Jess Elliott is an experienced strength and conditioning coach working at EXOS, and as an affiliate faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Jess is here to help you understand why it is so important to make time for off-the-bike strength and conditioning work. The low-impact aspect of cycling is advantageous to your body in many ways, but it does have some downsides as well. Ensuring that your body can move in a multi-planar fashion with ease and strength can prevent you from getting injured and will lead you towards being a more well-balanced individual suited for an active lifestyle.
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(Please excuse any typos as this transcript is generated automatically through A.I.)
Colby Pearce 00:12
Welcome to the Cycling in Alignment podcast, an examination of cycling as a practice and dialogue about the integration of sport and right relationship to your life.
Colby Pearce 00:31
Today’s episode is with Jess Elliot. Jess is the owner and founder of Tag Performance and her mission is to equip and empower athletes to live their best lives. Jess as an affiliate faculty member at the Metropolitan State University of Denver in the Department of Human Performance and a sports performance coach with EXOS. Jess has an extensive coaching history in strength and conditioning working with athletes of all ages and levels including youth, high school, NCAA division one, tactical athletes from the fire service, and professional athletes. She is passionate about lifelong athletic development, holistic coaching and sharing knowledge with others. Her professional interests include bridging the gap between the endurance and adventure communities, and strengthen and conditioning, redefining the model for corporate wellness, and education. She has a master’s degree in sports coaching from the University of Northern Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in human performance and sport from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist and tactical strength and conditioning facilitator. Through the National strength and conditioning agency and an EXOS performance specialist. That means she’s got a lot of letters after her name – so pay attention, you’ll learn a lot. Jess is a self proclaimed Alpine Lake enthusiast and is currently aiming to adventure to all of the Alpine lakes in the beautiful state of Colorado. She strives to live her best life above the treeline and aspires to help others do the same.
Colby Pearce 02:08
Jess Elliott welcome!
Colby Pearce 02:13
Welcome to the Cycling in Alignment podcast. Thank you for joining me. We’ve had some great conversations over the years at different points; I think I first met you at the training peaks – a training peaks – coaching summit.
Jess Elliot 02:25
Oh that’s right!
Colby Pearce 02:27
Jess you taught a strength and conditioning workshop, but it was super short, they’re like 40 minutes.
Jess Elliot 02:33
Yeah, it’s kind of painful because you’re teaching like the same exact presentation six times over the course of like two days so that was awesome. But yeah, I won’t say it was like 40-50 minutes
Colby Pearce 02:44
Just long enough to barely get a taste of good stuff.
Jess Elliot 02:47
Pretty much just enough to like have people ask me like 50 million questions that I don’t have enough time to answer.
Colby Pearce 02:52
Jess Elliot 02:53
Which is good.
Colby Pearce 02:54
Right. Well, it spurs interest and gets people thinking and – I think for the endurance community the world of strength and conditioning can be very – like a mystical unicorn, you kind of can imagine it and you can see it in your mind, but you don’t quite know what it is or how to explain it to someone… I don’t know if that’s the right analogy, but
Jess Elliot 03:12
Actually, that is I’m gonna steal that.
Colby Pearce 03:14
Mystical unicorn. So that was a really good session. And then you and I started working together on a few things, talking about some projects. You were at the time working for the University of Colorado Sports Medicine Performance Center, I believe is the official title
Jess Elliot 03:32
Colby Pearce 03:32
Yeah, it was, past tense. That center is now closed.
And you were in charge of the coolest system in the universe there: the DARI system. That’s D A R I. So – and you did a DARI screen on me and some of my athletes. Tell us about that system, please. Tell us what it did and how you interpreted the data and all the cool stuff that it taught you.
Jess Elliot 03:52
Mm hmm. And then I think Chris wrote an article about it and put it VeloNews. Is that correct?
Jess Elliot 03:52
Dari stands for “dynamic athletic research institute”. I think it’s actually “dynamic athletics researcher institute”…Yeah, so DARI was like the initial conceptualization. They’re the ones who created the system and then scientific analytics bought them out. The DARI system, at least as it was at the time, it’s a markerless 3D motion analysis system, and at the time, we were running a functional movement screen consisting of 19 different movements; upper body, lower body, looking at joint angles, range of motion, force generation, absorption, etc. And, gosh, yeah, utilizing that to assess mechanics. We are trying to incorporate it into our physical therapy model at the time. I was doing some collaborative work with CU Varsity Athletics to create some sports specific movement screens. And then with you, in particular, we were kind of implementing it more on the performance side. So, not necessarily using it for rehabilitation but, taking a look at your body assessing balances and or imbalances between left and right sides, front and back, what those different joint angles were, force production absorption capacity, and yeah – using that to help us gauge what direction we need to take your sports performance training.
Jess Elliot 05:12
Colby Pearce 05:13
The strength of that system was, okay, ostensibly you can do a movement screen on an athlete, if you’re a coach. You can have them squat or have them do an FMS or – and look at their limitations and range of movement, you can pick up on some asymmetries that’s based on your experience as a coach. You have to see the things that aren’t quite working and interpret them. The DARI system is extremely detailed and also had software that was predictive in the sense that it showed, based on the force production or the particular screen, it would show the range of limitation – the limitations and range of movement – or in case of, it was using force production to see what the – how athlete was generating force and where they weren’t. So it could tell that for example, when you did, a single, I think one of them was a single legged jump, just a single legged jump as high as you could.
Jess Elliot 06:10
Yeah we did a few different jumps…
Colby Pearce 06:11
Jess Elliot 06:12
There’s like a whole series
Colby Pearce 06:12
If I remember it? Yeah. And so you can see the difference in the ability to generate force from left to right. And then the software would interpret that and say, ‘Well, your, whatever, adductors are super tight on the side, because when you begin to initiate the jump, and you crouch down your knee, does this massive shift or’ – right?
Jess Elliot 06:33
Colby Pearce 06:35
Jess Elliot 06:36
So are you curious about how they were able to identify prime movers utilizing the jump?
Colby Pearce 06:44
Yes. So well, in your opinion, do you think that it was- was it doing his job as a software accurately predicting the way an athlete moved in the real world, was it adding to your ability to assess an athlete as a coach?
Jess Elliot 06:57
Absolutely. I would be careful about using the word – and they were very careful about this too. Because back when I was utilizing the system, they were kind of going through this whole process of, I believe FDA approval to use it more on the medical side of things. So we definitely want to avoid the word predictive, in a sense, and anything kind of related to that. But it definitely was great to validate, and quantify a lot of what you’re already seeing as a coach, because you do develop a Coach’s Eye after so many years of just watching given movements over and over again. But what’s nice is to actually have definitive joint angles, from stuff from side to side and to actually be able to compare it because it’s a standardized test and protocol that we’re putting an athlete through to have repeated data sets. Essentially, that’s something that’s incredibly beneficial, especially with injury rehabilitation, or even just in general for performance. It’s nice to have some solid numbers that we can reference back to outside of the amount of Wait, we’re putting on a bar. Yeah. And you know, working in strength and conditioning, that’s a lot of times the numbers that you get is the weight on the bar or inches, how high you’re jumping? Yeah, at least in the US, because we don’t like the metric system here. So yeah, what I really loved was finally having data that I could use. Because a lot of times two is a strength and conditioning coach, you know, you need to prove a lot of your points, and you need to show kind of your value and where you’re creating impact. And that was one of the things that the dowry system assisted with, is we could actually paint the picture using these numbers and using kind of these graphs and reports to say this is an indicator of where your performance is at. We could break that down for our athletes or for the clients at that period of time. But then we could implement a training protocol, much like we did with you, and then we can go back and do a repeated assessment and see how these things actually changed from Yep, time to time. And typically in strength and conditioning, you know, we do very general performance based assessments, but nothing as sophisticated as the DARI system.
Colby Pearce 09:12
And so when you say you need to kind of make a case for a certain model that you have in your mind of how an athlete is performing, you mentioned that you might show that to the athlete at times. I would imagine if you’re coaching, if you’re working with a team, you would also show that to the coach. So the coach could have an understanding, and you’re on the same page with them. This is why I’m recommending this course of action in their strength and conditioning program, or maybe we need to dial back. They don’t need as much strength right now because they can’t handle it because they’re too unstable. So we need to make more foundational movements. Is that fair?
Jess Elliot 09:43
Yeah, absolutely. Kind of one of the side projects I was working on at the time, was to try to use this system to actually finally get an idea from a data perspective of how athletes within a given sport move and how that changes over time. So, hypothetically, you could take a look at, you know, a tennis player, a cyclist, a runner and take a look at them from childhood, all the way up to high school sports where we’re starting to see a lot more injuries because kids are specializing super early and they play year round the same sport, so they don’t move differently. And then how does that change in college and then if they do happen to play professionally, or if it’s a lifetime sport, much like cycling or running or triathlons, you know, how does their body then continue to change and then having data that actually shows how the body changes throughout all those different points in time and so then we can actually start to see the effects that sport has on the body with long term wear and tear, the natural imbalances is going to kind of pull the body into as a part of that sport. You can’t really change that but we can help to mitigate for that. So I was trying to work with CU Varsity Athletics at the time. So work with some of their sport teams to create sports specific movement screens utilizing that DARI system.
Colby Pearce 11:03
Yeah. Cool. So that kind of leads me naturally right into the one of my questions that I had dreamed up for you, which was
Jess Elliot 11:12
As intentional. I read your mind
Colby Pearce 11:15
You did, you did it was a very good one. On the same page. So what are some of the typical sports specific compensations that you might expect to see in a cyclist?
Jess Elliot 11:27
That is a good question. Actually. I did make a list.
Colby Pearce 11:30
Oh, great. Speaking of, okay, well first of all, let me back up for a second: would you agree that cycling is – like to bash like going a little bit and I do that with the big loud clown nose because I consider myself licensed to bash it because I also call myself the world’s biggest bike dork and for some reason, that gives me license to fight cycling a little bit.
Jess Elliot 11:53
It s does
Colby Pearce 11:54
One of these days is going to come suck me right in the kisser. I know it, but that’s okay. You got to stir up the hornets nest once in a while to made people think, and that’s my objective. So would you agree that cycling is probably one of the worst, if not maybe the worst sport at bringing about a very specific set of sports compensation, sports specific compensations or movement patterns?
