Sunday, October 15, 2017

Update on GAINZ: More Muscle & Strength W/ Exercises You Like | Deadlifting Unshoed NO Power Booster | 50% Sugar NOT Anti-Anabolic | Cryotherapy NO Recovery Boost

No, bro - Losing your shoes won't allow you to magically lift thrice your BW when your current 1-RM is only twice your BW.
Who would have thought that? If trained subjects are allowed to chose their 'favorite' exercises (or those they deem most productive) they gain 63% more lean mass in a realistic 9-week study (difference short of sign., though). I guess compared to this result from a recent study from the University of Tampa, the realizations that deadlifting unshoed doesn't seem to provide a systematic benefit, that sugar does not - if protein intake is adequate - negatively affect anabolism, and that local cryotherapy doesn't just threaten the adaptational processes that occur after your workouts are rather expected results... results that were IMHO still worth summarizing in this October 2017 Suppversity "Update on GAINZ" ;-)
If you want to update YOUR gains, try creatine-monohydrate - safe and proven!

Creatine Doubles 'Ur GainZ!

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  • Deadlifting unshod changes rate of force development and the medio-lateral center of pressure - albeit with unclear effects on deadlift performance (Hammer 2017).

    "While the unshod condition may have produced changes in RFD and ML-COP compared with the shod condition, there is only limited evidence in the current study to support this lifting technique for the conventional deadlift," that's the unfortunately very unspecific conclusion of a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Before I am going to tell you that the authors are right, though, "[f]urther investigation is required to clarify any possible implications of this result and its benefit to lifters", let's at least check out what Mark E. Hammer et al. did, observed, and concluded.

    For their study, the scientists recruited 10 strong male participants (mean ± SD, age = 27.0 ± 5.8 years; weight = 78.7 ± 11.5 kg; deadlift = 155.8 ± 25.8 kg) with a minimum training history of 2 years. A counterbalanced, crossover experimental design was used with different loads (60% and 80% 1RM). Four sets of four repetitions were prescribed per session with two sets per shoe and with each shoe condition involving one set per load.
    Figure 1: Overview of the study results; all values expressed relative to 60% 1RM shoed; statistically significant effects of wearing / not wearing shoes were observed only where %-ages given (Hammer 2017).
    Peak vertical force (PF), rate of force development (RFD), time to peak force (TPF), anterior posterior (COP-AP) and medio-lateral (COP-ML) center of pressure excursion, and barbell peak power (PP) data were recorded during all repetitions. Except for RFD (F = 6.389; p = 0.045; ƞp2 = 0.516) and ML-COP (F = 6.696; p = 0.041; ƞp2 = 0.527), there were no other significant main effects of shoe.

    What did matter, obviously, was the load; with significant main effects for PF (p < 0.05), COP-AP (p = 0.011), TPF (p = 0.018) and COP AP (p = 0.011), but there was no interaction between session, shoe and load (p range from 0.944 to 0.086).

    So what's the verdict, then? Eventually, we do thus arrive at the previously cited conclusion that "[f]urther investigation is required to clarify any possible implications of this result and its benefit to lifters." That's bad? Well, not really. If you personally like deadlifting without shoes, the study at hand does at least tell you that it doesn't mess with your power... you don't get why one would do that? Well as Hammer et al. point out, it's an "observed practice within the strength and conditioning field" to lose your shoes, because people expect that being unshod during the deadlift exercise can significantly improve your deadlifting performance... for the average experienced deadlifters, this is probably not the case; with the inter-personal differences Hammer et al. observed, though, it may work for you, personally, though.

  • No ill effects of sugar-overfeeding w/ amounts equivalent to 50% of the daily energy requirements on protein anabolism in (young healthy) men and women if protein intake is adequate (Jegatheesan 2017).

    The dreaded reduction in IGF-1 and leucine and protein synthesis from sugar overfeeding, here an extra 50% of the subjects (12 healthy young male and female volunteers ) daily requirements (this means if you need 2000kcal, you got to eat 1000kcal extra... from 125g of pure sugar).

    French and Swiss scientists observed the "low protein" phenomenon, when they supplemented compared diets that were already high in carbohydrates (45% starch) with tons of sugar (delivering a 50% kcal surplus) and either 37.5% lipid and 7.5% protein (HSLP) or 15% lipid and 30% protein (HSHP) for 7-days and analyzed and compared fasting and postprandial plasma insulin, glucagon, and IGF1 concentrations were assessed before and after each intervention, and fasting plasma AAs level.
    "The increase in Ala elicited by sucrose overfeeding was blunted with HSHP (249 ± 18 vs 386 ± 11 μM, p < 0.001) compared to HSLP (251 ± 20 vs 464 ± 33 μM). Leu concentration decreased (130 ± 4 vs 116 ± 5 μM) after HSLP, but not after HSHP (139 ± 6 vs 140 ± 7 μM). Compared to HSLP, plasma BCAA, Phe, Tyr, and Pro were significantly higher with HSHP than HSLP. Fasting IGF1 concentration increased (174 ± 18 vs 208 ± 15 μg/dl) after HSHP and decreased (212 ± 13 vs 173 ± 12 μg/dl) after HSLP (p = 0.04)" (Jegatheesan 2017).
    So what's the verdict, then? As previously highlighted, the results clearly indicate that "sucrose overfeeding decreases IGF1 and Leu level [only] when associated with a LP [low protein] intake" (Jegatheesan 2017). No reason to go overboard on sugar, but at least an 'all-clear' for the occasional CHO refeed.

