Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer — The Tim Ferriss Show

Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer — The Tim Ferriss Show

Start (00:00:00)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer were guests on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast.
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  • The Tim Ferriss Show is a podcast hosted by Tim Ferriss, where he interviews world-class performers from various fields to uncover their habits, routines, and favorite books, with the goal of providing listeners with practical insights and strategies that they can apply and test in their own lives.

Notes about this supercombo format. (00:05:26)

  • This episode is a two-for-one special celebrating the podcast's 10th anniversary and surpassing 1 billion downloads.
  • Curated episodes featuring the best and lesser-known guests from over 700 episodes.
  • Guests are referred to as "Stars" who have transformed the host's life and can do the same for others.
  • The pairings are carefully selected to provide a diverse range of perspectives.
  • Bios of all guests can be found at

Enter Pavel Tsatsouline. (00:06:30)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline is a world-renowned strength coach and founder of StrongFirst.
  • He is credited with introducing the Russian kettlebell to the West and starting the Kettlebell Revolution.
  • Pavel's background includes training in the Soviet Special Forces and studying Sports Science.
  • He has trained high-end military and counterterrorist units in the US and allied countries.

Pavel’s background as a world-class trainer. (00:06:50)

  • Pavel's methods are based on those that perform well in rugged environments and are adapted for various purposes.
  • His approach focuses on engaging the nervous system to fully utilize one's capacity.
  • Pavel uses examples of high-level performers with light body weight, such as martial artists and strongmen, to illustrate the importance of mental force concentration.

Considerations while customizing a training regimen. (00:07:23)

  • Pavel suggests simple exercises like dumbbell curls to demonstrate his techniques.
  • When exercises become challenging, he recommends crushing the weight, contracting the glutes, and tightening the abs to amplify strength.
  • These techniques are examples of the skills of strength that Pavel teaches.

Strength-building principles over equipment. (00:09:56)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline focuses on the principles of strength training and power generation, rather than specific equipment or modalities.
  • He believes that the strongest people move naturally, and he teaches others how to move in this manner to progress quickly in their training.

When in doubt, train your grip and your core. (00:10:52)

  • Pavel explains the concept of irradiation, where tension from one muscle can spill over to neighboring muscles.
  • The gripping muscles and the core (abs and glutes) have a great representation in the nervous system and can create a lot of tension.
  • Increasing intra-abdominal pressure acts like an amplifier for muscle tension, making it important for both strength and flexibility.
  • Pavel's StrongFirst certification teaches these principles and techniques for increasing strength.

How to grease the groove. (00:13:13)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline recommends using grippers from for grip training.
  • Grease the groove is a training methodology derived from Soviet weightlifting.
  • With grease the groove, you do half the repetitions you're capable of for an exercise, with at least 15 minutes of rest between sets.
  • This method can be applied to any strength or strength endurance exercise.
  • Pavel's father-in-law increased his pull-ups from 10 to 20 in a few months using grease the groove.
  • Keep repetitions to five or under for abdominal training.
  • More than five repetitions is considered bodybuilding and not effective for strength training.

How not to strengthen the “core.” (00:16:24)

  • Focus on tension and traction, not reps and fatigue.
  • The plank is a fashionable exercise but often done incorrectly.
  • Avoid staying in the plank for too long, instead, hold it for 10 seconds with maximum contraction.
  • Contract everything from your shins to your neck, excluding your neck and face.
  • This type of plank is not suitable for individuals with high blood pressure or heart conditions.
  • Choose any effective abdominal exercise, such as the plank, sit-ups, or exercises from books like "The Four-Hour Body" or "The Heart Labs."
  • Perform 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps, three times a week.
  • Focus on contraction, not fatigue or reps.
  • This method will strengthen your grip, abs, and overall performance in various activities, including deadlifts and tennis serves.

Approaching training as a practice. (00:19:09)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline suggests approaching training as a practice rather than a workout.
  • The term "workout" implies sweating, grunting, and punishing oneself, which is not the goal of training.
  • The goal of training should be to get stronger, not just to get worn out.
  • Strength is a skill that must be practiced to improve.
  • Approaching training as a practice makes it more enjoyable and leads to faster strength gains.
  • Keep training simple and do three sets of three reps three times a week.
  • For example, do three sets of 10-second planks on Monday.
  • Contract everything below your neck and keep reps at five or under.
  • This protocol focuses on neural adaptations and building high threshold motor units.
  • Avoid the burn caused by hydrogen ions, which can interfere with muscle contractions and cause damage.

