Research can provide golden information to health & fitness professionals. If you're a personal trainer,…
September 08, 2016 | John Paul Catanzaro
Research can provide golden information to health & fitness professionals. If you’re a personal trainer, here are some recent findings to help you get ahead of the pack:
A New RPE Scale for Resistance Training
“Ratings of perceived exertion are a valid method of estimating the
intensity of a resistance training exercise or session. Scores are given
after completion of an exercise or training session for the purposes of
athlete monitoring. However, a newly developed scale based on how many
repetitions are remaining at the completion of a set may be a more
precise tool. This approach adjusts loads automatically to match athlete
capabilities on a set-to-set basis and may more accurately gauge
intensity at near-limit loads.”
Note: On page 19 of The Elite Trainer, I discuss the main limitation of RPE scales in strength training. The repetitions in reserve-based scale seems to be a more accurate method of determining near-limit loads. Consider adding this scale to your training log as an additional variable to track.
“This study is the first randomized trial comparing ADF [alternate-day fasting] with moderate daily CR [caloric restriction]. Results suggest zero-calorie ADF is safe and tolerable, and is equivalent to moderate CR in producing short-term weight loss and improving body composition and metabolic parameters.”
Note: During a Q&A period, Dr. Christopher Gardner mentioned that caloric restriction is difficult to do for a long period of time and you wouldn’t be happy in the process. One option he suggested that may be viable is to fast every other day. Well, this study shows that alternate-day fasting is indeed safe and tolerable, but if you do plan to go this route, make sure to fast on days that you do not exercise.
Stressed Parents Produce Stressed Offspring
“In summary, our data support an intergenerational epigenetic priming
of the physiological response to stress in offspring of highly
Note: There are traumatic events in life that you just can’t control, and research shows that these stressful events may effect the health of your offspring. Chronic low-level stressors that you do have control of, such as sleep deprivation, food intolerances, overtraining, etc., and the way you react to stress may also have an adverse effect on your offspring. If you are concerned about the health of your children, stress management techniques should commence before they are born!
Steroid Abuse May Haunt You For Years
“Former AAS [anabolic androgenic steroids] abusers exhibited
significantly lower plasma testosterone levels and higher frequencies of
symptoms suggestive of hypogonadism than healthy control participants
years after AAS cessation.”
Note: For more insight on this topic, read The Power Rack And The Power Pill and How To Restore Your Alpha Male Status.
Use Mental Imagery Before You Lift
“Overall, the results reveal that the combination of mental imagery
and physical practice is more efficient than, or at least comparable to,
physical execution with respect to strength performance. Imagery
prevention intervention was also effective in reducing of strength loss
after short-term muscle immobilization and ACL [anterior cruciate
ligament]. The present review also indicates advantageous effects of
internal imagery (range from 2.6 to 136.3%) for strength performance
compared with external imagery (range from 4.8 to 23.2%). Typically,
mental imagery with muscular activity was higher in active than passive
muscles, and imagining “lifting a heavy object” resulted in more EMG
activity compared with imagining “lifting a lighter object”. Thus, in
samples of students, novices, or youth male and female athletes,
internal mental imagery has a greater effect on muscle strength than
external mental imagery does.”
Note: For a great way to implement this method, check out the section “A Mental Warm-Up” in my book The Warm-Up (now available on Kindle).
Blame Inactivity, Not Aging
“While physiological changes accompany aging that may negatively
affect the performance of physical tasks, far too much credit has been
given to the natural aging process rather than the effects of
inactivity. Emerging evidence indicates strength or skill training
interventions induce significant neuroplasticity in an aging
Note: Whether the goal is to increase contralateral strength and muscle activation or to promote successful aging, one thing is clear: inactivity is not good!
High-Dose Fish Oil After A Heart Attack
“Treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction with
high-dose omega-3 fatty acids was associated with reduction of adverse
left ventricular remodeling, noninfarct myocardial fibrosis, and serum
biomarkers of systemic inflammation beyond current guideline-based
standard of care.”
Note: Magnesium may also be useful, but be careful with calcium. By the way, if you have a hard time swallowing large pills, use the lean-forward technique.
Don’t Do Blood Flow Restriction Post-Exercise
“The application of blood flow restriction post high-load training
did not augment muscle growth for either sex, and appeared to attenuate
muscle growth among females.”
Note: The question is this: Is occlusion training even necessary? You be the judge.
“This study suggests that starting with a lighter initial load
results in the same improvements in strength as starting with a heavier
initial load when employing a progressive wave loading strategy. It may
therefore be advantageous to start with a lighter initial load, as the
same results can be achieved for the exertion of less effort. This
result tends to support the commonly espoused training recommendation to
“start light” if employing a progressive wave loading strategy, such
that an athlete does not train harder than is necessary to achieve a
given improvement in strength.”
Note: Check out pages 22-25 of The Elite Trainer where I show you how to manipulate strength training parameters in a gradual, systemic manner to ensure continual progress.
Encourage Full Range of Motion
“The findings of the present study support the commonly held belief
amongst athletes and coaches that a large ROM [range of motion] results
in a higher level of muscular stress, which promotes greater muscle
soreness and muscle damage.”
Note: If your goal is to increase muscle size, the greater the ROM you train in, the more muscle fiber you stimulate, and thus the greater the potential for hypertrophy. As Tom Platz used to say: “Half squats will give you half legs!” You can read more about this in Weight Training as a Tool.