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Have you ever done an exercise and just not “felt” it? Sure, you performed the lift, but your target muscles don’t feel like they worked very hard.

Or maybe you felt it in the “wrong” areas? Like your forearms feeling zapped after barbell curls while your biceps still feel fresh.

Or maybe you felt it, but in a bad way. For example, bench pressing started bothering your elbows and you never really felt it in your chest before your triceps started giving out.

These sorts of problems aren’t uncommon.

And the good news is there are often modifications and tweaks you can fine-tune to make exercises more effective and work better for you.

These aren’t necessarily obvious fixes you can discover intuitively, read about in a textbook, or even hear about by word of mouth either. Sometimes you have to experiment.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword, because you can end up “fixing your form” for months on end, without ever really settling on anything. 

This is where experience and intelligent methodology come into play and that’s why I invited Dr. Mike Israetel back on the podcast.

In case you’re not familiar with Dr. Israetel, not only does he hold a PhD in Sport Physiology, but he’s the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, a successful blog, coaching program, and fitness platform, so he’s worked with thousands of people and definitely knows his stuff.

In this episode, Mike covers . . .

  • The importance of having a checklist for evaluating a muscle building stimulus 
  • “Feeling” exercises and the difference between tension perception and “the burn”
  • The benefits of getting a pump
  • Criteria for judging whether an exercise is worthwhile
  • Why you might want to experience soreness
  • Stimulus to fatigue ratio and sustainability
  • The importance of experimentation to account for biomechanical diversity among people
  • A magic skullcrusher tip for those with elbow pain
  • And more . . .

So if you want to learn about a methodological approach to tweaking your own form and exercise choices to find what works practically for you, you’ll love this episode!


8:21 – What are some common form mistakes that people make that are not obvious?

28:13 – What is the stimulus to fatigue ratio?

34:26 – What are some exercises that you can improve on?

41:58 – What are some tips to help your biceps and triceps?

46:19 – Do you have any barbell preferences?

Mentioned on the show: 

Mike Israetel’s YouTube

Mike Israetel’s Instagram

Mike Israetel’s Website

Books by Mike Matthews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hello, friend. I’m Mike Matthews. This is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today for yet another episode of the podcast. Now, have you ever done an exercise that many people swear by and just not really felt it? Have you ever done the bench press, for example, and not felt much of your pecks working, Felt it more in your shoulders maybe, or your tri.

Or maybe a back exercise. Many people have reached out to me over the years to tell me that certain pull exercises just don’t seem to train their back muscles as much as their biceps. And speaking of biceps, many people have told me over the years that when they do. Barbell curls, straight barbell curls.

It really zaps their forearms, but their biceps feel relatively fresh by the end of each set, which again, is driven mostly by forearm fatigue. Or maybe you’ve done an exercise and you felt it, but in a bad way. So bench pressing, for example, maybe just started to bother your elbows or maybe some variety of squatter.

Lunge really. Play nicely with your knees. And while I could share many other examples, but I think you get the point, and these sorts of problems are not uncommon. Many people run into them in different ways depending on how their body is built, both their skeleton and how their muscles et. Attached to their skeleton.

And the good news is there are often very simple modifications that you can make to exercises, little tweaks you can make to make them more effective for you, to make them work better for your body. And in some cases, you just need to replace them all together. And that is the topic of today’s podcast, and I’m excited to share this with you because many people.

Talk or write about this aspect of weightlifting. Plenty of people talk about the most effective exercises you can do or the best exercises you can do for each major muscle group, but not how to make those exercises most effective for you, or how to find the specific exercises that are going to be most effective for you.

Now, I myself have written and spoken about the most effective exercises you can do for each major muscle group of. And that advice is useful for most people considering the most common fitness goals. So most people are going to find that if they follow my advice on which exercises to do for each major muscle group, they are going to do well.

They are going to gain a significant amount of muscle and strength, and as the average guy really just wants to gain probably around 30 ish pounds of muscle. From his starting point and get his body fat down to maybe around 10%, and as the average woman wants to gain maybe about half of that 15 ish pounds of muscle in the right places on her body, and then bring her body fat percentage down to 20% or so, what you are going to learn in today’s podcast is not going to be necessary for most of those people.

There are exceptions, of course. There are people who really don’t respond well to certain exercises who. Don’t feel the target muscle group working who don’t get much of a pump, who don’t get much in the way of muscle soreness and so forth. But again, that is going to be rare when we’re talking about the fundamental exercises of strength training, bench pressing, overhead, pressing deadlifting, and squatting and so forth.

That said, in the case of the more advanced weightlifter who is really trying to achieve every. Ounce of muscle and strength genetically available to them. The advice that is going to be shared in this podcast can really help a lot because the advanced trainee’s body is so much less responsive to training than the beginners or even the intermediates.

So if you are an advanced weightlifter, and you can use what you’re gonna learn in today’s interview to improve the effectiveness of your training, let’s say. 5% in and of itself, that’s not that big of a difference, but if you can then learn something else that adds another, let’s say 6%, and then maybe add a couple of supplements that you’re not taking, maybe creatine, Betaine and Citraline, for example, and get an extra, I don’t know, seven or 8% bottom line results from your training.

Things cumulatively start to add up to real differences over time. And so I think that’s enough preamble for today’s episode, which features Dr. Mike is Rotel, who holds a PhD in Sport Physiology and who is also the co-founder of Renaissance Puritization, which is a successful. Blog, educational website as well as coaching service.

And they have a very popular app as well, specifically for weight loss. And so Mike is a guy who has worked with thousands of people ranging from everyday normal folk who just want to lose a bit of fat and gain a bit of muscle and strength to top. Tier bodybuilders. He knows his stuff. And in this episode, Mike goes over the importance of having a checklist for evaluating how effective an exercise is and how to go about experimenting with different exercises in a scientific way to get more out of them.

Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible diet cook.

Book The Shredded Chef. Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores. And I should also mention that you can get any of the audio books 100.

Free when you sign up for an Audible account, and this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to Legion.

That’s B U Y and sign up for your account. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence based strategies for losing fat, building muscle and getting healthy, and strategies that work for. Anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger for Men, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for Women, and the Shredded Chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipes.

Hey, Mike, welcome back to the podcast. Thank you for having me back. Thanks for being here. And I wanted to talk to you about, I guess you could say a bit. Art of body building. And what I mean by that is specifically exercise modifications, form tweaks or fixes, things that are not obvious or that you don’t learn.

Just scrolling through Instagram, reading captions, that the type of, That’s how I do all of my learning. Same. That’s research. That’s not whether, that’s research , and these are the things that, it takes time and it takes attention and often it takes time. Training not just your own body, but working with other people and really getting a sense of what works.