Prioritizing strength — the “mother quality of all physical qualities.” (00:21:32)

  • Strength is the most important physical quality and should be prioritized over muscle gain, hypertrophy, endurance, and flexibility.
  • Strength improves performance in all physical activities, including endurance sports like cycling and running.
  • Strength training can help with weight loss by increasing metabolism and enabling more effective fat-burning exercises.

Pavel Tsatsouline's company, StrongFirst (00:21:32)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline's company, StrongFirst, is named after the importance of strength as the foundation of physical fitness.

The most counter-productive myths about strength training. (00:24:13)

  • The myth that you have to go to failure every time you train.
  • Soviet weightlifters typically did one to two-thirds of maximum repetitions per set.
  • This methodology is still superior to modern methods, despite the prevalence of new world records.
  • The lifts performed by Soviet lifter Uik Vban in 1980 have never been exceeded.
  • Principle-based training, with one to two-thirds of possible repetitions and more sets, leads to greater progress, safety, and enjoyment.

Pavel’s hypothesis for the science behind hypertrophy. (00:27:30)

  • For maximum hypertrophy, volume is key.
  • More sets in the 60-70% of max range and many sets of five and six repetitions are recommended.
  • Rest periods can be compressed.
  • Enjoyment, eating more, and consistency lead to unavoidable muscle growth.

Deadlifts, kettlebells, and the most common mistakes with both. (00:28:17)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline suggests the deadlift or the cable swing as the best movements for strength and longevity.
  • The deadlift is a technical lift and should be learned correctly, even for recreational lifters.
  • Pavel recommends the book "Deadlift Dynamite" by Tim and Mr. Bolton for learning the deadlift.

People who exemplify success to Pavel. (00:29:47)

  • Pavel considers Eric Cressey, the CEO of StrongFirst, as an example of someone who exemplifies success.
  • Eric emphasizes the importance of "balance with priorities."

Calmness is contagious. (00:30:25)

  • Pavel observes that successful people tend to be calm and composed.
  • Calmness allows for meditation, reflection, and setting priorities.
  • Hysteria and constant urgency are counterproductive to success.

Enter Christopher Sommer. (00:32:47)

  • US national team gymnastics coach and founder of gymnastic bodies training system.
  • Known for building devotees into some of the strongest and most powerful athletes in the world.

Defining Gymnastics Strength Training™ (GST). (00:33:39)

  • GST is defined as high-level body weight strength training.
  • Focuses on strength, joint prep, and mobility components for world-class performance.
  • Differs from aesthetics-focused training in that it emphasizes proper form and technique rather than compromising for visual appeal.
  • Example of pike handstand press:
    • GST emphasizes proper form with engaged middle and lower traps to maintain a straight back and shoulders.
    • Common mistake is arching the chest and sticking the butt out to counterbalance.
  • Connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) require gradual pacing and progression to avoid injury.
  • Jumping into advanced movements without proper preparation can lead to injuries, especially for those new to gymnastics or bodyweight training.
  • Example of outdoor bar workouts and the risk of injury when attempting advanced movements without proper training.

Types of strength that most non-gymnasts will not have. (00:37:24)

  • Lack of mid and lower traps strength.
  • Lack of shoulder extension.
  • Pavel started gymnastics at 38 after 20 years of fantasizing about it.
  • He was inspired by middle-aged men on Instagram who started from scratch and achieved impressive results.
  • Pavel reached out to Rob Wolf for an introduction to Chris Sommer and they collaborated on a 90-day experiment.
  • Lack of shoulder extension is a common issue among lifters.
  • Shoulder extension is necessary for movements like muscle ups and pull ups.
  • Many people focus on technique and skill training without addressing underlying physical limitations.

Biggest mistakes made by those who self-teach handstands. (00:41:26)

  • Lack of joint preparation and mobility, as well as underdeveloped musculature and motor patterns, especially in the core, hinder adults' ability to perform advanced movements and exercises correctly.
  • The transverse abdominis muscle, which supports the body in a straight body position, is often neglected.
  • Exercises like the AB roller can cause lower back pain if performed with an arched lower back (anterior pelvic tilt) instead of a flat lower back (posterior pelvic tilt).
  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer discussed fitness and strength training on The Tim Ferriss Show.
  • They visited Awaken Gymnastics in Colorado, a GB Master affiliate gym, for an assessment involving several hours of tests and evaluations.

