Best of July 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 July 2016.
This month we saw research looking at what exercises are best for targeting two of the most common rehab areas- shoulders and hips. We also saw the role of BCAA/carb supplementation in recovery, and the best workout (and rest) schemes to build muscle.
We read an interesting article on the epidemic of overtraining in kids and why it’s actually hurting their athletic development. We also read about the stress response and what it’s doing to our training. We learned from the wisdom and random thoughts of some of the best in the fitness and sports medicine world. We continued our inquiry into the deadlift, and we learned about a few underappreciated causes of low back and shoulder pain.
Podcasts this month did not disappoint either. We learned about mental toughness from a Stanley Cup champ, and consummate leader, as well as from a world-record-holding adventure athlete. We also watched Chris Moore in action one more time, exploring the psychology of nutrition, and we learned a valuable lesson about making the last rep our best rep. As always, the information we found this month was thought-provoking, inspiring, and pushed the boundaries of physical and mental performance.
Here is our Best of July 2016.
- Last month 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:
- Research is showing that rehab exercises are just as beneficial (if not more so) as surgery for rotator cuff-related shoulder issues (see the pic above, put together by Jeremy Lewis). But what kind of exercises are best? Are eccentrics really that much better than traditional exercises, or should you train both for the best results? A recent study found eccentrics-only to be no more beneficial than conventional exercise therapy for shoulder pain and function. They did show however that with eccentrics, patients can perform less overall work to get the same results, something that may be important for patient compliance:
- Many issues with movement and biomechanics can be traced back to hip instability, and strengthening glute medius often makes a huge difference, both upstream and downstream. But what are the best exercises to start with? What’s a good progression for people? A new study looked at this. They tested various glute med exercises and ranked them based on their ability to create maximal voluntary isometric contraction of the glute med:
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are a staple in many people’s supplementation regimen, and people swear by their effectiveness and the importance of taking them before, during, and after working out. One explanation for their importance is that they help shorten recovery times and allow people to workout harder on consecutive days without soreness or a drop in performance. A new study calls this thinking into question, and showed that BCAA supplementation may be no more effective when it comes to recovery, than a carbohydrate supplement:
- More and more research is coming out showing that longer rest intervals between sets may be more beneficial in facilitating strength development and muscle growth. This particular study, from the latest issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, looked at the effect of interset rest periods in resistence-trained men:
- A couple of interesting new research infographics from YLM Sports Science looking at the massive benefits of exercise outside of what we get in the gym, and why lifting to failure may be more important for muscle growth than the loads that we use to get there:
- This month, Tony Gentilicore took an in-depth look at one of the most common (and debilitating) issues in today’s world- low back pain. He addressed how a lack of stability and control can make certain ranges of motion and positions dangerous, and he gave us some awesome exercises to do to up our “spinal hygiene” game. In his typical fashion, this article is both entertaining and informative:
- What makes a great clinician? Is it his training? Is it that she stays on top of the latest research and evidence? Is it that he’s the best at diagnosing the actual root cause of the pain and dysfunction? Maybe… but more often than not the answer is simpler than all of that. Jarod Hall explores what really makes a great clinician, and why these “secret ingredients” are so important:
- Everyone wants their kid to be the next superstar athlete. For many parents, this desire leads to pushing their kids into year-round sport-specific training, with the hope that the harder their kid works, the more likely they’ll be to achieve greatness. This mentality, unfortunately, often times leads to burnout, injury, and an overall decreased athletic development for our kids. Greg Schaible explores this concept of overtraining in kids, why it’s such a problem, and what a better way looks like:
- Restricted overhead motion? Shoulder pain with working out, or simply reaching for things? While the cause of these issues can be incredibly varied, one good place to start looking is how we breath. Kevin Cann looks at the impact that dysfunctional breathing has on our body, shoulders in particular, and what to do about it:
- In one of our favorite posts on the subject, Dr. Chris Hardy dives into stress, and why it’s having such a big impact on our lives. He explores acute vs. chronic stress, the way that our brain adapts to chronic stress, and why this can lead to impaired training gains and decreased health:
- You may have noticed that we’ve been on a deadlift kick lately. It’s true. The deadlift is one of the best exercises that we can do, but it also commonly leads to injury and pain for people, so we feel that it’s super important to get it right. This month Dean Somerset explains why performing the traditional deadlift from the ground may not be the best option for your body. He looks at some alternative forms of the deadlift, why it’s ok to begin your pull from a higher bar position, and also some ways to begin getting the mobility that’s required to deadlift well throughout the full range of motion. Awesome article with a number of good videos and illustrations:
- Everyone today wants to be a great mover. We all want to be able to effortlessly navigate through complex movements seamlessly. For athletes, they want these things, and the ability to excel at their sport-specific skills. But what most people don’t understand is that the best way to get there, (for ourselves and our clients/patients) is to first tighten up the basics and then slowly build layers of strength, body control, movement patterning, and skill development on top of it. Dave Tilly wrote an awesome article exploring these ideas and more:
- It can oftentimes be daunting trying to make positive changes in our lives, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. All of us struggle with creating and maintaining good habits, and we all, at times, wish that it was easier to do. Getting started with one habit may be the key to unlocking the others though. James Clear explores the “Domino Effect” and how we can use it to effectively change our habits:
- Eric Cressey always seems to have his finger on the pulse, and even his shortest posts tend to be packed full of useful information. We particularly like one of his Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training from this month in which he looks at why developing athleticisim in tall athletes can be such a struggle. He also explores why it’s okay to not have all the answers, and the importance of understanding sport specific requirements for your athletes:
- We’re huge fans of Stop Chasing Pain founder Dr. Perry Nickelston. He has an impressive way of not only understanding the complexity of the body and getting to the root of any issue, but also communicating the solution in a simple and concise way. This month Perry reflected on what he’s learned over his last 30+ years of training and treating in the fitness world:
Excellent Podcasts & Videos
- The guys of Barbell Shrugged head back to where it all started for them, Memphis, TN, to take a look at nutrition. They discuss the psychology of eating the amount of food that’s the most beneficial for each athlete, as well as quality of each of those meals. They also make and eat some drool-worthy food. We enjoyed this episode and cherished another opportunity to watch Chris Moore‘s contributions to this world:
- Since the dawn of forever people have been sacrificing form and optimal body positions in order to achieve that last rep of the set. I admittedly have been one of the biggest culprits. That’s why this message from Kelly Starrett and Roop Sihota is so important. They look at the importance of good body mechanics throughout every rep, and why your last rep should be your best rep:
- Aubrey Marcus sits down with world champ and gold medalist Jonathan Toews for a really interesting conversation on what it takes to play, and lead, at the highest level. They provide a number of mental gems that can help us to get the most out of ourselves in any area of our lives:
- This month, Michael Gervais sat down with Colin O’Brady for an awesome conversation on mental fortitude and flexibility, overcoming life-changing medical issues, and using goals (both big and small) to accomplish incredible feats. Colin has the world record for completing the Explorers Grand Slam in the shortest amount of time, and for being the youngest to ever do it. Rarely do we have the opportunity to explore the mind of such a high performer as Colin O’Brady (and with Michael Gervais unpacking it all so brilliantly), so this podcast was a real treat:
- Scott Iardella discusses his top 5 takeaways from this years Perform Better Summit… good stuff from some of the best in the game:
That’s it folks. I hope you enjoyed our Best of July 2016 and can use this information to further your own (and the people you work with) 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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