The Effects of Eccentric Resistance Training on Muscular Strength by Lauren Cowley

[Lauren Cowley is currently a senior at the University of Mount Olive and will graduate in May 2017. She is an Exercise Science Major, and a former NCAA DII Soccer Player. She is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] According to the ACSM, “muscle contractions involve shortening and lengthening while the muscle is still producing force. The phase of contraction that occurs when the muscle shortens is concentric, whereas the phase of contraction that occurs as the muscle lengthens is eccentric” (Eccentric Resistance Exercise for Health and Fitness, n.d.). Throughout my education in the field of Exercise Science, I’ve always been interested in the concentric versus eccentric debate. Following a video I viewed recently, I expanded my knowledge of eccentric movement profoundly. It is essential to strengthen both concentric and eccentric phases of muscle contraction in order to sustain sport performance and prevent injury throughout the whole range of motion (Eccentric Strength Development, n.d.). It appears that recent training programs place emphasis on the eccentric phase of muscle contraction. The benefits of eccentric resistance training appear to be copious, with one major benefit being its effect on muscular strength. It produces augmented strength in the entire range of motion of each joint, greater strength across a range of movement speeds and amplified sport performance and muscular power (Eccentric Resistance Exercise for Health and Fitness, n.d.). An article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine investigated “the effects of eccentric versus concentric resistance training on muscle strength and mass in healthy adults” with the aim to determine whether eccentric resistance exercises were superior to concentric exercises in stimulating gains in muscle strength and mass. Their findings, following meta-analyses, were that high intensity eccentric resistance exercise showed more [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:28:03+00:00 January 23rd, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

The Achilles Heel of the Treadmill by Erin Ritterbusch

[This is a guest blog by Erin Ritterbusch who is currently an intern at Athletic Lab. Erin is a recent graduate of Auburn University where she received her Master’s degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in biomechanics.] Growing up, my dad, an orthopedic surgeon, always told me to be wary of the treadmill. I really never understood those implications until I delved into the biomechanics of running during my master’s program. Surprisingly, I was not able to find a lot of research articles on this topic. Anyone who has run outside as well as on a treadmill can attest to the fact that these are two very different feelings. However, does this mean that we are more susceptible to injury? I believe it does because we have to alter the way that we run in order to compensate for what is propelling this motion. When we run on flat ground, we are using our own momentum to push us forward to accelerate, to maintain, or to slow down. However, on a treadmill, the belt below us is pulling us backwards with every step we take. An article I came across on written by “The Gait Guys”, as they are known, made some very strong points about how exactly the treadmill affects your stride and muscles. To make a comparison, running on the treadmill is similar to running downhill. The backward motion of the belt catches the heel and pulls the forefoot onto the belt when your lead foot comes into contact with the treadmill belt. This accelerated motion demands a higher level of muscle strength in the anterior part of your shins. This is what causes such a prevalence of shin splints in [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:28:20+00:00 December 16th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

The Importance of The Lumbopelvic Hip Complex by Erin Ritterbusch

[This is a guest blog by Erin Ritterbusch who is currently an intern at Athletic Lab. Erin is a recent graduate of Auburn University where she received her Master’s degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in biomechanics.] If I could take one thing I learned during my Master’s program and run with it, it would be the importance of the Lumbopelvic Hip Complex  (LPHC) (I basically had an entire summer class based around this concept). The level of strength and stability of the LPHC can make or break you in a sense. The LPHC plays a huge role in the body’s kinetic chain and connects the upper and lower halves of the body. The kinetic chain can be defined as the individual body segments, or links, are coordinated in their movements by muscle activity and body positions to generate, summate, and transfer force through these segments to the terminal link. (Kibler, 326). Essentially, this concept shows that forces produced by the lower body are transferred through the LPHC to the upper body. The LPHC, also referred to as your core, is made up of the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip musculoskeletal structures. This complex acts as a transition from your lower to upper body by serving to transmit forces that are generated. For this reason, it needs to be stable so that it doesn’t cause different parts of the body to overcompensate, which can result in injury. The core is considered the integral link in the kinetic chain. All sporting movements incorporate the transfer of energy from one segment to the next in the kinetic chain model. Despite the skill being performed, it is paramount that athletes have the correct postural control when performing [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:28:37+00:00 November 25th, 2016|Training Info|1 Comment