Top exercises for identifying weaknesses in strength and mobility. (00:46:26)

  • To assess core strength and hamstring flexibility, perform a hanging leg lift and a bridge.
  • A good bridge involves minimal lower back movement and emphasizes upper body mobility, particularly in the thoracic spine.
  • Many individuals prioritize strength training without balancing it with mobility work, leading to imbalances and issues like hunched posture and shoulder problems.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer discussed the importance of mobility and athleticism for overall physical performance.
  • Maximum strength is not the sole criteria for athletic success, and the strongest athletes in the weight room are not necessarily the best athletes on the field.
  • Fundamental work that focuses on mobility and flexibility is essential for making high-intensity training possible and safer.
  • Training through pain is not recommended, and physical preparation should always be a top priority for athletes.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer discuss the importance of optimal surplus in weightlifting and training, which includes mobility, range of motion, strength, and stability.

The problem with focusing on muscular fatigue when training. (00:57:03)

  • Beginners should avoid basing their training solely on muscular fatigue, as connective tissue takes longer to regenerate (200-210 days) compared to muscle tissue (90 days), increasing the risk of injuries.
  • Focusing on muscular development while neglecting connective tissue development can lead to injuries.
  • Intense workouts may provide an adrenaline rush, but this approach is unsustainable and can result in overtraining.
  • There are no shortcuts or supplements that can accelerate connective tissue regeneration.
  • Listening to your body and stopping any joint pain is crucial to prevent injuries.
  • Using anabolics or growth agents can increase the risk of injuries due to the faster regeneration of muscle tissue compared to connective tissue.
  • Young athletes can develop all physical components simultaneously, including plyometrics, straight arm, mobility, and bent arm exercises.
  • Adults, especially those who are athletically inactive, should prioritize rebuilding mobility, core strength (including obliques and lower back), and then focus on dynamic strength.
  • Supplemental knee exercises can significantly improve knee stability in a short time.
  • Diagnostic movements like the bridge, hanging leg lifts, and shoulder extension can reveal scapular health and tightness in the pec minor, biceps, and brachialis.
  • Addressing tight pec minor muscles can alleviate back pain.

What is a pike pulse and why does it matter? (01:05:19)

  • Pike pulse is an exercise that involves sitting on the floor with the upper body perpendicular to the floor, legs straight out in front, and toes pointed.
  • The exercise is performed by reaching forward and stretching the fingers out on either side of the legs as far as possible, then lifting the heels off the ground and pulsing them up and down.
  • Pike pulses are effective in training the core, especially the last 45° of the range of motion where the thighs are brought towards the chest.
  • The transverse abdominis, also known as the corset muscle, is engaged during pike pulses.

On kipping pull-ups. (01:08:01)

  • Kipping pull-ups were a huge money maker for CrossFit as advertising.
  • Kipping pull-ups can compromise basic strength and shoulder flexion, especially in beginners.
  • Beginners doing kipping pull-ups is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
  • Kipping pull-ups should be the finishing edition, not the starting element.

Identifying solutions to pain. (01:11:32)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer discussed mobility and flexibility training on the Tim Ferriss Show, emphasizing the importance of these aspects for athletic performance and injury prevention.
  • Tsatsouline recommends a systematic approach to mobility and flexibility training, focusing on specific areas of the body and using various techniques like stretching, foam rolling, and plyometrics.
  • He highlights the connection between lower leg mobility and hamstring flexibility, suggesting that improving mobility in the feet and ankles can enhance hamstring flexibility.
  • Tsatsouline and Sommer advocate for practical experience and learning from high-level coaches rather than solely relying on academic research.
  • They challenge conventional wisdom, such as maintaining a neutral spine during athletic performance, and emphasize the effectiveness of their introductory training methods adopted by therapists worldwide.
  • Their approach focuses on building power and mastering fundamental torso movements rather than complex variations.

