Getting stuck is just a part of life. There’s no “perfect program” you can follow that will protect you from life’s natural ups and downs, so you may as well stop looking for it.
This doesn’t mean everything is just out of your control. On the contrary, if you understand you WILL get stuck along the way, you can control how you approach each exercise session, which will mitigate a lot of the stress and worry you may otherwise experience.
Here’s a snippet of what Jarlo (yes, we got Jarlo back for this one!) had to say on the matter:
To say that you HAVE to hit a certain number of sets and reps in order to move on – that’s flat out wrong. It’s stupid
In this episode, Ryan, Andy, and Jarlo talk about what “getting stuck” really means, and what to do when it happens.
Here’s what we cover in this episode:
(03:19) You WILL get stuck if you’re trying to do something difficult. That’s how everything worthwhile is like.(10:03) How do you know if you’ve mastered one level? If you’re able to do it without labored breathing.(14:25) You’re coming into this with your own body and background. That’s why there can never be a “golden progression”(19:58) If you’ve been putting the time in, you’ll know when you’re ready to move on.(21:10) “There’s nothing wrong with being able to hold a hollow body for 5 minutes. That’s great! But it’s not necessary.”(21:48) If you’re going for very advanced skills like the iron cross, you’re probably going to experience some injuries and ailments.(25:10) When you get stuck, what should you do?
Andy: All right, all right, breaker one-niner on the interweb. Get your ears on for the GMB Show. Over the next 20 minutes plus or minus, we’re going to be talking about how to get stronger, how to build your agility and how to do it all in a way that is actually kind of fun instead of sucking like a lot of exercise tends to do.
So my name is Andy. Here with me is Ryan Hurst, our head coach and the illustrious and reclusive Jarlo Ilano, master physical therapist, certified Battlefield Kali instructor, all around hard mofu.
Ryan: That’s right.
Jarlo: Happy to be here again.
Jarlo: … lined up. That’s the main thing.
Ryan: It’s almost like we live in different places around the world.
Jarlo: In significantly different time zones.
Andy: Well, it’s funny because – so since I’m in Honolulu and our company is officially based in Honolulu, in all of our emails we have our mailing address because well, that’s the law. You should have a physical mailing address when you’re mailing a bunch of people. It’s the SPAM law.
So sometimes people read the email and they’re like, “Oh, I wish I were in Hawaii so I could see you guys.” I don’t think people realize that we are actually spread out all over.
We’ve got – our staff is in what? Miami, Portland, Seattle, Honolulu and Osaka and we have trainers in Australia, South Africa.
Andy: Canada. New Zealand.
Ryan: Yeah, all over.
Jarlo: It’s great. Everybody – it used to be that when you said you were an international company, it was like this big thing. But now it’s like if you’re not an international company, what’s wrong with you, right? If you don’t have people in different countries, something is wrong.
Andy: Well, it’s amazing because we have clients in like – well over a hundred countries. I don’t know how many because I never sat down to count. But just like a few weeks ago, we were saying something about, “Oh, it’s weird. We don’t seem to have any listeners in like Chile or Japan.”
Then some guy left a review that he’s from Chile and he was in Japan and it was like two birds knocked out right there, perfect. So it’s great. Not only are we in different places but everybody who’s watching us and the people using our stuff are in different places. So anyway, people who are watching us in different places, congratulate yourselves. Thank you.
Jarlo: Send us a note too. Tell us where you are.
Jarlo: We can pin stuff on …
Andy: Send us a postcard or a video or something.
Ryan: We will make a map and put like little pins in it showing everybody – oh wait, that has been done before. Never mind.
Andy: So today we’re going to be talking about not just how cool we are because we have friends in different countries. We are going to be talking about some really interesting things about what happens when you get stuck because I think that’s something that happens to everyone, right?
Everyone is going to experience this where they’re going to get stuck and if you’re trying something difficult, you can’t just have like smooth steady progress, right?
Everyone has probably seen the chart. There’s like how you want things to be and it’s like it’s a straight line, right? And then how life really is and it’s like this horrible thing that goes like this and finally gets to the end point.
That’s how training is like. That’s how everything worthwhile is like. So everyone gets stuck and we’re going to be talking about like sort of ways around that.
