Friday, June 20, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News and Information You Can Use

If it's Friday, it must be time for some fitness news and information. This week we have 40+ interval training, supplementing with oral ATP for recovery, maintaining 1RM in the deadlift, a whole lot of rep scheme variations, and a 4-week chest specialization program (because we all need pecs that look like Arnold's, above).

First up, from Runner's World, and argument in favor of interval training for us old people (40+).

Interval Training and Trolleyology

Is it safe for 40-year-olds to exercise hard?
By Alex Hutchinson


I couldn't help thinking of these dilemmas yesterday when a doctor friend asked about the message given to a group of GPs by a cardiologist at a continuing medical education course – that for people over 40, the risks of interval training outweigh the benefits. The common thread: while it may not seem rational, most humans seem to prefer taking a passive role in a greater harm than an active role in a lesser harm. 

The central trade-off here is the same one that applies to all exercise: you have a slightly increased risk of a cardiac event during exercise, and in exchange you get a slightly decreased risk of a cardiac event during all the hours you're not exercising. This is true for marathons, sprints, moderate continuous exercise, intense interval exercise, you name it. That's why doctors used to discourage heart-attack survivors from doing any exercise – until they realized that avoiding exercise ultimately made a recurrence more likely rather than less likely.

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Next we have a research article from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
on supplementing with oral ATP following exercise to increase blood flow to the muscles (which would then increase transport of protein and glucose to the muscle for recovery).

Oral adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP) administration increases blood flow following exercise in animals and humans

Ralf Jäger, Michael D Roberts, Ryan P Lowery, Jordan M Joy, Clayton L Cruthirds, Christopher M Lockwood, John A Rathmacher, Martin Purpura and Jacob M Wilson

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; 2014, June 13, 11:28. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-28 

Abstract (provisional)


Extracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stimulates vasodilation by binding to endothelial ATP-selective P2Y2 receptors; a phenomenon, which is posited to be accelerated during exercise. Herein, we used a rat model to examine how different dosages of acute oral ATP administration affected the femoral blood flow response prior to, during, and after an exercise bout. In addition, we performed a single dose chronic administration pilot study in resistance trained athletes.


Animal study: Male Wistar rats were gavage-fed the body surface area, species adjusted human equivalent dose (HED) of either 100 mg (n=4), 400 mg (n=4), 1,000 mg (n=5) or 1,600 mg (n=5) of oral ATP as a disodium salt (Peak ATP(R), TSI, Missoula, MT). Rats that were not gavage-fed were used as controls (CTL, n=5). Blood flow was monitored continuously: a) 60 min prior to, b) during and c) 90 min following an electrically-evoked leg-kicking exercise. Human Study: In a pilot study, 12 college-aged resistance-trained subjects were given 400 mg of ATP (Peak ATP(R), TSI, Missoula, MT) daily for 12 weeks, and prior to an acute arm exercise bout at weeks 1, 4, 8, and 12. Ultrasonography-determined volumetric blood flow and vessel dilation in the brachial artery was measured at rest, at rest 30 minutes after supplementation, and then at 0, 3, and 6 minutes after the exercise.


Animal Study: Rats fed 1,000 mg HED demonstrated significantly greater recovery blood flow (p < 0.01) and total blood flow AUC values (p < 0.05) compared to CTL rats. Specifically, blood flow was elevated in rats fed 1,000 mg HED versus CTL rats at 20 to 90 min post exercise when examining 10-min blood flow intervals (p < 0.05). When examining within-group differences relative to baseline values, rats fed the 1,000 mg and 1,600 mg HED exhibited the most robust increases in blood flow during exercise and into the recovery period. Human study: At weeks 1, 8, and 12, ATP supplementation significantly increased blood flow, along with significant elevations in brachial dilation.


Oral ATP administration can increase post-exercise blood flow, and may be particularly effective during exercise recovery. 
The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.
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This is a useful article from Tony Gentilcore on how to maintain deadlift strength during time we are not able to lift heavy or consistently. Turns out that, of the big three (squat, deadlift, bench) deadlift strength lasts the longest without consistent practice. This seems to explain how some lifters with HUGE deadlifts only train that lift once a month or so.

How to Maintain Deadlift Strength

I received an interesting question from a reader the other day on deadlifts, particularly 1RM (1 rep max) deadlifts. And since I get all giddy like a school girl at a One Direction concert whenever someone brings up the topic, I figured I’d share my answer here on my website since I’m sure it’s a question that others have wondered as well.

Q: My lifting consists mostly of deadlifts and chin-up/pull-ups with lots of auxiliary work. I also cycle a lot (100 miles per week in-season). But I am in the field for several months a year and it interrupts my lifting.

Last year I pulled 305 on my 60th birthday (at 182 pounds body weight). I got a late start this year and was not as systematic with the spin up. I did a 1RM test and only pulled 270 (at 190 pounds) on my 61st.

My question is:
I would have liked to maintain a 300 pound 1RM but was not systematic enough through the year. What do I do between programs to maintain a higher 1RM? (And continue to cycle and miss the occasional month in the deep field for work?).

A: Who are you? John Wayne? I love this! 

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Two articles from T-Nation floated to the top this week.

22 Proven Rep Schemes 

by Christian Thibaudeau   

Here's what you need to know...

  • While there's no one best set/rep scheme, there are plenty of great ones to choose from, all time-tested and proven to work.
  • Methods like 10 x 1, 5 x 2, ramping up to a 3RM, 3/2/1 waves, and 1/3 ratchet loading, among others, work great for pure strength gains.
  • For gaining both size and strength, schemes like cluster 5's, 5 x 5, and 1/2/4/6 are extremely effective.
  • For pure hypertrophy, 4 x 8, 10/8/6/20, and Gironda's 6 x 6 have been around forever and continue to pack on muscle.
"How many sets and reps should I do to get the best results?"

I hear that question every day. People all want a cut and dried answer so all they'll have to do is follow it and make uninterrupted progress. Sadly, it's not as simple as that. There is no one "best" sets/reps scheme. And sometimes a little detail like doing one too many sets in a certain intensity range could absolutely kill your progress. However, while there are no best schemes, there are several great ones. Here are 22 of them. All of them will work if you respect the given guidelines and train hard.

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4-Week Chest Specialization 

by Mike Samuels   

Here's what you need to know...

  • With a traditional bodybuilding split, you'll only train your chest once every five to seven days, meaning you're leaving a hell of a lot of elevated muscle protein synthesis potential on the metaphorical table. We should instead opt for a specialization approach.
  • While hammering the chest three times per week, all other muscle group will be put on maintenance mode.
  • Monday will be your power/activation workout, Wednesday is your strength session, and Friday is for hypertrophy work.
Despite the "chest and biceps only" guys at every gym and Monday being International Chest Day, an awesome set of pecs is a rarity. It's hardly surprising though. Browsing through websites and magazines, you'll find conflicting information on chest training. Half the coaches out there say the bench press is the best damn chest exercise there is. The other half say it wrecks your shoulders, hits your delts and triceps more than your chest, and doesn't deserve its place in the bodybuilding hierarchy.

Then you've got the incline vs. decline argument. Judging by how many people suffer from man-boob syndrome where the size of the lower and mid portion of the pecs far outweigh the musculature of the upper section, you'd be forgiven for thinking that incline work is what everyone needs to focus on. Then suddenly, some fancy new EMG study comes out and indicates that the best chest-developer is the decline bench, and how inclines are actually much more of a shoulder exercise.

Confused? Yep, me too. At least I was, until I realized how to structure a chest routine for optimal development.

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