The Jefferson curl. (01:18:54)

  • Jefferson curl is a gradually rounded stiff-legged deadlift.
  • When performing the Jefferson curl, the athlete stands on a box, holding an Olympic barbell in front of their hips/legs.
  • The athlete starts the descent by tucking their chin and then vertebra by vertebra rounds their back down all the way into the bottom position.
  • The objective is to get the wrists to the front of the toes.
  • The movement is reversed by going from vertebra by vertebra rounding up until the athlete ends up in the top position.
  • Jefferson curls should be done gradually with supervised attention from someone who knows what they're doing.
  • Jefferson curls can be challenging and should be approached gradually.
  • One senior student in Australia started with a 1-2 kg bar and built up to 3/4 or full body weight over 12-18 months.
  • Gradual progression allows the body to adapt and avoid injury.
  • Quinn H, a PhD in physical therapy, has been experimenting with Jefferson curls for 3-4 years and feels wonderful.
  • The Nill experiments, which tested the strength of pig cadaver connective tissue, are not directly applicable to living human tissue.
  • Living tissue can adapt to gradual loads through progressive adaptation.

Why weighted mobility work needs to be approached with a different level of intensity than conditioning work. (01:23:22)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer, guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, discuss the differences between fitness and competitive sports, emphasizing the subjective nature of success in fitness compared to the objective measures in sports.
  • They highlight the significance of nutrition in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, cautioning against relying solely on exercise to compensate for a poor diet.
  • Tsatsouline and Sommer stress the importance of maximizing one's potential regardless of genetic limitations.
  • Tim Ferriss mentions a quote from Tony Fay, "No routines," during an assessment and plans to share a related story later in the conversation.
  • Ferriss advises against drinking wine as it may lead to revealing sensitive information.

If someone is 35 years old, a former athlete, and has never done gymnastics, what’s a good exercise and what should be avoided? (01:28:25)

  • For individuals around 35 years old, like former athletes, building strength and mobility gradually is essential, avoiding extreme loads and shoulder extension exercises.
  • Mobility work is crucial to prevent injuries, especially when engaging in strength training.
  • The body's structure matures as an adult, and the perception of ligaments, tendons, and joints deteriorating with age is not entirely accurate.
  • As physical activity levels decrease over time, incorporating playful activities and sports into one's routine is important for maintaining overall fitness and mobility.
  • The body naturally wants to be healthy and thrive when provided with the right movements and dosages.

3-5 joint mobility exercises for getting strong. (01:33:47)

  • Jefferson curls are recommended for addressing multiple joint deficiencies in the spine, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and Achilles.
  • Elevated bridge or weighted shoulder extension work can improve thoracic extension, balance the shoulders, and counteract anterior delt tightness and rounded shoulders.
  • Prolonged hunched posture can cause irreversible loss of mobility and muscle atrophy due to vertebrae becoming trapezoidal.
  • Consistent muscle use is necessary to maintain muscle mass, as unused muscle tissue is broken down by the body to conserve resources.
  • Endurance is the easiest physical attribute to build, followed by muscular strength, while mobility takes the longest to improve.
  • Inactivity and poor exercise progressions can lead to physical decline and pain in older adults.
  • The decline in muscle mass and the increase in connective tissue in the muscles contribute significantly to the physical limitations experienced by older adults.
  • The physical limitations seen in older adults are not an inevitable consequence of aging but rather the result of poor exercise habits.

Preferred way to work on shoulder extension. (01:39:08)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline stresses the importance of gradual work on shoulder extension and flexibility, especially for deconditioned elbows, to prevent discomfort and chronic injuries.
  • Olympic weightlifting in the US lacks the emphasis on mobility and flexibility compared to countries like China and Russia.
  • World-class athletes prioritize stretching and mobility work to maximize their resources and achieve peak performance.
  • Mobility work is often overlooked and considered less important than technical progressions and weightlifting.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer advocate for mobility and functional strength training for overall fitness and health.
  • Functional human being training encompasses a wide range of movements and exercises that enhance mobility, strength, and athleticism.

A good goal for those seeking to improve mobility. (01:44:56)

  • A good goal for those seeking to improve mobility is the press handstand.
  • It incorporates strength, mobility, balance, and agility.
  • The back lever is not a good goal for those seeking to improve mobility because it requires more mobility than strength.
  • A good gymnastic strength training goal to have is the press handstand.
  • The press handstand incorporates strength, mobility, balance, and agility.

