DISTANCE BOOSTS RUNNING EFFICIENCY



Running is a popular type of endurance exercise, and a study from Liverpool John Moores University suggests runners who typically put in high mileage experience different benefits compared to active adults who run about one third of that distance. Findings were published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Researchers measured thigh muscle activity and calculated knee joint motion in runners with at least 6 months of experience who typically ran 9 miles a week or more than 27. They found that longer distance runners showed less thigh muscle activity, higher knee stiffness and spring like tendon action compared to shorter distance runners. The difference in muscle activity increased with speed. This might reduce energy expenditure with faster running.

6 Health Benefits of Cold Weather


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Now that the thermostat is dropping and sweater weather has arrived (or is at least well on its way in many geographical areas), let’s try to look on the bright side. Cold weather, believe it or not, has quite a number of positives in the form of health benefits. Read on to learn how the cold can actually help you feel better!

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HIIT MORE ENJOYABLE FOR NEWBIES



If you’re just getting back to the gym after an extended time away or decided to make a commitment to regular exercise for the first time, a McMaster University study published in the journal PLOS ONE suggests choosing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) over moderate intensity steady-state effort.

Researchers had young inactive subjects take on an exercise program consisting of HIIT or moderate intensity steady state effort. The enjoyment for both groups was about the same when the programs started. After subjects gained strength and increased their level of fitness, the enjoyment of HIIT workouts increased while the experience of subjects doing the lower intensity routine ranged from unchanged to less enjoyable.

RUNNING DECREASES JOINT INFLAMMATION



It’s not unusual for your muscles to ache a day or two after a demanding run. Inflammation is usually associated with that type of soreness. But new research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology suggests running actually has an anti-inflammatory impact on leg muscle joints.

Researchers from Brigham Young University measured markers of inflammation in the knee joint fluid of healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. These markers remained the same on non-running days, but decreased after 30 minutes of running. This anti-inflammatory environment might benefit long-term joint health.

SQUATS WITH UPPER & LOWER INSTABILITY


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Getting in your sets of squats while standing on a balance trainer is one way to change up a stale leg day routine. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research take this practice to another level by adding an unstable barbell to the mix and testing it against lower body instability and traditional squats.

Wired to record activity in various muscle groups, 10 male volunteers performed squats while standing on a balance trainer, using a water-filled barbell and with a traditional barbell. Upper body instability reduced erector spinae muscle activation 1.5 times and increased abdominal activation 2.8 times compared to traditional squats. Lower body instability increased muscle activity in the gastrocnemius, biceps femoris, and quadriceps muscles.

BEST WAY TO REST BETWEEN SETS


How long you rest between sets of weight training exercises can have an impact on how much you’re able to lift. There’s a similar correlation with work capacity during CrossFit style workouts. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, what you do during that rest interval can also make a difference.

Five male and 10 female volunteers participated in a varied workout involving both strength and endurance exercise. On 3 separate occasions, subjects rested by lying on the floor, sitting on a bench or walking on a treadmill. Both passive rest strategies (lying and sitting) significantly improved exercise work rate and physiological recovery.

 

BARBELL VS. MACHINE DEADLIFT


Deadlifts are slated into many leg day routines. The exercise is excellent for developing lower body muscle size and strength. Because of the importance of deadlift form, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared traditional barbell deadlifts to two types of walk-in deadlift machines using both experienced and inexperienced subjects.

At the start of the lift, trunk angle for conventional deadlifts was 23.7 degrees compared to 29.9 and 32.4 degrees, which is significantly more upright. Knee angle was more flexed with machines, but muscle activity in the glutes was lower with machines shifting work to knees. So while machines can help reduce stress on your lower back, the added stress on knees might keep this option from being considered a long-term solution.