What does training to failure actually achieve?

Another great one from Chris Beardsley at Medium.com

Over the last few years, researchers have discovered that it is possible to achieve meaningful muscle growth when lifting light weights, so long as sets are performed to muscular failure.

Additionally, some studies indicate that training to failure may lead to more hypertrophy than avoiding failure.

Muscular failure during strength training is simply the point at which fatigue is high enough to prevent a muscle from exerting the amount of force necessary to complete the current repetition, with a given load. Yet, if we lower the weight after reaching failure (as when using drop sets), we can immediately continue exercising.

So why does achieving this level of fatigue during strength training help increase the amount of muscle growth that occurs? And does it always apply, or are there some situations when it is not necessary?

You should keep reading this article.  To do so, go here.

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The Ultimate Science-Based Resistance Training Routine for Older Adults – HITUNI

There’s a new study out by James Steele et al. regarding more successfully-adhered to training protocols for older adults.  “Our hope is that discussion of these specific recommendations, and provision of an example minimal dose workout, will promote resistance training participation by persons who might otherwise have not engaged. We also encourage medical professionals to use this information to prescribe resistance exercise like a drug whilst having an awareness of the health benefits and uncomplicated methods.”

These are the same protocols that I use today at Crescent City Strength.  For me, it’s same as it ever was, going back to 1986 when I was a Nautilus HIT trainer.  Research keeps opening our eyes to more and more benefits of HIT training, but the protocol has not significantly changed since Arthur Jones described it a half a century ago.

As usual, HITUNI does a breakdown better than I ever could, so I’m going to do the lazy (or smart?) thing and link their article with an excerpt.  I hope you click through and read the whole thing, then call me if you want to get set up.

FYI, I have nothing to do with HITUNI, other recommending the site to anyone who wants to learn more about High Intensity Training.  With so much exercise mis-information out there, especially about HIT, they are the REAL DEAL.


The Ultimate Science-Based Resistance Training Routine for Older Adults

On 28th September 2017, a mini review into resistance training for older adults was published in Experimental Gerontology titled “A minimal dose approach to resistance training for the older adult; the prophylactic for aging”.

This is a very exciting piece of research, thrilling for the simplicity and practicality of its conclusions and recommendations. It is the kind of paper that I want to beam into the hands of every individual over the age of 60 and every health influencer of that age group too. Scratch that, if all other resistance training research on earth was somehow decimated and just this document was left to become the blueprint from which all adults of any age begin their resistance training journey, the world of exercise would be a better place. No hype, no marketing b.s., no unnecessary complexity- just simple, safe and beneficial greatness.

Continued here.

Increased physical activity associated with lower risk of 13 types of cancer | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

A new study of the relationship between physical activity and cancer has shown that greater levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with a lower risk of developing 13 different types of cancer. The risk of developing seven cancer types was 20 percent (or more) lower among the most active participants (90th percentile of activity) as compared with the least active participants (10th percentile of activity). These findings, from researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Cancer Society, confirm and extend the evidence for a benefit of physical activity on cancer risk and support its role as a key component of population-wide cancer prevention and control efforts.

The study, by Steven C. Moore, Ph.D., NCI, and colleagues, appeared May 16, 2016, in JAMA Internal Medicine. Hundreds of previous studies have examined associations between physical activity and cancer risk and shown reduced risks for colon, breast, and endometrial cancers; however, results have been inconclusive for most cancer types due to small numbers of participants in the studies. This new study pooled data on 1.44 million people, ages 19 to 98, from the United States and Europe, and was able to examine a broad range of cancers, including rare malignancies. Participants were followed for a median of 11 years during which 187,000 new cases of cancer occurred.