Yoga handstands vs. gymnastics handstands (aesthetics vs. gold medals). (01:46:31)

  • A perfect press handstand requires flexibility in the hamstrings, mobility, and strength developed through compression exercises like Pike pulses.
  • The gymnastic approach to handstands emphasizes proper form and strength development, while the yoga approach focuses on bone-on-bone contact and flexibility.
  • A gymnastics handstand with a flat back and strong core provides a foundation for more advanced handstand variations and skills.
  • Strong toes and a strong point on the legs are important for proper alignment and balance in handstands, while weak toes and a lack of a strong point can lead to energy leakage, inefficient training, and improper balance and alignment.
  • Planching hard during a press handstand can put a lot of structural strain on the spine.
  • The proper form for a press handstand involves keeping the ears roughly in between the shoulder blades, pressing down through the ground, and keeping the shoulders directly on top of the hands.
  • Shrugging the shoulders up as high as possible before going into a handstand can significantly improve stability.

Coaches who have impressed Coach Sommer the most. (01:54:36)

  • Chris Sommer has been fortunate to have many friends who are world and Olympic champions, team members, and coaches.
  • One day, his daughter was surprised to learn that the people he was talking to were Olympic and world champions, as she thought it was normal due to her father's environment.
  • One of the coaches who impressed him the most is Alexander, a world champion in both male and female gymnastics.

The story of Dmitry Bilozerchev and Alexander Alexandrov. (01:56:05)

  • Dmitry Bilozerchev, a Russian gymnast, won the world championships in 1983 at the age of 16 and again in 1987.
  • In between those wins, Dmitry had a severe car accident that resulted in a broken left lower leg with 42 fractures.
  • Despite the severity of the injury, doctors decided to save his leg, and he made a remarkable recovery, winning the world championships again in 1987 and achieving success in the 1988 Olympics.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline became roommates with Dmitry during training camps and developed a close friendship with him.
  • Dmitry shared with Pavel that he could only perform at his best for a few seconds due to his leg injury.
  • Alexander Alexandrov, Dmitry's coach, is the only person in history to have produced both a male and female world champion in gymnastics.
  • Alexander is currently coaching the Brazilian team.
  • Alexander's depth of knowledge allows him to plan an athlete's training for years in advance.
  • He emphasizes the importance of mathematics and precise calculations in creating effective training programs.
  • Alexander understands the need for consistency over long training blocks, such as the four-year Olympic cycle.
  • It takes three to four years of training with a good coach for an athlete to reach 75-80% of their genetic capacity.
  • This principle applies to healthy adults, but the timeline may be longer for individuals with severe physical limitations.

Differentiating immature athletes from mature athletes. (02:00:52)

  • Immature athletes prioritize immediate gratification, while mature athletes embrace delayed gratification.
  • Mature athletes achieve greater longevity and success in their athletic pursuits.
  • Immature athletes may initially excel due to their talent, but their lack of long-term planning eventually leads to setbacks and injuries.
  • Mature athletes consistently work towards their goals, making steady progress and avoiding burnout.

Training for success. (02:03:59)

  • Consistency is crucial for achieving long-term goals and reaching one's full potential.
  • Breaking down tasks into smaller, daily goals makes them more manageable and easier to accomplish.
  • World-class athletes undergo years of consistent training to reach their peak performance.
  • Behavioral modification techniques, like setting achievable daily goals, can reinforce consistent behavior.
  • Consistent training can help individuals reach 75-80% of their genetic potential within 3-4 years, with further improvement requiring additional years of consistent effort.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer discussed the importance of consistency over intensity in training on The Tim Ferriss Show.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline emphasizes the significance of consistency, acknowledging that while intensity has its benefits, it can also be detrimental.

Describing the systematic approach to GST. (02:08:59)

  • Frank, an older student, improved his tuck handstands over two years despite initial challenges due to limited range of motion.
  • Consistency was key: Frank never rushed through exercises and dropped back to earlier progressions when facing plateaus.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline emphasizes cycling through overload, load, and underload phases in training for optimal results.
  • Pavel discusses linear progression in strength training and suggests giving the body time to adapt and recover instead of constantly increasing weight, reps, or sets.
  • Pavel shares an example of how he didn't change Allen's conditioning the entire year he won the national championship.
  • Pavel recommends minimizing wear and tear on the body by spending less time in the gym and avoiding high-intensity training all the time.

Exercises to avoid for the first six months of GST. (02:17:14)

  • Avoid muscle-ups for the first six months of gymnastic strength training (GST).
  • The shoulders adapt quickly to pull and dip movements, but weak shoulder extension can cause issues with muscle-ups.
  • Attempting muscle-ups with weak shoulder extension can lead to elbow pain and injury.
  • Not everyone has incredibly strong joints that can withstand heavy training without injury.
  • Accepting human limitations and avoiding excessive strain is important for longevity in training.

