell, and vision, and jaw movement for chewing, and then taste and tongue movement, and swallowing and those kinds of things. The cranial nerve that is basically involved when you swallow, it’s also a nerve that goes down to all your organs like your heart and your gut, and things like that. That one wasn’t working so well. Also, the one that controls tongue movement, it anatomically sits in the brainstem really close by the one that’s involved with swallowing and it goes to the gut. That one is for the tongue and that one actually controls tongue movement like coordination and turning on the muscles of the tongue to make the tongue move.

 

What that looks like is if I say, “Hey, stick your tongue out at me.” And your tongue goes to the right or to the left, that means that some of your tongue muscles aren’t turning on well enough to even out the movement, so it goes one way and not straight. If all of the muscles are working, the tongue will come straight out. For him, his tongue was going one way or the other. I don’t remember which way now. That tells me, “Hey, we need to stimulate that cranial nerve 12.”

 

So he ended up doing division exercise that was still helping him, he then took a 9-volt batter y and stuck it to one side of his tongue like on the top that basically stimulate that nerve. Sounds weird but it works, definitely creates some stimulus and then after that he gargled some water because gargling water stimulates that cranial nerve 10 that goes down to the gut and the organs. Just by doing that, that took him maybe 10 seconds on the tongue and then maybe 15-20 seconds on the gargling and then I said, “Okay, cool. Let’s go ahead and look at your kicks now.” This is after about 45 minutes of assessments, so this is getting towards the end of the session.

 

I was like, “Hey, let’s go ahead and check your kicks again and let’s see if anything has changed.” He goes back and he tries his left-side first and it still looks the same, he can follow through the same as he could before, and then he tries his right-side. Well, his right-side followed through even further than his left. So he went from being stuck at hitting the centre line, to being able to kick all the way through an extra three feet or so. It’s rather incredible. I didn’t expect that level of a change that quick, but at the same time I wasn’t surprised because I see that kind of stuff happen on a daily basis.

 

What’s interesting is he texted me later that evening and he said, “Hey, man. I thought about this and that’s been going on for at least five years.” Then he texted me about an hour earlier, he goes, “Dude, I’ve been thinking about it even more and I can’t think of a time that this wasn’t happening where I had better kicks on my left than I did on my right.” He said he’s in his mid-20s and I’m sure he has been doing Taekwondo for a really, really long time, so that’s probably 10-15 years.

 

That’s what’s interesting and that’s what I love about it, is that sometimes the problems that you think you have aren’t really the problems that you have and if you don’t have somebody and if you’re not looking for these types of problems, you’re not finding them and you’re not addressing them. Then if you’re not addressing, you’re usually just compensating for them as opposed to resolving them.

 

[00:18:08] RT: Yes, favoring another side or trying to alter your technique which many times…

 

What was that again? Go ahead.

 

[00:18:17] TD: Yeah, like he’s commented to me like he’s throwing his shoulder around just to get his foot to the target. Yes, compensating just like that.

 

[00:18:22] RT: Yes and probably there are certain ways of compensating where you adjust your form so much, that’s probably going to start wearing out joints in ways that they probably shouldn’t be worn out, too, I would imagine.

 

[00:18:33] TD: Totally, yes. I would agree.

 

[00:18:34] RT: Especially when it comes to lifting.

 

[00:18:36] TD: Yes. Even if you’re not creating a structural change, those kinds of things happen over a longer period of time, but you’re still going to be putting excessive stress on a joint. Even if that doesn’t hurt you at the moment, it kind of sets you up where if you get lots of reps, where you have added stress to that one joint, then when you do something that is a little bit beyond your capacity or whatnot, that can actually hurt you. It kind of sets you up for more injury.

 

[00:19:06] RT: Right. You put a lot of wear and tear and at some point, it’s just the feather or “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Right?

 

[00:19:14] TD: Yes. An interesting way of looking at that, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Dr. Eric Cobb, he’s one of the owners and founder of Z-Health Performance. He’s a really good guys and really knowledgeable. But he explained something one time that was just really fascinating, the way he explained it. And I’m gonna see if I can do it some justice here, but essentially, he was giving an example of an average man as 200 lbs – we’re just going to make some round numbers here. So 200 lbs-weight, maybe six-foot tall, something like that. Maybe the stride length isn’t quite three-feet, but it’s two-something, but we’re going to call it three to just make it easier on the math.

 

Every time they take a step, that’s 600-foot lbs of force that’s going through the body. One of the things with any type of brain-based training and brain-based fitness approach, you’re looking to see what’s not moving. One of the things we’ll do is gait assessment and if you’re watching somebody walk, it’s very common to see something like the shoulder on one side not swinging as much as the other or not swinging at all. Then you have other things like if the shoulder is not swinging enough and maybe the elbow is swinging a lot more to compensate. You see those kinds of things.

 

When you have somebody that’s producing 600 foot-pounds of force with every step and even if they’re sedentary, they’re still walking like 2,500-3,000 steps a day, that ends up being 1.2-1.8 million foot-pounds of force per day that’s going through their whole entire system. Then if you have this extra movement that’s normally not supposed to be in the elbow because it’s compensating for the shoulder, now you have some of that force that’s repeatedly going through that joint and it’s not going to necessarily hurt you right then but it sets you up, where now you’re in the gym and your form is off a little bit on your presses, your bench press, or your pull ups, or you do a little bit too much, or whatever the scenario is and now you’re like, “Okay, I’ve got some inflammation.” You get a doctor, you get diagnosed with tennis elbow or tendinitis or something and you get told not to do anything for three months and let it heal or whatever – it’s those kinds of things that just tends to provide enough extra stress on the joint and just sets you up for potential injury down the road.

 

[00:21:42] RT: It’s funny. It makes me think of in school when you’re doing in physics, I think it was vectors, I think it’s what it was. There was always that example if you’re off course just by tiny, tiny bit, down the road you end up a mile off course once you add some time to that equation and this sounds somewhat similar. You’re slightly misaligned and that’s very interesting the way that you put that, every step’s putting whatever 600 lbs of force and even a sedentary person is putting 2,500-3,000 steps a day, you do the math on it and it ends up being a whole lot of force, just bit, by bit, by bit, just wearing, and wearing things out.

 

[00:22:20] TD: What’s incredible is if you look at people that weightlifting their workouts and they do different workouts like they had to get a lot of volume in, even if they do a lot of volume and they’re really strong, they do lots of work throughout their workout, they’re not coming anywhere close to that much work. 1.-whatever million foot-pounds of work in a day, they’re not coming anywhere close to that.

 

[00:22:42] RT: No. A workout is like – let me try to do some math here.  A workout is measured like in tens of thousands of pounds.

