Best of November 2015
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best new research, articles, 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 in November 2015.
Quotes of the Day / Motivation
Below are our top 5 favorite “Quotes of the Day” that we posted in November as well as a few things that motivated us this month…
- An incredibly inspiring article on why one man wants to “train to become a kettlebell,” instead of just using one. Michael Graham uses his own journey and difficulties to illustrate the importance of hardwork, training, and not making excuses:
- Our lives and our daily experiences are, in big part, defined by the habits that we have. If we have all positive habits, our lives are awesome. We’re productive, healthy, happy, and good people. If we have all shitty habits, our lives suck, we’re depressed, we don’t treat ourselves or others the right way. Nobody, however, is one or the other. We all have our mixture of positive and negative habits. You’ve also probably noticed how hard it is to change those habits, particularly the negative ones. And sometimes, all of the motivation in the world isn’t enough to retrain ourselves into new patterns. This month we found two great articles addressing these ideas:
Interesting New Research
- We all know that exercise is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy life. But could it also be an effective treatment for chronic diseases and illnesses? You guessed correctly if you answered ‘yes’. But while there is a fair amount of research that’s been done looking at the effectiveness of exercise for specific conditions, not many research articles have looked at the big picture. This month, the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, published an awesome article looking at the role that exercise can play in treating 26 different chronic diseases. The authors additionally looked at what type and dose seemed to be best for each condition. While this article certainly won’t bring big pharma to its knees and change our medical system overnight, it’s a step in the right direction:
- Early-specialization leads to a greater risk of injury in young athletes. Implications for the way that we look at youth athletics and movement training. Study brought to us by Dr. David Geier:
- We’re into that time of year again where our bodies won’t be able to make enough vitamin D for us and we should probably start supplementing it to stay healthy. In case you need extra incentive to supplement with vitamin D, this exciting new study shows that vitamin D supplementation might actually increase athletic performance:
- Some people poo-poo the idea of variable resistance training for increased strength. They feel that the best way is still the tried and true methods of traditional strength training. New research, from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, seems to suggest that this way of thinking is wrong. Variable resistance training may actually be superior to conventional training for maximal strength gains:
- A really nice review of the research, by Steven Novella, on the role that exercise plays in enhancing/maintaining cognitive function:
- Think that you can train away your stress, or train through it? While exercise certainly might help your stress, you aren’t going to get the gains that you want. More and more research is showing the effect that stress has on our body’s ability to recover following exercise. Thanks YLM Sports Science for the infographic on this particular study.
- The culture surrounding fitness and movement is changing. A growing group of people is ditching the gym equipment and returning to so-called “natural movement”. While not everyone agrees with throwing away the weights and traditional lifting practices, there is something to be said for returning to our roots of movement and creating strength outside of the the gym. Perhaps nobody knows this better than MovNat founder Erwan Le Corre (We profiled him and some of his work in our Best of April 2015). This month Le Corre posted his awesome article (originally written for Art of Manliness) on the history of physical fitness. This article is a must-read, and it might even change the way that you look at your own physical practices:
- This month, Better Movement founder Todd Hargrove gave us a couple of awesome articles:
- An interesting new perspective on pain, Hargrove compares it to the way that we experience taste:
- With many manual therapy techniques (and many other forms of medicine) we don’t know exactly what’s going on. We know that the patient feels less pain, feels “looser”, and can move better. Yet, all we have to describe the “how” are theories. Granted, those theories are many times well thought out, and based on our understanding of the human anatomy and physiology, but most of them aren’t actually backed (or they’re even discredited) by science. You may be asking, why does it matter? If people get better, then what’s the difference? Todd Hargrove gives us three compelling reasons why the “how” behind our treatments does matter:
- After you read the article immediately above, check out this article by physical therapist Jarod Hall. He scoured the scientific literature and highlighted for us a number of possible mechanisms by which various forms manual therapy may actually work.
