From RESTRICTIONS To FREEDOM | VAHVA Method explained by the Student Matt

July 28, 2018 by VAHVA Fitness

Interviewing one of our long term students Matt! You will learn more about our results and how our method works.

Here is a written transcript of the video above. Edited to make it easy to read. Enjoy!

Eero: Hi everyone. This is Eero here and this time, we have something different. This is my long term coaching student Matt and we’re doing a quick interview here. I think Matt is just a great example of someone who had challenges in his body when he was starting: restrictions and tightness. 

Through committing to the process and being super open-minded, he has been able to make really great progress in his physique. This is his journey like from restrictions to freedom.

So let us kind of know who you are and where did we start? How did this all get started?

Matt: No worries. Well, I had muscular pain like for 12 years before I met Eero. Since I was 18 years old, I started to get sore shoulders and then later on, like a year later at the gym, I got a knee injury and then my hips started to hurt, my lower back hurt and before long, there was just pain. Just everywhere. Just everything was tight. 

Everything was stiff and I went through trying to solve that for – something like half of my life trying to fix this problem and going to physiotherapists and doctors and getting steroid injections and blood injections.

I had an elbow surgery at one point. I also got in my head that what I really need to do is to spend a lot of money on remedial massages and physiotherapy and get them like once a day so that my muscles are so loose and relaxed and massaged that it doesn’t hurt or something like that.

But one day I was just like watching YouTube and I found Eero. As soon as I started one video, I was like, “What? Something is different here.”. He’s talking about different stuff. It’s a new concept that I haven’t heard of. I bought his Movement 20XX course and I just started to look at it like, “Whoa, I’ve discovered something here.”

Later I booked his coaching and we’ve been working together since – what do you reckon, Eero? Like eight months or –?

Eero: It’s – yeah, I think eight. Probably a little longer. Maybe almost a year or something like that.

I remember you had lots of challenges and you were looking for the actual solution, not to just alleviate the symptoms. It was about getting in shape and fixing it all. It was the starting point.

Matt: It was definitely a turning point.

Eero: Yeah, I remember when we started, you did quick progress. You were telling me about how you found this muscle and how you were like you have never moved your body that way. You were always talking about it.

Matt: Yeah. I mean the initial phase, like the very first phase that you go through, it’s like you really get to know your body because like what most people do, what I certainly have done, you just do your typical pull-ups and your bench press and you don’t really get to know your body. You just want to use it in this one way. 

But after that it’s like all these muscles like all over your body just like activate. It’s like your body, your brain just goes – it’s like your whole body just goes online every day. You’re like whoa, what’s this – I found out a new quadricep muscle so now I can like move my leg. I learned to rotate my hip joint area. It’s incredible.

Eero: Yeah, that was an incredible explanation because that’s exactly what is – that’s the start. Everything that we do is getting to really know the body and learning to connect to it and use it.

You explained it perfectly. Depending on the client, it’s sort of like what does he or she need really. In this case, we wanted to get something that’s more precise because there was so much weakness. If you have a lot of weakness in any area, it’s really hard to start moving freely. 

So we had this foundational phase where we just pretty much followed the guidelines and principles laid out in Athlete 20XX. We used these principles to really laser focus on some of the weak areas. We focused on the bigger picture and building strength and control everywhere.

Matt: Yeah, I don’t know your full story. You’ve told me bits and pieces here and there. But you seem to have gone through a process like that before. So …

Eero: Yeah, I did.

Matt: You’ve got this repertoire or like this big toolbox of all these particular exercises, like when I started to sense that there’s this area of muscle here. But it’s like tight and restricted. You then go and say that “you just need to do this particular exercise here or like this”.

Matt: Like that you will look ridiculous doing in the gym in front of everyone. 

Eero: Yeah. But luckily a lot of the stuff is something that you can do at home as well.

Matt: Yeah, it’s another good thing about it. You can make so much progress with your stuff just at home. Like just walking around, like walking around your apartment or whatever– or just laying on your bed and practicing some squeezing exercise.

Eero: Yeah, you can integrate everything in everyday life. The more you can do stuff in your free time spontaneously, the better it will be. In your case, you were active, so you were like actively doing things by yourself. You were researching things by yourself. So I think that has helped with the program.

Matt: Oh, yeah. My knowledge of how all the joints work and muscles contract now is like crazy since working with you.

So I think I was going to mention some of the breakthroughs. I think one of the main breakthroughs was getting these individual muscle experiences. You like connect with that muscle.

Eventually they all seem together like a unit and like you can actually gain this like control over your whole body and for complex movements. Anything that’s like a yoga pose or something like that.

Before, I was like what am I doing? Am I stretching? Am I pulling? Like everything is tight or something like that.

Eero: That’s the part – you realize these things through your own body.  So once you start to have the more integrated approach - that’s when we bring more concepts. That’s when you realize that I actually work in this as one unit. 

So when I move this area, this other area might also support and work or support the motion. So you will start to realize that sort of chain.

Matt: Yeah, that’s important. The thing is that you have these concepts that are just like outside of the mainstream. I can go on YouTube all day and I can look up like “sore shoulder fix” or something like that and all I’m going to find is how to stretch the shoulders.