Practically in certain scenarios and what doesn’t, regardless of what the scientific literature might suggest. And of course that’s not a knock on the literature, but there can be a disconnect. Even something as simple I’ve talked about this. If you had the most scientifically optimized training program, but you didn’t enjoy it, You didn’t like the workouts, you didn’t look forward to going to the gym and doing them, then it’s probably not for you.

It’d probably be better to find a way to make it something that you can enjoy because of compliance and you’re probably gonna work harder in your training and so forth. So yeah, that’s the preamble and I think a good place to start would be maybe some common technique or form mistakes. That people make with exercises that are popular among us, meatheads that are not obvious, or if you have any great examples for that, then some common modifications or ways to improve exercises that you don’t see many people doing where everybody just does it this way when there are other ways and a different way of going about that exercise might work better, so 

Mike Israetel: I think that it’s important to have a checklist in your head. Potentially even on paper or in digital format that you can go through to figure out what it is ideally, that you want to get out of doing an exercise. Because if you don’t have a checklist that is relatively objective, it’s very easy to get into self doubting mode often.

It’s okay to be in that mode on occasion, because I think it’s a really good self corrective thing. But if you’re in that mode really often, it might end up throwing you from one technique to another technique, one modification to another. And the big downside with that is that it prevents you from tracking performance and then objectively being able to push yourself as hard as you need to over time.

So for. If you’re trying to increase your bench press for muscle growth, you wanna sort of bench whatever you bench first sets of 10. You wanna see that float up to sets of 12 to 13 over several, weeks or months. Or you’d like to see the sets of 10 float up by, 5, 10, 15, 20 pounds.

And that’s how you know you’re doing a good job. But if you’re every other workout, you’re playing with your grip. And you’re widening it or you’re narrowing it, you’re playing with bar position, or you’re touching low, high, medium on the chest. You’re doing some pauses. You’re not doing pauses, you’re doing slowly, eccentrics, you’re not.

All of those differences end up making the output of how much you’re able to do repetitions wise and way wise, so stochastic and so random and so noisy that it’s difficult to track. Have I been pushing hard enough or as what I’m doing working, have I, Someone could say Hey, how’s your chest training?

And you’re like I think it’s good. Have you gotten stronger in your chest exercises? What are you gonna say about. 

Mike: You might not know, especially let’s say you’re doing in a, maybe a set of amap at the end of a training block to see, and that happens to be one where you are slower on the eccentric.

And it looks like maybe the training block was a wash and maybe it wasn’t. Exactly. 

Mike Israetel: And who knows, is the technique modifications is the fact that you. Obviated a lot of neural learning because the neural patterning was different, so different between the techniques. You never really got very good in any one of them.

So it’s a lot of questions there that you don’t want that process of self-doubt and alteration to be completely continuous all the time. What you wanna do is have it occur and then for several months put in what you have concluded into motion, how much change, and then see how it affects you.

Slash let it affect you beneficially because there’s a specificity and momentum element where just circling your wagons around one thing and really doing it well. It’s not just that you can measure the progress, then it’s that sort of thing also generates really good progress, right? So it’s driving around on a date with your significant other and looking for the best restaurant to go to can be fun, but it’s a little bit more fun.

And the date goes better if you’re at a restaurant that you just have to pick at some point, right? A date is not just driving around looking for restaurants and then it’s 11:00 PM and you’re like guess I’ll be dropping you off now next time, maybe we’ll find a restaurant. It’s Yeah, okay. That was fun, but maybe any restaurant would be better than sitting in traffic.

So just the same way, if you do enough altering think at some point you just have to pick some things. It comes back to the original. Of what objective criteria or subjective criteria, what stable criteria are we picking on? Because some people will say we try it like this. It’ll do this.

Try it like that. It’ll do that. Here’s a question, do what? And there are answers to this. Some of the answers are relatively straightforward. If we break them down, for example, Is the exercise, whatever technique we end up using, is it hitting our proxies for what is a good muscle growth stimulus? And it’s hard to measure directly because we can’t just do an assay of muscle fibers right after every workout and be like that particular exercise caused this elevation in muscle protein synthesis.

You can’t have measurements like that unfortunately, in real life yet. So what do we do? We have proxies and here are some of them. Number one, do you feel the exercise generating a high degree? Of perceptively disruptive tension in the target muscle. So for example, if I show you a new trick to curling, ostensibly is to help your biceps grow, and do you feel a huge amount of tension only in your forearms and in your bracket radialis muscles, for example.

You have to tell me as a wise trainee that Yeah, like this technique is cool. Don’t suspect it’s optimally hitting my biceps. And then I could ask you why. And you said, I don’t really feel a whole lot of tension through my biceps, and that’s not one of those things that sort of talked about separating the art and the science.

They’re unified here. Okay. Tension is what’s generating most of the growth anyway. And if you can’t feel tension in the muscle you’re trying to hit, then that could be a problem. And now the retort to that could be like with high reps it’s really tough to sense tension because it’s never really heavy, It’s never really tearing you apart.

Like with stiff like and deadlift, it’s you know when your hamstrings are getting hit. But with lead girls for it’s a 20 to 30, how do you really know? What’s doing the work? You just cranking out the reps? 

Mike: My hamstrings hurt by rep. I was just doing, in this training block sets of eight, 10, and by 10 my hamstrings are hurting for sure.

Mike Israetel: And so that hurting can happen in two ways. One is the perception of tension that’s disruptive, and the second is the burn. There’s a local burn in the target muscle, so for lower reps and moderate reps, we can use tension percept. in bench presses where you’re doing sets of eight, you may never get the burn in your packs.

Which just might not be a thing, but you will feel tension in your peck. And then in machine chest presses for sets of 25, which is also hypertrophic. You may never really feel this like gripping, tearing tension in your pecks, but you will feel a burn in the chest, especially in the last five reps.

Like it will be searing and if you’re feeling, if someone says, Hey, try this chest press like, And all of a sudden you’re doing it and you feel a crazy burden in your front belts, but honest to God, you’re just not feeling it in your pecks. Are you sure that it was a good modification? I’m personally not very sure.

A matter of fact, I’m highly skeptical of that idea. 

Mike: And that’s a very good point. Just to interject quickly, and it makes me immediately think of many people who have reached out to me over the years saying that they just don’t feel a certain exercise working a certain muscle group. Very common is bench press and pecks, particularly with guys who are new to lifting weights and what.

Found in a fair amount of cases is that they were looking for them. They had equated the burn with feeling the exercise training the pecks, right? So if they did higher up flies, that is something they quote unquote felt. Whereas doing maybe sets of four or five with 80 or 85% of the one rep max on the bench press.

