The Ready State Virtual Mobility Coach is like having a virtual Kelly Starrett in your pocket.
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Juliet: [0:03:35] David Weck is the inventor of the BOSU Balance Trainer and founder of WeckMethod. David’s influence reaches millions of people across the globe. From world class athletes to disabled individuals regaining the ability to walk, David has been helping people achieve better functional fitness for the past 30 years. Among his many inventions, David is very excited to be launching a new innovation group, the introduction of his latest invention, the WeckDeck. David’s stated mission is making every step stronger for everyone. One of the things that I loved about this conversation is just hearing a little bit about the development of the BOSU ball and what a huge deal it is. Everybody knows what a BOSU ball is or has a BOSU ball or has worked with a BOSU ball. So that was one of my favorite parts of our conversation.
Kelly: [0:04:18] Yeah, you know, David has undergone a transformation where he is bringing people to the table. It’s really fun to be around him. He has got unusual training methods about getting people to be able to feel their body so they can go do their training more effectively. I think it’s easy to peg someone as like the BOSU guy. And it’s just one more tool, right? Forget the fact that he’s an entrepreneur, launched a business.
Juliet: [0:04:44] Inventor.
Kelly: [0:04:45] Twenty years, the education piece, the content piece. It’s a gigantic, huge ecosystem. And I’ll say, personally, I love a lot of his ideas. And we banter back and forth on the DMs and text a lot about ideas he has. I think it’s going to be interesting when people hear this because it really is a message of positivity and love from David. And you might have misconstrued his passion, but he really is saying, “Hey, how can we get people moving in their bodies better?” And that’s pretty cool.
Juliet: [0:05:12] Yeah, it’s a really cool message. And he’s really passionate and interesting and it was a really great conversation.
Kelly: [0:05:17] I can’t wait to go hang out with him in person and see what we can get up to. Please enjoy our conversation with the amazing David Weck.
Juliet: [0:05:25] Hey, Ready State listeners, if you like what you’re hearing, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes to help others find our show.
Juliet: [0:05:32] David, welcome to The Ready State Podcast. We are really excited to chat you up today.
David Weck: [0:05:36] I am super excited to be here. Last night I was just chomping at the bit.
Kelly: [0:05:42] Well, just so everyone understands, I am a user of exercise. I go on the internet, I try to understand what people are doing. I’m always looking for better ways to prime tissues, to create rotation.
Juliet: [0:05:55] Doesn’t sound that sexy, being a user of exercise.
Kelly: [0:05:59] I know.
Juliet: [0:06:00] I think you need to think of a better way to say that.
Kelly: [0:06:00] No, I really, I’m like a collector. I’m sure there is a more sexy way, but it’s about as sexy as that. But literally, your rope work, just so everyone’s clear, I use it every day. I use light ropes. I have freakishly heavy ropes. We use it in between sets, warmup sets. I take them on the river with me and I do it and prime my elbows before. So I just want everyone to know that I am a Weck user and I use Dave’s thinking every day in my programming. Just so everyone knows. This is not-
Juliet: [0:06:32] Are you waiting for his reaction to your love?
Kelly: [0:06:34] Yeah. I just want to set it up.
Juliet: [0:06:35] Let’s hear it, David.
David Weck: [0:06:37] Well, my reaction is that ropes are so accessible. The activity is so scalable. So people can literally do this training for free. And we have a rope flow movement that is growing all over the world. Philippines and Singapore, thousands of people, well, at least hundreds and hundreds of people are now congregating on a Sunday morning and doing the patterns. And if you think about a rope, it’s the mindset goes right to jumping through it, right? That’s what we do with the rope. Everybody has a rope in the garage, the basement, the closet, wherever it is, there’s a jump rope in every home in America, practically speaking. And when we shift the focus to the rotation of the rope and the down, up patterning with that, without the burden of having to jump through, we can always jump through, but we get so many quality reps that don’t beat us up on our path to being most efficient, whereby jumping the rope now, you’re doing it with so much more skill that you’re not hurting yourself, you’re only helping yourself.
So I view the ropes as the Rosetta Stone of exercise modalities. You get great with the figure eights and you link the hands, you link the body, and now you are primed and prepped to assimilate essentially all other things more rapidly and go further. So I am just thrilled, Kelly, that you are using the ropes for your own personal benefit. I mean you’re only going to do what works. And I want to also give a shoutout to you, Kelly, because you’re the guy who basically defined that it’s about the quality of the content, it’s not the production value and the lighting of the set. And that was such a break from where we were to such the freedom of quality information in a dynamic, compelling, entertaining way of delivering it. And so I was hanging on every video back in the day amongst the core followers of 5,000 to 7,000 people who it’s up on YouTube, first day, 7,000 views.
Kelly: [0:08:51] Amazing. Thank you for that.
Juliet: [0:08:52] That’s cool. That’s cool to hear.
Kelly: [0:08:53] And let me apologize, everyone, for the sound quality. And Juliet doesn’t ever get a shoutout because she was the internet stretching video world champion.
Juliet: [0:09:03] Videographer? Yeah, cinematographer.
Kelly: [0:09:03] Cinematographer. You had the world record for stretching videos on the internet for a long time. So good job, J.
Juliet: [0:09:09] Thank you. I was horrible at that job.
Kelly: [0:09:11] I want to get into how you came to be and think this. There’s a lot here. You know, you’re an instructor, you’re a teacher, you’re an inventor. We want to get into how you got all that. But one of the things that the line I want to drop is you said something right away that is a core value of Juliet and I, which is scalability.
Juliet: [0:09:30] Accessibility.
