Eero Westerberg helping Perttu Tepponen, a BJJ champion with his back pain. Lots of knowledge and detailed information inside.
A lot of people have experienced it - having back pain so bad that you are not able to get up from a bed or that getting up means 30 minutes of agony trying to find the few postures and patterns where you can move pain-free.
Me and Eero both experienced this at some point in our training journeys. For us, it was caused by training like morons despite following many experts' advice. The lesson here is to be careful who you listen to.
For many, the back pain is caused by their sport (or training) like in the case of Perttu Tepponen (2-time BJJ ADCC European champion). For most, back pain is caused by a lack of physical movement.
Depending on the severity of the case, most joint issues and problems are 100% fixable with natural methods alone. You just need to know what to do. We consider the knife and pharmaceuticals the last resort.
Back pain occurs due to these 3 factors:
1. Overuse and faulty movement patterns
2. Lack of proper movement patterns
You can't always prepare for bad accidents and these do happen. Sometimes in sports and sometimes in daily life. However, in sports unless it's a freak injury, many "accidents" can definitely be prevented by bulletproofing the joints and learning how to move.
For the vast majority of people, joint pain is caused by these two factors alone: 1. overuse / faulty patterns and 2. lack of proper movement patterns.
Every single time we go to the gym, we see people training like maniacs. Even the massive bodybuilders rarely have good quality in their movements.
This is a literal epidemic. Even people with 10-20 years of training under their belt are wearing knee straps and belts to train in the gym. You would think that after 20 years of training they would figure out how to train properly but this is rarely the case.
Ultimately, the quality of your training will not only determine the athletic results you will get from strength training but also whether your body and posture will get better or worse over time.
Most people lack the concept of quality training altogether and it's no wonder their joints wear out. After a while, it becomes normal for them to experience chronic joint pain and find themselves in lifting accidents the older they get.
Again, this can't be emphasised enough: the quality of your training determines everything.
It determines whether the training is good for your health for not.
It determines whether the training will make you move better or not.
It determines whether you will become less or more prone to injuries.
How much you lift doesn't matter. An exercise done with a heavy weight and bad form may increase some aspects of your strength but overall it will make you worse - not better.
This is not a pleasant realization for a lot of people. To accept the fact that 20 years of training has gone to making your body stiffer, less pliable and less athletic is not what they want to hear.
Moreover, the numbers they've achieved to boost their ego are almost meaningless when taken outside of the very small niche they participate in.
Mainstream Fitness is Fundamentally Toxic
The mainstream gym culture is dysfunctional. It's toxic. It's fundamentally negative for the self-esteem and physical health of the individual.
We know this - and how? We were part of this industry for the first many years of our training journey. And we were not happy. We didn't feel good in our skin. We got injured ALL THE TIME and this further destroyed our self-esteem and self-confidence.
Somehow, when our body is not working properly, it has massive implications in regards to our psychological health. Deep down we know that we are not physically capable and are actually vulnerable - like wounded animals.
The lucky thing is that we both have very small tolerance for toxicity in our lives which is why we were forced to find alternative ways to develop the body, take care of the mind and feel better about our bodies and ultimately ourselves.
The journey started by understanding what qualitative training means. It's not everything there is to training but without it you can't have proper training.
Here is one example.
Person A performs the rear delt row with a dumbbell but uses too much weight. The form sucks but he doesn't know it and neither does almost anyone else.
The right muscles barely get worked (maybe 10-20%) because the movement of the shoulder girdle (scapula) is doing the vast majority of the work. This is the common way to do this exercise.
Person B performs the same exercise. He doesn't care about the weight, rather he only cares about the results so he picks the weight that is perfect for engaging the targeted muscles.
He knows how to stabilize the shoulder girdle and performs perfect shoulder articulations training the exact muscles he wants to target with 90%+ efficiency.
Who do you think is going to get better results? Especially in the long term? Person A or the person B?
The person A who due to insecurity lifts too heavy and due to ignorance doesn't know how to engage his joints properly, or the person B who has no ego and as a result does everything right and only cares about the results?
What if I told you that 99+% of people who train are the person A?
In life, there are 2 ways to learn. The hard way (by your own mistakes) or the easy way (by someone else's mistakes). Most people learn the hard way because they don't have either the patience, intelligence or humility to learn the easy way.
Nowadays we only learn the easy way. The hard way is even worth it.
What we ultimately teach is for you to cut the learning curve, avoid the pitfalls and get expert-level knowledge in the area that you want to master and get good results in.
This is what we actually do in Athlete 20XX Method. It's not a simple training program "you follow for 4 weeks to get abs" - it's an entire methodology designed to last for years (decades) and teach the practitioner how to properly develop his body, step-by-step.
Phase 1 teaches the proper movement patterns and focuses on strength and mobility. This is a very rehabilitative phase and focuses on mastering the fundamentals.
Phase 2 goes many steps forward and aims to develop perfect stability in the body and as a result create perfect mobility and movement patterns in the joints. This is because without proper stability there is no pure movements of the joints.
In Phase 3 we focus on plyometrics and explosive exercises to make the body powerful. Phase 1 & 2 are perfect for everyone regardless of age, gender, body type etc. Phase 3 is for those who believe their bodies are ready to perform at an extraordinary level.
A lot of people from athletes and martial artists to people who are just getting started have utilized the method. Perttu Tepponen has also used the method to help with his shoulder and back pain.
In conclusion, the solution to your pain is learning how to move properly. Inside and outside the gym.
In the end, the ego is the enemy and it's certainly not your friend. Ego has two brothers and they are called insecurity and fear. We don't want to hang with people like this.