Exercise Research Update Nov '14 (1/2): Planking in Slings, Burpees for the Ultimate HIIT Experience, the Different Motors of Strength Gains in Young & Old Chaps + More!
|There is a good reason drill-instructors love their burpees ;-)|
That being said, we will take a look at the efficacy of sling-based planking, lean mass vs. neuromuscular efficacy as drivers of strength gains in young men and women and burpee-based high intensity interval training (HIIT) vs. classic ergometer / spinning based HIIT sessions and the changes the bodies of college students will undergo within one semester of conditioning training.
- Old vs. young - 1:1 for strength. Study shows similar increases in strength after short-term resistance training due to different neuromuscular adaptations in young and older Men... or put simply: The mechanisms by which the strength of the 23 young (29 ± 9 years) and 26 older men (64 ± 8 years) who completed 10 weeks of high-volume, medium load “hypertrophic” resistance training with low frequency (twice per week) with 10 young (34 ± 11 years) and 11 older men (65 ± 3 years) acting as nontraining control subjects, was different, the strength increase, on the other hand, was identical.
More specifically, the training regimen led to significant increases in 1 repetition maximum (1RM) leg press performance in both training groups (young: 13 ± 7%, p < 0.001; older: 14 ± 9%, p < 0.001), who had been advised to consume ~20 g of protein within 1 hour of training and make sure to get a total ~1.5–1.8 g of protein per kg body mass per day, to optimize the muscle hypertrophy response.
As Walker & Häkinnen point out, the study clearly indicated this form of "resistance training may induce similar improvements in strength between young and older men, it appears that different mechanisms underpin these improvements" (Walker. 2014)... unfortunately, for the old guys, their way of becoming stronger is very limited. In the end, continuous strength gains can only be achieved, when they are driven by skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Accordingly, the results would probably have looked much different, if the guys in the "old trainees" group had been resistance training and not endurance training regularly before.
Plank(ing) in slings is highly effective (edited). While conlusion of the abstract misleading says that Jeanette Byrne et al. (2014) didn't find an increase in the abdominal muscle activation during planks, when they were done in slings, a closer look at the full-text of the study reveals that doing your planks in slings is a very useful way to increase the activation of the rectus femoris, the external obliques and the serratus anterior (see Figure 2).
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- Alternate interval training for superior results. Scientists from the University of Georgia conducted an experiment to determine the cardiorespiratory, metabolic, and perceptual responses to a low-volume, high-intensity protocol of calisthenic exercise.
"The purpose of the study was to document and compare the physiological responses to 2 high-intensity intermittent exercise protocols: repeated bouts of sprint interval cycling (SIC) and repeated bouts of high-intensity intermittent calisthenics (HIC)" (Gist. 2014)
The authors of the corresponding paper hypothesized that HIC would elicit physiological responses similar to SIC and of sufficient cardiovascular strain to classify its peak responses as vigorous... and guess what?
Table 1: Physiological VO2 & heart rat (HR) response to cycling (SIC) and calisthenics (HIC) training in the study at hand (Gist. 2014)
Overall, the results of the study at hand do thus suggest that those of you who hate cycling can as well do their burpees to elicit a similar physiological response. And while we would theoretically have to confirm that the long-term outcomes of both training protocols will be identical, as well. I personally believe that the burpee protocol will have significantly more pronounced effects in the body composition and overall conditioning domain. Previous studies have after all suggested that exercises that involve the whole body are generally more effective than exercises like cycling where only one muscle group is working.
- 14 weeks of regular exercise will improve some health markers, but won't have college students lose weight or fat. That's the relatively unsurprising finding of a recent study from the George Washington University.
The authors of the corresponding papers measured whether the college “activity” courses that are designed to give participants exposure to, and practice with, safe exercise techniques will also alter physiological characteristics, such as blood pressure or strength. The study involved 79 students from several sections of exercise and conditioning classes at our university. The classes included a variety of fitness- and strength-oriented exercises. Physiological and performance measurements were collected in weeks 2 (pretest) and 14 (posttest), and compared pre with post using paired t-tests subject to Bonferroni correction (significant p < 0.0055).
What did not change, though were systolic and diastolic blood pressures, body weight, and percent body fat did not change - a typical result for any low(er) intensity exercise only (no dietary component) intervention.
- Byrne et al. "Effect of Using a Suspension Training System on Muscle Activation During the Performance of a Front Plank Exercise." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28.11 (2014): 3049–3055.
- Danoff & Raupers. "Effect of a One-Semester Conditioning Class on Physiological Characteristics of College Students." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28.11 (2014):3115–3120.
- Gist, et al. "Comparison of Responses to Two High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Protocols." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28.11 (2014): 3033–3040.
- Snarr & Esco. "Electromyographical Comparison Of Plank Variations Performed With And Without Instability Devices." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Post Acceptance: September 26, 2014
- Walker & Hakinnen. "Similar Increases in Strength After Short-Term Resistance Training Due to Different Neuromuscular Adaptations in Young and Older Men." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28.11 (2014): 3041–3048.