But first, I want to read a review because people take the time to review us on iTunes which we appreciate and I want to give them their 15 seconds of glory.
This is from Lovatoff1. “Five-star review. Made me a believer. Before purchasing anything from GMB, I listened to the first few podcasts. I’ve still got a way to go before I’m caught up, but it’s no-nonsense and fun.” Really? I thought it was like extra nonsense and fun. But anyway, “I have now purchased the Level One Bundle and become a member of Alpha Posse,” thank you, “to better increase my skill set. It also provides the most basic and comprehensive way to start doing gymnastic style training out there.”
Well, thank you. We’re glad that you are enjoying our stuff and see you in Alpha.
Ryan: Yeah, thank you.
Andy: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
Jarlo: Kind words.
Jarlo: In terms of talking about being stuck, it’s a little bit more than just like oh, I’m not getting stronger in this one thing or I’m not – I’m having trouble touching my toes. In terms of stuck-ness, what we want to talk about now is – all right, so everybody knows you have to have your basic fundamentals down, right? You have to crawl before you can walk, before you can – all that stuff.
Everybody says that and it’s true. You just have to build up your base before you can move and before you can do different things. But at some point, you have to decide where to go from where you are.
Jarlo: Right? There’s no – there’s really no benefit to be doing the same things over and over again because you haven’t hit that magical five sets of 50 seconds that you have to hit in this perfect pattern before you are allowed, before you are allowed to go on.
Andy: You don’t need to continue beating your head against the wall until it finally lets you through.
Jarlo: You don’t get bonus points with that.
Andy: I think it’s like – it almost seems like it’s a permission issue. Like you know what you’re able to do. You think you might be able to do the next thing but somebody is like, “Oh, but I’m not allowed to do that yet.” Says who?
Ryan: Yeah, exactly.
Jarlo: Who is the monitor with the whip behind your back?
Andy: So yeah, it’s really a big thing but like you said, that’s also important to have the foundation right and the fundamentals and so you can’t ignore that and just go full speed ahead either. So Ryan, what’s the answer?
Jarlo: That seems to be a contrary point. But it’s not. So I know we talked about this before. So let’s see what Ryan had to say about that.
Ryan: All right. Here’s the thing. I’m going to use the front lever as an example. So the front lever, when you think of a front lever, what do you think? You think from the rings or it could be the barbell. We’re going to look at the rings. Your body is completely, completely parallel to the ground with your legs extended. You have this [0:07:10] [Inaudible]. OK, wow. That’s great. That’s what everybody wants and as the two of you mentioned, you can’t just jump up to the advanced progressions and think that you’re going to be nailing the front lever by skipping the basics.
Ryan: So you start off with the basics. What does that mean? Well, the basics basically means having a proper understanding of the form necessary to work towards those higher progressions but also having the basic strength. So something to start off, I’m just going to use the front lever as an example of course. So we’re going to talk about the pulling prep, straight arm pulling prep. OK?
Now this pulling prep basically is making sure that you have the mechanics necessary to begin starting the front lever work. You get …
Andy: You should describe what that is because pulling prep is really based on your words. No one else knows about this.
Ryan: My arm is completely straight. I’m hanging on to the rings. I don’t bend my arm and I start with my shoulder up on my ear and I pull my shoulder down, pulling my chest up. Now this is with both arms. This is with both arms. OK? So this is the pulling prep. This is strengthening.
Andy: So for anyone, that’s a pulling prep if you don’t know what a pulling prep is, when Ryan talks about that point of reference. OK.
Ryan: So from there, once you just have that down, that’s it. That’s it. Now, how do you know when you have it? Well, you test it and that’s the key point of moving on. Yeah, you could perform let’s say 10 repetitions for 10 sets, making sure you do it every other day and you have the proper X amount of calories in your body and X amount of hours that you slept and blah, blah, blah.
OK. Well, it’s a little bit easier than that. Test the next level. See if you’re able to perform the next progression safely but also at a point that would allow you to start working on it. So what does that mean?
When you go to the next level and let’s say in this case the next level is pulling your knees up to your chest, this is starting to work on the core strength that’s necessary to help you with the front lever. It’s not about trying to go upside down or anything like that. You just simply point your knees up while keeping that pulling prep position and holding it.
