Best of April 2016
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best new performance-related research, articles, podcasts and videos that we found on the internet over the past month. By no means is this list exhaustive, just some of the things that we came across and liked from April 2016.
This month we read, watched, and listened to tons of cool stuff. Some of the topics we learned about were the real reasons we get muscle cramps and DOMS, the benefits of creatine and other performance-enhancing supplements, overcoming some of the most common mental barriers to performance, and the difference between perception of pain and structural injury. We also got into creating a flow-inspired life, learning to communicate better with patients/clients, and shattering the divisive myths that practitioners use to tear each other apart. As always, some incredible human beings showed up this month to provide invaluable information that left us inspired and prepared to move better, think better, and continually push the boundaries of human performance!
So without further ado, here’s our Best of April 2016.
- Although not necessary directly performance-related, this new research finding is interesting nonetheless. Researchers at the Salk Institute have used tiny microscopes to discover that astrocytes (cells in the spinal cord that were once thought to only be supportive in function) may have more advanced sensing functions and may be useful in treating spinal cord injuries:
- Overuse injuries are on the rise, and are increasingly affecting athletes at a younger and younger age. This is a scary trend and something can negatively imprint both physically and mentally on young athletes. Much of the latest evidence is pointing to early specialization in sport as a major culprit. This month, Dr. Brent Thibodeaux looked at some of evidence against early specialization and what we can do about it:
- Running injuries are many times related to repeated stress from inefficient gait patterns. Many people point to the modern running shoe as the culprit and believe that minimal-style running shoes, or barefoot running, will ameliorate these issues. Researchers from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons looked at whether or not alteration in gait pattern (via changes in shoe) would make a difference in injury occurrence:
- A couple of interesting new research infographics from YLM Sports Science looking at the efficacy of various liquids hyrdation, and the effects of taking different nutritional aids together on high-intensity exercise:
- We’ve all experienced DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), and we all have different ways of assigning meaning to it. For some people it reminds them why they workout, for others it means that they’ve pushed it too far, and for some people, it’s viewed as a necessity (and determining factor) of an effective workout. Even the physiological reasoning behind why we experience DOMS isn’t well understood. For years it was from lactic acid buildup. Then it was microtears in the tissues. Because DOMS is so misunderstood, we were super excited when Brandon Roberts came out with his article looking at what the latest science is saying about DOMS, as well as some ways to stop it from hurting our ability to train/perform well:
- Unless you’re an athlete who specifically needs huge amounts of flexibility for your sport (dance, gymnastics, cheer, acrobatics, etc…) static stretching does not need to be a regular part of your movement practice (it’s not movement, that’s part of the point). This month Dr. Zach Long ecchoed this sentiment really well and looked at what we should be doing instead to improve our hip mobility:
- Part of having a solid physical practice is continually testing the body against novel stimuli. The Barbell Physio, Dr. Zach Long, compiled an awesome list this month of some exercises that you are probably not doing (and should at least try). These exercises, with examples from some of the best in the biz, are great for hitting your muscles in new and different ways, creating balance among muscle groups, and building stable, solid movement patterns. Give them a try:
- One of the biggest issues in health and fitness is staying consistent. Being able to create goals, develop action steps, and then actually stick to them is the key to success. But it also can be painfully difficult at times, and falling off the wagon is also a part of the game. The key is to identify when we’ve slipped from doing what we need to do, and quickly getting back to the plan. Tony Gentilicore wrote an awesome post on how to hit the rest button and get back on course:
- A short, but sweet, post from Tim Flynn looking at the power of images, particularly advanced medical imaging. He hits on the big issues of patients being scared into surgery, the idea of image-based structure not necessarily always being indicative of severity, and how conservative treatments should be the first line of defense in the vast majority of cases:
- One of the great battles in sports medicine (and medicine in general) is between chiropractors and physical therapists. Both sides have brilliant minds, great practitioners, and proven results. But, both sides also have ridiculous ideas, poor practitioners, and people who make the whole profession look bad. But, at the heart of it, PTs and DCs are actually very similar and trying to do the same thing (decrease pain and restore mobility, stability, and healthy movement and lifestyle patterns). Jarod Hall wrote an absolutely awesome article this month exploring the PT vs. Chiro debate, concluding with an awesome message for all practitioners:
- Creatine has been one of the most common supplements for lifters and athletes. But does it really work to increase performance and muscle growth? Is it safe to supplement with, or does it have a negative impact on the body? There is so much false information and beliefs regarding this supplement, so we were happy to see a couple of awesome articles from Rudy Mawer, and Authority Nutrition, looking at the science behind creatine:
- Muscle cramps can be incredibly painful, so naturally when they happen, we immediately find the best position to relieve them. But is this the best approach? Why does the cramping occur, and what does it mean about the way that our body is functioning/communicating with itself? In this brilliant article, Kate Galliett explores cramping and how we can create a better relationship with it:
- Dawn Fletcher, of Mentality WOD, shares 10 of the most common distorted thinking patterns that we have, and how we can recognize and combat them. She also shares links to full articles diving further into each of these ideas. This is an awesome resource and it provides an great opportunity for us to really work on and improve our mental game:
- The deadlift is for many a staple lift, and for good reason. It’s one of the best ways to develop whole body strength and the ability to lift heavy things. With that being said, the deadlift is also notorious for causing back pain and issues for people. One of the biggest problems may be that we feel that the deadlift has to come from the floor. Dean Somerset explores why elevating our starting position could be huge for reducing pain and maximizing our deadlift benefits:
Excellent Podcasts & Videos
- You guys know that we’re huge fans of the work of Kelly Starrett. He’s not only revolutionized the game by bringing physical therapy concepts to the masses, but he’s also on the forefront of philosophy and the future of movement training and health. Gene Shirokobrod, from Therapy Insiders Podcast, sat down with Starrett for an awesome conversation on topics including the role and future of physical therapy, thinking beyond pain reduction and towards performance, and the problems with a sitting-based lifestyle:
- Joe Rogan has super-trainer, and all-around badass, Steve Maxwell on the podcast for an epic 3-hour long conversation. They discuss MMA, training for injury-prevention as opposed to getting injured in training, the power of the mind and what we choose to believe, developing a physical practice that can keep us moving and feeling good well into our later years, and much more. This is one of our favorite JREs in recent memory:
- Two of our favorite people in the industry, The Movement Fix‘s Dr. Ryan DeBell, and Stop Chasing Pain founder Dr. Perry Nickelston, had a great conversation on expressing your own unique self, positive communication will patients/clients, finding/creating good pain-free movement, and much more:
- Kate Galliett sits down with Dr. Seth Oberst for an awesome conversation on a wide-variety of topics including: the difference between pain and injury, the huge role of the neurological system in pain and good/bad movement, stress, zooming out and seeing the big picture of dysfunction, and looking for simple solutions to complex issues. Definitely worth watching/listening to:
- Yes, this is I think the 4th month straight that an Iceman-related podcast in the Best of the Month. If you’re getting sick of it, that’s your issue, not mine. As the title of this podcast so perfectly says, superhuman Wim Hof is “the most intriguing and important man in the world right now”, and we feel like we need to capitalize on any opportunity that we have to learn from his wisdom and knowledge. In this podcast, Flow State Collective founder Jiro Taylor sits down with the Iceman to discuss creating a flow-inspired life, transcending limitations, Wim’s views on spirtuality and having a grand mission in life, and a number of other great ideas:
New from Higher Performance Network
While we have some great stuff coming out in the near future, we didn’t have any new original content for you guys this month. To tide you over, check out some of these oldies, but goodies (or not, you can be the judge).
- CrossFit and yoga seem like complete opposites, and in many ways they are. But could these two movement practices complement each other perfectly? We explore some of the incredible benefits of yoga for crossfitters (beyond creating flexibility) and explore the bigger picture of having complementary physical practices:
- Why recovery from a major injury (particularly one in which you have to have a joint immobilized in a cast, boot, or brace for a period of time) can always begin in the mind. By simply imagining moving, the neurology of the body actually can begin rehabbing, which ends up preserving muscle tissue and ultimately shortening recovery time. Grab a comfy chair and start your rehab with this program:
- Actually following through on our goals and achieving them can be incredibly difficult. Sometimes the issue is in the perspective that we’re using to approach our goals and the daily grind of actually making them happen. By learning the art of zooming out to the big picture and then narrowing things down into a single decision at a time, we can navigate the waters toward success:
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