Kelly: [0:09:31] Accessibility. Scalability. If it is not inexpensive, I can’t roll it out across… I have 40 kids in my class. Having 40 Keiser machines is a nonstarter. Having 40 anything can be a nonstarter. So how do I begin movement literacy? How do I begin movement quality to teach rhythm, timing, exposure? So much of your thinking really does scale in that way. And the rope for me is one of those pieces. So kudos to you. That’s one of the reasons I was so… I mean I have sent them to my big wave surfer paddlers who I’m like, oh, you guys need to do this before you go because it’ll solve all your elbow problems.
Juliet: [0:10:06] Well, and the other context in which we’re such fans of the rope is actually working with kids because it’s so hard to get dry land training, strength and conditioning, youth sports have exploded, but sports specific coaches in large part have no idea what to do, where to begin. I think they know they should be doing some strength and conditioning and mobility work, but it’s not their area of expertise. They’re sports specific coaches. And so anytime Kelly’s gone into our own kids’ sports just as a volunteer or otherwise, his first order of business is your club should own jump ropes. There are a thousand things that you can do with just a jump rope. And it’s just an awesome tool and so accessible and scalable.
Kelly: [0:10:47] I don’t want to hijack the conversation and just pigeon you as the rope guy because you’re definitely not. It’s like, oh, Kelly started Voodoo Floss. It’s just not the thing. So tell us what is the WeckMethod? Is there a kernel of ideal into your thinking and ideology because you have certifications, you do teaching, you have products. It’s difficulty honestly to pin you down into a neat rabbit hole of this is who David Weck is because you’re so diverse in your skillset. What is the WeckMethod and how did you come to understanding… Because just so everyone knows, the rope is like a one percent idea-
Juliet: [0:11:24] And a little bit to tack onto that question is what is the backstory? What is the WeckMethod now and what has been your trajectory to bring you to this point?
David Weck: [0:11:32] So basically how I would categorize the WeckMethod in its simplest form is it’s basically the WeckMethod is a both sides utilized practice. So what we want to do is we want to define the fundamental principles of movement that relate to gait, the most common functional movement that we all do, so that’s the flight, and related to fight, two sides of the same coin. And it keeps the training very, very honest because you can measure the time which you can move from point to point or point to points and then you can spar around and play with an opponent to gauge your capacity in that regard, which is very subjective. And both sides utilized stems from the name BOSU. So when I invented the BOSU ball, I was a personal trainer to make money. I was an actor as what I was pursuing as a career. I spent seven years engaged in it and every year I did a little bit better. I made $40,000 in my best year.
Kelly: [0:12:38] I could use some acting training.
David Weck: [0:12:40] No, you don’t need it. So I was personal training as a survival job and I rollerbladed everywhere in Manhattan for six years.
Juliet: [0:12:50] Yes. Oh my God, you have no idea how excited Kelly is to hear this.
David Weck: [0:12:55] Manhattan is the ultimate roller rink. It is all paved. And I got so good on these skates that I could essentially do whatever I wanted: down staircases, on a half-pipe, holding onto a taxi, holding onto a bus. If I’m going uptown and I’d been skating all day, Manhattan is slightly uphill, you’d just wait for a car, you’d hold onto the hub under the back wheel and that’s your go and then back on your trunk was your brake. And you’d sort of just get down there on the side so you could see if there’s a pothole, and just go for a ride. One time I got hooked on the back of a Range Rover that started going through the lights probably about 50, 60 miles an hour. And at that speed, you can’t see because the water in your eyes is going, and you’re praying that your bearings don’t seize. And you realize that at that moment of truth in the 20 to 25 mile an hour range, you’re either holding on or you’re letting go.
So anyway, that all to be said that my feet from six years… And I’m a very extreme person. I would say that in the spectrum of bipolarity, I go very far in both directions. And fortunately, now I’ve been able to mitigate the highs and the lows with the priority of work and family as my legacy so I will stay grounded and not go off into the ether where-
Kelly: [0:14:23] Hang on a second. Juliet always likes to say, “You don’t get something for nothing.”
David Weck: [0:14:25] Yeah, well, hey, listen, I’ve played with fire and I’ve cooked with it and I’ve been burned with it. Both sides.
Juliet: [0:14:34] Fair point.
Kelly: [0:14:34] Fair enough. Fair enough.
David Weck: [0:14:35] So my feet became extremely weak and because of that my body could not resolve itself to the load explode equation because the feet couldn’t do their job so they would send the job up in the body to create compensatory tension that allowed me to deal with the fact that my feet couldn’t support me. And I dropped the motorcycle, I lifted it up, and I felt a twinge in my back, and then three days later I collapsed in white hot pain. Like blackout, but it was white, whatever that means. And it led to a year of chronic back pain. And I had no idea back then so much of what I understand now. And it was the stability ball that after physical therapy had run out and I was taking so many Aleves that I eviscerated my internal organs and my gut, it was just a mess. And I only do something when I absolutely have to. So procrastinator and then I get it done at the end.
Kelly: [0:15:42] I think everyone can relate to that. It’s really hard to get people to play offense on their bodies until they’re losing or they’re in so much pain or they can’t do something. There’s a reason; that’s exactly right. I think that’s very reasonable. Especially when you’re able to go at such a clip.
David Weck: [0:15:59] Yeah. I was burning the candle at both ends. I was young and so I was acting and doing that life, waking up at 5 in the morning to go train people. And that back pain led me to the stability ball. And then I saw Paul Chek standing on the ball. This is a photograph in 19-
Juliet: [0:16:17] Oh yeah. I remember that.