Jess Elliot 12:15
Yeah… from a mechanical standpoint, yeah. I would say swimmers and cyclists are kind of tied up there. And not all swimmers, like we triathletes, phenomenal athletes because they’re trisport athletes. But when I was working in collegiate athletics with the swim and dive team, those who specialized in like the front crawl, also known as breaststroke because of like that weird internal rotation that like happens at the hips as part of like the kicking actio
Colby Pearce 12:48
The flutter kick
Jess Elliot 12:48
Yeah, like I’m not a swimmer, obviously. So, but you could see that every single time they would do like a box jump, they would have that same exact motion. And it’s funny. They’re just they’re not really land creatures. And I kind of say that lovingly and dearling about the cycling community too, because every time I’ve worked with cyclists, including some of your own, and I’ve made them actually do things on the lands and not on a bike, it looks very interesting at first. So-
Colby Pearce 13:20
That’s our that’s our opening quote right there. Cyclists are not land creatures. That’s perfect.
Colby Pearce 13:22
No, that’s perfectly say it. You’re right, because cycling, so cycling is an interesting sport because it’s primarily open chain, but it can become closed chain at moments. Right? So just so that people are on the same page here. Open chain exercises, when you push on something and it moves away from you think about laying down on a bench and doing a bench press. That’s an open chain exercise because you’re pushing the bar away from your chest. A closed chain exercise would be a back squat, you’re pushing against the ground, but the ground doesn’t move. So the bar moves instead. So what you’re pushing against doesn’t move in a closed chain exercise. Most of the time cycling is a fundamentally it’s a bend and a lunge pattern if you break it down into Paul’s primal patterns, and it’s open chain because you’re pushing the pedal and it moves away from you. But when you get to a very steep climber, you run out of gears and the resistance becomes very high. There’s a point when you’re pushing so hard that your butt’s going to come out of the saddle, unless you stand up out of the saddle and then counter pull with the with the contralateral arm or the ipsilateral arm depending on how much the bike is rocking with the grade and what your effort is. You can switch back and forth. But you’re pulling with one or both arms to counter – counterbalance, counterbalance, to counter – stabilize the torso against the pushing of the hip and the knee on the pedal. Right? So cycling transitions from open chain to close chain and so I think probably one of the things that throws So many cyclists for a loop if they only ride their bikes is you’re asking to do things on the ground, and they’re transitioning from mostly open chain to hundred percent closed chain. Is that, that’s part of the reason why cyclists are not ground dwellers?
Jess Elliot 13:25
I think –
Jess Elliot 15:15
Yeah, I mean, it’s just it’s one of those things if you just take a look at, you know, we think what do they say like 10,000 hours is required for like mastery? Well, on a bike, I feel like you get there a lot faster than you would doing a lot of other sports just because you can do that for a long period of time. You know,
Colby Pearce 15:33
It’s a high volume sport generally.
Jess Elliot 15:34
Yeah. I mean, like getting tackled by a 300 pound lineman, I mean, like, I don’t know if I could do that 10,000 times… Or if that’s advisable, but yeah, cycling, I mean, like 10,000 hours. That’s something that over the course of a lifetime, you can certainly get there. And when you think about that, there’s just so much volume and so much practice. And then compared to how much time these cyclists are potentially spending doing activities on the lands? Yeah, you know, it’s probably going to be a little bit skewed more towards being non land based and being on the bike because you know what we work eight ish hours a day, five days a week, give or take I know with COVID, that’s changed a little bit. But for most of us, you know, we’re sitting, when we’re working, maybe standing if you happen to have a desk
Colby Pearce 16:22
Or job or you’re on your feet.
Jess Elliot 16:23
Yeah, but for the most part, I mean, you’re not really moving too much. But either way, even if you are, it’s still mostly going to be sagittal plane movements, right? I mean, I think the primary method of us to move in a multi planar fashion is just getting in and out of our car, or getting out of bed in the morning, but for most people, that’s kind of the extent of multiplanar movements, especially in a ground based fashion for cyclists. So I think it’s the combination of not having a lot of ground contact time and getting used to that understanding, force generation and absorption into the ground because That is different than trying to generate it into a pedal stroke. And then that other component would just be that multiplayer aspect which most endurance athletes are kind of guilty of, and just most people, it’s staying sagittal plane. So then you take them, put them on land where they’re not necessarily as comfortable and then you say, oh, move sideways, or rotate your hips and do a Carioca pattern. And they’re like, Wait, what? And they’re tripping over themselves and falling and it’s just kind of a hot mess. So it’s kind of a mix of both of those things together.
Colby Pearce 17:32
Yeah, I heard a interesting guest on the race a podcast recently. I don’t recall his name, but he they were talking about sitting and you know, Kelly started is obviously a big sitting guy. He wrote his book. It’s called desk bound, I believe. And the guy and Kelly was saying yeah. Juliet and I like to go mountain biking and the guy said, Yeah, but that’s really just more sitting man. And it was such a was interesting to have someone else tell Kelly that. But he’s right. Cycling is sitting I mean, it’s it is a bend pattern and a lunge pattern. But when you sit all day and then you go sit on your bike – more sitting. Again, I love bike riding. I think it’s a neat, really neat invention. But okay, so let’s hear your list of sports specific cycling adaptations.
Sport specific cycling adaptations
Jess Elliot 18:18
First and foremost was that anterior chain dominance, specifically antireflection, just between being in a seated position. And this is certainly not exclusive to cyclists. Just in America, we’re very anterior chain dominant into anterior flexion, just from sitting. So anything that’s causing us to sit for an extended period of time is going to cause this. So you see that with those rounded shoulders, and then at the hips so as a result, we tend to get some shoulder, upper back pain, mid back pain, and also our hips get locked up, which can then transfer to lower back pain. So that’s usually something that I see almost across the board with most cyclists unless they’re triathletes. That’s Kind of the one time when I won’t see as much of that anterior chain dominance. Other thing is lack of glute recruitments and or developments. And then that, of course will carry over to lower back pain and discomfort. So, what’s interesting is that I do tend to see cyclists to have decently developed hamstrings at times, it’s still not necessarily like the norm, per se, but I’m starting to see more hamstring development that I initially did when I started working with endurance athletes, but regardless, across the board, there’s just lack of glute recruitment, like they don’t know how to turn on their glutes, I’ll actually do like a prone hip extension test and have them like just lift their leg and test their ability to activate their glutes and they can’t. And even when I actually tried to teach the sequence, it’ll take them quite a while to learn how to isolate and even get that muscle to contract. So It’s definitely something that you know, takes a little bit of work with that other things that I’ll see with cyclists is just a complete lack of upper body strength. Um, ah, gosh, I’m kind of a huge advocate of just general athleticism, like you should be able to push and pull your body weights. The amount of people that I’ve met, there’s cyclists that can even do like one pull up athletically, wow, without kipping or, you know, cheating. It’s very low number. So, you know, huge lack of upper body strength. On the positive side of things. Definitely great muscular endurance. And a lot of that to not only comes from the bike, but with most strength programs that a lot of cyclists tend to get on. It’s super high reps. They think that because I’m cycling for a long time, that’s what my weight program should look like. So I’m going to do high reps of everything and so they usually have really well trained muscular endurance and given patterns Pretty decent sagittal plane stability. So if I were to actually put them in a unilateral movement, whether it’s a single leg RDL or I put them in a split squat, because that’s a position they tend to be on in the bike actually have really good stability. compared to most general population. If I try to put them in an inline lunge position, the wobble they’ll lose their balancing to hold on to something so there is a good amount of balance, particularly in that sagittal plane. Now if I’m asked them to move sideways, that stability over goes out the window, but sagittal plane stability. Rapid force production in like the quarter squat, I remember seeing this with you when we were training together back in what was it this was like 2017 2018 Yeah, fall 2017. Yeah. And so your squat, we are trying to train through like a pretty significant range of motion. Just because you have outstanding mobility and I’m all for building strength through a full range of motion. If you have it. So I noticed that kind of at the bottom of the squat, that force production super, super slow to kind of get the wheels turning, but then once you hit kind of like that 90 degree, point and up super explosive, and I’ve seen that across the board with most cyclists, because that’s where momentum starts kind of work in your favor, especially with the pedal stroke, and kind of where you’re at. So force production, your body’s just trained to work a lot faster through that particular range. And it’s just reinforced over the amount of volume that cycling provides you with two other things that are kind of less on the positive side. We do tend to see a lot of mobility restrictions a lot in the hamstrings a lot in the hips. I’ve had a lot of cyclists that can’t touch their toes, because everything is super locked up. And then an inability to hinge I think a lot of this has to do with a lot of that tightness. But also too they’ve never learned to hinge but it seems like an important position to be in on a bike if you want to Use your body properly, but very few cyclists I’ve met can actually get into a good hinge position.
Colby Pearce 23:06
Wow, that’s pretty astounding. Um, I mean, I, it bums me out to agree with you, but I think you’re right. Um, but just so our listeners are on the same page, we define what a hip hinge is, what does a good hip hinge look like? What does a crappy one look like?
Jess Elliot 23:22
Oh, gosh, um, let’s see, I’m trying to paint a good picture for our listeners right now. Um, I think the best way to think about it is if you were to take the human body so when we’re standing, we kind of make like an i capitalized. And then if you were to bend and kind of make like an L that’s been turned over on your side where your back is parallel to the ground. Yep, there’s a slight bend in your knees much kind of like at the very bottom part of a pedal stroke. You don’t want to be completely locked out. So you want a little bit of bend like 510 degrees. But then all of that flexion is coming from the hips. So none of it is actually coming from the natural waist area. Most people when they’re trying to hinge they start to round their shoulders, and so their back isn’t nice and flat. So instead of having like a nice clean looking L, for the most part, that top portion of their torso and backwards should be flat starts to get very rounded. So this looks like a little hook.
Colby Pearce 24:21
Yes. Yeah, like candy cane
Jess Elliot 24:23
It does look like a candy cane.
