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Training

The Pendulum of Specificity in Application: Part I

By | Training | No Comments

Updated 10.06.2018  This article was originally published in September of 2014 as the first of four blog posts addressing  The Principle of Specificity. Since then, the coaches at Barbell Medicine have learned a great deal more about the topic and felt that these posts deserved an update and expansion. We’ll be releasing the updated articles and corresponding YouTube videos throughout the month of October. In an effort to show how our thinking has evolved, I am highlighting the parts of the article that are being updated using italics and quotation marks accompanied by the updated commentary in the normal font with additional clarifying…

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When Logic Fails: Part 1

By | Training | 6 Comments

Take home points: In the context of complex systems, logical analysis can be useful in generating hypotheses, but not for drawing conclusions with a high degree of confidence, because there are almost always confounding factors that have not been discovered or accounted for. We must therefore always be cautious with the claims and conclusions we draw from our own observational experience. This is why scientists and evidence-based practitioners carefully qualify their statements in order to avoid overstepping, and should clearly identify conjecture that lacks supporting evidence. In contrast, we must be deeply suspicious of anyone making very confident claims in…

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Navigating Potholes: My Back Pain Experience

By | Recovery, Training | 4 Comments

I’ll spare you my lengthy back pain origin story and set the scene in 3 bullet points: Pre-back pain, I was a pretty killer athlete with a promising future in powerlifting and strongman. Also pre-back pain, I partially tore my hamstring tendon, which led to hamstring and hip pain. I rehabbed my way back to the platform from this injury, but its lasting impact lay in the consequent mistreatment of my back pain by medical professionals. One day in the Spring of 2016, I “tweaked” my back on a heavy axle deadlift in a strongman show. I finished the competition…

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Fear, Catastrophizing, and Training

By | Training | 3 Comments

Introduction Regular followers are likely familiar with our interest in a “biopsychosocial” approach to both training and injury, particularly the modifiable psychological factors that can have significant effects on performance, recovery, and subsequent adaptation. One important phenomenon we discuss frequently in the context of acute injury and persistent pain is catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is a complex psychological process (sometimes described as a cognitive distortion) in which an individual appraises a situation in a maladaptive, excessively negative way — for example, immediately thinking of the “worst-case scenario”. It consists of three fundamental components: 1)    Rumination, e.g.: “I can’t stop thinking about how…

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Novice Bench and Press Plug-In

By | Training | 54 Comments

Note: We published this protocol in the Barbell Medicine newsletter in March of 2018, but have since added some additional context, explanation, and recommendations for this intervention. Be sure and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on all the latest content! A novice lifter is someone who can add weight to the exercises being performed each time they train, typically every 48 hours. Ideally, the increased load functions as both a display of the strength previously developed as well as a training stress designed to facilitate further improvement. As the novice phase comes to a close however,…

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A Novel Approach For Replacing USELESS RPE

By | Training | 9 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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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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