Aaron Alexander- Get your body back in balance – Podcast #103

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani interviews Aaron Alexander about movement patterns and our physical structures. They talked about having power and purpose and being mindful and knowing what you’re doing, therefore, obtaining a sense of satisfaction. 

Aaron-AlexanderThey also touch upon considering the looseness of your clothing so it doesn’t restrict movement, integrating the sound of movement into daily practice, and how feeling good about yourself can decrease cortisol and stress hormones. This discussion includes things like diet and sleep, as well as the top dysfunctional movement patterns that most people have. Listen to this podcast as Aaron walks us through on how to do a proper squat and how you should wield your breath during movements.

In this episode, topics include:

03:15 Posture

12:54 Movement potential

17:08 Diet and sleep

19:10 Movement patterns

28:02 Breath

 

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, there! It’s Dr. Justin. Welcome back to Beyond Wellness Radio. We got my good friend here, Aaron Alexander. Aaron, I saw you just a few months ago over at Paleo f(x). It was great seeing you in person again. How you doin’?

Aaron Alexander:  I’m doin’ super, man. How are you doin’?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Doin’ great, can’t complain. It was just your birthday like a week and a half ago.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So happy belated birthday!

Aaron Alexander:  Thank you, brother. Appreciate it!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. So what’s new in your neck of the woods? I know you been—we talked last time you did a demo over at Paleo f(x) and you were doing a lot of stuff with movement based off. I wanna talk a little bit more about kinda what you’re doin’ with your clients and—and what are you seeing in your practice? Because you’re actually one of these people out there that blogs and does videos but you’re actually clinically rolling up the sleeves and getting in there with your patients. So what are you doing? What are you seeing?

Aaron Alexander:  Well, first of all, thanks for having me on. I always love getting to chat with you and about what I’m–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Same here.

Aaron Alexander:  What I’m seeing with people—the main thing is a lot of consistent patterns which is interesting–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:   You know? And this is something that I know everybody is talking about, you know, but like modernity is folding us forward into this–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:   Medial rotation, protraction, head forward–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:   Hyperkypho—all these anatomical terminology for it’s depressing us.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  It–it’s folding our society into this position of literal depression, and you can say that from an anatomical perspective or just more like an emotional perspective, but I think that there is a balance between that. And what I am witnessing is people that are stuck in these positions being hunched over a computer or hunched over in a bus–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  Or in their bucket seats in their cars, whatever it is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s affecting the way people are feeling and then we end up responding with looking for—seeking some type of pharmaceutical answer, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Medicalizing every aspect of like what it means to just feel the way you feel in the day and then going out, seeking some placebo or some type of pharmaceutical drug to solve these problems that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Maybe we could potentially knock on the other end, which is our physical structure might be causing these feelings of general down-ness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And so that’s been–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  The big thing that I’ve been dancing with—with folks in general is this feeling of like, you know, I have this shoulder thing, I have this hip thing, I have this knee  thing and generally, my energy is not real great. You know? And then you look at them and from like a body language perspective, you’re like, “Yeah, of course.” You know’?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  How could you expect to feel great when you’re collapsing at the knee, collapsing at the hip, collapsing at the spine, whatever it is. And that’s kind of the thing that I’m—I‘m the most inspired by right now, is those—those connections there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. How many patients are you seeing in a day?

Aaron Alexander:  4 generally in a day. So not a ton. It’s and that’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And you’re working longer? Like hour—hour and a half sessions?

Aaron Alexander:  Yes, sir, yes. So I have 70 minutes, 75 minutes with people which is wonderful because we can talk and we can hang out and we can come in and we can kind of you know, do the dog thing and smell each other out and kind of feel–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah. Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  What makes sense, as opposed to just jumping in and saying diagnose, I got 6 minutes, okay, here’s the thing, like it doesn’t even matter what else is going on. We gotta–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Find the diagnosis and we gotta—we gotta prescribe and we gotta work this. Instead, we can kind of dance in other realms which I greatly–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Appreciate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great and I know you talk a lot about posture and I work with a lot of patients with gut issues and hormone issues and it’s interesting because Amy Cuddy did a study over at Harvard and you’re probably familiar with this study–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  On different poses and one of the things she had was the power pose, which is like hands on the hips, or I think the—the Wonder Woman pose so to speak.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then also the hands up in the air, reaching up kinda like Rocky coming up to the top of the steps in Philadelphia there–

Aaron Alexander:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And those different poses improved anabolic hormones whether it was testosterone in men and also decreased cortisol as well which is a stress hormone. So posture like you can actually manipulate in a good way someone’s hormones by just getting them standing and sitting and moving better. So if people think like you know, we got this major split between like physical medicine and then like metabolic or hormonal medicine, really they are blended 100%.

Aaron Alexander:  Right. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s—and then going even beyond that, now it’s finally and I so greatly appreciate that Ted Talk and you know, Amy’s books and all that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s finally coming to the forefront that wow, our movement affects the way that we feel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  You know and so standing if you look at blind people, anybody, when they win, they win the same way! Hands up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  They’re excited.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? And when you do that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You open up the spine, you open up the pericardium, the heart and all the organ tissue. Open up the brachioplexus, you know, putting our hands up over our head is something that most people literally don’t do in our culture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Unless you’re a gymnast or a rock climber or you know have some bleach in like a high cabinet or something, we just don’t do it. You know, and that is––

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  The archetypal position of success, of winning, you know? And that’s the conversion of that is your body reading those patterns as “Alright, cool!”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Dr. Justin’s doing good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Let’s boost him up with some serotonin or dopamine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Or you know, reduce the cortisol or increase the testosterone. Whatever it is, it’s all different languages, different vernacular to explain the same thing that’s happening. It’s just different dogmas explaining different things.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it. Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Does that make sense?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm. 100%. So I’m a new patient. I’m walking in. Let’s say I have back pain or should pain. Like what’s the initial encounter like? So you obviously you’re doing a workup–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Are you doing a full physical exam? Do you do kinesiological testing? Seeing where muscles are turned on or turned off. Do you do like different plum line things to look at posture assessment? What does that look like? I’m a new patient.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Walk me through it.

Aaron Alexander:  First thing we come in and figure out why you’re here. Usually by the time you make it to somebody like me, you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The structural integration or–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, the Rolf technique or things like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s like you’ve been to a lot of –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  People.

