Stuff You Should Read:

She’s Powerlifting at 76, so You’re Officially Out of Excuses: Jen Murphy from the wall street journal tells the story of Pauline Horn. Pauline was going to physical therapy for her knees when he suggested strength training. After that Pauline was hooked and entered a local powerlifting meet… and no more knee pain.

The Shoulder, Part 2: External Impingement: Austin Baraki, Michael Ray, and Derek Miles from barbell medicine look at shoulder pain and common diagnosis in this shoulder series. In part two they look at external impingement. Shoulder impingement is often described as soft tissue structures around the shoulder (e.g., rotator cuff tendons and bursae) becoming compressed between the bony surfaces of the joint but does this really happen? If it does what should we do about it?

Training For Hypertrophy: The Case Against Muscle Damage: Carl Juneau from stronger by science looks at muscle damage and hypertrophy. It has always been said Training damages your muscles. Your muscles then repair, getting bigger and stronger in the process. But is it really true? Carl looks at the latest research that shows muscle damage isn’t as important as we once thought!

Instagram Post of the Week:

In this week's Instagram post of the week; Embrklifestyle looks at good exercises vs. bad exercises.

A close up of a newspaper Description automatically generated

@embrklifestyle - [GOOD EXERCISE VS. BAD EXERCISE]

This is one of the biggest dilemmas in the health, fitness and rehab industry. We hear this ALL the time whether it's the leg extension, sissy squats, deadlifts, Jefferson curl, upright row, etc.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinions but I think classifying movements as good and bad without any context to the individual is counterintuitive.

Any exercise that challenges you and does not exceed your tissue capacity is great because this is considered safe and it provides enough of an stimulus to elicit an adaptation. Now, that same exercise with a higher load can cause injury. Is it the exercise? No, it’s the load.

Next thing we should look at is do we have the prerequisites? Have we prepared ourselves to perform this movement based on our previous exposures to that same or similar stimulus? If it overwhelmingly exceeds the capacity that we have been working around then our likelihood of injury increases. This makes it unsafe and the opposite is true as well.

The last thing we look at is very subjective and it's the adaptation we are training for. Does this exercise carry over to something you want to achieve? If you are in the late stage of ACL rehab, the leg extension is great to help develop quadriceps strength but it's probably not a good idea in the acute phase.

Good and bad need context. These are general guidelines you can use for yourself when trying to figure out what constitutes a movement as good or bad. The bottom-line is our body's readiness to perform is constantly fluctuating so that means are ability to perform "good" or "bad" exercises are as well. - #regrann

Facebook Post of the Week:

In this week's Facebook post, Dr. Ben House looks at subjective fatigue and wanting to have more energy and feel better.  

Subjective fatigue is such a placebo circle jerk. The illusory etiology of fatigue drives me insane especially as it is currently exploited in the “health” field.

Most people want more energy and are perpetually searching for simple answers.

But what does want more energy even mean!? You want to “feel” better? What is “better”?

This is all a perceived construct based on perceived effort and your perception of how you feel and how you think you should feel.

This is not to say fatigue is not real, but objectively we have no way to measure it.

Fatigue can come from a lack of sleep and/or a lack of quality sleep, chronic over-nutrition, under-nutrition, or nutritional inadequacy. Fatigue can arise or co-present with depression, anxiety, PTSD, infections or cancer. Fatigue can be physical and/or mental and these are always inter-related. Fatigue can result from boredom (understimulation) or overload (overstimulation).

There is NO biomarker for fatigue and asking someone if they are fatigued and why is a self-fulfilling echo chamber.

Most humans in the modern world have chronically under-slept and under-moved for decades while eating a calorie-rich nutrient poor diet.

Many humans also perceive their daily effort as very high when they are literally doing not much of anything (myself included).

Maybe, we read some words, play with excel for some amount of hours and answer more emails than we would like. We take this same desk jockey and we put them on a construction crew and they might even be more energized from the change in scenery and uptick in new problems, but physically they are blasted for a few weeks. Then they get used to the new situation and they likely get bored and both physically and mentally fatigued.

You take a construction worker and put him at a desk and same thing…A few weeks of, “oh this is new and cool” and then boredom...understimulation or overstimulation and subjective fatigue.

The novelty always wears off and we humans are and will always be neophiles/neophiliacs.

We can build habits to support/promote proper sleep, nutrition, and movement and we can also work on our underlying awareness of the psychological aspects of subjective fatigue.

“We have identified three components that are essential to understand the occurrence of fatigue:

1) the perception of effort

2) the propensity to exercise effort, which is the product of a decision-making process

3) the motivation, which depends from several factors and will influence the propensity

to exercise effort.”

-Pattryn et al. 2018 – Frontiers in Psychology

The best way to think about this is in the gym.

Someone comes in with the ideology and preconceived belief that everything in the weight room is going to be hard, arduous. Thus, everything feels heavy and they stop 22 reps before they would actually fail.

Their perception is running the show. This will likely be every new trainee without a sporting background. They will either meet this demand with vigor or they will buckle from it. Perception and results are one of the reasons it is likely so important to help new clients find out where failure actually is safely. There is a balance here as training to failure is not necessary to drive results, but getting close to failure is and if you never learn what it feels like to really have 1 or 2 reps left in the clip you are doomed to live in the cesspool of mediocrity. #PlanetFitness

These clients who perpetually buckle are extremely hard to deal with as they will always seek out novelty and ways to subvert progressive overload. As a coach you are going to have to assess if they really want results or if they just want to waddle around in their self-grandizing not-real suffering.

The clients that attack training head on are fun and you are likely going to have to rein them in, but not too much…let them go too fast…they likely have to find the red line and maybe even the wall all by themselves.

Trained subjects are not invincible against the creeping normality of perceived effort either, this is where training groups are so important as many times we will get stuck on our perceived ability to lift some weight for some ceiling of reps and then we lift with others and find out, “shit I could really do three more reps at that weight.”

And then you realize you’ve been sandbagging it for the last three training cycles.

As you become more trained you get a lot better at knowing where failure is. Your perception of effort matches the actual effort, and thus you are able to make more educated decisions on whether to go for that last rep or not.

I have taken rep maxes to a point where the concentric phase of the last rep is 13 seconds. Most people’s initial move would be to grab the bar to help, but it is still moving ever so slowly and the humans I lift with will give me the opportunity to make the choice. AND this ability to go there in the gym seems to permeate out into other aspects of life and I am honored to know many others who can go there as well as laugh at their own perceived efforts.

Which leads us to awareness of our perceptions.

As you become more aware, you get a lot better at knowing if your fatigue is real, not real, or task specific. Your perception of your effort matches the actual effort and thus you are able to make more educated decisions on what the best course of action is. You also likely know that growth only happens when you overload the system…when you stretch it thin.

You also know that your subconscious is never going to like this feeling. It will perpetually prefer the novelty of scrolling your Instagram feed.

Written By: Paul Milano