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Dr. Justin and Dr. Baris interviewed Garrett Salpeter, known as a health engineer of ARPwave Austin which essentially focuses on strengthening the nervous system through electrotherapy and exercise.
In this podcast, Garrett Salpeter will talk about a new perspective on training and physical therapy through nervous system activation for fitness, faster healing and reducing risks of injuries. Find out how the ARP wave technology as well as other techniques work for you for optimal performance.
In this episode we cover:
01:54 Garrett’s Story
04:14 ARPwave System: How does it work?
11:17 Muscular and neurological strength
35:50 Neurological training for optimal function
45:54 Iso Extreme, Altitude Drop Techniques
Baris Harvey: Thank you guys for tuning in to another episode of Beyond Wellness Radio. In today’s podcast we have an awesome interview with Garrett Salpeter. Garrett, we call him the health engineer. He had a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and a Master’s Degree in Engineering. Garrett, how is it going today?
Garrett Salpeter: Pretty good, Baris. Thank you for having me. I am excited to be here.
Baris Harvey: Awesome. How is it going today, Dr. Justin?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It is going great. I am excited for this interview as well.
Baris Harvey: Yes, it is definitely an awesome interview that we are going to have today because Garrett is an expert in injury prevention. Helping people recover from their injuries and also for performance. Because we have a lot of athletes listening to the show and also a lot of former athletes with some injury problems and want to kind of become healthier or also make a quicker recovery in order to continue competing on some type of level. So Garrett, what actually got you into health? Because I think I still kind of botched the title of your degree name, your Master’s Degree. But what got you into like going from physics and mechanical engineering into the health field?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes, of course. So I have been an athlete my whole life focusing primarily on playing ice hockey. And I also had gone to school and had a Physics Degree. And even though I enjoyed hockey and I was very passionate about training, I kind of thought that that area of my life would just remain a hobby. And towards the end of my time in college I was set to go to engineering school. That is what actually brought me down here to the University of Texas, how I got to Austin. And as I was already on that path set to come here I had an injury towards the end of my time playing hockey in college and I used the ARPwave System actually to heal from some torn ligaments that I had in my wrist. And it helped me avoid a surgery, get back in a week’s or even months’ ahead of schedule. And it brought together a lot of different concepts for me that I have been wondering how to apply in my own training and in “rehab-ing” from previous injuries. And it made a lot of sense in a way that many of the other traditional therapies and traditional methods of training, they did not quite add up. So it really sort of re-ignited my interest in this whole field of physiology and human performance and made me think that, “Oh, maybe there is something here that I could pursue in a more real concrete way.” And so as I was down here still already set to go to Engineering School. And as I was down here, I ended up just getting more and more into it and I decided to leave my Engineering School early. I was supposed to get a PhD but I decided to take my Master’s and leave early and open up my clinic here and that is a little over 5 years ago. So I have been running this clinic for 5 years now and we have been getting great results. It has been very rewarding and very exciting and that is a good spring board to kind of explore the things that we are talking about here and hopefully continue to improve upon them and push the envelope forward.
Baris Harvey: Yes, that is awesome. You know what is great about that is that it gives you a different perspective than most people in the health field. That you studied in a different way that you can look at the body in such a unique fashion.
Garrett Salpeter: Yes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. So, Garrett this is Dr. Justin here. You mentioned the ARPwave and I am just curious. I use the ARPwave in my practice as well. And I know with your electrical/engineering background you probably have some inside information of what is really happening when you are using the ARPwave to help heal injuries. Can you go into more the electrical/technical side of things?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes. Absolutely. And one of the things that I first got very excited about was seeing how this, you know again like I mentioned, it kind of brought together a lot of different things that I have been interested in and passionate about. And so essentially, there is a little bit of physiology that we would have to review in order to understand how the electrical component is actually beneficial. And the physiology is around the cause of injury and why injuries happen in the first place. And essentially, whether you are sprinting down the field of international football league or carrying your small child or carrying groceries in from the car or you are just out for a stroll, force is always entering your body. Your muscles have to be able to absorb the force of that activity. They have to act like shock absorbers to protect your joints, protect the other more passive structures and more passive tissues. And when they do their job correctly you can have a long career in the NFL or you can do all these other activities in daily life without pain, without any problems. And so the main limiting factors in how well muscles can work to protect you is how much force they can absorb and how quickly they can absorb it. So in order to absorb force, your muscles have to be able to eccentrically contract or in everyday language they have to be able to lengthen.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Garrett Salpeter: So, you have to lengthen fast enough to absorb the force that they are encountering and with enough tension or strength. And you know there are some things like a car accident or falling from four stories up that we may not be able to ever prepare the muscles to absorb that amount of force. But everything else that we are encountering in daily life absolutely we should be able to absorb that force with our muscles to keep us safe. So the other issue is how quickly they can turn on to absorb that force. And that is the notion of, well, if I am running or if I am jumping and I land between each running stride that my foot is coming down and having to absorb several times my body weight in one tenth or two tenth of a second. So not only does it have to absorb many times my body weight, 500 to 1000 pounds of force but it has to do so in a fraction of a second. So in order to coordinate something like that the underlying software, the neurological signals have to be extremely efficient. They have to be able to exert a very high level of control