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The Effects of Augmented Eccentric Loading upon Kinematics and Muscle Activation in Bench Press Performance

By by Roland van den Tillaar 1,* and Kedric Kwan 2

Congratulations to TSG coach, Kedric Kwan on his first official journal publication, “The Effects of Augmented Eccentric Loading upon Kinematics and Muscle Activation in Bench Press Performance”.

Read publication here

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Kedric Kwan
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What does it feel like to be a World Record holder?

What Does It Feel Like to be a World Record Holder?
by Strength Gal Jordanne Panton 

People always ask me “What does it feel like to be a world record holder?” or “What does it feel like to be the best in the world at something?”

I usually respond by telling them how cool it feels and how proud I am of myself because that seems like the way I’m supposed to respond. But, to be honest, when you break a world record you don’t suddenly feel like you’re better than anyone else or feel the need to go around bragging. Now don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying that breaking a world record isn’t something to be insanely proud of. There really is no better feeling than seeing “WORLD RECORD” flashing on the screen under your name and seeing those three white lights once you complete your lift. It’s actually pretty similar to achieving any other goal, except when you achieve this one, it gets put in the record book.

Jordanne Panton World Record Holder

In the end, it’s not really about the record. It’s about something much deeper. It’s about the countless hours in the gym when you almost gave up but you pushed through because you know what you’re capable of. It’s about all of the small victories that no one knows about other than yourself. It’s about all the losses along the way that made you hungry enough to do better. When I finally accomplish one of my goals, my favorite part has always been to look back on everything I sacrificed and seeing that it was all worth it.

I think what most people fail to realize is the amount of sacrifice and dedication it truly takes to reach the top. I wasn’t always a world-class athlete. I began powerlifting 5 years ago when I was just 13 years old- only an 8th grader at the time. As I continued to grow and succeed in the sport, I started to recognize that reaching my potential would require my absolute dedication. As a high school student, this means not staying out too late on a Friday night because I’ve got an important training session the next morning. It means no vacations over spring break because I don’t want to take that much time off from training. It means training comes before all else. Everything I do revolves around my training because that’s my priority. It’s a mindset that most kids at that age don’t have.

The first time I broke a world record was at the 2016 IPF Sub-junior World Championships in Poland. It was my first world championship meet, and I had some pretty high expectations for myself. I had set a goal to break the sub-junior deadlift world record when I first began training for worlds, which was about a year before the meet. Leading up to this meet, I had deadlifted more than the record a few times in training but I think it’s pretty safe to say lifting in a meet is very different than lifting at the gym. You have to take into account things such as the stress on your body from traveling, the fact that you have an audience, and the mental toughness of getting through all 9 lifts when it might not be your best day.

Jordanne Panton World Record Holder Deadlift

By the time the deadlifts rolled around that day, I was prepared to leave everything on the platform. After scratching my 3rd squat attempt to conserve energy for my deadlifts, I really had nothing to lose. I vividly remember staring at the bar before setting up, repeating to myself “It’s only 424 pounds, it’s only 424 pounds,” as if that wasn’t a lot of weight to pick up.

From this point on, I enter into my own world. Nothing else matters except me and the weight. Every sound gets tuned out, from my teammates cheering to my coach telling me to set up right. It feels as if I’m a robot that’s been programmed to do one thing and that one thing only- lifting the weight. The next thing I knew, I was locked out with a new world record.

Fast forward two years to the 2018 IPF Junior Worlds this past September in South Africa. I was given another chance. This time it was to break the junior deadlift world record. Now a sophomore in college, the sacrifices continue to build up. It’s learning to balance academics, a social life, and powerlifting. Still, powerlifting trumps all.

This time at Worlds, once again the world record was well within my grasp. For my 2nd deadlift attempt we loaded 474 pounds on the bar which I successfully pulled, giving me my 2nd world record. I went on to try 510 pounds for my 3rd attempt, but lost my grip. The experience I had pulling my 2nd world record was really no different than the first. It was just as exciting, if not more exciting being able to do it halfway around the world. Five years of hard work and consistency led to that moment.

