Whether it's strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, surgery, or a plethora of other sub-disciplines within fitness, Jordan Shallow has the knowledge to converse with athletes and coaches on almost any topic. However, he’s sticking in his lane. “I’m very much now probably more of a super-specialist than I’ve ever been. But because I know all the other languages, I’ve established a really good network within now where I can go deep enough into their world to really hand off a make a smooth transition to someone in another discipline. I can probably do that more now than ever because I’ve established a network of people .. and I know they know enough about what I’m doing.”
Building those relationships and networks has been key for Shallow, also known as The Muscle Doc, in his roles as chiropractor, strength and conditioning coach, powerlifter and founder of Pre-Script and RX’D RADIO. “I think the takeaway is it just starts with actually being passionate about lifting weights, don’t be passionate about being a strength coach. That comes as a side effect. You’re passionate about being a strength coach if you’re passionate about lifting weights,” says Shallow.
So where did it all start? For Shallow, a connection to the San Jose State University weight room and strength coach while in chiropractic college gave him an in, and again, an opportunity to start building relationships with people. “Building relationships with people that like lifting weights. My trojan horse is I come in and don’t want to talk about lifting weights, I just want to go train,” says Shallow.
Throughout his career, Shallow has seen and worked with many athletes, giving him a good idea of indicators of whether someone will be a good athlete. “I think a property in the gym that might have a predictive quality to on the field where you can see … this guy’s a good player, variability. The ability to just access any different position,” Shallow describes. “To be able to work through and have awareness of all three plains … people who can control movements in a rotational plain tend to do very well in sport … an ability to rotate well, control movement, coordinate movement, that’s it.”
When it comes to younger athletes’ programming in the gym, there’s one area that Shallow sees as problematic. “The biggest detriment to your programming at a younger age is going to be pursuing skills too heavily and not just pursuing getting stronger. You have such a window at that age, 17, 18, 19, to get ridiculously strong. Capitalize on that. Don’t waste time.”
Shallow also suggests staying away from sport-specific drills or movements in the gym. If it’s agility, velocity, change of direction, vertical jump, “Everything when you’re younger … [is] a manifestation of your strength. Period. Your conditioning is a manifestation of your strength at that age, and then as you get older and into the league, then we can start to subdivide these adaptations into their own training modalities,” advises Shallow.
With so much experience being around athletes, Shallow preaches one key piece of advice. “Personal development, get the right people around. I think that piece is hard because you cannot imagine what it’s like when the jersey goes on and the paychecks start coming in and everyone’s coming out of the woodwork,” explains Shallow.
Head over to Episode #126 of The Athletes Podcast to hear a deep dive into the neuroscience behind training and movement, more of Jordan Shallow’s journey through the fitness world and his surprising answer to the best performance-enhancing drug for athletes.