Athletic Lab is made up of a diverse group of goal-oriented and hard-working individuals. That's why we take a moment each month to highlight one (or more) of our members in our member of the month feature. For the month of November we've chosen Madeline Vessey. Madeline is a member in our Scholastic Sports Performance Program and also a member of our Weightlifting Club. She recently took 2nd place at the NC State Weightlifting Championships. You can check out our previous members of the month here. Name: Madeline Vessey Age: 15 What city were you born in? Raleigh What sport do you participate in? Weightlifting How long have you been participating your sport? I have been doing scholastic classes at AL for several years while doing swimming. I decided to focus on weightlifting last year and competed in 3 weightlifting meets this year, most recently the state championship in Wilmington. How did you first hear about Athletic Lab? From my Dad who has been doing weightlifting at AL since 2012. He encouraged me to go to help keep up my strength after I had foot surgery when I was in 5th grade. What are your favorite and least favorite exercises? Favorite is sled pushes. I HATE v-ups. What do you feel have been your greatest accomplishments so far? Competing in the state meet last month! What motivates you in your training? I’m a perfectionist so I don’t like it if I feel like I could do something better than I am.
Athletic Lab's Dr. Mike Young recently returned from speaking at the 1st International Meeting for High Performance Training. The world class event was hosted in São Paulo, Brazil. The event was put on by Elite Training Brazil which is the top coaching education company in South America. The event was attended by almost 250 coaches and featured an international lineup of world renowned coaches and sports scientists. Mike shared the stage with Dr. Dan Baker, Brett Bartholomew, David Joyce, and Dr. Matt Jordan for the 4 day Conference. Athletic Lab had the privilege of hosting Dr. Jordan at our 2017 High Performance Athletic Development Conference and Dr. Baker at a Velocity Based Training Workshop in 2016. If you are interested in having Dr. Young and any other Athletic Lab staff lecture or provide a private workshop for your organization please contact us for details.
[Frank Muntis recently finished his Master's degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Louisville and is currently in the Coaching Mentorship Program at Athletic Lab.] While there are countless variations of volume and intensity in resistance training programming, a commonly under-appreciated variable of periodization is training frequency. I first became interested in the subject about a year ago when I decided to try a high-frequency squat program to help me break a plateau I was in and saw incredible progress. I not only broke through my plateau, but it seemed as if I was setting PR’s almost every other day. The more I explored the subject, the more fascinated I became. The Norwegian Frequency Project Many of you have likely heard of what is often referred to as the Norwegian Frequency Project. The study consisted of 16 elite competitive powerlifters, half men, and half women, between the ages of 18 and 25. They were split into either a high frequency (6day/wk) training program or low frequency (3day/wk) training program with the same exercises, routine and weekly volume held constant between the groups. The high-frequency group had nearly double the strength and hypertrophy gains as the low training frequency group. It is important to note that these were not your everyday gym goer. The participants in this study were highly trained national level Norwegian powerlifters. This study has sparked a lot of interest into high-frequency training programs. It is my goal to speak about what the limited research indicates about the efficacy of these high-frequency programs and who they are best suited for. Effects on Neuromuscular Strength First, let’s look at the possible effects of high-frequency programs on gains in neuromuscular strength. The literature is [...]
[Hayden Giuliani recently finished her Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she now works as a research coordinator. She is currently in the Coaching Mentorship Program at Athletic Lab.] So what do we really know about strength training? What happens beneath the surface to increase our strength and power – that ever so desired outcome? Strength training has been growing in popularity not only for sport but also for the general population, but sometimes we don’t always understand the benefits it provides for our body. Neuromuscular changes underlie what happens when you strength train, i.e. growth of muscles, increased strength and power and increased anaerobic capacity. We will be discussing both what happens within the muscles and also the brain’s communication to them. Before we proceed, I want to be clear about the kind of strength training I am talking about. I am designing this post at the type of strength training that high-level athletes and advanced lifters use. It is designed to impose a progressive overload, with high intensities and athletic movements. I would like to emphasize that strength training should be an 1) overload and 2) progressive in nature. (It should be considered that not all research studies follow this guideline, but the ones mentioned here generally did.) With an organized strength training plan, we typically see increases in strength (either tested as a 1- repetition maximum or maximal voluntary contraction), increases in power and speed, and greater muscle size (hypertrophy). The extent to which these adaptations occur can vary, based on age, gender, and training age. In addition, training load/ intensity, volume, and frequency also play critical roles that I will discuss throughout. In a long-term study [...]