Aaron Alexander:  People, you know and you’ve heard like, “Oh, maybe that Rolfing thing, I’ve heard that’s pretty effective,” you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s like by the time people get here, they’ve been through the gauntlet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And so it’s getting an understanding of what’s going on, you know? And so first—first things first is just kinda just talking and kind of uncovering that why of what’s going on there. Beyond that, the most important is watching people walk in, you know? And that’s something that a lot of I think, you know, doctors or any practitioners in general may miss. The good ones don’t. You know? When you’re seeing–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  When you’re seeing the most genuine expression of that person is before they come in and say, “Okay, here’s what’s going on.” It’s when they first walk in and you could see that body language, or you could kinda see how they walked in from the car. That’s when the session really starts for me. And then as the—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  As we start to go we go for a walk. And we—I have a nice long office which you’re in right now, you can see–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and so we go for walk and we watch what’s their gait patterns, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Or as—do they have or they kind of—are they stuck up in the hip? Are the pronated in the foot? Are they not able to get any range of motion through the shoulder girdles? You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

 

Aaron Alexander:  And so we just start slowly parsing out these parts–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Of the body and seeing what parts are really lagging here. You know? Because the body is gonna be limited by whatever the greatest lag is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  So if I inj—if I stub my big toe, all of a sudden I’m limping which means I can’t get hip extension. If I can’t get hip extension, I’m not gonna get that rotation through the spine. I’m not gonna get that same extension through the shoulder and now my whole body is frozen–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Up to the degree of that original restriction. So it’s really just like peeling onion layers back and then as we’re going I’m always really curious about how they think and how they feel and what’s going on their life because I—I know that affects their physical structure and that’s, you know, interesting question ask.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. So when you treat someone, are you treating them every day? Is it an every kinda 2 or 3 x a week kinda thing? What’s the typical treatment protocol when someone comes in?

Aaron Alexander:  I like weekly. You know? Week—weekly, it’s kinda like we’re on the same bus–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And we—we know where we’re going and when you have that like 2 months in between them, like what was your name? What was you got that­–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Spine thing, what’s that? You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But when we have—when we set up a goal that’s the big thing. You know, and so much of the work–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That we do as any practitioner is placebo. You know? Ooohh. I know like the secret’s out. You know, the more that someone believes that you are the Shaman healer, you are the doctor healer–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You are the fill-in-the-blank healer, the more their own healing potentials, the greater they become.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and so if we come in and we said, “Okay, here’s why we’re here. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s how we’re gonna there. I believe this can happen.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  If you can get into that point, then all of the sudden, wow, we’re activating all of the client/patient’s own healing mechanisms. And then all of the other stuff comes in that’s really helpful, like the herbs and the movement and all that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  But if we can get the client/patient to believe, that’s a really big deal. But that’s kind of–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s kind of a gray area for a lot of people because it’s hard to pin that down.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  I’m curious of what you’re opinion on that actually.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, yeah, I mean I think belief is really important. I think a lot people that—that have seen people like me and you—I was doing a lot of physical work for many years in my office in California, and you’d never saw these people first, right? They’d always—typically, it’s seeing a conventional physician many times. Maybe they went to the whole, corti—or you know, the whole cortisone-prednisone injection kinda thing to help reduce inflammation, maybe they’re on chronic NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory meds that kind of rip up their gut and their liver, so then you’re kinda getting this person in who’s more broken than they were when they originally had this issue maybe years’ back. So you always wish you can get them on the forefront. But getting them to really understand like I’m a big fan or like what’s the mechanism? Why are you feeling this way? So let’s drive it back to dial. Let’s drive it back to lifestyle. Let’s drive it back to how you sit all day, how you move, you know, the so-called stinking thinking, all these different things and really have a holistic approach and I think you do that very similar to what I was doing when I was doing more of the physical work in the clinic as well.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah. Have you ever heard of the Chambermaid study done by Ellen Langer back in the, I think 70s or maybe early 80s?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I have not. Please share.

Aaron Alexander:  Oh, it’s so cool. So—so I just had Ellen on the podcast recently and so I have like all—all savvy and all of her studies now but she—the Chambermaid study was she took 2 different groups of people. They were both chambermaids, so they’re cleaning up chambers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  They’re cleaning up, you know, what are rooms. And what they felt was with the one group, what they did is they educated them upon—okay, do you realize that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  As you’re working throughout the day–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  You are exercising, man. You are burning calories. When you’re bent over, you’re doing dead lifts and you’re reaching up and getting all this shoulder flexion like you are working it out, girl.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Like this is—you are killing it. And then the other group, they didn’t give them that information. And what they ended up doing is they ended up taking some—some various different, I forget exactly what—what they were—we she was like measuring blood pressure–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And measuring hormones and this and that, and what they found through that was the group that was told that they were exercising and moving and doing something good, every indicator of health ended up going up, they ended up losing body fat. They ended up burning more calories. You know, is—it’s just very interesting again when you start getting into that mindfulness component of how I move throughout the day and move throughout the world, how much that actually affects—again, I think comes back to the placebo effect, you know, activating your own healing potential. When you are moving through the world with intention and believing I can do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It makes a really big change, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s—it’s instilling those practices into how do I get out of my car. How do I get in my car? How do I chop my vegetables? How do I go for a walk? What’s every step? Did I nail every step of my walk? You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Or did I just kind of aimlessly, mindlessly move through the day and then you know, ate a big burrito before I went to bed and fell asleep and did it all over again. You know, it’s just like, it’s just tapping into those little subtle things I think can make a really big difference. So I was kind of a side track, I apologize for that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  No, I think it’s—I think it’s really important to have power and purpose, right? I think it’s—it’s important that you’re—you’re mindful and you know what you’re doing and again, you feel a sense of satisfaction for it and through it.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It makes a lot of sense.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And also you’ve talked about, you know, the whole purpose thing, right? Purposely moving. I imagine a lot of the movements that you’re doing—you give a lot of your self-care, too, at home, correct?

Aaron Alexander:  Absolutely, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now imagine a lot of the movement probably have a—a direct carryover into what they’re doing every day in their daily life. I guess today I was with my wife. We were working out and we were doing like one-legged dead lift with rows and we were doing these movements and I was just talking to my wife saying, “Hey, you know, imagine like pulling the groceries out of the backseat of the car with this turn and twist and bend.”

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’s like we’re choosing movements in the gym or you know, in the clinic that have a direct carryover to our life, so when you work out, it’s like you’re not just working out to get these muscle bigger so you look good naked frankly.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You’re—wanna have that carryover so you can do silly things like getting the groceries or picking your kids and putting them in their car seat. You wanna have that task be easier.

