Training News April 2018
What Kind of Impact Do Supersets and Tri-Sets Have on Recovery?
Supersets are two exercises, performed consecutively, followed by rest. Tri-sets are the same, except with three exercises instead of two. Both techniques are utilized by athletes to decrease training time while increasing training volume and intensity. However, what kind of impact does this have on your recovery time? Unfortunately, according to researchers from Leeds Beckett University in the UK, supersets and tri-sets cause a noticeable delay in recovery times. The researchers measured the performance of the study participants on a three-set maximum lifting test and vertical jump test 24 hours after they had performed workouts involving supersets or tri-sets. Several indicators for increased fatigue were observed during the superset and tri-set workouts, including higher blood lactate concentrations and markers for muscle tissue damage, so the 24-hour test findings are not surprising. Athletes who enjoy enhancing their workouts with supersets and tri-sets may want to limit these techniques to the beginning of the week, leaving the end of the week for more traditional methods so that your body has sufficient time to recover.
Use the “Goldilocks Principle” to Get Your Training Just Right
It’s such a simple idea, but so many of us forget it in our push to reach our fitness goals: Stay balanced. Don’t go overboard. Or, as Goldilocks would say, keep things “just right.” Restricted range exercise is an excellent example of how you can achieve this safely. A study from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil has demonstrated how biceps curls performed with a full range of motion cause greater muscle damage and allow for less weight to be lifted in comparison to partial range of motion curls. Bodybuilders who limit their range of motion in a curl to 20 or 30 degrees are able to use heavier weights without putting themselves at greater risk for muscle or joint injury. By applying just the right amount of pressure to your muscles, you can achieve far greater results in a much safer fashion than you would by trying to push yourself too hard or by always trying to do everything in a full range of motion. The “Goldilocks Principle” teaches us that, sometimes, being right in the middle is the best.
Blood Flow Restriction After Exercise May Aid Recovery
Many activities can make our muscles sore, but a common culprit amongst athletes and non-athletes alike would be the eccentric muscle contraction. Eccentric contractions are lengthening motions, such as running down steep hills or stairs, and they are linked to muscle soreness and damage. While some soreness can be a good thing, which leads to muscle growth and training progress, excessive soreness leads to disproportionately long periods of time spent recovering. This can be a nightmare for athletes because it can interfere with training and careers. According to researchers from St. Mary’s University in the UK, restricting blood flow during recovery from periods of extreme eccentric exercise – such as 100 drop jumps off a 1.5-foot bench – reduced markers of muscle damage, improved performance, and decreased soreness. The researchers used a pressure cuff to the leg, inflated to 220 mmHg for three sessions of five minutes each during recovery. Although these results are promising and could mean a lot to the athletic community, more research is necessary to know the long-term effectiveness and safety of this method.
To Do More, You’ve Got to Take a Little Pause – Really!
You’ve probably noticed that the last few reps of an exercise are often much harder to complete than the first few. This is because powerful muscle contractions require energy from adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, and creatine phosphate, or CP. However, ATP and CP only have a capacity of about three seconds, so they get used up rapidly during weight training. Researchers from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, have discovered that you can do more reps and activate more motor units during your workout by incorporating a brief pause in the middle of each set. The technique is simple: If, for example, you are doing a set of ten reps, you would first perform five reps, then take a four second pause, then finish your set with the remaining five reps. The four second pause allows your muscles to undergo a period of rapid recovery, where ATP and CP have a chance to flood back into your muscle tissue. You’ll be able to lift more total weight and get more out of your workouts if you just give yourself those four seconds of pause.
Stay Tuned For Next Week’s Fitness Pulse!
As always, thanks for checking in with us. And remember, if you are looking to speed up your strength training journey, ISO-XP Whey Protein Isolate from XP Labs is your healthiest and most effective choice for protein supplementation. Our formula is made from only top-quality, grass-fed New Zealand whey, which has an incredible amino acid profile. It’s scientifically proven to have superior bioavailability, which means your muscles will be fed with more nutrients in a shorter amount of time – and that means you can reach your strength goals faster too!