Can I Gain Muscle and Move Better? – Michelle Boland, Tim Richardt, Francis Hoare

Are pursuing better movement and better physiology mutually exclusive?

There appears to be a divide between performance and health.

Many argue that you cannot get bigger, stronger, faster, while still moving like boss.

Others fear pushing heavy weight, relegating their program to mostly ground-based breathing resets.

But does it have to be this way?

That’s the question that Michelle Boland, Tim Richardt, Francis Hoare, and I wrestle with, proving several examples of how this dichotomy is more often than not FALSE!

In this podcast, you’ll learn:

  • How Francis was able to put on 11 pounds in one year and have better range of motion throughout his body
  • The false dichotomy between performance and health
  • How to increase movement in those who already have lots of muscle mass, but seek to move better and have less pain
  • How the general population can increase fitness, muscle growth, and movement all at once
  • Getting a training effect to those who are in pain
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for moving well
  • Are basic resets necessary to maintain movement options?
  • How to balance expansive vs compressive activities
  • Pairing respiration with training
  • How to balance client’s wants and needs
  • The big rocks to maximizing movement options
  • How to decide what your body composition should be

Ready to move better, get stronger, and become an absolute savage?

Look below to watch the interview, listen to the podcast, get the show notes, and read the modified transcripts.

and the audio version:

Learn more about our guests

More Train, Less Pain Podcast – A podcast specifically designed around engineering the adaptable athlete.

Michelle Boland

Michelle is the owner of Michelle Boland Training which provides many services including, in-person 1:1 training sessions, coaching people remotely, writing training programs, and educational content for fellow trainers and fitness professionals who want to take complex training concepts and turn them into real outcomes for clients.

Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, a master’s degree in Strength and Conditioning, and a doctorate in Exercise Physiology. Michelle was previously a strength and conditioning coach at a Division 1 institution and Director of Education at a private training facility.

Instagram: dr.michelleboland

Work with Michelle: https://michelle-boland-training.mykajabi.com/Work_With_Me

Tim Richardt

Tim Richardt is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Owner of Richardt Performance and Rehabilitation located in Denver, CO. He specializes in the treatment and preparation of humans that like to run, lift, or play in the mountains. He currently offers personal training, physical therapy, and professional mentorship services.

His website

Instagram: @Tim_Richardt_dpt

Francs Hoare

Francis Hoare is a Performance Coach and the Member Experience Director at Elevate Sports Performance & Healthcare in Las Vegas.

He has helped hundreds of people of all ages and abilities improve their health, lives,l and athletic performance.

Hitting the path to your goals efficiently requires being specific. Francis excels at creating programs tailored to your needs and goals. If you need someone to hold you accountable with high energy, Francis is one of the best in our industry. His motivational tactics ensure you both get challenged and succeed.

When Francis is not coaching, he spends his time with his wife and two daughters, in the mountains or devouring a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Instagram: @FrancisHoare and @ElevateSPH

Show notes

Here are links to things mentioned in the interview:

Here is Francis’ before and after pic

More gains AND better movement? Sold!

Ben House – A master of science and training

Mike Israetel – A bodybuilder with a unique approach to getting hyooge!

Costa Rica Underground S&C 2018 Retreat Review –  This is what we reference on the bro retreat, where we discuss hypertrophy and more

Peep the video below to see how my getting fat took away my squat:

The drunken turtle is a great move to improve backside expansion:

Lucy Hendricks – An excellent coach who does a great job of pushing physiology while improving movement options.

Bill Hartman – Daddy-O Pops, the godfather of many of the movement concepts we discuss.

Georgie Fear – My nutrition coach, and a master of behavior change

Modified Transcripts

A hypertrophy and movement case study

Zac Cupples: How can I get huge as all hell while still moving well? How can I preserve these two qualities?

That’s why I wanted to bring my boy Francis here. He is a very effective case study of how we were able to do merge these two goals. Here’s his story:

Francis Hoare:  The last six years, five or six years or so, been doing a lot of running, 35, 40 miles mostly, mostly trail running. I competed in Spartan races, couple 24-hour races in there as well just for fun. I would spend quite a bit of my vacation time, go into places like Yosemite or Glacier National Park and either getting a cabin and going into the parks and doing a lot of hiking and running or backpacking.