So what does it feel like to be a world record holder? It feels pretty darn good. Not just because of the record itself but because of my journey getting there. It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.

Jordanne Panton World Record Holder - Squat

 

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You Make It Work: Being a Travelling Powerlifter & Scientist

Whole @$$’ing Two Things

By Strength Gal Athlete Danielle Campbell 
@danielle_micro_lifter

Being a graduate student and a powerlifter, I see a lot of my peers give themselves completely to their science or to their sport. I always thought I was in the wrong because I didn’t want to be just one thing – I wanted to pursue multiple passions. Even Ron Swanson, whose advice I’d usually take to heart, says, “Don’t half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.” Well, I’m here to tell you that Ron Swanson is wrong. You can whole ass two things… but it’s going to be pretty hard.

I study microbiology at the University of Illinois, and I’m kind of taking the scenic route to my PhD. I keep getting involved in new side projects and collaborations. And this summer, I took seven weeks away from my actual work to go to a totally optional, zero-credit, microbiology course halfway across the continent. Now before you say, “Danielle, you idiot, you’ve been in graduate school for almost six years, just graduate already,” let me explain.

I got to spend my summer in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. It’s kind of a marine science Mecca. It is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutio (the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the U.S.), the Woods Hole Research Center (a top think tank on climate change), and NOAA and USGS research centers. Woods Hole is also home to the Marine Biological Laboratory, a place with such a huge impact on biology that it’s hard to wrap my head around. Here is some idea of how incredible the MBL: 34% of the Nobel prizes awarded for Physiology or Medicine have been given to MBL scientists. (This makes Nobel Prizes kind of a casual thing at the MBL, they let even me hold one.)

Research submarine Alvin
A rear view of the manned research submarine Alvin. This sub can go down 20,000 ft (6.5 km) below the ocean’s surface, and was used to explore the wreck of the Titanic! Alvin calls Woods Hole home when it is not diving deeper than my worst nightmares can imagine.

The MBL offers a six and a half week intense microbiology course. When I say “intense,” I mean at minimum 12 hour days for six days a week. But they also say this course is “transformational” for its students (now that it’s over, I know this is true). You get to learn a lot of advanced microbiology from some of the world’s best microbiologists. And, if you’re a real microbio nerd like me, they say it’s a ton of fun (also true).

I was excited for the course, but nervous for my powerlifting training. I spoke to students who took the course before and  I was told again and again to just take that time off from the gym. Well I’m pretty stubborn and I didn’t like that answer. So I called my 92-years old grandfather instead. He told me, “If you care about it, you’ll make it work.” That’s more like it. (Thanks, Grandpa!)

I prepared for battle my trip. I researched gyms, I packed all my gym gear, I asked my coach for a training regimen I could handle (shout out to Jason Tremblay for being so accommodating), and made the 18 hour drive from Illinois to Massachusetts – so that I’d have my car to easily get to the gym.

The next six and a half weeks flew by. I scienced hard every day and I trained even harder twice a week. I was almost never running on a full tank of fuel; my mind and body were exhausted, sleep was scarce, and the food left me questioning how something so calorically dense could taste so bad. But I stuck to my “no excuses” attitude, kept up with my training plan, and finished every single workout.

Pink Berry Explosion
This is a view through the microscope looking at a “pink berry.” These are small (about the size of a pinhead) balls of microbes that you can find in some salt marshes. Everything in this photo is a microbe! The pink-purple microbes produce a pigment that allows them to do photosynthesis.

As you can imagine, I had some good days and some bad days lifting, but that’s not any different than at home. The biggest difference, I think, is just really planning ahead to make it work. I couldn’t skip the gym in the morning if I’d already scheduled all my experiments to accommodate a rushed morning, moved my car to the closest parking lot, packed my gym bag, and slept in my workout clothes (this, right here, is the real pro-tip in this post). It didn’t matter if I had a crummy night of sleep (many very hot nights without air conditioning), a bad day in the lab (scientists fail way more than they succeed), or a big day tomorrow (that would be every day). Once I planned a lifting session, it was set in stone.