 

[00:22:47] TD: Yes, exactly.

 

[00:22:48] RT: I don’t think it gets really beyond much more than that.

 

[00:22:51] TD: Yes. I mean a pretty solid workout’s 40,000-100,000 foot-pounds of work, somewhere in that range. People really don’t look at how they’re walking and how they’re doing, other sitting, those are the things that we all do the most everyday and they can definitely set us up for some movement issues.

 

[00:23:14] RT: Now something that just popped in my mind there as you were talking is if you’re walking – let’s say every step is 600 lbs, but if you’re squatting, let’s just say with some serious weight, does that equate into more forces going through per – let’s just call it repetition – and does that put you more at risk, or is it – as I’m talking about this, I think I’m piecing this together. Maybe I see what happens is all of those steps with your misaligned structure, let’s call that, is causing wear and tear, wear and tear, wear and tear. Then you go do something like let’s say a heavy duty squat, or deadlift, or something to that nature, or put a lot of force through your body because you’re playing some type of a sport, you just landed really hard, or maybe you took a big hard hit, that’s when all of that wear and tear from all those lighter steps let’s just say in the example you provided, finally cause the crack to happen, or the break, or the injury with that greater force. Is that kind of the way that points out?

 

[00:24:08] TD: Yes. That’s how I look at it. Nothing is written in stone so there’s always more than one factor, but I just look at that as being how it works. It’s kind of like if you ask the question, “What happened before what happen happened?” It’s like, “Yes, I hurt myself squatting.” “Yes, but what happened before that?”

 

[00:24:27] RT: I like that.

 

[00:24:28] TD: “Oh, well, I’ve been moving this way for this many years.” “Okay, what happened before that?” “Oh, well I had a surgery and I’ve got this trauma from this set and the other.” What it’s like is asking the questions, getting the history, looking at what’s happened and then how that ties back to function. It’s not necessarily like – I’m not knocking the medical world, but sometimes you hear about doctors, how they will tell people that, “Oh, yes, you have this issue and this is exactly what happened.” People believe that. So it’s not about creating that belief of having certainty, but it’s more of from a practitioner’s standpoint, being able to look at it and say, “Okay, well what happened before there was pain that might have contributed to this so that we can actually start addressing more of the root?”

 

[00:25:18] RT: Okay, very interesting.

 

Now, what are the methods that you use to assess somebody? Because some of the ones that you’ve provided earlier with the example with the guy in Taekwondo, they don’t seem to be very invasive by any means.

 

[00:25:32] TD: Yes, totally. We’re not removing brains and examining them under microscopes, thank God. Non-invasive at all. Everything, it all comes down to function. So we’re looking for what’s not functioning well and how the brain works, it does three primary things. It receives sensory input and then the second thing is it makes a decision about that input, and then the third thing is that it provides an output. You’re getting information in from all these different sources and then you’re going to create a motor output to respond to the input. If you think about it, we all want to be stronger or I guess maybe everybody on the podcast wants to be stronger any ways, and we want to add weight to our lifts.

 

To some degree with brain based training, your focus is to give the brain an input that either wasn’t getting before that it needed, or finding a weak input that you can make stronger. So when you can create a stronger sensory stimulus, that allows the brain to provide you with a stronger output. In this case, that would be lifting more weight.

 

[00:26:44] RT: And again, that’s because – I think you and I were talking about this earlier today. If you’re having any issues, it’s almost like some breaker switches have been flipped off or on, and the signal is not going to the muscles because your body knows something is not right and the last thing it want you to do is apply too much force through or power through that area and potentially cause yourself some serious problems, and therefore you end up not being able to maximize your full force, your full power. You’re not able to express it right so you can’t lift as much.

 

[00:27:15] TD: Yes. It’s like the sensory stimulus is coming in, the brain is applying a heuristic to it saying, “Okay, is this thing safe? Is what I’m experiencing sensory-wise, compared to what I’m doing, is it safe?” When it decides it’s not safe, it’s going to slam on the breaks and so, that’s going to look like excess muscle tension around joints to limit your range of motion, to limit your speed, to limit your force production, it might turn muscles off to limit your ability to create force. So it’s kind of like when you’re deadlifting, maybe you’re having a really good day and you just made a lift that was 10 or 20 lbs above your previous PR and it came up easy. Like it was fast, and easy, and effortless, and you broke it from the ground, just came straight up and it was like when you see that, you’re like, “Man, I can do 20 more pounds. No problem.” And you put five pounds on because you know if you make too many of the jump, you’re going to screw yourself. So you put on five pounds and you can’t even get it off the floor. You can’t break it free from the floor.

 

What’s just happened is not that your structure can’t support it, it’s more that your brain doesn’t think it can based off the sensory stimulus is getting. It’s in, “No, this isn’t safe. I’m going to shut things down. We’re not going to make this movement happen.”

 

[00:28:29] RT: It’s amazing, that built-in intelligence that we got. Right? It’s funny how a lot of the times we try to circumvent it and we just end up many times just getting into trouble. It’s just amazing how ultimately we just listened to the body and the body already has this built-in – like I said, this intelligence, it’s been thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of years even, and maybe even billions of years if you want to talk about from the very first amoebas that were being formed or one-celled organisms, and here we are all the way till today and all of that survival and the intelligence has been built into the body and it only seems logical to hack that, to figure it out so you can work with it.

 

I had Tony Blauer on the other day and he actually, he explained a pretty interesting exercise he did, which is basically he just stood there and he had one of his – I think it was his instructors – one of his coaches. He told him, “Listen man, put on some gloves, I’m going to put a mouthguard in and you’re going to, we’re going to pretend like we’re going to get to an altercation and you’re just going to sucker me.” He was like, “Are you sure?” “Yes.” He just kept doing it over, and over, and over and I think Tony was videotaping – like actually videotaping because this is back in the ’80s he was doing this. And he noticed that sometimes he’d get away and other times, many times he got caught and he was like, “What’s going on here?” He’s always getting all banged up, mouses under his eyes, bloody lips and nose and stuff, to get this all figured out.

 

Then what he found was he was just going with the flinch reaction of the body, when he would just kind of go with that and not even realizing that he was doing it, he was able to avoid getting hit and deal with the situation. For those who are listening right now, they may think that, “Man, really?” A lot of the times I’m going to guess that many people probably have issues and they probably don’t even realize it either because it’s either minor, or they’ve just gotten so accustomed to them. Would you agree with that?