Can you do that? And you know what? In the very beginning, you might be able to do the pulling prep and skip to the next progression right away and if you can already start working on it, good. Keep working on it. OK?
Can you do that? Yes. Spend a little bit of time on that. How much is a little bit of time? Well, enough time so that you feel comfortable and that your breathing is not labored when you’re performing it. You can talk to someone while you’re doing it and what I like to use is reciting the ABCs or if you’re from a different country, whatever is applicable to that particular language. Can you do that? If you can do that, test the next language – or next language – text the next –test the next level.
Andy: Text the next language, yeah …
Ryan: Text me while you’re in that. So that’s a way that you can see if you’re ready for the next level.
Ryan: Now if you can perform that next level perfectly, well then you’re pretty amazing and that’s wonderful and chances are though, you might not be able to do that. But what happens is a lot of people think that you have to stick with just like what you guys were saying. You have to stick with that particular level for X amount of days and hit that time or whatever it is to get it. I don’t really believe that you have to do that.
Jarlo: Yeah. I will interject here just one real quick thing. That’s why in our programs we give a range, right?
Ryan: Thank you, thank you.
Jarlo: So let’s just say – I’m making one up right now. We have to say three to five sets of eight to twelve, right? That’s a nice broad range but that’s a minimum and a max and it doesn’t mean that max of 5 sets of 12. You have to hit that before you go on to the next thing. It’s more like if you’re already good, don’t go beyond that and then go for that – whatever that phase is for the next couple of weeks.
Stay at that and then put more energy into some of the other things that you aren’t so good at. So, it’s a range and that’s why we give a range because we don’t know you. If you are a student in the class or a client in the gym, we would know you and we wouldn’t say, “OK, three to five sets.” We would give you what we know you could do and progress from there.
Andy: Yeah, and think about that too. Like 3 sets of 8 versus 5 sets of 12, right? That’s a 36-rep difference. It’s more than double, right? But that’s still an OK range because it gives you based on your level of skill, your level of strength and the other moves you’re doing, right? It’s not just one move in a vacuum.
Andy: With everything else put together, it gives you a lot of room to do more one day, less another day, depending on how you feel you’re progressing on that and the other skills, right?
Ryan: Yeah, that auto regulation. Yeah, and that’s …
Jarlo: The ability to have this sort of bandwidth. You can do something more advanced, something less. So it’s so interesting that people are almost resistant to that. They feel like they have to be at the max all the time where they have to hit that max before they’re allowed to go and do this next step in the progression. No, it’s arbitrary. It’s straight up arbitrary and some of these progressions like in that front lever, they’re in the so-called step progression where one is supposed to be harder than the other. But we’ve seen it where some people can do one thing but they couldn’t do that one thing before.
Jarlo: Right? It makes sense because there are different leverages. There’s a different strength within that person.
Andy: Another thing is that people totally neglect. We’ve now – in like the bodyweight skill gymnastic base training kind of community, people [0:13:32] [Indiscernible] this idea of progressions and that’s good. There’s definitely different levels of skill that you need to step up in a logical manner. But people seem to get this idea somewhere that there’s a magical progression that’s always right and that’s not true.
The reason is, is very simple. You’re not just learning skill. You also have to develop strength. You have to build mobility. You have to build endurance. You have to build body position awareness and you have to develop skill, maybe more.
There are several attributes training at the same time and so while one skill might be easier or more difficult for you, it may require more or less strength for you and you can’t just stack them up. These will always require more attributes than everything else because no two people are coming into this with the same body and experience.
Some people’s strengths, if they’re untrained, their strengths will increase very rapidly but their motor skills won’t increase as rapidly. Some people who have played sports before, their motor skills will shoot straight up but their strength, if they’ve trained before, won’t grow as quick a rate. So depending on your own current level of different attributes, those attributes are going to increase at different rates.
So no one stack progression is going to be perfect for everyone. So that’s why you can’t just say this is the golden progression. Follow this and you can do no wrong and everyone must hit this level on this before they can go to this because it’s just not true. It’s not true.
If there was one thing you’re training, yeah, that would work. But we’re not training one thing. We’re training several things.