No excuses.

Woods Hole Port
Eel Pond in Woods Hole is beautiful, even on a foggy morning! This is right across the street from the lab I worked in.

So, that’s my best advice: You can whole ass two things. You make it work. And now I am going to put this advice, and myself, to the test again, as I travel to Yellowstone National Park to collect microbiological samples from acidic hot springs! (I don’t even study hot springs, but this is a pretty amazing opportunity!)

Giant Virus Award
I was given this amazing personalized award at the end of the course… I think I talked about lifting enough! My individual project during the course was working with giant viruses (yes, they are just HUGE viruses!).

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Athlete Genius – Building A Strong Athletic Community Worldwide

ATHLETE  GENIUS

Coined the “LinkedIn” of the Fitness Industry, Athlete Genius is a new and upcoming platform for athletes, coaches, therapists, and gyms across the globe to connect .
Below are some behind the scenes shots of TSG Team Member Nicola’s profile on the website.
Athlete Genius is a Calgary based start up with a goal to bring the athletic community under one network – a global platform to create more opportunities and maximize potential for those involved in the athletic world. Feature your skills and stats, showcase highlight videos, offer potential clients your services, or even showcase your team. No matter where you fit in the athletic world, this is a platform to grow your reach by making positive connections.
The official launch date of Athlete Genius is still to be determined, however,  accounts are currently being offered for free for people who pre-register for the network. So sign up today at https://athletegenius.com/
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How the Ketogenic Diet Affects Hunger (Research Review)

Our very own, Dr. Brandon Roberts has published another monster article. This time it’s Part 3 of the Sci-Fit series covering Hunger and the Ketogenic Diet.

      By reading this article, you will:
  1. Learn how the ketogenic diet affects your hunger
  2. Find out whether keto is better than other diets for appetite suppression
  3. Get insight into how protein, ketones, and other factors affect hunger
    What we did, and why

    Hunger is very important because it affects how much you eat. People typically feel hungrier after going on a diet. This is because the body wants to regain lost weight. If you could control hunger, then maybe weight loss could be easier and you might prevent weight regain.

    We have combed through the ketogenic literature. Our goal was to find studies with data on appetite, hunger, satiety, and cravings.

    After analyzing the data, we answered the following questions: “Will I be hungry on keto?” and “Do I need to count calories?”, and “Is the ketogenic diet superior compared to other diets for controlling hunger?”

Read entire article here

 

Authors
Adam Tzur (Sci-Fit on FB),
Brandon Roberts (FBResearchgate)
Richard Nijholt (FB)

 

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Concurrent Training for the Powerlifter: Physiology & Application

“Before reading this, you may want to take a look at Part 1 for a refresher on concurrent training. As we delve into Part 2, we will cover the molecular exercise physiology, then provide some application for concurrent programming. Our goal is to describe some of the more important underlying mechanisms involved in the acute responses and chronic adaptive processes. We intend to explain how interference can occur, to what extent, and why this matters for programming applications. At the end, we provide an example of how concurrent training can be applied within the context of a mesocycle of training. “

Check out the entire article co-written by TSG Coach Brandon Roberts, PhD, CSCS and Cody Haun, PhD (c), MA, CSCS

https://www.strongerbyscience.com/concurrent-training-part-2/

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Myth Busting with Science and Experience

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Science Spotlight: Brandon Roberts

Brandon Roberts Introduction 

Brandon is currently researching muscle hypertrophy. He is specifically interested in the role of ribosome biogenesis during resistance training. He also writes science-based content for SCI-FIT, AARR, StrongerbyScience, and various other websites. You can find links to his articles here and links to his scientific publications here.

Interview

When did you start writing science-based articles?

I started in the second year of my PhD when I realized I needed to practice writing more. Initially, I figured that if I could translate research into something people understand, it would improve my scientific writing. It helped, but now I mainly do it for fun. I enjoy finding answers to questions in the field of exercise science. I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I’ll get there one day.