Aaron Alexander:  Right. And that’s, you know, the truth be told, like I’d—that’s high up in my agenda list is to look damn good naked, and that’s the important thing is that when you go through these full, sometimes a little bit, more abstract movement practices like dance, you know, imagine that? You start getting into all these nooks and crannies of your joints and your musculature that you may have been moving in the gym doing your bicep curls, doing your tricep kickback extensions, whatevers—and you’re still sedentary because you’re not exploring the full–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Movement potential of your body, you know? And so it’s—it’s recognizing that it’s not about the—you know, the 45 minutes of actually doing the exercise a day. It’s how did you enter into that exercise. How did you exit out of that exercise and what happened in between? You know, and you can look at this from a like a musical perspective, you know, it’s like looking for the music between the music. It’s not just the eeeeee, like wow, cool, that was a great sound.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  How was the transition to the aaahhh, ooohhh, eeeee—that is the same thing throughout our movement experience. If you have a big clunky movement when you’re sitting down–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Or getting up out of a chair, that’s eeee, oooor, mmmm, errrr, ooohhh. That was how that sounded. Right? So we need to figure out how do we integrate the sound of movement if this is a metaphor into our daily practice so that you are always singing a beautiful song with your body, right? There’s a quote by–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  By somebody, I—I don’t know who this was, but life should be a work of art because anything else would be tragic. And I couldn’t agree more. You know, but having that vision for, yeah, like I’m—I want mastery, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s okay. I don’t need to just accept normalcy. I don’t need to just fit in. I can go bigger than that, right? I want to really—I want—I wanna master this thing. You know, I’m never going to but I think that goal is important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that makes sense. And it’s so funny because you’re so animated as you talk so everyone’s gotta listen to this interview and watch the YouTube version, so they can do get in dir—in depth personal perspective plus I mean, you give David Hasselhoff a run for your money. You show that massive amount of chest hair popping out of your shirt. And I couldn’t believe it, you do it in real life, too, when this mention this, great, man. I’m a little jealous.

Aaron Alexander:  I just want be—I just wanna keep it loose. I like loose clothing. You know, that’s another thing that’s interesting. It’s thinking the looseness of your clothing. If you’re wearing clothing that’s restricting your physical movement–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Then you’re—you’re choosing, you’re paying $100 to restrict the range of motion in your hips. If you can do a full third-world squat, aka a squat, a human squat in your pants, they’re trash. It’s like there’s no reason to volunteer to restrict yourself and put yourself inside of that box, and I feel the same way with any type of clothes. Same in—interesting thing is well, like, thinking about the colors of clothing that you wear. You know? There’s a reason that we wear everything that we do. You know? There’s a reason we say everything we do. There’s a reason we listen to music that we do. And I suggest tapping into those subtle aspect of yourself because I think sometimes the work of you know, making your body, you know, getting yourself out of pain, whether it be–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Physical or emotional, whatever it is. Sometimes we get so wrapped when the mountain, you know, Mt. Everest, we gotta climb the mountain–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And get the pain, get it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Sometimes, what if you reorganized your wardrobe a little bit?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  What if you felt more confident as you walked around the world because you really like your clothes?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  What if you felt more confident as you walk into your house because–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You organized the way things are in there? You opened up space. Every time that activates a certain feeling inside of yourself that you take into your work, you take into your relationships.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  All of the sudden, cortisol and all stress hormones start reducing a little bit–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Because you feel better about yourself. You know? We—we try to tackle these big mountains because they’re more obvious but sometimes some of those roundabout, more subtle objectives can start pulling the string a little bit so that all of the sudden, we get to the mountain top but we didn’t even realize that we climbed it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right. Now how do you start? Because you’re—you’re hitting things from a lot of perspectives here. So how do you intermingle some of the dietary shifts and changes–

Aaron Alexander:  Honestly–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  With your patients?

Aaron Alexander:  Honestly, I—I try to not be jack of all trades.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  If there was some nutrition or something that I—if people ask me, then I have opinions and it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But the opinion is it should natural. It should come out of the ground. If it’s, you know, if it—if it’s not processed, if it doesn’t have any artificial anything–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Your body probably does an okay job with it. You know? And then I’m in—I’m into higher fat and lower carbohydrate and all that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Just because for me it makes me feel more mentally clear, but I’m not an expert in that realm in any way, you know, but–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But do you look at a lot of, like inflammatory things in people because we know inflammation drives maybe cortisol and tissue breakdown so you’re looking at inflammatory things that are maybe present in their diet?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Grains and such?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, no, absolutely. And that’s—and that’s one of things again, because I have 75 minutes with people in—in a one-on-one session–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  We end up becoming kinda friends in a way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You’re still maintaining, you know, the relationship–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The practitioner and client, but we talk about—we could talk about anything, you know? And that’s one of the big things. Sleep is the main thing and I’ll ask that almost immediately. Like how’s your sleep?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, because if you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  If you’re not able to repair your physical tissues, your sleeping—then good luck with anything else. What are we doing here?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and then from there, again, are you eating simple processed sugar? Are you eating you know, anything, you know, the grains and the things that are gonna cause these inflammatory responses? If we’re working against inflammation, it’s just grab the low hanging fruit first.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And that’s exactly, I mean that’s a great point of thinking about the nutrition thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Thinking about all these subtle little parts that make up you. It doesn’t just need to be great, my back hurts, let’s get an elbow in your T-spine. You know, that’s very direct, but there’s—there’s a lot of different strings that we can pull–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  And nutrition’s one of them, but I don’t claim to be the man in nutrition. I just eat—eat raw, eat healthy, eat organic, eat food like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah. Yeah, and so you’re seeing a lot of different patients, just walk me through like the Top 3 movement patterns that you are seeing that are dysfunctional.

Aaron Alexander:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Alright, whether it’s—whether it’s excessive, you know, flexion or—or weakness in the extension muscles, glutes, you know, rhomboids, those things. What are those movement patterns that you are seeing that are dysfunctional? And then what are like the Top 3 exercises you’re using to help correct those movement patterns?

