This weekend I listened to an episode of the [Tim Ferriss Podcast] in which he interviewed strength and conditioning expert Pavel Tsatsouline. It was an eye-opening interview, in which Pavel identified some surprising myths.
Since I was driving in the car, I’ll need to listen to the information-dense episode again at my desk, where I can take more detailed notes.
But here were some fundamental takeaways:
1. It’s extremely important to engage the core, when doing strength training exercises.
2. It’s rarely a good idea to perform an exercise to exhaustion.
3. It’s rarely a good idea to perform an exercise to the point at which you feel lactic burn in the muscle.
4. Whereas it’s important to utilize inner-abdomen pressure during strength exercises—i.e. activating the core—it’s the opposite when training flexibility. In flexibility exercises, you want to relax and release your breath.
5. Flexibility improvements come slowly, and require patience and discipline, but can be accelerated a bit through isometric flexibility exercises.
6. The two best all-around exercises are the dead lift, and the kettlebell swing.
7. When doing pull-ups, activate the core such that the body goes slightly concave.
Pavel was asked what the USA could learn from the former Soviet Union, and vice-versa. He started by saying that, in general, most countries learned the wrong things from the USA, e.g. reality TV and fast food. Instead, he said the Soviet Union could have learned about free markets and free enterprise. Looking the other way, he said Americans could learn about the benefits of limited choices.
Since its launch, the Tim Ferriss podcast has become one of my favorites.