- If you know anything about me or what I do, you know that I believe that symmetry is one of the most important aspects of biomechanics (along with mobility, stability, and strength). But how important is it really when it comes to strength sports and weight lifting? I have certainly argued the importance of symmetry in the past (and will probably continue to do so in the future), and I’ll admit, the above picture makes me cringe. That being said, occasionally I come across a well-thought out and well-communicated argument against the supreme importance of symmetry. This month, master trainer and powerlifter Greg Nuckols did just that. Whether you’re obsessed with symmetry, or couldn’t care less about it, this article is definitely worth checking out:
- Every day we’re learning more and more about the problems that chronic stress creates for our bodies and minds. So often though, the focus is on our endocrine system, how stress hormones affect our biochemistry, and the resulting downstream negative changes in our body. But does chronic stress also directly change our postures, the way we breathe, and the way that we move? Dr. Seth Oberst takes a look at this these effects and how to combat them in this brilliant article:
- Last month, Dr. Mario Novo gave us an awesome, in-depth guide for repairing soft tissue injuries. You can read that article here. This month, he followed it up with an article on how to prevent these kinds of injuries. An estimated 45% of musculoskeletal injuries last year involved tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules. Most of these injuries, with the right training, could have been prevented. Novo brilliantly breaks down why changing up the pace of our lifts, and focusing on eccentric contractions, can not only help to repair old damaged tissues, but also prevent future injuries from occurring:
- We have this notion that eating high-quality whole foods is something that costs a lot of money. We often sacrifice good nutrition because we feel that we can’t afford it. Mike Ritter shatters this way of thinking by looking at the cost and effect of eating crappy food, and he gives us some great strategies for eating well without breaking the bank:
- We often think that lifting heavy for mass and increasing mobility, as two completely different (and many times opposing) ideas and practices. But what if we could do both at the same time. Sound too good to be true? Christian Thibaudeau gives us a solution:
Podcasts / Videos
- Brian Rose, from London Real, sits down with one of the inspiring and accomplished human beings on this planet, James Ketchell. Ketchell is the only human being to have climbed Mount Everest, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, AND cycled across the world. And, he’s a pretty cool too. He’s a down to earth, regular guy, who’s found ways to do what no other human being has been able to. This podcast is a definitely worth checking out. Above is part 1 of the podcast, you’ll have to head over to the London Real website for the rest of it:
- You guys may have remembered how excited we were when The Strength Doc, John Rusin, sat down with the legendary researcher and physical therapist, Dr. Stuart McGill, for an interview article. This month, they sat down for another conversation. And this time, they recorded an hour-long podcast in which they discussed sport-specific training, why sit-ups might being doing more harm than good, the future of physical/manual therapy, and much more. All therapists, coaches, and trainers should give this a podcast a listen:
- This month, Ben Greenfield had Jim Kwik on his podcast. Kwik suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was only five years old, creating a decade of learning impairment that almost caused him to flunk out of school. After a spark of insight, Kwik decided to teach himself how to learn better. He’s now a learning machine, with super speed reading, and elite memory, skills. This is a truly special individual, and a really interesting podcast:
- Any conversation with movement master Ido Portal is worth listening to. He has unique views and philosophies, not only on movement, but on life itself. Every time we hear him speak we feel inspired towards practice and mastery. This month, he sat down with Hayden Wilson of PT Prophet for a cool conversation:
- Last month we profiled Dr. Michael Gervais‘s podcast Finding Mastery and we linked to three awesome episodes. This month, we enjoyed this 30-minute episode in which Gervais riffs on the path of mastery and the journey of going down that path. He talks the good, the bad, and the ugly, and inspires us to continue down that path with a smile on our face:
New from Higher Performance Network
This month we honored the 75th birthday of one our greatest inspirations and probably the most influential martial artist of all time. Bruce Lee was not only a charismatic actor and revolutionary martial artist, but he also may have been one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of modern times. We celebrated “The Dragon’s” wisdom in our 8-part series entitled Enter the Mind of the Dragon…
- Our intro to the series. Also contains links to all seven original posts…
- In each post we explore one of our favorite quotes or ideas of Bruce’s. We look at the underlying meanings and how we can relate each idea to our modern quest for ultimate human performance.
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