Posture & Performance Part 1 by Kyle Bois

[Kyle Bois is part of the Sport Performance Mentorship at Athletic Lab. He currently taking hiatus from pursuing his doctorate in Sport Biomechanics at Auburn University to better explore the world of coaching. His avid interest is in applying this combined knowledge toward athletic performance.] “Stop slouching! Sit up straight! Shoulders back! Good posture is important.” We’ve all heard it at some point growing up, from our parents at the dinner table or teachers at school: Good posture is important.  But what does “good posture” even mean? Not slouching? Your Head up, back straight, doing your best Marine impression? And WHY is good posture so important? The only answer I received: “…Because bad posture makes you look lazy.” I’m betting most of you heard something similar. While well meaning, and probably true, this doesn’t give posture the justice it deserves. The only question it answered was: “How can I give the appearance of a hard-working, upstanding citizen?” (see what I did there?) If you didn’t care about your appearance or were really after that 90’s Cobain look, you’d be left thinking posture is for the birds. Oh, the misinformation! Turns out that posture is the backbone of human movement and movement the backbone health. So if physical prowess, a mind like a sponge, and freedom from pain sound good to you, then posture matters. If you’re a competitive athlete, it really matters. Posture can be defined as: The strategy of what muscles are doing the correct things at the correct time, to effectively cope with the forces of gravity. Or, more loosely as: The organization of the arms, legs, and torso to accomplish a task with the least effort. Posture isn’t just standing up straight [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:28:41+00:00 November 21st, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

Rowing: does proper technique matter in terms of power production and does it help to prevent injury by Erin Ritterbusch

[This is a guest blog by Erin Ritterbusch who is currently an intern at Athletic Lab. Erin is a recent graduate of Auburn University where she received her Master’s degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in biomechanics.] The first thing I learned when I joined the club rowing team at my undergrad was that technique is the most important aspect of becoming a powerful and efficient rower. Not only does it allow you to produce more power, but also helps prevent injuries that can occur with improper technique on the rowing machine. The sequence of a stroke is the basis of good technique, which helps rowers translate to the water. The biggest misconception with rowing is that power comes from your arms, but in actuality, the majority of power comes from your legs. The beginning of the stroke is called “the catch”. The catch is then is followed by “the drive” phase, “the finish” or “release”. The last phase of the stroke is “the recovery” phase. These four phases are sequential in nature rather than simultaneous because they should be treated as one fluid motion. *It should also be noted that the drive and recovery phases are normally seen as a 1:2 ratio; meaning that the time spent to “recover” on the way up the slide takes twice as long as driving the legs back during the power producing phase of the stroke. Creating this rhythm allows for the continuous flow of the stroke and gives you true recovery time. Additionally, on the water, it will reduce any forward jolting of the boat, which can set back the number of meters gained during the drive. 1: The Catch 2: The Drive [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:29:05+00:00 November 1st, 2016|Training Info|1 Comment

Does Isolated Core Training Improve Sport Performance? by Jonte Brown

[This is a guest blog by Jonte Brown. Jonte is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC with a degree in Sport Management and is currently serving as an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] Athletes are constantly working to find new ways to train in order to better their performances at a given sport. This is achieved through different strength and conditioning programs that involve some strengthening of the core. Does core strength and stability help improve performance in athletic competition settings? Core stability relates to the bodily region bounded by the abdominal wall, the pelvis, lower back and diaphragm, spinal extensor muscle, and its ability to stabilize the body during movements. Core stability is rarely the main component of an athletic development program. Rather, a part of a larger overall fitness routine. There are mixed results when it comes to this question on core strength and athletic performance. The lower extremity studies it focused on the lower limb effects of core strengthening, because the core is closely associated with the hip joints, and the crucial role it plays in the stabilization and energy transfer from the lower limb through the the body during movements in squatting and sprinting. Some athletes showed improvements in sport specific skills such as rotational swings, ball velocity and club head velocity in golf, rotational swings tennis players, 40-yard dash sprinters and some baseball pitchers and batters, while some in other sports showed no improvements. The same has been shown for the upper extremities as well. The population of these studies included males and females competing at various levels in the sports of baseball, handball and golf. In 2007, a coach implemented a 12-week medicine ball training program [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:29:19+00:00 October 21st, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

Psychological Effects on Injured Athletes by Jonte Brown

[This is a guest blog by Jonte Brown. Jonte is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC with a degree in Sport Management and is currently serving as an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] Being an athlete requires commitment, determination, and most importantly, passion. Sports can dictate an athlete's life and is a part of their personal identity. When you're an athlete, no matter the level of sport, no player wants to be out of competition for any reason, especially if it's injury related. When injured, an athlete is out for a period of time and can't play. An injury is any harm or damage, an act or event that causes someone or something to no longer be fully healthy or in good condition. Injuries can be caused by a number of different factors: overtraining, impact and contact, overuse, poor preparation, poor technique, or improper equipment. As for competition, injuries are most commonly caused by poor training methods, structural abnormalities, weakness in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and unsafe environments. In the words of a coach Herm Edwards, a former professional NFL player and coach, says "There's a difference between being hurt and being injured." For contact sports such as football or basketball, toward the end of the season, into playoffs, all players are hurting due to the grind of a season and the physical nature, but they are still able to play. Although injuries from sports are physiological, many would overlook the relationship between the injury and the psychological issues related to injuries. Athletes may experience a variety of emotional responses and stress upon being injured depending on the severity, it's important that trainers, coaches, and teammates provide a solid social support system. All [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:29:21+00:00 October 20th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

