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She lost over 25 pounds and stepped on stage. Here’s what she learned.

By | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Prologue  Alexis Irwin has been a client of mine for some time now. Together, we’ve successfully added hundreds of pounds to her lifts in total and improved technique, but the weight loss end of the bargain was always a little harder for some reason. Fast forward to late January when Alexis approached me about competing in a bikini show. If you’re a faithful Barbell Medicine reader you know this isn’t really my forte’, as I’ve only prepped a handful of clients for this sort of thing. That said, I thought it would be a good way to boost compliance for…

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Does YOUR metabolism change with weight loss?

By | Nutrition | 6 Comments

Yes. Your metabolism changes when you lose weight. Some of these changes are good, e.g. decreased fasting blood sugar, improved cholesterol measures, decreased storage of fat in places you don’t want it like your liver and waist, etc. Not all of the metabolic changes are good however, and in recent times there has been much discussion and handwringing over the role of metabolic adaptation (sometimes referred to as “metabolic damage”) in the setting of weight loss. The idea is, given that body mass is controlled by the balance of energy expenditure versus energy intake, that in periods of caloric restriction,…

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A Novel Approach For Replacing USELESS RPE

By | Training | 10 Comments

It has been said that using Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is useless for strength and conditioning, which has caused quite a stir between the Barbell Medicine crew and other coaching organizations because we had been using this tool with our clients to manage loading, training fatigue, and the intensity of conditioning efforts up until very recently. New data has come to light that have forced us to reevaluate our stance on RPE and ultimately replace it with a novel method that we’ve been working- The Baraki Exertion Scale (Figure 1). Figure 1: The Baraki Exertion Scale is visually represented…

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Placebo Sleep?

By | Recovery | 9 Comments

A 2014 paper by Draganich & Erdal studied the effect of sleep on cognitive functioning in 164 undergraduate students – with an interesting twist. Participants were given a questionnaire in which they ranked how deeply they had slept the prior night on a scale of 1-10. Subjects received education about REM sleep and cognitive function, then were intentionally deceived by the experimenters to believe that measuring certain physiologic parameters would allow calculate how much time they spent in REM sleep the night before. Subjects were attached to various sophisticated-appearing monitors, and were allowed to watch their brainwave activity by EEG…

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An Open Letter About Leaving Starting Strength

By | News | 62 Comments

In late February, 2018 of this year, after a series of back and forth emails, I informed Rip et al that I was resigning from Starting Strength. Since then, there has been a large amount of chatter on the Internet about what happened and what’s next. This letter aims to address both topics. To really understand what happened we need a brief backstory about the beginnings of Barbell Medicine. From 2008-2012 I was working as Director of Education for a large personal training company in Missouri while also coaching full-time and completing my Master’s Degree in Clinical Anatomy and Physiology….

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The Importance of Singles

By | Training | One Comment

A little over one year ago I reached out to Austin Baraki in desperate need of coaching. Thankfully, he didn’t hesitate to accept the task and we immediately got to work. At first, he “triaged” my situation by correcting a number of technical errors that he observed after watching some of my training footage. After that, he made several changes to my current training routine; cutting out a lot of “fluff” and putting more emphasis on the things that mattered: the main lifts and their close variations. All of this made sense but one aspect of the program that stood…

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The science of where YOUR pain comes from.

By | News, Recovery, Training | 2 Comments

Longtime followers will be well aware that chronic back pain is a widely prevalent, complex, and often disabling problem (see here, here, and here). A wide array of specialized interventions have been developed over the years, and many of these have taken hold in clinical practice without strong evidence for their effectiveness. This paper discusses recent data from trials on radiofrequency denervation as a treatment for selected patients with chronic back pain. The idea is to identify a suspected structural “nociceptive driver”, such as an arthritic facet joint or sacroiliac joint. This peripheral focus of noxious stimulus is often also…

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Barbell Medicine QuickStart Guide

By | Nutrition, Training | 3 Comments

Introduction Welcome to the Barbell Medicine Quick-Start Guide. Whether you’re here for the first time or a long time reader, thanks for joining us. We’re hopeful that this resource will be useful for you and we’re pumped that you’re here and ready to make some changes to your training and nutrition! First, a brief aside about Barbell Medicine for the uninitiated. As of this writing, Barbell Medicine is comprised of Jordan Feigenbaum MD, MS, SSC, Austin Baraki MD,SSC, Leah Lutz SSC, Alan Thrall SSC, Vanessa Burman RD, and Jessica Griffith RN. The company was formed officially in 2011 with the…

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Press Like A Pro: The Classic Press

By | Training, Weightlifting | 5 Comments

“How do I increase my press?”- The Internet Fresh on the heels of the 2017 USSF Fall Classic, a strengthlifting meet that contests the press instead of the bench press seen in powerlifting meets, there has been a big uptick in folks asking how to increase their press. After seeing some of the big presses this past weekend and the increased interest in USSF meets, I thought it would be timely to discuss some of the things I’ve learned about the press and how to improve it. For perspective, I took my press from 118kg (260lbs) to 125kg (275lbs) at a…

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From the Newsletter: A Word on Salt

By | Nutrition | 6 Comments

If you’re reading this, please raise your hand if you’ve heard the phrase “Americans eat too much salt” or, alternatively, that we should “cut back our salt intake”? Show of hands? Ah, yes- seems like everyone has heard that or even possibly said that perhaps. However, what does the evidence say about salt intake and chronic disease? The current World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation is that we take in 2000-2400mg of sodium per day, with some organizations like the American Heart Association suggesting that we should take in <2000mg of sodium per day. For reference, sodium and salt are not…

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