Top 5 Weight Exercises for Disc Golfers | How I Went From 500ft to 700ft Pt.1

I really like that program you outlined! Compartmentalizes form changes to when they should happen, and the in-season component has really nice tapering down of the heavier loading/more fatiguing as you go thru the week and towards game day.

Also love the Friday visualization work. It reminds me of the shakeout sessions sprinters do the day before meets.

That's super cool that you are a neuroscientist - I bet you'll be able to help me with a lot of the terminology and specific physiology. Totally understand where you are coming from as I was pretty general about how I said the CNS stuff.

I'm mainly referring to the depletion of neurotransmitters from synapses (in brain and spine) and whatever other stuff happens from repetitive forceful muscle contractions, but I'm sure there is a lot of other stuff going on that you know much more about.

A lot of my background with it just comes from tried and true empirical evidence from S&C coaches over the decades, personal experience, and also Andrew Huberman's resources on his podcast but I'd love to learn more about it since it's so impactful to what I'm trying to do with sports.

Something I am curious about, is when we are exhausted from more mentally dominant work and then push it in the weight room (and do whatever it takes to hit the target numbers), I always feel exponentially more fatigue/limited ability to produce mental and physical outcomes, as well as drastically increased need for sleep. Do you and your peers think there may be some or lots of overlap between the neural pathways used for purely mental and purely motor-related functions (such that those synapses are both getting depleted at similar times, etc) or is it just overall brain "exhaustion" that causes the inhibitions?

Thanks re: the feedback on my general summary up there. Maybe other people can let us know how their own methods work.

Huberman's a serious academic scientist (meaning he gets major funding and publishes regularly in places most people in neuroscience would like to) with core research in neuroopthamology and regenerative mechanisms in visual pathways, plus some focus on physiological stress responses (cortisol and related effects). He usually works with mice. I wouldn't pretend to know as much as him there. He sometimes dabbles in conditioned fear responses or other nonvisual systems in rodents.

What I think I know better and is one of the core areas of debate in cognitive (mental) vs. physical fatigue is about the mechanisms of action. For a while, people thought that cognitive fatigue functioned similarly to depletion hypotheses in other systems like ACh depletion in motor end plates, somewhat like the gas tank running dry temporarily. Fine idea at face value. There was a period of debate and studies, and long story short, those hypotheses haven't fared well. The physiological evidence at the neurotransmitter level and the behaviors don't square up. Worse, the subjective ("felt") and objective (performative) indicators of cognitive and motor fatigue also don't always line up. So even if there ends up being some legitimacy to part of that story, it cannot be the whole thing.

At the same time and closer to my world, there were other models emerging about how brains predict rewards and deploys brain circuits to manage tasks ("effort"). As opposed to strictly the neurotransmitter level, they function at a computational level. Basically, if your brain predicts that a behavior is going to be sufficiently rewarding, it mounts more resources to complete the task and feels less fatigued. In that model, fatigue is associated with subjective or objective signals, which is your brain basically opting out when insufficient rewards are expected. Example: if you've ever been through an acutely stressful moment in a meeting at work where the future seems a little grim and felt tired right afterward, then you know what I am talking about. Those models are incomplete and involve a little bit of fuzziness, but are showing signs of success. *

The cognitive-physical thing you're talking about gets more interesting and more complicated. IMO no one has it fully figured out, because we barely understand parts of each end of it. There's almost certainly something true to stress hormones causing inflammatory responses that are cued by events (like working on something stressful) throughout the day that tax the body or are chronically elevated in distressed persons. Relatedly, there is also evidence that the computational thing happens here too because it is computing that the body is taxed - that fatigue you feel is the brain computing "enough is enough" and telling you to shut it down for recovery. These ideas together explain (in part) why people who find their job low stress and highly rewarding to be more likely to anticipate further rewards and get better responses from physical activity the same days they work.

*Incidentally these models are one way to explain why some people like athletes continue to grind through very hard processes - their brain has computed that it will be very rewarding after a long period of delayed gratification (weeks/months/years). They also tend to anticipate and then find things like hard workouts more rewarding than the average person.
 
Thanks re: the feedback on my general summary up there. Maybe other people can let us know how their own methods work.

Huberman's a serious academic scientist (meaning he gets major funding and publishes regularly in places most people in neuroscience would like to) with core research in neuroopthamology and regenerative mechanisms in visual pathways, plus some focus on physiological stress responses (cortisol and related effects). He usually works with mice. I wouldn't pretend to know as much as him there. He sometimes dabbles in conditioned fear responses or other nonvisual systems in rodents.