to maximally engage all those muscles in the correct coordinated pattern at the right time with the right amount of force in order to cause this whole process to work efficiently and allow the muscles to work as they should. And so there’s lot that really goes in to having to absorb force and we go back up one more point when I mentioned a moment ago that muscles have to be able to lengthen to absorb force. And so where the ARP comes in is the ARP is essentially a very effective you could call it a clean wave form that is able to exactly mimic the neurological signals that the body is sending already. And this is where the electronic component ties in with the physiological component that we were just discussing. So most types of electric stimulation for one reason or another they are going to be perceived by the body as foreign. And when that happens, the muscles that are being stimulated by that current, they are going into a protective contraction. They are going to be shortening whereas again we need to be lengthening. What the ARP is able to do is exactly mimic the body’s own neurological signals. It does not cause these protective contractions. What actually happens when the ARP is on the muscle it mimics the signal that is coming from what is called the muscle spindle. Not to get too technical for all the listeners here but essentially there is a sensor inside of every single muscle that we have and that sensor detects changes in lengths. So when muscles are lengthening which they have to do in order to absorb force, when they are lengthening these muscle spindle receptors are stimulated. They send signals back to the spine and the brain. And the ARP, all that it is really doing is mimicking those same signals. So when we stimulate different muscles our brain and our spinal cords, all these signals that are being received there they would think, “Oh, these muscles are lengthening just the same way as it would if I am running or if I am doing these other activities.” And so by sending those same signals we can see which muscles are efficient at lengthening to absorb force and which ones are not. And when we find the ones that are not we know, “Oh my goodness! Oh, that muscle is not working in this realm that it needs to in order to be able to protect me from injury.” Therefore, it could very well be part of the underlying problem and that is something we are going to want to work on and the one that we are going to address if we want to have a chance of actually solving this particular pain or injury problem.
Baris Harvey: Definitely. So as a follow-up question on that. You know you talked about the muscle spindles and how it could get a little complex. But it seems to me that there is a little bit difference of just overall muscular strength and this kind of protective nervous system communication that people really do not normally see. It seems like it is a bit simpler like, “Oh muscles either contract or relax.” And so for example, I can deadlift a lot of weight. Like I have some pretty strong legs but the other day I kind of tweaked my hamstring running after the ball and kind of hyper extending my leg and kind of felt like I tweaked my hamstring. So you guys tested me before and noticed some issues with like my nervous system and some certain problematic areas. Could you kind of talk about how just for an example of an injury of how maybe somebody could strain their hamstring or how that works or how that kind of injury occurs? And what is the difference between just being muscularly strong and neurologically strong?
Baris Harvey: Absolutely Baris. You brought up a fabulous point. And this is one of the biggest things that I try to get across to the people that I work with here in my facility because it really is one of the most common myths or misunderstandings in the training world today and in the world of athletic preparation and also in injury rehabilitation. And we could phrase it as simply as this: Let us say you have a 600 lb. deadlift. How long is it going to take you to execute that lift? On average, on a power lifting meet, when someone’s doing their max deadlift they are grinding out a rep. It is going to be 2 or 3, 5-6-7, maybe up to 10 seconds per a rep, is that right?
Baris Harvey: Yes. And usually it takes a little while to lift that weight that heavy and then going to the bottom and you see people go kind of slow on their way up and then finally hitting it at the top. Yes.
Garrett Salpeter: Absolutely, absolutely. And let us contrast that with what happens when you are on the football field. When you are sprinting down running your pattern as a wide receiver, each stride your entire body weight is coming down on one leg and you have to absorb that then propel yourself for the next stride all in less than two-tenths of a second.
Baris Harvey: Second, yes. Exactly.
Garrett Salpeter: So, essentially, you are running a completely different software pattern. In one, in the maximal lift that you are doing in the gym, granted you are engaging a lot of muscles and it is a good thing. It has some potential benefits for sure. But you are trying to do it in no matter how much time it takes several seconds whereas when you are doing it on the field you have to be able to do it time after time after time in a fraction of a second precisely and very, very quickly. And I am sure based on that you can see how one may not necessarily be adequate preparation for another. So the neurological coordination that is necessary in order to execute these movements in two-tenths of a second as opposed to five to ten seconds completely different. And physiologically a big part of the difference is in the coordination between opposing muscles. Because when you are deadlifting you are pretty much trying to just fire everything that you can as hard as you can. If you do that in running you are going to have some problems. In running, when your leg is in the pawback action, when your leg is being pulled back from the top through the ground contact and then extending back behind you as everything along the back side of the body, your glute and hamstring in particular, as they are all contracting to pull your leg into the ground, you know your hip flexors need to elongate. The thing is the muscles in front of your body need to elongate and there is this very precise, extremely high level of coordination that is necessary in order for that movement to be effective that you completely miss out on the way that most people are training in the gym. They think that because I added 100 lbs. on my bench press all of a sudden I am better prepared to go out and do this other activity but in reality based on what we just talked about the coordination scheme can be completely different. There is no need to actually relax some muscles while others are contracting.
Baris Harvey: Yes, so to put that into simple terms for our listeners, it is two different kind of communication thing going on with our body where one is like send and recruit as much energy here as possible and the other one is kind of more let us say kind of back and forth communication of this needs to contract but this has to relax at the same time at a high speed kind of activity.
