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.
 
Training

Many types of athletes alter their training in the run-up to a big event. This reduction in training is often referred to as tapering. If you’re a competitive powerlifter, consider the findings of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research which explores the tapering practices of Croatian open-class champions.
 
Researchers interviewed 10 successful powerlifters. On average, these athletes decreased training volume by around 50% using a step or exponential approach while maintained or increasing training intensity which peaked about 5 to 8 days before competition. During the final week, training frequency was reduced by about 50% with the final session 2 or 3 days before competition.
 
Taper strategies were identical for the squat, bench press and deadlift. The idea is to maintain strength while reducing fatigue. Nutritional intake, foam rolling and static stretching all received extra attention during the taper.