Barbell Rehab is Patient Empowerment

In Rehab by Michael Mash

Photo credit Dr. Austin Baraki

Despite the numerous physiological benefits of barbell training, there is also another commonly forgotten reward!

The Older Adult
A commonly seen problem in the older population is generalized deconditioning. As we get older, if we don’t regularly exercise, life can become increasingly challenging. Suddenly, people find it difficult to perform basic activities of daily living such as standing up from a chair or reaching overhead into a cupboard.

Unfortunately, along with this comes the thought that they are inherently “frail” and “weak.” While regular exercise such as walking and generalized conditioning can certainly improve everyday function, the barbell offers a benefit that these other methods simply cannot match.

Psychological Reward

Anyone that works with me that has a lower quarter injury (low back, hip, knee, ankle) will be taught some variation or a squat or deadlift. Why? Because these are the best way to load and train basic human movement patterns.

Take a grandmother who is struggling to bend down and pick up her grandchild off of the floor. I promise you if you can get her barbell deadlifting with proper form, suddenly picking her grandchild up is a piece of cake. Additionally, what may be even more important is that psychological feeling of being “old” and “weak” suddenly goes away. Not only to they begin to feel “strong” again, their entire aspect on life begins to change!

They no longer begin to fear bringing the groceries in because they might “throw their hip out.” They know they won’t…because they are not as fragile as they though they were. They are resilient!

More Barbells, Less Ultrasound
With this feeling of resiliency comes a sense of self-efficacy. Patients no longer repeatedly crave pointless electrical stimulation and ultrasound to “feel” good.

All this does is cause many to seek out care for the same issue throughout their entire life without any permanent resolution. Now, THEY have the power to workout and own their health!

Conclusion
Barbell rehab is patient empowerment. By progressively loading the older adult population, potent psychological changes occur such as increased muscle mass, increased insulin sensitivity, and increased cardiovascular health. However, what may be even more important, is these folks begin to view themselves as strong and in control of their health again!

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