Garrett Salpeter: Absolutely, yes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Interesting. Well, I think you made some really great points there. I like the hardware-software analogy. So it seems like the hardware is somewhat important in sports. I mean, for instance, if I am not 7 feet tall I may not be a great center in the NBA or I if am not weighing 230 or 250 lbs. I may not be a good linebacker. So hardware is interesting. But you also mentioned a lot about software. I think you know everyone has had the analogy of owning a Windows Vista and having maybe a really good processor and lots of RAM but the computer stinks because the software or the operating system stinks. So I have seen people in the gym that are not that big but they lift a lot of weight and they are really fast and they perform well. So that feels like maybe they have a software, they have an enhanced software. So can you talk about that software analogy and can you talk how you assess that? How do you go about kind of looking and seeing if the software is working and how would you make the software better?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes, absolutely. So I am glad you caught on to that analogy there because I really believe that that is one of the keys in all of these processes that we are talking about. Whether it be enhancing performance or overcoming injury or any other or anything else in the range here. And it is really a good analogy because most people think that if I want to get stronger well I need more muscle. But in reality, most people are only able to activate 30% maybe 50% of the muscle they already have. So without having to add a single additional muscle fiber you can gain 50-70% strength just by tapping into more of the potential that is already there inside of you. It seems kind of foolish to go and try and buy a V8 to replace your V6. The real problem with your V6 is that 3 of the cylinders are not working. You can just repair those other 3 cylinders and you will just see some significant improvement in the performance in your engine. And there’s a couple of ways to assess it particularly when we are talking about working with people who are in pain or have been recently injured. The two big tools that we use for assessment are one, is the imbalance assessment, the manual muscle tests. And those are very simple, Dr. Justin I know you do these in your practice and I obviously do in mine as well. You know it is pretty common to test in the vein of applied kinesiology. So I am sure several of your listeners well have experienced this. And essentially, you lay down on the table and you will hold your leg up and I will push you down, I will introduce force with my hand and I am testing your ability to absorb that force, to hold your leg in place, to engage the muscles at the correct time with enough force to resist me and if they can do that then that is good. We can move on. If they cannot, then that indicates that something is being inhibited or shut down. The neurological signal is not reaching that area because there is a problem in the software program somewhere. So then we have to go around and see where those problems are and through various tests and changing positions and introducing feedback in certain areas, we can discover where that problem really is. And another tool for assessment is the ARP. And I mentioned earlier using the ARP to move around on people’s bodies when they are injured. Let us say you have a knee injury, we can start in the area where the pain is on the knee and the same level of current will feel relatively mild, not very intense. Then we will start searching around the different muscles and all of a sudden we may get to one muscle in the quad or one muscle in the hamstring and they may have a more intense reaction. And that again is because that signal from the ARP is duplicating the exact neurological signals that are being sent by that person’s muscle spindle, the length sensing mechanism in that muscle. That person’s brain perceives that well that muscle has not been doing that, has not been lengthening either to absorb that much force or to do so at the velocity, has not been doing this in the recent past and therefore, I, that person’s brain says, “Therefore, I have to lock down this area. I need to protect it. Just give me a chance to figure out what the heck is going on to sort this thing because, you know, something new is happening.” And so it is a good way to assess what is working and what is not working. And between both of these tools, we are able to get a really good sense of where we need to go. And often times it has been a much different direction than you would go in traditional physical therapy or the other types of rehabilitation that are common out there. So the imbalance, the manual techniques are really, I would say, a foundation just to make sure that the muscles are capable of working and that the signals actually can get there in the first place. And then with the ARP we are doing an additional assessment that is kind of a more dialed in, more refined, where we are looking for. “Okay, we know all the signals can reach this area, now which ones can work at a high level or at the level necessary for whatever that person’s activity is. Which ones can work and which ones are not up to the challenge.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That is really interesting, Garrett. And I have seen you and I have had the same experience, too. I know you have as well working with Olympians or professional athletes that are at the highest level in their field and you will do a simple let us say a rectus femoris muscle test and you have this athlete that literally could squat 500 pounds but the 15 or 20 pounds of pressure from your hand you can move his leg down like nothing. Can you talk about that aspect? Because it is like I see these athletes they are like, “What the heck did you just do?” And it has to do more with the software. Can you talk more about your experience with that?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes, Absolutely. And it’s an experience I have had many times and one that can be very surprising to the person on the table because just like you said they are thinking, “How the heck can I not hold my leg up on this test if am able to go and perform this at some high level of that and some high level and my counter to that would be, “Well if you are able to do that but you can’t do this simple test you are absorbing this like you said 15 or 20 pounds of force then imagine what kind of compensations you are having to make. Imagine what other muscles on other areas you are having to call upon because this one is not up to the simple challenge. There is no way it is up to the task of what it needs to do to officially complete these other activities. So imagine what kind of stresses you are imposing on other areas to complete those tasks.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmmm. Definitely. Now real quick just because Dr. Justin did not simplify it for the listeners you just basically talked about one of the quadriceps muscles. Is that what you said the rectus femoris?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes, it would be that hip flexor muscle that kind of allows you to raise your knee up.
