Calisthenics Vs. Agility Training

Physical training in the military involves a lot of calisthenics, lifting, climbing and running. Agility training makes use of cone drills, ladder running and other techniques designed to improve a team sports athlete’s on-field performance. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested one against the other using military recruits.

Forty-one subjects were assigned to engage in 6 weeks of physical or agility training. Workload was the same for both groups. After the training period, tests showed that agility training produced better agility, visual response and improvements in memory with greater exercise capacity. Standard military physical training produced superior time to fatigue.

True Strength Moment: If overall fitness is your goal, combining both types of training might produce the ideal combination of attributes for team sports performance. Mix in some weight training for building muscle size, strength and power. Read today’s Performance Blog for tips on planning a concurrent training program.


Consistent Sleep Cuts Body Fat

You’ve probably heard that averaging less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night or getting more than 8.5 hours of sack time is associated with a higher percentage of body fat. A new study published in theAmerican Journal of Health Promotion confirms these findings while suggesting that going to sleep and waking up at a consistent time of day is a habit related to lower body fat.

Researchers studied the sleep habits of 300 female college students over several weeks. They found that subjects with more than 90 minutes of daily variation in their sleep and wake times tended to have more body fat than subjects who adhered to a schedule that varied less than 60 minutes day to day.

True Strength Moment: Training yourself to go to bed and wake up pretty near the same time each day is simple enough, and to increase the quality of your sleep keep the temperature of your bedroom low while making the environment as quiet and dark as possible. Regular exercise also contributes to sleep quality.

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Exercise Can Impact Your Appetite

Does a really demanding training session work up your appetite or is a post-workout whey protein shake all it takes to satisfy your needs? How exercise impacts active adults isn’t explained by a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, but its impact on adolescents appears to be influenced by body weight.

Researchers had ten obese and nine normal weight 12 to 15 year olds cycle for half an hour at 75% of capacity. Although heavier subjects were less active than lean subjects following exercise, their energy intake was significantly reduced for the rest of the day. Exercise didn’t alter the amount of calories consumed by lean subjects.

True Strength Moment: What’s interesting about this study is none of these subjects reported any changes in appetite. Why exercise made obese subjects consume less food can’t yet be explained, but this research demonstrates that, with extra calories burned and fewer consumed, hitting the gym is obviously an effective tool for improving body composition.