The investigators confirmed that leisure-time physical activity, as assessed by self-reported surveys, was associated with a lower risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. They also determined that leisure-time physical activity was associated with a lower risk of 10 additional cancers, with the greatest risk reductions for esophageal adenocarcinoma, liver cancer, cancer of the gastric cardia, kidney cancer, and myeloid leukemia. Myeloma and cancers of the head and neck, rectum, and bladder also showed reduced risks that were significant, but not as strong. Risk was reduced for lung cancer, but only for current and former smokers; the reasons for this are still being studied. “Leisure-time physical activity is known to reduce risks of heart disease and risk of death from all causes, and our study demonstrates that it is also associated with lower risks of many types of cancer,” said Moore. “Furthermore, our results support that these associations are broadly generalizable to different populations, including people who are overweight or obese, or those with a history of smoking. Health care professionals counseling inactive adults should promote physical activity as a component of a healthy lifestyle and cancer prevention.” Leisure-time physical activity is defined as exercise done at one’s own discretion, often to improve or maintain fitness or health. Examples include walking, running, swimming, and other moderate to vigorous intensity activities. The median level of activity in the study was about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, which is comparable to the current recommended minimum level of physical activity for the U.S. population.

Source: Increased physical activity associated with lower risk of 13 types of cancer | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Regular exercise at any age might stave off Alzheimer’s: Fitness level correlates with increased blood flow to essential areas of brain — ScienceDaily

Recent research suggests that exercise might provide some measure of protection from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. A group of researchers led by Nathan Johnson PT, DPT, PhD of the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, was able to demonstrate a positive correlation between fitness and blood flow to areas of the brain where the hallmark tangles and plaques of AD pathology are usually first detected. Thirty men and women ages 59-69 were put through treadmill fitness assessments and ultrasounds of the heart. Then they received brain scans to look for blood flow to certain areas of the brain.

“We set out to characterize the relationship between heart function, fitness, and cerebral blood flow, which no other study had explored to date,” Johnson said. “In other words, if you’re in good physical shape, does that improve blood flow to critical areas of the brain? And does that improved blood flow provide some form of protection from dementia?”

The results showed blood flow to critical areas of the brain — and so the supply of oxygen and vital nutrients — was higher in those who were more physically fit.

Full story at source: Regular exercise at any age might stave off Alzheimer’s: Fitness level correlates with increased blood flow to essential areas of brain — ScienceDaily

Exercise: Future anticancer therapy? — ScienceDaily

At age 70, Alfred Roberts plays hockey twice a week. Nothing special, right? Except that for three years he has had advanced prostate cancer, which has spread to his bones. “I’ve always been active. Hockey keeps me in shape and keeps my mind off things. I’ve got friends that have played until age 80, and my goal is to beat them!” said the veteran stick handler. Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of exercise to improve the quality of life of people with cancer. But Dr. Fred Saad, urologist-oncologist and researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), goes further. He believes that physical exercise has a direct effect on cancer, as effective as drugs, for treating patients with prostate cancer, even in advanced stages of the disease.

Continued at source: Exercise: Future anticancer therapy? — ScienceDaily

Do You Even Lift? Why Lifting Weights Is More Important For Your Health Than You Think | IFLScience

Nice to see weight training getting its due in the press.


Regular participation in muscle strengthening activity such as weight or resistance training has many health benefits. However, this mode of exercise has been largely overlooked in Australian health promotion. Our recent research shows a large majority of Australians do not engage in muscle strengthening activity. Muscle strengthening activity usually includes exercise using weight machines, exercise bands, hand-held weights, or own body weight (such as push-ups or sit-ups). When performed regularly, muscle strengthening activity leads to the improvement or maintenance of strength, size, power and endurance of skeletal muscles.

Historically, most public health physical activity recommendations have predominantly promoted moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (such as brisk walking or jogging). However, the current Australian guidelines issued in 2014 are our first national public health guidelines to additionally recommend muscle strengthening activity. They recommend an adult “do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week”.

Continued at: Do You Even Lift? Why Lifting Weights Is More Important For Your Health Than You Think | IFLScience

Higher muscle mass associated with lower mortality risk in people with heart disease

ScienceDaily.com
CutDate:  April 22, 2016
Source:  University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences
Summary:
Cardiovascular disease patients who have high muscle mass and low fat mass have a lower mortality risk than those with other body compositions, researchers have found. The findings also suggest that regardless of a person’s level of fat mass, a higher level of muscle mass helps reduce the risk of death.

Full Article

Researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA found that cardiovascular disease patients who have high muscle mass and low fat mass have a lower mortality risk than those with other body compositions. The findings also suggest that regardless of a person’s level of fat mass, a higher level of muscle mass helps reduce the risk of death.

