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For sprinters, losing fat may be better than gaining muscle

When it comes to sprint training, two critical factors are the amount of force that can be developed and the speed at which a certain threshold of force can be reached. In training, focus often gravitates to the first point through methods like plyometrics and weight-based resistance training. While weight training, if adequately programmed, has the ability to increase strength, and hence the amount of force an athlete can produce, there is also the potential (although this is currently somewhat contentious) that these increases in strength come along with increases in muscle size, commonly termed muscle hypertrophy. Because additional muscle adds additional mass, the athlete is therefore heavier, which, in turn, may slow the athlete down. As such, resistance training for sprinters is often a balancing act between improving strength and force, whilst minimizing unnecessary muscle hypertrophy. As a general rule, we want to get stronger, not bigger. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – January 2017

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. Read more