Ryan: And that’s why it’s so tough for us to create these progressions, right? Because going back to the front lever, the thing is I can create a tutorial. We can create this tutorial and say, “OK, here is how you can progress through the front lever.” But the thing is I’m not going to show you every single option in the world for this front lever.
I’m just thinking about maybe the 70 percent of people out there in the world, the average people who need and would benefit from these particular progressions. The thing is you could use the Ice Cream Maker.
Then you could work on the Ice Cream Maker the entire time. Just do that and you could probably get your front lever. You could do it from an inverted hang lower. Just do that and just do that. You probably get it over time but the thing is, is that really going to benefit the 70 percent of people out there that want to start doing it. That’s why it’s so tough, right? To do these progressions and say, “OK, this is exactly how you need to do it now.”
Andy: That’s why our programs are based on ranges and not minimums.
Andy: Because based on you, you might need to hit a lower range on one thing and a higher range on something else before those combined for the next progression, right?
Andy: But it’s not minimums. Minimums are kind of worthless actually. Maybe not worthless. They’re very one-dimensional.
Jarlo: That’s right.
Ryan: But you bring up another good point about we’re doing multiple things at the same time. So it’s not just the front lever. Looking at rings one or program …
Andy: It’s never just the front lever.
Ryan: Exactly. It’s all this other stuff going on. So let’s look at it and look at actual like – if we’re working towards a flow, in our programs we all have the end flow where we’re combining particular movements together into one chain of flow.
So when you’re working through the phases, you might be able to achieve a particular level at this phase. So let’s say like you have the third progression for all of these movements. We would like for you to get before you move on to phase two.
The thing is, you might have already achieved maybe the fourth or the fifth progression of a particular movement in phase two and you might still be – maybe the first progression even though that you’re in that phase, well, how do you progress? How do you move on?
This is something that we hear a lot. People would say, OK, I haven’t got – I haven’t achieved this particular movement yet. Is it OK to move on and go to the next phase? Yeah.
So what you do is you focus on the other movements at the level, the new phase, but you continue to work at that – you continue to work on the other movement that you haven’t got at that level. Just because you haven’t achieved something here doesn’t mean that you can’t move on with the rest of the stuff.
You can still continue to work on the other things. I’m not being very clear but basically what I’m saying is that it’s not a vacuum. OK? And things are always going to be different and you need to look at where you are and the movements and adjust those accordingly just to keep progressing and just because you don’t have something doesn’t mean that you can’t move on elsewhere. Does that make sense?
Andy: I mean maybe another example would be to take it out of physical stuff and just say – let’s say you’ve got reading, math, science and art, right?
Ryan: OK, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, yeah.
Andy: Yeah, reading, math, science and art and your reading level is going up. Your math level is going up. Your science level is going up but you’re just not very creative. Do you stop practicing reading math and science or do you stop trying to challenge and improve those?
You say, “You know what? I’m just going to keep reading the Hardy Boys for the next year until my art increases.” No. You’re going to move on. You’re going read some CS Lewis.
Jarlo: It’s really natural to want to have these steps, right? And to follow because we all want to be able to – we all need a guideline. I mean especially in the beginning. It’s just nice to have because you want to know where you are. You want to know where you stand because you know where you want to end up. So you want to do all the right things.
So that’s totally understandable and it’s good to want to be able to do that. In some cases, you’re going to have to realize that there is no right way. There is no one right way towards something. That old saying, there’s different paths to the same destination. So it’s trite but it’s true.
You have to be able to think, well, I’m putting my time in. If you’ve been putting the time in and you’ve been working, so that’s the difference. You can’t just go and say, “Oh, yeah. I’ve been doing it once, maybe twice a week for a few times and I’m still not getting it.”
So I got to move on now. There’s a difference between that and it’s all these extremes. You can always just point to that guy that’s just like see, he didn’t build up his base. He needs to go and do the same thing over and over and over again.
Yeah, that guy needs to do it but that’s not everybody. People have put their time in. They’ve been doing it three to four times a week like they should for the last six, seven, eight weeks. They put their time in. Are you going to keep holding them back because they haven’t hit your arbitrary – really pulled out of your ass measurements and that’s really what it is.