David Weck: [0:16:19] Yeah. This was a photograph on a green stability ball with his white shoes. I mean I remember it. And that gave me that, oh, well, I’ll try that. So I used my pullup bar and positioned myself and I became familiar with it. And by virtue of being on that ball with the center line forced, the body really needs to understand centerline and the hands will come center and then spready if you go the natural path. And the feet, there’s this central force on a ball and then just the intrinsic muscles of the feet are constantly getting this little bit of adjustment and you’re using too much tension but it’s a strength training until you can coordinate it, pare it down. And my back started to get better. And it was like, oh my gosh.
And I had a 200 square foot apartment in Manhattan that had seven stability balls in it. I would have to put them in the loft in the day and take them down in the night because it was so many. And one night, I was standing on the 75-centimeter ball and I was doing a Feldenkrais inspired exercise. For listeners out there Feldenkrais is a somatic education that is basically, prefaces minimalize your efforts so you can discern the finest gradations of force so that you can learn efficiency down here and then pull that efficiency through to higher function. And so I was on the ball closing my eyes, tilting my head back, and I fell off violently, did a back flip, started kicking my feet to make sure I could still do that, and then in my dilemma of, oh, I can’t do this anymore, I’m going to break my neck. I thought, what if I cut the ball in half? And a nano sec later I recognized, oh my gosh, this is my thing. It was the internet days, the .com. everybody was rich. All your friends were now day traders. And I just saw dollar signs. I’m like this thing is going to be so useful. It’s going to be around the world and it’s never going to go away. I like evergreen stuff. I don’t like blip and then gone. I like something that’s going to keep going.
And so I just stopped everything. I quit acting and I went into it. And when I invented it, we came up with the name Both Sides Utilized to describe throw them up and the platform up. And then through training and learning, and I met a man named Dean Brittenham who his son was the New York Knicks strength coach. And I flew out to San Diego, I trained with Dean, and he did so much of this ambidexterity training and the whole brain thinking, he was really into that. And so what I did was I used that philosophy to change the name BOSU to Both Sides Utilized. And I invented a BOLA trainer, which is an elastic band with two balls at the end of it that I would fling and catch and move very, very rapidly, and then I would twirl it. And that was my introduction to the Both Sides Utilized hand action. And then I worked with a staff where you get the precise hand action. And then it was the rope. I met Buddy Lee in 2004. Buddy Lee is one of the greatest jump ropers ever. Inspirational man. Amazing.
Kelly: [0:19:38] I have jump roped with Buddy Lee.
Juliet: [0:19:39] Yeah. We had Buddy Lee at our gym in probably 2005 or 2006. We met him early on too. He’s amazing.
David Weck: [0:19:47] Yeah. Amazing. And I paid very close attention to movement because my athletic inadequacy is my superpower because it forces me to do things, up the capacity of the genetic-
Kelly: [0:20:02] So say we all. That’s right.
David Weck: [0:20:03] Well, the ones who end up getting very, very smart at what they’re doing generally had to overcome some inadequacy to be the motivation, as you said earlier. And Buddy Lee, what I noticed was that there were a lot of times the rope went around the jump, the jump, the jump around. And so what I did, he gave me one of the speed ropes and I brought it home and the night I got off the plane, we’re talking 10:30, 11 at night in my backyard in San Diego, I began my process to be just as good as Buddy Lee. And I recognized immediately that if I spend my time jumping through this thing, I’m not learning the sweet stuff and I’m just getting tired and beat up. And the number of reps that I have to engage in now are going to be far more than if I jump, then I’m doing the target that I would. That was the rope flow invention, as it were.
And I had studied martial arts in Manhattan as a 26-year-old and the instruction was terrible. And you have no reference of where you position and transition your body. And the instructor’s not giving you a good reference because he doesn’t know either. And with the rope and the staff and these tools, the objects, the fundamental objects, sticks, stones and ropes, when you manipulate them, suddenly your body learns, oh, that’s where your position of strength is and, oh, that’s where it is. And so I recognized that I could increase my martial capacity night and day by doing the ropes. So I invested so heavily in it and I basically figured it out any human being tasked with doing everything you can with the rope without jumping would find exactly what I found. There’s four fundamental patterns: under, over, sideways, and a sneak where the back hands pronate. And that’s essentially all you can do. Everything derives from that. And what it did for my body was it upped my game to the point where if I were playing Division III football again, I could probably play football in Division III right now more effectively than I played when I was stronger and younger.
Kelly: [0:22:13] I believe that wholeheartedly. And I would also say that I had the same conversation with Juliet and I was like after the first practice I would be crippled and sore.
Juliet: [0:22:20] Yeah. Kelly would have torn his hamstring off. Yeah, there would-
Kelly: [0:22:24] I would destroy my former self because I’m a much more efficient mover.
Juliet: [0:22:27] And you have old man strength.
Kelly: [0:22:29] I have old man strength.
Juliet: [0:22:29] Okay. So Davis, I just have to, A, shout out, and I have to bring it back, I know we moved on to the rope again, but I have to acknowledge that I can’t say more emphatically that you invented the BOSU ball, and everybody. I mean whether you are into aerobics or CrossFit or I mean it doesn’t really matter what exercise modality you’re into. Everybody knows what a BOSU ball is. There is one in literally every gym in America. And I guess what I’m wondering is, A, first of all, kudos for that because it really is ubiquitous, it’s like Kleenex. And because this is where my mind goes: From a business side, was that a successful business for you and does it continue to be? Does everyone already have one so no one’s buying one anymore or is it still a thing? What’s going on with the BOSU ball from a business standpoint?