Which projects are you currently working on (research and other works)?

I have a ton of exciting projects going on. My solo research is focused on inflammation and its role in muscle hypertrophy. I received a fellowship to study this topic in cells and humans with the goal of identifying the molecular mechanisms of ribosome biogenesis. Ribosomes are where muscle protein synthesis occurs and play a relatively unexplored role in muscle growth. Another project is a randomized controlled trial using resistance training with metformin 1 or a placebo in aging atrophied adults 2. However, my favorite project is a concurrent training 3 study using transcriptome sequencing 4 in young subjects. I have a small role in a number of other projects too.

 

Continue reading here

Brandon is a valuable member of The Strength Guys team

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Are Cheat Reps Beneficial? A Discussion of the Evidence and Implementation

Are Cheat Reps Beneficial? A Discussion of the Evidence and Implementation

by Jason Tremblay and Andrew Vigotsky

The word “never” is an evil word to use in sport science. How many times have you been told to never use momentum? To never break form? It’s common knowledge. But for the purpose of hypertrophy, is there a role in the training regimen of bodybuilders for cheat reps? So often we see bad form being chastised, but did the old timers like Schwarzanegger and Draper performing Cheat Curls in the original Golds Gym know something that we didn’t… Do cheat reps and momentum have their place in a bodybuilding regimen? Theory and evidence suggest that this may be the case.

 

Current hypertrophy theory suggests that mechanosensors convert mechanical energy into chemical signals which mediate anabolic pathways – ultimately creating an environment where more proteins are being synthesized than proteins being degraded.9 From this, one could surmise that muscle hypertrophy is based on the recruitment of as many motor units as possible in the target muscles, and achieving high firing rates in these motor units for a sufficient duration of time. 6, 8

 

In a recent article by Ogborn and Schoenfeld (2014), points were made in relation to Henneman’s size principle that may offer credence to the argument for including momentum in hypertrophy training. 5 The gist of Henneman’s size principle is that motor units are recruited in an orderly manner. Lower intensity tasks will invoke smaller motor unit activation, while higher intensity tasks will invoke a full spectrum of motor units. Ogborn and Schoenfeld noted that this principle discounts the role of fatigue and its ability to impact motor unit recruitment.

 

How could this occur? As fatigue builds up, force decreases. In order to sustain force output to get through repetitions in an environment of fatigue build-up, Loenneke (2011) theorized that we must recruit higher threshold motor units. 4 Thus, lower intensity training may be able to recruit a full spectrum of motor units as well. 2

 

In a physiological environment of high fatigue, being able to sustain force output and continue performing repetitions appears to be of value for hypertrophy. Therefore, there is a valid theoretical basis for performing cheat reps at the end of a set. This thought process also jives well with Arandjelovic (2013).

 

Although often perceived as counterproductive, “cheating”, at least in the case of a dumbbell lateral raise, allows the lifter to safely lift more weight, which increases the torque of the target muscles despite the increase in momentum. Of course, one can overdo this by “cheating” too much, so using moderate momentum (57.5º/s) seems to be ideal for safely increasing training stimuli and the resulting hypertrophic response, or at least hypothetically as per Arandjelovic’s 2013 complex modeling paper. 1

 

As coaches, we must not only consider evidence, but also practical implications of said evidence.  We have presented both physiological and biomechanical arguments in favor of cheat reps – now let’s investigate methods of implementing cheat reps during program design.

 

It is easy to see why coaches, trainers, and trainees have frowned upon using momentum during lifting. When done incorrectly, it just looks bad, and depending on the situation, it may significantly increase the risk of injury. 9 When making important program design decisions, such as whether to integrate cheat reps or not, it is important to look at them in the context of risk vs. benefit. Does the risk of injury from performing cheat reps outweigh the benefit of potentially recruiting more high threshold motor units, accumulating more fatigue, and increasing torque on the target muscle? In our opinion, the answer to this question depends heavily on the exercise – because clearly, using momentum on a lateral raise isn’t the same as heaving a heavy dumbbell around while performing some single arm rows, which is why we present to you four rules to effectively and safely reap the benefits of utilizing cheat reps.

