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Odds and ends


Some training tips, research, studies, and other interesting training information.

Training tidbits

  • A study by Simon J. Marshall, Ph.D., of the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University, suggests the much-touted moderate-intensity walk should translate to about 100 steps per minute, or about 3,000 steps in 30 minutes. Federal exercise recommendations call for Americans to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for optimal health. Some studies have suggested that moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, may be just as beneficial as more vigorous exercise. Because health benefits can be achieved with bouts of exercise lasting at least 10 minutes, a useful starting point is to try and accumulate 1,000 steps in 10 minutes, before building up to 3,000 steps in 30 minutes. Exercisers can monitor their progress using a simple pedometer and a wristwatch.
  • Australian scientists found that people who drank 3 cups of black tea every day for 6 months had a 2-point drop in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
  • A Tunisian study found that athletes who completed 3 sets of lower-body dynamic stretches, such as butt kicks and knee raises, sprinted more slowly than those who did only 1 or 2 sets.
  • A new multinational study found that carriers of the FTO gene (which is associates with obesity) who exercised were 30% less likely than their sedentary counterparts to be obese.
  • A Denmark study found that heavy people who drank 1 liter of sugared soft drinks per day for 6 months had a 23% boost in visceral fat and a 139% increase in liver fat compared with diet soda drinkers.
  • United Kingdom scientists found that kettle ball swings put just as much demand on muscles with significantly less weight than do barbell squats, with less risk of injury.
  • An Australian study found that lifters who performed 8 sets of squats twice a week were about 20% stronger after eight weeks, while those who just did 4 sets were only 14% stronger,
  • For explosive movement in any direction, train by doing bench vaults. Place both hands on the bench and in one motion vault over it. Repeat for 30 seconds and rest for one minute. Do 4 sets.
  • Lancet reports that over 13 years, each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise (up to 100 minutes) slashed people’s risk of death by another 4%.
  • A University of South Carolina study found that exercise may make you half as likely to suffer from symptoms of depression. The study found that the benefits come with just 150 minutes of total exercise per week.
  • An Australian study found that men were stronger and more powerful around 4 p.m. than they were at other times. One reason may be that body temperature peaks between 4 and 7 p.m. making it easier for muscle proteins to form “cross bridges” that can increase muscle contraction and force.
  • The University of Iowa found that ursolic acid, a compound found in apples, not only slowed muscle breakdown but stimulated growth.
  • A study done by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that the benefits of weight training may last longer than those of running. The researchers said that the extra muscle that lifter built probably helped them keep leaner while they were inactive.
  • A study done by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that the waist-to-height ratio is better than basic mass index BMI, waist circumference, or waist-to-hip ratio in predicting your risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease. Measure your waist at the midpoint between your lowest rib and the widest part of your hips, usually around your butt, and divide it by your height. Aim for a waist-to-height ratio of 0.5.
  • A Swedish study of more than a million men found that the stronger a man is in his 20s, the less likely he is to suffer a heart attack or stroke in later years.
  • A University of North Dakota study found that lifting weight through a full range of motion may improve your flexibility more than stretching does.
  • A French study found that rehearsing lifts in your mind may improve your strength gains.
  • Hawaii’s Brigham Young University found that beginning weightlifters who did static stretching on their off days saw greater gain than those who did not. Longer muscle fibers generally permit faster contraction speeds, which can result in greater power.
  • A University of Missouri study found that pumping iron can ward off belly fat.
  • A Journal of Strength and Conditioning study found that dehydration alters a runner’s perceptions and affect his pacing. Dehydrated runners felt they were hotter and working harder than hydrated ones did. Therefore, stay hydrated during tough workout sessions. Drink at least 7 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
  • An Australian study found that pre-cooling with cooling vests, cold neck towels, and icing the quads for twenty minutes before working out in hot conditions increased output by 14%.
  • A Norwegian study found that cross-county skiers who lifted weights and did cardio were better at fighting off fatigue than skiers who only used cardio.
  • A Westfield State University study found that doing classic crunches worked the muscles on the sides 2 times more than doing rotational crunches where you bring the elbow to the opposite knee.
  • Researchers at Marquette University found that using a tight grip on the bar while lifting weights activates more muscle fibers.
  • According to American and Brazilian scientists, beginner lifters should only take 1 to 2 minutes rests between sets since they cannot activate as many muscle fibers when they train. Seasoned lifters need 3 minutes of rest.
  • Japanese researchers found that doing one set of dumbbell curls increased muscle gain by 8% while three sets increased muscle gain by 13%. One set increased strength by 20% while three sets increase strength by 32%.
  • A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that an adequate vitamin D level may make you less likely to have high blood sugar.
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