 

[00:30:24] TD: Yes, absolutely. It’s kind of like some of us are so good at compensating for things and it’s all reflexive we don’t know it’s autonomous, we don’t know that it’s happening and it allows us to function at a high level. It’s just that when the ability to compensate degrades whether it’s due to trauma, or maybe your metabolic function doesn’t support that level of compensation anymore, or you just age, all this kind of factors coming into play with that. As that starts to decline, now you’re having problems because right now your problem is getting more exposed because you’re not able to compensate for it anymore.

 

[00:31:05] RT: Yes. The reason I bring that up is because some of us may listen to this and think, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with me,” right? But the reality is there’s something going on that’s extremely intelligent trying to help you compensate or whatever it may be to deal with the situation you got going on, but ultimately, we really probably should go get screened. Even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with you, and just to tie it back, it’s again just work with that built-in intelligence kind of like I was saying Tony Blauer, work with that flinch reaction of the body, that built-in instinct and he was able to create something amazing out of that.

 

Very similar of what’s going on here. You’re saying that you guys are doing some very basic test for the most part. I mean there is some complexity to them in terms of deciphering exactly what’s going on and you need to be trained to be able to do that. But there are some very basic tests, somebody comes into you and they do an assessment, you could slowly start to pick things out and then what’s really interesting from what I’m gathering here, and correct me if I’m wrong, you can show people what’s going wrong – any issues that they may be having – and then you could actually create a change relatively quickly. It almost sounds like in one session you could show somebody that, “Look, here. Boom! Look what we did.” And they could start feeling the difference. Does that sounds correct to you?

 

[00:32:19] TD: Yes, that happens all the time. That’s actually my goal with every first session with somebody and it happens probably 9 times out of 10. It’s the really hard cases where it doesn’t, but yes, absolutely. If you look at the way that this all comes together, most of what we’re talking about is reflexive. Your spinal posture, most of your posture, 90% of it is reflexively controlled. So this is stuff that yes, you can override reflexes a little bit to some degree, but not for very long. If I try to change how I stand and whatnot, you’ll have a very difficult time actually changing the posture alignment of single vertebrae joints. If you can create any significant change, as soon as you shift your focus somewhere else, you’re right back to that reflexive position that you’re in.

 

So, how do you get around to changing those kind of things? Posture and stability, balance…

 

[00:33:20] RT: Actually, Troy, you beat me to it. I was just going to ask you that, actually and I was going to go to a break first and come back to it. So how about we do that? Let’s jump to a break, we’ll be right back and actually that’s what I wanted to hear, that’s what I was going to ask you – how do you maintain the changes that you’re causing and helping people with it during the session? How do they stick?

 

We’re going to go to a break, we’ll be right back with our guest Troy Dodson from brainbasedfitnessrx.com. We’ll be right back, guys.

 

[BREAK]

 

[00:33:50] RT: The world of working out is seriously confusing at first. It punishes uneducated lifters with years of poor gains and injures, and reward smart ones with slabs of lean muscle and superhuman strength. If you don’t know if you’re using the right form, have hit a plateau, or things just seem a whole lot more confusing than you thought they’d be, I want to help you out. Let me save you from wasting time and money on BS advice and sweating away in the gym with little-to-nothing to show for it. Head on over to www.Instantstrength.com to get access to your free report titled “Instant Strength: The One Little Trick That Will Instantly Boost Your Strength by 10 lbs or More in Your Main Lifts.”

 

Whether you’re a novice lifter or have years of experience in the Iron game, this is a very helpful resource that you can either apply to your own training or use as a helpful guide to teach others. Stop wasting time and effort in the gym and get the info you need to maximize your gains and minimize your risk for injury. Visit www.Instantstrength.com and get your free report today.

 

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

 

[00:34:55] RT: Okay, guys. We’re back with our guest, Troy Dodson from brainbasedfitnessrx.com and right before the break, I was thinking of the question I wanted to ask him because just based off from what he was saying and then all of a sudden he starts getting to it himself. We’re kind of on the same wavelength here.

 

You were essentially going to tell us how you are getting these results to stick, like this isn’t just something that’s happening during the session and then a day or two later all of a sudden, is this something that people have to continuously keep coming back to you, or can they get to the point where they “fix this” and as long as they don’t go back to getting re-injured or whatever it may be, there isn’t a need for a daily or weekly type of visits all the time. You can get to a point where you’re okay. Does that sound right, or is it something that continuously needs maintenance?

 

[00:35:42] TD: Yes. It depends and yes to both. Let me explain. With regards to “is this something that you’ll have to do forever in order to keep it going?” You shouldn’t have to. Sometimes things don’t stick well because somebody’s metabolic function isn’t working well enough to support neurological changes.

 

[00:36:03] RT: Okay, hold on one second, dude. Metabolic function, what do you mean by that? Cause you’ve mentioned that a few times and I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you to elaborate.

 

[00:36:11] TD: I kind of use that as a catch-phrase for tons of stuff. There’s a lot of stuff encompassed in that. Let’s talk about the primary things like breathing, like getting enough oxygen, get enough CO2 out. Also blood sugar balance, hormonal balance – those are some of the big highlights, but there’s a lot of biochemistry stuff that happens that’s just always happening. You can have stuff going wrong in that department. It gets into a huge rabbit hole, but that’s what I mean when I’m talking about metabolic function. Every neuron in your brain has to have fuel and activation to survive. Fuel is basically at a very base level, it’s oxygen and glucose and activation is other neurons turning on that neuron.

 

What happens is if a neuron isn’t getting stimulated, it will start lowering the threshold that it turns on. So if you heard of a tinnitus where people hear a ringing in their ears, that’s a really good example because essentially they’re hearing sound when there isn’t any sound because the neurons that are associated with hearing those tones are lowering their threshold to activate and turn on because they don’t have enough fuel and one of the ways, the only way that a neuron is going to create fuel is to be activated. It has to get turned on in order to make its own fuel. It’s just kind of a process that neurons go through as they’re degrading a function and starting to die off and whatnot and that’s happening all the time. It’s not like it’s a drastic thing.

 

[00:37:49] RT: So you were saying, just to kind of get us back on track, you were going to explain how this all sticks. Go ahead, go for it.

 

[00:37:54] TD: Okay. So I kind of wanted to explain, take a minute or two to explain how this is working so that I can talk more clearly about the kinds of things that people are doing and then I’ll wrapped that up with how they do it to make it stick. Does that sound good?

 

[00:38:09] RT: Yes, that sounds great. Go for it.

 

[00:38:11] TD: Alright, perfect. Essentially when we’re talking about all these sensory stimuli in this case coming up to the brain, what we’re doing is we’re looking to affect one of four systems. We’re looking for improved posture balance, or stability, or better movement. Any one of those, if you make improvements in those, that can affect your ability to create more strength right? And all these are controlled by the brain and the quality of each one of these is really determined or depends on how the brain answers a couple of questions. The first one is, “Where am I in my environment?” And the second one is, “Where is my environment in relation to me?” The better your brain can answer those questions, the better it can produce a strong output for you.