They didn’t quote unquote feel it just simply because again, in their mind it was all about the burn because they had read in a magazine or heard in the Jim locker room or whatever, that’s the real key. Like those are the muscle building reps. And I just think that’s worth just highlighting because that’s a very good way of putting it, is there are two different ways to quote unquote, feel.

The muscle group or the exercise working right?

Mike Israetel: Yep. And one of ’em really is optimized towards the heavier loading range. So mind muscle connection is a real thing. It is important, but it’s gotta both cover the lower up ranges and the higher upper ranges. And with the tension perception and the burn.

And you think about what about a set of 15? That’s a whole lot of both, which is great. You. Assured that something is happening in the muscle. Now, the next question in this sort of proxy of stimuli, are we doing a good job stimulating a muscle in this new technique that we’re trying?

Okay, but is there any evidence? Sure, we’re hitting the muscle, but are we doing enough? For example, is there more evidence that the muscle is being stimulated? I think another line evidence is the pump. Okay, So like a muscle only gets a robust pump that lasts, for minutes and minutes after the set is over, really when it’s being utilized to a significant extent.

When you’re doing, let’s say rows and you have like your lats feel normal and you have an enormous trap pump, okay. Are you saying Look like biomechanically, My lats have to be getting the best workout here and the trap pump is irrelevant. That would be a very ignorant thing to say, like it would just be wrong. 

Mike: Rep ranges would matter here too as well though, right? Cuz that’s also something, again, I’m just thinking of questions I’ve fielded from people doing heavier lifting, particularly on the big compounds and just not used to. That type of response because of what they were doing previously was a lot of higher rep stuff that gave them a bigger pump.

And that’s how they would judge the quality of their workout was like, how pumped are they? 

Mike Israetel: So the pump is definitely in, in many cases, more reserved for high repetitions, but at the same time, I think faster twitch individuals or individuals with faster twitch muscle fibers. Tend to experience pump at the lower up ranges.

As a matter of fact, if you have someone who really fast, which pecks? For sets of 20 to 30, they just kinda get tired and they don’t get a pump. They’re like, I don’t know, I feel like I’m running, like I’m jogging. Yeah. Someone like, Do you get a pump from jogging your quads? I wouldn’t call it a pump, I would just call it like, I’m annoyed that I’m here still.

Blood is slur flowing through and it’s not really staying. There’s no fluid acre. But for someone who is really fast switch on the pecks, for example, multiple sets of eight in an incline, barbell press would give them this enormous pump and they’re like I had no idea I could get this pump. It’s you actually were tailored, made to be getting a great response, activating the most muscle mass, and thus getting a pump from the lower upper range just from the higher loading ranges.

So I think there’s definitely some nuance there where if you get a better pump from heavier weights than lighter weights, I would probably do more. Training on average and vice versa. And vice versa in context. Interesting. In context of what about the tension perception and so on and so forth. And now here’s another piece.

So there’s, so far there are four pieces in the first are unified. There’s tension slash burn piece number one, and sort of two piece number two or three depending on how you count it as the pump. Are you getting one? How good is it? Cuz like somebody could tell you like, Hey, try this new way of doing lap pull downs and like the old way you’re doing your lats after three sets get so pumped that you can’t put your arms down your sides.

You’re like, Dude, there’s like tennis walls in my armpits. And then this new way they showed you, you feel like you’re ir spinal erectors are really swollen, but your lots don’t feel anything. Are you really willing to bat your hypertrophy on the fact that they’re like, No, trust me biomechanically, your lats are like, this is great for them.

Yeah. But biomechanically, if they were active in those muscle fibers, wouldn’t they get pumped? Why wouldn’t they? Something’s missing, right? It’s almost like you try some incredible new seafood dish that people assure you is awesome. You just don’t feel you’re like, I don’t know, this tastes like regular shrimp to me.

Like they can tell you that it’s a Michelin star restaurant and blah, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, what you taste really is what matters. There’s all the excuses in the world don’t mean anything. So that pump situation that can absolutely be illustrative as to what is actually being stimulated.

And then lastly is the what I would call disruption, and it has a few elements, probably three. One is a progressive loss of strength locally at the local muscle. So for example, if you’re doing bicep curls and you just keep doing sets of 10 and you feel fine and fine. It’s not clear you’re training hard enough or you’re targeting the biceps.

How do you know you’re targeting the biceps? After four or five sets, your ability to do curls is highly degraded. You are much weaker either getting very few reps or you have to use much less weight to get the same number of reps. And some would say so your biceps getting hit. You’re like, Dude, my biceps are barely alive at this point.

Like that potentially is too much training like, but we know it’s, it doesn’t have the problem not being enough. We know that if your peck. Are basically like your usual dumbbell fly is 30 pounds for set of 10 after quote, unquote very productive peck workout. Now you can only dumbbell fly 15 pounds for set of 10, or your packs just give out.

We know something happened to your packs, your pecks were stimulated. Someone can’t tell you like, Oh, it’s cuz your front belts are tired. Really though my packs are really messed up. Something happens. So there’s that decrease of function or reduction in function. Second one is something I would call perturbation, whereas something has happened to your muscle locally and a nervous system that innovates it, that has thrown it off, it has set it into a state of sort of disrepair, homeostatic disruption.

A really good example of this is trying to walk downstairs or upstairs after a really hard quad workout. Your legs don’t move like they’re supposed to. You get cramps, you get weird motor coordination problems. You’re like, Are you to know how to Trying to brush your teeth after a crazy bicep and pack workout?

You’re like, I’m bad at brushing my teeth. I can’t believe it. I can’t put the toothbrush where it’s supposed to go. Something clearly happened to my biceps. If you are at a club later, after what someone tells you is an insane bicep specific workout, and you grab a drink off the table and your bicep immediately cramps look I, a lot of stuff is up in the air question.

You having received a very robust stimulus to your biceps earlier is probably not one of those questions you have something happened to your biceps. Cause if it didn’t, why the hell are they so messed up? And then lastly is soreness of, there’s various kinds including delayed onset. Sona. This a delayed onset.

Sonas is not the only thing when I talk about disruption, that’s not the only thing but a sure is a good cherry on top. It also doesn’t mean you’re not overdoing it. You could get DOMS every single time and be literally overdoing it and have so much muscle damage that you are now like doing too much and you’re actually causing no growth, less growth.

Or even worse, you could be causing a recession in growth, right? Like actually reduction of muscle size if you way overdo it. So Doms isn’t the goal of training, but. If you have robust muscle soreness several days after you, you get 99 problems. But stimulating the muscle probably isn’t one. So for example, if someone’s Hey man, I don’t know if I’m activating my quads properly, hack squatting, I’ll go Okay.

