Best of September 2015
We’ve compiled a list of some of the “best of” 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 September 2015.
Quotes of the Day
Below are our top 5 favorite “Quotes of the Day” that we posted in September…
Interesting New Research
- Recently, a lot of spotlight has been on heart rate variability and whether or not this technology can be used to effectively track, and alter, our training methods. We are big fans of HRV (you can check out our article on it if you want), and we believe that it provides a much-needed objective measure (to go along with our subjective measures of how our bodies are functioning), that can be used to make sure that we get the most out of each day’s training. This month Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal had an awesome look into HRV and what role it can play in elite sports:
- By now we should all understand the incredible importance of being hydrated, not only for overall health, but also for being able to perform optimally. If you still aren’t boarding the hydration train, here’s another article, published this month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, showing that dehydration affects a number of physiological and psychological aspects of performance, as well as overall performance itself:
- Foam rolling is the greatest thing ever… No, foam rolling doesn’t work at all… It seems that foam rolling, just like almost every activity in sports medicine, training, and recovery, has it’s fair share of die-hard support and angry opposition. And, just like with almost every other activity, the answer lies somewhere in between. Foam rolling isn’t going to cure every problem in your body, but totally ignoring it means removing a valuable tool from our toolbox. This month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research we saw some research suggesting that their may be some benefit to regular foam rolling:
- The effectiveness of kinesiology tape is another contentious issue in the athletic performance world. This new research looked into the effect of kinesiology tape (Rocktape specifically) on cycling efficiency and perceived exertion:
- After decades of intense specialization in sport, there’s been a resurgence of generalization practices. This essentially equates to striving to become good all-around athletes and movers as opposed to experts in one form of movement. But which is better to teach our children? Should we encourage specialization at an early age in an attempt to create superstars in a sport, or should we encourage our kids to explore many different physical and sporting practices to promote well-rounded super-athletes? The infographic above takes a look at some of the research on this subject.
- Another awesome offering from YLM Sports Science, this time a presentation on altitude training. There’s very little consensus on whether or not altitude training is effective and/or safe. This presentation looks at some of the research surrounding this training practice:
- We’re pretty sure most of you know who Ben Greenfield is. We share his stuff on here every month, but somehow it’s usually squeezed in at the bottom, usually because we’ve figured that you may have already read it. This month, we’re going to give Ben his due and feature a couple of his recent articles. If, for whatever reason, you don’t know of this guy, basically he’s the dude that will freeze, cook, and shock himself, wear all kinds of crazy devices while performing cutting-edge training, and then find a way to pack enough nutrients into his morning smoothie to kick start life on a far away planet. All of this crazy self-experimentation is done in the name of advancing health and performance practices. What we really love about his work is that each article is well-research and chalked full of links, giving you essentially a guidebook for that specific subject (many are called “the ultimate guide to…”). Check out Ben Greenfield’s site here, or look at a couple of his recent articles below:
- Ben evaluates his own urine and teaches us how to do the same:
- Exploring the benefits of consuming algae and how to do it correctly:
- We live in a world in which scientific research is the gold standard by which we determine what’s good and what’s bad, useful from useless. Unfortunately, there’s a huge disconnect between what we find out from research, and how we actually apply the findings to everyday life. What we need is more middle men and middle women who can interpret the research findings correctly, and then find a way to make it applicable and understandable to the general public. This month, Mike Reinold did exactly that. He took a study on hip muscle activation patterns and made it applicable to everyday rehab practices. Specifically, he looked at how adding a slight squat to your lateral band walks can make a huge difference for activating the “correct” muscles (glute max and med) and shutting down the “incorrect” muscles (TFL):
- Pretty much everybody who works out seriously (and probably those who don’t too) would benefit from supplementing with with these five nutrients. Great article from Bobby Maximus:
- We oftentimes (myself included) become so obsessed with physical fitness and appearance that we lose perspective on the whole thing. Joe Rogan, as he has done so many times before, provided that perspective for us this month with his article for Maxim.com. Joe applies a Hendrix-esque, Castles Made of Sand-philosophy to the human body and physical appearance in a way that will at least make you stop and think whether or not it’s all worth it. He also brilliantly explains how this transience of the human body is what makes things exciting and worth pursuing, even if in the long run they don’t really matter. Check out this awesome article in the link below:
- Gary Reinl is the guy who opened our eyes to the ridiculousness of using ice on injuries and for muscle soreness. If you haven’t heard his message, or you’re still icing regularly, check out his book here. This month he teamed up with Dai Manuel to bring us the answer to what you should be doing for a soft tissue injury and why active recovery works with the body instead of against it:
- Here’s a brilliant article, from Tony Bonvechio, on how using the correct cues and positive self-talk can put you in The Zone and instantly have you performing your best:
- How do you know if you’re truly strong? How do you know if you have healthy strength, and a good balance between optimal neurology, muscle physiology, and correct biomechanics? It’s one thing to throw around heavy weights in the gym, it’s another to be able to do it correctly and without hurting yourself. This month, Dr. Joel Seedman came up with 12 tests that you can do to determine whether you really are an uber-beast or if you need some work beyond just throwing heavy weight around:
New from Higher Performance Network
This month we watched a weak little houseplant turn into a strong and adaptable outdoor plant, an organism capable of overcoming tough environmental challenges and flourishing. From these observations we realized the importance of toughness and adaptability and being able to maintain a performance level even under trying circumstances. We applied this idea to human beings and came up with some ways that we can test ourselves physically and mentally, using everyday circumstances, in order to create better versions of ourselves. While we aren’t finished with our Lessons from a Houseplant series, you can check out the first three parts below by clicking on the pictures or the following links.
- We introduced the idea that houseplants and outdoor plants having different levels of strength and adaptability. We then looked at how us humans could be classified in the same categories and why we want to be outdoor plants instead of weak little houseplants.
- We took a look at our relationship to food and how we can vary up our diet and use supplementation to create the optimum “soil”, from which our body can pull nutrients to grow and be healthy. We also explored how plants adapt to times of lower nutrient availability and how fasting can be a valuable tool for us to use in creating health and mental toughness.
- In part three, we looked at another environmental stressor for plants, light. While we certainly don’t have the same relationship to light as plants do, we still need it for many different aspects of our health. We explore the benefits of regularly getting varied amounts of sunlight. We then looked more figuratively at light and explored sleep. Everybody knows the importance of sleep, so we looked at what possible benefits there might be to skipping sleep, or at the very least, switching up our sleep cycles.
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