For really busy active adults, working both strength and cardio conditioning into the same gym session is a time-saving solution for staying in shape. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests post-workout whey protein might help you get more out of those concurrent training workouts.

Researchers had 8 healthy male subjects perform 8 sets of leg extensions for 5 reps using 80% of their one rep max before cycling for half an hour at 70% of capacity. Some got 25 grams of whey protein after this workout while the rest received a placebo. Tests taken an hour and 4 hours later showed that whey protein enhanced protein synthesis to a greater degree than exercise alone while helping to reduce blood markers of muscle breakdown.

True Strength Moment: Similar to what you might expect from traditional resistance training, it appears that whey protein can be an effective nutritional strategy for enhancing adaptations from combined resistance and cardio training.


Posted: January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


Lifting free weights isn’t the only way to build muscle size and strength. To give you more options for mixing up your routine, consider the findings of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that compared training with free weights to a variety of body weight exercises.

Ten college aged males with weight room experience performed 3 sets of 10 reps using 75% of their one rep max. On separate occasions they also did 3 sets of push-ups for 20 reps on the floor and also an exercise ball. Then these subjects combined push-ups with burpees and lateral crawling. Another circuit involved 3 half-minute bouts of rope battling and planks. The rest interval for all protocols was 2 minutes.

Oxygen consumption was greatest for rope battling and burpees. There were no differences between push-ups on the floor or an exercise ball, but adding the crawling element significantly increased metabolic demands. Planks were the easiest exercise to perform and the most challenging free weight movements were squats, lunges and deadlifts.

True Strength Moment: Switch up your stale routine by substituting some lifts for rope work and bodyweight exercises. Depending on how you plan it out, there’s a potential for concurrent training in this versatile group of options.


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Posted: December 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

You’ve probably seen pictures of bodybuilders with huge chains draped over their shoulders. Although this makes for a memorable image, there are some physiological benefits to working out with heavy chains. Researchers at Ohio State University and Texas A&M suggest what might and might not be achieved through chain training.

Compared to traditional barbell weight training, the addition of heavy chains helps build lower body strength, but not power. Also, the technique didn’t seem to have much of an additional impact on upper body strength or power.

True Strength Moment: As you raise the barbell, more links in the chain come off the floor to gradually increase the load. Team sports athletes might want to work some chain training into off-season leg day efforts to see if greater strength develops.

Your body can’t produce essential amino acids. They can only be taken in through diet. Although protein can be used for energy, your body prefers to use carbohydrates which get broken down into sugars faster than proteins are broken down into amino acids. So how long does it take for essential amino acids to stimulate protein synthesis? A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that it takes about 90 minutes.

Researchers had 16 healthy young male subjects consume 15 grams of essential amino acids all at once or in intervals spaced out over a span of 45 minutes. Although the different dosing strategies produced different increases in blood levels of amino acids, muscle protein synthesis was stimulated 90 minutes later in both cases, and this effect continued for 180 minutes after amino acid consumption before returning to normal levels. Now you have a timing strategy to apply to your training.


Posted: December 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combines what’s typically a period of all-out effort with low to moderate intensity active recovery. These sets of intense to moderate effort can help you realize what you’d get out of a long steady state cycling session in about half the time. But do you have to go all out? A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine examines the effects of different approaches.

Researchers had 15 experienced cyclists engage in 3 intervals consisting of 3 minutes work with 3 minutes active recovery. On one visit to the gym, the 3 minutes of effort was all out. Based on that intensity, scientists programmed a computer to pace individual efforts at 85% of maximal oxygen consumption. A third trial was self-paced.

True Strength Moment: Ratings of perceived exertion were greatest for the all-out effort, and power output was lower during a 4 KM time trial after that session. If you’re tapering for competition, self-pacing your HIIT training in the lead up might help you arrive at the starting line fresh.