Athletic Lab has a vibrant and diverse community of members. That's why we take a moment each month to highlight one (or more) of our members in our member of the month feature. For the month of October we've chosen Tristan York. Tristan is a long time member of our Performance Fitness program who regularly competes in Distance and Obstacle Races. You can check out our previous members of the month here. Name: Tristan York Age: 36 What city were you born in? Portland, OR What do you do when you're not working out at Athletic Lab (occupation, hobbies, etc)? My "9 to 5" involves high level technical/escalation support. Generally, if it reaches my inbox it's a situation where there has been a breakdown in communication/process/support or there is a sales deal at risk. My role is to resolve customer issues and restore confidence by providing the necessary coordination and communication between development, customer, and sales. Basically, I am the "one throat to choke." Outside of work, my four year old daughter Emerson keeps my wife and I pretty busy. She just started pre-k and has weekly homework assignments which just seems crazy. They grow up so fast! Now that summer is over and fall is upon us, I like to take walks with the family or go to a park. Oh, and a few weekends a year I like to crawl through mud and under barbed wire with a few thousand other like-minded OCR enthusiasts. How did you first hear about Athletic Lab? How long have you been a member? I believe my first class at Athletic Lab was in late March or early April 2015. My family and I were driving home, I don't recall from [...]
For the first 2 weeks of Fall (September 22 through October 6th), we're running a "Fall into Fitness" promotion for our Performance Fitness memberships and Scholastic Sports Performance memberships. The promotion details for each category differ, but both require a single up-front payment. Performance Fitness: UP TO 33% OFF our Unlimited Memberships with Single Pay For new and existing members who are willing to commit to a longer term unlimited membership and can make a single upfront payment, we are offering the following discounts off our already discounted longer-term memberships: 3 month unlimited membership options: 5% off with upfront payment ($485 total; / $162 /mo) 6 month unlimited membership options: 10% off with upfront payment ($864 total; / $144 /mo) 12 month unlimited membership options: 20% off with upfront payment ($1,440 total; / $120 /mo) Our Performance Fitness Unlimited Membership allows members to attend any of our Performance Fitness classes (CrossFit, SwOly, Weightlifting, Senza Bootcamp, Yoga, Movement & Mobility, and Endurance) as often as they would like for the term of the membership. As a point of reference, our Performance Fitness Unlimited Month to Month Membership is $180 / month. Due to the extreme nature of this promotion, the following apply to these memberships: The membership is non-refundable The membership is subject to our normal hold policies Additional discounts (family, military, etc) cannot be applied The membership may be transferred to another individual mid-term and existing members can switch their existing membership to this limited-time single pay membership option at the end of their current month with no additional fees. Scholastic Sports Performance: UP TO 50% OFF our Scholastic Sports Performance Punchcards with Single Pay For new and existing members who are willing to make a single upfront payment we are offering [...]
[Ivan Jukić is finishing his Master’s degree at the University of Zagreb, Croatia where he also works as a personal trainer and S&C coach for soccer. He is currently an Applied Sport Science Intern at Athletic Lab.] Training variations are essential because they stimulate recovery and adaptation, the avoidance of overtraining, long-term phase potentiation, and an elevation in performance outcomes (Plisk & Stone, 2003). Variation can be introduced into a periodized training program in many ways. Some typical examples of training variations that can be employed when designing a periodized program are manipulations of the overall training load, number of sets, number of repetitions, set configurations, and the exercises selected. These potential methods for introducing training variation allow the strength and conditioning professional a means for introducing novel stimuli into the training program. Hodges et al. (2005) suggest that the introduction of novel stimuli allows a more rapid gain in performance and that the more familiar the individual is with the task, the slower the overall gains in performance are. Therefore, it is essential that the strength and conditioning professional employs variations in the overall training program design in order to maximize the training outcomes. This is especially true for advanced and elite athletes. One often overlooked method of employing variation to the training program is the manipulation of the structure of the set being employed. Traditionally, the configuration of a set requires the athlete to perform each repetition in a continuous fashion where no rest is taken in between each repetition of the set (Fleck & Kraemer, 1997; Haff et al, 2003; Stone & O’Bryant, 1987). Cluster loading, sometimes termed inter-repetition rest training, describes a training system whereby the rest periods are manipulated, breaking [...]
