The field of sports medicine is always changing and improving! With every new month, more and more scientific studies are being released that provide new and greater insights into the way our bodies work. It’s up to us to stay up with the trend and make the most of the latest exercise science. Here are a few new things you need to know:
Pop a Caffeine Pill
According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, caffeine before your workout can be an amazing boost! Participants in one study found that taking a caffeine supplement 20 minutes before training were able to hit a higher anaerobic peak power, which meant they had more strength to get through their workout. The study didn’t show the effects of taking a supplement of this nature on a daily basis, but it is definitely good to consider caffeine as a supplement on those days when you’re going to push yourself hard!
Bicep Curls Go All the Way Down
Recent studies have suggested that the partial range of motion of a half-way bicep curl places less strain on the joints, meaning you can lift more weight with less risk of injury. However, one specific study found that the exercise is even more effective when you engage in the full range of motion. Even if the load is lower, the fact that you’re going through the full range of motion (extending your arm) leads to better muscular hypertrophy. If you want to make the most of your curls, perform that full extension, even if it means dropping weight.
CrossFitters MUST Recover
A study posted in Frontiers of Physiology found that 48 hours of rest between CrossFit workouts helped to reduce the inflammatory cytokines. These proteins are responsible for the low-grade inflammation caused by the microscopic tears in muscle tissue (the result of your workout). Reducing the inflammatory cytokines speeds up recovery time, helping the body to repair the muscles more quickly. Not only that, but the proteins also reduced immune function. CrossFitters who do daily workouts may want to consider adding an extra day or two of rest (or cardio training) to encourage post-workout recovery.
If you want to kick up the results of your cycling workout, it’s time to cycle in high heat and humidity! According to one study, cyclists who trained in high heat and humidity derived beneficial effects similar to a hypoxic workout (low oxygen). The results included better cardiovascular function and more efficient oxygen uptake and use. Not only that, but thanks to positive self-talk, they performed better in terms of both endurance and cycling speed, and their cognitive accuracy increased in the high heat environment. That positive motivation was the key to even better performance in the heat!
Mix it Up
Just because lifting heavy has been proven to yield the best possible results in the long-term, that doesn’t mean it’s the ONLY option to consider. One study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that lifters who trained to muscle failure achieved the same results regardless of the amount of weight used. Lowering the load and increasing the number of sets and reps can lead to the same muscle growth and strength increases that you’d get with heavier weights and a lower volume. If you want to give your body a break and change up the pattern of your workout, it’s a good idea to lower the weight and increase the sets/reps. It won’t compromise your previous strength gains, and will help to develop muscular endurance as well as raw power.