What happens? A couple days after you hack squat? They’re like, Dude, I’m so sore. My quads, I can barely walk. I’m like, Look Yeah, sure, your technique may. Stands to improve, but the reason your quadrant growing is probably a nutritional issue. Or maybe you’re doing too much issue or a sleep issue or a stress issue.

But if you’re getting like really robust soreness in the target muscle reliably, the stimulus is not a problem. You know what I mean?  

Mike: I run into many people who think they’re stuck, who actually aren’t stuck. They just. Don’t realize like their expectations are wrong Oh boy. Or they’re not tracking properly.

Mike Israetel: That could be a whole other discussion we have of I’ve literally had, and this is have YouTube videos about this of people saying, Hey, I’m at a plateau. And I’m like, Okay, listen. They’re like, I can’t gain weight and I’ve wise to this now. Or I go, Okay, how much weight you’ve gained in the last two months?

And they’re like four pounds. And I’m like, So when you say you can’t. You literally mean you, You have the opposite of what you said. And they’re like I think there’s a semantic disconnect here. Yeah, that’s right. Like you’re literally lying to me and yourself. But they’re like I guess it’s just not as much as I wanted.

And I’m like look, like I could tell you I haven’t made any money. And you would say so you can’t pay your bills. I’m like, No. I pay my bills just fine. And there’s plenty for savings. What I’m saying is I’m not a trillionaire. And it’s that’s not any money. That’s infinite money.

understand you wanna grow bigger. That’s a very separate problem. And it’s philosophically a very separate problem. So for. If you are a rocket designer, a rocket engineer, and you have two kinds of problems with rocket, potentially, one is it simply won’t activate and take off, right? If the engine doesn’t turn on, okay, that’s problem number one.

Problem number two is the engine turns on, everything goes. The rocket gets to a certain altitude and it fails to meet exit velocity, and it falls out of the sky. And parachute turns on, you recover the rocket. You try again, Philosoph. Those are two completely different categories of problem, because how big of a problem is the fact that your rocket can’t reach exit velocity?

As far as you getting funding for your next stage of the space program, it’s huge. But you’re onto something, Something is working. The rocket goes up, , sorry to raise my voice. The So then every improvement you’re going to make is probably a qualitative improvement, where you’re gonna look at these fundamentally effective systems, and maybe you’ll boost them.

Maybe you’ll bolster them, maybe you’ll redesign them. But if you have a rocket that simply won’t activate and take off at all, look, Mike you could potentially have a really big problem , where the fundamental engineering is off. So just the same if you’re in a plateau or if you say, Look, I can’t activate my quads.

You could be doing very big things wrong, and the potential solution we could come up with could be radically different from what you’re doing. Whereas if you actually activate your muscle just fine, or you’re actually growing just fine, it’s not as fast as you would like, that’s a different quality of problem.

If we do anything, which we might not, then it’s only a problem at the margins. Just do a little bit something different here, a little bit something different there. But I’m really glad you brought that up because a lot of times people do, in fact, they say, Oh, I’m not gaining, or I’m not losing, or I’m not feeling my chest.

And what they actually mean is, I’m not doing these things as ideally as I’d like to be. Which is also, by the way, true for almost every situation. You know what I mean? Like when can you possibly say about anything in your life that like this is. Never. So it’s really a quality, it’s a value judgment at that point of just how a person speaks, like why it’s not good enough.

Yeah, no shit. Nothing’s ever good enough. 

Mike Israetel: But in any case, especially when there are physiological hard limits to this for everyone. 

Mike: If we’re talking about something abstract like intelligence than it’s easier to probably even be more subjective about it. And to feel never smart enough and to think that you always could increase your quote unquote working IQ a little bit more, whereas, You may be able to do that in some ways, but with something like muscle building, if you’re in your third year and you’ve been training if you’ve been doing the most important things mostly right, most of the time you’re not gonna be able to gain maybe five pounds or a year or something, right?

Mike Israetel: Yeah. It’s just not gonna happen. It doesn’t matter. , So it also helps to have some real actual boundaries, sure.

Mike Israetel: And people walk around in sort of semi-permanent depressive states when they can no longer get these goals that were maybe never realistic and maybe realistic only for the first six months.

So in any case, so basically we have this sort of tiered structure. Are you getting tension in the target muscle and or burn? Are you getting pumps in the target muscle? Are you getting disruption of some kind, which is to say strength loss, perturbation and function or soreness? And if those things are happening, we only have sort of one more ingredient to add, to have an objective checklist of is the technique we’re doing effective?

And that objective checklist is the last item is. We could break fatigue down into a bunch of different things, but probably the most important one from my per perspective, and there’s two others I, I won’t even get into unless you really want me to peel ’em apart, is the exercise and to what extent is it hurting joint and connective tissue structures?

So if someone shows you an unbelievable way to train your quads, this checks all the boxes like crazy pump tension burn, blah, blah, blah. Like it physically hurts your knees every time to do it, and it hurts every rep a little bit more. And every set it hurts a little bit more until by set five. Your knees are what’s limiting you and not your actual quads.

That isn’t a sustainable practice. 

Mike: That’s leg extensions for me. I just can’t, They’re just uncomfortable. They’re just, My knees don’t like ’em.

Mike Israetel: Totally. So at the end of the day, that’s a non tenable solution. So then if there is an alternate solution, an alternate technique you can try, which gives you maybe two thirds of all the good stuff, pump, et cetera.

But it doesn’t have this sort of positive feedback loop of connective to harm, then that’s clearly the fucking answer. It’s like cooking a meal for your family. If a meal is two-thirds as tasty as the other meal, but it costs $200 less for the love of God. That’s the answer. , unless it’s a special occasion, I’m not spending an extra $200 per dinner getting you this one third of tastiness, which is, like that’s a special occasion.

So in any case, we have the stimulus side, we have the fatigue side. And that forms what you could call a stimulus to fatigue ratio. The higher the stimulus and the lower the fatigue, where, in other words, the more tension and burn you get, the more pump you get, the more disruption you get to the target muscle, and all the while for that stimulus benefit.

What cost of connective tissue disruption are you paying? The lower, the better. You can get an objective ish series system of analysis by which when you modify an exercise, Whatever way you modify it had to better score at least as high on that stimulus to fatigue ratio as whatever alternative you were moving away from or whatever somebody else is proposing.

And at the end of the day, that’s really how people do it anyway. 

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. And I just wanted to ask you quickly just clarify the stimulus to fatigue ratio. I wanna make sure people understand that point. Cause when they’re thinking with this in the. That’s an important point.