Colby Pearce 24:24
So, I like to describe it this way when I’m working with my clients in during fitting is if you were to stand with perfect posture, which would be how you describe the letter I right, and we dropped a plumb line from if we looked at the athlete from the side view, and we dropped a plumb line from the center their ear in theory should pass through the center of the shoulder, the center of the hips Center, the knee and the ankle, plus or minus a little bit right. And that would be considered pretty upright and good posture. It doesn’t mean all your spinal curves are perfect, but it means that your skeleton is relatively stacked, which means you utilize using less muscle to support your weight against gravity and more Everything’s stacked on top of each other the way it should be. Now, when you bend forward, what we could do to illustrate this point would be to measure using your own landmarks, the front side of the body. So you might take your hands and make like a hang loose sign. And so you’ve got your pinkie extended, and then your thumb extended. And then you’re going to touch your other Pinky. One pinky to the other thumb. So that makes a big long measuring stick. And we can measure along the front side of our body while we’re in that perfect standing posture. So you could go you could put your pinkie at the top of your pubic bone and take it up to around where your sternum is. Now when you bend forward, that ruler that you’re using should not get any shorter. If it gets any shorter that mean you have that means you have flexion somewhere in your spine that flexion could be in your lumbar spine or your thoracic spine. Any in anywhere in those vertebra. We don’t Really want that. Why? Because the paraspinal musculature is not really meant to endure or deal with a lot of forward bending load, meaning, if you were to pick up a big heavy cooler or a small child or a bowling ball or a kettlebell with that forward flexion of the spine, you would strain you could strain those muscles on that run on either side of the spinal cord. What do we want to use to lift heavy loads, we want to have the back be straight and use your glutes, the largest muscle in the body. The point being is when someone when we Forward Bend, ideally we want to hinge at the hip, not in the spine. You don’t want to use our spine as a hinge. And this is one of the most fundamental lessons and teachings of Dr. Eric Goodman who came up with foundation training. His whole program is based on the concept of for bending teaching people to for bend using the hip and bracing and not using the spine for four bending and also to activate posterior musculature during his exercise routine. So, I pretty commonly refer my athletes to foundation training when I see that they have a pretty lousy hinge pattern when they get on the bike. And it’s a big bummer to me to hear. You say that you see that as pretty common in the cyclists you’ve worked with, because cycling his hip hinge, like that’s the most fundamental demand of the sport is to hinge at the hip. And in my opinion, this is one of the reasons why bike fit is under a little bit of a separation right now. And some fitters are trying to avoid hip pinching, or they’ve kind of demonized the acute angle between the torso and the femur at the top of the pedal stroke. And there’s some validity to that reasoning, because there are several athletes who have had femoral arterial occlusion syndrome or whatever that’s called where you’re kinking the artery and then you don’t get blood flow to the leg. And then there’s surgeries and stents and all sorts of other solutions. And that’s obviously scenario we don’t want to have happen. Maybe some people just aren’t meant to be cyclists You know, that’s also a thing like I, I would make a pretty crappy basketball player. So we all have to kind of take what we can get and work with what we got. But I think hingegen the hip is a fundamental physical demand of the sport of cycling. It’s that’s what it is, and especially competitive cycling, because the better you want the bike to handle it, the more aerodynamic you want to be, the more you have to horizontal eyes, the torso, which by definition means more ending at the hip arranging. We’re hinting Yes. So it’s true.
Jess Elliot 28:32
Well, I’m just not to put it into perspective as well. It’s not just cyclists. I mean, most people just don’t know how to hinge. It’s, I think it’s surprising like you said that the cycling community doesn’t hinge because of most sports people that are actually placed in a hinge on a bike hypothetically, like that is the position you should be in, right. But I honestly I rarely see cyclists. In a hinge position while when they’re on their bike. Wow. And I live, you know, here in Colorado where there a lot of bike riders pass a lot of cyclists.
Colby Pearce 29:08
Yeah. Yeah, fair point. Fair point. So the other interesting thing you said is that when you put someone in a lunge, and probably you’re talking about a movement, screening FMS, right? Where we’re, we’re putting the athlete in a lunge as a movement screen, and we’re watching them lunge with feet directly in line with each other. So it’s a little bit of a balanced challenge. And you said, you find cyclists to be quite stable in that I have actually noticed more of a trend towards the opposite. And I think this is one really interesting phenomenon about movement screens is that we should be really careful as coaches not to apply our bias towards it and go on a fact finding mission, right. Like all cyclists do this and therefore, I expect to see that and Oh, look, there it is. That’s called confirmation bias, right? I don’t want to do that. If I’m looking to move in screaming, I don’t mind ideally, I want to see the athlete for who they are because it’s a fact finding. expedition, you’re trying to figure out how this athlete moves and put together, what they are on the bike and what their sensations are and what their strengths are and what challenges they’re having. And that’s how you serve them best is to have that open mind that open palette, that whiteboard. So when I’ve looked at cyclists in this inline lunge, I see them actually have pretty dreadful stability in the feet and ankles. But really strong quads, of course, and hip flexors. And so they can pack their way through it, almost always, but the stability in their ankles is pretty dreadful. And my theory on that is that Cycling is a sport that is the way I think about it. Cycling is a sport that conditions certain muscles for durability, and others not so much. I mean, this is true of all sports. This is kind of what sports specific compensations are. They’re either postural they change your posture over time, or they condition some muscles more than others. And this is where the problem lies. in sport, is that if you practice a sport that has a very specific mood pattern, some muscles become really strong or really durable, will say have good endurance, and others aren’t. And the problem isn’t that you’re making some muscles strong, it’s the delta between the muscles that you’re ignoring and the muscles, you’re training all the time. That’s where the issue is, in my mind. It’s the it’s how big that the differential is, because that’s how that’s what causes problems and postural distortions and asymmetries and eventually pain if you let it carry out over a long enough timeline. That’s how I kind of think about it. And so when someone has really strong quads and hip flexors, and probably pretty strong calves, but mostly statically, but then their ankle stability is crap because they’re always riding around in a cycling shoe, which is basically I refer to them as a carbon fiber flipper, because it’s so stiff that their ankle, the foot and ankle complex need to be strong in order to deliver the force that’s being made at the hip, right and at the hip joint in the knee joint and need to go into that pedal but cycling doesn’t work. Work those muscles, it lets them be lazy. It’s like having a really nice padded chair that you sit in all the time, you’re not gonna have good posture. When this chair is all fluffy and comfy, you’re just going to collapse into it and then eventually your spine starts to be shaped like the chair. This is kind of what happens with a cycling shoe. It’s so rigid. In particular, what’s almost the worst scenario is when someone has a really weak foot and ankle and they’ve got really no protocol to strengthen the arch or strengthen the ankle in any kind of dynamic movement. They’re not contacting the earth, they’re not walking on the earth with minimal shoes or anything like that. And then you put them in a cycling shoe that super rigid all the time, with no support, meaning no meal or support, no real heel cup support. It’s just kind of some, you know, generic shoe last that’s made by a conventional shoe manufacturer in cycling, and then the foot posture just goes Smash. He said while making it pronation motion,
Colby Pearce 32:56
and then you get this foot that’s just not capable of really delivering anything. It’s completely reliant on the lever of the shoe. And then, okay, so So what? Well, okay, like really, really extreme cases I’ve seen where people’s medial malleolus, which is their kind of inside ankle bone hits the crank arm and chainstay on every pedal stroke, because there’s so medially collapse there. So over protonated statically, their foot just sticks that way, then they have problems walking, when you’re pronated. That much it’s going to be followed by internal rotation of the femur is most of the time and probably going to start to dump your pelvis, which is going to probably challenge your core strength and give you increased lumbar lordosis. But on the bike, I’ve noticed that most of the time, we’re actually going the other way, because you’re so rounded. And if people don’t have a good hip hinge, and they’re craning over to reach the handlebars, that undoes lumbar lordosis lordosis right, it creates a flat back. So in my experience, most cyclists tend towards reduced lumbar lordosis. So just to make sure everybody’s on the same page When you’re standing on that perfect plumb line, there’s a normal amount of curve to your lower back. So if you were to stick your finger in your bellybutton and then find the vertebra that’s on the exact opposite side of that on your on your lower back. If you were to stand against a flat wall and put your hand vertically between your lower back on that wall, assuming you don’t have really big glutes, you’re not rocking a lot of drunk in the trunk or law shelf, then that hand should approximately fit in that lumbar curve. If you have a flat back that means your lumbar curve is flattened against the wall and you can’t fit your hand in there. If you’ve got really big glutes because you do tons of squats and leg presses and lunges then you might get the idea you have more curved the way around that is to use the corner of a wall and put the put the corner in your crack. So then the wall would touch you at the sacrum right in bed. between your shoulder blades and just at the back of your head, those would be the three points of contact. And you would just be able to slide your hand vertically between the wall and the lumbar spine. That’s a, it’s a, it’s like an Italian lifestyle equivalent of a rough idea of what your lumbar curve should look like. So if you’re curious, try it out. But cycling tends to undo that in general, because if you have a bad a poor, we’ll say sub optimal hip hinge, or for bend, then you’re going to take that bend either in your thoracic spine or lumbar spine. And in my experience, a lot of cyclists do it in their lumbar spine. And the worst case scenario is they don’t even do it kind of gradually spread out over multiple vertebra. It’s almost like a kink. It’s like right around our four things just go from we’ll say 48 degrees at the sacrum to like flat when they’re in the drops. It happens in one vertebra and that clearly, clearly, you’re not going to have a really easy time stabilizing the pelvis with a lot of distal load a lot. legs, making a lot of force if the pedals there, if that spine is creased like that, excuse me, spit flying out of my mouth. And then also, you’re gonna have a really hard time breathing because when you’re standing on that perfect plumb line, when you breathe diagrammatically, the diaphragm contracts, you inhale and your viscera are pushed out and that you get that nice Buddha belly. That’s that big inhale, right, that’s the Buddha belly noise by the way. And we should see your your viscera, your guts distend out when your diaphragm pushes them down. But when you fold yourself over in half of your your ribs are impinging on your diaphragm. You can’t breathe that dramatically. And this is one of the fundamental challenges of bike fitting is getting this is why this is one of several reasons why hip hinge is so important. And also, please just tell me if you agree with me or not, but if someone’s not hinting properly at the hip, how can they deadlift or squat or lunge properly How can they engage glutes? Right? If you’re, if your sacrum stays vertical when you bend over and your spine cranes over like that candy cane, you’re not engaging glue. That’s all quads. If you were to also squat say,
Jess Elliot 37:14
yeah, I mean, I, I agree with all of that, to, to your point about like the hinting one of the things that I consistently see is posterior pelvic tilt. Hmm, yeah. Cyclists right, I think then it’s kind of what you’re talking about with like that flatten almost lower back. And that certainly doesn’t help their ability to hinge because they actually don’t know how to like, unlock their pelvis. Yep. And push it into like an anterior pelvic tilt. They don’t know. They’re just kind of like that. They just they tuck their pelvis underneath and it’s stuck there. Yes. Yes. So they don’t know how to unlock that. So and what’s interesting, and I don’t know if I should point this out or not, but I don’t really love the SMS.