Aaron Alexander:  Well, if you have one dysfunctional movement pattern in that body, then you have that dysfunctional movement pattern we’ll end up spiraling through–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  The rest of it. That’s Tensegrity, Buckminster Fuller 101–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And that’s like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  So we could say we’ll just start at the feet and say collapsed arches or pronated feet, you know? And from there, you’re gonna have, and that’s essentially like the duck feet walk thing, where you have, you know, the navicular bone and all the—the architecture of the foot is just spoiled collapsed from the floor. It’s not sexy to look at, you know? And so something from there, you could say, “Okay, well, it’s the pronated feet, or it’s the valgus knees.” Because the knees, then gonna drop in from there, right? Or you can get–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The chain goes all the way up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So we could just start with that and with that, squats, dead lifts, really simple. You know, if you can—if you figure out how do I screw my feet into the ground? So as you’re standing in an upright position, I was standing on the foam over there. Get off the foam, bro. As you’re standing with your feet on the ground there, just screw your feet into an externally rotated position and what you’ll see is you’ll see the tent that is the architecture of your foot come up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing. And then from there, it’s practicing that movement. And as you’re doing that, you’re also getting that external rotation in the hip, which takes any slack out of the hip girdle. Now you’re creating this maximal torque ability or power capacity in your body, just by standing and engaging the glutes, screwing the feet in, going into that external rotated position. Keeping your–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Would you mind—that’s great. Would you mind just like giving us a quick demo of a squat and just walk us through all of the key movement steps, or the key milestones in that squat? It’d be great.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. So starting off, so something you—you see this all around the world. People carrying you know whatever it may be, a jug of water up on their head.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So you can see that connection, and this is something I’ll do it with—with folks all the time, is just give them a little push now on their head or on their shoulders, and see if you’re able to feel that compression directly, poof, down into the feet, you’re doing a great job. You’re not—you’re not metaphorically spilling energy all over the floor. Any time that your hip is cock-eyed or your spine is folded over, whatever it is, and you push down through that, if you break at that point, you are asking for injury and you’re just dumping power that you could have had. So that’s the first thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Figure out are you stacked all the way up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Stacked—exactly.

Aaron Alexander:  And then from there, it’s figuring are you utilizing the strongest hinge in your whole entire body being your hip hinge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup, yup.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? And so while maintain that stack, people can do this right now at home. Just take your hands and put them right underneath those bony things in your pelvis called the anterior–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Superior iliac spine if you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  If you wanna say that word.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  ASIS.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, that one.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  And so from there—from there, just starting to hinge your butt back in the kind of joking manner for that—I use that as—imagine you have probes on your butt cheeks and they are exploring the world behind you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? So they’re real curious about the room behind you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And you’re hinging back. As you’re doing this to make sure that you’re adequately exploring with those—with those butt probes. If you’re knees are going in front of your toes when you look down, if you can’t see your toes, you’re screwing up. Your butt needs–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  To go back more. You don’t wanna allow your knees to go forward in front of that. Unless you’re dancing or doing something silly. If you’re loading and you want the most functional, strongest squat you can do, knees gotta stay back. And then from there, to activate the glutes and keep in—and—and clean up that knee stuff, clean up that foot stuff, there comes in the screwing the feet into the ground, right? So imagine keeping the feet pinned straight ahead and then pushing the knees out wide. Something you could do is get band, put that band around your knees and try to–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  Break that band with your knees and you’ll feel is something maybe you haven’t felt for a long, long time is your glutes really engaging.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  And if you can really truly engage that hip hinge and that whole, all the musculature round, around the hip girdle, then you’re starting to cook with—with fire or grease or whatever that—that phrase is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But you’re finally starting to move well. But until you really start activating the full potential of that, you’re probably gonna get hurt and you’re not gonna get close to what you could have had with your body. It’s—it’s crucially important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love the example of the butt probes. Your butt’s exploring. I love it. That’s great. One of the biggest things when I was working with a lot of people on the physical rehab piece was they get in their squat position, like you know, hip shoulder width, maybe toes 10°, 15° turned out.

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  One of the key points was I always found that having just maybe a 5° or 10° bend on the knees, allow the hips to unlock so you could so call take those probes–

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And—and explore a little and drive those hips backwards. I found that if those knees were locked, the first movement was a break in the knees which is that not so good thing unless you’re doing some dancing or something.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And it basically froze up that hip joint from allowing it to kinda move backwards and explore so to speak.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah. Imagine that. If you freeze one aspect of the body, everything else freezes, right? You know, so if you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Totally makes sense.

 

Aaron Alexander:  If you stay loose and nimble on every joint or any joint, then all of the sudden, the other joints start following suit. The same way if that if you drop and pronate the foot, then the knee follows and the hip follows and the spine follows, et cetera, et cetera. Right? So it’s—it’s just, you know, it’s a fractal image. You know, everything is relating to everything else and it comes back to Tensegrity. It all comes back to—I have that little, little—you can hear it, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? So if I push this little purple dot on the Tensegrity model–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It affects everything.

Aaron Alexander:  Everything else has to move–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Everything moves.

Aaron Alexander:  With that. And then the thing that we were talking about earlier which might not be, you know, so valuable because it does kinda go out into little bit more—more metaplace but I think the Tensegrity goes into the way that we feel emotionally as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Because I think that our physical body is representation of how we are feeling and I don’t think there is a separation between mind and body, but that’s, you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—to each his own with that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, I mean, I think everyone knows how good they feel after a workout. There’s a reason why–

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They feel that way.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  From a hormone perspective, from a neurotransmitter perspective, beta endorphin—that’s a natural anti-depressant. Also just the fact that our brain is just like muscle like, right? We need muscle. We need movement and resistance, same with the calcium deposits in our bone. We need that force. Same thing with our brain. That sensory cortex where all information is interpreted and the motor cortex that goes out and talks to the muscles to elicit movement, we need stimulation. We need to do it and that—everyone knows they feel better after a good workout, right?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, and something that people can throw in again, more like actionable tips that people can utilize is peripheral vision. You know, right now, are you staring at your cellphone? Or you know, are you staring at whatever it is, the red light in the road if you’re in your car?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, like what’s happening with that puppy walking beside you there?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Can you kind of—can you get a peripheral vision of that? Can you try and take in the whole entire vision of the road in front of you? And what that’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Gonna do is again it’s gonna relax your brain. You’re starting to use different aspect as opposed to that just pre-frontal analytical, you know, frontal cortex business, which is important, you know, that’s why we have space ships, you know? But we—that we can go beyond that and get into things again like dance, like music, like you know, sexuality, you know, there’s all these things that starts to get us into a broader usage of our bodies and our minds, but our culture doesn’t praise that the way that some other cultures do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, you go to some other cultures, spend some time in Senegal or West Africa, and drumming and dancing is a crucial part of the culture. It’s not just a hobby pastime; it is a crucial part of the culture, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And then there’s—there’s a study I was reading recently in relation to which—like is like duh—you know, drumming increase DHEA and decrease cortisol levels and increases natural killer cells, and like all this stuff, yeah, of course. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Anything you si—you shine your scientific flashlight on of health indicators, if you’re doing something healthy like dancing or singing or playing sport or whatever it is, they’re gonna go up. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And we have all these different way of analyzing these things and again, getting sometimes consumed in this analytical frontal cortex stuff but I think if we can kind of let go of some of that, peel some of those layers back, and just get lost in the experience. That’s what Steven Kotler calls Flow and like everyone else–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Calls Flow now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And that’s one of the highest indicators of happiness in your life. How much Flow did you have?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right?