Mike Israetel: Stimulus to fatigue ratio. Like any ratio, there’s enumerator, denominator, top side and bottom side. You divide one by the other. On top we have how much tension and burn are you feeling in the target muscle? How much of a pump is the target muscle getting after multiple sets? And how disruptive is the exercise to the target muscle?

Is it zapping your quads or is it like, Man, I dunno. I don’t really feel my quad is more. Those are all good things. We want ’em as high as possible, and on the bottom is fatigue. There’s many types of fatigue, but the most important in this case is joint and connective tissue stress. Is it hurting your joints and connective tissues?

Is it making them feel uncomfortable? Is it making the exercise or actually leading the exercise to be unsustainable to do over and over? Be that rep for rep, set for set, so on and so forth.

Mike: Okay, good. I just wanted to make sure that I understood also that connection.

Mike Israetel: Yep. So we want the stimulus as high as possible, the fatigue as low as possible.

And think about when someone shows you, let’s say you’re like training and you’re like, Eh, I don’t know, Dumbo presses flat, devil presses. I’m just having trouble connecting, blah, blah, blah. And like some old guy in the gym is like, Hey, try it like this. When he says, Try it like this, you do it, you evaluate.

Most people evaluate it at some subconscious level using the stimulus fatigue ratio. What are you really looking for? Yeah. You’re like, Oh yeah. Like I don’t feel any tension in my packs. We’re burn like already, that’s bad. You do a couple sets and you’re like, There’s no pump in my packs, but my triceps are swollen.

That’s really bad news. And then disruption wise, like he’s Trust me, it’s gonna mess up your pecks. So you’ll see tomorrow, the day after that. Nothing. No soreness, nothing like your packs work. Fine. Yeah, I could feel it was a flop. And then during the entire time, your shoulders hurt progressively more and more, and there’s like a weird clicking that develops by the fifth set.

That’s a disaster. I don’t care who it is that’s telling you to do that. Could be Mr. Olympia. You’re not gonna be training like that on These relatively objective proxies is a stupid way to train. Now. On the other hand, if someone has some tricks for you then, and it really raises your stimulus to fatigue ratio significantly.

Based on, let’s say you were squatting using a low bar squad, just above parallel, and someone teaches you how to do an Olympic high bar squad with a slow eccentric really sitting forward into your quads, all of a sudden a. The tension on your quads is massive. The burn towards the end of the set is like cataclysmic.

The pump is like debilitating strength, and your quads drops off to where your noodle legs. You get crazy sore and your knees and hips and back feel golden the entire time. Good God, is that a keeper for quad growth? And you feel stupid. You’re like, Why the hell was I squatting any other way? This is dumb, and here’s the best.

I know this is a rip off for the interview that you wanted cuz I actually didn’t share any quirks or tips or secrets of exercises. 

Mike: No. This is great cause I, of course, I’m gonna follow up and we’ll be able to wrap up the interview. Okay. So tell us now what are some of your fa, you know what I mean?

I’m learning myself. I love it.

Mike Israetel: So I will have some tips and tricks, specific examples, but here’s the huge kicker, human diversity of biomechanic. And anatomy and physiology, and even just preference, like you said earlier, is really high. There’s a lot of differences, and I’m built strangely. I have these really short legs.

My wife is four foot 11 and I’m five, six and a half, and we have the same. In theme height or whatever. So what the hell happened to my legs? And people are like, You have short arms. And I’m like, My arms are actually normal length and so is my torso. If my legs were of adult length, I would be like six one

So I built like literally a gorilla and so I could say, Hey, this works for me, but it might not work for a normal human being. 

Mike: You would be me then. Cuz I have the gorilla arms, but I’m about six, I don’t know, 1, 6, 2 or something like that. I have strangely long arms. 

Mike Israetel: Oh, there you go. What works for me might not work for you, but it doesn’t have to.

And there’s the beauty of this kind of fundamental analysis. Taking it back to basics, to the stimulus of fatigue ratio. I can show you a few things, but at the end of the day, you have to modify them, make them your own. How do you know if it’s right? Is the stimulus of fatigue ratio better than it was before?

And if it is, you’re onto something. And that journey of altering and modifying exercises is lifelong cuz your body changes. Like for example, I’m way more muscular now than I was 10 years ago. My body fits together differently. I literally can’t do some things. I used to be able to, mobility wise and other things, strength wise, mobility wise, I can do that.

  1. So the positions I can hit, and thus the stimulus to fatigue ratios I can scoop up are way different. And that has to be individual. It must be individual. So if somebody shows you a new way of doing an exercise and the stimulus to fatigue ratio is all wrong, maybe you have to practice that new way, because maybe you’re just not connecting to it, right?

Maybe you’re not doing it right. I think people get a little jumpy where they try something for a rep or two and they’re like, Give it a set two at least. Unless your joints are hurting, it’s, Yeah. If they’re not, but you just can’t connect with the movement. Play around with your foot position. Play around with your hand position.

Play around with the elbow position. Try it for a few weeks and you might grow into it. Like some machines I’ve tried before. Chest press machines, for example, the first couple of times I use it, I’m like, This is such garbage, but I’m gonna be patient. And then I figure out like one little weird grip alteration, one little movement in my shoulders and I’m like, Oh my God, this is a peck nightmare.

I love it. And then I’m like, wanna share this secret about how to use this machine properly with my training partner, Jared, but. I share it and he’s I don’t like it. But then he figures out his own way to do it. That’s amazing for him. And he’s This is how I use this machine. So those quirks, those tips, those tricks that art has to be objectively grounded in the science of does it generate tension?

Does it generate a burn? Does it generate a pump, does it generate disruption? Those are, that’s all evidence for a robust stimulus. And does it generate fatigue specifically during connective tissue? And then we use that system. To try to find what works a little better, what works a little worse, getting a little better with it.

Mike: I love it. That’s a great checklist to run through when modifying exercises or making substitutions.

If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world. Bigger, lean, stronger, and thinner, Leaner, Stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded.

So now of course I have to ask what are some, Just knowing the way your mind works, I’m sure that you’ll probably start with some general kind of criteria to look at. And okay, here are the few different ways you can profitably change exercises. Now, it’s not gonna apply to all exercises. There’s okay, with upper body exercises, you can tend to do stuff like this.

Barbell exercise is a little bit different. How does that look for you? And I’m sure you have plenty of examples of things that you’ve experienced just over your training. 

Mike Israetel: Sure. I’ll just rat off a couple of typical ones that a lot of people make a mistake with. One is not slightly arching the back and retracting the should blades during chest pressing that.

