DJ Murakami joins the show today to talk about all things movement, the necessity of intention, and getting away from some of the dogma that exists in strength and conditioning.
We start with DJ’s background and how he first fell in love with training like most of us have - he simply enjoyed it more than the sports he was training for - and has been coaching people for over 10 years. Self admittedly, he has dabbled in just about every realm of physical training - ranging from bodybuilding to olympic weightlifting to calisthenics to the movement culture and mobility driven side of the training world and everything in between. DJ currently finds himself on a quest to get jacked, continue to explore training, and stay injury free.
We go into discussing DJ’s evolution as a coach and how he’s learned to use principles over systems both in his own training and working with clients. Early on in his training career, DJ held many rigid beliefs and was very externally driven which eventually led to him focusing on his client’s capacity to perform certain movements and attempting to address underlying limitations with corrective exercise. In recent years, however, he has begun to conceptualize exercise as tasks with no “right” or “wrong” way to do it. More recently finds himself putting his emphasis on the intention behind movement as his guide to find the best exercises for individuals.
Next we go into DJ’s assessment process with new clients, which is far less systemized than it used to be - focusing on the clients’ movement and feedback as to what adjustments need to be made to their training as opposed to using a rigid set of standards. On an interesting note, DJ finds the use of sandbags to automatically get clients into positions to push effort and get out of their own heads. With the sandbag being self regulating, he believes you’re left with more movement options and thus room to drive capacity. He primarily uses them for higher reps or various kinds of carries, while still using barbells to still develop maximal strength.
This leads us to how DJ translates his immense focus on intent and effort in everything to his clients. This includes trying new things and PRing often. PRs don’t need to come from a 1RM barbell movement, however, and can be in the form of reps, tempos, new exercises, and even life circumstances. The intent is to always improve every session and avoid just going through the motions. In order to bring out the same level of intent with his clients, DJ likes to utilize different implements and let clients try new things so that they discover solutions on their own. He believes that as a whole, we need to drop the fragility based mindset in attempting to control all of the different variables in our lives, and just do the basics extremely well.
On this note, we discuss the lack of work the average human completes on a daily basis, the constant need to protect ourselves, and the possible consequences it has on our ability to experience the glory of just getting after it. DJ jokingly proposes the option to activate a zombie apocalypse and reset society as a way to rediscover our sense of purpose and re-evaluate our values.
Lastly, we take a look into DJ’s current training and his weekly structure. His main goal is to get stronger while maximizing intention, so he puts an emphasis on doing the basics at a high level. While much of what he does seems simple on paper, it's far from easy and allows him to focus on effort rather than going through the motions just to complete the workout. He uses training as an opportunity to take himself to places he otherwise would never encounter in daily life and to experience life in the moment. DJ encourages us to look back at the strongmen of yore and some of the forgotten aspects of physical culture in order to reclaim what training should encompass.
Enjoy and hit that subscribe button if you learned a thing or two.