Entries by Craig Pickering

Sports Science Monthly – June 2017

Welcome back to another installment of sports science monthly. We kick off this month with a look at strength training frequency and how it might represent a worthwhile avenue for exploration in well-trained athletes looking to gain muscle. We also have a review article examining nutritional periodization, how beliefs can affect how much of an improvement you see from a sports supplement, a case report on rhabdomyolysis, and a look at a new model proposed to explain fatigue. Let’s get going.

Is There a Balance to Sports Training?

There has been a lot of talk about balance on this site over the past few weeks. Initially, Martin wrote about Peak Performance, ther new book from Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg. In his review, Martin discussed his own search for work-life balance, and how it may well be crucial in order to be successful. This article was followed up by “Balance and The Barbell Strategy”, which examines how a true balanced approach lies not in the middle, but at the two extremes.

Does Regular Caffeine Use Reduce Its Performance Enhancing Effects?

Caffeine is one of the world’s most widely used performance enhancing drugs. Its use within sport is also completely legal, and research tends to indicate that about 75% of all athletes consume some form of caffeine before competition. This should come as no surprise; caffeine reliably improves endurance performance, and, whilst its effects on power and strength performance are less clear, it’s certainly not negative.

Sports Science Monthly – May 2017

This month we take a look at new research on how genetic variations might affect psychological skills, the differences between physiological and biomechanical training load monitoring, synthetic tendons, and practical issues in sports nutrition. To start off with, however, we dive into the interplay between energy intake and overtraining syndrome.

Sports Science Monthly – March 2017

This month we take a look at a wide range of different findings in the field of sports science. To begin with, we have a consensus statement on immunity within athletes, followed by papers examining issues such as the best exercise for hamstring strength, postactivation potentiation, overtraining, readiness to train, as well as a quick fire round up to finish.

The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Sport

Baseball is a simple game; you compete against another team to see who can get the most players around a diamond-shaped playing surface. This means that your team really has two objectives. The first is to get players around the diamond; this means not getting out, either through strikes or being caught. The second is to stop the other team from getting players round the diamond; this means pitching at them well enough so that they can’t hit the ball sufficiently to score a run. To aid these tasks, baseball has traditionally had a number of statistics it can call upon, including batting average (the number of hits you get for each “at-bats”, or hitting attempt), runs scored, and runs allowed. Within the later, you get some pitching statistics, including pitching speed. Common wisdom has it that the faster you pitch, the less time the batter has to figure out where the ball is going to go, and so the less chance he has of hitting it.

Do Non-Responders To Exercise Exist?

When we exercise, we expect to see improvements in health, fitness, or both. However, substantial research over the past couple of decades has illustrated that the magnitude of training improvements is highly variable between individuals, and a small number of people show no, or perhaps even negative, improvements to an exercise training intervention. These individuals are typically referred to as “non-responders.” Whis phenomenon is not unique to exercise, but new research is finally starting to take a closer look at this topic.

Keep It Messy

Back in 2008, I injured my hamstring really badly. Most hamstring injuries are within the biceps femoris, which is the outer of the three muslces, and tend to occur around the musculotendinous junction; mine was much different – I injured my semi-tendinosis at the insertion. This is quite a complex injury, because the insertion of the semi-tendinosis is also very close to the insertion of a number of different structures, including sartorius and gracilus, in a structure known as the pes anserinus, as well as a bursa. It was an incredibly painful injury, and I was unable to run for nine weeks, which meant I missed all of my sprint training in February and March, as well as a bit of April. I was managing the injury fairly aggressively and progressing nicely, and opened up my competitive season at the start of June in Turin. Here, I was involved in a very tight finish, which caused me to re-injure my hamstring. Obviously, this was bad news; 2008 was Olympic year, and I had 4 weeks until the National Trials where I had to qualify for the team.