To get the most out of a workout when you’re short on time, many active adults turn to interval training. Doing sprint intervals is an efficient way to support cardio fitness, and a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise tests a novel approach that involves climbing stars in intervals.
In the first phase, researchers had 31 inactive women in their 20s climb stairs in 3 bouts of 20-second all-out effort. These workouts took place 3 days a week for 6 weeks. During the next 6 weeks, the 3 intervals were extended to 60 seconds of all out stair climbing. Compared to measurements taken before the interval training program began, subjects increased maximal oxygen capacity by about 7%.
Many athletes can enhance playing performance with greater power, and there’s more than one way to develop this attribute. Consider a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that compared traditional power training to a high-intensity power training circuit.
Twenty-nine healthy men in their early 20s trained 3 times a week for 6 weeks. The traditional power training group did 3 to 5 sets per exercise with 90 seconds of rest between sets. The high-intensity group did a short circuit with 15 seconds of rest between exercises.
Both groups significantly increased power as measured by countermovement jumps, power load bench press performance and the Wingate test. But only subjects in the high-intensity group realized an increase in maximal aerobic speed.
Maybe your personal trainer tells you to use a wider grip on the barbell. That’s an internal focus. If they instructed you to place your hands closer to the weight room’s walls, the focus would be external. The instructions are the same, but a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests the outcomes might be different.
On separate occasions, researchers directed 8 male and 4 female competitive athletes to perform the snatch for 3 reps using 80% of their one rep max. When the focus was internal, subjects increased elbow velocity. Internal focus also tended to make subjects squat too soon. Barbell velocity increased when external focus was used.
How you prepare for competition on the pitch can make a big difference in your performance. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness compared the effects of static stretching to other warm up protocols.
Analyzing 27 peer-reviewed papers published between 1995 and 2015, researchers determined that using dynamic stretching or postactivation potentiation-based exercises enhanced on-field performance by 3.46% and 4.21% respectively while the FIFA 11+ warm up increased strength, jumping, speed and explosive performance by between 1% and 20%.
Postactivation potentiation practices and multidirectional speed drills were also considered effective half time re-warm up protocols. Static stretching either before the game or at half time reduced performance.
It’s easy to see how texting or talking on a cell phone during exercise could reduce the impact of the effort. A study published in the journals Computers in Human Behavior and Performance Enhancement & Health suggests multi-tasking with your phone can also have a negative effect on balance.
Researchers had 45 college students text, talk and listen to music on their cell phones while exercising. Texting reduced postural stability by 45%. Talking reduced this measurement of balance by 19%, but just using the phone to listen to music has no impact on balance.
The Branched Chain Amino Acids are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. They are sometimes included as components of intra-workout supplements because they can help spare muscle tissue during extended training. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness tested their ability to attenuate decreases in power production after strength training.
Researchers assessed the countermovement jumping and seated shot put throwing performance of 11 men with weight room experience. Some were given 20 grams of BCAAs while others received a placebo before and after a session of compound barbell exercises. Although there were no differences in muscle soreness 24 hours after training, BCAAs did help reduce typical decrements in functional power a day after the workout.
Losing just 2% of your body weight through perspiration can have a negative impact on athletic performance. Do you have a strategy for keeping up with hydration needs? A study of 289 competitive athletes published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness shows a tendency to drink less than what’s recommended.
Subjects participating in international, national and regional events drank an average of 0.25 liters of water per hour. Analysis of survey results found that 23 subjects met or exceeded the recommended fluid intake while 150 drank less than the average reported in the surveys.