Posts

What can the Glasgow effect teach us about stress and adaptation?

This summer ALTIS coach Stuart McMillan wrote “I don’t read coaching books anymore – but all books I read are about coaching.” This is an interesting concept, and it illustrates the importance of knowledge outside of your narrow sphere of expertise. Put simply, once you’ve read a few coaching books, you’ve essentially read them all – there are very few new ideas out there in the coaching world. The same can be said for scientific research; once you have a good base of knowledge in a specific area, there are actually very few groundbreaking papers in that particular niche that drive the field forwards. Read more

Resources on stress, adaptation and periodization

I’ve had the pleasure to work together with John Kiely over the past few years on a variety of topics and projects. We’re trying to start a new type of conversation around adaptation, stress, periodization, and planning. This week we released our latest webinar on understanding stress and adaptation. This is part of the conversation, but in order for the conversation to continue people have to keep exploring the topic. Every seminar we do ends with a list of books, articles, and resources attendees can read to explore the topic more. We’ve shared that list below. Enjoy and let us know your thoughts on these topics. Read more

Understanding stress and adaptation with John Kiely

I hate to break it to you, but the body is not a machine . You can give a machine an input and it produces an expected output. With the body you give it an input, and you can never precisely predict what will come out of it. Read more

Genetics, recovery, and individualization

When we exercise, a large range of different processes occur within our body. At the muscular level, we cause trauma to the muscle fibres. Within our cells, we cause oxidative stress, producing free radicals that damage cellular structures. We initiate an inflammatory response, stimulated by the release of cytokines such as interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor. All of these sound bad, but the context is important. Too much – either in terms of frequency, intensity, or duration – of these processes is damaging to athletes; it’s known as fatigue. The flip side of this is that these processes, and many others that occur as a result of exercise, allow us to adapt to exercise. This means that exercise adaptation is a constant balancing act between stress, which acts as a stimulus for adaptation, and recovery from this stress, which is where adaptation itself occurs. Read more

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. Read more

GAINcast Episode 61: The Future of Periodization (with John Kiely)

John Kiely is one of the leading minds in periodization. By taking a critical look at current approaches to periodization, he is asking how we can move the field forward to keep up with what science and leading coaches have learned. On this episode he joins us to discuss how current models can be problematic, what other factors coaches need to take into account while planning, the role of stress and team culture in adaptation, and how technology can help coaches. Read more

Another Training Talk with John Kiely

Next month I will be hosting a seminar in London with John Kiely on periodization and planning. The key theme underlying the seminar is that current periodization models are based on outdated or nonexistant science. The scientific understanding of stress and adaptation, for example, have changed a lot the past century, but periodization has not changed with them. In our seminar we will discuss this new understanding, what it means to coaches, and how it affects the planning process with examples of effective solutions. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – February 2017

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. Read more

What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

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. Read more

GAINcast Episode 38: The 24-Hour Athlete

Focusing on the two hours a day an athlete trains misses out on the vast majority of what is going on in an athletes life. The other 22 hours a day in many cases are more important. Lifestyle can have both positive and negative effects on performance and to reach the top you truly need to be a 24-hour athlete. On this week’s episode Vern talks about how lifestyle can affect performance both positively and negatively. Read more