Colby Pearce 37:55
Please, please fire away. Yeah. Tell me what you don’t like about it. Well, Let’s define it first. So the FMS is a. The form I use is a five stage movement screen, and I use it during fitting sometimes. And it’s really simply put it’s an overhead squat, an inline lunge, a hurdle step, a seated twist. And it’s a prone hamstring range of motion test. Those are the five I use.
Jess Elliot 38:27
Oh, see yours is a little bit different.
Colby Pearce 38:29
Probably, you know what, to be honest, I may have modified or hacked mine over the last 10 years by fitting so we’ll do. Yeah, I mean, that you got to use the screen that you think is applicable. Right.
Jess Elliot 38:39
Yeah. And I mean, I think it’s, it’s a little bit skewed in a sense, because I mean, if I were testing large groups of athletes and I needed a system where I could do a test that’s repeatable. And it’s short and quick, then yes, I might go back to the FMS So in strength and conditioning, we typically use great cooks. FMS, the functional movement system and functional movement screen. He also has the SFM a, right, which I like a little bit more which chiropractors tend to use and it looks at more functional based movements. Definitely not like athletic type movements like an inline lunge. Like if you were to ask my like seven year old mom to do an inline lunge. I don’t think she could even stand in that position, let alone like lunge down onto it,
Jess Elliot 39:31
So that FMS is definitely geared more towards athletic people. But then there’s the SFM A, which if you’re really trying to look at joint position, and where true dysfunction lies, that can be kind of a handy little screen. But like I said, more chiropractors and pts utilize that strength and conditioning coaches don’t because we’re also not authorized to do the breakouts that are attached to that because we’re not supposed to be doing like hands on patient type work, right? Because we’re not credentialed for soft tissue work. So right Right, right. Yep, but with my current models, I don’t really like use an FMS because I can see if someone’s movement quality sucks. You know, the biggest thing I work on with most athletes is developing a sense of resilience, and general athleticism and overall readiness. It’s amazing just how much athleticism people lack. And I don’t need to go through some complex, you know, screen and virtually, it’s a little bit even more challenging to do so in current times. So, you know, really, when I’m working with clients, I just have them send me videos of them going through movements, especially when I’m first taking on clients. So I want to see front side and then rear views for a lot of different movement patterns so I can see what their movements look like. But I mean, you know, you get used to just looking at so many movement patterns over time that you can see where their weaknesses are, so I don’t necessarily need to take them
Colby Pearce 40:59
through Specific screen.
Jess Elliot 41:01
Yeah, it’s just it’s more time consuming. And then then it’s just more records and it’s more work for them. I see. And for me, so
Colby Pearce 41:07
Oh, so you’re watching them, and they’re a neat sport. And their sport is filming from different angles?
Jess Elliot 41:13
Well, so it depends on the context of the athlete and how I’m working with them and when I’m working with them, but let’s say it’s one of the athletes that I’m taking on. For my personal business, I’ll just have them you know, we’ll talk about kind of what what they need to do what what their goals are for their whatever program. I’m primarily working with athletes. So it’s usually some sort of performance that we’re working towards. But I want to see when I’m working with any new client, I want to see how they move. And so the longer I work with a client, the less videos I need to see over time because I kind of understand how their body moves. If we incorporate something new. I’ll do like movement checks and I want to see technique checks. But for the most part, once I know how an athlete moves, it’s not something where I need to see like videos of every single micro scopic movement Yeah, so Okay, definitely more videos to start so I can get an idea of where that athlete is, essentially and what we need to develop, to make them more well rounded, in a sense and make them more just athletic, which to me involves that resilience, but also readiness. But yeah, I mean, I’ve kind of simplified things a lot. It’s almost like the more I get into this field, the more I’m trying to find the most simplistic way to do things and not overcomplicate things, that
Colby Pearce 42:33
the the end the the end goal is always to reduce and boil down to what’s really going to have the best impact for the client, right? Because, I mean, I just finished Paul checks IMS two course and we learned another 37 assessments you can do right there. I mean, it just goes on and on. Like you could spend two days just assessing an athlete and learning every minute detail. And I think there’s a point when you kind of have to do some of that to get to help develop the intuition, but this goes Back to my conversation about how Cycling is a little lost right now because people I think, rely too much on numbers on power meters and heart rate and data, data day to day they want to get so deep into the data that they lose their own ability to touch base with their intuition. How fast Am I going right now? Not not how much power Am I making? Not what’s my heart rate? Not how long have you been riding or how many kilometers I’ve been riding? But right now how fast can I go from here to the top of old stage road? And that guy just attacked me? Can I keep up with him? Or am I going to be able to keep up with her and match her pace? Or should I try and dropper I’ve got this many meters left on this climb. And it’s what I’m saying is it’s the same as a coach. You want to we’ve got all this data we can look at range of motion but ultimately wanted to still think that’s the goal. Because there are so many ways to quantify every every possible movement in the human body. I mean, and like the cold of any says we’re solving the fractal Right. bodies are so amazingly complex, if you’re not aware of how complex the human body is, I think you just haven’t learned yet.
Jess Elliot 44:08
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s part of the problem is that if you want to learn a lot of those in depth things, which I have, I’m like you, I’ve geeked out on so much of that. Um, but it does, it takes you down this rabbit hole where, you know, they’re about, there are hundreds or thousands of different assessments that you can potentially be doing on athletes, but really one I need to remember, like, I can say, in my wheelhouse, you know, I’m not a PT, I don’t necessarily need to function as one. There have definitely been a couple of key assessments that I’ve learned over the years, from physical therapists from athletic trainers, chiropractors, etc, that have helped me do what I need to do better. And so it’s just it’s a lot easier for me to be able to do that, as opposed to saying here, go schedule a visit with a PT so that I can have the answer to this. It’s I can just get the answer right then and there. Right? There are some things that are applicable. But do I need to know all the hundreds and thousands of different ways to test the shoulder or the hip? Right? No. But also to when I think about movements, you know, kind of like you said, I don’t want to overly reduce things down. Because at the end of the day, you know, a lot of times, this is a huge debate kind of in strength and conditioning. You know, a lot of people like the Olympic lifts like clean jerk snatch, throwing huge weights up and over your head, because it looks really cool and badass. It also kind of looks like a shoulder dislocation waiting to happen in most instances, but, you know, like, there’s all these complex movements and assessments and yeah, they may look really cool. And as a practitioner, it might make you like, you know, kind of feel like a badass to be like, Oh, yeah, I diagnose this labral tear. I did this but right, you know, but honestly, like, my job is to get them moving better. You know, I’m trying to increase resilience. I’m trying to develop that constant readiness, I’m trying to optimize their performance, I need to look at how their bodies moving systemically as a whole. And so for me, I always have kind of that holistic view in mind. And so, yeah, I can, you know, look at every single minute joint articulation. Is that important in some instances? Yes. Like with the Dory system that was super, super fascinating. And I like overly geeked out on that way too much. I think I was attached to my computer screen for like half a year. I think my coworkers were a little concerned.
Jess Elliot 46:37
it it’s so easy to get lost in that rabbit hole, when really you can kind of just zoom out and get that 30,000 foot view and just say, let me just look at how you’re moving. Yeah. And just from that, just by having an athlete walk down the hallway and walk back towards me barefoot. Yeah, you know, you can see so much that needs to be addressed. That that can fill you know the next two, three months. are training. And I don’t need to do any more assessments of that. So it’s just it’s, it’s a balance, right? It’s about time saving, in a sense, but it’s also about prioritizing needs. And at the end of the day, I’m not training them to have the perfect squat, because they’re not power lifters. I’m not training them to be Olympic lifters to be able to execute a super complex, you know, clean to jerk movements. I’m trying to get them better at their sport. You know, most of them don’t even really like being in the weight room, quite honestly. They want to be out having fun, and that’s all athletes that I’ve worked with. Most of them do not like time in the weight room. So the more I can transfer things to the sport, the better and so the less in the leads I can get with some of these movements and the less zoomed in and kind of fractal, the better.
Colby Pearce 47:53
Okay, just that was a very good overview of some of your philosophies. As a coach and as a trainer. Maybe you can expand a little bit on that and Talk about some specifics in your program design.
Jess Elliot 48:03
Sure, and let me know if you want me to kind of zoom in on any of these. I’m definitely guilty of kind of zooming out sometimes a little bit too much, because there is so much individual variation. So I prefer to give bigger picture concepts. But I also understand that people kind of want specifics. So when I’m approaching program design, you know, just as we talked about, I’m thinking about optimizing performance, increasing resilience and kind of developing that constant state of readiness for the demands of sport, but also to the demands of life as well, especially with cycling because most of these athletes that we’re working with, they’re not in their teens and 20s. You know, and this isn’t a sport that they’re just going to do for three to 10 years. This is something that they’re going to do for the rest of their lives. Majority of my athletes are probably between 30 to 50 years of age, I’d say 45 is a good mid midpoint for my athletes, but their parents, you know, they’re full time employees. They have a lot A lot of life things going on as well. So I need to kind of keep that in mind. But in general, the things that I’m looking at primarily is a lot of general athleticism. And then looking at long term athletic development, we kind of talked briefly about how athletes these days, they’re getting more sports specific injuries in childhood, essentially, I mean, when I was working, gosh, in like 2013 to 2015, with high school athletes in particular, there were soccer players that were already on their second and third, ACL tears. And I mean, that just shouldn’t be happening. I mean, they’re already at a point where they can’t play in college because their body is so broken down and they’re in their teens, like that’s just that shouldn’t be happening, especially
Colby Pearce 49:45
if they’re already on a path to a scholarship or something.