Because of my exercise choices, I had a fair bit of strength, but more biased toward rock climbing, American Ninja Warrior type stuff, a few lifting sessions per week, and about 8-10 hours of running each week.

The issue was this style of training led to my like calves constantly hurting, hips constantly hurting, stuff like that. I was getting burnt out from the running.

I decided to take a break, then quarantine it. It was the perfect time to put on some weight!

I just met Dr. Zac and instantly, the stuff that he was talking about just captivated me. This stuff was hard. It would torture you, yet at the same time I’d feel good afterwards. I had a pump and felt more mobile.

That’s where it started.

Zac: We spent the first couple blocks testing you and trying a few different interventions just to see what would work. And then-

Francis: There was a lot of learn by doing. Because we weren’t working with clients during the quarantine, I was able to wrap my head around all this stuff that Zac was talking about. It helped me troubleshoot what areas to improve movement-wise.

If there were times where Zac was giving me some high-level stuff, and it just wasn’t connecting with me, so we could pull the ropes back and build from the ground up. It was super beneficial as a strength coach.

Once our gym, our facility was able to open up, I had a whole new set of tools to work with my members with.

Zac: After you built that foundation, you took the concepts and ran with it for yourself. With more of a hypertrophy-focus.

Francis: This all started in April. So, I did not rush this process at all, which, which helped me immensely. I knew I wanted to put on weight but didn’t have a specific number. I just wanted to feel better and move better.

My first girl was learning the basics movement-wise; starting with squatting, tucking, etc. I paired all that with eating more. I was keeping things in the 8-12 rep range, and that’s how the process started.

Zac: Yeah. And so, I’d say, correct me if I’m wrong, we probably spent a couple months building the movement foundation, and then you just kind of made it more hypertrophy volumes and and intensities for the last four or five months.

Francis: No, I think I’m about eight weeks in to, you know, what on paper would look more like a hypertrophy phase, I was able to put on some weight again, just by hitting reps of 8 to 12 and doing new stuff and not running.

Zac: Always good. Always good to know.

Francis: Late October we really buckled down. Holidays are coming out and I’m going to eat a lot. So, let me take that guilt away from eating a lot by going into an official hypertrophy phase and yeah, all we did was we picked up the movements that we liked, assess how progress was going, and kept it simple over a 4–5-week span.

I kept the load down and switched to what I call the 2020 workout—two seconds on the eccentric, two seconds on the concentric, no pausing in between, always staying under tension, never going all the way down or all the way up. You do that for 10 reps, obviously the time should work out to 40 seconds, doing four sets in a row with little rest. I’d do that for my big lift, then do 10 reps of three accessory moves with 30 second’s rest. Four more sets of that.

So, I’m doing only one movement at a time, knocking out all the sets, then I move on to the next movement. It takes about 30 minutes, which is perfect for my busy work and life schedule.

Zac: How much weight have you put on over the year?

Francis: 11 pounds so, from 152 to 163.

Zac: That’s a pretty good change in a year!

On my on my end, at least with the movement testing, we had some great changes movement-wise:

  • Hip flexion improved from (left/right) 110 bilaterally to 125/140.
  • Hip internal rotation improved from (left/right) 35/15 to 30/40. Which I’m cool with as it’s more symmetrical.

I think it was really cool to see because I think a lot of people see this false dichotomy between moving well and getting big. You can only gain muscle by using machines, back squatting, and deadlifting.

Yet Francis didn’t do a single back squat.

Francis: I haven’t squatted more than 100 pounds.

Zac: But you’re doing things well. You’re getting tension where you need to get tension. You were able to pack on size without losing movement.

In fact, across the board your table measures improved.

There may be a path where movement and performance diverge, but not for the overwhelming majority of us. Most of us aren’t the elite bodybuilder who is debating whether or not to start using gear.

Pursuing hypertrophy and better movement is absolutely doable for the general population.