Breaking down the muscle-up. (02:18:43)

  • Skipping the transition between the pull-up and chest-up in kipping muscle-ups reduces the exercise's effectiveness.
  • Straight arm work, such as rope climbs, is more beneficial for building massive biceps than traditional bicep curls.
  • High volume rope climbs, combined with rows, pull-ups, and multi-plane pulling, can effectively develop the biceps.
  • The biceps respond well to high volume work with a reasonably heavy load, making them an endurance muscle.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline recommends combining heavy pulling exercises like deadlifts with high-rep kettlebell swings or rope climbing to build muscular arms without isolated bicep work.
  • Parallel grip work or fat bar training can be more challenging than traditional barbell bicep curls and can expose weaknesses in pulling strength.

Understanding the purpose of using various grips. (02:24:15)

  • Parallel grip pull-ups target the brachialis muscle and elbow, making them ideal for GST-specific strength.
  • Turn rings out past parallel when doing dips to activate the brachialis and prevent elbow pain.
  • The brachialis supports the elbow and is crucial for advanced exercises like the iron cross.
  • Prioritize plyometric exercises with caution, especially for adults in their late 20s and 30s, to avoid connective tissue injuries.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer discuss strength training and injury prevention.
  • High-rep calf work is essential for Achilles health as tendons rely on blood flow from muscle movement for healing and strengthening.
  • Pavel's knee series, designed by Bulgarian Olympic coach Roman, aims to prevent knee discomfort during growth spurts.
  • Respect the body's limits and avoid excessive high-intensity, low-rep work without sufficient blood flow for tendon health.
  • Pavel admires Roman, a brilliant programming coach from the 70s and 80s, emphasizing the value of learning from experienced individuals.

How Coach Sommer mentally preps athletes for a big competition. (02:31:44)

  • Mental preparation is crucial for athletes to achieve success in competitions.
  • Repetition and competence lead to confidence, which is essential for successful competitions.
  • Olga Corbett's case study highlights the importance of mental preparation and adaptability.
  • Coaches should create challenging and unpredictable situations during training to simulate the pressure of competitions.
  • Women face additional mental challenges in competitions due to caring and nurturing tendencies.
  • Mental training should replicate the pressure of competition to prepare athletes for stressful situations.
  • Athletes should focus on their own performance and not compare themselves to others.
  • Different athletes have different psychological preferences for competition preparation, and the key is to determine what works best for each individual.

Questions Coach Sommer would ask a gymnastic coach before sending children off to train with them. (02:41:29)

  • When selecting a gymnastics coach for a child, consider their competitive record, injury rates, and coaching style.
  • Look for a coach who is open to learning and improving and fosters a positive and supportive environment.
  • The speaker is contemplating whether a competitive environment is suitable for their child and if they feel comfortable with their child being in such an environment.

Questions Coach Sommer would ask a gymnastic coach who trains adults. (02:45:52)

  • When assessing a gymnastics coach for adults, observe the warm-up.
  • Look for:
    • Time taken to warm up joints vs. jumping right into the workout.
    • Mobilization exercises.
    • Specific exercises like stal bar work, Jefferson curl work, wrist, knee, ankle, and back mobilization.
    • Pre-strength elements to warm up muscles before intense work.
  • QL walks are an effective movement for loosening up the lower back and hips.
  • To perform QL walks:
    • Sit on the ground with legs straight and together.
    • Hold kettlebells with a goblet squat grip.
    • Walk your buttocks forward while keeping legs straight.
  • QL walks engage the quadrus lorum, a central muscle group in the back.
  • Pavel finds QL walks very effective in loosening up his lower back and hips.

Balancing stretching and training time. (02:48:00)

  • A warm-up should last 10-15 minutes for a one-hour workout, but may need to be extended to 30 minutes if there are mobility deficits.
  • For advanced work, specific warm-up exercises like theraband series for the shoulders can be beneficial.
  • Bottoms-up kettlebell work and light dumbbell circles with external rotation are effective shoulder warm-ups.
  • Tight lats can cause shoulder issues and can be addressed through stretching.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer discussed fitness routines, nutrition, and training methods on The Tim Ferriss Show.
  • They plan to do a follow-up episode to share the results of their experiment.