Aaron Alexander:  You know, that’s—I think it’s quite important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. So went over some Flow stuff, I like it. You went over the—the squat—I think you did a great job explaining that. What’s that next movement? You said a dead lift. So—and we didn’t actually touch upon the breath.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So how important for you is the breath during the movement? I mean, some movements you may want to hold that breath and create intraabdominal pressure to create more support, some you may want to breathe through it, and use the, you know, inspiration to help, you know, activate the thoracolumbar far—fascia to help pick you up and then bend you when you go into flexion. What’s your philosophy on breath during movement?

Aaron Alexander:  It’s great. You know, so—so breath there is—it’s your best tool, man.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, there is nothing—there’s nothing that’s gonna progress you faster than understanding how to wield your breath and that’s again–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  Something we’re not educated on because our teachers–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Don’t understand it. You know, most sch—most teachers in school, it’s not something we talk about in our culture again. So you come out kinda just like, you know, you have all these amazing potential tools and we just never get educated on how to use them. You know, but there’s something for example with—with like dead lifting or you know, say punching or kicking. There’s one term you can call the Valsalva maneuver which is again–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  Creating that intraabdominal pressure. Right? So as you’re going down to “hummph”, take that big lift, you’re gonna fill up your thoracic cavity and fill up your lungs and really take up all that space with your breath and then “hummph”,  hold that in as you’re going through the most challenging portion of the lift. And what that’s gonna do is it’s gonna turn you into a little compression chamber which doesn’t leak power.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  When we have loose wobbly joints, you’re dangerous. First of all, you need to learn how to drive your car, right? If you don’t–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  If you don’t understand how to drive this vehicle, you’re dangerous for yourself and everyone around you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, but that’s one of the big things is—is starting to flex that intraabdominal pressure ability that we all have. And that’s what—that’s—that’s you know, just look up Valsalva maneuver and you can see, you know, millions of videos on YouTube exactly what that is but you’ll see that as well as you’re throwing a punch, as you’re throwing a kick, as you’re swinging a bat and a baseball, anything that it is. Stuart McGill, Dr. Stuart McGill, great–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Great guy, he calls it the double pulse, right? And so it’s—you take—you make the initial, you turn your body into stone he says, you know, for the initial contraction and then you loosen for a second, say you’re gonna throw a punch. You’re planting, turn into stone, throw in the punch, turn into a whip for a second, and then upon contact you’re stone again. Right? And what–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  That is, is the ability when you see someone, you know, in martial arts, the “huuuh”, when you see somebody playing tennis, “fwaah”, they’re just creating that intraabdominal pressure which ends up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Strengthening their whole entire body and then the opposite is true with relaxation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then for every–exactly–and then for everyone listening, what Aaron is talking about regarding the whole Valsalva, that’s either you’re taking in oxygen either through your nose or your mouth and you’re either bracing the core–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Or you’re hollowing by sucking the belly button and do you have–do you have a preference to either one? Do you like the bracing where you’re making the abs hard, or are you like the hallowing where you’re bringing the belly button and then activating the TVA more?

Aaron Alexander:  No, I don’t–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Which is the transverse abdominis, that’s like the natural weightlifting belt–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That we have around our tummy.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. I don’t—I don’t do any bringing of the belly button in so much unless I’m doing some type of yoga type activity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So more bracing for you?

Aaron Alexander:  It’s all bracing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Aaron Alexander:  Because I—I want—I want to turn into a—a catapult essentially. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Aaron Alexander:  And so—and so if I’m—whatever it is, if you’re running, jumping, kicking, whatever it may be, I find it the most effective to be able to embrace the ability to open for a second, that whip position, and then brace and then come in hard.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and if you can have that combination, then you’re—you’re really starting to be an effective mover, right? But with—with the hallowing and bringing the belly button in and activating the transverse abdominis and all that, I find that to be—I think that if you’re really concentrating on activating your transverse abdominis, more than likely than not, you’re probably missing it. You know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Like transverse abdominis often times is—often times and most—most always for sure, is something that happens as a product of moving well. It doesn’t happen as a product of searching for it and finding it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, it’s when you—when you’re able to, you know, do that dance move effectively whatever it is, TVA is activating. I guarantee you. Anytime your brain–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Is moving effectively, it’s activating, I guarantee it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But if you slow down, it’s like where are you transverse abdominis? It’s weird.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right. And a lot of—and there have been studies, too, where they hook up electrodes to the various back muscles and the core muscles and they have someone let’s say move their arm–

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But the figured out that the—the back stabilizers and the core stabilizers are activating about I think maybe 10 milliseconds before the actual core movement.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, I’ve seen that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So a lot of people when they have dysfunction in the core, in the back, in the front of the abdomen that that timing is off, and then essentially you’re like firing a cannon from a canoe.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, I love that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Where you miss that stabilization and then the movement will be basically you’re riding on ligaments and tendons versus musculature that’ll support you.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah. Yeah, so something that I’ve, you know, something that I think might be helpful to clear some things up with the core. Think of the core not as much of a place, but an event. Right? So core is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Aaron Alexander:  That sequencing. Right? When Mike Tyson throws a punch, his core is coming from his fist down to his foot turning in, right? You know, and so that connection. The electricity all the way through your body, through that airtight compressed system that now is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  POW, turn into stone as—on impact. That’s core, right? If we start thinking breaking down and isolating core into leg raises and crunches, and you know, you’re break—reducing the whole down into parts and when it comes down to be an athlete or you know, just a successful human being in general. If you’re juggling, you know, 450 parts of your body, it’s—it’s too complicated. You’re not gonna be able to get it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? So if you—if you can come back and think, wow, I have one body, right? My bicep brachialis is attached to the flexor digit blah blah blah, you know, as you’re coming through that, that isolation, it’s only textbooks that break that down and a cadaver, when you cut away all the connective tissue and the white stuff—I used to call it packing peanuts, you know? It’s like, oh, let’s get the fascia out of there so we can really get into the meat, you know? The muscle belly. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s like, no. No, that’s—that’s not the way a living body works.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  But we’ve been duped because that’s the—that’s the textbooks that we study. We study dead bodies.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  We don’t study living organisms, right? So breaking out of that dead body paradigm, and—and dropping into what is full expressive movement as I’m just walking through the world, what muscle am I using right now as I’m talking to you? All of them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, but that’s not as easy to break down on a textbook.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—that’s the issue is we—we’ve gotten duped I think.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Interesting. I think I see some of your Rolfing, your Thomas Myers type of philosophy coming in there with the whole connective tissue and your fascial planes.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that’s simple. Yeah, you know, and that’s—by changing that perspective on the way that our bodies work in general, that will change your movement practice. You know, if you believe that you are a broke down, you know, Newtonian model of levers and pulleys then that’s probably how you’ll exercise because that’s the most effective–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Way to do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  But if all of a sudden you start thinking, what about jumping? You know, how do I jump? Really high and land really softly and really effectively? To do that, if you get wrapped up in the individual joints and there have been studies in relation to this as well that when you—when you—there I think it was bicep curl, I think it was what it was, and they had some, you know, EMGs connected up to the thighs–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  He was doing the bicep curl and fact check me on this, I’m pretty sure it was bicep—and what they found was they had one guy, they had them focus on the joint and focus on the muscle and really focus on just the parts that are happening, and then they had another guy say, just pull that son of a gun up there, just get it—the weight from down low, get it up there, I want it up on your shoulder. And that’s it and what they found was the guy that just focused on the end game, focused on the result, not only was it easier, he was using less—less—took him less electricity to make it happen essentially, but he was stronger, right? And the other guy was–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Full flamed up and he wasn’t able to pick up as much weight, right? So it’s like huh—huh—huh—huh—huh—huh—huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Interesting.