 

Rule #1 – Primarily use cheat reps with isolation lifts. The lighter loads and less degrees of freedom should serve to decrease the risk of injury and offer a safer platform to reap the benefits of this intensity technique.  

Rule #2 – Don’t over do it! Arandjelovic (2013) suggests using moderate momentum to safely increase the stimuli.1

Rule #3 – Don’t cheat with heavy axial loads… Exercises that require a stable spinal column aren’t conductive to cheat reps, which include the exercises listed below (e.g., squats and deadlifts).

Rule #4 – Confine cheat reps to a limited number of sets per workout, as training to muscular failure too frequently may lead to burnout.

 

As with any rule, there are exceptions.  Lifters should utilize good form with cheating, for example, push pressing the last couple of reps on military presses or swaying a bit with the last couple of reps on chin ups.  Below are some exercises and how we categorize them with regards to cheat reps.

  • Conductive to cheating include: curls, lateral raises, cable tricep extensions, front raises, and rear delt raises.
  • On the fence with cheating include: one arm rows, lat pulldowns, bent over rows, shrugs, seated rows, chest supported rows, chins, military press
  • Not conductive to cheating include: squats, deadlifts, lunges, good mornings, back extensions, hip thrusts, dips, bench press, power cleans, power snatches, swings, jump squats

 

As you can see, it’s safe to cheat on back exercises that involve pulling or rowing, but we do not recommend cheating on complex movements or movements that involve loading the spinal column. After years of chastising the use of momentum during exercise, we leave you with this classic:

 

“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

Maybe success does leave clues after all…

 

The Strength Guys are an online coaching and performance group who strive to follow an evidence-based practice. In addition to coaching, The Strength Guys provide content on a regular basis via Twitter & Instagram, and Facebook.

Want to get in touch with The Strength Guys? Please contact inquiry@thestrengthguys.com

 

Note: This article was originally authored and published on bretcontreras.com in 2014

 

Bibliography

  1. Arandjelović, O. (2013). Does cheating pay: the role of externally supplied momentum on muscular force in resistance exercise. European journal of applied physiology, 113(1), 135-145.
  2. Burd, N. A., West, D. W., Staples, A. W., Atherton, P. J., Baker, J. M., Moore, D. R., … & Phillips, S. M. (2010). Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men. PloS one, 5(8), e12033.
  3. Faigenbaum, A. D., & Myer, G. D. (2010). Resistance training among young athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects. British journal of sports medicine44(1), 56-63.
  4. Loenneke, J. P., Fahs, C. A., Wilson, J. M., & Bemben, M. G. (2011). Blood flow restriction: the metabolite/volume threshold theory. Medical hypotheses, 77(5), 748-752.
  5. Ogborn, D., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2014). The Role of Fiber Types in Muscle Hypertrophy: Implications for Loading Strategies. Strength & Conditioning Journal.
  6. Schoenfeld, B. J. (2013). Is There a Minimum Intensity Threshold for Resistance Training-Induced Hypertrophic Adaptations?. Sports Medicine, 43(12), 1279-1288.
  7. Schoenfeld, B. J. (2010). The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(10), 2857-2872.
  8. Wernbom, M., Augustsson, J., & Thomeé, R. (2007). The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Sports Medicine, 37(3), 225-264.
  9. Zou, K., Meador, B. M., Johnson, B., Huntsman, H. D., Mahmassani, Z., Valero, M. C., … & Boppart, M. D. (2011). The α7β1-integrin increases muscle hypertrophy following multiple bouts of eccentric exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 111(4), 1134-1141.

 

 

 

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The Science of Advanced Bodybuilding Exercise Prescription

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ANALYZING TRAINING FOR SAFETY AND PERFORMANCE