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Like many Canadians, Jordan Shallow ate, slept, and breathed hockey growing up. When he reached his early 20s, Shallow faced a crossroads: Did he continue to grind it out in the Ontario junior leagues in the hopes of getting scouted and ideally making it to the National Hockey League, or did he further focus on his education?
Much to his mother’s approval, Shallow chose the latter and enrolled at Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, CA. Hanging up his ice skates proved to be a pivotal point in his life. Today, Shallow, aka the Muscle Doc, is a licensed chiropractor, powerlifter, entrepreneur, and strength and conditioning coach with the Stanford University rugby program.
“I fell in love with the process of weight training, and that became center stage to playing hockey,” Shallow says. “Sometimes I would skip practices to work out.”
With becoming a licensed chiropractor, Shallow could focus more heavily on weightlifting. He began working and training with elite powerlifter Dan Green, who was based out of nearby Mountain View, CA, after he graduated in December 2015. The two hit it off, and Shallow based his clinical practice out of Green’s private gym, Boss Barbell Club.
Not only was Shallow building up his résumé in the gym—he began powerlifting competitively when he was 25—he was strengthening his credentials outside of it. He was a chiropractic assistant at Apple’s corporate headquarters, Apple Park, from 2015–16, before co-founding Pre-Script, a company that offers corrective programming to help patients and clients improve their mobility, stability, and strength. Shallow also joined the Stanford rugby staff as strength and conditioning coach in November 2017.
The 28-year-old doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk, and he prides himself on being able to relate to his patients because of it. Unfortunately, his 15-year sports career, which not only includes hockey but also lacrosse, swimming, and track and field, has led to some injuries; Shallow has “torn just about anything you can think of.” Add in a max competition squat of 749 pounds while recovering from a torn quad (plus the training it took to get there), and you’re looking at one beat-up body. But it’s those same injuries—including a torn labrum, meniscus, pec, and AC joint— that help him better understand his patients.
“It’s an empathy thing more than anything,” he says. “Pain is knowledge really fast. There isn’t a course in school for that. It’s a blessing in disguise.”
Because he’s had to overcome a laundry list of injuries, Shallow prioritizes mobility-building and stabilization exercises not only in his own workouts but also with his patients. Shallow’s gatekeeper exercises—“the only reason I can still lift”—including the hip airplane, bottoms-up press, windmill, walking lunge, and single-leg Romanian deadlift, all focus on mastering stability.
“Fundamentally, the biggest difference is that these moves are all pure exercises of stability,” Shallow explains. “A lot of times we’re told to strengthen muscles of stability. We’re totally OK with calling strength and stability the same thing. But exercises of stability, the body’s ability to resist force, is not the same as exercises of strength. The oversimplification leads to paradigms being adopted, and that’s where people get led astray.”
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