Jess Elliot 49:48
So devastating and actually, two of the athletes
Jess Elliot 49:53
had, I believe one of them was senior, so she was in her final year, so she had completed her rehab program. I’m with our PT and our ortho doc just got released to return to sport and within like a month, she retorted, wow, so just super, super devastating. But that whole tangent aside, one of the things I look at is long term athletic development, because you do need to have the whole spectrum in mind, you can’t just be thinking about an athlete. In terms of this point in time, you just you can’t think about, you know, the next year of their race season or even you know, with Olympic athletes kind of what their quadrennial plan looks like, you really need to think about the long term quality of life that that athlete is going to have for that person. Yeah, so in general, overhead concepts, things I’m looking at and emphasizing are making sure that there’s multiplayer movement, because even though your sport might not have you moving in all three planes, I mean, technically, we’re always kind of moving to some degree in all three planes, right. But to not split hairs, you know, most athletes in the endurance world running cycling, they’re going to be sagittal plane dominant. So we want to incorporate multiplayer movements. We want to work on coordination skills. If you want to see something funny have cyclists go through an agility ladder? That’s pretty entertaining. You watch me do that a couple times. Hey, you nailed it. Oh, there’s some really solid rhythm to that to cyclocross.
Jess Elliot 51:16
Colby Pearce 51:18
probably is the thing that helped me was about 15 years across.
Jess Elliot 51:22
I should do like a correlation study about that on like cyclists agility, between like road cyclists and like mountain bike athletes and then like cyclocross, maybe gravel, that
Colby Pearce 51:32
would be interesting. It’d be really interesting, just to see kind of like, these
Jess Elliot 51:36
different like variables, how they perform at different tests.
Colby Pearce 51:39
Yes. I’m sure the peer roadies would be the worst by far.
Jess Elliot 51:42
I think a key thing to reference here is just because your sport doesn’t require you to like move in a multiplayer fashion or to be necessarily highly coordinated. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still have those abilities as a human being that needs to function. So you know, coordination Cuz that’s important. Mobility stability function reaction time. I mean, you think we live in Colorado so you slip on ice pretty often, right? If you’re me, so the ability to catch yourself and not trip and fall on your face or to not, you know, break a femur. Yeah, exactly, like break something or strain something. Yeah. So to that same end force generation, but on the opposite side of things, force absorption, which we don’t necessarily train a lot of people are like, Oh, I’m doing all these plyometrics and box and box jobs and all this fun stuff. But I’m like, Yeah, but can you Lance and most people like, yeah, and then I watched them and it looks like shit. And I’m like, No, okay, you can’t but Okay, so
Colby Pearce 52:42
what’s our basic rule on that? Which rule, you can only make force that you can absorb, right? You can ever create what you can absorb? Yeah. So this is a concept that I don’t think a lot of bike racers are aware of. But this can bring us into our conversation about concentrate versus essential force. Right. But Cycling is in my opinion, as far as I know, it’s dominantly concentrate, there is no East centric load and cycling, maybe minute amounts of East centric load.
Jess Elliot 53:10
I think you hit the nail on the head earlier when you’re talking about closed chain. Yeah. When you actually like if you’re going up something, it’s like super steep grade. Yeah, when it transitions to close chain, the only time I could think about essentra is actually when you’re writing out of the saddle.
Colby Pearce 53:25
Okay, so let’s rewind and make sure that Ray knows what we’re talking about. The definition of concentric and eccentric just so people know. concentric is when a muscle contracts and it gets shorter. He centric is when a muscle contracts is under load, and it’s getting longer. So this is why in order for there to be a centric load on the bike, there’s only one condition I can think of that most people will identify with. And when you push down on the pedal, your hip and your knee are both extending the joints are extending when the pedal comes up towards you on the backside of the stroke, the knee and the hip or both. flexing, if the pedal was loaded, meaning it was pushing up against you, and you were resisting it, that would be eccentric load. The only condition I know of in cycling, where that happens is when you’re riding on a fixed gear, and you’re trying to slow the bike the bike down by applying back force to the pedal when it comes up towards you, that would be essentially load and cycling. So if you’re a messenger and you’re riding around San Fran with no break, then you’re subject to a centric load all the time. If you are a track racer, and you are on the track and there are times when you do an Oh man, I’m going to wipe out moment and you panics, try to panic, stop or control your speed or slow down really can’t stop it takes a while to stop, slow down by applying back force to the pedals. That’s a centric load. But you have to be in a fixed gear for that to apply when you’re on a bike that coasts or any bike with a free will. As soon as you stop pedaling then my coast so there’s no eccentric load. So the reason that So back to our conversation about what the force you can produce versus the force you can absorb. Right? When you’re on the bike and you’re training, even if you’re training explosively on the bike, doing sprints and standing starts and sprinting up hills and lots of accelerations that’s you’re only able to actualize the concentric portion of generating force on a bike, there is no way to train that a centrically. And this is why when a cyclist goes to the gym for the first time in the fall, or when they go on a hike and they hike downhill, they annihilate themselves instantly because their muscles are not conditioned to handle any centric load. They haven’t been having an eccentric load for months and months and months of racing and training. And when you hike downhill, that’s another example of a centric load. When you go downhill, you put your foot down extended, and then you lower your body weight down the mountain as your knee and hip flex, or bend more. And that muscle, the muscle, the quad is under load, the glute is under load. So it’s so when that happens microscopically This is what causes massive muscle damage because the muscles loaded but being pulled apart, the fibers are being lengthened to under load. And that’s what actually rips and destroys muscle fibers. And then you look at them under a scope and you see that fibers are literally ripped in half, and there’s cell pieces of air and damage and all kinds of stuff going on. So same thing when you go to the gym, you stand up and push that that bar up when you’ve got a bar in your back or during a back squat and then you lower down the weight is pulling you towards the center of the earth and your muscles getting longer so as he’s injured load, just want to explain that so that people are really clear on that concept. Now where were we?
Jess Elliot 56:36
He centric loading force absorption?
Colby Pearce 56:38
Yes, yes. So because of the fact that we can train Thank you. We can train really hard on a bike you can of course do damage to your muscles and oxidative stress and you can even you can even create hypertrophy on the bike if you train in just the right way I suppose. But well, clearly you can. There are cyclists who have really brutal look like quadzilla and they have these tiny little upper body arms you No Chicken, Chicken arms, and then they’ve got massive quads. So clearly, if they’re riding their bike a lot, their muscles are responding to the load on the bike and they’re becoming bigger and stronger. That’s hypertrophy. But it’s harder to create any kind of absorptive force on the bike. Because absorbing force is by definition, correct me if I’m wrong, please II centric, it’s when you jump off of the tall box and land on the ground. And it’s a nice centric force. You’re absorbing your own body weight with using your legs so that you don’t collapse and smash into the ground.
Jess Elliot 57:35
Yeah, right. And another maybe easier way to think about it is its deceleration, its deceleration. Yes, no. Acceleration is going to be that concentric phase and if you think about a bike, all you’re doing is concentric because you’ll have brakes. You don’t need the body to actually break for you. You have brakes that’ll slow things down or the body doesn’t have to
Colby Pearce 57:56
do that things go horribly wrong. A mountain or a car. Another cyclist or a dog owner?
Oh sad sad.
Colby Pearce 58:03
Yes, I’ve had a dog be my braking surface. Oh didn’t wasn’t a happy moment. He kind of deserved it though. He ran right in front of me. Anyway, um no, it was a stray hungry terrified dog in Puerto Rico
Jess Elliot 58:23
feel like a fool I feel like a horrible person but that kind of makes me feel a little bit better.
Colby Pearce 58:29
No one loved you.
Jess Elliot 58:31
Well, no, I mean, it’s like you know, I’m picturing this like feral beast that would have like pretty much you know eaten you for food possibly had you not had
Colby Pearce 58:40
not gotten up from the crash?
Jess Elliot 58:42
Yeah, so you know I’m just like, it was either you or him this
Colby Pearce 58:46
it was the perfect shitstorm he like ran directly from the other side of the road straight under my wheel. I don’t understand it was the one ride I’ve done without a helmet in the last decade so I was flying ass over teakettle through the air upside down. Dropping F bombs with his dog knowing that I was about to hit the ground. Just every once in a while. Yeah, I scraped my head pretty good. And you know scouts are really vascular. Yeah, they are. So there was blood everywhere. I mean, I was actually I was kind of banged up but not too bad wasn’t concussed. Fortunately, it is. But man, it was a bloody mess. Literally. Cycling is a sport. I mean, you said it as well, just like there’s some sports that you can practice regularly that will naturally give you a more balanced athletic body, right? I mean, this is not if you go trail running and add rock climbing, and then occasionally throwing some jumping jacks and cartwheels and a little bit of light lifting like you’re probably doing okay. But when you’re writing, the range of motion is so restrictive and it’s so repetitive. And this is what is something that I think a lot of people know this but a lot of people don’t from in my experience, especially because we have so much new blood in the sport of cycling in the last decade. Is that Cycling is a sport that’s so intensely dependent upon total career volume. That’s why it’s such an old man sport. That’s why you can have a 38 year old when the Olympic road race and win a gold medal. But you can also have 21 year olds winning at the world level at cycling. But as a general rule, the trend is for older men and women to to have long careers long career longevity is a sport where you can keep going for a while, and you can still generally speaking, keep winning and keep winning unless you have a really catastrophic crash and break major bones that can sometimes derail careers. But it’s it’s a sport where the strength required to drive a bike or a pedal with a lot of force over a long duration. Basically, the more you practice the sport, the better you get at that, the worse it makes you with everything else. Right, arguably is that you think that’s probably fair to say, that’s my kind of model in my head.
Jess Elliot 1:00:56
Yeah, I mean, that’s certainly true. And you know, It’s kind of up for up to every individual to decide what they want. I mean, take a look at me. Yes, I’m kind of that person who I ski and I travel around and I hike up mountains, and I do climbing and I dance and all these things, but I’m also not necessarily superior at any of these things. But I’m probably very unlikely to get injured, right, unless I fall off one of those mountains. So it’s it’s definitely
Jess Elliot 1:01:27
what you’re willing to sacrifice. Yeah,
Colby Pearce 1:01:28
Jess Elliot 1:01:30
Of course, you know, those are one of those decisions. I think all athletes need to kind of face at some point is how far down the rabbit hole. Am I willing to go for my sport?
Colby Pearce 1:01:39
Yeah. And I recognize that I’m coming from potentially I’ll say maybe an entitled perspective in this because I spent 10 years as a pro 15 years as a pro, whatever. And I’ve been racing my bike for 35 years. So now I’m in a place where there were definitely times in my career where I wanted to branch out and do other things and I felt that was in my I don’t know think that it was in my greater health to do that. Now the further I am from being paid to ride a bike, the more I can adopt that philosophy and still not, I can go show to my local Wednesday group ride with my old guys or whatever. And if they kick my ass one week, I don’t really care that much. I have no skin in the game anymore. But that’s easy for me to say that because I went to World Championships nine times and went to the Olympic Games. So a Wednesday ride doesn’t mean much to me. I still enjoy it, I want to do it. It’s something I still part of my practice my movement practice. But I’m also going on trail runs and vibrams and doing kettlebell workouts and moving in, you know, multi planar activities and trying to balance out my body after those years. So that’s just where my path is, on the whatever you want to call it, the path of the warrior, you know, there’s eventually a point when the warrior puts down the sword in the evolution, they no longer need to go to battle.
