Best of April 2017
Welcome to the April edition of our Best of the Month series! 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 2017. As always, we appreciate all of the love and critiques that we get from you guys, and we appreciate your continued support and passing along of this information!
Here are a few of the big takeaways that we got from the info this month:
- Yes, biomechanics do matter. But that being said, pain and movement are both so much more complex than simply postures or movement mechanics. We need to look much deeper into the intent behind pain and why/when/how we are sensitized to pain. From this perspective, we can begin to understand our pain and learn to work with it/overcome it.
- Consistently getting good quality and quantity of sleep is still the most underrated aspect of feeling and performing our best. It affects our ability to learn new skills, to recovery and adapt from training, to maintain positive mood and energy levels, and to perform at peak levels. Because of this, every athlete/coach should monitor sleep and actively build optimal sleep habits.
- There is no perfect way to move. Every athlete has a unique anatomy that will, in large part, determine what optimal movement looks like for them. Every athlete also has asymmetries in strength, stability, mobility, and motor patterning. While we strive to address these, perfection is not realistic, and we can’t allow fear of asymmetrical movement/postures to disrupt our ability to move/train/perform at our best.
- In order to get to where we want to go, and become the best that we can be, we must embrace our own unique journey and consciously do work every single day to bring us closer to self-mastery. Understanding this concept, and learning from those who’ve already done it in their own lives can be an invaluable tool for us.
Okay, enough jabbering, here is our Best of April 2017:
- Sleep is a hot topic these days as we begin to fully understand just how important it is to every aspect of our lives. In this study, researchers found that sleep greatly affected mood, and both variables affected elite athletes’ ability to perform their best. Sleep should be monitored in-season in particular, and good sleep hygiene should be a serious focus for those working with elite-level athletes:
The dietary protein requirement for various populations is a very contentious issue, and is still being debated extensively by researchers. Historically, the main method used to establish dietary protein requirements is body nitrogen balance. However, a novel method has been developed in recent years, called the indicator amino acid oxidation (IAAO) method, and studies are now being published using this technique. Proponents of the IAAO method have criticised the nitrogen balance method as inadequate, but equally, there are also researchers who disagree with the use of the IAAO method. This study used the IAAO method to identify the dietary protein requirements of male bodybuilders on a non-training day (it seems probable that slightly more protein would be required post-workout, on a training day). ——————– #sandcresearch #strengthandconditioning #strengthtraining #strength #sportsscience #biomechanics #research #science #infographic #infographics #hypertrophy #muscle #gains #fit #gymlife #protein #supplements #howmuchprotein #iaao #bodybuilder #bodybuilding Thanks to @hughesdc_muscle for his help with this infographic
- We love the work that Chris Beardsley has been doing lately. He takes some complicated sports science and breaks it down into easy to follow graphs and explanations. His instagram is a must-follow if you’re interested in performance physiology and sports science. This month he looked at a number of studies on protein requirements, as well as a bunch of other interesting topics:
- Lately we’ve been hearing that shoulder pain and shoulder impingements may not actually be caused by faulty biomechanics at all. While this idea is undoubtedly based in truth, it may not quite be time to completely disregard biomechanics when it comes to shoulder impingements. In this study, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers found that those with shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS) displayed significant differences in shoulder ROM and muscular strength (particularly in the shoulder ERs and lower traps) when compared to those without SIS:
- We often come across interesting sports science articles to share with you guys, but then we see that Yann Le Meur has done an infinitely better job of presenting them than we could possibly do. For that reason, we, month after month, love to spotlight his infographics that can be found over at YLM Sports Science. Please follow him on social media, his work is doing a great job of bringing complicated research to the masses. This month he put out some really cool new infographics looking at injury prevention in both elite athletes and in youth athletes, as well as an interesting look at what kind of protein is best to take after resistance training:
- This new study, published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, looked at the effect of drinking a carbohydrate/electrolyte beverage during soccer, as opposed to simply drinking water or a placebo. What they found was that the group who drank the CHO-electrolyte drink performed better, particularly towards the end of the exercise. This may have implications for what fluids we choose to hydrate with:
- A recent review of the literature published in the Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal, looked at overtraining syndrome in athletes. The authors gathered data looking not only at what overtraining syndrome is, but also how to identify it, and some ways in which we can prevent it. This is very interesting information, and an important topic of discussion:
- While addressing major asymmetries in posture and movement may be of some benefit in getting people out of pain, and most definitely can be helpful when looking to optimize performance, it may not be the be all and end all. Tony Gentilcore brilliantly explains why perfect symmetry doesn’t exist in the human body, and how the extreme pursuit of it can often times actually increase pain and decrease performance. This article is very interesting and a must-read for all coaches, practitioners, and athletes:
- One of the biggest myths in the fitness/performance world is that by changing our body, or achieving our goals, that we will instantly become happy. This is a very dangerous way of thinking. Result Cult‘s Michelle Richards and Mike Ritter explore why changing your body shape won’t make you happier (in some cases it seems to do the opposite), and what you should be focusing on to truly create long-lasting happiness:
- The off-season is a critical period for resting and allowing our bodies to recover from the rigors of the season. It’s also an important time for identifying and addressing movement/strength deficiencies. The successful off-season strikes the perfect balance between recovery/deloading, and building a strong and resilient base from which we can improve our capacity for improving sport-specific skills. Dr. Dan Pope breaks down nine of the most important principles for creating a successful off-season. While many of these apply directly to the fitness athlete, the themes and ideas can be applied more broadly to almost any sport:
- While reaching achievements is most often looked at as the main goal of sport, the real benefit of pursuing any sport or discipline can be found in developing mastery over oneself. Ironically enough, the best way to reach your goals and achieve at the highest level is to first develop self-mastery. Gregg Swanson of Warrior Mind Coach wrote a couple of awesome articles on self-mastery. The first post looks at some of the very basics of self-mastery, and the second addresses how self-mastery can be translated into peak performance. If you haven’t checked out Gregg’s site before, I suggest that you do so, it’s filled with tons of awesome podcasts and posts looking into various aspects of the mental game:
- The fitness industry (second maybe only to the nutrition/diet industry) is a quagmire of false and poorly constructed information. But before we totally bash everybody, it’s important to understand how complex information is in the world of fitness and performance. And also, it’s important to realize that we are constantly taking huge leaps forward in our understanding of the human body and human performance. Some of what we believed were best practices 5 years ago are now laughable by today’s understanding. So how then do we know what to believe and what not to trust? Justin Ochoa wrote an awesome piece this month looking at misinformation in the fitness industry, and what a good strategy looks like for finding reliable high-quality information:
- Dr. Dan Pope (with the help of a few friends) breaks down what he learned at this year’s Power Monkey Camp. He looks at small tweaks in common gymnastics and lifting form that can make a huge difference. All of these photos and videos are helpful, whether you’re learning these movements for the first time, or are simply looking to become more efficient with them:
- Ankle mobility is definitely a hot topic today, and for good reason. That being said, there is so much more to ankle mobility and stability than simple rocking forward into dorsiflexion, or doing some muscle work on the calves. Building truly mobile and stable ankles requires a thorough assessment of the whole lower complex, hip included, and then doing meaningful work to address specific dysfunctions. Brad Cox of Acumobility breaks all of this down, along with a little help from American Ninja Warrior Meghan Beatty:
- This series actually started back in March with this post so check that out before diving into the rest of it. Dr. Zach Long has done a brilliant job of explaining the complicated topic of individual differences in squatting. We often have an idea in our heads of what a perfect squat should look like, and we think that everyone should strive the get there. The reality, however, is oftentimes very different. No two bodies are the same, and people often benefit the most from finding a squat pattern that works with their own unique anatomy, as opposed to trying to fit into a certain molded pattern. Whether you’re a coach, athlete, or practitioner, this is an awesome series to read. If you like it, check out Dr. Long’s full program “Master the Squat“:
- For all of you philosophy/pain science buffs out there, this post from Todd Hargrove is a must-read. We love his work because it’s not about click-bait titles or overly-simplified and overly-opinionated takes on some random new science. He explores complicated topics in a smart way that requires you to think along with him and address/expand your understanding of the topic. In this post, Hargrove explores three different approaches to analyzing a complex system, and how each applies to our views of movement and pain. We too often approach movement and pain from a perspective of analyzing individual parts which don’t take into account the “design” of the system or, and Hargrove argues more importantly, the intent of the system. Take the time to read this post, you’ll enjoy it:
Excellent Podcasts & Videos
- We’ve been shouting from the rooftops about the benefits and importance of Max Shank‘s 5-Minute Flow for well over a year now. We feel that this practice is the key not only getting people to feel good, but also to gaining control over their own bodies and movement. The guys from Barbell Shrugged (Doug Larson and Mike Bledsoe) took a trip to Max’s house to discuss Flow and a number of other movement-related topics:
- We always enjoy hearing great champions speak and open up about their path to the top, and what their mindset and approach has been throughout their careers. We particularly enjoyed this conversation between Lewis Howes and 8-time Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno. They talk Ohno’s background, what got him to commit fully to speed skating, and how he used the mental game to continuously defeat his opponents and become a speed skating legend. We also enjoyed Howe’s conversation with “ET” Eric Thomas, who is one of the most inspiring speakers in the world today. Both are well worth checking out:
- Although this video first came out at the very end of March, we feel that it’s so important that’s worth sharing with you guys this month. Greg Lehman is one of our favorite lecturers/thinkers on pain and movement. He always forces us to expand our thinking and to explore the grey world instead of staying in the dogmatic black and white thinking. This video from Lehman and FXNL Media is only five minutes long, but the ideas presented are so so soooo important to our understanding of pain, posture, and movement:
- Scott Iardella sits down with Robb Wolf for another awesome conversation on a wide range of topics in health and diet. We really enjoyed this conversation as we feel that these two did a great job of exploring the effect that individual variations have on optimal diet. So often we talk about diet as if everybody will respond the same way to the same foods, when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth:
- Back pain is currently the leading cause of disability in the United States. And not only is it such a problem, but the side effects of it (decreased activity, increased narcotic and NSAID use, surgery, etc.) are creating even more disease and disability. When it comes to back pain, the man to talk to is Dr. Stuart McGill. He has arguably been more influential in researching and addressing back pain than any other human being alive. He has studied it from every angle and in all sorts of populations. For this reason, we always enjoy hearing him speak. This month, he was on the STEM-Talk podcast to discuss all things related to back pain. There’s way too much interesting information to sum it all up here, but this podcast is definitely a must-listen too:
- Another awesome video from FXNL Media, this time with the help of Dr. Jeremy Lewis. He discusses our latest understanding of shoulder mechanics, injury, assessment, and why exercise works just as well, if not better, than surgery for rotator cuff pain:
That’s it folks. I hope you enjoyed our Best of April 2017 and can use this information to further your own (and the people you work with’s) pursuit of higher performance! As always, we appreciate your feedback and comments, so either comment below or hit the contact button up top and shoot us an email. If you enjoyed this edition of our Best of the Month, or any of our other awesome original content and compilations, please subscribe to our free email service below!
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