Power lifters use pretty well, and you don’t have to use it as extremely, but it tends to position the chest in such a way as to expose it to maximum tension and damage. And it works really well. I see guys saying they don’t get a lot outta presses, and I’m like, Yeah, it’s cuz you’re using your frontal triceps.

Orton, and your pecks are hiding. Why don’t you open your pecks up and retract your shoulder blades, stick your chest out. And all of a sudden they get this huge stretch at the bottom and they’re like, Holy crap, my chest. I’m like, Welcome to being a pressor like nobody in power lifting. Ever pressed heavy weight and said they can feel it in their chest.

A people usually don’t tear tricep, benching. They sure as hell don’t tear their lats. They tear their pecs for a reason. There’s a ton of tension going through the pecs. So if you can’t feel tension in your pecs benching for atrophy, you’re probably benching wrong, probably not retracting in our another one.

Is staying relatively upright and letting your knees track forward in the squat? Yes, you want your heels down on the ground every time. No, you don’t want to stay artificially upright to where you’re on your toes. You wanna generate lots of tension on force through the midfoot, however, especially with an Olympic weightlifting shoe.

If you squat mostly upright like an Olympic weightlifter, exactly like one except for reps, you are going to realize your quads are getting hit up in a huge way. One is because they’re not mechanically leveraged to be the primary force generator and two at the bottom, they’re being imposed by huge degree of tension while in a stretched position that has been confirmed by research.

To be an independent stimulator of hypertrophy. So a lot of times people will avoid these end ranges of motion. Deep pack flies, deep stretches in the incline dumbbell curl, going deep on the stiff, like at bed lift, going deep on a squat, hack squat leg press because, and the only reason they avoid them is actually two reasons.

One, they’re physically uncomfortable, not in joints that connective tissues, but in the muscle belly itself. Yeah. Where you want the discomfort. And two is just straight ego. You can’t lift as much weight like that. So people will just, What they get from this is an ability to nominally lift plenty of weight, but they have trouble growing whatever muscles.

And especially if you’re into hypertrophy, or especially if you wanna be a bodybuilder, then you know, muscle growth is the only thing you care about. Nobody at a bodybuilding show, or on the beach or in the club or in your bedroom wherever your body’s being judged to criteria.

Nobody cares how much you bark about bat road. Nobody cares. It’s a pretty good argument. Nobody cares anyway, cuz it’s not even a competitive lift. So even in power lifting, nobody cares. The question is it stimulating your back? And if you’re avoiding super deep, strict reps in the squat and the press and so on and so forth, that exposes the muscle to stretch under tension through that high degree of range of motion.

Then I don’t know what you’re doing. I do know what you’re doing. You’re avoiding physical pain and you’re avoiding ego damage. Neither one of those is going to make you more jacked. And then one that really stands out to me that I have to mention before I cut myself off with these examples is the rowing, specifically the barbell bent over row.

If you look at it from a mechanical biomechanics perspective. Now mind you, there’s a lot of different nuance here and different people have built differently, but to an extent, especially if you’re bringing the bar to your tummy, Further, you bend over the more of your lower middle back is becoming hypertrophied.

, the lats, the spinal erectors. And that’s a lot of times what people want to hypertrophy with a row. They don’t just want more trap training, a little bit of OIDs, but people will stay very upright and have a very tiny range of motion and it’ll end up being pretty much like. Crappy high fatiguing trap exercise because of ego, because first of all, two things, pain, avoidance, and ego.

It sucks to have to bend over really far and really sucks to have to touch your tummy and get a full stretch bent over almost at a 90 degree angle because you used to bent row three plates. Now you’re doing a plate and a 10, and it’s like embarrassing. At the end of the day, do you want a bigger back or not?

Mike: And it’s humbling. And the thing is, you gotta be in the gym to be ready to be humbled and the seal row even more so for sure.

Mike Israetel: The seal row’s like straight up offensive and insulting. I, it’s interesting. So it’s the seal row actually brings a really good point myself. And interesting enough, my training partner Jared Feather, we don’t like the seal row, not like to recommend to people.

We love recommending it. We just don’t get a lot out of it. On the stimulus of fatigue ratio side, the fatigue is never. The stimulus is just not there. Interesting for us, like the pump isn’t anything, We don’t feel a ton of tension in the back. It’s just weird isolation exercise for the lots. It just is better ones, I don’t like it, but on a technical qualities externally, I have no problem recommending it.

I think fundamentally on paper it looks great. So if someone’s Dude, I get a ton out of Seal Rows never a million years. I’ll be like no. There’s a stupid Tri barbell Be Rose. We get a ton out of Barbell Row Free Barbell Row best, but that’s just us. If it hits the checklist, 

Mike: When you say that, I think of, and I do, I enjoy seal rows, but I agree that I feel it more in my lats.

It’s more of a LA exercise than a full upper back exercise. Totally. Totally. Whereas the barbell row is the latter for me. It’s just, Yeah. 

Mike Israetel: Destroys everything. And at the end of the day, I think that self honesty goes a long way because when people do barbell rose bent over an eighth of the way and you’re using, 400 pounds.

I think if they went honestly through their own checklist, Honestly mis fatigue ratio. And then you have, you taught them how to do barbell rose, bent over Kai green style almost all the way with a big stretch and a touch and a tummy every time. If they honestly would have to say Yeah, okay, you’re ways better and is either you’re lying to yourself or you’re not.

Either you’re doing all the exercises in a way that you can honestly say works better or not. So all of my hacks and trick. Here’s another one real quick. However, your leg press or hack squat, take your feet, move them closer together to each other, move them considerably down on the platform so that you get a whole lot more knee flexion and get a big stretch at the bottom that will mess your quads up so much in so fewer reps, so much less weight and so much less damage to your connective tissues and joints and so much less systemic fatigue.

That’s not even close. But again, it’s humbling. I post my hack squat pr. Like what’s my, on a hack squat machine that actually allows me to use a considerable amount of weight, which by the way, I don’t enjoy for, cause it’s arbitrary. My best hack squats like 5 75 for a set of I don’t know, 12 or 15.

And I’ve literally had people comment on Instagram Man, I hack squat. 900 for a set of 10. Like, how come my quads don’t look like yours? And I just wanna be like somebody’s lying to themselves about what the hell they’re doing on the hack squad and somebody’s not . Yeah. What do you think?

Did I figure out some kind of weird trick? No. Like I figured out you’re actually exactly doing a hack squat properly. And that’s the thing. So making sure that you’re getting the most. Auto machines. And a lot of that comes down to a big range of motion. Big full stretch under load, putting your limbs in such a place where you feel the intended muscles being stimulated.

Mike: That’sgreat. I have to ask for some arms tips too. Some biceps and triceps, just guess. Sure. 

