The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Dr. Kelly Starrett — The Magic of Movement and Mobility, Training for Range of Motion, Breathing for Back Pain, Improving Your Balance, and More (#664)

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Kelly Starrett, DPT (@thereadystate). Kelly is one of my favorite performance coaches. When I have problems other people can’t solve, I call Kelly. He’s also a treasure trove of one-liners.

He is, along with his wife Juliet, co-founder of The Ready State. The Ready State began as MobilityWOD in 2008 and has gone on to transform the field of performance therapy and self-care.

Kelly’s clients include professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. He also works with Olympic gold medalists, Tour de France cyclists, world- and national-record-holding Olympic Lifting and Power athletes, Crossfit Games medalists, professional ballet dancers, elite military personnel, and more.

Kelly is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers Becoming A Supple Leopard and Ready to Run. His new book is Built to Move: The Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully, co-written with Juliet Starrett.

Juliet was the U.S. National Champion in extreme whitewater racing from 1997 to 2000 and World Champion from 1997 to 1998. She returned to the sport in 2018 to become World Champion in the Masters Division.

Transcripts may contain a few typos. With many episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

#664: Dr. Kelly Starrett — The Magic of Movement and Mobility, Training for Range of Motion, Breathing for Back Pain, Improving Your Balance, and More


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Tim Ferriss: Kelly. Good to see you, bud.

Kelly Starrett: My friend.

Tim Ferriss: We are sitting, emphasis on sitting.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: We are very low to the ground, we have a table in front of us that is about, let’s call it 12 inches, 14 inches off of the ground, which means we are seated on the floor, and under some very thin mats, we have tatami mats, and that is because we are in Japan. Not only in Japan, we are in the northern island, Hokkaido, of Japan. We’re looking outside, we have snow-covered mountains and we are in a Japanese-style room. What else would you like to say about this particular trip to Japan, an experience in Japan?

Kelly Starrett: Well, I have this friend named Tim who sometimes drags me on wild goose chases, and it’s become a feature of my life where I have to ask myself, “Am I capable enough to go have fun on an adventure with Tim?” Here we are, after a week of — I’ve done a lot of intense things. This was very intense. We were skiing, and it’s deep snow, it’s back country skiing where you’re climbing mountains and skiing down. It’s very cold and very vigorous. I’ve also found myself, for the first time ever, I’m the oldest person on the trip. I have all these young friends who are like, cut off your arm and it regrows the next day.

Tim Ferriss: Now, I should use that as a segue. Yesterday, when we were climbing this mountain, and I guess with wind chill, it was probably, I want to say probably negative 10 Fahrenheit, something like that, easily. It was very, very, very, very cold.

Kelly Starrett: Maybe the coldest ski day I’ve ever had.

Tim Ferriss: Extremely cold. And we are skinning up the mountain, which means, for those people who don’t know, because I certainly didn’t know a few years ago, you have your skis, they are slick on the bottom. That’s what helps you go down the mountain. But if you try to put on your skis and go up the mountain, you don’t get anywhere because you slide backwards. Well, back in the day, I believe it was seal skin, hence the name skins, were used on the bottom of skis by indigenous populations to go uphill because the hair is matted down in one direction, kind of blades of grass that have been heavily blown in one direction, which means, if they’re placed correctly on the bottom of the ski, it can catch. And you wouldn’t imagine this would work, that the physics of this would work on — 

Kelly Starrett: Or snow. Actually, be fun.

Tim Ferriss: Or be fun.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: But it does, so you can basically slide one ski next to the other and use special touring boots and bindings that allow your heel to come up so that you can slide your way up the mountain. The ratio, for those wondering, is, what would you say? Six hours up to every six turns down? No, I’m exaggerating, but it’s a lot of work.

Kelly Starrett: Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Tim Ferriss: I would say, in this particular case, since we were all completely buried in unearthly light powder, and when I say buried, friends were over their heads in powder just plowing through — 

Kelly Starrett: Waist deep.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, waist deep, and then — 

Kelly Starrett: When the ski guides say powder of the year.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: Best run of the year.

Tim Ferriss: Mm-hmm.

Kelly Starrett: I’ve never experienced anything like it.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So if you’re going at a reasonably high speed through waist deep powder, it is going to go over your head, in your face, you’re going to get face shots, which is a good thing, in this case. The reason I bring it up is, number one, just to paint a picture for folks with respect to why we’re here in Northern Japan. Why would you fly all the way across any pond, because it’s an island, so you’re going to be flying here over some form of water, to ski? And the answer is, the powder here is unlike anything anyone on this trip has ever seen. It’s unbelievable.

However, on the way up, you’re exerting a lot and you’re exposed to the elements and I was thinking yesterday, I was like, “Wow, I’m 45 and if I had posed the question to my 20-year-old self, do you think, at age 45, that you would ever be able to do this?” I think the answer would’ve been no. Probably. I think the 20-year-old self would’ve had very, very low confidence. And that made me happy to think about. I was like, “Yeah, I’ve got some aches and pains,” and as you know, I have some pain in the right lower back and when you’re on steep inclines, really working all of that hip musculature and the psoas and everything else, it’s like, “Ooh, I’m really feeling it.” But nonetheless, I was able to do it. And we’re having onsen, meaning hot springs and cold baths and the contrast of hot, cold, hot, cold.

Kelly Starrett: And the food is pretty — if you’re going to do this thing day after day, I’m going to just say that getting hot, getting cold, eating rice and meat and then going to bed very early, we’re all sleep-deprived. It’s worked.

Tim Ferriss: It’s worked really well.

Kelly Starrett: Every day I think to myself, “Well, that was it.” And the next morning, I am resurrected and I’m like, “Okay, well, let’s go see how we feel.” And it’s been really just remarkable.

Tim Ferriss: How much time have you spent in Japan overall? And this is going to tie into the broader conversation we’re going to have, folks, just so I’m laying the table a bit, I want to tell you what I’m doing, but how much time have you spent in Japan?

Kelly Starrett: That’s 100 percent zero.

Tim Ferriss: Okay. Let’s call it roughly a week. What are some of the things you’ve observed in terms of Japan in terms of, let’s just say this hotel, which is a reasonably, especially with your particular room that we’re sitting in, very traditional hotel, what have you noticed in the lounge area? What’s different about the lounge area, keeping in mind also that at least half of the people here, maybe 70 percent, 80 percent are probably 70 years old or older?

Kelly Starrett: Yes. Imagine a world around you where you come into a really fancy, we’ll it call mountain lodge, and it’s not fancy. This is a mountain lodge where people are coming on vacation and you take your shoes off at the door and you walk around slippery wood floors in socks. And they’re, everyone, serving staff, wait staff, front staff, it doesn’t matter your age, you’re cruising on slippery floors in socks. So already, it’s remarkable to see the balance required, your foot is in contact to the ground. People are really uncomfortable barefoot. And the first thing you notice when you come in is everyone is barefoot, serving barefoot, acting barefoot, and it changes how you move, how quickly you move. It’s very interesting to just perceive that. And that’s just at the door.

What’s interesting is, it reminds me how much cueing we take from our environment and really, honestly, how quickly I’ve adapted to. I talk about this a lot, but the environment shapes us in subtle and unsubtle ways. And quickly, within a week, I have been shaped again by my environment in a whole 180.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. And if you go to the lounge on the second floor, which is the main hang area for the entire building, which, at full capacity, probably holds at least a few hundred people, I would think, maybe 300 people, and it’s an active area, the vast majority of tables are just like this and if you want to sit down, there is a stack of mats and you get your mat, which is maybe half inch to an inch thick and you sit on the floor. And that is just how it works and nobody complains because they’re accustomed to it. And I remember — 

Kelly Starrett: Everyone can do it. Everyone can do it.

Tim Ferriss: Everyone can do it. And I remember, when I was 15, first in Japan as an exchange student, my first trip out of the US, really, of any type, was a year as an exchange student and I went to a baseball game with a high school friend and all of the toilets were squat toilets. For people who haven’t used these, there’s basically a hole in the ground, it’s clean, it’s porcelain, but you squat down and your ass is basically on your heels and that is how you do your business. And I remember asking him, “How do old people do this? Do they fall over?” And he laughed and he just said, “They’re used to it. They’ve done it their entire lives.” I would imagine, net net, that there are more people in the US who can clean and jerk and snatch and press heavy weight overhead, but that if a facet of functional fitness is sitting on the ground for a half hour without having to fidget nonstop because there’s some issue, biomechanically, that is making you uncomfortable, that Japan wins hands down over the US.

Kelly Starrett: Wins. It should be noted, the body is so simple, use it or lose it. And I think, imagine all the complexity that we have to program and come to this functional fitness class to solve the issues of you not sitting on the ground and pooping on the ground or sleeping on the ground. We’ve created, we have a whole construct to remedy the fact that you’re not doing things that people have been doing a long time. And I’m not pining for our paleolithic selves. I don’t need to eat fermented whale carcass. I don’t need that. I’m stoked that we’ve moved beyond. But it is interesting that, built into the environment here, are some truths around your body.

There’s a great writer named Phillip Beach who wrote a book called Muscles and Meridians, really wonderful book, but he thinks that one of the ways the body tunes itself is actually sitting on the ground. Hips get reset because you’re kneeling, you’re putting fascia into certain positions, you’re maintaining key ranges of motion and all you have to do is sit on the ground. We used to sit, toilet, eat, hang out, celebrate, sleep, we were just interacting on the ground and all of a sudden, that’s gone. It really begets this interesting question of how much more complexity are we having to always add in when there’s a mismatch, or not even mismatch, but we’ve made certain choices about the way our environment shapes us.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. We were chatting earlier today and I just said, “I’ve been to Japan, as an adult, not that many times with groups of non-Japanese, but maybe two, three times, I’ve been.” Yeah, let’s call it three times, maybe four. In any case, the number doesn’t really matter. What matters is, in every single trip, if we walked into a Japanese restaurant, the chorus of the group would say, “Oh, God, I hope there are chairs.”

Kelly Starrett: Wow.

Tim Ferriss: Because in each group, even if these people are overall very, very athletic, I would say 70 percent to 80 percent would not be able to sit on the ground for more than five minutes without getting very uncomfortable.

Kelly Starrett: Fidgety.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: We were — 

Tim Ferriss: Or finding something to lean back against. As we talk about this, and this is where I thought we would be led in the conversation, is thinking about environmental modification or what your shape diet might be.

Kelly Starrett: That’s really good.

Tim Ferriss: Right?

Kelly Starrett: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: It’s like, “Okay, if you do intermittent fasting x number of times per week, maybe you spend one day per week sitting on the ground, right?” You somehow modify your environment or your behavior just to incorporate some of these older, more common shapes.

But the broader question, I suppose, could be, and I know this is something you’ve thought a lot about, how we might think of vital signs. If anybody goes into see their general practitioner for an annual checkup or they go into the ER, first thing they’re going to do is take a couple of measurements. And it’s standardized, for a lot of good reasons. They’re going to check your blood pressure, they’re going to check your heart rate, maybe they’ll check your blood oxygen saturation with pulse ox, there’re a handful of things that they will check. How do you think about vital signs as it pertains to your areas of expertise now? And part of the reason I enjoy hanging out with you and chatting is that you do not have a static repertoire or model for thinking about these things. As we’ve talked over the years, I’ve seen it evolve and change and be informed by new experiences and new observations. How do you think about vital signs? I’ll keep it broad.

Kelly Starrett: Well, if we take the allegory for where we are right now, we’re sitting, getting up and down off the ground without using your hand, just being able to sit crisscross applesauce and lower yourself and stand up without having to put your hands down or knee down, turns out, is a really excellent predictor of morbidity and mortality. You can do this wherever you are.

Tim Ferriss: So no knees, no hands, means getting into a squatting position?

Kelly Starrett: No. Cross-legged.

Tim Ferriss: Okay.

Kelly Starrett: You don’t even have to have full hip flexion, you don’t have to squat. You can be on the outside of your feet. How strong do you need to be able to do this? I don’t know, but children can do it, right? I’ve seen some elderly Japanese people do this pretty effortlessly. They’re not that jacked. They’re not on this the Gayle Hatch squat program.