[Vincent Ragland is in his last semester as a student-athlete at East Carolina University, pursuing a Health Fitness Specialist Degree. He is currently in the Coaching Mentorship Program at Athletic Lab] A hamstring strain is one of the most common injuries in all sports, specifically ones involving high intensity sprinting. Aside from the physical damage associated with a pulled hamstring, there are psychological damages associated with an injury as well. For example, a high-level sprinter who has strained their hamstring in the past will almost certainly never run a race again in their life without the thought of that pull being in the back of their mind. As with many injuries, the major problem associated with a hamstring injury is the risk of a re – injury, with nearly 30% of strains resulting in such. There seem to be two main reasons why researchers believe there is such a high prevalence of re-injury. For one, muscle tissue will not completely regenerate after a strain has occurred, and two, a weakness of the hamstring muscle or hamstring/quadriceps imbalance. After a hamstring strain occurs, scar tissue emerges in the location of the injury. The emergence of scar tissue increases the likelihood of re-injury and also limits the range of motion in a strained muscle. The most common mechanism of re-injury is when an athlete returns back to sport before the injury is completely healed and fully functioning. A study by Brian Cammarota shows that nearly 83 percent of hamstring re-injuries occur because an athlete attempts to return too soon. Similar studies show that 20-55% of the original injury had not healed in six weeks. (Cammarota et.al, 2013). Typically, when an athlete suffers an injury, they want to [...]
[Nick Voth is currently finishing his degree in Exercise Science from Bowling Green State University, where he competes on the Cross Country team. He is an Applied Sport Science Intern at Athletic Lab.] Cold water immersion (CWI) is a common recovery modality employed by athletes to enhance post-exercise recovery. Athletes may use CWI to speed recovery and reduce muscle damage. Two potential arguments can be made regarding CWI. The first is that CWI has been used to speed recovery, allowing athletes to train hard every day. Acute recovery mechanisms of CWI include a reduction in central nervous system fatigue, reduced cardiovascular strain, increased rate of removal of muscle metabolites, and acceleration of return of parasympathetic drive (Ihsan et al., 2016). Vasoconstriction induced by cold temperatures, subsequently followed by vasodilation leads to a multifold increase in blood flow to the tissues (Adamczyk et al., 2016). On the other hand, these acute recovery mechanisms may inhibit the adaptive process that increases adaptation. CWI may lead athletes feeling fresh for subsequent training sessions, however, the timing of this strategy may inhibit crucial adaptations. It is important to find a balance between the acute and chronic implications of CWI before using it as an intervention in training. Dr. Jeff Messer (2013) describes two types of inflammation in a lecture on ice bathing: compensatory and adaptive. Compensatory inflammation may accompany a traumatic injury (ex: joint sprain), while adaptive inflammation is associated with training induced muscle damage. CWI immersion after exercise may inhibit cellular responses associated with adaptation. He argues that cellular and mechanical stress are pre-requisites to adaptation (Messer, 2013). This point brings up speculations as to appropriate timing and use of CWI. If an athlete is in a phase [...]
[Tony is currently a senior studying Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an Applied Sport Science Intern at Athletic Lab.] To develop fine motor movements, serious dedication needs to take place. It is important to understand the benefits of developing this key mechanism in sport performance. To do so, there are general and specific exercises that an athlete can do. While the process of developing fine motor movements can seem daunting, let’s explore why it can be beneficial, and some methods to improve it in the most efficient manner. Performance Potential: Since fine motor development increases the precision of movement, its benefit to sport performance can be enormous. In sports where stability is of benefit, fine motor development can not only help a gymnast stay steady, but it can also help a tactical athlete redirect force more rapidly. In sports where maximal force production is of benefit, fine motor development can help an Olympic weightlifter direct that force in the most linear and efficient manner. Even in aerobic endurance sports, fine motor development can help a distance runner more efficiently strike the ground which uses less energy that they can store for later in their event. All in all, improving fine motor development reduces wasted motion. Utilization in Training: While it may be attractive to attempt to develop technical, fine motor movements early, it’s important to understand the limitations of doing so. In the spectrum of motor development, gross motor development is the first that is developed, and fine, especially those related to sport-specific skills, develop last (O’Connor, 2000). Since gross motor development occurs first, an athlete must create a nearly autonomous system of gross movements (i.e. “the basics”) before [...]