November 22, 2014

Friday Fitness Study Guide


Visualize Yourself Kicking Butt

A study in The Journal of Conditioning Research found that visualizing yourself kicking ass before a workout or race can drastically enhance your performance.   Runners who visualized themselves sprinting superfast up to 2 minutes before a race ran faster than those who did not. Timing is everything though, the effect disappeared if it was done more than 3 minutes before running. This is probably because having more time between dreaming and doing causes you to loose the physiological momentum you have built.

Take it Outside

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, It requires less effort to move  on a treadmill versus walking or running outdoors at the same speed. Researchers tracked how much energy people burned walking outside and on a treadmill, and found that choosing a 3 percent slope on the treadmill best matches the energy requirements of walking on flat ground outdoors.

RISE and Shine

RISE is the new it word in exercising.  It stands for resistance, intervals, stretching, and endurance. According to a study in The Journal of Physiology, mixing these four exercises will maximize fat burning.  Individuals in the study consumed a diet of high protein meals and they exercised using RISE or they ate a normal diet along with an exercise regime of sprinting and weight training.  The individuals who used RISE lost more weight than the individuals who sprinted and lifted weights. Different activities trigger different metabolic pathways that work together to burn off fat more efficiently, says study author Paul Arciero, PhD.

Warm it Up

The next time you warm up before a workout try incorporating squatting and whole body vibrations into your warm-up. By doing this you can boost your sprint power by 6%, says a study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. Problem is: You may not have a whole-body vibrating machine. Instead, follow this three-step program proven by researchers at Bloomsburg University to boost your golf stroke speed by up to 24 percent: Take 2 minutes to do aerobic exercises like walking lunges, stretch for another 3 minutes, and then take practice swings for another 2 minutes.

Cool it Down

Take your next cool down to the next level. According to a review published in The Cochrane Library, cold water immersion (CWI) can reduce muscle soreness between 15 to 20 percent in the 24 to 96 hours after an intense workout session. Researchers compared the effects of CWI to passive recovery (basically doing nothing), active recovery (slowly jogging for several minutes), and compression (from socks and other tight clothing). The study found that ice baths were about as effective as active recovery or compression.

Are you As Strong as a Teenager?

According to German researchers, the average 25-year-old is only as fit as a 15-year-old kid. Researcher tested the running speed and chin-up strength of 8,000 German students, and compared their numbers to people in their 20s. The results: Both the average kid and 25-year-old could hold a chin-up for 40 seconds and complete a 1,000-meter run in 270 seconds. Your move: Hammer out intervals three times a week to burn three times as many calories compared to a moderate-pace run that’s twice as long, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales.

Boost Your Vertical Jump

Need to add a few inches to your vertical jump? Try squatting deeper. According to a study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, bringing your squats below parallel when you’re squatting is the best way to improve your vertical jump. Before you start deep squatting, take a look at your heels: If they lift off the ground as you go low, use box squats to build mobility and strength before dropping to the floor.

Bring a Friend for Motivation

Having trouble staying motivated? Grab a training partner. Hitting the gym with a buddy can double the length of your workout, say researchers at Michigan State University. Even better: Join a team. Participants who rode together on the same team exercised for 2 minutes longer than their counterparts who rode with a single partner.

Get a Mouth Guard

According to a study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, mouth guards can improve your performance on upper and lower body power exercises. Researchers found that people who used a mouth guard could jump higher on a vertical jump test than those who didn't have anything in their mouths. The researchers concluded that clenching your teeth can increase blood flow to the areas of the brain associated with motor control and timing.

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