There’s something that this, with your knee out to the side and crisscross, it’s a real mid-range position, but if you can’t flex forward in this position to shift your weight and push up on that, you’ll discover really quickly, you’re like, “Wow, I’m having a hard time getting up off the ground.” Does that mean that you’re not an elite athlete? No. Does that mean you can’t live in your society? No, but it means that, hey, there’s something going on with your ability to move freely that may be reducing your likelihood of having movement choice or feeling better. And now, what we’ve done is begin to have a greater conversation about, if we can help you restore or you can restore, in your own home, how your hips move and how easily you can move, you might feel better and be less likely to fall and be more independent. The number one reason people end up in nursing homes: can’t get up off ground by themselves.

Tim Ferriss: “I’ve fallen, I can’t get up” type of situation.

Kelly Starrett: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: I’m just thinking, so folks can envision this, you’re sitting cross-legged on the ground, can you get up without using a hand on the ground? You’re not posting. And it gave me a flashback because Coach Christopher Sommer, who used to be the US National gymnastics team — 

Kelly Starrett: Brilliant coach — 

Tim Ferriss: — team coach, had me, at one point, training quite intensely, this is probably five years ago, and one of the key exercises that he used for his athletes to not just work on broader mobility, let’s just say, but specifically on lateral knee strength, and I suppose lateral leg strength, to be more accurate, he would have people do basically this exactly. They would be in a cross-legged position, they’d come down, then they would lift themselves back up, rotate 180 degrees so the legs are in the opposite position, let’s just say, in terms of stacking, lower down, get up and then rinse and repeat, just as repetitions in a controlled fashion. So you’re not just dropping your ass to the ground — 

Kelly Starrett: It’s not for time, movement for time.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. And I hadn’t connected these two because even at home in Austin, it’s not like I sit on the ground cross-llegged that often. I do, but not as much as I have on this trip in Japan, certainly. And how much that helped not just durability, but also performance. I suppose what comes to mind, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts, is that if you aim for a certain degree of durability and you’re getting your ABCs in terms of shape, vitamins, and you’re ensuring that you can do things like you just described, getting off the ground with your legs crossed, that leads into performance. Those things will almost certainly all aid performance in some capacity or make it more sustainable, but not necessarily the other way around. You can be a one-trick pony from a performance standpoint, but it will not necessarily contribute. Let’s just say, in one movement pattern, you’re spectacularly good. I’m interested in archery right now. It’s like, “Okay, you’re really good at archery asymmetrically on one side,” but that does not mean, when you are 70, that you are going to have full healthspan and be able to do the things you want to do. But if you focus on the durability, those should, I would imagine, contribute to a lot of different performance goals.

Kelly Starrett: You’re bringing up a really good point, is that we have come to appreciate, because again, we have really smart friends, we’re in really interesting communities trying to solve some of these problems with the human condition. If you look at our first book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, there’s really two key objective, measurable, repeatable, explainable ideas there and one is range of motion, native range of motion.

This is what every physician, every surgeon, every physical therapist all agrees, you should be able to do. You don’t have to be a gymnast, but there’s some basic ranges that’s endemic to every human. Let’s just get back to that. Second is biomotor output, which is a fancy way of saying wattage, poundage, what we saw was that if we could restore your range of motion and teach towards the highest expression of our formal movements, we saw that you could go faster and win world championships.

Now, all of the behaviors that we got interested in around supporting those two things meant we had to start to care about sleep. We had to start to care about do you get micronutrients and are you getting enough protein? Are you decongesting your body through walking? In service of high performance, we have what we’ve come to call base camp behaviors. It’s shocking how many world class athletes we come in contact with who are really good, let’s say the best in the world, and this is not hyperbole, really extraordinary, mutants, who are very thoughtful but have big holes in their understanding of their process. They can go do that thing, but their sleep isn’t great or they don’t eat enough carbohydrate or whatever, just for the individual person.

But it turns out, I like this analogy of the spinning coin. I think it’s Ido Portal, last time I heard him talk about it, is that the other side of that coin is, these are the behaviors that make a durable person independent of performance. You get to care about being 100 years old and moving the way you want to be.

Juliet has this great idea, she’s like, “Look, you probably do some goalsetting as a human. If you’re a business, you’re like, there’s our first quarter goal, here’s what we’re doing. When have you done that for your life? What does it look like? What do you imagine your life look like to be 70?” People are like, “Financial security.” I’m like, “Okay, but what does it look like in your environment?”

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: Peter Attia had this centenarian games concept, which I think is really elegant, but let me go a step further, because a lot of those things were metrics around, I want to be able to put a kettlebell out in front of me and squat.

Tim Ferriss: Or lift a grandchild at 100, therefore I need to work backwards what should my —

Kelly Starrett: So let’s just take that, and then let’s go ahead and expand on that idea and start to say, “Well, what are the key vital signs that illuminate what behaviors create that reality?”

Tim Ferriss: Okay.

Kelly Starrett: So instead of just saying, “Well, I’m just going to go around and lift children. Excuse me, can I pick up your child?” which can get you there, we can start to say, “Do you have the components, and what are those components?” And more importantly, “How do I fit them into my crazy schedule?” Because that is the thing, isn’t it?

Tim Ferriss: What are some base camp behaviors? What are some important base camp behaviors?

Kelly Starrett: Well, none of them end up being very sexy. Here’s the caveat. It’s hard to commoditize these things, hard to charge for these things. And more importantly, and I’m being facetious, but these are things that are easily done in your home by you. You don’t need a physical therapist or a physician or anyone else to come in and give you these things. That’s, I think, really important. We see that the functional unit of getting anything done in your family and your life and your health is in your house. You.

We could start by took some behavioral ones. We might say sleep is a good one. I think this is good because one of the things that I think is hidden from a lot of people is how tightly coupled or connected our behaviors are. Let’s take sleeping and walking, for example. Does everyone agree you should sleep more?

Tim Ferriss: Sure.

Kelly Starrett: Okay. Sounds good. Good. Carry on. What’s going on? We see that the sleep data is that people don’t sleep and that they need a lot of help, and it’s a big business to help people to sleep more. What we’ve tried to do is say things like, hey, look, seven hours of sleep is very reasonable for survival. And if you’re trying to change your body composition, I want to get skinnier, leaner, I’m trying to grow muscles, I have a growing body, or I’m trying to heal or learn a skill, I need to get eight plus hours of sleep in order to facilitate the maximum adaptation and to really make it easy for my body to do that.

I started really becoming obsessed about this. One is that we started to learn, in high performance, that if you can’t sleep, you can’t perform. And I’m not talking about one bad night of sleep before the big game. That’s not what I’m talking about. But we started to see that when we improved sleep, and more importantly, started tracking sleep and really putting that as something we cared about, we started seeing improvement into performance. And then, it swung around to my work in persistent pain and chronic pain. One of the big holes when people had persistent pain and chronic pain was their sleep. And you might not be able to sleep for a whole host of reasons relative to your persistent pain and chronic pain, but when we were able to improve your sleep density, your brain stopped to be less sensitive about it and you had more desire to move and maybe had less pain sensitivity. So suddenly, you’re like, “Well…” Everyone’s like, “Growing kids need sleep,” but adults, we don’t?

If we take that sleep idea, now, we have a benchmark: seven hours for survival, eight hours for doing something that’s important to me. That means that I need to start thinking about some of the behaviors in the day to make that happen, so we come back into walking. I think it was debunked that 10,000 steps is the magic number. 

Kelly Starrett: Well, the research now, the people who study these things are saying somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 steps is really good for your health. But one of the things we learned from some of our friends in these tier one military groups who really struggle sleep, think of all of the ninjas in the army, for example, that one of the first things that was being prescribed when trying to untangle this Gordian knot was they would increase step count of the people walking or people that they were working with, so pushing to 10,000, pushing to 12,000, pushing to 15,000 steps. Those people were exercising, but they weren’t getting enough non-exercise activity. Suddenly, here we have this society who’s cued not to walk where my shape, my work, where I park, the whole thing is that I just maybe get 2,000 or 3,000 steps a day. Your iPhone actually has a step counter and you probably have your phone with you, open up your Health and it’ll tell you what your trends is. It’s just in the background watching how much you’re walking. You’re welcome.

You have a step counter, probably, you’re carrying with you, you didn’t know you had. But one of the things we know is that if we can get people to improve their step count, we also start to see that they accumulate enough sleep stress where sleep pressure is the technical term, where then they want to fall asleep. Again, there are experts here on sleep. I’m not trying to be — I’m just saying we need to change how you’re thinking about your movement in the day so that you can actually fall asleep.

It turns out, when you get a good night’s sleep, you wake up and what happens, you feel a little more like moving and those behaviors suddenly become tightly coupled or tightly linked. And I don’t think, sometimes, we can appreciate how all of these seemingly cliche, silly, nontechnical term things can really make a big change and if we start to put those in play, if you just committed to walking more every day, just say, minimum threshold, let’s say 8,000 steps. I just want you to get 8,000, whatever that means, that means you need to get 10-minute walks after every meal, however you’re going to do it, just get more steps than you’re doing, and you start doing that, run that for a week and let me know what happens with your skin and how your consciousness and do you need that 4:00 o’clock coffee bump? It’s shocking when we start to help people do these base camp behaviors. Again, why do I care about this? Because I want you to win a world championship. Also, I want you to be a hundred years old and enjoy it.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. The sleep conundrum, right, for me, which has also been a Gordian knot, but it turns out that a lot of the, for me, biggest levers are so fucking simple. It’s like I love to solve complex problems because I think I have some just predisposition to being good at it. I tend to insert complexity sometimes where it’s not needed and people — 

Kelly Starrett: I’m raising my hand, I’m raising my hand. I totally agree. It’s much cooler to be on the Secret Squirrel sleep program.

Tim Ferriss: Program. Yeah. If you can problem-solve, you get rewarded and you get positive reinforcement, so you look for problems to solve. But sometimes the problem is actually just tic-tac toe, it’s not three-dimensional chess, and it’s like, on this trip, has anyone on this trip had trouble falling asleep doing — 

Kelly Starrett: Has anyone stayed at past 9:30?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. No, no. It’s like, yeah, just go climb a mountain for five hours a day and you will fall asleep. Now it doesn’t need to be that extreme though. At home, I noticed, for instance, in Austin, I was having trouble sleeping for a week or so and I was like, “You know what? I’m trying all the supplements, I’m trying all the cues, I’m doing all the things, and it’s like it seems like 17 disparate elements. Why don’t I just disallow myself from sitting down and working at a computer? I will only use my laptop if I’m on a treadmill desk.” And got a relatively cheap treadmill desk, nothing fancy, pretty easy to stow away. And, lo and behold, it’s like, if you’re standing and walking for almost every minute that you are on your laptop, you fall asleep really easily.

Kelly Starrett: Well, I became hyper-obsessed with walking because it’s elite. No, because one of the things we found was not only did it improve the sleep of the people we were working with, but we also found that we had healthier tissue quality. Everyone, we’re going back to anatomy. We’re going back to your early physiology in high school. You have a circulatory system and you have this lymphatic system. If you ever had a blister, that’s lymph. Your lymphatic system is the sewage system of your body. And it doesn’t just there when you have injuries and something swells, and by the way, your joints are drained by the deep lymphatic system, but you can think of them as highways that carry the normal sewage and waste products of your body. The cells turning over, proteins breaking down, things that are too big to go through your bloodstream go through your lymphatic system.

Those lymphatic vessels are buried into your musculature and they’re one-way valves and it’s a passive system. How do you move your sewage through the bottom, through your body? It turns out it’s muscle contraction. You’re like, “That’s a really clever system.” It’s almost like, when we came to be, someone’s like, “You know what? These people move a lot. Let’s just put the sewage system in the moving system.” And so, suddenly, if you’re doing the walking, you’re decongesting and you’re bringing the garbage out and bringing the groceries in. And, if you’ve seen a drain, this is from one of our friends, Perry Nickelston, if you’ve seen a drain in a bathtub, it doesn’t drain, it gets backed up and it’s gross, right?

That’s your body if you don’t move. You can elevate. Sure, that feels good. You can compress, you can get into the compression boots, you can do all the lymphatic massage you can, or, wait for it, you can walk around a little bit more. One of the things we found was that our athletes were having better recovery scores because they were able to move the serious waste products of exercise. We’re doing a lot of adaptational stress when we train, and we found that they had healthier tissue. And, more importantly, when tissues were injured, because, remember, sometimes I get that lens, right, I see everyone’s broken parts and bits through sport, how do we manage a swollen ankle? Well, we can compress it. We can elevate it and we can move it.