David Weck: [0:23:25] Great question. So I recognized immediately that this thing had potential to be a thing, right, that was here and here to stay. So I was fortunate to have angel investment where I had money now to run and gun, to fly to Park City to meet the ski team, fly to San Diego, do all the things necessary to promote this thing. And I made handmade prototypes in the beginning to get it off the ground, proof concept, before I had the molded ones. And at the 11th hour, when you’re about to spend $165,000 to cut a big tool, it’s measure it like 10 times, cut it once because as a small business, you can shoot yourself in the foot very easily and you can’t run out of money, otherwise you’re done. And what I did by doing that, I put myself into a very strong negotiating position when I started exploring the licensing of the product because I had that ambivalence of, hey, if I sign the contract you handed me, well, then we ain’t doing business. But we’re going to tear that one up and we’re going to write this thing up from scratch. That’s level. And gives me the full ownership that’s unequivocal. So you are licensing; nothing that you do gives you ownership whatsoever. So if you invent an accoutrement, that’s mine, right? So I set up great terms and I’ve been licensing it since maybe the end of 2001, I think, the license that I invented in ‘99, so two years of promotion. Then I stayed with the project to promote it for many years. You know, the carnival barker on the tour, half the weekends out of the year at all the trade shows. And it has provided me an income that allows me to basically operate without restriction and the check is in the mail. And I’ve had that now for 20 years plus. Generally speaking, every single year has been better than the year before, so we’re still growing.
Kelly: [0:25:20] That’s amazing.
Juliet: [0:25:21] That’s so cool.
David Weck: [0:25:21] 2008 it took a slight decline. Coming up, we may experience a slight decline. But the demand is still there. The BOSU ball suffered from success in that there was a contingent in the fitness industry who really used it as the punching bag to express their distaste for instability training. It was around the 2007 era when the narrative in the mainstream fitness, NSCA official, was that for all activities you have to brace the core super stiff and neutral, and that was what you had to do and if you used an unstable surface, you are getting weaker. And because of that thought leader and the official narrative that stems from that environment, we have tens of thousands of coaches, many of whom will campaign, go out of their way, to post something negative about the BOSU ball. And for me, I’m a kid from Jersey with a chip on my shoulder, and I stayed silent for like a decade; more than a decade because I was just going to throw gas on that fire. But then I invented all this other stuff and head over foot understanding and ProPulsers. I mean it’s just an unbelievable discovery and I’m seen as this joke, a guy with a gadget, a charlatan. And they have the scientific evidence to prove that I am this guy. So I got a little belligerent throwing poop bombs because of frustration and it’s like just please listen; just give me my day to just present what I believe to be is better function, right? And I’ve learned since then that you get a lot more attraction with the honey than the vinegar.
And you, Kelly, are a model for how one should conduct themselves in this industry where we are free to disagree but that doesn’t mean that we have to hate each other and that doesn’t mean that we’re disrespectful. And I think lack of maturity, drive to contribute and all these things, led me off a track that now I’ve fortunately found back on the track. But the BOSU ball afforded me the opportunity to study personally with Feldenkrais’s first students, Rolf’s first students. I went to China. I studied with William H.C. Chang in tai chi privately. So I had resource. I flew to China twice. So I have had a blessing of my effort all funded from the success of the BOSU ball. And even this fake gym that I have, it’s not even a gym, it’s a laboratory, and I’m privileged to have this massive space that’s so cool because it begets greater success as we go. And I’m a long-term guy.
Juliet: [0:28:18] I just want to say congratulations. I mean that is so cool. And for those who don’t know, I mean it is a Herculean effort to do what you did.
Kelly: [0:28:27] And 100 percent if we just stopped there, we should be able to talk about you as a business success, about education. I mean it’s really, I’m like, oh, you have a cute internet site on Instagram. That is not the same thing as running a business, developing a business, distribution, manufacturing, education. It’s really remarkable.
Juliet: [0:28:48] Yeah. So my question is, it’s sort of two-fold, and there’s a story intermixed. But do you now have to spend half your life defending your BOSU ball patent? Are there 5,000 knockoffs? And the reason I ask that is because as you know, we developed with Rogue Fitness a ball called the Supernova. And we totally understand. I mean I think that thing was $85,000 for the tooling when it first came out back in 2011. I don’t think people really realize that. But recently some Chinese manufacturer reached out to us and offered us a knockoff of our own product. And we were like, wow, this is the world we’re in now. We have a product and we’re being directly offered a knockoff of our own product to be made for way cheaper than our current product. So I don’t know, if you could just talk a little bit about that whole universe when it comes to products and product development and the crazy world we’re in now with Amazon and manufacturing.
David Weck: [0:29:47] It’s the inventor’s dilemma where you want to get your invention out to as many people as possible but you also want to reap reward from that and not get it swept out from under you, right? So the guy who invented the socket set at Sears, well, he had to wait 30 years to get his nominal little pittance because they kind of screwed him. So with the BOSU ball, well, to any would be inventor or businessman who’s going to offer something new on the marketplace, if you’re not being knocked off, you are not successful. So if there’s Coke, there’s Pepsi. It’s just the void of if there’s success, you will attract others toward that success. And there are probably 500 knockoffs of the BOSU ball. But fortunately, the BOSU ball, it’s a little bit of a trick to make it quality. So if you’re trying to undercut on price, you have a device that doesn’t have the same properties. So it’s an exercise in frustration if you’re on a cheap one. That’s an advantage for us. And we’re the Kleenex.
So you could look at it from a perspective of, well, if the entire marketplace for BOSU balls grows, and we represent the brand and the lion’s share of that, perhaps we’re selling more and they’re selling more. And I will say that I have spent I want to say millions of dollars in legal bills through the years having to defend myself in court from the person who fell off the platform side and then the greedy lawyer who says, “Well, I’m suing you personally, I’m suing the BOSU ball,” even though the BOSU ball didn’t misfunction. The personal trainer put her on that and she fell off and now I’m guilty? If the chef teaches you how to use the knife and you cut your finger, do you sue the knife? The answer is yes in America. And then patent infringement. We did a massive patent infringement at the beginning because at the beginning-
Kelly: [0:31:46] You have to defend your claim.