For example, before the call we were just talking about this concept of spinal stabilization. It’s the ability to keep your spine completely stable while you’re moving.

Eero: That’s a high level technique and it’s kind of a skill that you need to learn and it’s based on that awareness.

Matt: It’s kind of advanced but it should be foundational. You know what I mean?

Eero: Exactly.

Matt: It’s these kinds of abilities like the ability to stabilize the spine that are so important in performing movements and doing athletic stuff compared to the typical stuff that people teach, just like typical strength exercises and stretches.

Eero: Yeah, it needs to be a bit deeper and not just to understand on a level of detail – because the detail is kind of superficial. Not like the technique but what is behind. So that’s where we usually put a lot of emphasis on, trying to make you understand the principles and the methods that we’re actually using. 

Because the exercise is more surface level. It’s more about how we do it, what we apply to the approach. Is it soft? Do we squeeze? Do we stabilize? So that’s like what really makes it work.

Matt: It’s quite funny because before meeting you, I would try to do things like – I think like my max ever was like a 115-kilogram deadlift and I was so proud of that even though it would hurt my knee. It’s like I got the weight up. But since working with you, it’s so funny because the more advanced you get in a way, the more down in weight you go. 

Eero: Yes. That’s the correct.

Matt: It’s like you do a 10-kilogram deadlift but this time with a far stronger engagement that’s activating all your muscles in all the proper ways. You can feel your whole fascial system kind of engaging to do the movement rather than just like kind of jerking something up.

Eero: Just listening to this, that’s the knowledge you gain and I think that is incredible. That already tells that you have such a deep and good understanding the way you describe these things. 

So we had this phase where we really just focused on fixing the weaknesses. So now we move on from there a bit. Now you can search outside. Now we go back to the movement approach.

Matt: I started with getting the Movement 20XX. Even you look at some of the movements and they’re like kind of basic but you got to get the foundational stuff even to do basic things. But after we got that foundation, we moved into a new phase where I’m actually learning to do like more advanced things and like really quickly as well.

Matt: I was telling you just the other day. You know, because I’m here in Barcelona and there’s like a calisthenics park gym. It’s like very trendy here to go to the calisthenics gym. So I was down there. That’s where I see these bar pull-ups and stuff like that. I was like, “Oh, why don’t I try this muscle up thing? Why don’t I just learn this?” Even though before that I would be like I could never do that.

But you get this confidence and you know your body so well that when you try a new movement, you’re able to really figure out what’s going on. You’re like oh yeah, I need to engage this in this way, this in this way. You can really learn the movements by yourself. You can engineer your whole performance once you got this foundation going. I haven’t done the muscle-up yet though.

Eero: That’s all good because now you’re doing the movement training and now you have a better connection. You have much less actual restrictions. You have much less anything between progressing. You can make progress without building a strong foundation but not in the same manner as you’re doing now.

Matt: No, the progress is so fast now. It’s just like – it’s just so quick. It’s like I can’t believe how fast I’m learning new things after just having this foundation. Before it was just this slow, slow progress. It’s just a snail’s pace in a way. I don’t know what to say. It was just so slow. But now it’s like BOOM.

Eero: Yeah. And we are just kind of starting the movement phase. Like just a week, a couple of weeks ago. It’s going to be super exciting to see what kind of progress you’re going to make.

Matt: We keep mentioning that after you get through this foundational phase, after you get to know your body - it feels like all your muscles are sliding up. 

You got this mind-muscle connection all over your body. It gives you this new confidence in your ability to make quite advanced progress. You think about like what your performance could potentially be in a year and you’re like, “Wow, like this is amazing. I can really do this stuff.”

Eero: It transfers to every physical activity. The things you want to learn or to start– if you want to start like a dance or some other sport, all the knowledge and the strength will transfer to that. So that’s also – like it just opens up like such a vast road where you can progress to many things.

I’m super excited to see how you will progress in the future. Maybe we can make some follow-up videos also once some breakthroughs come out and I also hope you guys for watching this, you got something out of this. 

Maybe you can relate to Matt’s story, maybe you got motivation to get started on your own journey because like you saw, like Matt here, just the incredible change, the incredible progress.

You can check out the Athlete 20XX. I really recommend that because it’s kind of – it’s a very unique product. There are very unique methods in it to get your physique to the highest level. 

So make sure to check it out and some of you are also probably qualified for my coaching and you can apply for that as well if you’re interested.

Thanks for the call and I really want to thank you Matt for coming to this interview. It was really great.

Matt: Yeah. If I can just mention - if anyone is thinking about Athlete 20XX, it’s more than just a workout partner because you’re explaining these concepts. Every episode you’ve got supportive content that explains what you’re focusing on, what mistakes to avoid. 

It has got all the stuff in it, so that you don’t just launch into a program. Like I have had other programs before and I would be like OK, do the workout. You know, do it wrong, injury, whatever. But this is like – it really guides you through the principles.

Eero: Yeah, it’s a complete package. Thank you Matt so much and alright, I will see you guys in the next video. That’s it!

Matt: All right. Thanks Eero.

Thank you for reading!

samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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