Tim Ferriss: Sorry. I’m just smirking because the number of times people have been like, “Kelly, Dr. Kelly, fix me,” on this trip. I’m like, “Oh, man, didn’t know Kelly was coming on a work trip.” Anyway — 

Kelly Starrett: It’s all I think about and I’m going to need you to dig me out of that snow pit. Suddenly, if we want to say, “Hey, I want to have joints that are normal,” and, again, normal isn’t good or bad, but just typical, trying not to get that language, then decongestion is a way that you can actually adapt to exercise more effectively. If you are smashing yourself on the Peloton, because that’s what your life demands, you are such a crazy working parent, busy business owner, you’re getting it in, high-five yourself, but then you figure it out, “Well, wait a minute, maybe I can actually adapt to the stress a little bit more by walking, perching,” which is leaning up against a stool, valid, working, fidget, move, stand. You don’t have to stand like a robot. Sit a little bit, stand a little bit, fidget.

But one of the things we know is that, if you’re smashing yourself and then not continuing to move, you’re going to see congestion. If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, which I did, and I got off the airplane in Japan and I was like, “Look, I have cankles. This is not a good look. I have gigantic cankles.” And that canklage is you not contracting your calf to move the congestion. Your tissues are being congested because you’ve been inactive so long, and then you’re like, “Oh, is that the source of DVTs?” Yes, it is. Right?

Tim Ferriss: Deep vein thrombosis.

Kelly Starrett: Yes. Suddenly you’re like, “Oh, for some population we can see that this could be really dangerous.” If you’ve ever been in the hospital, they’re like, “Put on these boots. They squeeze your calves.” And then, oh, yeah, ankle pumps, you’ve got to do all the ankle pumps. Everyone who has ever had any surgery or injuries, ankle pumps, ankle pumps, ankle pumps. Well, what is that about? It’s about pumping out the garbage. Now we have another reason to move around a little bit more. And, more importantly, if you’re a busy person, I can tell you, “Hey, you can work this intense training,” because we’re training like maniacs. I think the training that people are doing today is gnarlier. More people are doing harder training than they were 10 years ago, more than they were 20 years ago. And we may not have set up our lives or have the capacity in our lives to manage those training stressors as effective as we could. If you can just keep the engine idling a little bit, standing desk, fidgeting, perching, moving around a little more movement choice, you will adapt and have healthier tissues that can take more load more often.

Tim Ferriss: What are some more, I don’t want to say pass/fail tests, but experiments that people can do with vital signs. We talked about one, which is, cross-legged on the floor, can you get up? And can you get down for, that matter, right, into that position?

Kelly Starrett: Everyone can get down, usually, to the ground one time, one time.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah, one time. Right. That’s one. What are some others?

Kelly Starrett: Here’s one that I think we’re really interested in, and it’s balance. We like to talk about balance because any young person, I’m like, “Here’s what you’re going to do on Tuesday. You’re going to go to a balance class. You’re not going to lift weights, you’re not going to do a sport, you’re going to go to a balance class.” You’re like, “The hell I’m going to a balance class. That’s for old people,” right? One of the things that we have come to appreciate even more is that, this balance system, it’s crucial to humans moving.

Tim Ferriss: Can I pause for a second? We learned this yesterday. The scariest part, for me, of the entire program, which was pretty fucking gnarly, when we got up there — 

Kelly Starrett: Hey, your words, not mine.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, but the scariest part, for me, was there were multiple stream/river crossings where there was a pirate plank that’s about — 

Kelly Starrett: That’s generous.

Tim Ferriss: — yeah, generous. 12 inches across, maybe 10 inches, covered in snow and ice and — 

Kelly Starrett: Into a snow bank that you could climb up.

Tim Ferriss: Right, exactly. And you have to get across that in your ski boots without falling several feet into the freezing cold water.

Kelly Starrett: Put on these sensory deprivation coffins, [inaudible].

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, [inaudible]. And I realized, “Wow, I really have fear around my lateral balance,” even though, oddly enough, maybe you can tell me why this is the case, I’m much more comfortable on a slack line than I am on, say, a balance beam. I have a lot of trouble with balance beam, and I’ve torn a lot of stuff in my lower legs and ankles, but I have thought quite a bit around where this telescopes to longitudinally if I don’t deal with it. I’m like, “Okay, this is already fear-inducing.”

Kelly Starrett: Juliet’s mother is a good example, who is so active, and you’ve been on the Grand Canyon with Juliet’s father, he’s very active. But, about 10 or 15 years ago, Juliet’s mom just said, “I’m not riding a bike anymore. I don’t feel safe.” And guess what? I trust her that she suddenly has said, “This is outside my scope of experience where I feel like I can recover.” That’s a balance test. We can either do what we’ve always done is wait until someone falls and then be like, “Oh, we should work on your balance,” which works. We’re going to now go to physical therapy and do balance training. We started to really focus on, performance side, bear with me everyone, this intrinsic feeling of your foot pressure during these complex movements, kettlebell swings, air squats, back squat, power, whatever.

We really realized that, if we could get people feeling what was going on in their feet, we corrected a whole bunch of downstream movement, perturbation things that we would used to have a whole bunch of corrections for, right? Oh, the bar path is going here, or this is happening, or now you need to shove your knee out. But, if I just said, “Hey, here’s where your ball of your foot is and here’s your heel, and keep your ankle in the middle best you can, just in a organized foot. Let’s see if we can challenge that with all the things we’re already doing, exercise.”

And it means that it translates to real-world balance. I’m going to stand on this beam. I’m want to pick up standup paddling. I need to be better on my feet. And, really, the interesting question then comes to when and where do you do this, right, because it turns out that we saw that balance was a performance hack. And, in fact, my favorite thing in balance training I discovered in your garage. And one of the things I discovered there was this really cool thing called a SlackBlock, and it was a portable slack line. And, immediately, I was like, “Tim is a genius. He’s figured this thing out where I don’t have to have a slack line, but I can play with my balance. I can challenge my balance in my kitchen.”

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it’s the size of a large brick.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah, it looks like a brick.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, but it’s squishy.

Kelly Starrett: And I was just like, “Oh, Tim Ferriss, I’m bummed out that I didn’t know about this and you’ve brought this thing into my life.” Because what I found out was I could give those to my athletes like candy and be like, “When you’re making coffee, stand on this.” When I’m on Zoom calls, I am working my foot strength and balance. Here’s another vital sign piece, where you can say, “Hey, maybe I need to work on this. Maybe I need to brush my teeth with my eyes closed or stand on one leg.” You should be able to stand on one foot easily for 20 seconds without putting your foot down. And, if there’s a difference left to right, maybe because you got injured on that side or you do a certain thing on that side, that’s okay.

Tim Ferriss: You know where you can figure this out very quickly, so this year — 

Kelly Starrett: Ski boot slack line.

Tim Ferriss: Yes. Ski boot slack line, Franken-slack. Skiing, so this year, I’ve skied, and it’s taken some planning and a lot of commitment and moving things around, but to really say, “Okay, I want to do a really proper ski season for the first time in my life,” and that was this year. It has been. It’s still going. And, when you start trying to move around on skis, not just going downhill, but skating, say, on flat ground or even uphill, holy cow, do you realize what asymmetries you may have or turning one direction versus the other and what you end up doing with your upper body, it’s been an incredible diagnostic tool for me. And I’m not saying everyone should use skiing this way, because I realize skiing is not the cheapest sport to deal with, but foot pressure has real ramifications in skiing — 

Kelly Starrett: Real ramifications for not falling down.

Tim Ferriss: — and boot pressure, right? Yeah. It’s like, if you’re leaning back with your weight on your heels versus weight on the toes versus weight on the midfoot versus weight on the inside of the midfoot, say, for edging, it’s been really, really eye-opening for me. And, while trying to skate, which for people who are trying to envision this, just imagine that you’re ice skating, but you have skis on, right, which means it’s a lot easier to trip over yourself and it’s a lot easier to fall over an outside edge. You just have different lever arms and so on.

Kelly Starrett: And no ankle range of motion.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, and no ankle range of motion. I was like, “Wow, I’m really, really asymmetrically compromised.”

Kelly Starrett: And that’s okay that we have one side that’s more dominant, professional skateboarder, you drive a car with your right foot. It doesn’t matter what the mechanism is, you tore your ACL in high school, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can become conscious of it and then think, “Well, what are the things that are in my control?” And so you turned skating into a diagnostic tool, into a vital sign, and as soon as you’re aware, then you can start to connect the dots all these other places.

Tim Ferriss: Can I tell you what ended up happening? What ended up happening, which I was only able to spot with video review, which is not that hard, folks. It’s like everybody has a video recorder called a phone now. I had someone record me from downhill and we looked at it together and what came of it was very simple. It was like, “Oh, you’re really winging one of your poles up when you take this weaker turn, and it’s like try to keep the pole down,” meaning keep the basket, the bottom of the pole, dragging on the ground. And, as soon as I did that, it was like, “Oh, that’s a lot easier.” And now I can actually work on that weak side without as much fear involved. For this type of vital sign, 20 seconds on each foot, is that the — 

Kelly Starrett: It’s called the SOLEC.

Tim Ferriss: That’s the 120 over 80?

Kelly Starrett: Yeah, the SOLEC. It’s standing, one leg, eyes closed, SOLEC.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, the eyes closed, that adds something.

Kelly Starrett: That adds something. And what we find is that, when people are over-reliant on their vision and not their intrinsic other, the vestibular system, other input systems, then, when you start to lose that, this is why falling in the evening is a big problem for people in the night.

Tim Ferriss: They’re overdependent on the fixation point with vision.

Kelly Starrett: It turns out, wait for it, improving your ankle range of motion means you have better reaction when you get outside of your base of support and, suddenly, you’re like, “Oh, that foot strength and ankle range of motion means that I can right myself more quickly.” The brain is very clear about, “You can do this. You can’t do this. You have access to this position. I can open up and unlock the next level for you.” If you don’t, your movement solutions start to be diminished and pruned in your brain. When we start to give people inputs and improve their inputs, the brain starts to say, “Oh, when you’re falling or you’re outside of this base of support, we can start to give you movement solutions and movement options to this perturbation in the system.”

Tim Ferriss: I want you to correct me if I’m wrong, and also I’ll also name the auditory pink elephant in the room, so we’ve decided to take today as a rest day prior to extremely long international travel. What that means is we are one of the few people in our rooms while the wonderful house-cleaning crew is going to town. If you hear anything, it’s not ghosts, no poltergeist. It’s just cleaning going on. There’s a lot of cleaning that happens in Japan. It is immaculate.

Kelly Starrett: It is immaculate.

Tim Ferriss: Chances are the public bathroom at the bus stop, not kidding, is cleaner than your bathroom at home, very, very, high probability.

Kelly Starrett: 100 percent. In fact, there’s been several times where you’re like, “Kelly, you need to come check out this washroom.”

Tim Ferriss: Oh, yeah, I’ve said it multiple times. I’m like, “Kelly, it’s your first time here. Go to this public bathroom. Tell me…”

Kelly Starrett: Look, I trust you on so many levels, you haven’t been wrong, this bathroom is amazing.

Tim Ferriss: Just mentioning that. But what I was going to say is, and I haven’t looked at the literature for this, but just, from observation, I would say your body will not allow you to operate right up to the edge of your established comfort zone, whether that’s vestibular and on the balance side or on, say, the flexibility/strength side.

And we have a friend on this trip, I’m not going to mention him by name because I don’t want to incriminate him, but he is extremely athletic, taller and lankier, I’ll just say that, and very successful former competitive athlete, and incredibly inflexible, and it’s become more and more of a problem as he has gotten older. And the recommendation that he typically gets, and this is not to paint with too broad a brush because I know there are many different types of yoga, but the recommendation that he gets most is, “You need to stretch more.” And I did one, and I’m going to get ridiculed by some people for this, but I’ll tell you before you ridicule it, try it, which is going to a very, very, very technical, hardass Pilates instructor for — 

Kelly Starrett: Oh, great advice.

Tim Ferriss: — personal instruction, I find it just incredibly impactful.