David Weck: [0:31:47] If they knock you off in the beginning, then they can be perceived the market leader. If they knock you off later, you’re already established so you have more weight in it. So it’s something that’s very real. You fear it but you sort of have to understand that it comes with the territory. And so it’s a balancing act. And what I tell would be businesspeople, especially in this industry, is a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. I don’t care what you account for that dollar, how many dollars do I have at the end of the day, how many did I spend, and it better be black, not red, otherwise the music stops and you go do something else.
Kelly: [0:32:28] One of the things that I don’t think people understand about the BOSU is a lot of people have a single idea and it’s a gimmick to solve one problem. It’s a single idea instead of part of a schema. I think people don’t understand The Ready State is actually, our core IP is understanding and trying to simplify complex human movement from looking at all of the actions of the spine and trying to restore what is it your spine should be able to do, what is it your hips and shoulders should be able to do, understanding these things are relationships and connected and it’s not just this rigid pull of the spine connected to the shoulders. And then how can you explain what you’re seeing and why we coach the way we coach? How do you predict movement compensation and future movement phenomenon and how do you communicate that? That’s what we do. So anything that we run runs through that filter about how the model is a digesting a complex problem. Someone’s got a movement problem, how can we understand what we’re seeing? One of the things that I really appreciate about your thinking is that the BOSU, for example, is just a component, it’s just a tool to come back to this iterative idea of this is your perception of the problems you’re trying to solve. And then suddenly, I look at the Club and I’m like, okay, the Club is the same idea. How can you solve this set of problems? I look at the rope and I’m like, oh, here’s another tool that’s even more scalable, less expensive, easy to do, that allows you to access that. When did you start to recognize both sides up that the method was really an integrated whole and that you’re still just grabbing tools? It’s not just the rope, it’s not just this; it’s trying to help people understand from the feet up this is how you can locomote more effectively?
David Weck: [0:34:13] Yeah. Well, what I would say is that I’ve been saying the same thing essentially for 20 years. But it’s like this. When I first said it, it’s 30,000 feet up, so you don’t have the granular focus. And then when I next said it, now I’m only 10,000 feet. And then when I next said it… And now, I’m like in a magnifying glass looking microscopically. I’m getting the resolution of, oh, okay, the way that we have broken down our system is basically it revolves around three core qualities or four training categories. And it’s the coiling core on one side to optimize the length and strength of the long side and spring coil to the strongest position on one side. So that’s going to be a home base position where I can hold 700 pounds in this posture because it’s just wedged into my bones. So we learn that on both sides. Then we use bilateral torsion. And we’re going to get geeky for just a second here. The Wolffian Ridge, I learned about this from Phillip Beach and his Muscles and Meridians book that I read back in, geez, 2008. I can’t remember.
Kelly: [0:35:31] Radio contractile field. You’re speaking my language.
David Weck: [0:35:34] Yeah. Exactly. There you go. Well, you see, that’s why we’re speaking. And the Wolffian Ridge, if you think about that is the fundamental division that your DNA uses to set up the body and define what’s front and what’s back, right? What’s ventral and what’s dorsal, if we want to get geeky. And this internal and external torsion, we sort of say, okay, well, the flexion extension’s contained within that, but the torsion is a better understanding of it. And we’re able to now put those two things together to create rotational movement training, like the rope, for example, where by virtue of breaking it down, we can take any exercise and then start to categorize which one is this. And then what we like is we like a four to one relationship of four rotationals to one bilateral. And so that we’re really emphasizing the rotation and by virtue of getting deepest into your coil, now when you go bilaterally, get those extra little millimeters that matter where suddenly your squat went up 40 pounds because of the millimeters that matter, you’ve wedged yourself in a better position.
Kelly: [0:36:47] I don’t know, I don’t want to cut you off, but one of the things that if you go to the WeckMethod and look at the training, you’re teaching your methods and methodology. And one of the things that I see that people really struggle with, it’s what we call around here the Kluge effect. I have this core software, I need to get stronger, I need to become fitter, I need to be a better mover. And people just add on tools and tools and tools and then you just run out of time. And then you’ve just left the tools you learned two months ago behind because there’s a new shiny tool and it’s popular on the internet. So what you end up having is this really disconjointed, disparate, disconnected system where you can’t tell if you’re making progress. You’re just doing a lot of novelty. And more importantly, we believe strongly that whatever it is you’re doing, you should be able to drop into someone else’s world and thrive there. And then you can really start to make the best decisions about, well, am I jumping higher, am I running faster, am I moving more load? The objective measures are the only thing that matters. Am I better at my sport? Well, sometimes it’s hard to measure if you’re better at soccer, right, unless you’re getting goals. But we can see is, hey, I was able to play more soccer. It’s easier to have these objective measures. I was able to bench more.
One of the things that I want to just give you kudos for is you never tell people how to train. And one of the things that I’ve been able to do with your materials and thinking is that I used it as warm up, I use it as priming, I use it as a way to get to know my body again today. I’m a 49-year-old guy with a history of some real significant trauma that I had wiping out, going fast. I may or may not have held onto a ski cab going 50 miles an hour, just happened to be on skis, wiping out. So my ego has definitely done some things. And the reason your thinking has still remained germane for me and relevant is that it makes me better at the things that I still value. And I don’t have to give up the things I value to play, toy, experience. In fact, I find it to be really wonderful. One of our neighbors, we have an eight pound rope, and he’ll do a hard minute piece, he’ll spin the eight pound rope for a minute, and then he’ll do a strength piece. And so h e’s getting all of this in, keeping his heartrate high, having this exposure feeling, he loves how he feels. And you haven’t said to him, you have to stop pressing overhead, you have to stop deadlifting. On the contrary, you’re saying, hey, I think that these things can give you your feeling back. Am I reading that the right way?
