RUNNING MIGHT KEEP KNEES HEALTHY


Some people believe that lots of recreational running might contribute to knee osteoarthritis, a painful common condition among middle aged and older adults. But a study presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston suggests the opposite might be true.

Researchers looked at the running habits of 2,683 men and women with a median age of 64.5 and average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28.6. They also took knee X-rays and asked them to complete pain questionnaires. Scientists found that no matter what age a subject started running, there was a lower prevalence of knee pain and osteoarthritis.

True Strength Moment: Part of the reason for this decreased risk is runners typically have lower BMI, and body weight can be a factor contributing to knee osteoarthritis. It might also be a factor that exercising at any age can be beneficial.

COMPRESS YOUR RECOVERY TIME


Compression clothing has been appearing on the basketball court, in endurance races and now in the weight room. Can this specialized athletic wear enhance your recovery bounce back? A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise put it to the test after a session of whole body weight training.

Nine subjects with weight room experience performed 10 reps for 3 to 5 sets lifting 70% of one rep max on 9 different exercises. For one workout, they wore compression garments. During a similar session days later, they wore normal gym clothes. Upper body strength significantly improved just 3 to 8 hours after training, but it took lower body muscles more time for strength to recover.

True Strength Moment: It’s worth noting that upper arm and thigh circumference was a lot bigger after training when subjects didn’t wear compression garments. So it could come down to a choice between regaining strength or appreciating the pump.

ENDURANCE MUSCLE MYTH DEBUNKED


There are plenty of distance runners and cyclists who view muscle mass as being counterproductive to their goals. They think bigger muscles can weigh down their performance over the long haul. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows there’s still a considerable amount of controversy surrounding this topic.

To measure the effect of body composition on peak and mean power, scientists had men with normal body weight, high levels of body fat and high levels of lean mass cycle on stationary bikes. Both peak and mean power were significantly higher in the muscle mass group compared to subjects with more fat mass and the normal weight control group.

True Strength Moment: According to this study, it isn’t body mass that throws off your endurance game. It’s an unfavorable balance of body composition. Because endurance athletes aren’t likely to develop bodybuilder amounts of lean mass, kick-starting training recovery with a protein shake could help retain the type of mass that powers quicker finish times.

MUSCLE SIZE VS. STRENGTH TRAINING


All Carb Dieting Works Best

The generally accepted formula for developing muscle size is to perform 4 sets of 10 reps using 70% of your one rep max (1RM) with a rest period of 90 seconds between sets. If it’s strength you’re trying to build, experts might suggest decreasing the volume to 4 sets of 6 reps while increasing the weight to 85% of 1RM and giving yourself 5 minutes of between sets rest.

How different are these routines? A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares the physiological responses. Measurements of 6 experienced male weight lifters taken 20 minutes before and an hour after completing these routines showed no differences in muscle activity, rate of force production or peak force. Hypertrophy (muscle size) training increased blood lactate and decreased pH to a greater degree than strength training, and the electrolyte response was also different.

True Strength Moment: Strength training is probably going to increase the size of your muscles just as hypertrophy training is likely to boost your strength. Switching between these different routines every month or so might be an effective approach to rounding out your weight lifting program.

SPORT-SPECIFIC WARM UP ADVICE


Sport-Specific Warm Up Advice

The objective of pre-game warm up is to optimize your performance during competition. Unfortunately, different warm up practices produce different results – some of which can have a negative impact on athletic performance. An analysis of studies published in theEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology offers some tips you can apply to your sport.

Static stretching, which is old school pressure against the joint effort, can impair power production, but not if the duration is less than 90 seconds and the intensity doesn’t approach discomfort. Static stretching on non-competition days can also help improve your range of motion. The article suggests that dynamic stretching needs to be conducted for a longer period of time.

True Strength Moment: If your sport requires a lot of flexibility, short duration static stretching might be the way to go. To enhance on-field performance, get in some moderate intensity aerobic exercise followed by dynamic stretching and sport-specific dynamic movements. Try it out during practice before you commit on game day.