Jess Elliot 1:02:55
That’s a really good way of putting it.
Colby Pearce 1:02:57
So but I also recognize that’s my perspective. To have on it, um, not everyone’s there, they’re still so hungry to prove what they can sport and I respect that otherwise I wouldn’t be a coach. So that’s a constant reminder for me that I have to kind of keep fresh in my head is like, this is the client’s journey. I’m not here to impose my shows or words on them. I’m not here to tell them where they should go. What I’m here to do is help them learn their lesson and be on their path or paraphrasing Arnold patent and his universal principles. Everybody’s journey is perfect exactly as it is. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now. You are on the path you’re supposed to be. Another one I like to remind my clients of all the time that many of them have a really hard time dealing with recently is your body is the perfect healing machine. You find that to be a common theme with some athletes you work through where they don’t they they’re, it’s almost like Root Chakra like sort of discipline. belief that their body is going to come back. Like they had an injury. And they kind of come to you and they’re maybe like, have the mindset of lost it, you know, I’m never going to be as good as I was or, you know, this injury is going to send me back forever, or maybe for nine months, which for them is forever to a young athlete especially, or even one month can be forever for a young athlete. Or they get sick, and they’re like, maybe I’ve contracted some horrible mitochondrial disease, and I’ll never be able to go fast again, or gain strength. Right? Do you find that to be a theme that you’ve experienced with senior athletes? I know this question is kind of out of out of left field, but,
Jess Elliot 1:04:36
um, I think just because of the population I’m working with right now, I don’t see that as much. But what I will say on the recovery and kind of to that healing capacity side of things. They don’t seem to be stressed about or concerned about their ability to recover, but they do seem to be very misinformed about what it’s going to take to get there. Yeah, so I think there’s definitely a misconception about, oh, if I just give something enough time I can, you know, kind of keep living my life the way I want to, and it’ll still heal. I don’t think that they realized that there are actually proactive healing things, yeah, to be doing to help facilitate that. And their body also only has so much attention at any given point and surgery. Exactly. So if you’re trying to do 50 million things, and healing is one of that 50 million, it’s going to take a lot longer than if you’re doing like three things, and healing is one of them. Yeah. And I think that’s just kind of a cultural pitfall that we’ve gotten ourselves into an America is that we feel like we should be able to do 50 million things and be brilliant at all of them. That’s kind of like the new American dream, in a sense, and it’s just not sustainable for our bodies. And so I think more what I’ve seen is just that misunderstanding about what’s required to heal and in the same way that we want to optimize performance Want to optimize healing and that also means sometimes devoting as much of your body’s energy to that as possible to set yourself up for a successful healing process
Colby Pearce 1:06:08
to heal and recover from the work you’ve done. Yeah, I agree. I agree. That’s really interesting. You say that I think I had kind of maybe, you know, I see things through the lens of cycling. And as a cycling coach, I tend to see things through that, in that little microverse. And there’s definitely an endemic old school culture and cycling of you’re either riding super hard, smashing yourself for 100 miles, doing intervals, doing group rides, you know, racing, or you’re laying on the couch, and you’re sleeping more, that’s, or you’re getting a massage. Those are in the old school world of cycling. Those are the three primary recovery modalities. That’s how you recover from all that other stuff you did. That’s it, that’s what you have. You don’t write the absence of writing. Which also the problem there is that especially if you’re a young person, you might tend tend to fill that with other stuff. So Now we’ve gone from the absence of writing to I’m gonna lay on the couch and binge watch Game of Thrones. Well, that’s not exactly. Not stressful to your reticular activating system or your hormones to watch a bunch of people being I don’t know, I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but it sounds like it’s all kinds of like mesas in the head and people getting burned by dragons and stuff like that. I don’t know. So
Jess Elliot 1:07:22
accurate description. Okay.
Colby Pearce 1:07:24
I picked up the right tidbits, I guess. But so it’s not only about the absence of writing, it’s it’s their active methods you can use to recover there are active ways to balance out all those Yang energy in your life with some rejuvenation some yen activities, right. Some restorative activities.
Jess Elliot 1:07:42
Yeah, absolutely. And that that’s kind of a cool segue into, you know, we want to think about sympathetic activity activities, which are working out a lot of racing is going to be that sympathetic, you know, fight, flight, freeze, get our adrenaline going. stressors of daily life. We tend to Just get locked in that sympathetic overload, just as human beings and we don’t incorporate enough parasympathetic modalities, which will actually turn that off. And so that can actually cause a lot of hormonal damage over time as well, just because your system is locked into that stimulating sympathetic overdrive, right. And it’s constantly trying to support your body in that stressed state. Yep. And so yeah, a lot of times nowadays, gosh, with a lot of the cyclists are like, oh, should I be doing recovery ride? Like, that’s their idea of? Yeah, resting is riding just an easier ride, right? I’m like, okay, we need to re define recovery here. But yeah, definitely what you mentioned is that it’s not just about the absence of sympathetic modalities, but you actually need to incorporate parasympathetic modalities to fully get your body to shift back out. Otherwise, you’re just going to be dumping tons and tons of adrenaline over time, which depletes your adrenals and can lead to Yes, a lot of Different health issues over time.
Colby Pearce 1:09:02
Oh, but when I’m tired and my dreams are smoke, I can just drink more coffee, right?
Jess Elliot 1:09:05
Oh, yeah. Red Bull monsters? Yeah.
Colby Pearce 1:09:07
Oh, even better. You know, I mean coffee. So old school.
Jess Elliot 1:09:11
I know caffeine with tons of preservatives and other chemicals.
Colby Pearce 1:09:13
Right? Yeah. And there’s all that other stuff in there like taurine and things. Those are performance enhancing, right?
Yeah, the more ingredients the better.
Colby Pearce 1:09:22
Jess Elliot 1:09:24
The less I can pronounce it, the more important I think it is.
Jess Elliot 1:09:30
Side note, I’m being completely facetious right now. Sarcasm
Colby Pearce 1:09:33
hashtag sarcasm people. Okay, good. I’m really enjoying our conversation. I’m gonna shift gears for a minute. Jess, tell us what your favorite color is. I made up a color just
Jess Elliot 1:09:49
for you. You did?
Colby Pearce 1:09:50
Jess Elliot 1:09:54
like who’s that for? Like if there’s a career this has to be a career. The person who just like names called Like whether it’s like the paint swatch colors, right for different like or pantones.
Yeah, like I just want to do that. I certainly mean colors. Okay,
Jess Elliot 1:10:10
so what’s your what’s your fictitious color? Alpine Lake blue Alpine lake or glacial lake glacial sediments blue while think the sediment is blue but turns the lakes blue. But yeah think about like the color of I mean, I just imagine that all of Banff is this color when when really just like the lakes up there or Yeah, like the colors that you associate with Glacier National Park. Is that beautiful? And what’s interesting is it changes like I’ll go to some Alpine lakes here in Colorado, and they’re a little bit more like on the turquoisey side of the spectrum. Other times they’ll be like more bright electric blue, which is phenomenal, but it’s still all blue. Nice. Yes, that is that is my personal crayon color.
Colby Pearce 1:10:58
Hmm. So you If you want to find out I just described her favorite color as like Alpine blue you can check out her Instagram where she’s got a fantastic series of amazing photos of all her connection with nature adventure she’s had Yeah, you post some really nice
Jess Elliot 1:11:16
photos up there so okay like every single Alpine lake in Colorado,
Colby Pearce 1:11:20
man you got a good collection going on. I’m I wish I had as much time on the weekends or any time to go up and connect with nature that much because I really enjoyed as well I got to do a high Alpine ride with a good friend of mine last weekend in Durango and it was amazing. Just and then we went to go the next day we’re going to do two days in a row and then the wind shifted in the smoke came in it was like no fly zone. It was really quite bad air. If you wouldn’t mind giving us some of your recommendations on let’s say you have an athlete who comes to you and you watch them walk or you do your moon screen or you see the majority or however you assimilate your information about their movement patterns and You see that they have some congenital asymmetries, like a pretty big scoliosis, or a structural leg length discrepancy, for example, one femur longer than the other? How are you going to? Are you going to prescribe a movement program that’s very unilateral centric and trying to make sure that they’re not. You’re compensating for these asymmetries in their posture and function? Or do you have another method? How do you how do you handle an athlete like that?
Jess Elliot 1:12:31
So when you send me this question, I wrote like the most smartass answer.
Jess Elliot 1:12:37
It was like, you know, how would you approach training an athlete like this? And my answer was just two words, it said very carefully. But I mean, in reality, I actually, you know, have an athlete that I’m working with that has a significant limb length discrepancy. And it’s something that’s actually pretty common. I’ve had students that I’ve seen with that it’s it’s more common than people actually realize. It kind of depends on the athlete, honestly. I mean, you know how I’m going to approach a 20 year old athlete is going to be different than how I’m going to approach a 50 year old athlete. Yeah. And it also depends on what their sport is as well and kind of how much volume of training they’re getting. Which one you want me to start with first, like a limb length discrepancy? or?
Colby Pearce 1:13:26
Yeah, let’s say, let’s say young cyclist with a leg length discrepancy, because that would be pretty I mean, a leg length discrepancy affect almost any sport except arguably swimming. So, right. I’m sure there’s some other examples, but that’s one that comes to mind. So yeah, let’s say cyclist or anyone who’s got to use their limbs to generate power in a sport.