Baris Harvey: Exactly. And I have done this test and for the listeners out there to know that is how I met Dr. Justin was as a client. And when you do it you will feel pretty odd like, “Oh, my leg muscles are way stronger than Dr. Justin’s arm but he is able to push it down.” What is going on here? I like what you mentioned earlier, Garrett about the potential of the muscle. And we can actually increase our strength, our speed and our coordination by a lot without necessarily having to gain muscles. It is almost this idea the more muscle you have the stronger you can be but not necessarily the stronger you are. Now we see the body builders and that does not mean they are super strong. They can be but there is more space for potential. And I guess a good example would be the Olympians, like gymnasts or boxers or wrestlers that actually want to stay in a lower weight class. So that way they actually need to be stronger but to limit how much weight they put on. So can we talk about maybe how somebody can maximize and optimize getting that muscle recruitment and making them stronger without necessarily meaning to I guess gain a bunch of muscle mass necessarily and then we can follow that up with also just the injury that you mentioned getting injured. You know, making sure we are communicating with the muscles correctly and preventing injury, could we go into kind of both of those in a free-flowing state?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes. Absolutely. I really like a lot of those examples that you brought up people like gymnasts, boxers, wrestlers who have to maintain very high levels of strength but they cannot do it by necessarily always adding muscles because that would sent them out of their weight class. Or the example of comparing body builders and power lifters, you can have two people who are the same weight, a body builder and a power lifter and yet the other one can lift two to three times more because of the way that they are training. And I think a good overlying theme here that will answer these questions that you are bringing up is to think of our brains as governors. So the biggest thing that our brains do for us is protect us. They attempt to limit our output in order to keep us safe. They want to make sure that we live to see tomorrow. They want to make sure we do not expend too much energy. They want to make sure that we do not fire our muscles too hard and risk pulling them or tearing tendons off of our bones. Our brains are really set up to protect us. And so in order to tap in to this greater level of potential we need commands to the brain or techniques that allow us to tell the brain to, “No, no, it is okay. You can allow this to happen. You can allow this level greater of force or this greater display of velocity. You can allow these other things to happen.” And so there are a lot of techniques that we can use to send those commands to the brain to allow the brain to just kind of ease off on the break to not have to limit our effort so much. I know a couple of examples I will share. One would be something like the ARP machine where able to send a signal to the brain that these muscles are working at a certain level. That could be lifting a certain load, moving at a certain velocity. And initially like what we have talked before, in that in some areas at least can elicit a protective response and that basically the brain saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! No, no, no! We are not up to working at this particular level of challenge.” But a very cool thing will happen. If you leave the current in that level and you move and you do other things to say, “Okay brain, it is okay. We are not going to die here. We are going to make it through this.” All of a sudden it will start to ease off on the brake and say, “Okay, we will allow this.” And then you can do something really cool. You can turn the current up and you can repeat that process and you can keep doing that until all of a sudden you have been able to tell your brain to ease off on that brake enough that all of a sudden its allowing you to perform at a much higher level and you are able to tap in to more of that potential that you already have inside of you. And in the context of injury obviously the risk of injury is a great motivating factor for why the brain would want to limit output in the first place. It is going to think again we do not want to do this because you can get hurt. And one of the biggest problems with injury in general in the way that we work to treat injuries commonly is that these different compensations from previous injuries are never fully address. And so what I mean by that is if someone has a sprained ankle, the swelling may go down, the black and blue may go away, the pain may go away and they will be declared cleared to return to play. But if the brain still senses that ankle is not quite up to a 100%, you know let us say that is your right ankle, every time you put your right foot down when you are sprinting in a football field that signal from your ankle is going to say, “Well, we are not 100% stable.” So your brain is going to say, “Whoa! Guys we do not have a stable foundation here.” And so it is going to limit the output to your quad, to your calf, to your hamstring, to your glute because it does not want to put more force to that leg than can be handled by the ankle. And so that is kind of another example of where this idea of the brain working as the governor or putting the breaks on can happen because of inappropriate rehabilitation from previous injuries. And so that is another reason that we have been able to be very successful in working with injuries because we are able to find where these compensations are taking place and actually address them if not just, “okay, these ligaments got stretched out, they got sprained. We need to work to heal those ligaments.” It is yes we want to accelerate the healing of the ligaments but we want to, more importantly, look at why that injury happened in the first place and what needs to happen in order to allow that to get back to working at its highest level again going forward.
Baris Harvey: Yes, definitely.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, Garrett it sounded like just to clarify one point. It sounded like most people are cleared to play again, most athletes are cleared to play again based upon their hardware being okay but there are no software clearance. What you are saying is the software is never cleared back in the game but just the hardware is. Is that correct?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes. For instance, and a good example of that I just saw a paper which is a really good example. I can pull it up for if anyone is curious and feedback for show notes here. I can always post the reference.
Baris Harvey: Yes, you can just send that to us. Yes.
Garrett Salpeter: But it was a good paper. Several months after an ACL surgery, when people are going through rehabilitation that athletes will be cleared to play but their rate and force development is still way behind where it should be or where it is on the other leg even. And what that means is there is still some inhibitory influence. You know, some influence from that injury is left over. A little bit of that brain applying the brake pedal.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Garrett Salpeter: Where they are able to engage all of their muscle fast enough to actually turn on at the type of speed that they need to perform on the field or on the ice or on the court. And so therefore, it indicates very clearly a deficiency in the rehabilitation process because they are not fully prepared to go back out and meet the demands of their sport. And it is no wonder therefore you know that there is a huge rate of second and third tears and re-injuries and other injuries from various compensations around the first one that was never fully addressed. So, yes there are a lot of interesting issues and interesting considerations there for sure.
