Programming Masters Athletes

Dr. Jonathon Sullivan and Noah Hayden continue their Barbell Health podcast series, this time discussing programming masters athletes.

They discuss the similarities and differences with programming younger lifters. Additionally, they cover common pitfalls, increased risks, and important considerations.

Laura Welcher joins them, sharing her strength journey and how her programming has changed over time.

You can check out more of Sully’s work on the Greysteel YouTube channel.

Check out the Barbell Logic podcast landing page for free resources, recent offers, & more.


Programming Considerations for Seniors

Programming is balancing stress and recovery.

Without stress there is no adaptation. Without recovery there is no adaptation.

Seniors’ muscle, bone, and connective tissue is older. Recovering from stresses becomes harder. Programming masters athletes must take this into consideration.

The risk of overloading or overstressing a masters athletes is too great, and one must err on too little, not too much, stress. An injury, with the resultant break from training and activity, is too grave and serious a risk.

Older lifters are intensity-dependent. If someone is only squatting one-hundred pounds, performing 5×5 @ 70 lbs is a waste of time.

Additionally, be weary of too much volume (and, similarly, too much frequency).

Programming Masters Athletes

Masters Athletes begin their strength journey, like anyone else, on a linear progression program.

Exercises may be modified, but the stress increases linearly while this possibility remains.

As linear progression slows, the program almost always moves into a heavy-light-medium, as opposed to Texas Method, variant (although, of course, Texas Method is essentially a form of high-low-medium).

Masters athletes almost never reach an advanced programming state. It requires a sustained consistency over a long period of time, which rarely occurs. It also requires an amount of time and focus that almost never occurs.

Lastly, most advanced programs require the lifter to undergo an accumulation of stress that brings that athlete to the brink of overtraining. For programming masters athletes, the brink of overtraining must be avoided.




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