Kelly Starrett: Joseph Pilates was not messing about.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah. He was not messing around. And so I took this friend to that class, and what we both noticed, and this is not a miracle, I think it’s just the way that things work, is, as he became more comfortable at his end range of motion and as he started to gain strength in that end range of motion, voila, suddenly the body’s like, “Okay, now I’m not afraid of you breaking us, therefore I will allow you an additional, say, two inches of hang in the yoga class.” But it came from strengthening at the end ranges of movement, not just stretching more passively, right? And so I have to imagine balance works that way too.

Kelly Starrett: Very much. The brain is looking for inputs to perceive the world as safe or unsafe. That’s a really simple way of looking at it. The first thing we can think about as where we want is, we talked about sleep, we want to add in these complex solutions. The first order of business is to spend time in the positions you’re trying to improve and not do an end range thing. Spend time in the end range. If you’re sitting on the ground and it’s uncomfortable, the first thing we should do is start to get you to start sitting on the ground more, and it’s that simple. Tonight, just get off the couch. We love TV in our house. We love it. We think it’s so clever. It’s a way that we chill in the evening. We sit on the floor in front of the couch.

Tim Ferriss: The English. As many times as I’ve recommended you go check out a Japanese bathroom, you’ve recommended that I watch The English. I’ve not seen it, folks. However, Emily Blunt’s in it, so automatic.

Kelly Starrett: It’s excellent.

Tim Ferriss: Recommend.

Kelly Starrett: I’m not being paid by Emily Blunt to say this. She should. Everyone is excellent. If you just sit on the floor, you’re going to take some of your tissues to end range, and your long sitting is just sitting out with your legs in front of you. Do you remember the sit and reach test in middle school?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah, that’s long sitting. We’re actually going to train for the test, but we’re going to train by the test just by making sure that you’re exposed there. One of my, I think you know who he is, Gray Cook, FMS, has this old saying I’m sure he cribbed from [inaudible], “If you can’t breathe in a position, you don’t own that position.” The first order of business is getting you to the end range shape, best of your ability today, because, remember, your range of motion and capacity to move is a moving target. Just run a marathon, jump on an airplane, have a newborn, and then let’s just touch test your hamstring range of motion. It’s going to be awful.

And so what we want to do is we want to more tightly conjoin our day-to-day processes with understanding who we are. You don’t have to go skate on your skis every day, but sitting on the ground every day can be like, “Whoa, this side-sitting is tough today. I’ll just do it here and I’ll spend enough time here, have to take some breaths here.” 

When we come back to balance, one of the easiest things to do is figure out ways where we can begin to expose it in a native way that you don’t have to do another thing. Everyone who’s listening to this, you have some go-getters, my friends, listen, they are killing their lives, but I’m like, “Here’s a list of 10 more things to add on.” They’re like, “Thank you, no thank you.”

For example, we have this friend named Chris Hinshaw who’s a great coach, and he discovered this thing called putting your shoes on. And he wanted to create a test that he could beat his kids at, so he called it the old man test. And all you have to do is stand on one leg, use your hands, bend over, pick up your sock without putting your other foot down, put on your sock on one leg, and then put on your shoe, all standing on one leg. That’s all you have to do.

Tim Ferriss: It’s like a — 

Kelly Starrett: Drinking game.

Tim Ferriss: — single leg deadlift, old man shoe-on game.

Kelly Starrett: If you want to solve it that way, you can. I don’t really care how you want to solve it. You want to come into a pistol, you want to hinge, you want to do some kind of weird side Cossack squat, it doesn’t matter.

Tim Ferriss: Doesn’t matter.

Kelly Starrett: But stand on one leg, put your sock on, and then reach down with your hand, pick up your shoe, and put your shoe on. And you can cross your legs to do it, you can put your knee to your chest, but you’ll be shocked. And really what’s amazing there is, instead of just static balance, you’re being moving and having to control it, and you’re going to make mistakes. And, some days, guess what, you’re going to be terrible at it because you’re burnt, you’re over-trained, you’re fried, you’re stressed.

Tim Ferriss: With balance specifically, I’ve always wondered this, what is the minimum effective dose for improving balance, right? Because testing balance is one thing, improving it may be another. I don’t know enough about it, right? And there’s a cognitive — well, let me rephrase that. There’s a neural component. There’s a vestibular component. If the hardware in your inner ear and so on is damaged, then you’re probably going to be compromised.

Kelly Starrett: Or just age, stiff.

Tim Ferriss: Or just age, then there are musculo-coordination pieces.

Kelly Starrett: Lot of components to this space.

Tim Ferriss: There are lots. There’s a lot. If I just want to go in and like, “I want bigger lats,” then I know how to do that.

Kelly Starrett: So say we all.

Tim Ferriss: I know how to do that, right? You go in and there are 1,000,001 ways to do it, but let’s just take a very, very simple example. If you wanted to do one set to failure, it’s like, “Okay, let me try to get,” and I’m not saying this is perfect,” but 100 seconds under tension to failure.” Okay, great. And you do that, you wait a week, chances are your lats are going to get bigger, especially if you’re a sedentary and you just don’t have a lot of lifting experience. What does that look like for improving balance? And I guess it depends on your weaknesses, which link in that chain is weakest, but I wouldn’t even know how to dissect that necessarily.

Kelly Starrett: Maybe we don’t. Maybe we could start by saying, “Is there any time in your day-to-day life, regularly, where you’re challenging your balance?” You’re like, “I work in a slack line factory.” You’re probably set. Come back to the mini trampoline. Oh, wow, that maybe has some real validity to it, just bouncing, and suddenly you can start to understand — 

Tim Ferriss: Mini trampoline? You mean the one-person trampoline?

Kelly Starrett: Yeah. All of a sudden, you’re like, “Okay, how do I begin to challenge this vestibular system, where I am in space? What does that look like?” Well, for most of us, for a middle-aged dad, I can stand on one leg and put on my socks and work that, right? What we found is that, if we put in some of this more balance play, like that slack device, the balance play was enough if we worked it into the kitchen. And what we saw was that we had athletes who had stronger feet and better reaction times, hard to quantify it.

How much is the right amount of dose is the second question. The first question is how do we get you started on the dose, right? And I think, if you’re out on one ski, you’re mountain biking, you’re walking on unstable surfaces, you’re probably getting a lot of it. But I think what ends up happening, for a lot of us, is that we don’t get a lot of it, and we think we’re experts at it until we see the internet and we watch ourselves slip on icy surfaces.

Tim Ferriss: Until we try to do parkour, and then you’re like, “Oh, actually…”

Kelly Starrett: Wait a minute.

Tim Ferriss: Wait a minute here.

Kelly Starrett: Or you go to a yoga class. Go to a yoga class and look at how much programming is done on a single leg, and I’ll tell you how effective your programming is. If you think you’ve got the best Secret Squirrel program on the planet, great, let’s go apply that. We’re going to jump in a Pilates class. We’re going to jump in a yoga class.

Tim Ferriss: Did you say Secret Squirrel?

Kelly Starrett: Secret Squirrel.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, squirrel. I wanted to bring up some notes of other vital signs, because I think we’ve covered getting up off the floor.

Kelly Starrett: We’re starting to get into some physical vital signs.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, physical vital signs. I’m going to give you a cue and you can tell me where we go with this, shoulder airport scanner. That’s right.

Kelly Starrett: The first time I became — 

Tim Ferriss: A SAS, shoulder airport scanner.

Kelly Starrett: The first time I became aware of this, a very clever coach named Mike Boyle was talking me. He’s a G. He’s been holding the door open for a lot of us for a long time. And he said, “Oh, do I think the average working adult should Olympic lift? Just watch them put their arms up over their head in the airport scanner, and you can answer that question.” Thank you, Coach Mike Boyle. And I suddenly was like, “Oh, my God.” When you are in the airport scanner and you have to put your arms up over your head, it’s shocking to see how people solve that little thing. We see crazy banana backs and feet are turned out and bellies out and elbows flared and it looks ugly, and that’s a pretty mid-range position. What the airport scanner test is, really, how well can you put your arms over your head?

Tim Ferriss: Do you have to tuck your chin like you’re in the — 

Kelly Starrett: You don’t have to do anything to solve —

Tim Ferriss: — the torture tower, getting put in a vice to get your hands behind your head?

Kelly Starrett: And one of the things that I’ll have you know is that, if you go to yoga class, what is the main of every yoga class? Downward dog, rest and downward dog. We were talking about with our mutual friend — 

Tim Ferriss: Whose downward dog looks more like a plank — 

Kelly Starrett: Let me go — 

Tim Ferriss: — and he’s like, “This is not restful.”

Kelly Starrett: Downward dog is two things, putting your arms over your head, that’s it, and being in a long sit position, sitting with your legs out in front of you. It’s almost like the yogis were looking around and they’re like, “We don’t have any equipment, but there’s two positions that we’ve found to be very valuable for people, having the leg out in front of you, sitting to 90 degrees,” which is an actual vital sign or a test for physical therapists,” and putting your arms over your head.” And, if you go to a yoga class, you’ll be like, “Why are we spending so much time with my arms over my head?”

And it turns out not only do we have a healthier shoulder, but we start to untangle seemingly complex problems around neck pain, because your neck, your shoulder, and your back are a trifecta. They’re a system. And, if one aspect of the system isn’t working or less effective or doesn’t have access to its range for whatever reasons, and one of the things that happens as being modern people is that we just tend to be a little stiffer in the upper back. You may not actually put your arms over your head ever until you’re asked to. Even putting your shirt on, you figure out all these ways to bend your arms and not put your arms through over your head like a little kid putting their arms up. You may not be hanging from a pull-up bar.

If we come back to Ido Portal, he prescribed hanging, simple hanging, for people to improve their shoulder. What elegant programming. If you’re in an old gymnastics room, you’re like, “Why are these stall bars here? There are stall bars everywhere.” Hanging is a thing that really worked and came out of all of our movement traditions. And, if it wasn’t hanging, it was downward dog-like things. The gymnast friends I have are obsessed with walking on their hands. You are obsessed. You like to be upside down, walking on your hands, balancing on your hands.

What we found was this was a way of getting people to move their upper backs and take a breath there. it was restoring this full range of shoulder flexion. And, again, you don’t even have to be perfect. You just have to have more than you had yesterday. And it’s a really important way to improve the functionality of the neck-body system by honoring and looking at the relationship between the shoulders and the body, and it’s really simple. We have you lay down on your stomach, grab a broom, put your arms over your head, withholding the broom, so the broom’s out like you’re presenting the broom, light contact with your head, just light contact. Just don’t cheat.

Tim Ferriss: It’s like you’re Superman, but you’re flying with a boom in your hands.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. And all you need to do is lift that broom up off the ground, keeping your arms parallel. And guess what? It’s shocking when you can’t do that. And that’s really generous because we’re allowing you to use your upper back and we’re allowing you use your shoulder. And I don’t care if you’re a physical therapist and you’re, I don’t know, documenting, again, vital signs. This is mid-range. And what we find is, if you’re not exposed to that on the regular, it can be shocking when you’re — and then let’s go into Amazon and look at all the marketplace of all the thoracic wheels and thoracic mobility and let’s beat the crap out of your upper back with a lacrosse ball and all of the things.

Tim Ferriss: You’re partially to blame for that.

Kelly Starrett: I own that. You’re not wrong.

Tim Ferriss: It’s like when I complain, I’m like, “Living in Austin’s always all these Bitcoin, CrossFit, ayahuasca bastards. I’m so sick of it,” and people are like, “You made that happen.” I’m like, “No. No, no, no. I can’t take full credit for that.”

Kelly Starrett: I own that.

Tim Ferriss: “I’ll take partial credit.”

Kelly Starrett: Look. it’s very valid that what I saw was that you were having a hard time cleaning and jerking and walking on your hands or snatching, and what we saw was that we improve people’s thoracic spines and overhead. If you have shoulder pain, and you know someone in your family has shoulder pain, one of the things that you can do is to begin to just return your body to what its native ranges are, so I — 

Kelly Starrett: — to what its native ranges are, so I can’t say definitively that your shoulder pain will go away if you restore your ability to put your arms over your head, but there’s a whole lot of things that get better. And it may be that your brain starts to think differently about, or perceive what’s going on, when it has more movement choice, when you’re able to recruit more musculature, when your connective tissue is working better, et cetera, et cetera.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: And so, again, we aren’t saying you have to do this, but we’ve come to understand that if you’re going to swim — that’s a great activity we should do when we’re older; low weightbearing, it’s super cool — but if you can’t put your arms over your head, that’s going to sort of curtail your swimming.