Baris Harvey: Yes, awesome. So I want to kind of clarify this for the listeners is so if you possibly sprained your ankle or pull your hamstring you kind of have this compensation pattern where you are limping and it is obvious that you are not going to be able to run your 40 in the same amount of speed but oftentimes we feel like, “Oh, I am able to run in a nice pattern but we still have this kind of I guess micro-compensation where if you would actually test our total output it would not be at our max performance. But it is small so we do not really notice it and it can cause this continuous, where we sprained another ankle or we pull another hamstring and all these compensation patterns start to add up. And we start to see these movement problems and these people have become, while nobody can see my air quotes, but they become injury prone, right?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes, yes. Absolutely that is exactly what we are talking about there and I like the way you clarified that. And injury prone I really like that, too. Because Dr. Justin I am sure in your functional medicine work that you see all sorts of different things that people are dealing with where you know that if they had addressed the underlying cause or underlying problems that made them susceptible. They probably would not have these digestive or hormonal or infectious issues or things of that nature.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.
Garrett Salpeter: And it is never just the pathogen, it is the pathogen and how it interacts with environment of that person’s body, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Garrett Salpeter: And the same kind of thing on the field of play. If everyone is playing the same game and everyone is having to deal with the fact that players are now bigger, now faster, and now are stronger and we think that that makes injuries common or inevitable because players are so much bigger and the collisions are so more aggressive now. And we think that injuries are just part of the game. But there are these things, you know, injury-prone I like that phrase. Again, Baris and we will come back to that. There are these things, these underlying factors that if they are not working as effectively as they should then someone is going to be at a greater risk of injury than someone who is working more efficiently, has a better foundation. They are going to be more prepared to handle the rigors of whatever is occurring out there and they are going to have fewer injuries and you will see now some guys spend their whole careers on the disabled list and other guys are able to play with little to no injury for many years over a whole career.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Made some good points there, Garrett. You know one of the big things I think a lot of people can empathize with is maybe being a high school athlete. Maybe they did go to the college level but I find a lot of strength and conditioning at the high school level and maybe even at the college level. It is like we just have to condition you so you get tougher. We got to make it so you throw up afterwards. We practice the whole time and then at the very end we throw in our conditioning when we are super tired. Can you talk about this working harder over working smarter mentality? Can you talk about what training in nervous system to make it optimal in regards to getting the best software? How that compares in contrast? What is typically done?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes, absolutely. And that is a fabulous point. And I like that you used the word optimal because the way that most people think about conditioning is more is better. If we just drive our athletes into the ground you know, we make them work, they are going to come out of it tougher and they will have miraculously achieved all of the benefits that we are looking for because we just pushed them pretty darn hard. In reality, it is optimal and not maximal that we are looking for. And yes we want to work hard and yes we want to work smart. And the way to balance all of these factors is through, a one good framework would be the inverted U curve or the bell curve. If you have a peak in the middle on the left side, you are going from left to right you are working your way up towards the peak, you reach the peak and then pass the peak it starts to go downhill again. So the inverted U curve or the bell curve. And so people are way on the left side where they just do not do enough of anything to achieve results. And that is a pretty easy one to address.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Garrett Salpeter: And then some people on the far right where they have done so much more than they are capable of doing at a high quality that they have broken down, they are causing things to really move backwards. And somewhere in the middle is that optimal level. And there are some very clear and interesting ways to determine when you are working at that optimal level. And so basically finding the optimal level of training that needs to be done is a point at which the stresses are as such that they are challenging, they are causing someone to work at a higher level but they are not crossing over the threshold where they are causing that person to breakdown. And by that, I mean they are breaking down, they cannot maintain a good position, they are running hunched over or they are having a fault in their position when they are doing their 10th sprint or their 20th sprint or their 50th sprint. Or if they are lifting, you know, you see guys in a high school gym doing power clean. And if you are watching some of the positions that they are doing and it makes me…
Baris Harvey: (Laughs) It is scary.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You think they are having a seizure. I know.