Mike Israetel: So for triceps, a lot of people obsess about the long head. I have no idea why. Maybe because it’s the only head name they know. Maybe because it sounds sci. I have no idea every question I ever get about the triceps.

What about the long hand? Shut up? Is that the only thing? It’s like speaking to a theoretical physicist to be like, What do you think about the bow on that’s just the only elementary particle you’ve heard of. Stop making cocktail party conversation. Go sit by yourself. So there’s an obsession with the long hand.

Mike: Here’s the thing about the long head. A lot of times people try to rig every tricep exercise they have. The longhead, for example, they’ll do skull crushers, and they’re just thinking that’s the shortcut to the most size probably, right? 

Mike Israetel: You’re guessing as good as mine. Sure. maybe. So then what they do is they’ll do skull crushers, for example, and they’ll touch the bar to their forehead or they’ll touch it behind their head and they’re like, It’s more long head.

And I’m like, Okay, is that the target? Is that the head of the triceps? This target of the lying tricep extension, the skull crusher, And they. Yeah hold on. What about the French press, The overhead standing tricep extension, That pre-stretch is the longhead like crazy. It’s a way better longhead exercise.

And by the way, every single pulling exercise, pull ups, pull downs, rows also stimulates the triceps long head. So you got all those exercises doing that. You have all the overhead tricep extension exercises due in that long head stimulation. So then what is it that you need more long end stimulation for on a skull crusher?

So the way we like to do skull crushers, my training partners and I is we, you could say is jam style. Like a jam press where we touch either our chin or close to the mouth area or the nose or the eyes. And there’s a lot. There’s as much as possible of bringing the elbows close together. For me, it’s not a lot, cuz my techs are so big.

I physically can’t fucking bring my elbows in past two feet. Lol. Problems. Excuses. Excuses. Exactly. I’ve been called out like, Why don’t you bring your elbows out? I’m like, You come. Come over to my gym and put my elbows in. Thanks. You do that and then you bend at your elbows. You bend your elbows down towards your crotch area.

It’s a very similar idea of squat. Down into your quads, you’re extending into your triceps, and what ends up happening is at the bottom of that skull crusher when you’re touching your nose, there’s an unbelievable amount of tension perception at the very distal end of the tricep right before the elbow, and it gives you a huge pump.

Warning, not in the long head. There are other tricep heads. Some have even said two other ones that are huge and can grow a ton. So skull crushers done like that are really awesome. And the deeper you can go, the better. That is something that I think works really well. And a lot of people don’t skull crush like that.

Mike: And interestingly enough for me, yeah, I’m gonna try that. I’ve always done it just to my forehead, but not lower. 

Mike Israetel: Sure. For me, I used to have a lot of elbow pain with skull crushers. I just couldn’t do them. And then when I started skull crushing like this, all the elbow pain went away completely. So if those folks who abandoned skull crushers because of elbow pain, I encourage you to try it in this way, and you might find that you get a huge benefit.

That’s great. That’s a great tip. And then for biceps, Good god. So Meow Henman’s has a curl called the Be Curl, I think. And it’s like where you stand in front of a cable and it’s a cable curl, one arm cable curl. You start with your bicep really far behind you. So it’s almost like what a stiff like a deadlift is to a hamstring.

This beginning movement is to your bicep, and then you curl all the way up and across your body into a degree of shoulder flexion at the end. That’s like what the Nordic curl of the glute ham rays is to the hamstring. This exercises to the bicep. And it really, and you can do this potentially with, if you have a free motion machine, you can do it with two arms at the same time.

I’m a huge fan of bilateral movements. I hate unilateral movements of almost every kind. I just think they’re preposterous waste of time. again for me on my stimulus to fatigue ratio, not on anyone else’s, but I do them with two arms at the same time. A really big stretch back there. Huge peak contractions, slowly controlling, eccentric.

You’ll want to quit training biceps after about two or three sets, but you’ll have a gnarly pump. Your biceps will start cramping in really weird ways. I love it and I think it’s worth a shot. That’s great. 

Mike: Any barbell preferences? Straight bar versus easy. It’s something I get asked about fairly often.

Mike Israetel: Man, I tell you this, another soapbox opportunity for me. I understand colloquial. Why people ask these questions, but I think at the end of the day, fundamentally they have to understand that the answers to them are irrelevant. Me asking someone, do they prefer easy bar for rows or curls? Let’s say curls.

Do you prefer Easy Bar versus straight bar is like me asking the rock. Should I cheat meal with brownies or pancakes? I think you would probably answer like, Which one do you like? Look, no, The rock. I wanna be like you. I wanna be a movie star, A trillionaire role model. So clearly the pancakes, the brownies, one of those are probably gonna push me in that direction, even if the fuck are you talking about.

So at the end of the day, what’s better? Easy bar or barbell? Straight curl. What does this domestic fatigue ratio say? If I tell you it’s bar bells, bro. Straight bar. If you do easy bar, you’re a crooked kind of guy. Like you’re morally as crooked as the bar is. Like you’re just trying to avoid work. Every great physique from the seventies when men were real men, they built it with straight bar.

If I tell you that it sounds nice to hear, and then you do straight bar, and after weeks and weeks all you have is shoulder pain and elbow pain and wrist. What the fuck did you get out of that? Nothing. Worse than nothing. Worse off. If you try an easy bar and all of a sudden it clicks and there’s no pain, and you get this gnarly contraction to your biceps, what the fuck did I do?

But lie to you, right? On the other hand, some people do the easy bar and they’re like, Man, and they do the straight bar and they’re like, Holy fucking shit. And I’ll tell you this, because of sta. Because of variation is something you want inject into a program. Every few months these things oscillate for me.

So if you ask me what do I prefer, easy bar or straight bar, I literally have no preference but for what I prefer right now. But after weeks and weeks of straight bar, I’m like, Man, I don’t know. My elbows feel me and I’m not getting these crazy pumps. And then I go to Easy Bar and I’m getting like really good pumps.

Not straight bar pumps, but good pumps. But my elbows and shoulders feel golden. So I’ll do that for months and then I’ll go back to straight bar from me on a, the stimulus only. Straight bar, everything is just better. Yeah. But on the fatigue side, for joint connective tissue stress, it’s a matter of time until I start having to go to the bank and pay that shit off.

And so it’s not sustainable. So I’ll do barbells until I can’t, and then I’ll do machines and easy stuff to give the barbells a refresher and go back. That’s probably my best answer. But for some people, the barbells a non-starter, and for some people they can use barbells forever, and it’s this incredible thing.