 

The way that the brain answers those questions is by getting sensory information from four primary systems, which are the visual system, that accounts for most of the stimulus that comes in your brain; then we’ve got the vestibular system which is your balance, determining which way you’re going and whatnot; and then the auditory system which is hearing; and then the proprioception or somatosensory system, which is feeling, movement and light touch, vibration, hot-cold, those kinds of sensory signals that come from the whole body.

 

Basically the brain is getting the sensory information that’s coming through the visual fields, through sound, through motion, and through proprioceptive stuff that’s in the joints, muscles, tendons, fascias, skin – that kind of stuff – and it takes us all, and the better all this sensory information matches and fits together and it’s the same thing, in other words the better it integrates, the better it can actually answer those two questions of, “Where am I compared to my environment? Where’s my environment compared to me?” That’s going to provide you with increases in improvements in posture or stability movement and balance.

 

The problem comes whenever we have one of the systems that’s not working at its best and the information that it’s providing doesn’t match up with the other systems. For instance, if we have balance sensors that are telling the brain that we’re moving in a certain direction, but then the eyes or the vision is telling the brain that, “No, we’re not actually moving in that direction.” Then there’s like a mismatch and when there’s a mismatch, the body has to compensate because the brain has to compensate, so it has to use the body to create the compensation for the brain.

 

[00:40:43] RT: Okay.

 

[00:40:46] TD: This compensation can actually affect nearly any system in the body because they’re all controlled by the brain at a root level. So as an athlete or as a coach, this is really important because we see compensations all the time in the gym and when we start addressing the sensory input, we can take away those compensations, we can increase strength output and whatnot. As an example, a few years back in my gym, one of my coaches and I, we’re working with a female athlete that weighed 105 lbs and her previous PR on deadlift was 185 lbs and she had come in and her workout that day was basically maximizing out on deadlifts and she PR’d at 195 lbs. It was one of those PR’s where, like I said earlier, where they came up really fast and easy and then she put on five more pounds to 200 lbs and couldn’t even break the floor with it. Left the weights all racked on the floor and then went to one of our mobility classes where we happen to be doing a lot of vision and the vestibular work in that class. So lots of sensory work.

 

She did about 30 minutes of that, she came back to the bar to rack the weights because it’s Friday night, it’s time to go out. Right? She said, “You know, I’m just going to go and try it anyways.” There was 200 lbs laying there on the floor and she lifted it like it was nothing. Nice and easy.

 

[00:42:11] RT: This is after 30 minutes of not doing anything? Technically she was basically cold?

 

[00:42:16] TD: Cooled down, exactly. Yes, that’s exactly right. So then she goes, “I’m going to add some more weight.” So she puts on 205 lbs like it’s nothing. She ended up going to 225 lbs. She maxed out at 225 lbs after she maxed out 30 minutes or 45 minutes prior at 195 lbs, which at the time was a 10 lbs PR. That is crazy.

 

[00:42:37] RT: All from doing a bunch of exercises that in a million years nobody would ever think would lead to into lifting that much more iron.

 

[00:42:46] TD: That’s right. On the surface level, yes, but if you look at it, what really happened was her increased strength was a symptom of her improved motor output that came from the brain. That was a direct symptom of improved sensory input that came into the brain.

 

[00:43:05] RT: Yes. So some people, they would do, they do some warmups where they’re doing like muscle activations. They’re doing glute bridges, glute/ham bridges, so they’re trying to get their glutes firing, or their hams firing, or they may do standing crunches with a high pulley cable to activate their core more. So when they go do their squats or deadlifts, they can really brace that core real hard, and that’s kind of waking up other muscles. But what you are saying was done, was essentially you weren’t waking up a muscle so much, you are basically making sure that there was less resistance along that conduit, along that nervous systems so we could fire in that signal will go all the way through and that muscle will fully activate all the muscles that are required to activate? That’s kind of what was happening. Does that sound right to you?

 

[00:43:49] TD: To some degree, yes. How I would describe it is with, like we talked about earlier in the call, was the brain does three things: it takes an input, it makes a decision and it gives you an output. If you aren’t getting good sensory input from your eyes or your balance systems, or they’re not matching up very well, what kind of decision do you think your brain is going to make about that input in relation to the output that you want? Is it going to think that lifting more weight is safe or less safe potentially?

 

[00:44:20] RT: Yes, exactly.

 

[00:44:21] TD: So it might be less safe and then it’s going to give you a weaker output because it wants to down regulate forced production in order to protect the system because the whole entire body is wired for survival. It could care less if your body falls apart 10 years from now. It’s a lot more concerned with keeping you alive in the next 30 seconds and that entails not tearing ligaments, tendons, muscles and things like that, soft tissue.

 

[00:44:45] RT: It’s funny because I myself have been in situations where just pulling crazy, crazy, crazy hours and I was telling you this, I mean there was a time when I was getting zero sleep. I’m not even kidding. We’re talking less than an hour, a night, for stretches of time, a couple of weeks at of shot and it was just not good. Not a good situation to be in to push yourself in the gym. That was really stupid. And there were times when I could feel myself just going to pull the bar and it’s just nothing. It’s like almost a switched got turned off. It’s literally what it felt like, a switch got turned off. This is weight that I would do – let’s just say it’s a deadlift. This is something that I would do speed pulls with. So it shouldn’t even be an issue here and there’s just nothing there. I’m just, “Psh, nothing!” It’s off and I’d have to pace back and forth, pace back and forth, and just work myself back up and then I’ll go and I’ll do it, and I’ll force myself to do it but in the back of my mind I’m telling myself, “Man, I got to get things in order here, sleep, whatever it may be and get things back to a normal, something like a normal schedule so this doesn’t happen.”

 

But the reality is I need to be not doing that period because I’m really on the razors edge of getting injured when I was doing that in all likelihood.

 

[00:45:57] TD: I think a lot of the athletes, not saying that you were doing this but a lot of the athletes – let’s me rephrase this. A lot of athletes were people that are more new to weightlifting, they haven’t been around the block for a long time and I think it’s a very common mistake that they might make, is coming in thinking that they have the same body and the same neurology day-to-day. So if I got a 500 lbs deadlift before and today’s my deadlift day, I’ve got to get that today. They have to have ways of assessing their own system to see if that’s actually the case, or should they go for it, or should they be a little more conservative because it’s a dynamic system. You don’t have the same body every single day and they’re expect to get the same result. Kind of sets you up for failure into some extent. It’s also related to people that do the percentage, when they do weightlifting, they do the percentages, percentages of one rep max.