  • Local cryotherapy is ineffective in accelerating recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage on biceps brachii (Lima 2017)

    From previous articles at the SuppVersity, you know that cryotherapy can impair the long-time size and strength gains of athletes. Against that background, it is all the more problematic that cryotherapy does not, as most people assume, accelerate recovery from every form of exercise-induced muscle damage ... no matter what.

    The reality of a recent study in nineteen untrained women proves this assumption wrong. After having performed an eccentric protocol of damage induction (2 sets of 10 repetitions) in both arms, the cryotherapy was applied for 20 min, twice per day, for 4 days following the eccentric exercise. Randomly, one of the subject’s arms was assigned as intervention and received cryotherapy, the opposite arm served as control. As muscle damage indirect markers, we collected muscle thickness, and echo intensity, delayed onset muscle soreness, and peak torque at baseline (PRE), and at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h.
    Figure 2: Neither the most important (=strength/torque) nor the auxiliary marker DOMs improved (Lima 2017).
    The muscle soreness markers increased in both, the experimental and the control arms, significantly compared to the PRE value at 24, 48, and 72 h. In a similar vein, the peak Torque of both experimental and control arm was significantly reduced and the scientists didn't find changes in any of the indirect markers of muscle damage between arms at any moment (p > 0.05).

    So what's the verdict, then? While they do risk a long(er) term reduction in gains in strength and size. Rookies will not be able to control their muscle soreness or improve their exercise recovery with local cryotherapy.

  • More than 60% increase in average lean mass gains when experienced trainees are allowed to auto-regulate (=self-select) exercises (Rauch 2017).

    In contrast to previous studies on auto-regulation of training parameters, the study at hand did not allow its subjects, N=32 strength-trained volunteers, who were able to squat and bench 1.75 and 1.3 times their body mass, did not primarily address quantitative resistance training variables (e.g., volume, intensity, rest interval), but allowed the subjects to modify their exercise selection - a qualitative variable about which there is, according to Rauch et al. "a paucity of data" (Rauch 2017).

    Dietary intake was monitored using MyFitnessPal, subjects consumed used a pre-workout (Dymatize M.Pact) and 25g of whey (Dymatize Elite Whey Protein, 4g leucine) before and after workouts, respectively. Total protein intake was required to be >1.5g/kg per day if any subject’s protein intake fell short of this goal, they were given additional nutritional guidance from a certified sports nutritionist. Body composition was assessed using DXA.

    The workout the subjects had to follow was a full body-training regimen (3d per week, 9 weeks total). Each workout consisted of six different exercises. A 90-120 second rest interval was allowed between sets while two minutes were respected between exercises.
    "A daily undulating periodization model was implemented for both groups as follows: Day 1: 6-8RM, Day 2: 12- 14RM and Day 3: 18-20RM. The training regimen was divided into three mesocycles, the number of sets progressed in each mesocycle; Mesocycle 1: four sets per exercise, Mesocycle 2: five sets per exercise, and Mesocycle 3: six sets per compound exercise and five sets per accessory exercise. [...] Four certified strength and conditioning specialist were present for every training session, providing verbal encouragement and ensuring the proper amount of sets and repetitions were being performed" (Rauch 2017).
    The only difference between conditions was the exercises performed. The fixed exercise selection group (FES) group was handed a workout sheet with seven predetermined exercises.
    Table 1: Overview of the fixed exercise order and selection in the FES group (Rauch 2017).
    The auto-regulatory exercise selection (AES) group, on the other hand, was handed a workout sheet in which they had to select one exercise per muscle group... a small change that made a significant differences you can see in Figure 3  (note: with 15 dropouts, the scientists had to resort to a 95% confidence analysis to establish potential inter-group differences, though):
    Figure 3: Workout volume(s) and strength parameters in the 17 out of initially 32 trained subjects (>3y experience) who made it through the 9-week study without falling off the wagon (Rauch 2017)
    With the total volume load being significantly higher during mesocycle 2 and 3 when the subjects were allowed to auto-select their exercises (AES: 573,288kg ± 67,505, FES: 464,600 ± 95,595, p=0.0240), it is also not exactly completely surprising that the intra-group confidence interval analysis (95%CIdiff | analysis for conducted only within groups, because the inter-group difference was too small) Rauch et al. conducted suggests that only AES significantly increased LBM (AES: 2.47%, ES: 0.35, 95% CIdiff [0.030kg: 3.197kg], FES: 1.37 %, ES: 0.21, 95% CIdiff [-0.500kg: 2.475kg]) - the relative difference in changes in lean mass between treatments was 63% (1.6 kg vs. 0.98 kg), practically relevant, but statistically not significant (probably at least also because 15 subjects dropped out for unknown reasons).
    Figure 4: The changes in lean mass show a clear advantage for the AES group - in particularly in view of the fact that only one subject in the AES group (vs. 4 in FES) lost lean mass over the 9-wk period (Rauch 2017).
    We are, after all, talking about already trained individuals who are not going to pack on slabs of muscles within 8 weeks and for whom Figueiredo et al. (2017) have only recently pointed out that 'more helps more' - with the currently available evidence not suggesting a high likelihood of overtraining and reduced gains w/ increasing volume.

