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

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“Be consistent before you’re heroic.”

— Kelly Starrett

Kelly Starrett, DPT (@thereadystate) 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.

Please 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.

Brought to you by Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, Athletic Greens’s AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement, and Shopify global commerce platform providing tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business. 

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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

This episode is brought to you by AG1! I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG1 further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

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Want to hear the first time Kelly was on this podcast? Check out my conversation with him and Dr. Justin Mager where we discussed the difference between being well and thriving, the fringes of physiology, exceeding “optimal” performance, correcting circadian rhythms while traveling, pattern recognition and “chunking” for improved talent acquisition, Kelly’s mattress selection, rebooting the parasympathetic nervous system, and much more.

#3: Kelly Starrett and Dr. Justin Mager

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Find The Ready State Online:

Website | Twitter | Instagram


  • [08:05] Where in the world are Kelly and Tim?
  • [13:34] A lesson in how our environment shapes us.
  • [19:12] Optimizing vital signs and range of motion as we age.
  • [30:31] Walk and fidget more for better sleep and body maintenance.
  • [40:37] Balance training: not just for “old” people.
  • [50:51] Extending the end range of motion.
  • [54:58] The old man shoe-on game.
  • [59:50] The airport scanner shoulder test.
  • [1:05:55] Simple corrective exercises.
  • [1:09:44] Tower of London.
  • [1:12:41] Breath as a mobilization device.
  • [1:19:13] A reasonable amount of daily protein.
  • [1:23:09] 800 grams of fruits and vegetables.
  • [1:32:27] Never do nothing. But my something doesn’t have to be your something.
  • [1:43:23] Cultivating cross-cultural, timeless movement in a busy world.
  • [1:53:43] Who is Built To Move for?
  • [1:58:54] Parting thoughts.


“We want to more tightly conjoin our day-to-day processes with understanding who we are.”
— Kelly Starrett

“Joseph Pilates was not messing about.”
— Kelly Starrett

“In the Tower of London there was a torture device where you were kneeling. 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. But I was like, that’s a clever way to get into the upper back. I’m going to try that. . . . And I discovered [it] was a really wonderful way to help get this global flexion of my back.”
— Kelly Starrett

“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. Because if we see better function of the body, we see better output of the body.”
— Kelly Starrett

“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.'”
— Kelly Starrett

“The objective measurements—obesity, diabetes, chronic pain, persistent pain, injuries, surgery, depression—what we see is that those things are trending in negative ways. If fitness is a trillion-dollar industry, and we’re not making people fitter and 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 a different set of questions around this.”
— Kelly Starrett

“Be consistent before you’re heroic.”
— Kelly Starrett

“The glacial pace is the breakneck pace.”
— Kelly Starrett


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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9 Replies to “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. Okay not sure you’ll ever see this and cannot post it in the right place, BUT in response to your Friday newsletter April 1/23… I checked out the Waking Up app you recommended and was intrigued by their Scholarship offering.

    As someone who also offers workshops for human development/consciousness shifting I have always been intrigued by the possibility of offering via donation, scholarship etc but just couldn’t FEEL my way as to how to do it in a way that felt congruent/good. I have offered things for free in the past and my conclusion on that is that the person does not action and it doesn’t actually help them. No skin in the game.

    So I clicked through Waking Up’s scholarship offer and it was a VERY interesting process: As I contemplate selecting $0 I feel a strong sense of shame… I wonder how I would feel if I actually was in the place where I could not afford even $39?

    I wonder if they get most people selecting the lower prices?? And almost no one selecting $0…

    However, I feel shame and like I’m doing something wrong even at the 50% ($59) option. So I wonder if most people just abandon the process at that point… would LOVE to know their stats!!

    Posting here just in case this also greatly intrigues you, Tim.

    Do you have any metrics on donation/scholarship offerings; uptake, effects, etc?

  2. Are there any videos or resources for the “Tower of London” breathing exercise Dr. Kelly has developed? Tim also mentioned some back muscle breathing routines that sounded interesting.

    Great pod! Loved Dr. Kelly’s approach for simple habit building.

    1. There is, Tanner! Check out “There’s More to Spinal Flexion Than Just the Jefferson Curl” from The Ready State on YouTube.


      Team Tim Ferriss

  3. One of the key takeaways from this post is the importance of training for range of motion. Dr. Starrett emphasizes the need to focus on functional movements that mimic real-life activities, rather than simply performing isolated exercises. He also stresses the importance of proper breathing techniques, particularly when it comes to relieving back pain.

    Another valuable insight in this blog post is the importance of balance training, which is often overlooked in traditional fitness programs. Dr. Starrett provides practical tips on how to improve balance, such as standing on one leg or incorporating balance exercises into daily activities.

    Overall, Dr. Starrett’s blog post is a comprehensive guide to enhancing your movement and mobility. Whether you are an athlete looking to improve your performance or an individual looking to enhance your overall well-being, this post is a valuable resource that can help you achieve your fitness goals.

  4. I found this surprisingly very insightful thank you so much ! Although quick question, 1g per pound body weight of protein : is that 100g of steak for instance for 100pounds of body weight or nutritional value of 1g of protein so with 25g protein for 100g of steak that’s 400g of steak ?

    1. Hi, Chloé –

      Yes, nutritional value. So to get the recommended grams of protein for 100 lbs of body weight, you would, indeed, eat around 400 grams of steak. Most people vary their sources of protein throughout the day, however.


      Team Tim Ferriss

  5. Dr. Kelly Starrett is a renowned expert in the field of movement and mobility, and his blog is a treasure trove of valuable information for anyone interested in optimizing their physical performance and overall well-being. With his extensive knowledge and practical approach, he offers a wealth of insights into various aspects of human movement.

    One of the standout aspects of Dr. Starrett’s blog is his emphasis on the importance of range of motion (ROM) training. He explains how developing and maintaining proper mobility in our joints and muscles not only enhances athletic performance but also plays a crucial role in injury prevention and long-term joint health. His articles on techniques and exercises for improving ROM provide practical guidance that can be easily incorporated into anyone’s fitness routine.

    Another noteworthy topic that Dr. Starrett covers is the role of breathing in addressing back pain. Many people underestimate the impact that breathing patterns can have on their posture and spinal health. Dr. Starrett delves into the connection between breathing mechanics and back pain, offering practical tips and exercises to help individuals correct dysfunctional breathing patterns and alleviate discomfort.