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Sports Science Monthly – April 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In the April Sports Science Monthly we start off by looking at a new framework for evaluating research. Then we focus on new findings about specific topics like gluten free diets for athletes, the role of testosterone in female performance, sports nutrition, the speed gene, and more. Read more

Predicting sprint performance through data modeling

One of the “Holy Grails” in sport is the ability to predict, with accuracy, whether someone has the potential to become an elite athlete or not. I’ve covered this in previous articles and papers in terms of genetics, discussing whether we can test for it or not and how we might think of talent in terms of the ability to respond to training. However, at present, predicting future performance remains very difficult. But we keep trying and a recent paper in Biology of Sport took a novel approach to trying to predict sprint performance. The researchers recruited 104 Croatian sprinters and collected a wide variety of data points relating to anthropometric, genetic, and psychological traits to create a rich data set for analysis. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – December 2018

Lots of new topics in the December edition of Sports Science Monthly. Our first study looks at the role of genetics in endurance programming. We also look at research on whether athletes eat enough, monitoring acute:chronic training loads, biomarkers, acceleration performance, and some interesting new research on tactical periodization. Read more

How much does your family impact your chances of winning an Olympic medal?

The Olympics represent the pinnacle of sport, and competing in one is recognized as a major achievement in an athlete’s career and winning an Olympic medal akin to the finding the Holy Grail. Given the importance of such an achievement to countries and governing bodies, there is an increased interest in understanding the factors that increase the chances of such an achievement. A recent study published in Frontiers of Physiology sheds some additional light on this as the authors explore the impact that having an Olympian in the family has on an athletes chance of winning a medal. Read more

The role of genetics in reducing hamstring injuries

Hamstring injuries in sport are highly pervasive, often representing the most common injury site across a range of sports from rugby to sprinting to American football. One sport in which hamstring injuries have been well examined is that of soccer; during the 2016/2017 English Premier League season, 27% of all injuries suffered were hamstring injuries. This lead to the loss of over 20,000 training days, with the wages of the injured players exceeding £131 million. Alongside this massive financial burden is the issue of future performance decrements; having suffered a prior hamstring injury, players are more likely to suffer a further hamstring injury, an injury at another site, and a reduction in future performance. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – August 2018

Welcome back to another edition of Sports Science Monthly. This month, we take a closer look at periodizing some different aspects of training, sleep as a measurement for overtraining, building resilience, supplements, and several other topics. Read more

Gene doping might not work after all

Last year, I wrote about gene doping, and the potential implications it might have within sport. Whilst we tend to think that our genetics are hugely important when it comes to determining our athletic talent (and we’re probably right), the common narrative is that this was static and unchangeable. However, the premise of gene doping is that we might be able to alter the hand we were dealt and change our DNA. As research progresses, we’re starting to get an idea of whether tha might actually be true. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – May 2018

In the May edition of Sports Science Monthly we look at new research across a variety of areas including the latest research on caffeine, how genetics impact caffeine, pre-exercise stretching, recovery, muscular strength, and more. Read more

More than a gene for speed: what ACTN3 can teach us about muscle

If it’s possible to have a favorite gene, mine is ACTN3, often referred to as the speed gene. But to me it is interesting for more reasons than speed; after all top sprinters have been found to have different variants of the the gene. What is most interesting about it is that it impacts muscle function and architecture. As a result, this one gene can have a large impact on exercise adaptation, post-exercise recovery, and injury risk. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – February 2018

The February edition of Sports Science Monthly is perhaps our most in-depth yet. We take a look at 10 new studies this month on a variety of topics from how soon injury rehabilitation should start, adaptations from small-sided games, how resistance training stacks up against plyometrics, and the ketogenic diet for athletes. In addition, we dive into some novel topics like new research on the placebo effect, RPE, and stress contagion. Read more