This findings indicate the importance of assessing body composition as a way to help predict cardiovascular and total mortality in people with cardiovascular disease.

Background

In previous studies on the relationship between body composition and mortality, the researchers used a simpler clinical measure of body composition called the bio electrical impedance scale. They noted a possible protective effect of muscle mass on both mortality and metabolism in healthy people. The new study extends the findings from the earlier research using dual X-ray absorptiometry, a more rigorous method of measuring body composition.

The researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2004, of 6,451 participants who had prevalent cardiovascular disease. Each subject was categorized into one of four groups:

  • low muscle/low fat mass
  • low muscle/high fat mass
  • high muscle/low fat mass
  • high muscle/high fat mass

Those with high muscle mass and low fat mass had the lowest risk of cardiovascular and total mortality.

Impact

Because people with higher muscle mass were more likely to have a high body mass index, the findings could explain the “obesity paradox,” which holds that people with a higher BMI have lower mortality levels.

The findings also highlight the importance of maintaining muscle mass, rather than focusing on weight loss, in order to prolong life, even in people who have a higher cardiovascular risk. The authors suggest that clinicians encourage their patients to participate in resistance exercises as a part of healthy lifestyle changes, rather than focusing primarily on, and monitoring, weight loss.

Authors

Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, associate clinical professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, is the study’s primary investigator. The study’s co-authors are Dr. Tamara Horwich, health sciences clinical professor of medicine, division of cardiology, and Dr. Chi-hong Tseng, adjunct associate professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research.

The study was published in the American Journal of Cardiology.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences. The original item was written by Enrique Rivero. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Preethi Srikanthan, Tamara B. Horwich, Chi Hong Tseng. Relation of Muscle Mass and Fat Mass to Cardiovascular Disease Mortality. The American Journal of Cardiology, 2016; 117 (8): 1355 DOI: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.01.033

Training to prevent strain injury? Contraction mode matters

Or Why It’s Important To Accentuate The Negative.Training
Date:  April 1, 2016
Source:  American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Summary:
Hamstring injuries are the most common noncontact injury in elite sport. Despite increased research efforts, these injury rates continue to rise. Recent evidence has shown that short muscle fiber lengths can increase the risk of hamstring injury in elite soccer players. This study aimed to see how fascicle lengths change following training interventions of either lengthening or shortening contractions.

Hamstring injuries are the most common noncontact injury in elite sport. Despite increased research efforts, these injury rates continue to rise. Recent evidence has shown that short muscle fiber lengths can increase the risk of hamstring injury in elite soccer players. This study aimed to see how fascicle lengths change following training interventions of either lengthening or shortening contractions.

Twenty-eight healthy males trained three times per week for six weeks, followed by a reassessment after four weeks off. Those who trained with lengthening contractions saw a rapid (<14 days) increase in fascicle length, with a loss of any gains following the four weeks off at the end. Those who trained with shortening contractions saw a rapid (<14 days) reduction in fascicle length, with no changes following the four week break.

These findings have implications for injury prevention and rehabilitation practices which should consider the contraction mode and the effect of de-training. An example from elite soccer is prescription of a lengthening training intervention (e.g. Nordic Hamstring Exercise) to an athlete.

This works great, unless the athlete stops doing the exercises in-season or goes on holiday at the end of the season.

Then, all of the hard work is for nothing, with significant reductions in muscle fiber length and potential increases in injury risk.

Why you won’t lose weight with exercise alone

Humans are Priuses, not Hummers.  Otherwise we would not have survived as a species.

ScienceDaily.com
Date:  January 28, 2016
Source:  Cell Press
Summary:
Exercise by itself isn’t always enough to take off the weight. Now, evidence helps to explain why that is: our bodies adapt to higher activity levels, so that people don’t necessarily burn extra calories even if they exercise more.
FULL STORY


Exercise by itself isn’t always enough to take off the weight. Now, evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on January 28 helps to explain why that is: our bodies adapt to higher activity levels, so that people don’t necessarily burn extra calories even if they exercise more.

The results suggest it’s time to rethink the effect of physical activity on daily energy expenditure, the researchers say. They are also a reminder of the importance of diet and exercise in supporting weight loss goals.

