Keeping Up with Current Research (May 2016)

Research can provide golden information to health & fitness professionals. If you’re a personal trainer, here are some recent findings to help you get ahead of the pack:

Short Specific Warm-Ups

“It was concluded that a short warm-up is as effective as a long warm-up for intermediate performance. Therefore, athletes can choose for themselves if they want to include a general part in their warm-up routines, even though it would not enhance their running performance more compared with only using a short specific warm-up. However, to increase efficiency of time for training or competition these short specific warm-up should be performed instead of long warm-ups.”

Note: It takes only 10-15 seconds of muscular contractions to raise body temperature by 1ºC and a proper warm-up should raise body temperature by 1-2ºC (1.4-2.8ºF), just enough to cause sweating. That’s it!

In fact, simply going through the motions of any exercise is sufficient to supply blood to the appropriate working muscles. Just a few repetitions is all you need to really warm-up the muscles; aerobic activity is not necessary, and will zap valuable energy and time.

You can read more about this in The 3 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes in Their Fitness Warm-up.

Hexagonal or Olympic Barbell Deadlifts

“the deadlift may be an optimal choice for athletes in jump dependent sports, regardless of bar.”

Note: Mark Rippetoe tells you everything you need to know about an Olympic barbell deadlift in this one sentence: “You just step up to the bar with a vertical-jump stance width, with toes out and your shins about an inch from the bar, grab it just outside your stance with your knees still straight, then bend your knees forward and out a little bit until your shins touch the bar, squeeze your chest up until your back is flat, take a big breath, and drag the bar up your legs until you’re standing up straight.” (Source: T Nation)

A Great Way to Improve Your Posture

“This prospective study demonstrated positive short-term impact of the Posture Shirt® on both subjective and objective measures of posture, lung function, grip strength, fatigue, and productivity.”

Note: When I do work on the computer, I wear my Adrenalease Posture Performance Shirt. If you have rounded shoulders, listen up. You can do corrective exercises a few minutes a week and achieve mediocre results, or you can wear a shirt like this a few hours a day and achieve great results!

Quality or Quantity of Training

“the progressive accumulation of muscle fatigue as indicated by a more pronounced repetition velocity loss appears as an important variable in the configuration of the resistance exercise stimulus as it influences functional and structural neuromuscular adaptations.”

Note: If your goal is to incease power with the use of submaximal loads in training, then focus on speed quality. According to Charles Staley in his presentation The Law of Sustainable Progress, “If your bar speed drops below 90% of your best effort, stop! This eliminates the “junk reps” and puts the emphasis on quality reps.” However, if the goal is muscle hypertrophy, a greater quantity of work and a higher amount of muscle fatigue are more important variables than speed quality.

Speed Training After Weight Training

“10m sprint time was significantly faster (mean±standard deviation; speed weights 1.80±0.11s versus weights speed 1.76±0.08s; p>0.05) when speed was sequenced second… speed may be enhanced when performed as the second session.”

Note: Sequencing speed training after weight training is a great way to take advantage of the lingering neural effects from the previous strengh session. This should help promote an improvement in athletic performance, but it may also be useful for body composition purposes.

Earlier this year, I was a speaker for the Body Transformation World Summit. Another speaker during the event was Tyson James Lee, who revealed a sprint program that he claimed can maximize your production of Human Growth Hormone by as much as 10 times. The protocol consists of 8 rounds of 30-second sprints at varying intensities followed by 90-second breaks between sprints. There’s far more to it, of course, but if you’re looking for an interval program to help you achieve 6-pack abs this summer, this is one to check out.

Diet vs Training for Weight Loss

“both exercise and diet reduce VAT [visceral adiposity]. Despite a larger effect of diet on total body weight loss, exercise tends to have superior effects in reducing VAT. Finally, total body weight loss does not necessarily reflect changes in VAT and may represent a poor marker when evaluating benefits of lifestyle-interventions.”

Note: Forget the scale. As the Iron Guru Vince Gironda once said, “I would like to be the first man in the gym business to throw out my scale. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, what difference does it make what the scale says?”

Large Before Small Muscle Group Exercises

“Performing large muscle group exercises first in RE [resistance exercise] training and progressing to small muscle group produced greater anabolic hormonal response relative to reverse sequence in normal-weight young adult men.”

Note: As I mentioned in my Advanced Body Composition Strategies seminar last month, a great way to manage fatigue is to combine multi-joint movements with single-joint movements and alternate sets between lower body and upper body exercises. For example, you can pair squats with arm curls, deadlifts with triceps extensions, bench press with leg curls, pull-ups with leg extensions, and so on. 

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