 

That’s the thing, your one rep max might change day-to-day depending on how you’re functioning, depending on your neurology and a whole bunch of other factors.

 

[00:47:12] RT: Yes, it’s interesting we have Frankie Faires on, he talked about biofeedback and basically doing a specific exercise that would let you know whether or not you should be doing either a certain movement, or a certain amount of weight, whatever it may be that day. That kind of ties into, it almost feels like instinctive body building to a certain degree you’re like listening to your body and what does your body is telling you.

 

[00:47:34] TD: That’s right, yes. Biofeedback is something that’s covered within the Z-Health system. It’s definitely more than that. Frankie was involved in Z-Health a long time ago, a very long time ago actually, and I know him to some extent personally. What he does and the system he has created is amazing. I would highly recommend it to any of your listeners if they’re interested in what he had to say. Definitely having that type of approach would be a very good way to go about it if you’re just an individual person that’s looking to get some information about how you’re moving.

 

Another thing I would recommend is there is some technology you can use – a couple different things I’d recommend, actually. One is trainwithpush.com and that’s basically a sensor that you would wear on your arm, and you do your lifts, and it actually measures your barbell speed, and it will calculate your work, your power and all that kind of stuff.

 

[00:48:30] RT: Yes. Is that a TENS unit? I think they use that in power lifting. I’m trying to remember the name.

 

[00:48:33] TD: A TENS unit is more of a stimulation. This is just actually measuring. It’s like an accelerometers measuring.

 

[00:48:38] RT: Sorry, not a TENS unit.

 

[00:48:40] TD: Oh, I know. You could just call it TENDO.

 

[00:48:42] RT: The TENDO, yes..

 

[00:48:43] TD: Yes. I was like, “Where are you going with that?”

 

[00:48:46] RT: Yes, completely off. TENDO. Is it kind of like a TENDO?

 

[00:48:48] TD: Yes, it’s like a TENDO but it’s more consumer-friendly and it’s a lot cheaper, like way cheaper.

 

[00:48:54] RT: Okay. What was it called again?

 

[00:48:55] TD: It’s called, the website is trainwithpush.com. I think it’s called PUSH. It’s very interesting because you can actually – I’ve actually done this with weightlifters where we will measure their barbell speed on a lift, and then we’ll go and do some sensory work like I’m talking about, and then measure their speed again and see a big increase in speed right there. They have an assessment that they do with box jumps while wearing the device. You get a baseline and then you compare that. Like if you’re going to go max out on a certain day, you can go, you can wear that and do that assessment on the box jump and it will tell you if that day you should max out or not because it can basically tell if your nervous system is working well that day or not. That’s kind of interesting way of going about it with some technology.

 

Another thing, kind of somewhat related, a lot of people lose sight of when you train, you’re training to create an adaptation and so the training process itself actually makes you weaker and it’s through the adaptation process that you actually get better and make improvement. So your goal shouldn’t be to get a hard workout, it should be to actually adapt and progress as much as possible from the stimulus given. One technology that I’ve had some success with in the past with athletes is using what’s called HRV which stands for Heart Rate Variability.

 

That’s essentially measuring the timings between heart beats and it can infer through that the level of balance between your autonomic nervous system. So the sympathetic nervous system which is more of your fight or flight stress response and the parasympathetic nervous system which is more of your rest and digest. Once you get a baseline, it can do a pretty good job of telling you whether that’s a day that you should go all out, or should back off and do more recovery stuff, or maybe just modify the workout and do a little bit less volume of work.

 

[00:50:56] RT: I think that was mentioned in Frankie’s interview. I think he did talk about that. I believe so.

 

[00:51:00] TD: Cool, yes. I didn’t listen to it, but he’s a really sharp dude. He’s really good. Good info.

 

When I was at Golds, when I sold my gym, I actually was a director at Golds corporate for a year and started up a new program nationwide for them and as part of that, I did a little informal – I don’t want to call it “study”, I’m using air quotes you can’t see it like my own little personal “study” – and I got some people in one of our gyms to do this thing where we did like a baseline workout on day one, we did it again on day 31, we’re 30 days in between like one group use HRV, and the other group didn’t use HRV, and then we looked at what the differences were.

 

So the group that used HRV, they had an 86% performance improvement within that 30 days on the same workout whereas the other group had a 45% improvement on performance. That’s almost double, but the main thing for me was that in the group that used HRV, nobody got worse over the course of that month and nobody regressed. With the group that didn’t use HRV, we had almost a third of the people actually got worse on the second workout than they did on the first workout.

 

[00:52:12] RT: Really?

 

[00:52:13] TD: Yes.

 

[00:52:15] RT: An HRV, is that something complicated to incorporate?

 

[00:52:19] TD: No, it’s totally simple. It’s a one-minute test every morning after you wake up, and go to the bathroom and get around. Here is the best way to do it in my opinion, you go to this website, it’s hard for me to say. It’s the word “my” – M-Y, and then it’s like the word “athlete”, but instead of an a in the beginning it’s an “i”. Myithlete – it’s like change out the “a” for an “i”.com. myithlete.com. It’s a company out in the UK, really good people, they do a lot of good work with their app, update it all the time and essentially you download a $10 app, then what I’d recommend is the finger sensor that fits on your finger and plugs into your phone, you can also use a heart rate strap. If you have one that is bluetooth-enabled, you can look up on their website. You might be able to use it and just download the app. But sometimes I have some connection issues so I prefer the finger sensor.

 

Essentially it’s a 55-second test. It gives you an HRV score and then you rank your sleep, and hydration, and how much volume you did the day before on your workout, the soreness you’re feeling, and your mood, all these things. I might be missing one or two, and then it’s going to put all that in there and associate it with your HRV score, and then it will actually feedback the information to you in a way that tells you whether or not you should do your workout as planned, or you can go balls out and do more than what you planned, or if you’re below baseline, maybe you need to modify or you need to focus more on recovery that day, go get some cryotherapy or something – that kind of thing.

 

[00:53:59] RT: Okay, Myithlete – is it .com?

 

[00:54:04] TD: That’s right.

 

[00:54:06] RT: Okay, we’ll have that on the show notes page.

 

[00:54:07] TD: The way just to wrap up that thought really quick, the way that I look at that from my perspective with the brain based training is for me, that’s a way for my athletes to actually self-assess their brainstem function on a daily basis and their ability to respond to stress, and then adapt to the stress. So I want them training harder on the days that they can adapt to stress and then as a coach, I can look and see what their score looks like. I can see how they’re eating, I can see kind of what the lifestyle factors are doing to their ability to adapt to workouts and better than that, they can see it. I kind of use it that way because it ties right into the brain stuff that I’m doing.

