Best of August 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 August 2016.
We first want to give a shout out to all of the athletes who competed at the Rio Olympics this past month. We saw the absolute best that sports has to offer; athletes giving it all on the biggest stage under the most intense pressure possible. It reaffirmed to us the strength of the human spirit as we saw countless examples of athletes pushing beyond themselves in the pursuit of greatness. We saw the heartache of defeat and dashed dreams as well as the ecstasy of victory. We also witnessed incredible sportsmanship, and the ever-enduring Olympic spirit that brings people together, regardless of gender, age, race, religion, country, or any other perceived barrier. Those two weeks are what it’s all about and a lot of the reason why we all do what we do. So cheers to all the athletes, coaches, trainers, therapists, volunteers, and anyone else associated with the 2016 Olympic Games!
This month we also read, watched, and listened to a ton of incredible information from the front lines of the human performance world. We hope that you enjoy this information as much as we did, and you’re able to learn some things that will be of benefit to yourself and/or the people you work with!
Here is our Best of August 2016.
- A couple of months ago, we highlighted Craig Pickering‘s sports science roundup that he’s been putting out over at HMMR Media, and this month was yet another interesting edition. While you now need to be a paid member to access the full edition, we think that for many of you it may be worth checking out:
- This month, the International Olympic Committee came out with a consensus statement, based on the current research, as to load prescription and monitoring in sport. They looked specifically at the best way to train to maximize performance benefit, while also reducing overreaching and injury occurrence. If you don’t want to do through the whole thing, scroll down and check out Yann Le Meur’s infographic on it:
- What’s the best rep/set scheme to build muscle? Should you lift 80% of your max or 50%? How many reps is best? 8? 12? 20? A new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research is showing that it may not really matter as much as we think. This study found that going to failure was much more important than how we get there:
- Do variable resistance exercises (an example being using banded versions of major barbell movements) make much of a difference in strength/power improvement, or are they just another superfluous “functional” tool? A new study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at variable resistance and found some promising results:
- A couple of interesting new research infographics from YLM Sports Science on how to embrace performance anxiety, the idea that exercise might make you more resilient to mental fatigue, and a summation of the IOC consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury (just in case you don’t want to read the whole thing):
- Michael Phelps and the Olympics brought with them the rise of cupping (forms of cupping, including the ancient technique of using an animal horn and suction to create negative pressure in tissues, has been around for well over 2,000 years, and most likely much much longer). And with his therapeutic hickeys and his gold medals, Phelps and other athletes set the therapy world ablaze. Some people felt vindicated in their work with cupping. Others, before their Pubmed search for cupping could even finish loading, began launching a witch hunt against it, screams of “pseudoscience and placebo” being the mantra. We saw articles of all varieties, including one that went so far as to claim that it’s downright unethical and amoral to perform cupping on patients because there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support it. The absurd arguments and conversations that were had concerning this tool were laughable/infuriating/annoying at best. Luckily, amidst all the madness of the Great Cupping War of 2016, Dr. Mario Novo came to the rescue. He took out all of the emotion and side-taking, and was able to present an unbiased look at this therapeutic tool. Not only is this an informative and solid article on the subject, it also can be seen as a map for how to approach subjects like this in the future:
- When developing elite level athletes, the consensus thinking seems to be that more is better. More speed, more power, more strength, more agility, more vertical jump, all these “mores” will definitely lead to the best performing athlete right? Chris Gorres challenges this view, and explains why “good enough” may truly be good enough when it comes to elite athletes:
- We all have our own dogmas and biases when it comes to training and therapy. That’s probably never going to change. But sometimes we forget this fact and we swear that we have the “only solution”, or the “right way” of doing things. This is when things become problematic. It creates a situation in which we tear others down for having differing views/experiences, and we confuse the hell out of the people that we’re working with as they get different “right” answers from everybody that they talk to. Because of this, we were so happy when Scotty Butcher decided to call everybody out on their bullshit. He explores all of the most common dogmatic approaches to fitness and therapy in one of our favorite articles of 2016:
- Dr. Stuart McGill is one of the leading researchers/thinkers when it comes to the spine, and particularly low back pain. He literally wrote the book on it, (actually multiple books on it), and his information is always one of the best resources surrounding the assessment and treatment of back pain. This month he wrote an exceptional article focusing on the role that trainers play in assessing and working with low back pain. A great read for all trainers, clinicians, and anyone who’s ever experienced low back pain:
- If you’re a practitioner and aren’t following Rayner & Smale, you’re definitely missing out. They’ve been consistently writing awesome articles on different clinical issues and . This month, Sian Smale presented one of the most common neurological issues we face, carpal tunnel. For many patients, carpal tunnel becomes a major issue and leads to chronic NSAID use or unnecessary surgery. Smale tackles carpal tunnel, and what we, as therapists, can do about it:
- The deadbug may be one of the most rudimentary and basic of all rehab exercises, but they are also still amongst the most important and effective things that we can give to patients. Shane McLean showed us how to upgrade our deadbugs to make them more versatile and more advanced. Great article with tons of good videos to demonstrate. I’ve personally tried some of these variations for myself and for patients, and I’m sold:
- “Functional” must be one of the most often uttered words in the fitness world today. Everyone wants to do functional exercises, yet rarely do we ever here what function these exercises are improving. We just trust that at some point, some sort of function with happen. This month, Jarod Hall explored the murky waters of functional, and presented a clearer way of approaching our training:
- This month we saw a friendly battle of words (wait, that’s possible?) concerning whether or not CrossFit can actually produce elite-level athletes. Both authors made solid arguments, and neither resorted to the usual tactics of name-calling and childish attacks. Our first article is from strength coach Travis Hanson. His argument centers around the idea that CrossFit does not optimally train the core components of athleticism- power, strength, speed, agility and quickness, and conditioning, and therefore, it doesn’t develop elite athletes:
- Our second article on the topic comes from Travis Pollen. He argues that CrossFit will indeed make you a better athlete. He explores the same parameters that Hanson did, as well as a few others. And while the difference in arguments comes down to a lot of semantics, the differences in thinking definitely make for an interesting debate:
- Dr. John Rusin gave us a great treat this month by presenting a behind the scenes look into the way that he designs his programming for building muscle while reducing the risk of injury. He’s laid out everything, from the warmup and movement primers, to the main strength work and metabolic finishers, to how often we should be working each muscle group. This is a great template for building a rock solid training program:
Excellent Podcasts & Videos
- Gene Shirokobrod and Erson Religioso from Therapy Insiders sit down with Dr. Perry Nickeltson for a great conversation on pain, movement, growth in practice, and a number of other topics:
- We heard more people talking about Tim Ferriss‘s podcast with GymnasticBodies founder Chris Sommer than almost any podcast in recent history. And for good reason, it was an epic conversation. This month, they sat down for part 2 of that conversation, and it didn’t disappoint either:
- We’re huge fans of Katy Bowman‘s approach to movement, and her trail-blazing approach to optimal living in our modern world. In this podcast with Paleo Magazine Radio‘s Tony Federico, Bowman presents the case that our lack of movement is having a negative impact not just on our bodies and minds, but also on our environment. They discuss a variety of issues, including the idea of building a lifestyle of “nutritious movement” as opposed to an hour a day of exercise:
- This month, Michael Gervais had a number of Olympians on the podcast as they prepared to head down to Rio. The Finding Mastery Podcast is one of our absolute favorites, as Gervais is able to get into the mind of the best athletes in the world, and unpack their thoughts in a way that leaves us thinking and inspired. Here are our two favorite episodes from this month:
- We’ve been getting into Greg Swanson‘s Warrior Mind Podcast lately. His 15-minute or so podcasts are great at giving a brief, but dense look into a wide variety of topics related to the mental game. They leave us with some great take-aways and reminders that we can begin to apply immediately. Here are a few episodes that we particularly liked from August:
That’s it folks. I hope you enjoyed our Best of August 2016 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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