Jarlo: There is no thing that says you have to have to hit those five sets of 60 seconds in a whole. No, that is straight up made-up and I’m just going to say that right now because it’s the way it is. Come on now.
Ryan: It’s a suggestion.
Jarlo: It’s a suggestion.
Ryan: That’s all it is.
Ryan: It’s all that you can do.
Andy: And there’s nothing wrong with being able to hold a hollow body for five minutes. That’s great. It’s great. It’s a good thing.
Jarlo: But to imply that you have to have that and everybody, 100 percent of people, have to have that, that’s flat out wrong. On the face of it, that’s flat out wrong. Come on now. It’s stupid.
Andy: Yeah, there are suggestions and there are things that are good to have and there’s also a level of safety guideline too, right? There is – it has been said many times before. A lot of people want to get like the iron cross or one-arm chin and they end up with tendonitis. Like, actually I’ve never heard of anyone getting an iron cross or one-arm chin without experiencing tendonitis. I’ve never heard of it, right? Everyone does.
It happens, right? So pretty much you will have that problem happening to you if you chase these things. So yes, you want to condition yourself slowly over time. But there’s a difference between like this is a level of skill and strength that you need to give yourself to slowly condition over time for something that has a safety concern. There is a difference between that and just pure like poor logic of – that lumps everything down to one metric. I’m sorry but a hollow body hold for a certain amount of time does nothing for your skill development. It’s increasing endurance.
Jarlo: This is why we’re like – well, this is why I’m kind of getting mad at it. It’s because it doesn’t make any sense. If you think about it, and if you go about it, you’re not going to argue for this because you know that there’s going to be different stages. There’s going to be individual concerns and yes, we want people to be safe.
Andy: There are different attributes in different stages and trying to collate them to one metric does not make any logical sense whatsoever.
Jarlo: And you can always put that straw man of oh, they’re going to get people injured. No, that’s silly. Why would we want people to get injured?
Andy: Yeah, with thousands and thousands of customers. If we were just injuring everybody, we would be out of business pretty fast. But we’re not because out of thousands and thousands of people, 70 percent of our people end up purchasing a second program.
Jarlo: That’s right.
Andy: Obviously something is working for them.
Jarlo: Because they got injured, and they want to get injured again.
Ryan: That’s right. That injury, yeah.
Andy: Because our approach is inherently dangerous.
Jarlo: We’ve cornered the market on the masochists buying all our products.
Jarlo: We should send out a – that phasic inventory and see if we can – see if they’re masochists and I bet you they would be. Yeah.
Andy: What’s the psychological condition where people injure themselves because they like the attention they get at the hospital?
Jarlo: Oh, that’s the Münchausen,right?
Andy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right. That’s our target audience right there.
Jarlo: Man, you’re talking about niche marketing? We have to work with …
Andy: If we were only that smart to target such a narrow niche, we could make a killing probably. But all right, to be honest, we’re just not that smart and so instead we just made some shit that works. Sorry guys. We’re not evil geniuses.
Ryan: Sorry about that.
Ryan: No. But yeah, getting back to what you’re saying, it’s – there is no it’s this way and that’s the only way. No, it just doesn’t work that way. Each person is different. You need to figure out what works for you and …
Andy: So with that said then, when you get stuck, not if, because when – when you get stuck, what should you do? What should you do?
Ryan: Well, just like I was mentioning earlier, you check and see what’s going on. I mean if you’re at a level – if you’ve spent the time working at a particular level, and you’re stuck, go to the next level and see if you can start working on that. That’s what it’s about.
Andy: See what part of if you’re stuck on. Is it the coordination? Is it the flexibility? Is it the strength? Figure out what part of it.
Ryan: And it could be that you’ve been working on it too much. That’s something else too.
Andy: Worn out, yeah.
Ryan: Yeah, you’re like …
Andy: Burned out.
Ryan: That is like screw this shit. I need to move on. So really test it. You’ve always got to be testing to see where you are.
Andy: Yeah, we’ve said before. You know, every session is diagnostic in a sense. Every session is always a progress report and that’s the auto regulation that we always come back to instead of arbitrary metrics. You should always be checking your performance and then write that down, mark it down and take notes.
