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Barbell Logic

Jul 19, 2021

Noah Hayden continues his discussion with Niki & Matt, now laying out & discussing his proposed exercise selection criteria and programming criteria. 

Below are his proposed exercise selection criteria. 
  • train the most muscle mass
  • in normal, predictable movement patterns
  • requiring normal coordination when possible
  • over the longest effective range of motion
  • to lift the most weight
  • that is structurally sustainable
  • with exercises that have a wide therapeutic window
What are we looking at when we discuss the longest effective range of motion? We're looking at the movement of the joint: how much the bones move around the joint. A good proxy for this, however, is the distance the barbell moves.

We also need to think that it's not really a huge deal if someone is using a safety squat bar instead of a low bar back squat. The low bar squat is our default, but if they can't low bar squat we adjust and do the best we can.

How do we take these exercises and create a program? Below are the programming criteria Noah proposed.
  • train all major muscle groups
  • with the least number of exercises as is practical
  • that do not interfere with other adaptations
  • any movement done to failure must be as low skill as possible
  • in the minimum effective dose required to continue making progress
This goes back to the discussion of goals in part 1, but if you're training for a sport, you can't train strength optimally as you have to prioritize the sport (you have a time budget and a recovery budget).

Strength needs to help your sport performance, not take away from it. 

These criteria also help with choosing when we add accessories. Initially, the deadlift is enough stress for the muscles of the upper back. But at some point it isn't, so we need to add chin ups or barbell rows or pull ups or lat pull downs. 

Check out the Barbell Health Series, where Noah first pitched the beginnings of some of these ideas, and his article, where he discusses these in more detail. 

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