David Weck: [0:39:17] You are reading that absolutely correctly. And I was super, super fortunate to meet Chris Chamberlin. So Chris Chamberlin, he is my director of programming. And our skillset compliments one another perfectly. And he’s one of these guys who ice runs through his veins. He does not care about anything but what is the absolute best way for me to operate and just provide for my family and provide a service to the world. So we are agnostic toward tools. And he’s the one who taught me never bash a tool, never bash any tool, because it’s the carpenter who’s going to define what that tool could create. And if you’re worth your salt, you should be able to help somebody improve their movement with just body weight alone, right? So there’s no tool. So making the most of a tool is a better approach than just saying, “Oh, that’s a piece of garbage.” I would never… Even if you would never, it’s not productive to do that type of assessment because it’s how you wield the tool. And we want to be a foundation.
I said long ago when I first invented the BOSU ball, I said I want to be the world’s foremost authority on balance measured by locomotion. That’s the anchor, that’s the objective reality that we’re going to anchor it to. Because balance is just coordination. That’s all it is. It’s where and when absolutely appropriate so that it feels easy relatively speaking. There’s no compensatory tension or effort because everything’s aligned and working toward the goal. And so we want to empower people who do things that might beat up your body, right? I mean we’re human beings. You listen to Kadour Ziani, Ben Patrick’s mentor, I mean it’s like dunk or die. And it’s just this passion to be this human being and express yourself. And you could make an argument that football’s not good for you, right? I mean you’re banging all the time, people get hurt all the time. But it’s a lot of fun. And it reflects benefiting your life from discipline and camaraderie and all these things.
Juliet: [0:41:25] If I could just switch gears a little bit, you are a man who wears many hats, I think it’s safe to say. But one of them is obviously inventor. And so I want to go back to, I don’t know, as far as your childhood or wherever. Have you always been an inventor? And then the second part of that question is have you ever had any failed inventions or duds?
David Weck [0:41:47] Yes. What I would say is I’ve always been a Type A personality who needs to succeed to be happy. So and I just accept that. I just will not accept losing. And if I’m losing, well, then I’ll go find something where I can win. What I would call myself is an altruistic narcissist. I’m very self-centered. I’m very, very grandiose. I’ve lost my mind four times. I’ve gone out into the ether. So while I wasn’t always an inventor, I was always inventive and always willing to do whatever it took to improve and then coming up with better methods. Like I delivered newspapers when I was 12 and I figured out how to put the whole Sunday stack on a bicycle, for example, so I didn’t have to go back and forth. So that was the inventiveness type of stuff. But when I invented the BOSU ball, that one set me up so that I could be an inventor moving forward because I had resources and I had time. So that’s very conducive to inventing.
But I have had duds that went nowhere. I’ve had duds where it’s not worth the effort to keep selling it because the turn on inventory was too slow. I believe that some of my duds will see the light of day once the other ones pave the path. But I remember creating one that I called the Bend and Flex. And so I took a big garage door spring and I put Duct tape all over one end and then I fastened on weight plates to the other end. And it was like you would push and pull and create this like boom, boom, boom. And I loved it. And it was just like you can get just that feeling of satisfaction, of like boom, so much power. That didn’t go anywhere. Just to develop it would have been a lot of money, to take it from… Elon Musk says, “The prototype is easy. It’s the production that’s hard.” So I’ve been an inventor and I think I’m a better inventor now and I’ve got a team of creative people around me now where we can bat back and forth the ideas and really get to something.
What I would say is that the ProPulsers, when I discovered that by effectively eliminating or reducing to the point where you’ve essentially eliminated inertia with a weight that I derived from my RMT club invention that came before that doubled down action wehre you’re sending 12 ounces of fource, that’s all that’s in the pulsor, down faster than gravity so the weight’s at the top. And now when you stop, there is nothing preventing you from stopping on a dime. And then a fraction of a second later you get this boom, this pulse hit that we’ve calculated; we don’t know for sure, but we’ve calculated at 12 ounces, turns into 40 pounds for a microsecond and then disappears, bounces back up. and we can literally traverse a hill or a staircase faster with these weights in your hand performing this technique than without. We’ve done it with hundreds of athletes. We’ve never failed because they’re highly motivated when they’re coming to us. But that’s an invention that if it had been invented before, we’d all already be doing it.
Kelly: [0:45:12] Let me jump in and say for everyone, how this works is fundamentally it allows you to create a higher ground force reaction. This is just my interpretation of it. It teaches my body how to organize and sequence so that when my foot hits the ground, I have peak stiffness and change in direction quickly so that I’m not spending a lot of time dissipating on the ground. Then when I put the pulsers down, when I run, it’s not an arms swing. I need to have access to my arm range of motion. If I don’t have shoulder extension, I’m going to be running across my body like an elbow like in a line. What this ends up doing is that it corrects the idea of how your lats and how the movement happens. Am I reading this correctly? Because when people understand that, then all of a sudden, you’re like, oh, this is a way that helps me feel in a way where I can create better higher forces and integrate my system. When I even was like, okay, well, what’s that look like when I run long distance? Well, we were teaching people per Brian MacKenzie and some of those crew, we would organize the hand into a better position where we had stiffness, and we weren’t just floppy, right? I know you obsess on hand position. But by moving the hands higher up, we had this tighter control at a slower range where we weren’t doing these ridiculous loping arm swings. We were actually able to get this pulse happening in this running and long-distance running position verses some of the loping. So I just want to give you full credit. As soon as I saw those, I was like, I understand. And then you were like, hey Kel, let me send you some, let me know what you think. And I was like, this is smart.
