Perception versus reality. An interesting study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares how subjects rated the difficult of their training with the number of calories the effort actually burned.
Nine active college aged men performed a circuit of 15 reps at 10 different weight training stations using 40% of their one rep max. Then they ran on a treadmill at a speed that would equal the heart rate they reached while circuit training.
Although they burned an average of 168 calories during the circuit training workout compared to 244 calories while treadmill running, subjects rated the circuit training effort a more difficult 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 compared to the much lower 4 rating they gave treadmill running.
You’ve been told to eat your fruits and vegetables since childhood. That hasn’t stopped many adults from at least partially ignoring the advice. A Stanford University study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that when vegetables are described in exciting terms consumption increases.
On different days, beets, green beans and carrots were described in different ways at the university cafeteria. They were always prepared the same way. Indulgent phrases like “Sweet Sizzlin’ Green Beans” and “Twisted Citrus Glazed Carrots” had 25% more people choosing that vegetable compared to basic descriptions like beans and carrots. Indulgent descriptions also increased the amount of vegetables consumed by 23%.
When you’re just starting out on a fitness journey, it’s not unusual to experience muscle aches for a couple days after your first few workouts. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can also impact people who’ve taken a few weeks off or are pushing hard to reach an ambitious goal.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares the muscle soreness after-effects of low-volume High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and continuous exercise on untrained adult male subjects.
On separate occasions, 15 men completed 10 minute-long sets at 90% of maximum velocity with minute-long rest intervals at 30% of velocity and 20 minutes of continuous exercise at 60% of maximum velocity. All experienced mild DOMS 24-hours after their exercise session, with no differences between HIIT and continuous effort.
It has been estimated that being dehydrated can have a negative impact on exercise performance. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at how fluid loss amounting to 2% of your body weight can impact steady state cycling.
On separate occasions, 9 recreationally active men cycled for 40 minutes at a steady pace. During one session, they were adequately hydrated. The following day they cycled in a dehydrated state. Subjects reported greater rates of perceived exertion and lower feelings of recovery during and after the dehydrated stage. Blood levels of lactate were also greater when dehydrated.
Contrast training works the same muscle groups with both resistance and power movements. Think following a set on the bench press with medicine ball throws or doing squat jumps after barbell squats. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests this type of training is more beneficial to athletes with lower strength to power ratio.
Researchers had 22 rugby players perform 2 sets of squat jumps using 30% of one rep max (1RM) after 6 reps of half squats using 85% of 1RM. They found that peak power enhancement was not related to 1RM, but was negatively correlated to your power to strength ratio. Performance enhancements from contrast training are more likely when there’s a lower ratio between baseline peak power and 1RM half squat strength.
If strength and power are important to success in your sport, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research might be of interest. The paper compares the effects of 6 weeks of bench press training with or without the use of elastic bands.
Twice a week, 16 youth league rugby players took part in strength and power development training. Some used elastic bands to deliver 20% of the load on the bench press. Velocity and power were measured at 35%, 45%, 65%, 75%, and 85% of one rep max (1RM) before and after the program.
Both groups increased velocity and power. Variable resistance training with bands produced greater increases in bench press 1RM. Increases in velocity and power were greater at heavier loads for the variable training group compared to lighter loads, where there were smaller differences between groups.