“Exercise is really important for your health,” says Herman Pontzer of City University of New York. “That’s the first thing I mention to anyone asking about the implications of this work for exercise. There is tons of evidence that exercise is important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, and this work does nothing to change that message. What our work adds is that we also need to focus on diet, particularly when it comes to managing our weight and preventing or reversing unhealthy weight gain.”

People who start exercise programs to lose weight often see a decline in weight loss (or even a reversal) after a few months. Large comparative studies have also shown that people with very active lifestyles have similar daily energy expenditure to people in more sedentary populations.

Pontzer says this really hit home for him when he was working among the Hadza, a population of traditional hunter-gatherers in northern Tanzania.

“The Hadza are incredibly active, walking long distances each day and doing a lot of hard physical work as part of their everyday life,” Pontzer says. “Despite these high activity levels, we found that they had similar daily energy expenditures to people living more sedentary, modernized lifestyles in the United States and Europe. That was a real surprise, and it got me thinking about the link between activity and energy expenditure.”

To explore this question further in the new study, Pontzer and his colleagues measured the daily energy expenditure and activity levels of more than 300 men and women over the course of a week.

In the data they collected, they saw a weak but measurable effect of physical activity on daily energy expenditure. But, further analysis showed that this pattern only held among subjects on the lower half of the physical activity spectrum. People with moderate activity levels had somewhat higher daily energy expenditures–about 200 calories higher–than the most sedentary people. But people who fell above moderate activity levels saw no effect of their extra work in terms of energy expenditure.

“The most physically active people expended the same amount of calories each day as people who were only moderately active,” Pontzer says.

The researchers say it’s time to stop assuming that more physical activity always means more calories. There might be a “sweet spot” for physical activity–too little and we’re unhealthy, but too much and the body makes big adjustments in order to adapt.

Pontzer and his colleagues now plan to study how the body responds to changes in activity level. They’ll start by looking for other changes–for example, in immune function or the reproductive system–that might explain how the body adapts to greater physical demands without consuming extra calories.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Herman Pontzer, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, Lara R. Dugas, Jacob Plange-Rhule, Pascal Bovet, Terrence E. Forrester, Estelle V. Lambert, Richard S. Cooper, Dale A. Schoeller, Amy Luke. Constrained Total Energy Expenditure and Metabolic Adaptation to Physical Activity in Adult Humans. Current Biology, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.046

High Intensity Training improves recovery after knee replacement surgery

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]
Leg Extension

Copyright: tonobalaguer / 123RF Stock Photo

High-intensity preoperative training improves physical and functional recovery in the early post-operative periods after total knee arthroplasty: a randomized controlled trial.

PURPOSE:

The benefits of preoperative training programmes compared with alternative treatment are unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a high-intensity preoperative resistance training programme in patients waiting for total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

METHODS:

Forty-four subjects (7 men, 37 women) scheduled for unilateral TKA for osteoarthritis (OA) during 2014 participated in this randomized controlled trial. Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), the Physical Functioning Scale of the Short Form-36 questionnaire (SF-36), a 10-cm visual analogue scale (VAS), isometric knee flexion, isometric knee extension, isometric hip abduction, active knee range of motion and functional tasks (Timed Up and Go test and Stair ascent-descent test) were assessed at 8 weeks before surgery (T1), after 8 weeks of training (T2), 1 month after TKA (T3) and finally 3 months after TKA (T4). The intervention group completed an 8-week training programme 3 days per week prior to surgery.

RESULTS:

Isometric knee flexion, isometric hip abduction, VAS, WOMAC, ROM extension and flexion and all the functional assessments were greater for the intervention group at T2, T3 and T4, whereas isometric knee extension was greater for this group at T2 and T4 compared with control.

CONCLUSION:

The present study supports the use of preoperative training in end-stage OA patients to improve early postoperative outcomes. High-intensity strength training during the preoperative period reduces pain and improves lower limb muscle strength, ROM and functional task performance before surgery, resulting in a reduced length of stay at the hospital and a faster physical and functional recovery after TKA. The present training programme can be used by specialists to speed up recovery after TKA.