Best of March 2017
Welcome to the March 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 March 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:
- Our understanding of pain is constantly evolving. Whereas we used to think that pain could only be a sign of an injury or disease (it can be), we now realize that almost everything that we do has an impact on if/how we experience pain.
- Speaking of pain, one of the most important roles of any coach or therapist is to be able to modify workouts and movements to allow athletes to continue progressing/moving without exacerbating their pain. Telling someone to stop moving or to completely stay away from a main movement archetype is very rarely the correct answer.
- Foam rolling is not the be all end all mobility exercise, but it’s also not dumb and useless. Understanding what the foam roller is actually doing to your body, and how to use it optimally, will turn it into a valuable activity.
- Getting adequate sleep (and good quality sleep) is by far one of the most important aspects of feeling/performing our best. It can be tough to consistently sleep well, but finding what works for you should be a priority.
Without further ado, here is our Best of March 2017:
- This month we weren’t able to find too many high quality and interesting research articles to share with you guys unfortunately, so this section is a little bare. So instead, please check out (& follow) some of these great resources below!
Whether to do static stretching or not can be a very contentious issue. On the one hand, static stretching (especially intense stretching lasting >60 seconds) is known to reduce force in subsequent exercise. Many strength coaches therefore recommend against doing static stretching before a workout, or before a practice or competition, when working with athletes. On the other hand, inter-set strength training has been recommended in some popular bodybuilding programs. And although the explanations provided for its efficacy are probably incorrect (fascial deformation), static stretching is essentially passive mechanical loading, and animal models have shown that this also increases muscle size long-term. This study investigated the long-term effects of a passive static stretching program on changes in strength, muscle size, and muscle fascicle length. The passive nature of the stretching was ensured by monitoring muscle activation using EMG. In line with the previous animal model studies, passive static stretching was found to produce increases in muscle size, as well as fascicle length, suggesting that it has some mechanisms in common with eccentric-only strength training. Curiously, however, maximum strength was not improved. ——————– #sandcresearch #strengthandconditioning #strengthtraining #strength #sportsscience #biomechanics #research #hypertrophy #muscle #gains #fit #gymlife #bodybuilding #bodybuilder #flex #physique #stretching #staticstretching #doggcrapp
- The last couple of months, we’ve been profiling some of Chris Beardsley‘s work with interpreting strength and conditioning/muscle physiology research. His Instagram is an incredible resource, as it’s full of charts and graphs along with explanations of results and conclusions. This allows us to save tons of time and energy by not having to dissect and reread these articles over and over again to come up with a takeaway point. This month, Beardsley did not dissapoint, as he continues to crank out these awesome posts:
- While not new by any means, please head over to Found My Fitness where Dr. Rhonda Patrick has been doing an awesome job of compiling and synthesizing much of the latest research on health, lifestyle, and recovery. Click on the “free downloads” button on the top right of her homepage for some great info:
- Yann Le Meur moved his sports science infographics over to a new site a couple of months ago, and we highly recommend that you check it out- YLM Sports Science. This month he put out some really interesting new infographics looking at supplements that may promote training adaptations (gainz), and also the idea that youth athletes who specialize and train excessively are more likely to get injured than their generalized peers:
- We’ve shared his info with you in the past, but another great resource is Craig Pickering‘s “Sports Science Monthly” that he puts togther for HMMR Media. He always picks some interesting new articles, dissects them, and presents them in an easy to understand way. It is a subscription service, but if you’re really into sports science, it’s well worth it. Here is the March 2017 edition:
- While we often focus on mobility, stability, and strength as the main culprit of pain, sometimes those aren’t the real issue. Many people have all three of those, yet they still use crappy movement patterns. This month, Tony Gentilcore brilliantly explored why “Correct movement can be corrective” and how to address poor form. While this article particularly addresses the shoulder and pressing, the concepts can easily be applied more broadly to fit other areas of the body and other movement patterns:
- When we have breakdowns in tissue and degeneration of tissues, we’re going to have pain… right? This has been been the long held belief amongst pretty much everybody, from doctors, to athletes, to your grandma. It makes sense to think this way too. New science however is showing that there’s A LOT more to the story. We are now realizing that the state of the tissue itself may not be nearly as important in regards to pain as the state of everything else around it. Greg Lehman has been on the forefront of this new understanding for years, and he explores the concept well in this post:
- This month Dr. Dan Pope and Dr. Ryan DeBell teamed up to put out a new program designed to teach coaches how to effectively modify common movement patterns when athletes are in pain. This is one of the most important, and underappreciated, aspects of training and coaching, so it’s nice to see that two of the best in the biz decided to take it on. While I haven’t had a chance to check out the full program yet, these guys have put up some little snippet article/videos (all are spot on and helpful) over on Dan’s site Fitness Pain Free. Here are a few of them:
- Adrenal fatigue for awhile was the cool dysfunction/disease to have. Every person who was tired or sore had it. Then there was a radical shift and people began calling BS on “adrenal fatigue”, in some cases to the point of totally discounting the role that chronic stress plays on our HPA axis. So like most topics/ideas, after the dust settles we have to begin to explore the grey area for a deeper understanding of how things work. This month our go-to guy on the subject, Mike Ritter, presented an evolved view of adrenal fatigue that takes into account cause and individual differences:
- Foam rolling is one of the most contentious topics right now in the fitness world. While some are still riding the waves of it’s popularity, others are radically turning their backs on anything foam or rolling-related. As always, the answer lies in the grey zone. Foam rolling doesn’t work for the reasons that we thought that it did (no mechanical lengthening of muscle, no breaking up of scar tissue/adhesions), but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still beneficial. Dr. Nicholas Licameli brilliantly explores foam rolling, presenting a new vision of why it works and how we should be using it. Whether you’re pro- or anti-foam roller, give this article a read:
- Sleep is definitely getting into the spotlight now, and for good reason. Adequate amounts and quality of sleep is incredibly important for pretty much every process in the body, no matter who you are. Nobody can feel or move their best without consistently getting adequate sleep. Many people however don’t understand the importance of sleep in reducing pain. Sara Suddes breaks down the science looking at the relationship between sleep and pain:
- The idea that there are three main somatotypes- mesomorph, ectomorph & endomorph, goes back to the 1940’s (much much earlier within ayurvedic medicine but that’s a different topic). These body types gained huge popularity in the 80’s and 90’s as fitness, body building, and working out became wildly popular. Then the idea of three set body types started to lose some steam as people started to look deeper than that and recognize the wide range of unique physical attributes/physiology that people can present with. This month, Tom Venutu has resurrected the classic somatotypes, but he’s brilliantly adapted them to our modern understanding of the human body and training/diet/lifestyle science. This is a fascinating read:
- There’s a lot of information out there looking into the psychology of performance, training, and even injury recovery. It’s becoming more and more mainstream and almost all elite athletes are at least exploring the mental aspects of sport. Unfortunately much of the information/help ends when athletes need it the most, when they decide to hang it up and retire. This can be the toughest time for athletes as their entire way of thinking, self-worth, and daily habits have been wrapped up in training and performing for decades. Almost all athletes struggle with retirement and finding their way in the regular world. We were really happy this month to see pro soccer player Rachel Breton take on the subject. She not only talks about her own journey past athletics, but she also has started a series in which she interviews other elite athletes on their approach to retirement. She kicked off her series with an awesome interview with US women’s national team alum Christie Welsh. This is an important topic and we look forward to future posts by Breton (and hopefully others) on the subject:
- This month has had tons of great info looking at improving shoulder mechanics, and decreasing shoulder pain. The Prehab Guys (Michael Lau, Arash Rex Maghsoodi, & Craig Lindell) have added another great post to the list, this time looking at some of the most scientifically-supported shoulder exercises. Complete with video demos, this post is worth checking out for yourself and for your clients/patients:
- You are probably getting sick of us saying so, but we truly believe that breathing (and breath control) is going to be the next frontier of human performance enhancement. It gives us the ability to modify the way that we feel, move, recover, sleep, train, perform, and almost all other aspects of our physiology. “Mobility Maker” and sports yogi Dana Santas explores why breath has such a profound effect on our movement. She also gives us some awesome breath-retraining tools in this awesome post:
Excellent Podcasts & Videos
- Rob Wolf returns to The Joe Rogan Experience for an interesting conversation on a wide variety of diet and performance-related topics. They get into Keto diets, carbs, evolutionary physiology, jiu-jitsu, supplements, mobility, injuries, and much more:
- We’ve always been big fans of Aubrey Marcus and his ability to seamlessly blend the mental, physical, and spiritual in a way that makes sense and is approachable. He is further down the path to mastery that most of us in all three of these areas, and he’s made it his business to help others to get there as well. We really enjoy the conversations that he has on his podcast, and this month in particular, he hit it out of the park. Each of these guests is at the peak of performance in their respected field, and each has unique ideas to share about how to get there and what to take back from that place. Fascinating stuff:
- Another month, and yet more awesome podcasts from the guys at Barbell Shrugged. This month they talked why (and how) recovery shoulder be an absolute priority with Tune Up Fitness founder Jill Miller, and then they talked about how to optimize our biochemistry and physiology with Daniel Schmachtenberger. Both conversations are interesting for completely different reasons, and both are worth checking out:
- It’s always exciting to find a new podcast, and this month we had the pleasure of finding this one from the guys at Resilient Performance (Drs. Doug Kechijian, Greg Spatz, & Trevor Rappa). We’re really enjoying the conversations that they’re having with some of the very best in the world of human performance. While I have a feeling that all of their podcasts will be top notch, these are the two that we listened to and enjoyed from this month:
- Michael Gervais continues to hit it out of the park with his Finding Mastery Podcast. He started by having Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler on to talk flow, “ecstasis”, and using altered states to feel/perform our best. Then he has Pat Byrne on for a fascinating conversation all about sleep. Altered states of consciousness, and sleep, are two of the most important frontiers right now in human performance so these conversations were particularly intriguing:
That’s it folks. I hope you enjoyed our Best of March 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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