So then the next time you know what you’re comparing yourself to. I don’t mean as in like know what you have to beat but just know where you were and so you can sort of have some comparison about how you’re trending up or down in different things.
Ryan: And there are going to be times where you’re spending time working on a particular skill and you just don’t have the energy and you feel like you’re sliding. Well, that’s a little different topic. That might be where you need to back off a bit and really take a break.
Andy: Sleep more, eat more.
Ryan: Sleep, eat.
Andy: That stuff is important.
Ryan: Yeah, and go on all out. It’s auto regulation, just thinking that you need to go 100 percent every single time. I don’t believe in that. Listen to your body. Work at where you are that day. If you’re feeling really good that day, well then try the next progression.
Andy: Right and if you can’t do it, you can’t do it and you drop back.
Ryan: That’s right. That’s it.
Jarlo: We’re talking about things that are very complex.
Jarlo: These are things that over time – and that’s why there are so many different people trying to do so many different things. It’s not easy. It’s not going to be step by step. That curve isn’t going to be straight and what you want to do is apply and we’ve talked about this before. You got to apply critical thinking to every aspect of your plan. It’s nice to follow a plan that says it has got everything you need but that’s just – it doesn’t exist. You have to have ranges. There has to be changes daily, weekly, monthly, based on where you are and you have to apply that thought process to it.
Andy: Are you going to believe in what the guru tells you or are you going to believe in your ability to learn from your experience? One of those is empowering and one of those is enslaving.
Andy: I’m not saying either one is wrong because some people might just want to be slaves but I know which one I prefer.
Ryan: That’s why you’re married.
Andy: That’s why I’m married, exactly.
Ryan: Different topic.
Andy: Damn it! Damn it!
Ryan: No, but I think we’ve – this is a good talk and it’s tough because people – this is what we see. Am I ready? Can I move on to the next thing? I don’t know. Can you? It’s up to you.
Andy: This is the email we get three dozens a day.
Ryan: Yeah. We can help you out. I mean we love hearing from you but really it comes down to you understanding where you are and you deciding whether or not you are ready for it.
Jarlo: You’re putting the time in. If you’re putting the time in, you’ve basically given yourself that permission to know whether you can move on or not, right? If you haven’t, maybe you haven’t earned that yet for yourself. This is for yourself.
Jarlo: We’re not going to be the ones to tell you, “OK, no. You’re not ready.”
Andy: We’re not going to give you your certificate of handstand.
Jarlo: Yeah. Deep down inside you know if you’ve been putting the effort for a long enough time that you can go, “OK, maybe in this plan I need to do something a little different and I can go ahead and go and move on.” You know. It’s there. You already know. You don’t need somebody else to tell you.
Andy: Because honestly, if you’ve been training, if you’ve been practicing, say an hour a day three days a week for eight weeks. All right? That doesn’t sound like a whole lot. That’s 24 hours of dedicated practice, right? In 24 hours, if you can’t learn, if you can’t tell if you’re progressing, you’re doing something wrong. Either you’re watching TV or doing something and not focusing on your training and that’s a whole different story. But in 24 hours of training, eight weeks, three days a week, one hour a day, you should know if you’re making progress at a reasonable rate, right?
You should have some idea of if you’ve improved and if you feel that you’re ready to move on. Yeah. I think you should totally know in that timeframe.
Jarlo: Give yourself some credit.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah.
Andy: Oh, yeah.
Ryan: Definitely. All right. Good stuff there. We’re going to end it there.
Andy: Can I go to the bathroom?
Ryan: Yeah, potty time.
Andy: Sorry, sorry. Yeah, don’t be that. OK?
Ryan: I don’t know. Can you?
Andy: Give yourself some credit. You don’t need permission from us to move on or anyone really. If you’ve done the work, then you can tell.
All right. Good. Well, thanks for watching. Stick with us. We will talk to you again sometime soon.
[End of transcript]
Be sure to catch the next episode by subscribing to the GMB Show:
Subscribe to the iTunes podcastSubscribe to our YouTube videos
The Future is in YOUR Hands!
Left to our own devices, we’d soon be churning out episodes on the sorry state of Mexican cuisine in Osaka. Answer these questions and tell us what you want to hear: