Movement Training for Humans
EMP Podcast 43
Nassim Taleb, Strength and Uncertainty with Erich Lin: EMP Podcast 43
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Nassim Taleb, Strength and Uncertainty with Erich Lin: EMP Podcast 43

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00:00 – Erich Lin Intro
05:28 – Philosophy of Health
14:12 – Importance of feedback
22:00 – Phenomenology v. Theory
27:23 – The Lindy Effect and Fitness Function
47:33 – Aiming Your Gains and skill transfer
01:02:28 – Bayesian Thinking and Warm Ups
01:25:49 – Exploiting and Exploring
01:42:01 – The Big 5 Strength Exercises

01:56:02 – The Role of Volume on Training Balance
02:03:41 – Coronavirus
02:17:51 – Outro

Nassim Taleb, Strength and Uncertainty with Erich Lin: EMP Podcast 43

There’s only so much time in the day. 

When you are building a movement practice for yourself, it can be incredibly easy to fall into the trap of over complicating your program, especially when you’re like me and you have a wide set of interests and passions that you want to be able to hit throughout the week.

Maybe you feel like you need to do at least three hours of parkour a week, but you also want to make sure that you keep up on your kickboxing, so you decide to do two hours of that on top of another hour or two of grappling. 

Your significant other is passionate about hiking, or dancing, so you need to make time for that too, and don’t forget taking the kids to the playground or walking your dog three times a day. 

What about strength training? How many exercises do you need to do for each muscle group to make sure that you’re getting the maximum amount of benefit from your strength work? How much time do you have left to implement a comprehensive mobility routine? How about meditation?

You can clearly see how easily a practice becomes cluttered, and for a lot of people it’s almost impossible to balance the work load of each of their practices in a satisfactory way. 

That’s why we are big proponents of doing the 20% of each practice that gives you 80% of the benefits. For instance, we don’t waste time punching tennis balls because we learn hand eye coordination, rhythm and timing in our sparring practice, as well as footwork, combinations, head movement, and the most important aspect: being able to read and react to your opponent. 

The point is there’s a process that you can go through to test your practice and weed out the aspects of your training that are overly redundant or downright useless.

Our guest today has taken this approach to it’s extreme in the realm of strength training. Whereas most trainers would be able to give you a binder full of different exercises for each body part that you should be adding into your program, Erich Lin has whittled his routine down to what he calls “The Big 5” strength exercises. 

His philosophy is that with a minimalist approach to the number of exercises you perform, and even the number of sessions, sets, and repetitions you perform, you can still make incredible gains in strength. Not only that, the specific exercises he uses actually offer free gains in other movements without doing any dedicated work towards those skills. 

Much of this philosophy is closely connected to the teachings of Nassim Taleb, author of “Antifragile”, “Black Swan”, “Skin in the Game”, and other incredible books that look into the role that randomness, uncertainty, and probability play in determining the robustness of systems and organizations. Many of his concepts are closely related to the work that we do at EMP, so it is great to have Erich on to talk about how these things might interact and interrelate with each other. 

One of the biggest takeaways from Erich’s approach is the process of testing our assumptions and continuously finding ways to improve the efficiency of what we are doing so that we can free up our time to devote more energy to the things we are most passionate about. 

If you’re absolutely passionate about weight training, that’s great. Do what feels meaningful to you. But if you’re interested in finding out how you might consolidate your efforts to get maximal benefits in the minimal amount of time necessary, you should definitely check this episode out.

We also cover the coronavirus outbreak and Eric offers his thoughts and advice on how you might be able to guard your finances in this chaotic and difficult situation. 

Thanks a lot for stopping by everyone!


[A Primer on Coronavirus for the Movement Community: EMP Podcast 42]
[Aliveness and the Universal Athletic Human Blueprint: EMP Podcast 41]
[How Should a Human Learn to Move? Ecological Dynamics and Natural Movement: EMP Podcast 35]

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