 

[00:54:46] RT: Okay, definitely going to check that out because I’ve heard before of a very basic manner to just check your heart rate, get an average heart rate for yourself over a period of time and then check yourself. If it’s elevated, first thing in the morning when you get up, check yourself and if it’s above what your average heart rate is – and that’s probably good indication that you’re still recovering. That’s like a very rudimentary stone age method of doing it. Anyway, at least a method I’ve heard thrown around. This new gadget sounds actually pretty darn interesting.

 

[00:55:14] TD: Yes. This stuff, it’s been around since the ’60s and up until a few years ago, it was $30,000 to get a system and you had to have a PhD to operate it kind of thing. So only the professional teams and athletes use them. Now you can do it on your iPhone and it’s really cheap and I think it’s probably going to be a lot more sensitive and give you more information than the other method which is still an okay method. There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

[00:55:39] RT: Oh, the one that I just mentioned? Yes, that stuff is nowhere near as accurate as what you’re talking, but at least it doesn’t seem to be.

 

All right. That’s the end of part one. We’re going to wrap that up right now. Highly recommend you go to superstrengthshow.com, put in Troy’s name, T-r-o-y D-o-d-s-o-n, “Troy Dodson,” you’ll get the show notes pages, you’ll get access to this interview and you’ll have all kinds of goodies on there. But just keep in mind, this is a two-parter, guys. Obviously as you could tell I got cut off here at the end because a lot of good information he’s sharing. We’re going to come back with part two next time.

 

superstrengthshow.com, Troy Dodson is the name you put in, you will get the show notes page, you’ll have access to the interviews, you will have the interview itself, you can download it if you want, you will have access with the various podcasting platforms we’re on which I highly recommend you sign up for because then you have them come straight to you. Then you have all the goodies on the show notes page. Any good resources he mentioned will also be on there, so I highly recommend you go check that out. Feedback, good, bad or fugly, let us know, guys. What do you like, what do you want to see more and what don’t you like? Don’t hold back. Just let us know alright?. We love hearing the stuff.

 

Also, don’t forget the free report that we got when you sign up to the eLetter, the newsletter there. We have a fantastic report. It teaches you how to maximize your strength while minimizing your risk for injury which is great because it means iron on the bar, which means more muscle on your frame and better performance, and decreasing the likelihood of injury is crucial because you do not gain when you’re banged up and you’re on injured list. That’s never good.

 

Okay, guys, so that being said, till the next time. Train smart, train hard, talk to you then.
[END]

 

More Specifically in this Episode

  • The brain is the ultimate target when you do an exercise movement.
  • How well you move is dependent on brain function.
  • Sometimes the brainstem needs extra help.
  • Any movement that’s voluntary on the right side of the body is initiated and controlled by the left frontal lobe.
  • Only 10% of the output from the frontal lobe is used to create voluntary movement, and the rest of the 90% is used to stabilize the other side of the body.
  • Cranial Nerves
  • Find what problems you have and resolve them as oppose to compensating for them.
  • Asking the questions, getting the history, and looking at what has happened and then how does that tie back into function.
  • The brain does 3 primary things: It receives sensory input, it makes a decision about that input, and then it provides an output.
  • When you can create a stronger sensory stimulus that allows the brain to provide a stronger output.
  • As your ability to compensate degrades, your problems becomes more exposed because you compensate as much as you did before for them.

About Troy Dodson

Troy has two decades of experience as a coach, consultant, and mentor and over 10 years experience as a Functional Health Coach. He has studied under some of the leading strength and rehabilitation experts in the world.  By applying the sciences of biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, motor learning and functional neurology, he performs individual assessments for clients and develops customized programs aimed at the enhancement of movement, function and athletic performance in the areas of sport, recreation, exercise, and work.

Dodson is a practitioner of Z-Health®, a neurology-based movement system which enhances athletic performance, injury prevention and pain relief. He’s also a USA Weightlifting Club Coach, is certified in CrossFit (Levels 1-3), and holds Olympic Weightlifting, Kettlebell and Gymnastics certifications through CrossFit.

You can connect with him by visiting his website BrainBasedFitnessRX.com or by liking his Facebook Page!

Sponsors

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Success Quote

“Sometimes the problems that you think you have aren’t really the problems that you have.  And if you don’t have somebody and if you’re not looking for those types of problems, you’re not finding them and you’re not addressing them. And then if you’re not addressing them, you’re usually just compensating for them as opposed to resolving them.”   – Troy Dodson

Troy Dodson - Z-Health - Super Strength Show

Training Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Biofeedback by Frankie Faires
Train With Push
HRV: Heart Rate Variability
Myithlete
Z Health Education

Guest Videos

Stephen Lambdin of Team USA, ranked top 5 in the world in the sport of Tae Kwon Do, drastically improves his range of motion for his roundhouse kick, with a simple training session at Brain Based Fitness.


Thoracic Glides: Differentiating the lumbar and the thoracic


Introduction to Brain-Based Health and Fitness

Connect With Troy Dodson

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
LinkedIn
YouTube

Bonus Q&A

Every person that we interview on The Super Strength Show has an opportunity to answer some extra questions that aren’t asked in the podcast. It’s a chance for our listeners to learn a little bit more about our guests and to get even more value from our show. Check out the answers that  Troy Dodson provided below!

Can you share one of your habits that contribute to your success in the gym? Not forcing change to happen and modulating my intensity and work based on both my  ability to adapt to stress (HRV) that day and how well I am moving, my perceived effort level and my ability to control breathing during the workout.

What are your favourite exercises? Heavy Cleans & Rope climbs.

What are your favourite muscle groups to train? I train movements not muscles. Favorite is training eye muscles/movements.

What are your favourite pieces of equipment? Kettlebells, barbells, rings, and ropes.

What is currently on your workout music playlist? I don’t even hear the music… but if I did, it would be Metallica for sure.

How do you psych up for a workout or set? I don’t psych myself up for workouts instead I prepare my nervous system and body for movement

What was one exercise or routine that gave you great gains in muscle mass and/or strength? Years ago, I did great using Michael Rutherford’s ME (Max Effort) Black Box.

Today, I prefer to program my workouts based on what movements test well using biofeedback and technology like “Push”.

What’s your favourite way to speed up recovery between workouts? Breathing work immediately post workout followed by Cryotherapy, and then a lot of movement – light activity.

What’s your favourite meal? A home cooked, traditional Chinese meal with lots of organic vegetables from our garden (my wife is Chinese).

What’s your favourite cheat meal and how often do you indulge? Pizza… probably once per 3-6 months.