What I think I know better and is one of the core areas of debate in cognitive (mental) vs. physical fatigue is about the mechanisms of action. For a while, people thought that cognitive fatigue functioned similarly to depletion hypotheses in other systems like ACh depletion in motor end plates, somewhat like the gas tank running dry temporarily. Fine idea at face value. There was a period of debate and studies, and long story short, those hypotheses haven't fared well. The physiological evidence at the neurotransmitter level and the behaviors don't square up. Worse, the subjective ("felt") and objective (performative) indicators of cognitive and motor fatigue also don't always line up. So even if there ends up being some legitimacy to part of that story, it cannot be the whole thing.

At the same time and closer to my world, there were other models emerging about how brains predict rewards and deploys brain circuits to manage tasks ("effort"). As opposed to strictly the neurotransmitter level, they function at a computational level. Basically, if your brain predicts that a behavior is going to be sufficiently rewarding, it mounts more resources to complete the task and feels less fatigued. In that model, fatigue is associated with subjective or objective signals, which is your brain basically opting out when insufficient rewards are expected. Example: if you've ever been through an acutely stressful moment in a meeting at work where the future seems a little grim and felt tired right afterward, then you know what I am talking about. Those models are incomplete and involve a little bit of fuzziness, but are showing signs of success. *

The cognitive-physical thing you're talking about gets more interesting and more complicated. IMO no one has it fully figured out, because we barely understand parts of each end of it. There's almost certainly something true to stress hormones causing inflammatory responses that are cued by events (like working on something stressful) throughout the day that tax the body or are chronically elevated in distressed persons. Relatedly, there is also evidence that the computational thing happens here too because it is computing that the body is taxed - that fatigue you feel is the brain computing "enough is enough" and telling you to shut it down for recovery. These ideas together explain (in part) why people who find their job low stress and highly rewarding to be more likely to anticipate further rewards and get better responses from physical activity the same days they work.

*Incidentally these models are one way to explain why some people like athletes continue to grind through very hard processes - their brain has computed that it will be very rewarding after a long period of delayed gratification (weeks/months/years). They also tend to anticipate and then find things like hard workouts more rewarding than the average person.

Wow, thank you for laying that all out, tons of nuggets in there and I had to read it a few times to make sure I caught it all. You were very humble about how you stated your area of work but I'll have to say, I think high level sports teams and trainers would really want to hire you to consult on this stuff because of how relevant it is to performance.

Way above my paygrade, but because you elaborated it well I can start to see how the reward pathways are making it really hard to find what exactly is contributing to the perceived and also measured fatigue and loss of performance. The work fulfillment thing you mentioned was something I experienced recently with the online coaching, so that really hit home. Felt myself working nearly twice times as many hours, sleeping less, but still performing very well athletically on the track and with throwing (albeit being cautious with physical tissue recovery).

When I think about the Caribbean sprinters, guys like Usain Bolt had simple training, not a lot of fancy equipment or recovery tools, but set untouchable world records in the most highly contested events. With their more laid back/well socialized lifestyle and loving their sport so much, makes you wonder if their nervous systems were adapting and recovering better than people in other countries that are more high tech but less happy/dopamine driven.

Are things still super in flux with research being strategized or are we close to having peer reviewed literature on some of the more modern findings with this all?
 
Wow, thank you for laying that all out, tons of nuggets in there and I had to read it a few times to make sure I caught it all. You were very humble about how you stated your area of work but I'll have to say, I think high level sports teams and trainers would really want to hire you to consult on this stuff because of how relevant it is to performance.
Thanks, I tried to balance between too long and too short. Incidentally I do have interests in consulting now but haven't thought seriously about when/how to start. I used to think that it was only the domain for sports psychologists, but recently started to think that the cognitive neuroscientists could have a role in bridging some gaps.

Way above my paygrade, but because you elaborated it well I can start to see how the reward pathways are making it really hard to find what exactly is contributing to the perceived and also measured fatigue and loss of performance. The work fulfillment thing you mentioned was something I experienced recently with the online coaching, so that really hit home. Felt myself working nearly twice times as many hours, sleeping less, but still performing very well athletically on the track and with throwing (albeit being cautious with physical tissue recovery).