How those with substantial muscle mass can improve movement options

Michelle Boland: Why I wanted to jump in this conversation is I want to talk about tearing down vs building up. How do you deal with less loading.

I struggle with this personally because of the deep held traditional beliefs and expectations of not only my role as a strength conditioning coach and the years I’ve spent training.

This started with a same as a Francis. Quarantine hit, and I had to think about what my training needed to look like. Evaluate the good and bad.

My body shape is closer to a female cross-country runner, I enjoy running, but I went big into the bilateral lifts. Consequently, I’ve probably kept 12-15 pounds of muscle mass on my frame, past the point of probably where my body wants to be. I shifted to running a bit more and working out from home during the quarantine.

Because I didn’t track too much, I dropped about 11-12 pounds pretty quickly, and probably all that was muscle mass. This led to feeling some fear of switching my training, but I recognized some mistakes that I’ve made.

My question involves those who have a lot of muscle mass and are currently dealing with aches and pains. If you look at the long game, this may lead to major issues like joint replacements in the future. It’s a difficult perspective, but many leaders in the field have been ex-powerlifters who’ve had a shift in perspective.  What are some strategies these people can employ? I’m sure some muscle mass will be lost in the process, but can they maintain some and move better?

Zac: What does it take to grow muscles? The big hypertrophy keys are volume and mechanical tension. That’s really it. Kudos to Ben House and Ryan L’Ecuyer for teaching me that.

Not once did these two mention back squat or bench press being essential. Hell, even most elite bodybuilders are doing machine-based work.

Volume and tension are the key, the modalities are likely irrelevant otherwise.

Michelle: Yeah, 100%.

Much of what we focus on is isolation exercise to alter position and shape change.

One thing I definitely missed was something that Francis stated before, and that’s tempos. I think that is a huge factor, especially with pairing movements, simply phases of movements with phases of respiration, the tempo, kind of prescription of exercises is, I think, something that would have maintained kind of gains in something that I’m trying to do now.

Francis: And I think stacking helps target the muscles you want better.

Squats for example. If you can shift to sandbags and still torch your quads and glutes without back tension, that’s a win.

Tim Richardt: Another thing that Francis mentioned with what you guys outlined earlier, which I thought was really interesting was just the skew towards higher rep ranges.

People talk about getting big, getting strong. 5×5 doesn’t quite produce as much of the volume and mechanical tension as the higher rep ranges do.

Going after 10, 15, 20 rep maxes lets you maintain movement quality, maintain the stack, and get a lot more of a training stimulus with a lot less of those deleterious secondary consequences that we’re trying to step around.

Zac: If you don’t consider body position, then your only option to create tension is heavy loads.

When I was in Costa Rica, I was teaching some bigger dudes the way I coach squatting. Admittedly, I wasn’t coaching the squat as well as I am now. I was overtucking and flexing, which led to some trepidation with them.

Regardless, with very little weight, their quads were absolutely destroyed. The only other way that sensation could be recreated is through heavy weight.

Conversely, we just don’t have data to support it one way or another aside from anecdotes. Is the only reason that you got this tension is because it’s a novel position that you’re not normally in? Or is it we’re actually targeting the quads more? That’s just something I don’t know or have an answer to.

What I have seen is those who do a lot of hinge-based work (I consider a back squat along this line) lose movement options. I think to preserve health of the tissues and joints, probably worthwhile to throw in at least some type of stuff that contrasts that.

Francis: Depending on the person, I don’t think you need to go all one way.

If buy-in is limited, then give them a couple breathing resets at the beginning, for their warm up, give them one or two movements to do throughout their set. And take it from there, especially if there’s someone who refuses to give up something like deadlifting or back squatting. Try to offset that with their accessory work.

Michelle: I think the best thing you can do is every coach needs a coach.

My current coach is Eric Huddleston. He’s done a great job putting programs together that feed into what I want to be doing and will do.

I told him I’m not going to lie on the ground and do resets. Some clients will be that way. ]

But he does an amazing, amazing job at creating exercises that just build those concepts in; using tempos paired with phases of respiration; almost like an active reset. With this, I’ve noticed muscles gains and better movement quality. And he only programs about six exercises per session.

