If you put your mind to it, you can come up with several ways to perform reps for just about any resistance training exercise. One variation is pausing between reps on certain sets, and a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows how the effect it can have on workload.

Researchers had subjects perform 4 sets of knee extensions for 12 reps using 70% of their one rep max. Some did continuous reps while others paused either 5 seconds or 10 seconds during reps in the middle sets. Pausing increased systolic blood pressure and cardiac output more than constant reps, but subjects reported a lower rate of perceived exertion.

True Strength Moment: Despite an elevated cardiovascular response, pausing during middle sets makes the effort seem easier. Give this strategy a try to see what it does for your weight room workouts. And check today’s Performance Blog to see what all-out 200 meter swimming alters.


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle. It’s considered conditionally essential because your body can produce an adequate supply under normal conditions. But the weight room has a way of taking normal to the extreme. A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests glutamine might help with eccentric exercise recovery.

Sixteen subjects performed 8 sets of knee extensions for 10 reps using 125% of maximum force with 2 minutes of rest between sets. Some supplemented with 0.3 grams of glutamine per kg of body weight for 3 days while the rest got a maltodextrin placebo. Men using glutamine produced greater peak torque post-workout compared to placebo takers, and both men and women using glutamine reported lower levels of soreness 72 hours after training.

True Strength Moment: Glutamine appears to help accelerate recovery from eccentric exercise. Men seem to regain muscular force faster than women when using this supplement. For research on how different carbs power endurance exercise, read today’s Performance Blog post.



Whey and casein are both milk proteins, with whey the faster digesting and casein taking a longer amount of time to be absorbed. This separates them into unique usage occasions for different aspects of workout recovery. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests digestion rate isn’t the only area of differentiation between these dairy proteins.

Researchers incorporated each protein as 15% of the calories in a high-fat meal served to 10 healthy overweight men. Blood levels of glucose, amino acids and insulin weren’t very different after the meal, but post-meal triglycerides were reduced by around 20% with casein. The effect lasted for 6 hours.

True Strength Moment: It turns out that casein’s lower acidity compared to whey helps separate more protein from fat. With whey, protein tends to be suspended in fat globules known as chylomicrons which transport nutrients throughout the body.


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To measure the effect of a high-protein diet and heavy weight lifting, researchers recruited 48 adults with resistance training experience and assigned them to a diet where they consumed either 2.3 grams or 3.4 grams of protein per kg of body weight daily. Findings were published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

All subjects tracked progress in a split-routine periodized heavy resistance training program along with dietary intake in a journal. They trained 5 days a week. After 8 weeks, the 2.3 gram per day group gained an average of 1.3 kg in body weight while subjects on the higher protein diet lost a small amount of body weight and more fat mass than lower protein subjects despite consuming significantly more calories. Improvements in one rep max strength, vertical jumps and pull ups were similar between groups.

True Strength Moment: If you weigh 180 pounds, you’d be consuming 188.5 grams of protein daily on the lower protein diet described in this study, and 278.8 grams per day on the higher protein diet. For some perspective, your average chicken breast yields about 30 grams of protein. It is possible to get much of a good thing.


Protein is the building block on muscle and other tissues. It’s the foundation of any bodybuilding or strength development goal. But the World Health Organization has some unkind words for certain proteins. A review of evidence by 22 scientists put processed meats in the same cancer risk category as tobacco smoking and asbestos. Their findings are published in The Lancet.

In addition to high biological value protein, red meat from cattle is a good source of B vitamins, iron and zinc. Researchers determined that risk increases with consumption, so they suggest red meat should be considered a once in a while food.

True Strength Moment: A healthy, balanced diet should include a variety of whole foods, which remain in as a close to their natural state as possible. Red meat falls into this category, and it’s up to you how often to put it on the menu. Processed meats like bacon, sausage and hot dogs are a different story.