Aaron Alexander:  We’re not built to juggle these parts. We’re not and now we’re at this challenging point because we end up trusting the people that have the biggest polysyllabic words–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  On how to break down. The people that, whoa, smoking mirrors and blow us away with all of the—the anatomical structures that they break down, often times they move like crap. You know? And it’s almost like a compensation in order to—instead of being able to really embody that movement, we talk about it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right. Interesting.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s—these are two different things.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And that’s funny because when I went to school over at UMass—Umass Amherst—I was involved in a study, I think my sophomore or junior year, I was teeing for an AMP course, and one of the studies that was a very similar study that you were just talking about, I went to the lab and I took this huge needle. I didn’t know what I was getting into. They gave me like $100 and I was like a poor college student, so I’m like, “Alright, sure.”

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They take this huge needle and they get me into a bicep curl position, right? So they get me out like this and they take this needle and they just—just jammed it right into my bicep and I’m like, “Oh, my God, where the hell is that thing going?” It’s gonna hit bone. And they had me doing curls and they had the EMG going and they have me just think about curls–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, so cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And they have me actually do the curls and then like whole isometric curls.

Aaron Alexander:  So that was you though.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It may not have been that study but I was involved in one of those studies and it was really interesting and they did it also to at this muscle right here, I forget exactly what this muscle is called, but it’s right in this area here of the hand–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And the anatomical snuffbox here and they put a needle right in there as well and they have me do these movements as well.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It was very interesting and I just thought I would connect that story there with your research.

Aaron Alexander:  No, absolutely and there was a similar study with that where working with the same—the same thumb muscles where they had visualization of movement as opposed to actually practicing the movement and what they found was the same thing, by visualizing that movement, really communicating with your own musculo—your own muscular system, your own nervous system, but communicating with that, you’re exercising it. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s—it’s the recruitment of motor units that’s the important thing, right? It’s not so much just like hypertrophy or that we’re breaking—we’re breaking the muscle down. It’s—what’s the amplifier? The quality of the amplifier in your body. You know, and that’s something. This is like Central Governor and Tim Noakes. You know, it’s like getting into a world and using a small percentage of our movement potential, you know, that—that’s why if a ba—if a car falls on your baby, you know, the little old lady or the mother is “uuuhhh” He-man strength to be able to get the car off there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  I’ve never seen that happen but that’s what they say. You know, and it’s like that’s what that is is being able to tap into your own potential, right? But we end up doing often times is just we just get wrapped up and like you know, I remember in high school I was just sore all the time. You know, I still go through phases this where like gymnastic sufferers, just like soreness—that’s just a part of life, you’re just always sore. Right? You should always be in kind of state of breakdown.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  I don’t agree with that. I think that—I think that we’re able to kind of train ourselves to the point that we’re not walking around like we have a stick in our butt the next day, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And that’s—that’s really the magic point is—is working with—with our movement potential.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, what’s our—what’s our movement patterns like? Not just how badly did I break the tissue down and how big is it gonna get tomorrow?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? How much protein did I have?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  There’s a bigger—bigger picture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that’s cool. Very cool. I wanted to touch back on one thing with the breathing, because there’s a couple interesting things like obviously we know like certain pressing movements, you may wanna be breathing out through pursed lips as you’re pressing out in a bench press–

Aaron Alexander:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But I’ve done some studies or some seminars with Paul Chek–

Aaron Alexander:  Oh, cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And he found that overhead press breathing in actually help raise the—let me think—breathing help lower the diaphragm which help move the shoulder, the glenohumeral muscle better, so like during a military press, you’d wanna breathe in during the press movement, out during the down, but it was the opposite for a bench press. It was more breathing out on the—on the press, and then in on the—on the extension.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What was your opinion on that?

Aaron Alexander:  I would say play with it. You know, so like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—that’s the magic with breath or with your—or nutrition or anything in general.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But I prefer the inverse of what I used to do which is “psshhh” that blow out like your saying.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And I personally literally never do bench press because it’s not necessary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You do more like a push-up instead or-

Aaron Alexander:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What do you?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. I do archer push-ups and yeah, yeah, there’s just all these names for things that it’s like we all—we love to attach names but movement, you know, it’s exploring your movement potential. So I’ll go really wide and do like the Jacqueline push-ups and then–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Maybe bring an arm to—up to 10°–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Then up 30° and then maybe a lizard crawl on the ground a little bit, then maybe I’ll come over and do like a side plank then maybe you know, a cartwheel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, whatever just exploring that movement. You know, but something I do tinker with—I don’t tinker with bench press I–I don’t think it’s that necessary because our culture is so front and dominant, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  So—and it’s one of those things where it’s like you wanna exacerbate your pec manor—major and minor, and anterior delt and you know, all these musculature–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—its already over wound up, you know. So the—the necessity to spend your time, you know, investing in and contracting those tissues to a higher degree, I—I don’t think it’s necessary for me. You know, so I end up playing more with pull motions in general with—with the gym.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  But with that, I—with overhead presses, I find that to be incredibly valuable and with that, I—I’m on board with what—what Chek is saying of really—it’s all about the bracing, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So if you can engage and fill up that—that thoracic cavity–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And then brace from there, it’s a much stronger position I found but I would say, explore, you know, have fun, play.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. And I think it’s really important like when you look at movements, like I look at, alright, is it a push? Is it a pull? Right? Is it flexion? Is it extension? Hip or glute?