When to Stop! The Cost of Playing Through Injuries by Jonte Brown

[This is a guest blog by Jonte Brown. Jonte is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC with a degree in Sport Management and is currently serving as an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] At some point in an athlete's career, no matter their level, they're going to get hurt. Most injuries require a medical release to return to competition. For an athlete who plays through an injury, he or she is at the risk of effecting their long-term health. Athletes are looked at as role models and heroes for sacrificing their bodies for the glory to win. Why do athletes take the risk and play injured? Maybe to show toughness? Coaches command it. Maybe for fans or the organization, or they just are not willing to miss out. Playing through pain is something that's been experienced by athletes since sports began. Playing with aches and pains are the norm in athletics, especially in contact sports in which players or prospects are sometimes graded on "toughness." Athletes train to control and master their bodies. A injury may seem like a form of betrayal to them because their body isn't cooperating with the physical demands. In reality, the body is telling the mind it needs a break. An individual's mentality has to be very strong to know when to shut it down and get fully recovered when injured to avoid potentially more severe injuries. The sayings, "there is no "I" in team," "get back out there," "suck it up," or "tough it out" are phrases players might hear when they don't feel 100%. The body isn't built to sustain high stress and impact movements for such prolonged periods. That's why the term "father time" [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:29:26+00:00 October 18th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

The Benefits of Blood Testing for Performance

Many believe blood testing is something reserved for when you have a medial problem. The reality is that this is simply not the case and new services and technological advances have made blood testing easily accessible to practical anyone.  Now, athletes, coaches and fitness enthusiasts can use blood testing to ensure they have what they need for optimal performance. Blood testing can even be used to address small imbalances or even predict potentially larger problems before it's too late. Among the benefits, the information from a blood test can help to make changes that will improve metabolism and cognition, optimize mood, build muscle, and reduce inflammation. Blood tests are practically non-invasive and very easy. They require just a small amount of blood but can provide a significant amount of detailed information including what lifestyle changes you need to make with sleep, training and nutrition to optimize your performance. Everyone's blood is different. And within your unique blood are what is known as biomarkers. Biomarkers are indications of your body's status and provide insight on functions and biological changes. Examining biomarkers through blood analysis gives you a 'look under the hood' at your health and fitness and can be an important advantage for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Blood samples in test-tubes A good test will provide you with not just numbers on the biomarkers but meaningful insight in to where you stand against normative population data. This should be based on things like age, gender, activity level. The biomarkers or blood panel you choose to examine should also be selected carefully. The most useful blood tests for healthy individuals involve looking at biomarkers for nutrition status hormones and inflammation. Nutritional tests typically look at vitamin and mineral levels and [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:30:21+00:00 August 26th, 2016|Nutrition Info, Training Info|0 Comments

Barbells and Booze: A Cocktail of Impossibility? by Beau Hains

[This is a guest blog from Beau Hains. Beau is pursuing his Masters of Science in Sports Performance at Louisiana Tech University.  He recently completed his time as a Sport Performance Coach Intern at Athletic Lab with CSCS, USAW-L1, and ACSM CPT certifications] As a personal trainer, I have often experienced individuals who want to reach a certain goal, whether it be performance or physique oriented.  When assessing their basic nutritional habits, I always include asking about their drinking habits.  I do this not for moral purposes, but because excessive consumption can be a hindrance to their training and goals.  Besides the obvious increase in calories, I intend to shed light on how the consumption of alcohol can effect physical activity. Physical Activity and Alcohol Use: Is there a relationship? First, let’s look at the relationship between physical activity (PA) and alcohol use.  After looking at the research, there does seems to be a relationship between how physically active an individual is and how much alcohol they consume, the results may surprise you.  Young adults who participate in moderate-vigorous PA were positively associated with alcohol use (Lisha, Martens, & Leventhal, 2011).  The relationship between PA and alcohol use were the strongest in in adults age 20-25 (college aged), but there was still a moderate relationship in adults from the ages of 26-50.  These results are likely due to social-environmental context which can vary by age.  For example, participating in a recreational sports league may encourage increases in alcohol consumption while exercising. Another factor, that may influence the relationship between PA and alcohol use, is impulsivity.  Impulsivity can be defined as “multifactorial construct that involves a tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:30:42+00:00 August 15th, 2016|Nutrition Info, Training Info|0 Comments