Yes, anecdotally part of what you experienced seems related there. That also explains why sometimes people "bounce back" after periods of chronic stress. E.g., I experienced that myself recently - I was incredibly burned out most of last year. After getting tenure and immediately going on family leave for kid #2, I realized I still fundamentally liked most of what I was doing, but I had to start being much more deliberate about how and when I organized my rewards and stressors. I also had to explicitly decide what not to care about. Everyone's on and off of that struggle bus throughout their lives. It is part hormonal and basic stress response, part rewards, and all those related things.

On that theme, you might also appreciate some of Robert Sapolsky's take on stress, reward systems, and depression. Sapolsky made his career in the neurobiology of stress, and his book "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" permanently changed how I think about stress, especially in our culture. You appreciate long-format info: this is an older Sapolsky talk but still relevant, especially with the epidemic of anxious-depressive disorders in the US:


When I think about the Caribbean sprinters, guys like Usain Bolt had simple training, not a lot of fancy equipment or recovery tools, but set untouchable world records in the most highly contested events. With their more laid back/well socialized lifestyle and loving their sport so much, makes you wonder if their nervous systems were adapting and recovering better than people in other countries that are more high tech but less happy/dopamine driven.
That's cool and I never really thought much about it before. There may be/probably is something very real to that. I'm also still pleased to find that with just a few simple tools I can do a lot for my physical health even when it's very hard to get to a gym these days. In some ways simplifying the environment can help you focus on what's fun, creative, and effective, I think. Another anecdote: I seem to be happier planning and doing workouts and trying new things because they are connected to having a good time with people on the weekend. So it's like a virtuous cycle if you line your rewards up with your goals.

A related concept in neuroscience is "exploration vs. exploitation." Dopamine has a role in toggling whether you'll stick around a mine a known resource or habit, or try something new. The former is safe, but can get boring and stagnate you. The latter is riskier due to unknowns, but can potentially yield greater rewards. This basic concept explains a lot about individual differences, happiness/depression, and performance, probably.

Are things still super in flux with research being strategized or are we close to having peer reviewed literature on some of the more modern findings with this all?
"Ask ten different scientists and get eleven different answers" comes to mind. But it turns out that people often agree more than now in science because progress does occur in psychology and neuroscience despite how it sometimes appears. I wanted to share a general pattern and a specific example from my own life.

I would say that we still have the "silo" problem in science because in most domains, individual people are heavily rewarded for acting on their own merits in our academic systems. In many institutions, if you are too collaborative and not selfish enough, you might not get promoted and your job will end (literally). The pro to that system is you really do end up with deep expertise and knowledge in domains. The con is that we have trouble in general building and sustaining systems that allow everyone to piece the knowledge together. That's why, e.g., I can think I know a lot about reward and effort and self-control neuroscience and see the lack of it in sports psych or eating disorders or whatever, but getting me to actually work with other people usually requires significant initiative and sometimes external motivation.

This even happens within the same departments in the same schools. I was at a student talk last week and on the very first slide I noticed she was missing one of the most influential concepts in the field about a brain region (dorsal anterior cingulate), which had consequences for how she analyzed and interpreted her data. I asked her "how interactive do you want me to be?" Everyone laughed and then we got into it and had a good discussion. This student has been in my class on a different topic & her advisor sits two doors down from me, and we had simply never talked about this project. So I started helping the student groups immediately get people talking to one another, because that's often where the most exciting and best work starts between fields. The student invited me to her committee and in my book that's a good outcome for everyone. It is also one of the best reasons for tenure in my opinion because it allows people with deep expertise to work more broadly and less selfishly (some people remain incredibly selfish but that's another topic).

So I think it's better than it used to be, but if I could make one change at our schools and NIH and NSF, it would be "give people good reasons to work together while also working on themselves."
 
@Brychanus thank you for the book and video link, those are the exact kind of things I can see myself reading/listening so good call there.

The exploration vs. exploitation thing really rings a bell, seems like a lot of high achievers bias towards doing a lot of the latter (could be wrong here just my cursory understanding).

It's interesting to hear about what it's like at that cutting edge in academic research like what you are involved in. Nice that things are getting better over time with what's incentivized for job progression etc.

One of my best friends was doing grad studies at Columbia and him being able to walk down the hall and talk to some of these top people in their field (computer/brain integration stuff I believe) reminds me of your story. Probably so beneficial for young people to have such immediate access to the hard earned knowledge from tenured researchers rather than it being excessively compartmentalized!
 