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Is—is there a rotation component? Is there a gait component or a sprint component? I mean, if you really break down all movements, you can almost get them down to those 7 prime movement patterns and then you can say, well, what’s your goal? If your goal maybe is more towards that [distorted audio] and you want more hypertrophy then you can manipulate things and maybe do more bench press. If you want a balance of the two, you can do more of the functional things that—that you and I are doing in our programs, so I like it. If you get the general philosophy, really you can just plug and play.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. And you know, with any of those things, it’s like Ido Portale is really good with this—with—with–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  he’s—I kind of—I kind of borrowed the dogmatic movement phrase from him and I really like it. You know, it the—it’s the same thing with religion, same thing with nutrition, same thing with anything, you become consumed by this is the way that I’m supposed to move–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  And what I would recommend is with those dogmatic movement perspectives, I would say dig in, get all you can out of that and then jump out of the box. You know, like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Like enter the box, enter the temple, enter the church, enter whatever it may be, take the lessons that you can, find the treasure, and then leave and take that into the world, you know? Let go of the rules. Oh, I did, you know, 5 pushes today. So I should do 5 pulls to balance that. It’s like no, no, no. Just feel it. You know? But sometimes we’re so kinda lost in what functional movement means in the first place. We need to have some type of grounded, codified movement practice but then from there, I think you’re really starting to cook once you start creating your own movement practice with that—those foundations of a good education on what it means to move well and move powerfully.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. So on that note, why don’t you walk us through the typical day in the gym? So you get into the gym, how is structure and everything kinda come together to make a good workout for you?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, alright, even more interesting I just built a home gym in my house. And—you know, so I have a gym membership because it’s a big old room. It’s got some other stuff, but I think it makes more sense for people to start to adjust the environment that they’re in for you know, 18 hours a day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and start thinking about—if everyone had a pull-up bar, I think that’s crucially important that you’re able to get–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  That overhead flexion.  You can actually again change the architecture of that whole shoulder joint, the glenohumeral, that whole–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Girdle by hanging in that position. Most of us end up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Being tucked forward when we come into that winging scapula position.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So if you can just come up and start to integrate mid-trap and rhomboids and all that and really feel that, that’s huge. You know, anybody, everybody should be hanging in their house multiple times a day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  You’re not gonna hang in too much, I promise, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and then from—from there, I have a barbell, you know, with some—with some Olympic weights so I can deadlift that and I can snatch and clean and I think Olympic lifts are—are super important for full body integration.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  If you’re gonna get into like one specific practice, but then, and then I have a slackline in my backyard, right? So then I’ll go–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, great.

Aaron Alexander:  I’ll go from deadlifting, you know, or snatching or whatever it is, to jumping directly on my slackline and then on the slackline I’ll come down, I’ll do lunges on it or I’ll like balance on my knees or just exploring different movements with that, right? And then from there, maybe go for a sprint. And then from there, maybe practice whatever dance moves you’ve got. If you play with Capoeira or ballet or whatever it may be, do some kicks, do some punches, do some cartwheels, or whatever, you can crawl on the ground. Right? And then getting more into your paradigm, get in the dirt and get—have a probiotic experience, right? You know, take your shoes off. Right? There—we can—we—there’s so many shotgun approaches to this health quandary that we’re missing out on because we’re too myopic and we focus on dumb bell, get it to the shoulder. It’s like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Dude, you just spent 20 minutes reducing yourself down so that you move less effectively, right? You know, by—by getting, you know, take your shoes off, roll around the dirt a little bit, jump on a slackline, climb a tree, all these things, that this might be kind of out there for some people, they’re really effective at integrating your whole system and then not to mention, you’re looking out, you know, instead of being in a small room in a gym like you’re in the office all day, you’re looking out over a horizon. Ooh, that’s good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Ciliary muscles in your eyes, right? Looking at–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  Your body as muscular–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Aaron Alexander:  Potential essentially.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I got your next niche for you by the way,

Aaron Alexander:  Please.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Shirtless dance workout. Seriously. I think you will hit it. It will be an explosive niche especially in the Paleo community.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, I just finished a burlesque show. My first burlesque show. It was a paid burlesque show. I’m officially a prof—a professional burlesque dancer, as of like 2 weeks ago.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Like I picture myself like speaking—I’m peeking through like your gym and you’re like doing the foxtrot without a partner and you’re just kinda like that. And you got the rose in your mouth and everything. Oh, boy.

Aaron Alexander:  I have 10% of all proceeds go directly to you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love it. I love it. Very cool. Well, what else? Is there anything else here before we close up shop? Anything else you wanna let the listeners know about yourself? Or just anything take home-wise? And one thing I see, you’re doing a lot more with the bands, too, on your site.

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I’m just curious, how are you implementing the bands into your clinical practice and how would people use them to kinda get an overall benefit?

Aaron Alexander:  Well, bands are great because they’re decompressors. Alright, so when an example of something, I’m sure you’ve done or seen done, or something I do on a very regular basis is decompress the shoulder goint—joint, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So that glenohumeral fossa there–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The head of the humerus, sometimes it’s sitting on the edge of the precipice there, just waiting for the–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  To dislocate essentially, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  So coming down and I’ll apply as the person is lying down on their back, I’ll apply a little bit of pressure with my hand or my elbow or what have you right in that little pocket just medial of the–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The head of humerus there, and then decompress the joint, bring that joint down into the table which allows the scapula to start sitting on the rib cage and really being flat on the—on the table or the ground wherever you’re at and then I’ll have the person go through a full range of motion, start raising their hand up in front of them, into shoulder flexion, start coming up into abduction or just roll into abduction and being like raising the hand up to the side, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So just exploring–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Range of motion while we’re decompressing that joint, asking it, Ida Rolf put it—put the tissue where it belongs and call for movement. Right? So putting that tissue in its most functional position then move, and you’re re-wiring yourself. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of, right? And so with—instead of being dependent, you know, spending—giving someone $150 to do that to your shoulder, you can just get a band, wrap that, you know, in a self-care kit thing that I have in the website.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  I have a door anchor with it and so you can adjust it at your house, blah, blah, blah and you can have it so that the band is coming out about shoulder—shoulder level height and then putting that around the shoulder, stepping forward into a low lunge position, it’s pulling, decompressing the shoulder back, and then you move. Go explore full range of motion with your shoulder girdle in the most effective functional position.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great.