The false dichotomy between performance and health

Tim: I just want to circle back to something Zac mentioned a couple minutes ago, we have two somewhat incomplete truths.

On one hand, we have that being strong is absolutely badass and having some muscle and the ability to produce power is kind of the sign of a healthy human right? It’s the strength training is good paradigm.

And then there’s a lot of people that just say, you know, strength training tightens up joints and muscles, and it leads to an achy, stiff human. And neither of those two statements is completely true nor completely false.

It reminds of the interplay between bulking and cutting. For 99.99% of people, it’s probably not a thing.  Most individuals tend to be so detrained that they don’t need to worry about a specific bulking protocol or cutting protocol. You can do both with intelligent eating and intelligent training. And I think what you guys have outlined is sort of the intelligent eating, intelligent training approach to improving movement options and improving like muscle bulk strength power output concurrently, which is cool.

Zac: Even this conversation to some degree is more focused on how coaches can get themselves as jacked as possible. For most of our clients, we are lucky to get them in the gym three times per week!

Francis: You definitely have those less dedicated, but I also have people I’ve trained for years that I’m excited to implement some of this stuff.

After the quarantine ended and our gym opened up, we started focusing on stacking; spending a few phases getting good at that. We built our initial phases on that, then were able to focus on more specific qualities.

It’s not necessarily the what? But the how? And why? And that’s where you can get really deep in all this stuff.

Tim: And Zac, I might respectfully disagree with the point that you made a couple minutes ago.

I think that the people that come to see, you, Francis, Michelle, myself, they tend to be people that are either bad at exercise or just really beat up.

If we take those people that have a limited movement option repertoire, and a lot of things are going to hurt, if we can get them a training effect while furthering their movement options, then they don’t feel like they’re bad at exercise anymore.

As opposed to the typical gym where someone might be back squatting on the first day of their program, potentially experiencing pain associated with that.  That’s not going to retain clients very effectively. So, I think this stuff really becomes paramount to ensuring a long-term positive client experience.

Zac: I would agree with you.

Back squats and similar moves have a much higher technical demand than say a goblet squat or a sandbag squat.

Francis: You can hand someone a 50-pound sandbag on a ramp, and torch them. It makes your coaching job that much easier.

Key performance indicators for better movement

Tim: I think one big problem in our industry is not defining terms especially well, this is something that Doug Kechijian talks about all the time where we say things like we want to move well, we don’t want to lose motion, but we don’t really have a clear idea of what that means.

Zac, Francis, what were some of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you tracked every few weeks as Francis was putting on muscle? And how would you recommend people approach that?

Zac: Francis is so lucky because I can table test him on a fairly regular basis.

The issue with Francis is many of the standing measures I normally recommend he was pretty good it. His toe touch and squat were full. But if you are limited in those moves, you can always pursue getting them better. They can also be a good gauge on if you are going in a good direction or not.

Personally, if I get too fat, I lose my ability to squat and I got a really good video of that happening to me.

In the video, I was 200 pounds. Fat as shit. It was a Herculean effort to squat below parallel, I just couldn’t do it.

But now that I’m leaner, I can squat fairly easily.

The key KPI is you need to find stuff that you’re limited in, and then just recheck that periodically to make sure that you still have that. That could be an Apley’s Scratch test where you check shoulder internal and external rotation.

If you get bigger and lose motion, that doesn’t mean you need to stop pursuing hypertrophy. You just need to change something to restore some of that motion. It could be getting on the ground and doing a reset. Maybe it’s re-evaluating your exercise selection.

It’s not a matter of maintaining certain movements at all times, but can you get into positions that you should be able to.

For Francis in particular, we looked at hip and shoulder range of motion predominately.

Francis: Trunk rotation was another thing we tracked. But I also didn’t have the toe touch down pat.

Zac: You didn’t?