    Significant effects on bench-press strength (95% confidence analysis) were likewise observed only for the AES group (AES: 6.48%, ES: 0.50, 95% CIdiff [0.312kg: 11.42kg; FES: 5.14%, ES: 0.43 95%CIdiff [-0.311kg: 11.42kg]) while for back squats the 1RM responses were similar between groups, (AES: 9.55%, ES: 0.76 95% CIdiff [0.04kg: 28.37kg], FES: 11.54%, ES: 0.80, 95%CIdiff [1.8kg: 28.5kg]).

    So what's the verdict, then? It remains to be seen if the significant increase in training volume was a physiological or psychological effect. What seems to be certain, however, is that it's the mechanism which eventually drove the increase in lean mass and bench press gains in the AES group... a result that clearly refutes the over-generalized notion that the "exercises you tend to avoid will build the most muscle" (broscience).

    In that it may be worth mentioning and important to point out that (a) the effect on training volume occurred only in the 2nd and 3rd mesocycle, i.e. when the subjects' volume was already high, and that (b) the average lean mass increase of 1.6kg (see Figure 4) may not seem like much, but you should keep in mind that the guys in the study have been busting their a%% on the grind for years. So you cannot expect newbie gains of 2lbs per week. Plus: Only one subject in the AES group, but four subjects in the FES group actually lost muscle mass over the course of the 9-wk study period... makes you wonder if the inter-group difference had achieved significance if all N=32 subjects had made it from week one to week nine (15 dropped out and thus reduced the statistical power of the study significantly).
Even if done 5x/wk "weights" won't trigger the female athlete triad - that's your beloved "cardio", ladies.
You still want more? Well, what about this one, then: Ikezoe, et al. (2017) report in their latest paper in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (once again) that low load high rep training will produce the same gains as high load low rep training - this time, albeit even if the subjects didn't go to failure... cool? Well, not really: the subjects were, after all, untrained. Just like most subjects in studies like these. Schoenfeld et al.'s 2016 meta-analysis highlighted that and a "trend [...] for superiority of heavy loading" in their latest meta-analysis (2016): " | Comment on Facebook!
  • Figueiredo, V. C., de Salles, B. F., & Trajano, G. S. (2017). Volume for Muscle Hypertrophy and Health Outcomes: The Most Effective Variable in Resistance Training. Sports Medicine, 1-7.
  • Hammer, M. E., Meir, R., Whitting, J., & Crowley-McHatten, Z. (2017). Shod versus barefoot effects on force and power development during a conventional deadlift. Footwear Science, 9(suppl. 1), 99.
  • Ikezoe, T., Kobayashi, T., Nakamura, M., & Ichihashi, N. (2017). Effects of low-load, higher-repetition versus high-load, lower-repetition resistance training not performed to failure on muscle strength, mass, and echo intensity in healthy young men: a time-course study. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
  • Jegatheesan, P., Surowska, A., Campos, V., Cros, J., Stefanoni, N., Rey, V., ... & Tappy, L. (2017). MON-P291: Dietary Protein Content Modulates the Amino-Acid and IGF1 Responses to Sucrose Overfeeding in Humans. Clinical Nutrition, 36, S285-S286.
  • Lima, et al. (2017) "Local cryotherapy is ineffective in accelerating recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage on biceps brachii." Sport Sciences for Health. August, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 287–293
  • Rauch, J. T., Ugrinowitsch, C., Barakat, C. I., Alvarez, M. R., Brummert, D. L., Aube, D. W., ... & De Souza, E. O. (2017). Auto-regulated exercise selection training regimen produces small increases in lean body mass and maximal strength adaptations in strength-trained individuals. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
  • Schoenfeld, B. J., Wilson, J. M., Lowery, R. P., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Muscular adaptations in low-versus high-load resistance training: A meta-analysis. European journal of sport science, 16(1), 1-10.