Aaron Alexander:  You can do it by yourself and you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You can do it with the hip joint, too, right? So primarily you’d do it shoulder and hip primarily?

Aaron Alexander:  No, no, primarily do it everywhere. You know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Everywhere.

Aaron Alexander:  So—so, yeah, shoulder. I use it with the neck. I use it with the shoulder. I use it with organ manipulation or visceral manipulation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, cool.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? So I’ll bring the band around my belly and my rib cage and such and I’ll start to bend laterally and over to the side, and front, and back, and I’ll try and really start to disadhese all those connective tissues that are bound around my organs, right? Talking this is getting back to your department, organ function is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Mental-emotional function.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, the vagus nerve majority of those pathways are not coming from the brain down to the belly. It’s going to the belly up to the brain. Right? So when you—if you have some dysfunction happening around the visceral tissue.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  I promise you’re gonna feel in every other aspect of your life, emotionally, physically, et cetera, et cetera. You know, so keeping those tissues lubricated, hydrated, moving–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That is how we don’t hang on to, you know, S-H-I-T. You know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—that’s the thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I know. I get it. That makes a lot of sense. And again, you’re over at AlignTherapy.com. You got some really good YouTube videos. I see you always add, too. I think you have some videos with the bands, too, don’t you?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And what’s your YouTube channel?

Aaron Alexander:  What is the YouTube channel, I think it’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Youtube.com/aligntherapy?

Aaron Alexander:  Align, yeah, it’s all—it’s all the links off the—off the website. The handle for that I think is—I think it’s Align Podcast maybe. I’m not sure. Just go to AlignTherapy.com and then handles for everything is all—it’s all linked off of there. Yeah, put it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, put it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  If you’re listening at home, lots of great YouTube videos. Also, your AlignTherapy podcast which is great, and then you got a lot of really cool stuff like you mentioned the self-care kit and you also I think have a self-care like autoresponder kind of series, right? With some—you have like a little e-book or e-video series?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, exactly. And we’re presently working on a full A-Z, nuts to bolts, how to integrate functionality of movement into every aspect of your life. So getting into body like, you know, the value of body language and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  How to integrate functionality, the how you—like I mentioned shop your care, it’s in care of your baby–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Getting in and out of your car. Every moment of your day is an opportunity and we need to leverage that. And I’m talking about like long levers, like that’s the longest level you got. I promise. You know, starting to integrate that mindfulness and awareness of your movement practice into all the things that you do and that will start to clear up so much that you may have not even realized and the big thing is with anything, stick with it. You might not notice it today, but I promise you, the clients that I see 6 months from now, one year from now, two years from now, it’s like, “Oh, my God.”  What—you—you’ve really changed.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  What’s going—what’s going on? You know? And it’s like, what? Just you know, just keeping at it. It’s like, well, alright, keep—keep that up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s right.

Aaron Alexander:  I don’t know what you’re doing now but it’s great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, what’s that expression? If you give me a level long enough, you can move the world. Isn’t that Archimedes?

Aaron Alexander:  I think that was Archimedes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, it’s a great one.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, that’s—that’s—so that’s the big thing. It’s really, you know, Viktor Frankl is—Man’s Search For Meaning—everyone needs to–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  Read that immediately. It’s one of the most important books ever I think. And one of the—one of the quotes that he references in there quite a bit is Nietzsche’s if you have a why you can bear any how, I believe that’s how it goes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and that’s the big thing. We’re aimlessly moving through our movement practices with no understanding of why.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  If we can tap into that what the heck is the point of any of this, how do I become excited and fascinated and really truly immersed in my physical experience? If you can get into that, oh, man!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right, it’s like the average person that comes in and they have back pain, I mean, do they really just wanna get their back pain, you know, addressed?

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, maybe they really just wanna be able to go out in their backyard and play with their kids and they can’t do that and that’s the deeper–

Aaron Alexander:  That’s right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Meaning of why they’re there.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So you try to tap into that because that’s the purpose, that’s the—that’s the big why that allows the how to work essentially.

Aaron Alexander:  Bingo! That’s it, man.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great. Awesome. Well, I’m gonna end with this here. You’re on a desert island, right? You only can do one exercise and you can only bring one herb or supplement, what exercise and what supplement or herb?

Aaron Alexander:  Mmm… Mmm… Mmm… Mmm… Mmm… One exercise, man, if I had to say one kind of—I would say like—I would say Capoeira, you know, but that’s a lot of exercise.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s a lot.

Aaron Alexander:  So one exercise, I would say, overhead squat. Overhead squat or hang. I think you gotta have both really.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Aaron Alexander:  But so I would say overhead squat is a really important one because you just clear up so much of that integration from your hand down to your feet. You’re getting that thoracic extension which almost nobody has. You’re activating that hip hinge. You’re opening up the knees. You’re—you’re everything is getting this. It’s the most effective shotgun I think there is and then you gotta hang. You really got to. You gotta hang. You gotta climb trees. You gotta pull around different ranges of motion.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Lots.

Aaron Alexander:  The one thing that I would bring, man, right now as we’re talking, I’m drinking some Pu-erh tea, which I really like. Last I had a different–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Pu-erh tea.

Aaron Alexander:  since the last time. Yeah. Yeah, Pu-erh tea is really nice, man. And so there’s—there’s some facts or whatever in relation to it, it’s like makes your fat more bioavailable and helps with assimilation of adipose tissue and blah, blah, blah, that’s how I drink. I drink it because it makes you feel really good. That’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love it.

Aaron Alexander:  So right now, I’m loving Pu-erh. So I would say overhead squat and Pu-erh. I’ll be good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Pu-erh tea and overhead squats. Awesome. I’m gonna do some hangs right after this podcast in tribute to you.

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I may even do it with like an extra button undone on my shirt. Oh, what the hell, I may just take my shirt off altogether, just in tribute to you Aaron, alright? Awesome, man. I appreciate your—your perspective that’s kinda extrameta if you will, like looking at it from a—from a deeper perspective. I mean, you take exercise and movement and you really allow a different, deeper perspective, so I appreciate that.

Aaron Alexander:  And I appreciate you appreciating it, man. I appreciate what you’re doing as well, man. So it’s always great to get to chat with you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Awesome, man. Thanks a lot. You have a good one.

Aaron Alexander:  Alright, see you, brother.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Thanks, bye.

 

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