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.
Entries by Craig Pickering
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.
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.
In this edition of the Sports Monthly we have a mini-review on the recent research looking at athlete monitoring, and how this accumulated fatigue may predict injury risk. We also have some research on mental fatigue, and how it affects sporting performance, issues affecting warm ups, and hamstring injury prevention.
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.
Welcome back to another monthly round up of recent research in the sports science world. This month we finally have some objective evidence on the use of high fat, low carbohydrate diets for elite athletes – perhaps this will lessen the debate, although I expect not. We also have a look at the training of elite endurance athletes, early versus late specialization in Olympic Athletes, sleep (as always), oxidative stress, and the use of hot baths after exercise, amongst others. Enjoy.
Towards the end of World War II, as the Allied forces began their advance through Europe following the Normandy landings, the Nazi forces managed to maintain a foothold in the Netherlands. Here, their troops staunchly defended the bridge across the Rhine, halting the British and American advance. As part of this extended battle, the controlling German administration placed an embargo on all food transportation to the western Netherlands, sowing the seeds for a severe famine known as the Dutch Hunger Winter. By November 1944, the region’s inhabitants were surviving on less than 1,000 calories per day, which dropped as low as 500 daily calories by February 1945. As many as 22,000 people are thought to have died, with a total of 4.5 million people affected.
Sports Science Monthly is back again for the last edition of the year. This time, we take a look at predicting injuries, caffeine, beetroot juice, whether two-a-day sessions are better for you, and what happens when you shine a light into your head (seriously).
Please excuse the well-worn metaphor I’ve used for the title, but I want to use this article to bring together a few threads of things I have been thinking about recently. Last month on the HMMR Podcast I discussed a few topics that I need a bit more attention. The first of these was stimulated by a discussion on carbohydrate periodisation, which I’ve written about a few times in my sports science monthly articles; in the podcast, this spurred on a bit of a discussion about how sometimes you need to stress the body in new ways to allow for adaption to occur. The second thing is something I feel like I’ve been saying a lot of recently, which is that you can’t view the athlete as a system of individual systems that adapts to individual training; for example, when working on sprint biomechanics there will be both muscular and mental adaptations that occur, and the training session will create both skill-based and physiological changes that are good for the athlete. Everything within the athlete is interlinked, and we need to extend our thinking to take this into account.
Welcome back to another monthly round up of all that is sports science. In this edition, we take an extended look at vitamin D, which for the last few years has been getting a lot of attention for it’s effects on muscular performance. We also have a conceptual piece on the reproducibility of training improvements, Kenyan runners, recovery methods, coaching stress, and jumping as a monitoring tool.