Best of March 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 March 2016.
This month’s selections include a new look into willpower, finding a better way to judge success, and an exploration of how to properly train the body for two of the most common exercises (squat and deadlift). We also saw some awesome stuff on cryotherapy, the complexity of working with human movement, and a look at some of the best physical therapy treatments and methods out there. We listened to some interesting podcasts on eye health, learning to control one’s one mind and physiology, and how to intelligently develop strength without falling apart. We ourselves added a couple of new posts on the topics of getting the most out of your rehab exercises and how to develop a better relationship with failure.
So without further ado, here’s our Best of March 2016!
- In order to see gains in the gym, you gotta be eating protein all day every day… This has been the prevailing way of thinking for decades in the S&C and bodybuilding worlds. But is it right? A new study, published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, questions this way of thinking. The researchers put resistance-trained males on an 8-week training program and overfed them protein + carbs, or carbs alone. After, they measured muscle growth markers as well as muscle performance and body composition changes. The results were interesting to say the least:
- Besides making you look like Bane at the gym, do ventilatory training masks actually do anything to get you in better shape? A new study, from the latest issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, might make you rethink the use of this training tool:
- Know that you (or your athlete) is going to be sleep deprived in the near future? New research is showing that oversleeping for a period of time prior to sleep loss can blunt the negative performance effects of the lack of sleep:
- We often have the idea that we can only make one major behavioral change at a time. New research is showing that this way of thinking may be selling ourselves short. This study showed that it’s possible to effectively make a number of physical and mental changes at the same time:
- A couple of interesting new research infographics from YLM Sports Science. While we saw earlier that protein + carbs may not be any more effective than high carbs alone at building muscle, there’s new evidence that increased protein during calorie restriction may be beneficial. Also, YLM gives us some pillars of nutrition for athletes and why it’s important to develop maintenance programs for athletes even after they’ve rehabbed an ACL injury:
- Cryotherapy is one of the hottest topics in recovery today. From traditional icing in training rooms and PT bays, to ultra high-tech cyrochambers for recovery, everybody has an opinion as to whether or not the cold is beneficial. And while the evidence certainly isn’t conclusive, there’s enough to begin to paint a picture of what cryotherapy does physiologically, both good and bad, and how we can use it to our benefit. This month, Tavis Bruce gave us one of the best articles that we’ve seen in a long time looking at cryotherapy and recovery:
- Our training goals oftentimes are about getting from A to B as quickly as possible, and at the end of the day, we judge our success based on whether we got to B or not. This approach can lead us to feelings of frustration and self-doubt. Tony Bonvecchio gives us a solution to this way of thinking. By looking back at where we were at a year ago, and the process that we underwent to get to where you are today, we can get a much better picture of our progression:
- The Strength Doc, Dr. John Rusin, put together a list of some of the best and latest physical therapy methods and treatments, and it’s definitely worth checking out whether you’re a manual therapist, coach, trainer, or athlete:
- We commonly feel that willpower is like a battery, and the more decisions that we make throughout our day, and the more willpower that those decisions require, the more our battery is depleted. This way of thinking is particularly prevalent with making the right decisions regarding diet, exercise, and drug use. But what if it’s not the case? The scientific community is now taking a hard look at willpower, and the idea of “ego depletion” to determine if it’s possible that we actually have unlimited willpower. And if we believe that we have an unlimited willpower, how does that effect it? Melissa Dahl explored all of these ideas in her recent post:
- Todd Hargrove gave us an incredibly well-thought out article on the complexity of working with the human body to create optimal biomechanics and pain-free movement. Anyone who works with movement or the human body should check out this article:
- The hip hinge is one of the most important aspects of healthy movement, posture, and biomechanics. The deadlift is arguably the ultimate expression of the hip hinge. Therefore, everybody should deadlift. That being said, the vast majority of people need some work before they’re able to step up to the bar and perform a solid, pain-free, deadlift. This month, Andrew Millet gave us an awesome article on the importance of the hip hinge and how to prepare yourself (and your clients) for optimal deadlifting:
- Many people get into lifting weights to change their body composition. Especially for the skinny person, lifting weights represents an opportunity to put on muscle and feel stronger and more confident. But many “skinny hard gainers” find it very difficult to put on mass, and it can be frustrating watching others bulk up with seemingly less effort. And while some of this is inevitably controlled by our of genetics, there are solutions to ensure that ectomorphs put on muscle mass. Strength coach, and former skinny guy himself, Luke Briggs explores these ideas and gives us a simple approach to putting on mass.
- Breakfast has long been heralded as “The most important meal of the day”, but we now know that there can be a number of benefits to skipping it altogether. Brandon Epstein explores breakfast skipping in his recent article for the Onnit Academy:
- Aubrey Marcus gives us a motivating post on why it’s never to late to start down the path of creating your optimal self:
- The squat is not only one of the most fundamental of all human movements, but it’s also one of the most commonly trained exercises. But just because squats are ubiquitous doesn’t mean that people do them the right way. Flawed squat mechanics lead to pain, muscle imbalances, and over time, tissue/joint damage. Dr. Zach Long does a great job of exploring these ideas and he puts us on a path towards restoring optimal squat mechanics:
Excellent Podcasts & Videos
- You guys know that we’re huge fans of Wim Hof. He’s one of the most incredible human beings on this planet, and we always relish the opportunity to hear him speak. This month, we listened to an incredible conversation between The Iceman himself, and Ascend‘s Dan Harrison and Chris Hopper. In this podcast, they discuss how Hof learned from the cold how to quiet his mental chatter, control his own physiology, and transcend our wildest ideas of human performance:
- Dr. Rhonda Patrick returned to The Joe Rogan Experience to drop more knowledge. They discussed the controversial benefits of cryotherapy, tons of new nutritional and supplement info, the dangers of NSAID use, and much more. As always with Dr. Patrick, have a notepad handy for this one:
- Barbell Shrugged’s Chris Moore sat down with Julien Pineau (of StrongFit/CrossFit Invictus) for episode #100 of the Barbell Buddha Podcast and they did not disappoint. Check out this awesome conversation on motivation, pain, damage, and simplifying strength development:
- We first heard Katy Bowman talking about eye health over a year ago, on the Joe Rogan Experience, and it not only changed the way we thought about the eyes, but also physiology and adaptation in general. Because of that, we were super excited when Katy decided to dedicate a whole episode of her podcast to the eyes. She addresses specifically the huge trend towards myopia, and how to combat it, as well as some of the many benefits of getting outside:
- Michael Gervais has former Green Beret, underdog football player, and humanitarian adventurer Nate Boyer on to discuss a variety of topics including taking risks, controlling your mental environment, and building a mission of helping others:
New from Higher Performance Network
This month we looked at one of the most common mistakes people make with their rehab exercises and how to fix it. We also explored one of the most important aspects of achieving success- learning to fail well.
- Ask any of the most successful human beings, athletes or otherwise, about failure and they’ll most likely tell you that having a good relationship with it was one of the most important parts of their success. For some people, having a good relationship with failure comes naturally. For the rest of us, learning to handle failure, and being able to use it to facilitate growth, can be incredibly difficult. These tips may be helpful…
- One of the biggest complaints people have when starting a new rehab program is that they get really sore and tight after and they feel that they can’t use those muscles for a couple of days. Besides adding pain/discomfort for the patient, shutting down a muscle due to improper rehab techniques also can add to the patient’s dysfunctional movement patterns. Avoid these issues by finding a proper balance between activating and relaxing underactive muscles:
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