Francis: No, not at first. But an exercise like drunken turtle cleaned most things up fast. It’s easy as a coach to check range of motion, but don’t be afraid to use your Coach’s Eye too. It can be sometimes hard to describe or put KPIs to good movement, but you also kind of know when you see it. I think this better translates to stuff clients care about as well.

Zac: Another example, Lucy Hendricks, she went through a phase where her clients were deadlifting a lot, and subsequently lost their ability to perform a loaded squat well. You could use that as a KPI for your clients.

Basically, you have to find a movement that is on the cusp of your capabilities, and then you would just continue to recheck that.

Tim, in your case, I think a toe touch is a really good move, because you are right on the edge of being able to get that. if you started severely losing that those gains, we might look at making small tweaks to your program to get that better.

Pairing resets with heavy lifting

Tim: Is there still a time in place for load it up, and then we’ll reset it before you leave?

Zac: For me, resets are basically regressed versions of positions that you are trying to get into.

For example, Michelle is a good mover and well versed in the knowledge realm. She may be able to attain the positions she needs with loaded exercises.

If you can stack and achieve a full squat position under load, I don’t see a need to drill down to something less than that. Because you can attain the position that you need.

But with the people we work with, they don’t have that movement capability. So, we have to choose an activity that has more constraints to it, or get them on their back more, because they don’t know how to get their bodies in the positions they need to.

Francis: We do work with athletes too and sometimes they come to us on a much shorter timeline than we would want. We understand they have to perform. We can’t put our vision ahead of them for that if they are close to in-season. Sometimes the priority is pain freedom. If we can get them out of pain, that can increase buy-in and allow us to do what we need them to do.

For me, I didn’t deadlift for three months. If you had asked me a year ago, what was my best lift? It would have been deadlift. Me stopping deadlifting was trusting my coach.

We have to ask where does this person want to go? How quickly? What kind of trust can you build with them and take it from there. There’s not necessarily a broad stroke answer there. It definitely needs to be individualized.

Zac: it doesn’t mean that a deadlift, back squat, and bench press are bad exercises. In fact, they’re quite good if you are chasing force production.

I’m currently working with an optometrist and in their field, they look at convergence and divergence. Convergence is really focusing in on a specific point, and then divergence would be looking further out. And it was interesting because she was talking about that, I saw a parallel in the movement realm.

She noticed that people who are really good at converging have a tendency to sit with their knees together and be more perched and upright, which is, you know, extension, internal rotation, force production-based qualities.

People who are better at diverging, looking further out and seeing large amount of space, sit more chill. Divergence is more expansion and external rotation.

Vision drives many of our motor responses.

When she’s prescribing exercises, you can totally work on convergence-based activities. But these moves can be overdone, creating a loss of divergence in the process.

I think the movement realm operates similarly. You can do back squat, and you can do deadlifts. And you can do these activities that drive more force production, more internal rotation, more compression, or whatever stuff you want to say.

But if that’s all that you focus on, you can potentially lose the other side of that equation.

It doesn’t seem to be the case where if you do a lot of stuff that is more expansion-based that you lose the ability to compress, because Francis can still deadlift a fair amount. We’re tweaking some of your techniques, though.

Programming improved movement options

Tim: Would it be fair to say that if the goal is maintaining or improving movement options, your initial bias and program is going to be towards more squatting and counternutated-types of activities?

Zac: Yeah.

The only time I won’t do that is if a client is pursuing a sport or thoroughly enjoys a bias towards force production

For example, I have one guy right now who we’re working through some shoulder pain with benching, but he wants to bench and back squat. Cool, you can keep doing that, I’ll just tweak everything around that.

Now if I have a situation where I have free rein with someone’s program, they don’t deadlift for the first couple blocks. The reason being is that most people have movement restrictions. My frame of mind is to first improve movement options as much as possible so their movement menu is larger. It seems like starting with a focus on front-loaded squatting, unilateral work, and considering ribcage structure helps with that.

Tim: Branching off that topic. Something I’ve seen Michelle do a lot is pairing different phases of breathing with different phases of motion. Is that something that you’ve been utilizing with yourself and with clients recently?