Garrett Salpeter: So essentially, it is choosing the right amount where you are pushing someone but not causing them to breakdown because they are excessively fatigued. So, a simple example, you know Dr. Justin, you are talking about most coaches would want to do the conditioning at the end of practice. So let us say, they have their athletes running 10 sprints. Well, you know, maybe, maybe the first one or two are going to be at maximum velocity. They are going to be giving their all, doing the best of which they are capable and after that the next 7, 8, 9 maybe all 10 they are not going to be able to perform at their max because they are fatigued. And when they are not able to perform at their max because of fatigue they are going to be running slower, they are going to use their bodies differently. They are going to be using their muscles differently. Their running form and position will change. The sequence of muscles, there are many things that are going to change and because that is what they are doing that is what they are going to adapt to. And if they are adapting to working at this lower level. It is no wonder that people most people go through high school and college and they end up staying the same or getting worse. These are the years where they should be making huge enormous strides in their athletic abilities but a lot of guys come out of college either slower or only running just as fast as when they entered college. And this is big part of the reason why because they are spending so much time adapting to, you know, moving at less than their maximal speed because very simply they are just so fatigued from running all these sprints that they cannot possibly work at this highest level. So they are down on the right, on the downward slope of this inverted U curve. And so when we are training people we want to make sure that we are doing everything right at the highest possible quality and we are pushing people as far as they can go while maintaining that highest possible quality of work.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you also talked about being specific. And I know my experience in high school playing sports. Let us talk about football for instance, you have got a running back and you have a line man. And it is crazy because those two positions have two different demands and two different body types. And to force and impart you know you guys have to do the same kind of run and the same kind of time and the same kind of recovery. It is crazy to have these same expectations and recovery time for each. So can you go into more of the specific sides of it? And can you also talk about how a lot of the movement patterns that you are doing would be different and you probably would not even have them do the movements at the very end. You probably want to do it when they are as fresh as possible, too. So can you touch upon that?
Garrett Salpeter: Well, in some parts of what you said I definitely would agree with wholeheartedly. There is a little bit of a distinction that I would like to make on the issue of specificity because in some ways I would argue that most athletes really need the same things. We all have the same muscles that have to be coordinated in the same way. And to work at a high level they all need the same high levels of coordination and speed and power and stamina and range of motion and all these other things. And so most training today does not even build enough of the foundation in all of these areas that it is really worth going forward and getting specific. So in general, I would say yes to what you said with the qualification that we need to do a better job of preparing all of the underlying systems of the body so everything is efficient. All of the energy systems can support long amounts of work for the entire game whether you are a line man or a running back. No matter your position, your energy systems need to support you working at your highest level the whole game. You have to be strong enough to handle all the rigors of the sport regardless of your position. Obviously they will change a little bit but a lot of these same things people are going to need. These abilities of all your muscles to coordinate and be able to lengthen to absorb force to protect you against injury.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But how would you manage the recovery aspect? If someone’s nervous system is not quite as adapted, they may need a little bit more time in regards to recovery. So how do you handle that aspect?
Garrett Salpeter: That is a very good question. And so there are a lot different things out there. One of the biggest…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you using heart rate? Are you just doing kind of just trying to find the magic number where they can get back into perfect form again?
Garrett Salpeter: Oh, so between, you are talking about between sets or between reps or sprints or things like that? Okay.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes exactly.
Garrett Salpeter: So essentially if you want to have someone being able to sprint at a their highest level then you need to be able to wait to let them recover in between until their heart rates are coming back down below a hundred. They are coming back down near to where they are at rest. If not all the way to where they were at rest, you know. Whether it be in the 70s or the 80s. And that simply in this context, the heart rate is a measure of how hard they are working. How much the body perceives it needs to elevate the energetic output to meet the demands of the task at hand. And once the heart rate comes back down that is a good sign that okay energy has been restored and work can continue. So yes absolutely. And some people will recover a lot faster than others and they will be able to sprint again sooner than some of their team mates. But yes, you definitely would want to wait until they come back down. In this specific example sprints, you know that they have restored enough of their energy so that they can perform at their highest level possible. Yes, absolutely.
Baris Harvey: Sounds great. So we talked about athletes and basically some of the flaws in the training. We want to make sure that we are tapping into the nervous system and training the muscles and the recruitment patterns. We mentioned the ARPwave. There are also some things that we could possibly do maybe like negative trainings or you know maybe using resistance bands to get kind of deeper. I know sometimes the body builders they will do like the drop sets to where they are grabbing a heavy weight and once they are fatigued they might use a lower weight so that way they can get muscle recruitment. What are some other ways to some that we can do this on our own and what are some of the technology that we have out here? I know like Keith Norris has like the ARX device and you have the ARPwave and also the POV. What are some of the ways that we can do this at our home? What are some of the technologies that we can do to tap into this deeper stimulation of our muscles?
Garrett Salpeter: That is a very good question because in order to enhance neurological efficiency and ultimately quality of life that really is the question to ask. And the biggest thing that needed to happen is we need to be in good position so we can be sure all of our muscles are working and that everything is coordinated and that all of the feedback from movement back to the sensory signal that comeback from the body to the brain, they are all coordinated in such a way that they are going to cause the brain to work at a higher level. So this is a very important topic. And essentially, as long that you can make sure that you are in position and you are turning your muscles on as aggressively as you can, you are challenging your nervous system and therefore causing it to improve and you are making progress. So there is a couple of techniques and one of the things that we use in therapy here and in training as well is the Iso Extreme Technique and that is a technique that was developed and named by Jay Schroeder and it can be a very grueling technique even though it looks like you are just to the outside observer..
