I am going through a phase of getting bored with reading people’s opinions about training, fitness and diet. It is starting to take quite a lot to get me interested in a health or fitness article now.
The only things that really make me sit up and pay attention are where the author is writing about a recent study, a trend or about what Seth Roberts calls ”personal science”. Personal science is just data gathered from making observations in real life.
Essentially, personal science is actually real science but with lower barriers to doing experiments, more ecological validity and less statistical significance. It’s amazing how much we find out when we stop and observe things instead of just repeating what our favourite internet author said last week…
Strength and conditioning
- Charles Poliquin’s team have reviewed a recent study showing that repeated sprints help improve judo performance. Charles suggests that such sprints could be useful for all martial artists.
- Brad Schoenfeld describes his experience of the recent NSCA conference, at which he was a speaker. Ever the educator, though, Brad doesn’t talk much about what he ate or drank, he tells us what the speakers had to say! Of great interest to me was his review of the presentation by Brent Alvar, who Brad reports as focusing on ”the importance of higher volumes of training in promoting increases in strength and hypertrophy.” Brad reports that Brent’s opinion is that “the single set approach, which certainly can produce gains, simply is not sufficient if maximal results are desired.”
Biomechanics, physiology and physical therapy
- Regular readers will know that I am very interested in the concept of elastic energy and how it is stored in muscles and tendons during running and jumping. My research reviews so far have suggested to me that elastic energy is not trainable or at least not easily trainable. I also am not convinced that there is much energy storage in tendons either. So I was very interested to read John Cissik’s reviews of two older studies that seem to suggest that the whole elastic energy theory is not as robust as we think it is. Check out John’s reviews here and here.
- I am as guilty as the next person of assuming that most people’s hip flexors are tight, as a result of following the lower crossed syndrome hypothesis. So I was interested to read Greg Lehman’s post about hip flexors and whether they really can be made tight by a sedentary lifestyle. I liked the way that Greg made it clear nothing in his post challanges the fact that typical lower crossed syndrome approaches are still very efffective in dealing with pain and dysfunction.
- Chris at Conditioning Research wonders whether there is a case to be made for older people to walk barefoot more. He notes an interesting study that reports how textured insoles make older people walk more carefully, possibly because of more stimulation to the plantar surface. Of course, encasing your feet in shoes for your whole life can’t be without symptoms of some sort…
Diet, paleo diet and evolutionary adaptations
- Primal Wisdom makes some very interesting points and references about the diet of the giant panda. Apparently, the panda has many of the hallmarks of a carnivore and very few attribute of a herbivore. I have to say that I think that some of the editorial around these points is a little aggressive – the argument is built up probably a bit too quickly. In particular, to dismiss changes in diet as a possible cause of modern disease because the panda was able to adapt to a herbivorous diet requires a lot more work than is found in this post and Pottenger’s cats at least deserve a passing reference if not an explanation.
Sleep, stress and health
- SAPT draws our attention to a recent study showing that exercise helps to regulate our circadian rhythms, meaning that it should help us get more sleep. The abstract says that “the molecular circadian clock in peripheral tissues can respond to the time of exercise suggesting that physical activity contributes important timing information for synchronization of circadian clocks throughout the body.” You can see the abstract here.
- Healthy Diets and Science reports on a recent study suggesting that adverse side effects cause 75% of elderly people to stop taking statins.
- And Dr Briffa argues that the side effects of statins may well go significantly underreported.
Other interesting stuff
- The Scholarly Kitchen talks about the importance of the peer-review process and why it is important for scientific study. It is very easy to be extremely critical about the politics and careerism that affects science these days (in that scientists doing the reviewing are often the people who will be submitting the next article, so they have to be nice!) so it is good to see a positive view point for a change.
That’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed the new format.