David Weck: [0:46:54] What happened was in 2010 I discovered this core fist position. I had gone to Chinese medical school, I was studying the martial internal Chinese arts. And this is just simply bone alignment according to a martial principle called triangulation. So circles are useful because they deflect and triangles penetrate. And a triangle can’t be penetrated. So if I’m here, that joint will fail if I compress into it. But if I straighten that and triangulate it, now it’s on its longitudinal axis and you can hold so much force. And when I felt that, that’s when I felt like I can hit down with these things to give me that explosion. That makes it easier because it’s connective tissue. I’m investing in a jolt of force that goes connective as opposed to a pushing muscle force that’s elongation and contraction. So the muscle becomes more of this hydraulic pressure medium that now, boom, sends force to the fascial network that encases it all. And oh God, I talked to Phillip Beach a bunch back in those days.
Kelly: [0:48:04] Phillip Beach would be so proud right now.
David Weck: [0:48:06] Because I had studied the Chinese meridian, so I had knowledge of that. And it’s amazing how the Eastern philosophy and all that stuff and the Western quantum mass is the principle of uncertainty that we don’t know if it’s here or there. Your vessel, if you cover one eye, you don’t know if it’s here or there. It’s the same thing, yin and yang, the Dao, quantum math. No matter which way, it is what it is. And so as soon as I felt that, I saw Deion Sanders in my mind’s eye. I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s how he does it. And then suddenly, it’s like your dad bought a new car when you were a kid and suddenly you saw that brand everywhere; it was always there, but you didn’t notice it. So then I’ve done probably more slow motion video analysis than anybody on the planet. I was doing it back when it was a real hassle. You didn’t have-
Juliet: [0:49:03] VHS tapes.
David Weck: [0:49:05] Yeah. I mean literally I was doing it back… Because I played football and the way that I excelled at football is I studied film. So if I studied what your team has done for the past 10 years because I’ve invested 20 hours during the week, on Saturday I’m going to pick up cues, I’m going to know what play you’re running. That gives me a huge advantage for this athletic inadequacy that if I have to react, I’m going to get beat, but if I know, I’m not.
Kelly: [0:49:30] David, Juliet and I describe the current world as sort of—I’m going to swear, everyone, trigger warning—peak internet fitness shittiness.
David Weck: [0:49:40] Oh God. Yes. Yeah.
Kelly: [0:49:41] And where do you think… Common misperceptions, we never throw shade at anyone, we don’t punch down. But what are we misinterpreting as we try to help people live better, more fulfilled, pain free lives as a fitness industry? Because Juliet and I look around and we’re like, well, do we have less pain, are we less fat, are we less diabetic, are we less depressed, do we have fewer injuries. And not a single one of those can be answered in the affirmative. It’s like we have this machine that is purporting to do a whole lot of things but our objective measures on the other end really aren’t except for this really extreme vertical-
Juliet: [0:50:20] Well, and if I could just add to that, I think my critique is that we are making people in our own vertical better. So those would be people who are athletes and trainers and physical therapists and who have access to devices and tools and things. But we are getting an F when it comes to solving these bigger problems as a community.
Kelly: [0:50:38] Transforming society.
Juliet: [0:50:39] Yeah, exactly.
David Weck: [0:50:40] Yeah. We live in a time where specialization, the parent who has the resources to give the best coaching from two years old, he’s playing baseball, hockey, tennis, she’s doing whatever, they’re getting better than ever before whilst the masses are just forgotten. And what I see, and I mean here’s what I want to say, I think we’ve reduced it down to its absolute most simplest form and I think we relate to gait optimally as an industry and I think to do that is going to require conversation. Because right now the scientific community that relies on peer review, and anecdote just don’t fly, they are teaching and basically saying this is the official correct, that the core doesn’t… Spinal engine’s wrong, it’s pedestrian theory, the core, you’re carrying it and it needs to be stiff and braced. And that is the narrative right now. And a lot of this is personal. A lot of it is very personal. And your honorable is a model for me. We’re not going to cache to people. Because I’ve cached to people. It doesn’t work and it’s not productive. We want to elevate everybody.
So what I see is, Kelly, you’ve defined way back for me that physical education should be familiar. You should just observe the way your parents and your grandparents move and you don’t even need to say a word because you just mirror neuron what you see and they’re doing it well too, which is not happening now. And when I was a kid, I’d break a bone or pull a muscle, oh, well, the doctor can’t see you today, but two days, Wednesday, he can see you. And so you’d just wait. You don’t take some floss and make it go away. You wait. And then he tells you take an aspirin, call me in the morning, and you’re completely helpless as a human being. No. Your parents used to say, “Oh, you twisted your ankle? Here. Boom, boom, boom. Get back in there and have fun.” That’s what I believe we can do. But I believe the gait. Walking. Every step stronger for everyone knowledge is power. If you put your head over your foot and you put your head over your foot, you are landing in balance.
And the textbooks today say that walking is a series of controlled falls. When I was studying Feldenkrais, he would talk about slow quality movement is reversible. You can stop midmotion because you’re in balance. Most people can’t stop midmotion walking. In fact, when I was studying Feldenkrais, I was like, well, walking ain’t part of it because I can’t stop midcycle. But if you walk with just a little bit of swag, just a little bit, to get the head over the foot, you now have balance and that will permeate through everything you do, including mentally and emotionally you’ll be stronger.