Baris Harvey: Standing, right. (Laughs)
Garrett Salpeter: Yes. It looks like you are just holding a lunge or a squat position or something. Looks like maybe you are holding a yoga pose but in reality what you are attempting to do is pull in to position constantly such that you are continually attempting to get lower and lower and lower and lower always using the appropriate muscle to pull in to position. And when you are doing that you are challenging the ability of your nervous system to coordinate all of these muscles in the way that we talked about where some are having to shorten and others are having to lengthen. And as you fuel these signals these reflexes overtime you are constantly having to put out energy, you are constantly having to send these signals and when you do it for an extended period of time you end up being very, very, very neurologically and energetically efficient. So that is one thing that can allow you to tap in to these higher levels of performance. And the Iso Extreme is a scheme of coordination in which you are actively pulling into position. So let us take the squat for example. The squat you can do it as a wall squat or a hand supported squat where you are holding on to some handles for balance. Essentially, you want to pull yourself down to the squat position. That means actively using your hamstrings to execute knee flexion and you are basically trying to stay erect in your torso, keep your shins perpendicular and try to pull yourself down actively, aggressively as low as you can and continue to pull for whatever the amount of time is that you are doing it for. And that is a coordination scheme that is kind of counter intuitive to some people because you are thinking in a squat, “Well, my quads and glutes are working.”
Baris Harvey: Exactly.
Garrett Salpeter: And in reality, of course they are working because they are holding you up, if they were not working you would fall over. But the distinction here is that your pulling in with the opposing muscles you are completely changing the neurological signal. Instead of raising and shortening in the quad and glute by engaging their opposing muscles to pull you into position you are using your quad and glute eccentrically do lengthening so they are learning to absorb force. They are learning to work in such a way that they can protect your knee and hip joints and at the same time as they are lengthening out they are preparing to work so they can maximally create force so that they can push you into the ground to propel you further or faster or higher. And you end up getting the opportunity for performance benefits at the same time as you are training yourself to be more resistant to injuries. So it is very cool and very efficient. And it is also a foundation to work into some of these other techniques that we can introduce. So for instance, in here one other aspect of this is that by pulling into the ground you are actually amplifying the effect of gravity which is again a kind of counter intuitive notion that can cause someone to question or take a moment to kind of ponder. And you are in position you could just be bracing there holding up your body weight or you could be attempting to pull down so the muscles that are working are having to not only hold up your body weight but also lengthen to absorb the force of the opposing muscles. You are kind of amplifying or making harder this exercise. And another way to do that is to do something called an altitude drop. And altitude drops using the same squat as an example, you could step off you know start with a 12- or 18-inch box and what you do is step off and then land in a squat position. Trying to make it you know a good squat position like you are doing in that Iso Extreme squat that we just described. So when you land in that squat position you are taking that coordination scheme that you developed and you are having to turn it on, if you will. You are taking that coordination scheme and you are activating it in a fraction of a second to absorb the force of your body falling before you hit the ground or before your joints get hurt or something like that. And so this is a technique that can be very, very, very powerful. Because as you get good at this and I certainly do not want your listeners trying this right away but you can go up higher and higher boxes. You can work your way up to 36, 48 inches, 6 feet, 8 feet. And if you are dropping off on an 8-foot ledge, when you are landing you are having to turn on in several one hundredth of a second a very short period of time to absorb 10, 12, 14,000 pounds of force and your brain is going to say, “Holy smokes, we are falling from this height. We better turn on every single thing that we can in order to protect ourselves.” So you are taking that notion that the brain working as a governor whereas that usually works against us, now we are taking that and using it so it is working for us. And you are using your brain to activate everything that you have inside of you so that you are starting to be able to tap into some of these potential and you start to get more out of yourself like you were talking about in your question. And so there are other techniques like using the ARP, like using some of those things that you mentioned, the ARX. And there are other techniques that can probably match some aspects of this. But I can tell you that if you are able to do this well then you are really fully prepared for any of the other stresses that you are going to meet on the athletic field or in daily life.
Baris Harvey: Yes, because we know that our eccentric movements have a higher capacity than our concentric movements. And like you said like jumping off an 8-foot like something that high and creating that much force it is going to be a lot more than you can possibly deadlift as well. And you mention too that it is really kind of counter intuitive to actually work on the antagonist muscle of what is going on. But like you said, I guess I will clarify it for the listeners kind of amps and get your body ready for performance. I guess for an example, often times before I do like the bench press I know I am always pulling on the bar kind of engaging my back muscle before I go to start my bench press. Is that kind of the same idea with the antagonist muscle to kind of loading up and getting ready to help out with I guess the main mover?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes, absolutely. And all I would add to that is take it further, you know. When you actually unrack the bar in your bench press you want to pull the bar down the whole way. Use your latch pull the bar down from the top all the way down to the chest and when you do that all the muscles that you need for pressing, your pecs, your anterior deltoids, your triceps, everything is going to be lengthened out so it is better prepared. And the analogy that I really like is the bow and arrow. When you pull the bow back you are using a lot of energy and force to load that bow. But when it is back there when the string is taut, it is loaded, it is ready to go. When you release that that arrow just flies out of there because there is just so much force loaded in, it is just loaded up, it is ready to go. It is like a loaded spring. Most people when they bench press they are just resisting with their pecs on the way down. And so when they get to the bottom it is like a half-loaded bow and arrow. But if you pull down then those muscles are really lengthened out and they are ready to just explode back up. And everything is going to work a lot more efficiently. From the perspective of injury, if those muscles are lengthened out they are better absorbing the force of the bar on the way down so less of that force will be at risk of transferring into your shoulder joint or elbow joint so you are dramatically reducing the risk of injury and at the same time by preparing those muscles you are also dramatically accelerating the opportunity to put force back out on the way out so you can lift that bar a lot more easily. And just by making a shift like that oftentimes people can add some weight under their bench press as well.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm. And a quick follow up too because this is kind of like I do not know it is probably training, it is just two different types of training. Because I know there is like the super slow kind of idea in which you are bringing it down on the negative as slow as you can to fatigue that muscle. And obviously when you do bring it down slowly sometimes it is hard to bring it back up because you fatigued it further. Are these almost training like two different pathways where one is more training your nervous system and one is more just like metabolically demanding for muscular growth?