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. That’s something I’ve definitely been doing with my clients and also doing on my own training. It’s made a dramatic impact in how I feel.

I think the key with implementing is marketing appropriate expectations and linking these activities towards the client’s goals and how it can benefit them.

Zac: Could you expand upon that, Michelle?

Michelle: It’s not that we’re doing it bad. We just have to indentify our ideal clientele, and make sure I provide a clear message on how I train and what people can expect from me. By doing that, the people who approach working with me have changed.

I think I just got better at talking to people about reaching their goals, while also including maybe some other factors with that.

Zac, I think you do probably one of the best jobs at that; talking to people who want performance gains but also addressing any nagging aches and pains. Being clear that training or lifting weights doesn’t have to hurt. The mainstream fitness industry doesn’t seem to think that way.

Tim: I think, you know, I think it’s really interesting because when I think when Zac and I first got into the field of physical therapy, what, six, seven years ago, there was still a pretty big bifurcation between strength coaches and therapists, there weren’t a lot of therapists that were strength coaches or word trainers. I mean, one doesn’t even come to mind.

It’s positive to see both of these fields merging together, and starting to view training and rehab as the same thing, just different points on the same exact continuum. We are less in silos. We don’t worry about waiting until table tests are perfect before training, yet we also don’t let people go back squat until their eyes bleed.

I think everybody has a much better appreciation of what loaded activities might do to a person’s range of motion, as well as what ranges a person might need in order to do the activities they want.

Francis: We see a lot of people who had a coach or doctor say they can’t do an activity.

We rephrase that by saying we can help you get there. We may need to shelve it now and work on a few other things first, then go from there.

Seeing the look of relief of rewarding.

We are either here to help people enjoy their life better or perform better depending on what exactly they’re after.

For us at elevate, it’s all about physical freedom, and not telling people no, but telling them Yes.

Zac: if you can keep that end goal in mind and relate activities to that goal, then it’s more likely that that person is going to be up to doing things that maybe aren’t as sexy, like being on your back and doing breathing exercises, or not back squatting.

Francis: Or just training more. I f we get you out of pain, your likelihood of training more goes through the roof, and then your likelihood of success of success goes through the roof.

Zac: You can’t hit volume and mechanical tension if you can’t train.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s, that’s a difficult one. If people aren’t coming to see me, you know, they’re probably not training. So, getting in people in the gym for training sessions, multiple times a week can be a big challenge with a lot of general population clients.

I’ll just talk about myself. if I go to a physical therapist, I have a certain expectation of what that session is going to be like, versus coming to see your strength conditioning coach, I personally get a lot of people who really hard workouts. There are different expectations in those realms.

Zac: Francis does a really good job with classes and custom training of marrying those two things where you can give someone a really good training effect, while still helping them favorably movement-wise.

Francis: Yeah, just if you communicate with them and check to make sure they’re feeling the right things, you can make all this stuff incredibly taxing and difficult in the moment for sure.

They might scoff at you because they’re moving less weight than what they’re used to, but wait to see how they feel with it.

Conversely, if they come in and they’re strong. Don’t be so set in your ways that you don’t give them heavier weight. But that’s always our job’s challenge; getting people to do the right things but be happy with what they’re doing.

You just have to be on top of it and have conversations with your clients. Explain the “why.”

Though it can be hard in classes or small group sessions. The harder it can be explaining what’s going on. If it’s someone new, you might have to give him a call or text after the session.

Finishers and conditioning sets at the end are always a good way to get them. A couple minutes on the assault bike does wonders.

Michelle: I think that’s a huge point. Clients remember what you sent them home with.

Francis: It helps them walk out of your session with them feeling like they achieved something.

Tim: It seems like the programming keys then include:

  • Squats
  • Unilateral activities
  • Alternating activities
  • Slower tempos
  • The stack

Are there any other major keys?

Zac:  Ideally, with all of the tenants that Tim outlined so eloquently, you should be doing some type of breathing during specific components.

Generally, that’ll involve inhaling during the eccentric, and exhaling during the concentric. But you have to look at what you are specifically trying to make eccentric? What are you trying to make concentric?