What supplements do you feel work well for you? For me personally: Phosphatidyl Choline – it’s a precursor to creating Acetylcholine – primary neurotransmitter used by the peripheral nervous system and the hippocampus (memory). Genetic testing showed that I may have trouble making it myself and supplementing definitely confirmed that was the case.

In general, many benefit from supporting gut function so probiotics like MegaSporebiotic and digestive enzymes tend to help as long as you are also addressing root causes of inflammation.

What do you do to relax?

I do more work. 🙂 That and I do something fun with my kids, which in the Summer is usually swimming!

Check Out What Others Are Saying on iTunes! 

  • Awesome Podcast
    April 21, 2017 by Brooke Craven from United States

    Ray, host of Super Strength Show, highlights all aspects of fitness and nutrition in this can't miss podcast. Ray and his expert guests offer insightful and inspirational advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle!

  • Un canal de lo mejorcito en la materia
    July 17, 2016 by Pipiripiii from Spain

    Un canal con contenido muy completo e interesante. Gracias ppr toda la info!

  • Informative, deep and instructional
    July 9, 2016 by Charles M R from United States

    That Frank Zane interview!

  • awesome fitness podcast and great variety
    July 7, 2016 by jskoosh71 from United States

    Really glad I found this. Lots of care into each podcast, Ray walks the walk and really understands what is being discussed. I really just have one request- stop the Delorean story.

  • 51 and going strong
    June 22, 2016 by Canvas back from Canada

    I used to lift heavy in my late teens and into my 30s and then other thinks like kids,job, house etc took over and I lost motivation. I'm 52 now and starting to show the signs of aging so I thought I better get back at it. It was real tough. Slower gains, easy injuries, slower recovery. Tough to get back into the grove. While searching for some motivating pod casts I came across the SSS pod casts. I listen daily and I can honestly say that it has changed my life. It's more motivating that a gym full of people. I have learned more in 2 months than I learned in 20 years. The host is great to listen to, is very knowledgeable and keeps me wanting more. The guests are great. I look forward to listening. We have a wellness committee at my work and I think I have the entire group as fans of the SSS. Please don't ever stop!

  • Physical Autonomy = Personal Liberty
    June 18, 2016 by Mrsborch from United States

    Ryan inspires me to change my fitness mindset from just doing more reps to creating a body to live the life I want.

  • Lucky find
    May 16, 2016 by Keith3187 from United States

    Stumbled upon this podcast and very glad I did, fantastic guests with tons of evidence based information, highly recommended.

  • Tier 1
    May 14, 2016 by Dragon 1-5 from United States

    Truly a great pod cast very informative and 100% applicable.

  • Great interviews
    May 5, 2016 by Adamdv18 from United States

    Ray has some very interesting guests on here and does a good job of getting some useful information out of them.

  • Intelligent, interesting interviews
    March 25, 2016 by Clown puncher 5000 from United States

    Really. Smart guys.

  • Killer Podcast
    February 26, 2016 by RidgeWC from United States

    Ray puts out a really great show—every episode is top quality!

  • Great work!
    January 14, 2016 by NotMattDamon from Canada

    Impressed by the content and guest - keep up the great work!

  • THE Super Strength Show
    December 14, 2015 by Oastorga from United States

    I came across this podcast through another great podcast (the RDella Podcast) and I must say I'm hooked. I like the action items that are revealed for us to do rather than just taking in more info. I especially like that is simple but not simplistic. I'm 58 years young and shows like this reafirm that I'm doing the right thing. I use Kettlebells, Sandbags, Barbells, Indian Clubs and body weight in my training. I don't look like a fitness model but I feel pretty good. Knowing more and refining techinque has been very important for me. The idea is not to just listen but to do something with the information. The format allows that. Thanks for your hard work.

  • BOOM!
    December 1, 2015 by Getusomemore from United States

    I listened to the entire interview with Danny Kavadlo while I was cooking dinner. VERY good podcast! I give it a ?!!

  • Highly recommend this show
    November 30, 2015 by Altruistic? from United States

    I love this show. Thoughtful host. Interesting guests. Since listening it, I have been giving more consideration to the mental side of training. It's a very encouraging show.

  • Great show!
    November 14, 2015 by Rmolson from United States

    I started training at the age of 41 obese and intimidated. The guests are an inspiration and encouragement toto keep moving forward on this journey.

  • Amazing Content
    November 13, 2015 by MattTucker93 from Canada

    Love listening to this podcast. Amazing information and I always learn something from all the great guests. Thank you!

  • Great show
    September 15, 2015 by unadjective from United States

    Some really cool guests that I wouldn't otherwise come across and Ray does a great job getting into their expertise. Almost always wish the show was longer.

  • I love this
    September 12, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada

    Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before. I listen to it while working out or driving etc. Just wanted to tell you to keep doing what you are doing. And would love to see more of people like Mike Israetel etc. Such as Brad Schoenfeld. Anyways love the show, thanks for making it.

  • Very professional
    September 7, 2015 by Ayrshire Lad from United Kingdom

    Always learning something new from Ray and his well selected line up of guests. Sometimes feels a little repetitive as Ray asks all the tried and tested questions to ensure the listener always has a takeaway..its laid back but focused and very professional !!

  • I love this
    September 3, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada

    Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before

  • The best podcast in the strength/ fitness industry!
    August 28, 2015 by Powerlifting101 from Canada

    I recommend this podcast to anyone that trying to physically and mental better them self in every aspect.

  • Excellent Resource
    July 25, 2015 by J. Steinmann from United States

    Some great interviews with a wide variety of people. I've listened to a number of episodes, and there's always some great information in every interview. If you're serious about strength training, health and fitness, or just want some good life philosophy, this podcast is worth a listen.

  • Must subscribe!
    July 9, 2015 by Roddygo from United States

    This is one of the best fitness podcasts. A lot of big names from various backgrounds and Ray asks good questions. He also knows when to ask follow up questions without getting too out of subject and having the guests share some more secrets

  • Great Show!
    July 8, 2015 by Wes Kennedy from Canada

    Ray is a great host and has a wide range of quality and professional coaches that have a TON of experience to share with you. Check it out!

  • Excellent interviews!
    July 8, 2015 by another anatomy geek from United States

    Ray does a fantastic job of asking articulate and interesting questions. I always really enjoy his podcasts and learn useful info! Keep up the good work!

  • has become the best Strength podcast
    June 21, 2015 by SuperHuman YYZ from Canada

    I think its overtaken superhuman radio and motivation + muscle as the top podcast for those who love physical culture and the iron game. Ray does a great job interviewing, just the right amount of interjecting his ideas and opinions. The guest list is incredible, the who's who, past and present.