Garrett Salpeter: That is a good question and an interesting distinction. And the super slow reps as they are practiced in general would be typically correct me if I am wrong, something like 20 or 30 seconds per repetition? Is that about right?
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it is about 8 seconds.
Baris Harvey: 10 down maybe the most.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think yes. If you read Dr. Doug McGuff’s book “Body by Science”, I think it is 7-8 secondish.
Garrett Salpeter: And so when do one like that we would have you actually load up the bar and we have you pulling into position for 3 to 5 minutes. So we are spending an extended period of time where we are having to fire that same neurological pathway over and over and over and over and over and over again to have to lengthen out all the muscle that you need for pressing. So you are preparing this bow and arrow mechanism. And so we do some of that super slow I guess…
Baris Harvey: Sorry. Sorry to cut you off. When you say you are pulling down for like 5 minutes are you saying like if I am doing a bench press, am I actively pulling down but also because if I am just going to pull down it is going to go straight down. Am I also actively engaging my chest muscles and pushing that back so that way it is a slow process but still focusing on that back muscles?
Garrett Salpeter: Exactly. Yes if you are just pulling it down it would go right away. So you are resisting that with your pecs. The key is that by pulling with the opposing muscles, by pulling with muscles of the upper back, by pulling with your bicep you are engaging those muscles to work in a completely different way. Instead of shortening and resisting the bar and in shortening I mean concentric contraction were those muscles are not going to be able to absorb force. That force is going to go to the shoulder and elbow joints. By doing it this way, as you are actively pulling down from the top to the bottom over this much longer period of time, the pressing muscles that are resisting that there is lengthening the whole time. So they are learning how to coordinate in this very particular way throughout that entire range of motion. If you think about movement as a skill just the same way as anything else, you got to practice how to move correctly. So if your brain has an opportunity to see every little fraction of an inch of that range of motion to see how to coordinate that correctly then it is going to be able to learn that faster or learn it at all. Whereas other ways would not be able to really learn that at all.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. Very good points. We are getting close to the end of the show here. I just want to make a couple of clarifications and give you an opportunity to respond. But I think it is really important too to know that we want to make sure people as they are engaging in maybe these more intense styles of training that they are in balance. That their nervous system and/or software is working optimally. I know we have similar mentors Dr. J. Pietila. Actually he was invited to the World Cup. And he was the team doctor for Italy. I know he was worked with the Italian National Soccer teams in the last few years. And according to him, injuries have gone down from 24 injuries per 1000 minutes to 3 injuries. So that is like 800%. That is pretty insane. So I know making sure that people are in balance is very, very important. So can you just talk about you know making sure the in balance foundation on top of the training?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes. Absolutely. And it is kind of the old question about, “Well, you know I want to start working out. I want to get healthy but my knee hurts or my back hurts.” All that I am sure we have all heard that same story many times. And it is important to have a foundation. Your muscles have to be able to work to keep you safe in order to be able to perform even the most entry level of activities. Because if you get hurt you are not going to be able to stick with your program long enough to see results for sure. So it is a very important prerequisite that you have a foundation like this where at least you are confident things are able to work so you have an opportunity to actually push yourself. Without knowing that, “Oh, man I am going to be hurt for two weeks. I might not be able get back to training for another two to three weeks.” So yes you got to definitely have somebody’s prerequisites in place. So if any of the listeners here have access to either Dr. Justin or myself or other people who do this type of work, you know get in check in a way like that is very beneficial and very useful and can lay a foundation for a lot of good things after.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That is great. Well, his name is Garrett Salpeter. Again Garrett has a practice down here in Austin Texas. His website is arpwaveaustin.com. Garrett, are there more ways people can get a hold of you? I know you are able to see people via Skype. I know you are able to work with people remotely by mailing and shipping out ARPs all across the country and working with them via the internet. But also are there any special promotions you have available for any people that are listening to the show and want to come down there and work with you? Are there any options here?
Garrett Salpeter: Yes, for sure. As Dr. Justin mentioned, my facility is here in Austin, Texas. And anyone who wants to come in and try it out, if you mention the radio show we would be happy to do your first session with you for $50 which is a significant reduction from our usual initial evaluation fee. And hopefully that will make it more accessible if you are on the fence about you know if you think some of these sounds interesting and you kind of want to try it out. Hopefully that would make it a little bit more accessible. And then the subsequent sessions after that depending on what people need to do we will be happy to offer a 15% just straight off the top discount again for anyone who mentions the radio show.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That is great, Garret. We all appreciate it. Anyone that is trying to get to the next level performance wise or has suffered from chronic injuries this is definitely an opportunity you do not want to ignore.
Garrett Salpeter: Thank you guys. It has been a pleasure.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thanks so much, Garrett appreciate having you on.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thanks. Take care.