The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research is always full of information. There are plenty of studies that could aid in your training or recovery. Check out the highlights below:
1. The fastest way to improve your Pistol Squat is to stretch your adductors (inner thigh) and calves/ankles as well as improve your hip external rotation (stronger glutes).
2. Standing dumbbell presses use more shoulder muscle than standing barbell presses, but you won’t be able to do as much weight. Use both to get stronger.
3. Sometimes more volume is better. Sometimes less volume is better.
4. Long term oral contraceptive use by women (The Pill) might decrease your aerobic performance.
5. Non-caffeine ingredients in energy drinks do little to improve performance with heavy exercise.
Most studies need to be taken with a grain of salt, especially those surrounding strength and conditioning. This is due to the fact that there are so many variables that the researchers cannot control. Also, just because an official university study says something, does not mean it is 100% valid. However, being able to extract the important bits of information from a good study and apply them correctly is a valuable asset any athlete or coach should have.
Some of the conclusions of these studies are already apparent to many experienced athletes and coaches. A good coach or athlete can at times be years ahead of any scientific research. This is apparent in tip #1, which should be old news to any Mobility WOD follower as well.
Tip #2 is also not groundbreaking, but an important concept and can easily be applied into a CrossFit WOD or strength day. The most simple way to utilize the results of this research to improve your training is to alternate between barbell and dumbbells when pressing, which should be something you are already doing if you are constantly varying your workouts. Do not forget that this can also be applied to strength work like 5 x 5 Strict Press with either dumbbells or barbells.
Tip #3 is also a well known concept that has been both researched and utilized around the globe and is known as periodization. The easiest way to apply these study results into your training depends on what you are training for. If you are a recreational CrossFitter, then perhaps alternate a harder week with an easier week to improve your results. If you are competitive, try to work out more in the off-season and use the in-season (when the most important competitions are) to hone your skills.
Tip #4 could be potentially worrying for some women in the fact that long term oral contraceptive use was correlated with two (of the many) markers of endurance performance: VO2 peak andVO2 at anaerobic threshold. This result has been found before in other studies indicating that there most likely is a detrimental effect of taking oral contraceptives for 12 months or more while endurance training, however, there is no need to get too worried. When it comes to endurance performance, your VO2 peak and VO2 at anaerobic threshold are not the only factors that come into play.
Tip #5 is one of an increasingly large collection of studies that are looking at the ergogenic benefits of energy drinks and pre-workout supplements. This found that the non-caffeine ingredients in energy drinks did not improve power output in a 10 minute bicycle test. The literature on supplements is generally inconclusive however, and there will be future blogs on pre-workout supplements so stay tuned!
Once again, all research needs to taken with a grain of salt. However, these 5 excerpts can be applied to any type of training from CrossFit to endurance. Post any questions below!
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