People who exemplify success to Coach Sommer. (02:53:08)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline admires successful people like Tony Robbins for their attitudes and tools for achieving success.
  • Success requires consistency, mastering the basics, patience, constant reinvention, and keen observation.
  • Asking questions and being open to answers is essential for learning and growth.
  • Successful individuals take responsibility for their own success or failures, as there are ample opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  • Having a clear vision and practical steps is crucial, but sticking with the plan and taking control of one's life is the key differentiator.
  • Despite challenges and setbacks, Pavel emphasizes the potential for significant change and personal growth over time with dedication and effort.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline compares the human body to a Ferrari engine in a Toyota Corolla chassis, emphasizing the need for a gradual and tactical approach to rebuilding fitness or improving life circumstances.
  • Rushing the process can lead to negative consequences, similar to slamming on the accelerator of a car with a powerful engine but a weak chassis.

Most gifted books. (02:58:32)

  • Tim Ferriss discusses the books he has gifted the most to others.
  • He mentions Robert Heinlein's books, particularly "Stranger in a Strange Land," for their theme of self-reliance.
  • Ferriss also recommends Ryan Holiday's book "The Obstacle is the Way," which he produced the audiobook for.
  • He notes that stoic philosophy is popular among professional sports teams and coaches, and that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fan of the book.
  • Schwarzenegger's success in multiple arenas, including athletics, business, acting, and politics, is mentioned.
  • Ferriss highlights Schwarzenegger's ability to only audition for roles he wanted due to his financial independence from real estate investments.
  • Schwarzenegger's highest-grossing film, "Twins," was a result of him taking a cut on the upfront payment in exchange for larger backend points.

Morning rituals. (03:01:20)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline wakes up between 4 am and 5 am to have a few hours of clear thinking before his daughters wake up.
  • He uses this time for focused work, reading, or indulging in some quiet time.
  • After his daughters go to school, he works out.
  • Tsatsouline believes that winning the morning sets the tone for a productive day.
  • Tsatsouline does not drink coffee and finds its taste unpleasant.
  • He stopped eating breakfast as he got older and found that he performs better with a reasonable lunch and smaller protein portions.
  • His diet consists mostly of vegetables, healthy starches like rice or potatoes, and a moderate amount of protein.
  • He eats a similar meal for dinner and avoids overeating.
  • Tsatsouline observed that many successful individuals he interviewed for his podcast, particularly men over 45, also skip breakfast.
  • He mentions research suggesting that older adults may absorb protein more effectively when consuming larger doses less frequently.
  • Tsatsouline occasionally has a big steak once or twice a week to fulfill his protein needs.

Coach Sommer’s billboard. (03:05:18)

  • Probiotics can significantly improve digestion and overall health. Prebiotics, such as vegetable matter, beans, lentils, fructooligosaccharides, and inulin, provide the necessary environment for beneficial bacteria to grow in the gut.
  • Vitamin D, particularly in liquid form, can greatly enhance the immune system and reduce the frequency of illnesses.
  • Iodine is beneficial and can be taken daily in a few drops or once or twice a week with 8 to 10 drops. Consistency is key when taking iodine, and it is important to monitor iodine levels through regular blood work, especially as you age.

An ask for the audience and parting thoughts. (03:10:28)

  • Pavel Tsatsouline and Chris Sommer advocate for a slower, more sustainable approach to fitness, prioritizing mobility, core strength, and then conventional strength training.
  • offers a special landing page with discounts, introductory programs, and follow-along videos for beginners interested in gymnastics.
  • Chris Sommer's Facebook page provides a variety of content, including conditioning and unique fitness challenges.
  • Tim Ferriss promotes his podcast, "The Tim Ferriss Show," and his weekly newsletter, "Five Bullet Friday," for interesting discoveries and recommendations.
  • Tim recommends "One Password," a secure password management tool, and "Helix Sleep," a premium mattress brand that offers tailored mattresses based on individual sleep preferences.
  • Helix Sleep is offering a Memorial Day sale with discounts of 25-30% and two free pillows on all mattress orders.
  • Helix mattresses come with a 100-night risk-free trial and a 15-year manufacturer's warranty.
  • The Helix Elite collection includes six different mattress models tailored for specific sleep positions and firmness preferences.
  • Each Helix Leap mattress has an extra layer of foam for pressure relief and thousands of extra micro coils for support and durability.

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