barbell health

The Barbell Health Series

How does strength training with barbells improve health and longevity?  Dr. Sullivan and Noah Hayden guest host this wide-ranging podcast series, discussing lifting for longevity, masters athletes, exercise modification and selection, programming for strength, the Sick Aging Phenotype, nutrition and sleep for recovery, female masters, the mindset of lifting, and much, much more.

Ep 1: The Sick Aging Phenotype and Exercise Medicine

Guest Hosts:  Dr. Jonathan Sullivan and Noah Hayden with Ann Buszard

Dr. Sullivan and Nurse Ann Buszard discuss their medical careers, observations of the “sick aging phenotype,” and the failures of the medical industry to confront the underlying causes of this cluster of sicknesses and symptoms.  They discuss how strength training directly addresses the causes of the sick aging phenotype.  They talk about their first-hand knowledge as first lifters then coaches of how this benefits people physically and mentally and how community helps make the experience more enjoyable and help people stick with training. 

Ep 2: The Barbell Prescription

Guest Hosts:  Jonathan Sullivan and Noah Hayden

Dr. Sullivan and Noah discuss the importance and uniqueness of strength compared to other physical attributes.  They address how older clients know the importance of strength and understand it allows them to function in everyday life and combat the sick aging phenotype.  

They discuss the exercise selection criteria and the exercise medicine criteria.  We choose exercises that train the most muscle mass over the longest effective range of motion with the most weight.  The medicine prescription criteria include:

  • Safety
  • Dosing (therapeutic window)
  • Comprehensive (hits general fitness attributes:  strength, power, endurance, mobility, balance, body composition)
  • Specific and effective (hits components of sick aging phenotype)
  • Simple and efficient

Barbell strength training fits both criteria.  

Noah Hayden argues for some additional exercise criteria and an additional set or programming criteria, and Dr. Sullivan and Noah discuss these.

Ep 3: Exercise Selection & Modification

Guest hosts:  Jonathan Sullivan and Noah Hayden with John Claassen

An expectation exists in many people that as we age we lose capabilities.  This message gets promulgated by much of the medical community.  “You have a bad knee” or “you have a bad back” and you can have surgery or take medication to manage it, but that is all you can do.  John Claassen–a 93-year old athlete of aging–is an example of why this paradigm is wrong.  He shows the possibilities of life and vitality and how one can fight the sick aging phenotype. 

Ep 4: Programming Masters

Guest hosts:  Jonathan Sullivan and Noah Hayden with Laura Welcher

Dr. Sullivan, Noah, and Laura discuss both the underlying programming principles and then some of the specifics of programming for masters athletes.  Laura discusses her programming and experience with coaching at Greysteel and through Barbell Logic.  They discuss some of the specific rep ranges and programming methods that have worked well recently, especially for intermediate and advanced athletes. 

One of the most important considerations with athletes is not overstressing them–the Minimum part of MED is truly critical, as they cannot afford an injury or setback like a younger athlete.  They lift to live, not live to lift.   

Ep 5: Female Masters

Guest hosts:  Jonathan Sullivan and Noah Hayden with Debbie Wrotslavsky

Dr. Sullivan, Noah, and Debbie discuss how she came to Greysteel and how it differed from her previous fitness experiences.  Her friends noticed her improved posture and she felt better throughout the day.  

They discuss, first and foremost, how training females and males is mostly the same.  Certain patterns and choices seem to work better–on average–for females over males.  Females tend to respond better to triples than fives, whereas fives seem to work better for males, especially on lower body lifts.  Despite fears from some that lifting heavy weights will contribute to a bulky look, females look and feel better after some time lifting heavy weights.  Female masters, however, beyond appearance, benefit from strength training and the resultant muscle mass and stronger bones more than any other group. 

Ep 6: Sleep & Nutrition to Recover for the Athlete of Aging

Guest hosts:  Jonathan Sullivan and Noah Hayden with Ann Buszard

Dr. Sullivan, Noah, and Ann discuss the most-undervalued step of the stress-recovery-adapation process:  recovery.  The further examine sleep, the often underexamined contributor to recovery.  They discuss recommended sleep hygiene habits to get asleep quickly, stay asleep, and get quality sleep.  They also examine nutrition, with a focus on practicality and common sense.  

Ep 7: The Mindset of Lifting

Guest hosts:  Jonathan Sullivan and Noah Hayden with Jaime Collins

You’re an athlete.  You’re not a victim.  You’re not a patient.  You’re training.  You’re changing your habits, you’re owning your health and fitness, you’re putting in work and getting better.  You know why you’re training.  You’re an athlete, and you have an athlete’s mindset and approach.  

Beyond the athletic mindset, there is a confidence that comes from lifting rituals:  number of breaths, which leg you step forward with, unracking and racking the bar.  Take decision-making and your brain out of it–beyond the one cue you keep in mind to help make the lift.  

Bonus:  The Best Exercise Program For Depression

Rebroadcast from Dr. David Puder’s podcast Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Matt and Dr. Puder discuss how barbell training can improve mental health and assist those combating depression and other psychological struggles.

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