So one of the funny things is I’ll make a fine point. People obsess over Dorian Yates underhand row, and they think that was what built his back. What the fuck do you explain Ronnie Coleman? Then he only ever did overhand rows and his back was bigger than Dorian. And they’re like it’s a good point.

It’s not a good point. It’s an irrelevant point. Just like the first point was , maybe Dorian’s favorite color was blue and Ronnie’s was green. What does that mean? Nothing. Are you getting a fucking pump in your upper back and your laps? Are you getting tension? You getting the burn?

Is it okay in your joints? Yes, that’s the answer. Same thing with do I need a squat to get big? Do you get an unreal stimulus just doing hat squats or leg press? Cause look, I think you and I have both been in a situation where, especially with a not so well designed hat squat or leg press machine, we use it and people are like, What do you think?

And we’re like, Eh, I don’t know. Like I’m training, but it’s just not as much of my leg. There’s a proper high bar squat. What does it hit? Hit your quads, your addicts, your sartorious, your glutes, your As you see your leg destruction, but for your hamstring versus like a ma leg process. Yeah, I feel a burn in the tips of my quads.

And that’s kind of it. So at the end of the day, if you have to ask the question of Hey, can I build big legs with just hack squats? I’m gonna ask you another question of like, how do hack Schwatz feel in your legs? Dude, honestly they nuke the shit outta my whole fucking leg. What? Then I gotta tell you, no, of course the answer to that is yes.

Then yes, you can build enormous legs with hack schwatz and people have done that before, so I hate to put two fight of a point in it. It’s all about that stimulus fatigue ratio. 

Mike: It’s awesome. I love it. Very helpful, and again, I really appreciate you taking the time for this. I know you’re a busy guy, but I’d love.

Be able to circle back around even if it’s in a couple of months to get you on for something else. Cuz it’s fun to listen and I get to learn myself and I know that this one is gonna go over well with my crowd because this is something that I haven’t talked much about. And I did interview sometime ago that was similar to this and I got a lot of people asking for more tips.

Mike Israetel: And I gave them fewer tips. I ripped off your clientele by giving them just this bullshit little fundamental crap. Lies . 

Mike: I’m terrible. Yeah. Who wants Principles and methods. I just want, I want weird tricks and magic bullets. That’s what 

Mike Israetel: I want. Yeah. Not even plural. Singular. One weird trick. One magic bullet.

That’s good enough. That’s true. 

Mike: That they don’t want you to know about they never 

Mike Israetel: do. Who are they? That’s what I wanna know. Maybe next time rich people. Yeah. But not just rich, the elite like. You’re the ones who with the tentacles into the political system, and I’ve never seen them or met them, but I know for sure they’re real because I’ve been on floor chan.

Mike: If you start sacrificing to mooch, then eventually you’ll be allowed in the club you’ll. Maybe they’ll invite you to Bohemian Grove and, Oh, now we’re talking. You can participate in the ceremony with the big mooc, the big owl. Burning the corpse in effigy. 

Mike Israetel: Dude, we gotta get in on that man. Yeah.

And wearing weird masks. Honestly, like you and I are pretty successful in our field, but we’re nothing cuz we’re not members of weird secret societies. That’s how you know you’ve arrived. I feel empty without it. I think we need to get a plan going to where we’re like, we’re in. Cause I wanna be in, I wanna shake hands with politicians that are like running the.

Mike: Do the wink, What is that? From ha hail hydra. I want to do show like that. Invited to the pizza parlors, the hot dog parties, 

Mike Israetel: And then I wanna be able to tell people that I got invited to Epstein’s Island, but I like politely declined, but I got the invite. 

Mike: That means you’ve arrived.

You could just make it post it on Instagram. That means it’s. 

Mike Israetel: That’s true. Holy shit. Now that’s the kind of life hacker we’re paying you for. Godammit is just say you did it on Instagram. . 

Mike: Ironically, we joke about all this stuff, but oh wait a minute, Stein, actually, that was real. And a lot of very powerful people.

Yes. Were caught up in that and, oh wait, this was actually A whole sex ring and Yeah, totally. And he was talking about how he was gonna be impregnating all these women to create a master race and Bill Gates was buddies with him and it, we actually do live in a messed up world. Ironic. 

Mike Israetel: Yeah. I think at the end of the day though, it’s a little bit more saccharin than we’d like to imagine.

They’re like, All right, so what’s the real plan? Like these are rich people who have run out of ways to entertain themselves, so now they go do things that are morally suspect. That’s the answer. But what about this secret society? Yeah, they’re just trying to get laid with people that you’re morally not supposed to have sex with.

That’s it. Sorry to burst your bubble. Hydra’s not real. There’s no giant mechanic lock to push under the earth. I’m seeking to rectify that problem by constructing a giant mechanical octopus that we’ll take over. You’re competing with Bezos.

Mike: I wonder what he’s doing with Blue Origin. I, my theory is he’s just gonna unveil a death star one day.


Mike Israetel: Oh, okay. That would, My soul would sing . I want to be the first wor, I want a Disney World tourist style tour of the Jeff Bezos death star. That’s what I want. 

Mike: If we make it a couple more decades maybe we’ll get to live the dream.

Mike Israetel: I’m in the secret society. I’ll make it. You might not cuz you know you’re not in the Scotland Cross Society or whatever.

Mike: That’s why I invited you on the podcast. Just cause I wanna start ingratiating myself to, wink, and hint it worked.

Mike Israetel: See you there . See you on the island. 

Mike: Hey man, thanks again for doing this and let’s just wrap up quickly with where people can find you and your work. Anything in particular on the island?

Mike Israetel: Yeah, on Israel Tell’s Island, 

Mike: Hey, that actually has a alliteration that’s better than Epstein’s 

Mike Israetel: Island. Haha. Yes. Thank you so much for having me on. By the way, more of this kind of stuff can be found. The best place now to find it is the Renaissance Puritization YouTube channel. Oh. And just to RP Strength or Mike Ertel or Renaissance Puritization.

If you can spell that, you deserve to find us . And that’s on YouTube. And then it’s, On Instagram and then I’m on Instagram as well, just R P d R M I K E or just Mike Ertel. 

Mike: And follow me up and we will go places, possibly at a few islands. I’m just gonna throw it out there. Iser tells is available.

Mike Israetel: Holy shit, we just need to know what to fill it with. Exotic animals, death stars, hot dogs, Giant mechanical, octopi Pizza. Yeah, pizza parties sounds really good, man. I’m at the end of a really long diet and the pizza is just yeah, whatever. I don’t care how many people I have to plow under morally, I’ll eat some pizza.


Mike: God damn it. You’re the kind of person that they’re looking for then. All right, man. Thanks again. Look forward to the next one. Thank you so much. All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or.

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And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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