  • The fountain of youth.
    June 10, 2015 by rroxanne from Canada

    Very good . I love the article. I listened to it 3 times to write everything down. Lol. Bad memory. Oh and love Rays voice.

  • just pure MEGA, Pig Iron all the way
    May 25, 2015 by Strongman1981 from United Kingdom

    The Super Strength Show is an amazing and extremely informative resource for anyone involved in physical culture. With an enthusiastic and highly intelligent host and a who’s who’s line up of guests, a must for anyone to sit down, eat grapefruits and enjoy. great work chaps

  • On another level! Once you hear one episode you will have to hear them all!
    May 22, 2015 by Chuck Osswald from United States

    Super Strength Show starts with top performers/coaches/trainers from around the world and chunks down all the important pieces, directed towards any audience. Ray Toulany is unparalled in his ability to make information easy to understand as well as tease out the unspoken gems. You will be glued to your speakers for the entire episode and find yourself eagerly waiting for more. The care put into each episode is clear with a show notes page that helps the curious learn in any medium. Keep up the great work and thanks Ray!

  • A fountain of Strength and training knowledge
    May 14, 2015 by HCF82 from United Kingdom

    After searching for an age to find a good strength podcast I discovered the super strength show through Chris Duffins interview and have been hooked since. The format is excellent with some of the best voices in the world of strength and conditioning appearing. No nonsense straight talking, this really should be one of your first resources to go to if you are a coach or an average joe looking to improve in the weight room.

  • fantastic
    May 10, 2015 by gena_wallis from Australia

    i enjoyed your session.looking forward to more staff.Victor from the Youngpreneurs Podcast!

  • Well structured, interesting, and informative.
    May 2, 2015 by TEEJ888888 from Canada

    I just listened to the first two episodes of the podcast. It's really good. The questions are solid, there is lots of good advice for lifting and for life, and Ray does a good job at interacting with the guest but keeping things on track and flowing. Ray is articulate and the guests seem professional and smart. Overall, I'm very impressed.

  • My top 5 favorite show!
    April 16, 2015 by mrcdmag from United States

    Great show with lots of valuable information! I always have my notebook open and writing.

  • Top strength show
    April 16, 2015 by Alastair7890 from United Kingdom

    Very informative. Top guests

  • Great Show!
    April 10, 2015 by SloneStrength from United States

    Well prepared show. Amazing professionalism! Keep up the great work.

  • AWESOMENESS CONTAINTED
    March 4, 2015 by jamie729 from United Kingdom

    This is an awesome podcast the format, the guests & the topics disscussed are all truely infomative. No BS contained the show always opens up new schools of thoughts and ideas to the listeners. keep up the good work.

  • Subscribe, instantly addictive
    March 2, 2015 by thebroadkaz from Canada

    This show is amazing to listen to it motivates you not only for the gym but for setting and achieving goals in your every day life. Very motivating and positive. Truly helps to get you in the right frame of mind for life and for the gym.

  • An absolutely ace show everytime
    February 24, 2015 by Tommy Eggleton from United Kingdom

    This show is phenomenal! The format and repeated questions for each episode keep the show driving forward, the guests have had ample time to prepare excellent and considered opinions and yet the show never feels like anything but no-BS conversations on building seuperhuman strength and mighty bodies. The host, Ray Toulany, consistently does a marvellous job of drawing out even more from his guests than the material they've prepared and some of the stories that are teased out are superb. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anybody that trains, thinks about training, or simply admires strength sports and bodybuilding in general.

  • Great Resource
    February 4, 2015 by Velvet Jones81 from United States

    For someone new to the strength sports like myself this show has been a great resource. Thanks for doing this show. It has helped a lot.

  • Paul McIlroy
    February 2, 2015 by Paul McIlroy from United Kingdom

    I've been an avid aficionado of all things strength and physical culture related for the vast majority of my entire life. As a former world champion powerlifter and trainer of world champions in different strength sports I can honestly say that Ray Toulany's Super Strength Show is an absolutely INVALUABLE resource for those wishing/needing to maximise their holistic understanding of strength, what it is to be strong, why that is important and how to best achieve it! The list of guests reads like a star studded "who's who" of strength and conditioning ROYALTY! Plus, more than anything the interviews are a ton of fun and provide a fascinating insight into the very best in the business and what makes them tick. It was my complete pleasure and privilege to be a guest on this amazing show (episode 37). If YOU claim to be serious about strength training and are not currently subscribed to THIS show, my honest advice is do so immediately...if not sooner!

  • Super Strength Show
    January 26, 2015 by Joeino from United States

    I love this podcast as I seem to pick up valuable information from each guest. Listing to this is a fun and productive use of my time

  • Excellent Information
    January 26, 2015 by TaylorrrrNB from United States

    These guys obviously do their homework, work hard to create an excellent show and know who to interview in the world of strength and fitness! I’m very impressed by what they have created and the quality of what they do. You need to subscribe! TODAY!!

  • by Brandon Richey
    January 22, 2015 by Great Work SSS from United States

    The Super Strength Show is a fantastic resource for all things concerning strength, fitness, and life. The multitude of guests provides tons of information and perspectives that every listener will appreciate. If you’re serious about strength and the physical culture this is a resource that you just can’t pass up!

  • Very glad I stumbled across this podcast!
    January 22, 2015 by rk102 from United States

    Great info from big-time guests in the strength and conditioning world. Keep up the great work, Ray!

  • Awesome show
    January 13, 2015 by Bonjower from Canada

    The Podcast is the best I’ve encountered in the fitness/bodybuilding sector. The host has a great ability to pull the pertinent information out of his guests. The topics are great and you seem to be able to get useful information out of every interview! Awesome podcast!!

  • Do yourself a favour and subscribe
    January 1, 2015 by GameOverBoss from Canada

    The amount of info and resources in the SuperStrengthShow is just incredible. All of this coming from guests that are the best of the best in their fields. Great questions are asked to these guys and some really insightful answers given (along with a few laughs). I hate wasting time and i'm always looking to evolve and refine my training. This podcast has saved me hours of digging through the crazy crap on the internet to find valid info. It has also introduced me to things i would have never thought to look up. Really can’t recommend enough.

  • Master SFG
    December 24, 2014 by X-Fab69 from Italy

    Awesome Podcast! A whole lot of great and useful information provided by very accomplished athletes and coaches with an extended experience on the ground!

  • Charles C
    December 22, 2014 by CharlieConnely from Canada

    Very impressed with the quality guests that the Super Strength Show is interviewing. Loaded with with actionable and inspiring information. Great production quality and daily episodes!

  • Well done Ray
    December 19, 2014 by Matt McWilliams from United States

    Wow…Super Strenght Show Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Ray. Keep bringing it.

Click here for the full page of reviews!

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