Debate! Response to balance training article…

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

***

The Jockology column from a couple of weeks ago discussed the pros and cons of balance training. A Toronto strength coach named Tim Enfield left a comment on the blog yesterday offering a different perspective. Here’s what he wrote:

I noticed that you have an article on unstable training related to athletic performance. I wanted to bring to your attention research on that topic posted on PUBMed, located at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez. I believe this study stands in direct contradiction to what you wrote in your blog, and perhaps the writing was misleading to the average gym goer. Continue reading “Debate! Response to balance training article…”

Pounding protein to pack on muscle: myth?

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

***

The latest Jockology column is now available — it takes on the myth that you need to pound huge protein shakes after your workouts if you want to pack on muscle. This is a classic case of researchers saying one thing, while top athletes tend to do something completely different. Are the athletes just stuck with outdated traditions, or are the researchers failing to operate in the “real world?”

It’s a pretty safe bet that the guy at the gym who is built like a tree trunk and bench-presses the entire rack also has an enormous barrel of protein powder tucked into his gym bag. This, you might think, is a pretty good endorsement of the “you’ve got to eat muscle to build muscle” school of thought.

But correlation is not the same as causation.

Read the rest of the column — and then feel free to tell me I’m an idiot. After all, I’m not the most muscular guy the world…

Sports injury alert: sneezing

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

***

Spring is here, and with it comes allergy season — and, apparently, a little-known rise in the risk of athletic injuries. The Canadian Press has a hilarious article [07/2010: LINK DEAD] on sneezing injuries, following Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero’s recent sternutatory abdominal strain. This is serious stuff (or, as the writer inevitably put it, “nothing to sneeze at”):

“When you sneeze, it’s that thrust of a movement that can throw a rib off and you usually feel it in your back as opposed to your abdomen,” says Cindy Hughes, a certified athletic therapist and manager of the Sport Injury Clinic at York University in Toronto…

“You just have that explosive movement and all of a sudden: bam, it’s going to hit you.”

The take-home message, from University of Toronto sports medicine doctor Doug Richards: learn to ward off sneezes by pressing your finger against your upper lip. But don’t stifle the sneeze once it begins, since that causes even higher pressure.

So… has anyone out there experienced this? [cue sound of crickets chirping]

Vitamin D and sports: overhyping a strong case

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

***

The current issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has an article called “Athletic Performance and Vitamin D,” a topic that ignited some mild controversy when I dealt with it in a Jockology column back in March. The authors review five lines of evidence in support of their hypothesis that vitamin D helps athletic performance. In particular, they focus on a series of German studies from the 1940s and 50s showing that ultraviolet irradiation improved athletic performance, and on the spectacularly unsurprising result that athletes seem to be fitter in the summer (when vitamin can be produced from sunshine) than in the winter. Tellingly, they include this caveat about studies of vitamin D deficiency:

No attempt was made to associate athletic performance with 25(OH)D levels (a measure of vitamin D levels) in these four studies—or any study that we could locate.

Continue reading “Vitamin D and sports: overhyping a strong case”

Caffeine: is it all in your head after all?

THANK YOU FOR VISITING SWEATSCIENCE.COM!

As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)

***

Caffeine, as we’ve noted before, is probably the most versatile and powerful legal performance enhancer out there. Researchers can’t seem to find enough good things to say about it. And one of its most head-scratching properties is that it appears to give as much of a boost to habitual users as it does to caffeine virgins. But a new study in the journal Psychopharmacology offers a rare discordant voice. Continue reading “Caffeine: is it all in your head after all?”