Jess Elliot 1:13:45
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, honestly, my approach for the most part is still the same. You can’t really correct a limb length discrepancy. A lot of people will use inserts, but there is kind of a limit to how much of an insert you can actually utilize. And then also like as a cyclist? Are they using an insert? You know, on the bike
Colby Pearce 1:14:04
as well. They’re walking shoes also. Yeah,
Jess Elliot 1:14:07
yeah. And so it’s, you know, you need to do a little bit of research taking in that sense. But at the end of the day, they still need to learn to move well, and maybe, yeah, they’re, you know, metaphorical like bike, their body, in a sense is just a little bit less optimal. It’s a little bit like off kilter in a sense, but I still want to get the moving as optimally as possible. And so, honestly, my approach doesn’t necessarily change too much, but there will be a lot more things I’m kind of keeping an eye out for. So when I’m starting a program with an athlete like that, I’ll probably start with a lower volume. I might play it a little bit safer. And actually, I mean, I still start with a lot of bilateral movement patterns just because a lot of times they need that base position for stability. So, at least with like some of the current athletes I’ve had that have had limb length discrepancies. They’re not necessarily cyclists. But really, it doesn’t change my approach much at all. Because I still want to develop general athleticism. I still want to get them moving well on all three planes, I still need to teach them how to develop force. And I still need to fix imbalances. And honestly, a lot of times the limb length discrepancy is the least of their concerns. Now, if it actually is a significant limb length discrepancy, ah, the challenging thing about that, especially with a lifetime sport, like cycling, or if they’re running, it’s so much volume. And it’s kind of a matter of one not a matter of if that’s going to become an issue, right. And so more than anything, that’s something that you kind of need to plan out with an athlete at the start, and you need to lay the groundwork for that sort of conversation kind of say, hey, you’re coming to me for some training, like, let’s, let’s think long term about what your goals are, let’s think about how this is impacting you right now. Is it something that’s causing some pain, discomfort or symptoms, or other dysfunctions that are visible or otherwise, you know, noticeable, right? in their sport or in the weight room? And then it’s kind of that hard discussion that you have with an athlete saying, okay, the clock is ticking in a sense, like what what are your goals? What are what are our priorities, you know, are you trying to capitalize and peak on your athletic ability like now before it becomes something that may be a surgical problem down the road, right? Are we trying to get it in now? Or do we want to try to preserve function as long as possible and maybe scale back competitively and so it a lot of it is kind of more almost psychological like interviewing and counseling in a sense, like finding out what are you willing to Give and take here. Like what’s, and it’s facilitating it’s facilitating a discussion. I mean, I can give a little bit of education and context about the body and you know what to expect. But yeah, that’s kind of where a lot of real conversations have to come in, as far as you know, the choices they’re going to make over the next, you know, few years and over the next couple of decades.
Colby Pearce 1:17:22
Yeah. Yeah, I think
Colby Pearce 1:17:26
probably also depends on the status of the athlete, when they walk through the door, if they come in the door. And it’s the first time you’ve ever worked with them, and they have no pain. And then you do it, you start watching them move and then you take some measurements and you realize, wow, you know, I’m pretty sure you’ve got a significant for more leg length discrepancy as an example. And they’ve got no pain and they’re young athlete, then it’s more of a future projections. It’s, it’s like, okay, we need to look at this as an if not a win, or a win on an F. Right? We can expect that at some point. If you keep riding your bike, you’re only 18 you’re going to get strong. And then the delta between the right and left sides is probably going to get bigger. And we can anticipate that might cause you some problems. So we want to start to tackle that. Now. We want to keep an eye on it, we want to educate. And that reminds me of my conversation with Dr. Alan Lim, which was one of the first podcasts I did. And I asked him, What about one of his core coaching philosophies was and he said, which is a great conversation because he coached me years ago. And but I still got to learn from him. He said, Well, I think one of the things that I really like to do for any athlete is simply cultivate an environment. So they can express their highest level of performance. And so if you see a 20 year old athlete who comes through your door, and you’re educating them about their body, the upside to that is that you’re giving them the power to understand what may happen in the future. That potentially tricky side is. I’ve seen this with athletes too. athletes can really glom on to what we say as professionals in the field, about their function. I think it’s safe to be quite careful by saying things like, I don’t know how many writers I’ve had come to me and say, Oh, my glutes are weak. Does that mean okay? Like, yeah, your glutes are your glutes weak period like their 90 year old grandma glutes? Or are they just weak relative to what we think how they think we think they should be operating in a cycling pedal stroke? Or if we give you some squats? Are your glutes going to be really incredibly sore for three or four weeks until they catch up with everything else in that chain? Those are all different things, or is your oblique glue completely inhibited? And you can’t even you can’t even stand up if I have you sit down on a bench. All different, right? glutes are weak is a very general statement if you think about it, relative to what does that mean? So and when you when we do analyses or we look at an athlete and kind of analyze their function and process it. I think it’s worth some very careful attention filling would you use in the way we describe an athlete’s condition or their syndromes? air quotes? Because those Can people can become quite attached to those as part of their story. You know, like you’ve got kyphosis Do you know what cuff hostesses here? Let me tell you all about it. Oh, no, that’s a bad that’s, you know, it’s a gnosis sounds really bad. And then they Google it, and then they lead and then it’s all Yeah, and all these problems you’ve got, right, of course. So I’m just pointing out I think that I’ve, I’ve seen other athletes come through my door where they’ve been told certain things and that has shaped potentially their perspective. And I try to really give them a very, like optimistic perspective, or an optimistic baseline of Look, this is this information you have let’s let’s act on it. Let’s use it for what it is. And I don’t I’m not saying we should sugarcoat everything or tell every athlete the perfect. I want an athlete to accurately understand what’s going on with your body. I want them to be realistically appraised at their functional status or lack function. Yeah, as the case may be, but because I think information is power, and I want to be straight with somebody.
Jess Elliot 1:21:07
Yeah. Well, it’s interesting that you say that it reminds me of something that actually happened with the diary system when I was working back at CU. So we had a few like elite CrossFit athletes come in and we actually put them through physiological tests, but also through the functional movement assessment using the diary system. And what was interesting is I mean, you know, I keep saying like to people that if you want something to make you feel like awesome about yourself, don’t do a diary scan because like, it’s designed to pick out your flaws and yes, yes, it’s not like the was like Strengths Finder. That’s like here, let me tell you all the awesome things about yourself. No, like, that’s not what it’s for. And so as I was reviewing the report with this athlete, I mean, he’s, you know, like one of the top in his field. They actually had to stop me to say like, Wait a minute, like, I can’t hear this. Because, you know, if you tell me stuff like this, it’s going to make me think that I shouldn’t be, you know, doing my sport or I shouldn’t be doing certain things that I’m doing because it’s gonna affect me on such a psychological level. So that was a really interesting call out because, yes, on one hand, we need to as providers, inform them, and help them to make smart decisions and not withhold information. But like you said, there is a huge psychological component where they can internalize that and overly identify with whatever it is that you’re telling them. Yeah, and take that on not as this is something that I’ve noticed, but this is now like defining my performance or me as a person or as an athlete.
Colby Pearce 1:22:47
Yep. And then they take it as a less than perspective into their next workout or competition or, and that there’s a balance there. Know thyself, but don’t. Don’t put myself on a cross. I guess just The right way to say it, but yeah,
Jess Elliot 1:23:02
yeah, so definitely, you know, we have to be cautious. But I mean, you know, with the athletes I’ve worked with, just to make sure I’m like answering your question about how to approach athletes like that. I think the biggest thing is, you know, there’s a problem, right? You’re addressing it from the get go. I mean, it’s kind of like if you know, your, your alignment is off with your car, right? Yeah, you’re probably going to need to take it in for maintenance, if it’s something that you just can’t fix the alignment, right. You just know, like, I’m gonna need to like probably take my car in for regular service more often than a car that doesn’t have these alignment issues. And so that’s kind of the biggest thing that I’ve found is that there’s a lot more on the preventive side of things. It’s not necessarily that I’m doing anything different, but I’m doing certain things on a more frequent basis. We’re checking in on a more frequent basis. We’re being more proactive. I will say something that’s Important with Yeah, so with athletes who do have an imbalance, what I’ve noticed is that being proactive is super important but also to, you know, you figure, a car that’s out of alignment is probably going to have other compensations that are issues, because the body is a kinetic chain, and everything is interlinked. And so they’re probably going to have some more issues related to the nature of their dysfunction. And so you know, getting into see a PT getting into see a massage therapist, a chiropractor or whatever, you know, professional might be appropriate to do a little bit more maintenance because you can’t have a significant dysfunction somewhere in the body without it affecting other things having some
Colby Pearce 1:24:43
sort of like our spiderweb analogy we use
Jess Elliot 1:24:45
Yeah, exactly. There are going to be some other compensatory patterns that are going to be negatively impacting the system and how they’re performing and their sports. Yeah. And they’re probably used to them because it’s part of their life. And so that’s something that you really need To address but it’s something you have to be proactive about because if you can’t fix the alignment issue, it’s constantly going to be coming back into that compensatory pattern. So you need to stay on top of it, try to keep adjusting it and do as much as you can to mitigate the damage. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 1:25:16
Yeah, interesting. On that point of, you know, seeing an athlete and working with them and kind of being realistic about what their limitations are or where they need to improve versus carefully selecting language to assign you know, or potentially let them interpret what you say as a syndrome or identified overly identify with something too much, um, had a really interesting interaction with a client recently. And they were kind of expressing to me how frustrated they were because they were saying I you know, I race against my peers and I see this writer has, you know, all this talent all this vo to or all this natural strength. And they’re so good at all these aspects of the sport and, but it’s almost like they don’t care about the sport that much. They’re not nearly as passionate about it as I am. And that’s just heartbreaking for me to see that it really, really hurts me to see when other people have more talent than I’d have. And, you know, it was a heartfelt conversation because they were expressing how
Colby Pearce 1:26:21
not in a not in a
Colby Pearce 1:26:24
in an envious way, but more just feeling the pain of of the unfairness of this distribution of seemingly random talent in the universe. And I will argue that anyone who’s talented at bike racing, who’s really good at pedaling a bike that is a true genetic lottery in the most apt sense because bike racing is very far removed from anything that’s going to keep a tribe of 66 people alive if they’re living, you know, in the Wyoming wilderness or whatever. Like, there aren’t a lot of uses for someone who can pedal a bike when you need to hunt Buffalo and protect yourself from hail storms and Stay warm and skin hides in hunting gather whatever vegetables grow in Wyoming, in my very obtuse example example. So cycling isn’t really so useful in that survival sense. But what I’m getting at is that I thought it was a really interesting conversation because I really tried to reframe it in a positive way for my client and I pointed out I said, Well, okay, you’re a little frustrated because you don’t have whatever this other client has the better ability to corner fast or be more arrow or a bigger vo two or more power. And you can apply this example to any sport. But they’re they take it for granted or they’re not that interested in the sport. They’re not that passionate about it. I said, What do you have your clients and I’ve got lots of passion for the sport, I love it. And I said, Why isn’t that your talent? passion is part of talent. And I think maybe in Western culture in particular, we tend to box talent into certain categories. You know, talent is strength. Talent is big muscles talent is no good aerobic capacity talent is maybe seen as durability. Like tenacity can get some talent points. In cycling being Aero gets a lot of talent points, but not as many as having a high vo two, which is the most random of all of them. Right. It’s the least trainable probably. But cycling in particular is a sport about tenacity and passion. More so than a lot of other sports. I mean, I could have been really passionate about pro football and all 64 kilograms of me was not going to make it very far in a sport like that, right? There are a lot of other sports where I would have been dreadful at it, but Cycling is a sport where you can you’ve got all body types. You’ve got arrows Paulie, who was a huge Italian Pro, he probably weighed I bet he weighed almost 100 kilograms. And then you’ve got little Colombian dudes who are 5060 kG 53 kg. And the reason they’re like all these riders are on the same peloton at the world level. And that is pretty unusual for a sport. So it just shows you a little bit about how cycling you can be this. You can you can take your passion and turn it into something. Now you have to have a lot of other miscellaneous random abilities to kind of become pretty good at bike racing too. But anyway, okay, and
Jess Elliot 1:29:19
that kind of makes me sad, in a sense, a very, you know, it’s my like empathetic gene, in a sense, I guess, shining through. But what’s interesting about that, this, you know, the story about your athlete is I think one of the things that we overlook is the importance of adversity. Because for people, like you said, when things come easy, it’s so easy to take those things for granted. Right, but also to then transfer that to other situations. If you’re used to things whether it’s in your sports, let’s say you’re a kid who was very athletically gifted and you know, maybe it was back in PE and you were always you know, crossing the finish line first or, you know, like kind of hailed for a while. Whatever, you know, athletic pursuits, you know, you could accomplish at that time, you know, when you’re used to anything coming easy to you. That’s a very dangerous thing to get accustomed to. Because if you ever lose the ability to handle adversity, I mean, that’s really when I agree when you get into trouble. And I think that’s kind of just one of the most important life skills regardless of talent and starting disposition. Because, you know, most of the people who end up the most successful we’re not necessarily the most gifted, but they were the most tenacious, and they fought back against adversity, they didn’t just crumble, and a lot of times it’s the people there’s actually a great TED talk about this. But they’re talking kind of about, like, HR managers, and who should they hire kind of that silver spoon versus like, kind of the scrappy underdog in a sense. Yeah. And, you know, what you’re talking about really reminds me of that because, you know, yeah, maybe You’re not that silver spoon ideal, like I check every box and I have the perfect physiological profile for cycling. But you know what? I’m scrappy as hell yeah. And I’m going to push through and I don’t care what my disadvantages are. I care about the sport and I’m going to do my best at it. Yes. And it’s the people who have that grit
Jess Elliot 1:31:19
that end up succeeding.