Suppose I’m doing a lat pulldown. Generally, we would exhale on the pull and inhale on the way up. Well, what if my predominant limitation is actually expansion on the opposite side? Well, I could totally inhale as I pull down to open that up.

But for the overwhelming majority of people, that could be a little bit too into the weeds. I probably program that more with coaches than general population. For them, it’s stack, full breath excursions during iso holds, then inhale on the eccentric, exhale on the concentric.

But, Michelle, I’d be curious to hear how you’re incorporating phases of respiration into some of the training stuff that that you’re talking about?

Michelle: You hit it on the head. I’m just making sure that people are going through phases of respiration that mimic their phases of movement. So, it’s the eccentric concept that you just mentioned, and then have been messing around with a lot of inhaling the top position, holding my breath down, exhaling up, just kind of getting more into that and getting my clients used to it. So, adding more and more as I go and progressing with that stuff over time.

Zac: How about yourself, Tim?

Tim: I think that’s a really interesting idea, Michelle. I so I guess the notion there would be that you’re trying to create a bunch of expansion before you go into the range of motion that you’re trying to load?

Michelle: Yeah, I’ll have to give my coach Eric credit for that. We do a lot of oscillating isometrics—dropping an object and going to the bottom catching it. And a lot of is inhaling on the top, holding my breath down, and then exhaling up and pausing at the bottom. So, I think it’s finishing that yielding strategy. So, I’ll definitely give him credit for introducing me to that.

Tim: With my own training, I focus on getting full respiratory excursion through a range of motion. It seems most folks are just bracing and then like getting a little bit of airflow in whatever area we tend to be more hyper mobile at.

So, slowing things down, which again, that tempo helps with and actually. Also focusing on global ribcage expansion with whatever you are doing.

Zac: I think another thing that’s vastly underutilized if you need to get extra volume, is machines and blood flow restriction training. Both are awesome ways to incorporate volume, especially if you get someone who has a low movement menu to choose from. This is especially true if you have someone post-op or morbidly obese.

So, Tim, how are we going to get you huge?

Tim: I think personally the passion lies in moving very quickly up mountains. So probably we’re looking to keep me tiny yet powerful so that I can charge you up some tall stuff and hopefully not perish.

Zac: That’s reasonable. Well, that makes sense since you said that my 13,000-foot climb was nothing!

Tim: And not to talk shit on your 13,000-foot climb. I think it’s so complex man.

Zac: Yeah, you totally talk shit. That’s fine. Ask Francis, I’m probably one of the biggest shit talkers out there.

Tim: Selfishly, I’m just trying to get you out to Colorado.

Deciding on body composition goals

Zac: When do you decide that you need to get bigger and when do you decide that you need to get leaner?

I talked with my nutrition coach Georgie Fear. If you’re not following her, you should, she’s really intelligent.

We got myself to a point where I’m fairly lean. And it’s like, where do I go from here? And she had a really good point of does your body do all the things that you want it to do?

Tim, in your case, if you’re trying to climb mountains, do you need to put on more or less muscle mass to be able to do that and then just let the ascetics do what they need to do? I’d be curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.

Francis:  If I go back to running, I’ll wonder how I’ll feel about things body-wise.

Michelle: Aesthetics really isn’t my goal. It’s more of how I feel and how I perform. I think it’s just kind of what you’re used to. You get used to certain body image looking at yourself.

Since my frame is small, missing 11 pounds is a very noticeable difference. But I think that was because of my reduced fitness that happened over quarantine.

I needed to get back on a training regimen. Surprisingly, I was still capable of moving a lot of weight. I think I just needed to build consistency. My bodyweight is back down to undergrad size, but I’m still capable of moving weight. But now, I can recover a lot faster compared to when I prioritized the barbell.

Sum up

  • Performance and health can be pursued simultaneously if you use volume, tension, and good exercise selection
  • Intensity can help muscle-bound folks move better
  • Pursue many expansive-based exercises to offset compressive-based exercises
  • Emphasize stacking, single arms reaches, and more to preserve movement.

Say what's on your mind!