And I view what’s happening in the world right now as extremely perilous. I was born free with liberty and I’m going to die free with liberty. So I will never succumb to what is happening right now. And I want people to be autonomous creators for God’s glory. And I believe that physical education is fundamental. And I believe that you, Kelly Starrett, keystone Kelly Starrett. If there ever was a time in the fitness industry where everything is set up to have a keystone drop in and be the voice of reason who he cached on nobody, okay, that’s the man who is the keystone because you can relate to this group and you can relate to that group and they hate each other, they’re never going to figure it out. The Montagues and the Capulets. I mean this is just, it’s a battle. And we can cut through all the nonsense. We can come to whatever the consensus may be. I happen to know balance because I can feel balance, I can do balance. And at 52, I have elite level movement. Like literally world class movement in a Division III football body, which is fun as can be because it’s like those kids who get that little Toyota thing and then soup it up and then they drive to the beach real fast.
Kelly: [0:55:05] Well, one of the things that Juliet and I really feel strongly about is we feel like things have to be able to scale from children all the way up. You need to be able to see your work with kids and the tools and skills and I need to see how those integrate all the way up to the Olympics to the 100-meter dash. I mean I want to see it continuing. If there’s an interruption there, then there’s a problem in the thinking. Another thing that Juliet and I are really thinking about is what does it mean to be durable. We’re both approaching 50 this year and we are playing a game of saying, hey, you can’t just burn from both ends and in the middle and get on the Smith machine and squat your brains out and do this thing and be rigid because that doesn’t allow you to solve problems. We just got off a six-day river trip where, man the amount of carrying and unilateral loading and uneven surfaces and-
Juliet: [0:55:51] Balance and-
Kelly: [0:55:52] Balance. Like holy moly. We were talking about come through a day of living with us on the river and let us know how your fitness is preparing you for that. So what I love is that all of your thinking is appropriate at all levels. I work with my daughters with this stuff and I can see that my mother-in-law loves to spin the ropes and work on her balance and timing and sequences.
Juliet: [0:56:14] So I’m going to move that into a question, David, and that is that in addition to inventing a lot of cool products that we are users of and fans of, you also have a whole educational platform, and I think that’s how I’d like to wrap this up, is where can people learn and what’s available?
Kelly: [0:56:31] Our staff at our old gym have come out and trained with you. That’s available.
Juliet: [0:56:34] Yeah, so where can people learn how to do your stuff?
Kelly: [0:56:39] WeckMethod.com has an unbelievably fantastic online course called the rotational movement training specialist. And what it is, is we are very self-critical. Every single session that we deliver at certification, workshop, whatever, we always finish it up and come back to it the next day with what can we do better. How can we hone this so people can get it faster and get it deeper in the time that we’re afforded? And we have really hit our stride in that regard. With the video submissions that we get from the people who did the online course are better at the movements that the people who did it in person from the beginning. All right, so that’s just to give you an idea of the level of education. We do live education as well. We give out a ton on YouTube and WeckMethod for free because… And Kelly, here again, you gave everything away for free. I mean you would not have to buy any of your books if you watched every single YouTube video.
Kelly: [0:57:36] It’s one of those pictures that if you step back, it’s a sailboat. You know, you just have to be smart enough to be able to see the whole thing.
David Weck: [0:57:42] Well, and enough time. So it’s much more convenient to buy the book for the training. So that’s what I would say about for our training. I want to scale the behavior that is balanced. And I think it’s positive peer pressure that works the best given the circumstances that people do dislike each other and they do throw poop bombs and that is the norm. It’s not the anomaly. And it would be nice to flip it so that the scientists can understand that it’s balanced, right? And SMU University, they’re the top biomechanics for gait in the world. They have 3D data that they have only analyzed from the side that I just happened to catch a clip and it’s on the frontpage of their website where it’s 3D analysis and it’s an optical illusion; the head appears perfectly straight and still. And then they loop to the front and in their own 3D data, the runner, who’s a world class runner, is doing this here, right? And if you watch the majority, it’s like an overwhelming majority’s doing this. And so if we can get science guys to encourage them… We’re the art guys out on the periphery on the forward edge and we’re going to give you stuff to study, right? And now you study and tell us, have this collaboration. Keystone Kelly Starrett, let this be the beginning of a conversation.
Kelly: [0:59:06] Dave, I cannot wait to hang out with you in person. I have so many deep inside nerd questions that Juliet and Lisa are like you just can’t go there, you can’t go there on this podcast. So I can’t wait to be in person with you. Thank you so much for putting so much good stuff into the world. I love your vibe. I watch everything that you put up. I try to understand and grok it. You are at @davidweck on the socials and the WeckMethod. Is that right?
David Weck: [0:59:30] Yes, it’s WeckMethod and then @thedavidweck and I would follow Chris Chamberlin which is @_christopher.chambelin_. And he is unbelievable and WeckMethod would not be what it is without Chris Chamberlin.
Kelly: [0:59:50] Fantastic.
Juliet: [0:59:50] We’ll put that in the notes.
Kelly: [0:59:52] It takes a team.
Juliet: [0:59:53] Awesome. Thank you so much, Dave.
Kelly: [0:59:55] Dave, thank you so much, man.
Juliet: [0:59:55] We’re so grateful for you being on the podcast.
David Weck: [0:59:58] I enjoyed my time immensely and I can’t wait to meet you guys in person. Let’s set that up.
Juliet: [1:00:02] Deal.
Kelly: [1:00:08] Thank you for listening to The Ready State Podcast. If you like what you’re hearing, check out all our episodes here or at thereadystate.com. And be sure to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes to help others find our show.
Juliet: [1:00:20] Check us out and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @thereadystate.
Kelly: [1:00:25] Until next time, cheers everyone.
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