Tim Ferriss: Not only will it curtail your swimming, but if you don’t have that range of motion and you swim regardless, you can also create all sorts of orthopedic issues.

Kelly Starrett: Well, it’s a common workaround, so your body’s going to solve this problem for you no matter what.

Tim Ferriss: A couple things come to mind as I’m listening to this. The first is a question, which we’ll come back to, which is — for people who get face down with the broom handle and they’re like, “My hands are glued to the floor,” or maybe they can’t even get their arms over their head, what are some building blocks, and maybe some corrective exercises? And my thought here — because I remember when I was working with Jerzy Gregorek, an amazing coach who’s in northern California, has several world records in Olympic weightlifting — and I’ve had one shoulder reconstructed and also, at that point, had not prioritized straight-arm overhead positions, so the — 

Kelly Starrett: Long lever, that’s right.

Tim Ferriss: Right, so the idea of doing, say, an Olympic snatch was just out of the question. I would’ve killed myself or really required surgery. And getting stronger in the mid-back and at those end ranges — which would be, I suppose, exemplified in the example you gave of someone laying on their stomach with the arms overhead, holding the broom handle, and then lifting it off the ground — that is strengthening those last few degrees. What I found is, once I strengthened those last few degrees for me — whatever those last few degrees were — my body’s like, “Oh, okay. We’re not going to break automatically; we’re going to give you a few more degrees.”

Kelly Starrett: Maybe it’s not even strengthening, it’s just accessing and using.

Tim Ferriss: Okay, that’s interesting.

Kelly Starrett: We put that software back into play. So, I’ll answer your question. When we’re working with people who have pain or incomplete range of motion or after surgery, we regress a lot of movements. And here’s a spoiler for everyone: any rehab program, corrective exercise program, anything you’re seeing on the web comes down to two things. It’s a version of these two things. You’re going to either go slower — that’s called tempo. That’s what we do for people when we want them to feel time under tension; we just slow down. Gives your brain a chance to understand where you are. You can signal that this is a safe position, we can move slowly. We just move slower. Or, we stop. Those are called isometrics. So putting your arm over your head and taking a breath there is a fancy way of doing an isometric, which means you’re creating tension without moving the joint or moving the tissue.

Tim Ferriss: Bruce Lee style.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah. And so notice that what we’re testing you here is your ability to have some end-range isometric control, so very fancy. All you need to figure out is, “Can I can take a breath?” Actually, five breaths, because I’m interested in you being able to breathe in that position and hold that position. Because you can do a one rep max breath hold, lift it up, but actually, you’re a human being. I need you to be able to breathe there. So what we can come back to is, well, what’s the first thing I need to do? Go get a lat pull down machine for my living room? Probably not. Even put a pull-up bar in my living room? No, probably not. Let’s get you — 

Tim Ferriss: A Japanese table and a tree branch.

Kelly Starrett: [inaudible] Let’s get you to grab your sink and walk your body back into an L, so you’re hinged over, and just start to put your hands, again, parallel, close to each other, and just start taking some breaths there. And you could do that wall hanging. Put your hands on the wall. “I don’t have a sink.” Okay, you live in a sinkless society. So if you put your hands up on the wall, walk down, walk back until you feel you can’t go anymore, then just take five breaths there. The first thing that you’re doing is exposing yourself to the positions you want to improve. If we are trying to teach a complex skill, we don’t just lecture about the skill. The thing we do is say, “Let’s start the skill. Let’s make the skill slower so you can feel what’s going on, but we need to start to expose you to the thing.”

If we’re going to talk about skate skiing, that’s super cool, but let’s go skate ski a little bit and see what happens first. And could we then say, “Well, I wonder if your lats are tight,” or, “It might be useful to see if we can get some sneaky ways into mobilizing specific aspects of the movement system, get your thoracic spine to move more effectively,” and this is why we actually have breathing as one of the practices here, because if you start to tap into this idea of breath, you can use your lungs to get motion in your upper back. That’s so weird, I do that a lot.

Tim Ferriss: When you showed this to me I thought you had almost killed yourself, because we were in a sauna together because we were doing a lot of hot/cold, and you took a huge breath and then bent down over your quadzillas — for those people who don’t know, his quads are the size of my torso — and hugged your own legs and popped your thoracic.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And I was like, “Holy shit, what did you just do there?”

Kelly Starrett: Yeah, I call it the Tower of London.

Tim Ferriss: The Tower of London.

Kelly Starrett: When Juliet and I were traveling, we saw that in the Tower of London there was a torture device where you were kneeling in basically that position, you put your chest on your legs, and then someone would screw a vice over your back, basically like a wishbone, and compress your back until you couldn’t breathe anymore. And I was like, “That’s sad.”

Tim Ferriss: Sweet Christmas.

Kelly Starrett: But I was like, “That’s a clever way to get into the upper back. I’m going to try that.” So I went home — inspiration strikes all over the place; always be mobilizing — and I discovered that that was a really wonderful way to help get this global flexion of my back. Instead of having my neck just hinging down, I wanted to get more total rounding of the back.

And you started a little internet fire with Coach Sommer when he was like, “Jefferson curls are necessary.” And everyone was like, “You can’t round your back, you’ll die.” Okay, maybe, but we do seem to round our backs a lot, and it may be something you want to do. And that Jefferson curl turns out to be a really simple isometric that anyone can do. If you go to a yoga class, the amount of bending over you’re going to do, rounding, and then come back to flat, show me your control, and then round again, then let’s see if you can extend your back. Upward dog, downward dog, that’s going from extension to flexion.

So we can again come back out of that and say, “Well, in your exercise program that you’re doing for fitness — and really it’s not for fitness; it’s usually for body composition, let’s be honest — are you touching these shapes that your body should do?” And if they’re not, you’re going to have to come up with a solution for putting them back into your diet.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. The number of times in any yoga class that there is the slow return to standing, vertebra by vertebra. Long before Thomas Jefferson ever came up with Jefferson curls.

Kelly Starrett: Long before, there was a little kid in India who was like, “This really makes people better.”

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I want to give a mention to something that was introduced to me by Bas Rutten, famous fighter — 

Kelly Starrett: Oh, so great.

Tim Ferriss: — which is the O2 trainer, which is basically a resistance device that allows you to have progressive resistance by breathing through a mouthpiece with different types of breathing exercises. And I don’t want to speak for Bas, but I think it’s fair to say — and I’ve continued to use this device and been super impressed by it — and using respiratory resistance has a number of sets of clinical data to support that it reduces lower back pain. And I was like, “That’s interesting.” Found these studies on PubMed, and I was like, “That’s very interesting. Let me take a look at this.”

And what Bas — these are all tying together — Bas would indicate sort of frontal breathing, where there’s a particular exercise for — let’s just call it frontal breathing, where you feel what you would normally feel, which is like, if you’re meditating and focusing on your breath, chances are it’s your chest or your abdomen. But then he would round over and focus on back breathing, and he said to me, “Be really careful with this.” He said, “Do not do three repetitions off the bat.” He was like, “Do 15 repetitions, 15 breaths.” It doesn’t sound like very much, and he’s like, “And you will feel like you’ve done a thousand lat pull downs the next day. Your back will be incredibly sore.” And I thought to myself, “That’s strange.”

Kelly Starrett: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: “That doesn’t make any sense.” And then I did it, and lo and behold, incredibly sore in the back, but becoming more familiar with the anatomy of breathing, outside of the most obvious that has been highlighted for us, which is the abdominal or chest breathing. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful for all sorts of things.

Kelly Starrett: Pavel used to talk about “breathing behind the shield.” So if you’re an Oreo cookie, you should breathe into the cream filling when you’re under load. We want you to have as much movement choice and options — if you’re carrying something or holding something, where are you going to pick up that breathing? If you’re compressed or you’re — it can’t just be diaphragmatic breathing. It can’t just be. And if you’re running away from bears, can you breathe up in your neck? I sure hope so. So, one of the things that I went back and found the original notes from the original course we did back in 2008, and I have a section on breathing mechanics there, and I didn’t realize now that I was just laying on gold. And then of course, we have through our friend Laird, and Brian Mackenzie, and definitely Wim Hof homage, I start to become more breath-interested.

And now, if you come work with me or do some of our stuff, we talk like the first intervention for back pain is breathing, is diaphragmatic breathing. To get that diaphragm dissociated from the psoas, to get input into the movement system, because when you breathe, you extend; when you exhale, you flex. And if you’re in bad back pain, I can get you to do a ton of small motions attached to your breathing that your brain thinks is non-threat.

And guess what? It turns out also that if we do breath holds, isometrics, that can help attenuate pain, and if we do long exhales after an isometric, well, that can also signal less threat to the brain. And so we can suddenly tap in and use this breath as a mobilization device, as a diagnostic tool. “What do you mean you can’t breathe in that position?” As a way of self-soothing, as a way of control when I’m stressed. “Whoa, look at this crazy thing!”

And look, James Nestor wrote a great book on it. If you look at Leon Chaitow, if you look at all the masters, Buteyko — shoutout, Oxygen Advantage — people have been beating this drum. And the yogis figured this out very early, but because it was sort of wrapped in the language of spiritualism, I think a lot of the athletes forgot. And we found that if we thought about the mechanics, which is what you and I are talking about here — the mechanics of breath, not the CO2 tolerance or the breath control or downregulation; we’re just talking about mechanics — we were able to improve people’s VO2 max. You think that’s important to a world-class biker?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: Being able to pressurize more meant that my Olympians lifted more at the Olympics because they could pressurize more effectively. So in my thinking, I started reorganizing how I was teaching, and I put the breath volume as the core belief, core foundation, because suddenly it was a way of people understanding — you can do this. If you’re just sitting here, take the biggest breath in you can. Just go ahead, breathe through your nose, and we can actually measure that volume. Don’t change your position. Now, watch this. You’re doing this at home. Get into a position where you think you can get more air in. So Tim and I just both sat up, we just pulled our heads down, we kind of organized our shoulders, and I didn’t say to do any of that. I didn’t say, “Pull your ribcage down,” or, “Change your pelvic position.” I didn’t say, “Get into savasana with your shoulder,” or, “Tuck your chin.” I just said, “Can you breathe more effectively in that position?”

And you did! You got into position and you could tell: better, same, worse. We improve biomotor output by organizing your body slightly differently, so now you have a powerful tool to bring attention to your shape. So I don’t think there are good shapes and bad shapes. I’m just like, “Well, you can’t really breathe in that shape,” or, “That shape doesn’t pressurize very well,” or, “That shape doesn’t transfer.”

So if you’re on your Peloton bike and you think you’re killing it, ask yourself, “Is there a position on this Peloton bike where I can take a bigger breath?” And you’ll start to organize your body, and guess what? You’ll power more effectively. And because we see better function of the body, we see better output of the body, and I think that’s how we can begin to have people feel these things which seem like esoterica, but all of a sudden you’re in a position where you can take some breaths. So now, arms over your head, take a breath. In that bottom position of the squat, take a breath. We suddenly have ways to begin to pressurize and to begin to restore just based on that feeling I have of being able to take a bigger breath or a better breath.

So if I’m shrimping at my desk, good, that probably feels good sometimes. Shrimp at your desk. Then every once in a while you’re like, “Why do I have a neck ache?” And then ask yourself, “Can I take a bigger breath in a different position?” And that position tends to transfer a little bit better.


Tim Ferriss: “800 G.” I assume that doesn’t mean $800,000? 800 grams?

Kelly Starrett: 800 grams. So food can be a little sensitive for people. When we talk about food with people, and diets, five percent, it’s for performance — “I’m a cyclist, runner, I want to build muscle” — and the rest of it tends to be around, “How do I change my body composition?”

Tim Ferriss: Yep.

Kelly Starrett: Okay, so we’ll start with that assumption. Now, here is the non-trigger trigger warning. If you’re a vegan, carnivore, paleo, vegetarian, I’m still talking to you. Okay? Doesn’t matter what you eat. We found that when I — back up — didn’t want to ever get near nutrition for all the reasons that it’s complicated, it’s highly individualized, it’s cultural, people have strong ideologies around it, and real personal identities around it. It’s super cool. I think nutrition, for a lot of people, has become almost like entertainment. It’s like a hobby.

Tim Ferriss: Or a religion.

Kelly Starrett: Sure. But if we get down to, you’re working with me and I’m worried about your tissue recovery or tissue health or you’re injured — because again, a lot of times it comes through — or we’re trying to keep lean body mass on you because you’re aging, and it turns out maybe fat is a problem, but keeping your lean body mass is a bigger problem — when we actually get into how much protein are you eating, people oftentimes do not get enough protein. And so notice that I’m like, “Oh, you want to eat raw bear steak? You knock yourself out. You want to do plant, pea, cricket protein? You knock yourself out. I don’t care. But let’s see if we can establish what a reasonable amount of that is.” And again, what I really like in my life is getting something for nothing, and something for nothing in this situation is that we found that when people started eating more protein, guess what happened? They got fuller.

Tim Ferriss: So 800 grams of protein today?

Kelly Starrett: No. Yes, that would be great.

Tim Ferriss: For the low, low price of $69.95 per month, with a free dialysis machine for the first year!

Kelly Starrett: That’s right. So we found that a reasonable amount of protein was somewhere between 0.7 and 0.8 and 1 gram per pound body weight. That’s a reasonable amount. That’s not crazy, we’re not going to shock load you. And remember, a lot of times, if you’re trying to change your body composition or heal or grow, you need to make sure you have enough protein on board. And so one of the things that we found was this was an easy way of controlling satiety and actually making sure that people had on board what they needed to recover and to heal. And what I’ll ask you is, if you count the protein that your growing children are eating, you might be shocked to discover they’re actually in some pretty low- to moderate-protein diets, just because it’s hard to get kids to eat those things.

Okay, protein aside — and again, however you want to do that is fine with me. You’re a vegetarian, it may be harder to hit your protein minimums, but one of the things that we saw a lot was our vegetarian friends would come in with these little tendinopathies and some of these issues, and when we asked them about the whole sort of pantheon of potential behaviors that went along with that, we found that they were really under protein. And the international track and field folks, everyone, sports, they really have this one gram — it hovers around one gram per pound body weight. It really ends up being a very reasonable number that a lot of people agree on. Okay.

Tim Ferriss: Which is still a lot more than most people consume.

Kelly Starrett: Great! So guess what? Now you have a vital sign.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: And if you didn’t nail it today, you’ll nail it tomorrow.

Tim Ferriss: So where’s the 800 come in?

Kelly Starrett: Okay, so this is the magic. We have seen a dearth of fruits and vegetables eating. And this 800 grams comes from our friend EC Synkowski, and EC came up with this idea that, “Hey, what if instead of taking things out of your diet, we expanded your diet?” What if I said, “Tim, you want to change your body composition, I’m going to have to have you eat a lot more.” You’d be like, “Well, sign me up.” So 800 grams is 800 grams of fruits and vegetables, and they can be frozen, they can be fresh, they can be cooked; it doesn’t matter. So, four big apples is 800 grams.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, okay. So it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Kelly Starrett: It’s not as crazy as it sounds. A banana’s about a hundred grams; you can think of it that way. So what I’m asking you to do is eat fruits and vegetables, and what we find is people don’t really eat fruits and vegetables. They talk about it a lot, and they have a little iceberg lettuce salad. We’ve struggled to eat vegetables here in Japan.

Tim Ferriss: Actually, not only have we struggled, but we went to a sushi restaurant where — 

Kelly Starrett: They serve sushi.

Tim Ferriss: — one of our guides, who is fantastic, native Japanese — and I was overhearing and someone’s like, “Why are you laughing so hard, Tim?” And I was like, “Well… ” And then the guide explained, she said, “Well, I just asked, ‘Where can we get some vegetables? What are your vegetable options? Do you have vegetables?’ And they were like, ‘No.'”

Kelly Starrett: It says “Sushi” on the door.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah.

Kelly Starrett: What’s the question?

Tim Ferriss: This is not a vegetable restaurant. This is a sushi restaurant.

Kelly Starrett: So we’re agnostic about how you do that. You’re like, “I’m a rutabaga guy,” cool. You want to get 800 grams of rutabaga? But buried in there are these things called micronutrients.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: Vitamins and minerals.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, mm-hmm.

Kelly Starrett: And what also buried in there, is crucial, is this thing called fiber, which most people don’t get a lot of. And one of the things we’ve seen when we have gone into this diet culture where we restrict and take out, it’s really not very sustainable. And I have two daughters, full disclosure, who haven’t always been the best eaters, but if I pack them full of strawberries and apples and whatever they want to eat fruits and vegetables-wise — again, fruits or vegetables. If you’re like, “I don’t eat vegetables,” I’m like “Down, cool. Just, you do you. You do fruits, that’s fine,” — we found that there’s a lot less room for crap in their diet. And all of the research is that 800 grams is about this magic number where a lot of really good things happen to you from a health perspective. Fiber, micronutrients. Should you eat the rainbow? Sounds great. Let’s eat the rainbow. I try to get six to eight kinds of fruits and vegetables every day. It’s kind of a game. And guess what? Tomorrow — 

Tim Ferriss: Six to eight servings?

Kelly Starrett: Six to eight different types.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, types, that makes sense.

Kelly Starrett: So a grape is one, then I had some spinach, then trying to eat this diversity. I think it was Cate Shanahan of Deep Nutrition who wrote that we used to eat roughly somewhere between 40 and 50 different kinds of fruits and vegetables every year. Typical person in America. And now, it’s three or four. We just don’t eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. And those two things we find that we have people focus on — getting enough protein, getting more protein, getting more fruits and vegetables — there’s just not a lot of extra room for keto donuts. You know what I mean? You’re like, “Holy crap, I’m really…” Guess what, everyone? White potatoes? It’s a vegetable. It’s a fried potato? Not a vegetable. You have been advocating for these very dangerous things called beans for a long time.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, boy.

Kelly Starrett: Internet — 

Tim Ferriss: You going to give me a Brian Mackenzie TED Talk on beans?

Kelly Starrett: No, beans count towards your grams. I’m like, “How cool.”

Tim Ferriss: Redemption!

Kelly Starrett: “You’re eating a thing that’s a plant full of plant matter and fiber. That’s so great. Let’s eat more beans.” And I think yes, of course, if you’re a person who’s like, “Beans cause me anxiety” — I’m not trying to be beanist here, but if that’s you, you’re excused from eating beans. And that’s what I want to give people permission in saying, “Hey, I understand you don’t like these things. So what else can we open up to?”

Tim Ferriss: 800 grams of kiwi fruit. Do it.

Kelly Starrett: Do it. And what we found is that if you are like, “I’m only going to do this with apples,” you’ll do that for four or five days and you’re like, “What else is there? Kiwis are super cool! Uhh, kiwi every day is a little bit much.” And again, we are looking at through this lens, this built-to-move lens of durability. If we keep lean muscle mass on you and get fiber and micronutrients in you, you’re probably going to feel better and do better in long haul, and maybe we have all the things your tissues are going to need to repair and heal. And sometimes that is — one of our friends described it as “supply chain economics of your tissues.” There’s a reason here in Japan they eat everything, all the collagen, all the skin, all the bones, everything, broth. Those things have been part of our diet for a long time.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, totally. So a few thoughts for folks, also, on top of that. So with getting an increased volume of vegetables, fruits, it may make sense, if you have the savings to do so in the cash flow, look at a list called the Dirty Dozen. There are certain plants that have more pesticide exposure in the United States.

Kelly Starrett: Totally.

Tim Ferriss: And so you can use that to selectively either avoid certain things or consider selectively buying certified organic so that you’re not dealing with — 

Kelly Starrett: A strawberry, is my understanding, is like a sponge.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Kelly Starrett: So maybe spend your money on better strawberries.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Or stick with bananas.

Kelly Starrett: But you’ll — 

Tim Ferriss: Don’t eat the skins.

Kelly Starrett: That’s right. Less skin. Banana skin’s not great. But you’ll notice there, it’s easy to demonize meat, for example. And I didn’t even say “Eat organic bananas,” I just said, “Whatever you can afford, whatever works in your socioeconomic system, is going to be a better health outcome than not getting enough protein and fruits and vegetables.”

Tim Ferriss: Yep. So on the vegetables side of things, most people in the US don’t think in grams, and I recognize this is an international audience, but a lot of US listeners — what’s the easiest way to figure that out?

Kelly Starrett: Initially — and again, here’s the caveat, of course, is that if you have control issues and this has been a problem for you in the past, don’t weigh and measure everything. Kind of get a rough idea of what it is. Hey, look it up. You can see, what does a grapefruit weigh? This bag of spinach is 12 ounces. Great, if I eat this bag of spinach, I’ve eaten 12 ounces. It’s in grams there, too. And once you have a sort of rough idea — or, wait for it, did I eat a banana this morning for breakfast? Plus pineapple, plus the salad, plus tomatoes, that was all the fruits and vegetables that I consumed this morning. And what I do to myself is — I hate weighing things. Juliet loves to track it; I don’t. We’re different this way.

Tim Ferriss: Shocker.

Kelly Starrett: So I obsess on, “I should probably eat more fruits and vegetables every meal.” It’s that simple for me. And I end up, when I do track it, usually right around there or above. And this is not that big a deal. What I’m saying is, add some beans back to your Chipotle bowl. That’s what I’m asking you to do. And you can get a really cheap scale on Amazon, or again, you can just look up the reference. Because what we’re trying to do is make this sustainable, and what’s sustainable is gamifying it. “Oh, I was on the airplane. I did terrible. I reached for donuts.” Well, great. Tomorrow you get to play again and again and again and again. And Juliet and I really have found that, for example, for us — I don’t know if you know this Tim, about me, but I love sweets.

Tim Ferriss: On this trip, I have noticed, yes.

Kelly Starrett: I have gone — 

Tim Ferriss: Granted, Japan — 

Kelly Starrett: — deep in the paint.

Tim Ferriss: — has exceptional sweets.

Kelly Starrett: Can I shout out my daughter here?

Tim Ferriss: Yes.

Kelly Starrett: Georgia Starrett texted me and said, “You need to go to 7-Eleven and get a strawberry and cream sandwich.” We went to seven 7-Elevens ’til I found that, and Georgia — 

Tim Ferriss: Fortunately, that’s just one square block in Japan.

Kelly Starrett: — Georgia Starrett, you are correct, and I’ve used this opportunity of burning lots of calories to eat all of those strange and wonderful Japanese sweets. So for me, I have a penchant for eating sweets. I love it. But this morning there was no frilliness. We’re not outputting today. The carbohydrate I had today was in fruits and vegetables on my plate. And what this does is it expands what I’m eating every day and it leaves me less room for toast. It leaves me less room because I’m full. And I’m trying to play this health game, and I am obsessed. The thing I fear the most for my own body right now, at age 50, is tweaks of soft tissue. That’s the thing I fear the most.

Tim Ferriss: Tweaks of soft tissue.

Kelly Starrett: Like pull a muscle, tweak a tendon, little hot spot, tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis. I do a lot of things to keep any of that at bay. That’s how I’m viewing my tissue health. If I have tissues that are more robust and are loaded regularly and decongested, I’m less likely to be taken out from a sore shoulder.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So you’re about five years ahead of me, I guess. I’m 45. You mentioned Gray Cook and the functional movement screen, FMS. What would you have me do? We’re not necessarily going to go through it physically right now, but if I were to say, “All right, Kelly, I want to be hard-charging, nothing crazy, but still have the capacity to go out with my most athletic friends around the same age and have physical adventures. I want to do that multiple times a year.” What are some of the screens that you would put me through?

Kelly Starrett: The most important thing would be, show me how you’re loading your tissues. That’s the first thing. I don’t start with an assessment. Assessment is the thing, right? We’re going to press today, no matter what, but we’re just going to limit your range of motion overhead. We may slow down, and we may not snatch, but we’re going to go overhead in some way or another. People who can’t go overhead often can hang from a pole bar, right? The way I assess programming, because people ask me to look over their programming a lot, is I look at key positions. We call them archetypal shapes? They’re sort of the bookends or reference positions for your body. The shoulder is actually not that complex. It only does four, really, things. They’re variations, and it moves between those things, but it goes over your head, goes out in front of you, goes out to the side. Wait for it, it goes behind you. That explains all complex movement of the shoulder. It’s some combination.

You may not actually touch some of those end range positions, but you should have access to them. What’s cool about range of motion is, it’s actually one of the few attributes of your physicality that doesn’t have to change when you age. It doesn’t mean that you have to lose your ability to flex your hip, bring your knee to your chest. Who cares about that? Lower yourself to the ground to poop in the toilet, right? Get up and down off the ground. This is a highly trainable aspect, so one of the things that we want to do inside your resistance training, your loaded movement training, which unfortunately you’re going to have to do.

We have, at very end of the chapter, of the book, a little chapter called “Never Do Nothing.” Dave Spitz of Cal Strength is like, “Never do nothing.” He’s old like me. He’s really busy, has a family, and he’s like, “Well, some days I just did some pull-ups in the garage. That’s what I got today.” Never do nothing. Ultimately, if you want to then say, “Okay, I want to be durable, Kel, and I want to have the opportunity,” then some of these behavior, range of motion things you could do if you didn’t have access to exercise. They can help you create a foundation. Then we are all at base camp, and that’s why we call them base camp behaviors. Then you and I are saying, “Well, hey, I want to go up Everest.” Now, our Everest is, “Can we ski six days in Japan, not implode, and come out intact?” Then we can work backwards and say, “Well, what exposures do we need to have?”

Tim Ferriss: By skiing, I think you mean it mostly in the way that Laird Hamilton, famous big wave surfer, said, “They should call surfing paddling, because it’s 90 percent paddling.” By skiing, we mean mostly sliding up mountains.

Kelly Starrett: I don’t know if you’ve noticed this. Not am I only the oldest, but I’m also the largest. One of our guides is akin to Legolas. She doesn’t even deform the snow when she stands on it. She floats.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, she can run across the snow.

Kelly Starrett: Yeah. I’m like, “Hey, we are not the same animal.” Right?

Tim Ferriss: I’m a snowplow.

Kelly Starrett: That’s generous.

Tim Ferriss: You’re an arctic hare.

Kelly Starrett: So ultimately, if we start with this root pattern shape, right? This idea of this, I call it the archetype, then you have a master key of understanding any movement structure, any physicality, any system, because what you’re ultimately seeing is different tools to challenge fundamental position shapes. If you’re a gymnast, you may be walking on your hands and swinging from a bar overhead. If you’re a Olympic lifter, you’re lifting overhead. Maybe you’re in the gym doing lat pull downs. You’re going to yoga, you’re doing downward dog. You’re on the reformer. Suddenly, you’re like, “Oh, okay. Everyone says being overhead is important, and here are all the different ways to train that. I’m probably going to need to do some resistance around that. Some kind of progressive loading, too.” Again, we can have now nuanced conversations.

How strong do you need to be to do what we did? I don’t know. How durable do I want to be? I want to be all the durable. I think one of the things that is a fair criticism of fitness is that we have convinced everyone to basically become doomsday preppers, right? Where you’re never strong enough, strength is never a weakness. You’re never fit enough. That is crazy. One of my good friends has this idea, now. He’s like, “Maybe we should not call it functional fitness, which is sort of a scarcity mindset. We should be calling it practical fitness.” Can you do what you need to do? If you’re saying, “I need to ski up a mountain for two hours and descend in minus 10 degrees,” that’s a different set of circumstances than, “I want to walk around the block with my baby.” But the kinds of training, ultimately, we’re going to need to put you under some load. How to do that? Simple loading for someone who’s listening who doesn’t like to exercise could be jumping, right?

There’s an old like Russian saying, “When you stop jumping, you start dying.” The Chinese say, “You’re as old as your spine,” or, “You’re as old as your feet.” Again, if I got those wrong, please, you can correct me, you can correct him. But the idea here is, there are fundamental truths about how we load. Do you remember in the ’90s, every woman suddenly was osteoporotic? All everyone had osteoporosis, and they were like, “You need this calcium chew.” We sold calcium chews to everyone in America, and it didn’t change the bone density of everyone, because we didn’t change the loading of anyone. Ultimately, for you, as a middle-aged person, I need to make sure that you have control through these things, so we would do more strict kinds of movements. Suddenly, you’re like, “Oh, wait a minute. That looks like classic strict gymnastics training. That looks like classic barbell training. That looks like simple kettlebell training.” Like some of these strict pushups.

I have taught on every continent, except Antarctica. Everyone knows what a pushup is, and what the bench press is, everywhere, so it’s like training and movement is the fundamental common movement language. So now, we can say, “Well, what tools do you have? What’s your training experience?” But ultimately, we need to do something that goes up and down, and rhymes with a squat. How you want to do that? Do you want to goblet squat? Do you want to back squat? Do you want a full snatch? Do you want a squat to a chair? There’s a really famous test in physical therapy called the Timed Up and Go (TUG). You stand up out of a chair, you walk 10 meters, you turn around, you sit back in the chair. We can time you. That’s a power. They’re measuring wattage, because you can put a clock on that, and it’s a really good indicator of fall risk.

Litvinov, one of the most famous hammer throwers in all time, used to front squat 200 kilos for seven, and then run 400 meters.

Tim Ferriss: Jesus.

Kelly Starrett: That’s the same test.

Tim Ferriss: Good Lord.

Kelly Starrett: Same test. Those are very different extremes, but that’s the same thing. You and I can have a polite disagreement about how big and strong you need to have, how much we fetishize the need to be in the gym and develop the capacity, and how much we need to spend other time becoming more skillful, or more springy, or playing. I think we have, and as I said, it’s a fair criticism of strength and conditioning gym culture. That we have obsessed on these gigantic, huge bodies. Big bench presses. It’s easy to quantify that. There’s a famous coach named Bondarchuk, who was one of the greatest throws coach in the whole history of the world, and he’s like, “You’re probably strong enough. I know you can add another kilo to the bench, but what you need to do is go throw more,” right? It’s more fun for a thrower to add a kilo to their bench than to go throw some implement more times.

One of the things that has worked well for me, and some of the older people, is that we’re always challenging position. Remember, that root idea of the gym is that we’re challenging positions and shapes. In fact, your brain isn’t wired for musculature, it’s wired for movement. A shape is really just a snapshot of a movement. Squatting up and down is a movement that we need to challenge, and we can change the variables. Where are you holding that? How up right is your torso? How fast are you going? But we can also not just make it heavier, I can also say, like what we did, “I need you to walk up this hill for two hours, blow yourself out, and then I need you to squat all the way down.” How well are you going to handle that squat under some metabolic demand? There were some times where I post hold up to my waist, and I had to do a steep one leg squat, and my heart rate was at 190 already. I was like, “Whoa, how do I train for this?” Right?

Tim Ferriss: Or, you’re going really fast in chest-deep powder, and then you stop in chest-deep powder, and you’re like, “My legs are stuck.”

Kelly Starrett: My legs. Yes.

Tim Ferriss: I need camel hip flexors to get this out.

Kelly Starrett: It turns out just being stronger, though, in that moment, doesn’t actually solve the movement problem, does it? You need to be competent with the skilled movement under cardiorespiratory demand, breathing hard. Under metabolic demand, a little fatigue. There are real loads out there, real loads we’re fighting. I was like, “Wow, I’m really glad I have a big butt doing this.” There was a skill component to it. What’s really great about viewing the training of shapes is that it allows you to have permission to do what you like to do. And so instead of saying, “My hard style, your non-hard style.” Right? We’re not fighting that.

You think that this is the kind of training that really speaks to you, that puts you in a community, that hits these things. We can test the veracity of your training by dropping in over here and seeing how well you do. You should be able to jump into Pilates class. If I hand you some dumbbells, you’re going to go, “Okay, I can do that.” Right? It doesn’t matter if you’re the strongest at dumbbells or a Pilates class, but you should be able to transfer those skills back and forth. Now rinse, wash, repeat for a few decades. What you’ll find, we have a simple test in the book. We talk about squatting, of course, because I love squatting.

But turns out, squatting is one of the ways to restore your back and to get flexion in your spine. This big butt, ass to grass squat. It’s a nice test of hip range of motion, ankle range of motion, balance. But for those people who can’t, we say, “Hey, let’s squat to the chair. Then today, if you’ve never squatted before, you’re going to do one squat. Tomorrow, you’re going to do two squats. The next day, you’re going to do three squats in a row. You’re just going to build up for a month.” Guess what’s going to happen after 30 days of doing 30 squats in a row? Your life is going to change, but we just have to begin some progressive overload for some of these things.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, totally. If I were thinking about the last couple of groups of foreigners I’ve come with to Japan, and I’m painting along national lines, let’s just say, and this will tie then into the question of age groups. Let’s limit it to this group, and how people look trying to sit the way we are sitting right now. There are plenty of things that other people on this group, plenty of things that they can do that I cannot, just to be very clear. I happen to be good at sitting on Japanese floors.

Kelly Starrett: Nailed it.

Tim Ferriss: There’s some incredible athletes on this trip, but they’re bad at sitting on the floor, right? So I could think, “All right. Maybe that external rotation of the femur is something, as a group, they might want to pay more attention to.” Right, just as an example. Sitting in a cross-legged, or one leg on top of the other, position, which they can’t currently do. If we were to paint a very specific picture, so let’s just say former athletes, not high-level athletes. I mean, I’m basically talking about myself, right? Competed at a decent level, through high school and college, in various things. Was never world champion, was never Olympian. Anything like that, but was very movement immersed, and then trained very, very seriously. Then let’s just say between, who knows, 35 and 45, maybe the training got a little lighter. Maybe it got a little more sporadic. This is the group we’re dealing with, right? Let’s just say — 

Kelly Starrett: These are my people.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Let’s just say we have 100 45-year olds, who mirror that like me. They’ve got some aches and pains. Maybe they’ve had a couple of fractures, maybe one or two surgeries. That’s the group. Much like looking at this group that came to Japan and saying, “Huh, seems like a lot of these guys have trouble sitting with their legs splayed open in any way.” In that type of post-competitive athletic group that I described, with some aches and pains, and some injuries, are there any particular types of movements? I know this is kind of question that you may hate, but I’m just curious if there are any particular types of movement training that come to mind, where you’re like, “I think that group should overall be doing more of A, B, and C.”

Kelly Starrett: I think we sold hard cardio, respiratory fitness. That if you had lungs like Lance Armstrong, all things would be solved, right? It’s easier to quantify that, because you can go wattage, and you can count, and look at heart rate and power. Let’s say, the biking. Again, Juliet and I are huge cyclists. We love to ride. Riding is great for these reasons: Very time efficient. It’s what we call high physiology, low skill. Put your feet here, put your butt here, grab the hands here. You have five points of contact, very safe. Mid-range. Not full leg flexion, not full knee flexion, not full hip flexion. You’re just going to move around, and we could die. You could die. I can kill you on that thing. I could pour hate on you, and you could suffer and vomit on the bike, right? What you think is, “Wow, that was really hard though. I’m fit.” Until you need to move yourself through the environment a little differently.

I think we’ve confused work output. We’ve confused some of the cardiorespiratory capacity. If I took the criticisms from some of the big thinkers who reacted to CrossFit, on it, strength and conditioning bros, right? They have some valid ideas here. How well are you actually challenging this and using this in the world? Now the question is, how much fitness is the right amount of hard fitness and shouldn’t I play? Is there anything wrong with going to the gym every day for an hour and smashing yourself? No. But if all you’re doing, again, having some vital signs. My favorite vital signs in the book is called the couch stretch, and here’s why you should care about the couch stretch: One is, you’re going to find out that you suck at it. You’re welcome. All you do is you put your knee into the corner of the wall. You’re on your hands and knees, kind of facing away from the wall, and you put your knee into the corner where the wall meets the floor, and then you spring your other leg up into a lunge and squeeze your butt.

It’s basically, your back leg is bent and you’re in a lunge position. Using the wall to support that. That is a shock to people, because their quads are stiff or their brain’s protecting. Whatever the mechanism is. They can’t access that position, they can’t squeeze their butt in that position, they can’t take a breath in that position. They can’t even hang out in that position, and that is a easy position to be in. But if your environment doesn’t cue you in to also being a diagnostic tool regularly, because your body is so robust and so badass and so good at working around these things for so long. It’s designed for survival. Your brain doesn’t care if you’re missing a hip extension, but that hip extension is you walking up a hill, having that knee behind you when you walk, or run, or lunge. That shape.

What goes away faster than anything, movement quality and capacity is compromised in this society more than any other movement, is that hip extension. Why? Well, we do a lot of cardio on the bike. The elliptical machine was genius, because it just removed hip extension entirely. You can stand up, and you don’t have to take your hip extension. Congratulations. All the sitting we do as modern workers, and the commuting, so we just don’t get a lot of exposure here. Again, if you dropped into Pilates, you’re like, “Whoa, there’s a lot of hip extension.” If you do yoga, you’re like, “There’s a lot of warrior one. Why are we doing this long lunge, chaturanga?”

It’s because they recognize that this is a position we wanted to nurture. If I could, say, wave my magic wand and say, “I would like you to spend more time in this position.” Suddenly, you can still squat, but you just do a Bulgarian squat or a split squat, right? Instead of pressing a barbell over your head, I just want you put your front foot up on something and press. I want you to push a sled. Oh, that sounds familiar. We’ve seen that, right? That’s out in the culture. When we, again, stop talking about the capacities, but look at the shapes first, then it’s all like, “What tools do I have available to me? How can I do this?” Throwing your foot up on the edge of a couch and jumping out into a big lunge, nailed it.

Let me give you an example: We regularly work with really good athletes, and teams, who have these deficiencies. I’ve worked with several Olympic lifting Olympian groups who don’t do enough hip extension. All we did was start programming in hip extension for them, these shapes of being in like a lunge. Lo and behold, everyone’s back pain got better, right? And their lifts went up. So weird. Again, what I want to do is say, let’s make sure that we’re not confusing capacity with movement choice, because I think that goes away really fast. What we’ve seen, we can have really strong, very “fit” people who aren’t very skilled at moving. So, how was my fitness? I don’t know. I just had to balance on one leg and put my ski on. The binding I didn’t love, on the side of a mountain, right after being smoked. Let me tell you how my fitness is. That’s the test.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah. Totally. For people who want to get a visual on the couch stretch, you can certainly just give it a search on Google. But if you imagine the capital letter N, and then put a little circle in the very middle of that, the left side of that would be your front leg, and the right side of that would be the rear leg with the knee in that corner.

Kelly Starrett: I love that. It’s also in The 4-Hour Body.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it is. It is indeed.

Kelly Starrett: That’s how long I’ve been saying you should be doing the couch stretch.

Tim Ferriss: It is, it is in. I think you’re demoing on an actual couch in The 4-Hour Body.

Kelly Starrett: I am demoing on our couch, our old couch.

Tim Ferriss: Back when we both had a little more hair.

Kelly Starrett: I don’t even know how much hair I had then. One of the things that I just want people to hear is that we are trying to build an extra capacity to the system. Oftentimes, the initiation for a lot of the reasons why people are interested in this is pain. Or, “I can’t do something that I want to do. My friends are going to Japan, and I can’t ski. Not from the skill, but my knee hurts.” That’s a problem. So, where do we begin to — do I have to go hire an expert? Go seek this thing, and go away from my family, and take time off from my job? Yes. Great, cool. If you can afford that and fly in your private physical therapist to work with you. It doesn’t seem that it scales very well, right? What we instead can do is say, “Hey, look, here’s things that you can do in the course of your day.”

Right or wrong, Juliet, who is our CEO, my partner, world champion superstar, she really felt attacked a little bit sometimes. When people talked about their morning routines, and all of the things they did to optimize their day, and biohack their day. She’s like, “I am so swamped. I mean, this really feels unaccessible to me. It feels like a bunch of single people with a bunch of free time.” Interestingly enough, the thing that I ended up getting out of PT school [inaudible] was barriers to adherence. What keeps people from doing what they wanted to do?

One of the things that we started to recognize as we worked with some of these groups, is that we couldn’t just say, “Do this.” We had to say, “When are you going to do it? How do you fit it in?” And so all the things we’ve talked about are wonderful, but if you’re a person who has a life, you have to ask, “Where are these moments where I’m going to be able to fit these key behaviors?” I think that’s one of the things that we really started to appreciate, and say that we need to do a better job of showing people where they’re going to have some agency and control.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, the Karate Kid approach.

Kelly Starrett: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: Wax on, wax off.

Kelly Starrett: Built it in.

Tim Ferriss: Put on your shoes standing on one foot.

Kelly Starrett: You’ve nailed it.

Tim Ferriss: I haven’t been training. Yes, you have. You just don’t know that you have.

Kelly Starrett: Show me.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, man. Why don’t you tell people a bit more about the book and who it’s for, right? Who is it written for? Who is it best suited to?

Kelly Starrett: Imagine that one of the things that we, Julie and I, felt like was that we as fitness, and again, part of the fitness machine, and we as a cog in the machine, is that if we ask ourselves, “How are we doing? If fitness is the promise to transform society and make people healthier, are we living up to that?” What we really feel like is: Well, the objective measurements are — well, let’s look at obesity, or diabetes, or chronic pain, or persistent pain, or injuries, or surgery, or depression. What we see is that I think a hundred percent of those things are trending in negative ways. If fitness is a trillion-dollar industry, and we’re not making people fitter, and whatever, expanding their fitness besides “I look great on Instagram with my abs,” just expanding that definition a little bit, then we have to start asking sort of a different set of questions around this.

This book is for people for whom, potentially, fitness has left behind. Who, “Hey, I don’t identify with exercising.” Cool. That has nothing to do with being durable. When we were in some of those towns, we saw some elderly people here. How fit were some of those elderly Japanese people? They didn’t bench press a lot. I don’t think her deadlift was very strong, in the 90-year-old we saw, but there’s something about being durable and being useful, however we’re defining that. That there is a set of things you have to keep doing that your body just requires. Then, we can layer on exercise if that feels good. Imagine the first order of business is saying, “Hey, look, let’s get everyone to base camp, and then we can argue what color rope you should take up the Everest route.” I feel like that’s the conversation on the internet.

People are like, “Wait, wait. What’s base camp, what’s Everest?” The number of people that stop us in our community. Remember, Julie and I are just parents in our street, and they’re like, “Hey, do you think I should do this keto shred?” There’s a lot of questions we get, where people don’t know how to be sustainable. They don’t know how to exercise, because we’ve overwhelmed them with options, and choices, and data, and flashy signs. If we can get Built to Move into those hands first. Or how about this, you love fitness. You’re into this stuff, I’m into this stuff. I have always wanted a reference. Maybe like, “Start here. This is not diet and exercise. Just have a go at this, and then let’s talk. Let’s sum up when you’re ready to learn how to swing a kettlebell.” Right? Or you’re a physician who says, “Hey, I know you’re on this blood pressure medicine. This isn’t the place to have these complex emotional behavioral conversations in this eight minutes, but here’s something you can do. We know that it’s going to make a healthier, more robust platform.”

We gave this book to our world champion friends, and we were like, “How did we do?” They were like, “This really helped me, because I had some holes here that I wasn’t thinking about. I wasn’t walking enough, and I was wondering why my knee was hurting.” It’s trite to say, “Who’s this for?” Julie and I really want to make sure that we’ve reached out to people who haven’t been served well by the fitness community, because what we see is that those people who are in, it looks like a classist society in terms of fitness and health now. People are measuring, and monitoring, and tracking, and getting fitter. Meanwhile, everyone else is saying, “Hey, I don’t even know where to start.”

Tim Ferriss: I would also say, tell me if you disagree with this, but a lot of folks probably who think they’re being served by whatever form of fitness they’re consuming. When they get taken out of a very narrow band of fill in the blank, cycling, fill in the blank, power lifting, fill in the blank, some form of body building. Once they’re thrown into an environment that is a little more stochastic, requires movement patterns that are a little more varied, they’re like, “Oh, shit.”

Kelly Starrett: Our friend, Mark Bell, couldn’t put a shoe on without sitting down and using a shoehorn when I first met him.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, there you go.

Kelly Starrett: He was a world champion, but couldn’t put his shoe on. Like, his shoes were always tied. Now, look what happened to Mark. Just as an idea of, I think that’s really a great. We might even say we have some vital signs to help you identify your blind spots. Right or wrong, we’ve always said, “If we can give the right people the right tools, they know how to incorporate it in their lives and make the change.” You’ve seen that. I’ve seen people come up to you a hundred times and say that you changed their life, and then you’re like, “I’ve never met you. Sir, this is a Wendy’s.” But given the tool, people are smart enough to have figured that out, and that’s what we want to do. You don’t know what you don’t know. This is a really simple way, and I want everyone to understand, this is what Juliet and I do. This is what we have been sort of winnowing out of our elite performance conversations with all the crazy teams that we work with.

Tim Ferriss: Kelly, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Built to Move is the book. I suggest everybody check it out, because we are built to move. Turns out that this fancy brain of ours is scaffolded around this machine that is intended to move through space. I think the diversity of our movement diet, much like the vegetables, has gone — 

Kelly Starrett: Love that.

Tim Ferriss: — from dozens down to just a handful, and there’s no way that doesn’t end in tears, right? Individually and collectively. I’m really excited to have the set of vital signs, the descriptions. The means of self-assessing to identify blind spots, right?

Kelly Starrett: Areas of opportunity.

Tim Ferriss: Growth opportunities. Growth opportunities, which I’m very excited about. Because this trip for me has been decades in the making, in a sense. I’ve always wanted to bring some of my closest friends to Japan, and to train. I mean, I really trained my off for the last six weeks. More than six weeks, but especially in the last six weeks. To make sure that I wouldn’t be a total embarrassment, and it was still hard. I mean, it was still hard. I was like, “Okay, 45.” I’m not going to be Laird Hamilton, but it doesn’t seem impossible to me, if I approach training in an increasingly intelligent surgical way with regular self-assessments, that I could be doing this stuff 10 years from now. 15 years, if I play the cards right. But to play the cards, you’ve got to know what the game is, what’s in your hand. I think Built to Move will help people to do all those things. Any other closing comments, requests of the audience? Anything you’d want to point people to? Anything at all that you’d like to say before we go have a gigantic Japanese lunch?

Kelly Starrett: Three things. One, be consistent before you’re heroic.

Tim Ferriss: Yes, excellent advice.

Kelly Starrett: Two, wait for it, the glacial pace is the breakneck pace. It takes time to make change. Your body is there for you. It just may be that you have to push the burning tractor trailer out of fire first before you back it down the blind alley. It takes a second, but it always works. Three, you’re not alone. Bring someone with you on this adventure. If that means you walked out after dinner, and that was what you started for this week, grab one of your family members. We think that the living unit is the functional unit of change. That’s where you begin, so bring someone along with you.

Tim Ferriss: Roger that.

Kelly Starrett: Thanks for bringing me along with you. I’m going to have to go into some counseling before — 

Tim Ferriss: Before round two.

Kelly Starrett: — I get dragged up this hill.

Tim Ferriss: There you have it, folks. Kelly, always a pleasure.

Kelly Starrett: Thank you, Tim.

Tim Ferriss: To everybody listening, we’ll have links to everything in the show notes, as per usual. Just search “Kelly Starrett.” There are many episodes. This will be the most recent, of course. Built to Move is the book, check it out. Until next time, be just a little kinder than is necessary. That includes to yourself. Remember, be consistent before heroic. Good advice for a lot of things, whether that’s writing, walking, hanging. Squatting down to take a heroic poo in a Japanese bathroom. You never know when you’re going to need that skill.

Kelly Starrett: Facts.

Tim Ferriss: Facts. Thanks so much for tuning in. Talk to you next time. [foreign language].

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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2 Replies to “The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Dr. Kelly Starrett — The Magic of Movement and Mobility, Training for Range of Motion, Breathing for Back Pain, Improving Your Balance, and More (#664)”

  1. Hey, Tim.

    Some ideas – to help create a community around your podcast brand.

    1. Could you ask your team to make an outline and to highlight the most important ideas. I just searched some of the keywords: “important” – there are 12, “critical”, “vital”, useful, etc. This guided me through the transcript. I have no time to read through the whole thing..

    2. Also, what about – a blog with password – people log in, read, highlight and comment.

    3. Also, – maybe – an interactive transcript – where – people can add pre-selected comments to particular passages.

    When reading online books – I like to see what others thought was important.

    4. Have someone to moderate the forum around the ideas of whoever you are chatting with that day.

    I am not saying to make it an open forum about discussing ideas – just to consume transcripts more efficiently – have the readers highlight and comment.
    I don’t care if some shmuck does not agree with whatever.

  2. Tim – I need help finding the “couch stretch” in The 4-Hour Body. I’ve looked in my copy every way I could think to find it and don’t see anything.