September 25th, 2017

Open-Ended Vs. Time Trail Cycling

Some endurance athletes spend a considerable amount of time fine-tuning their pacing strategies before competing. An interesting study from the University of Kent's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences published in The Journal of Sports Sciences suggests they can perform better when there is no pacing strategy to follow.
Researchers had 17 experienced male cyclists take part in a trial where they didn’t know the distance or how long they would have to race. Subjects were encouraged to maintain their target power output for as long as possible. A second trial involved a pre-determined period of race time.
Despite the fact that cyclists found it difficult to keep track of elapsed during intense effort, they performed better during the open-ended trial compared to the traditional time trial. This might be a useful training tool.  
General Fitness

September 21st, 2017

Hydration Habits Of Elite Athletes

Some people have a specific amount of water or sports drinks they want to consume each day. Others drink when their coach tells them to, or just drink when thirsty. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness examines the habits of 253 athletes from a variety of different sports.
Subjects were asked to complete fluid intake questionnaires. The range in age was 8 to 63 years. About 3% of subjects competed in international competition with another 34% participating at the national level. The remaining subjects were regionally active. Of those responding, 150 reported fluid intake below recommended levels while 23 consumed fluids at or above published exercise hydration guidelines.
True Strength

Smelling salts, also known as ammonia salt inhalants, are used to arouse consciousness. The ammonia gas triggers an inhale reflex that improves airflow and possibly also alertness. An interesting study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research takes smelling salts into the weight room.
Twenty men with weight training experience were assessed for maximum force and rate of force development. Then they inhaled smelling salts, a placebo or didn’t inhale anything before performing mid-thigh pulls. There was a significant increase in rate of force development with the use of smelling salts which also contributed to a small improvement in maximal force production.