One thing I would offer, is to be very, very, critical of any `exercise science` based papers you consume. The work is underfunded. The work is rarely done on a large enough sample size, so you are forced to rely on a meta analysis. An unforgivable amount of the literature has simple statistical errors in it. A large percentage of the work has been unable to be reproduced. Hell, a lot of the research is done on people who are `new` to training, what does research on a novice lifter mean for me, as a already OK-ish lifter? I'm not saying to not value it, but you should be skeptical by default.

Here is Greg Nuckols, who everyone respects talking about it:
 
One thing I would offer, is to be very, very, critical of any `exercise science` based papers you consume.

I agree with this. The trends you describe also are true of many areas of physical medicine and rehabilitation, unfortunately.
 
@axion @Brychanus agreed here as well, anytime the papers don't line up with people's experiences or general theory it's a huge red flag.

One of the worst ones I can think of is when a rounding error propagated to the recommended daily intake of vit D being less than 1/10th what it should have been (~600IU vs. almost ~9,000IU for 97.5% of people to reach lower threshold of optimal levels).

Could easily see on blood work that serum vit D levels for most people were not in an optimal range but the old literature with rounding error caused the standard to be set and accepted for too long.

Strength and condition and fitness have especially had some bad eggs with funders in cahoots with people selling protein supplements or selling a certain lifting styles :/
 
Feeling some responsibility that some of my peers do in fact not have their heads entirely in the sand, there is some hope that people can band together and ask "hey, is that really true?"

This reproducibility study was a massive undertaking that rarely happens in any area in science (hopefully you can also download the attached pdf). It required dozens of research groups to coordinate an effort to reproduce the findings from 100 studies in psychology. It almost immediately became one of the most influential papers of all time.

Spoiler alert: the news wasn't great, but not universally bad. It was also not surprising to many of us. Many people have moved on entirely from basing studies on the adorable ideas that led us to an obsession with "p<0.05," which is an "accident" of psychology's self-consciousness and ironic fear that it is an illegitimate science. This is a fair summary of how it got to be so bad in the first place.

If you think these issues only apply to psychology, you would be mistaken, so in that sense they are still on the "leading edge" of self-correction. But there is a long way to go, and we can do much better.
 

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hahaha.

This is a hilarious topic in general without his video. 7 years old though, goodness.
Because as soon as you realize that anyone can publish a paper. And we look to "published works" as the "truth and be all end all" of things. .. Then you find out about the group who made up a bunch of fake research papers about some really BS stuff just to see if they would be published... And what was it like.. 80% of them got published?

Yeah, scientific journals are "theory" papers.

And our society has forgotten how science and the scientific method works.
They don't know what "theories" are anymore, and anyone out there on the news teaching theories as "facts" need to be taken out back and beaten heavily with a lead pipe. Because that is flat lying to people about things and people believe it.



I think this is it.


But just this alone gives you some interesting information all together.

Sorry for being so off topic, this is one of the most hilarious subjects to me because of how people talk about things in the real world and "the science is settled" and all that other stuff.
When nobody seems to know the difference between theory, idea's, hypothesis and what not. Everything is just like "oh some published paper, its fact then." and ... yeah.
 
Feeling some responsibility that some of my peers do in fact not have their heads entirely in the sand, there is some hope that people can band together and ask "hey, is that really true?"

This reproducibility study was a massive undertaking that rarely happens in any area in science (hopefully you can also download the attached pdf). It required dozens of research groups to coordinate an effort to reproduce the findings from 100 studies in psychology. It almost immediately became one of the most influential papers of all time.

Spoiler alert: the news wasn't great, but not universally bad. It was also not surprising to many of us. Many people have moved on entirely from basing studies on the adorable ideas that led us to an obsession with "p<0.05," which is an "accident" of psychology's self-consciousness and ironic fear that it is an illegitimate science. This is a fair summary of how it got to be so bad in the first place.

If you think these issues only apply to psychology, you would be mistaken, so in that sense they are still on the "leading edge" of self-correction. But there is a long way to go, and we can do much better.

Psychology is a fun topic and has always been a passion of mine. Especially the social engineering side of it.

And with a lot of the changes in how we view things over the last 20 years, my observations with my rudimentary studies, I have come to some pretty interesting theories on a few of the topics overall with the human condition. And a lot of that is driven from us trying to find answers, not really having the answers, but applying it anyways without actually taking the time to understand why it wasn't an issue previously.
 
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