Colby Pearce 1:31:20
Yeah. So, yeah. In particular, in cycling, it’s such a working class sport in that respect.
Jess Elliot 1:31:27
So I’m curious to know, um, I’ve recently
Jess Elliot 1:31:32
so I am I’m a runner. I like trail running, but I like hiking, mountaineering. Um, but of course, in Boulder, you know, like, running isn’t enough. It’s you have to be an ultra runner. You have to run like 50 to 100 miles and that’s, that’s running right. So I thought about it because, you know, a lot of my co workers were kind of trying to get me hooked on ultra running us like, Oh, you know, like, That actually sounds a little bit interesting. And, you know, I talked to them about it because I’m like, okay, for me Someone who’s still kind of early on in the running journey, like running can be miserable at times. And there’s this whole thought that once I, you know, can break a certain pace. Or once my, you know, mitochondria get to a certain developmental level or density or whatever, you know, I’m just going to fall in love with it. It’s gonna be wonderful and whatnot. Is that kind of, like, tell me about your journey journey with cycling? Like, is there a point where it’s easy, and you can just enjoy it? Because my Ultra runners? They tell me they’re like, Oh, yeah, running itself is miserable. Yeah, that was that was like their feedback to me. They’re like, I don’t enjoy it while I’m doing. It’s kind of like the whole type to fun definition. Yeah. But it’s the sense of accomplishment. It’s that pursuit of something greater that continually pushing yourself to be a little bit better. But they were saying like the actual running when you’re in it in and of itself, usually isn’t enjoyable, right?
Colby Pearce 1:32:57
It’s always a root canal. Yeah, some So fame, I think it totally depends. Well, I think it depends more or less on the sport and more on your paradigm of how you define your sport. And this reminds me of a Derek Severs story. So Derek Severs is a guy who I heard, I think on a Tim Ferriss podcast about 1,000,005 years ago. And he’s a really smart guy who made and sold a couple of companies and has some very unique philosophies and perspectives. He’s also a friend of Tim’s Tim friends. And Derek went through this phase where he very practically decided he was going to ride his bike every day for exercise. And he lived I think, in Long Beach, so he would ride his bike on this bike path. And it was whatever, I don’t know how long it was, but he would go out and back anytime himself and he started riding, you know, just this was his mission every day was to go on this bike path that he did it five days a week or six days a week or something if I remember right, anyone just go in and hit full gas every time you know, just want to fast as you could treat it like a time trial. And he did this for an extended period of time. And of course, his times got better, better, better, and then they kind of plateaued and then they got better, and then they plateaued. And then after months of this, you just start to burn out. And then he, he got frustrated. And then his times actually got a little bit slower for a while, then just stopped, gave it up. And left it said, I don’t know why, you know, I’m not getting faster. I think he just sort of envisioned that he would just get faster and faster until his time was zero, I suppose. I don’t know. And, and which is the way humans think, but it’s not the way it works. And he left it for a while and he came back to it and said, Well, I feel like I need to do something because I’ve been exercising for a long period of time. So I’m going to go back to my bike ride, I’m going to do it but this time, I’m going to just hit it with a fresh eye, I’m going to I’m going to not make it a Tantra. I’m not going to go as fast as I can. I’m going to just go at whatever pace I feel like going and that piece ended up being about 80% of what his normal maximum 100% was, but he noticed also kinds of things, you saw birds and he knows the waves and he saw hot chicks and bikinis playing volleyball. And he noticed, you know, cute grandpa and grandma walking, holding hands and, and got to observe all these things. And then he got to his turnaround point and rode back into the exact same route he always had. And then he just happened to glance at his time. And it was only like on a nearly hour long bike ride, it was like two minutes slower than his previous PR. And this was a huge life experience for him because what he realized was he died was effort back by 20%. And it cost him this much time as much being very small amount relatively speaking. But he enjoyed the process so much more. So in one sense, I agree with your ultra running friends. A couple hundred mile mount micro step done. They are absolutely like getting your teeth drilled, they are soul destroying events and you cross the line and you’re totally empty and you’re suffering and suffering for hours and hours. They’re really, really hard. After that half hour of intense pain goes away, post finish line, and you’re eating your race meal with your beer and your feet in the river and retellings, more stories about how they did and how many flats they had and how they bombed and whatever and how the ultrastar does circle them at one point, then you’ve got this really deep sense of satisfaction in your soul. Like man, I throttle myself for the last four hours of that 10 hour race. It was really hard, and I feel this immense sense of accomplishment. But during the race, you’re pretty miserable. Right? And that that misery can come and go in waves. There are times when you get a really good rush of catecholamines and all kinds of pain blockers going natural pain blockers and you feel like you’re not really touching the pedals and then that always comes at a price you know, half hour later you’re just like whoa, who tied a tree stump to my bike and flat above my tires, because now I can barely moved and filled all my my muscles with acid so Go through those ways, but overall, it’s a very painful experience. That said, I trail run pretty regularly. And I’m very strict about never crossing that sort of 80% barrier. To me, it’s more like mountain bounding. I’m like leaping off the rocks and kind of I’m literally doing cartwheels at the end of my run down my street. My neighbors think I’m insane. I’m totally cool with that. I’m trying to integrate as many planes of movement as I can, I’m almost treating it more like parkour in nature in a way and it’s playful. And the, the there’s no gang directive or end goal of I’m going to get a certain time and heart rate zone or or run a certain pace with it at all. It’s not competitive. I don’t need to be good at it. I don’t need to compare my Strava time to anyone else. I just go run the run and it takes however long it takes and I see the birds and enjoy the stones and do the backflips or whatever I’m doing not backflips, I’m not that cool. And
Colby Pearce 1:37:56
and then the result is the result and I enjoy it. So for me, so For me, it’s where you draw the line in that in that whole spectrum of are you throttling yourself like a rabid dog and you have to get to point B as fast as possible? Or is it an activity that you’re undertaking to, will say, be more in connection with your body and maybe more in connection with nature? To me, that’s the defining line and you could go either way with it. But you know, most people who are ultra runners who are competitive for sure are going to be on the side of the fence where they’re throttling themselves and more. And that’s their sense of accomplishment is what the joy they get out of the sport. I did that. I mean, I did that on the bike for so many decades. I don’t really need to do that anymore. And even my, my strength workouts are the same. It’s like, that was hard enough. The enemy’s not the bar. I don’t need to crush anything. You know, I’m not here to put on 20 pounds of muscle or 40 pounds of muscle and that’s not my thing. I just want to be more bulletproof. I enjoy moving I enjoy pushing heavy objects and moving things that are hard. I like to challenge It feels primal To me it feels like I’m healthier, but I want to move in ways that I haven’t moved for the last three and a half decades. So that’s what it’s about for me and if I do that to a certain point, and sometimes I’m sore and sometimes not that sore. Okay, better for for moving or not moving?
answer question kind of
Colby Pearce 1:39:21
thanks for listening everyone. I hope you found the conversation with just my very illuminating especially the parts that she put in there. If you want to find more out about just Elliot check out tag performance co.com that’s t ag performance co like the state of colorado.com. If you go there you’ll find out all the amazing things she’s up to and you can read about her services or programs or blog, etc. As always, if you have questions or comments, you can hit me use your finger parts and make the keyboard windrows that’s cycling in alignment at fast labs dot over now listen up monkeys. The thoughts and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests or me. They do not represent fast labs fast talk, Chris case, Trevor Connor, Santa Claus or anyone else thanks