1. Updated Data-Driven Analyses Of ”The Super Shoe Effect”:
World Athletics & NCAA Data Analyses – Synopsis
The past decade has seen two major impacts on the global performance of athletes:
1. The COVID-19 Pandemic
2. The introduction and availability of Carbon-plated Footwear Technology
How can we identify and evaluate this impact of both COVID-19 and Carbon-plated Footwear Technology?
Examining performance criteria over time is one way of evaluating an impact. Normally, the number of athletes globally who exceed a certain performance criterion is relatively stable from year-to-year, with slight fluctuations in Olympic and pre-Olympic years. Also, it is expected to see a gradual increase in the number of athletes exceeding the criterion over time, through natural ‘event development’. The years from 2015- 2022 are analysed here — with the 2023 season included for indoor events.
Since the Carbon-plated footwear provides an added and external mechanical kinetic unit to the body’s internal kinetic chain we can simply and accurately compare the differences in performance from when Carbon-plated shoes and spikes became globally available to the previous period, when athletes wore ‘conventional’ shoes and spikes.
More...from Track and Field News.
2. Does Cold Plunging Actually Do Anything Or Is It B.S.?
Cold plunging isn't safe for everyone — and also isn't the all-in-one wellness trend that many say it is.
One scroll through social media lately and you may stumble on videos of fitness influencers or celebrities dunking themselves in cold water in the name of health. Say hello to the world of cold plunging — a practice that is said to come with a plethora of both physical and mental benefits.
While there is not an exact, one-size-fits-all definition for cold plunging, the water tends to be between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit and is usually done for no more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time, said Dr. Tracy Zaslow, a primary care sports medicine physician at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. However, some people are taking their dunks in temps lower than that, with some showing themselves breaking a layer of ice off the top of their bath before climbing in. Normally, everything except your head is submerged.
“The premise is that it provides health benefits,” according to Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer at WebMD. But is that really true? Are the perks of submerging yourself in icy water really worth the chill? We asked experts to weigh in on some of cold plunging’s purported benefits:
3. How to Train (and Compete) in Dirty Air:
First there was altitude training. Then it was heat training. Now it’s… pollution training?
For the Canadian men’s soccer team, the road to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup led through the famously hostile atmosphere of Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, built to bolster the nation’s bid to host the 1970 tournament. Visiting teams have long struggled with the thin air at 7,200 feet; in fact, much of the modern approach to altitude training and acclimatization emerged during preparation for the Mexico City Summer Olympics in 1968. But on this occasion the Canadian team turned to Michael Koehle, an environmental physiologist at the University of British Columbia, with a different concern: air pollution.
We’re all familiar with the idea that breathing dirty air is bad. It’s linked to elevated rates of heart and lung disease, diabetes, and even dementia. And there’s growing awareness that those of us who spend a lot of time breathing heavily in the great outdoors may be particularly vulnerable. In fact, more than a decade ago I interviewed Koehle, who is also a consultant with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and a team doctor with the Canadian track team, for an Outside article on this very topic. During exercise, he told me then, you suck in more air through your mouth, bypassing the filtering mechanisms in your nose and sending pollutants deeper into your airways. There’s good reason to think twice about working out in poor air conditions, but on the whole, he figured that the health benefits outweighed the risks. “Exercise is such a big hammer that it crushes everything else,” he told me.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
4. Why wellness guru Wim Hof loves cold plunges:
Last month, the extreme athlete Wim Hof celebrated his birthday as he always does by sitting in a rain barrel filled to the brim with ice.
The eccentric Dutch man turned 64, so in keeping with a tradition he started years ago, he spent the corresponding number of minutes in the freezing water to show his many fans that his passion for the cold – and his belief in its powers to heal the body and mind – is as rock solid as ever.
Hof, who is known as the Iceman, films this birthday ritual on the grounds of the Wim Hof Method Center, a bucolic place on the outskirts of Amsterdam, where he hosts weekend training sessions for people interested in learning the Wim Hof Method, or WHM, a practice that incorporates deep-breathing exercises, paired with exposure to extreme cold, as a way to “take control of your own physiology and accomplish things you never thought possible.”
More...from the Globe and Mail.
5. Should Transwomen be allowed to Compete in Women’s Sports?
A view from an Exercise Physiologist.
Transgender women (transwomen) are individuals whose biological sex is male, but their gender identity is that of a woman. In 2003, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released their initial policy on transgender athletes, in 2011 the NCAA adopted a transgender athlete inclusion policy, and in 2015 the IOC adopted a revised policy on transgender athletes. Starting in 2019 there were several high-profile cases of transwomen competing for championships in women’s sports (for example see these articles on ESPN.com, APNews, and the Washington Times). In response to these situations and concerns from athletes and the public, the International Olympic Committee, the NCAA, FINA, British Cycling, US Rowing, World Boxing, World Athletics and many other sports governing bodies have recently revised their policies regarding transgender athletes, particularly regarding transwomen. These policies vary considerably from the inclusion of transwomen in women’s sports based on self-identification as a woman, participation of transwomen in women’s sports if they meet testosterone suppression requirements, or participation in women’s sports allowed only for those who are recorded as female at birth.
More...from Center on SPort Policy and Conduct.
6. Will we see any pros eating mustard in Ibiza? It actually might be a way to avoid cramps:
Why bring salt tablets when a bottle of yellow mustard does the trick?
It’s playoff time in the world of pro hockey. While lots of attention has been paid to the hard hitting and spectacular plays, a video of Zachary L’Heureux from the Halifax Mooseheads guzzling mustard on the bench during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game on Wednesday has gone viral.
Turns out L’Heureux has been eating mustard during games for a number of years as a way to avoid leg cramps, he said during a post-game interview.
“Anything I can to avoid them,” he said. “I think it works, it’s the best remedy.”
Believe it or not there might actually be some validity to this approach. In a story posted on the Harvard Health Publishing site, mustard or pickle juice is listed as an “unproven remedy” that “may be worth a try.”
“Swallowing a teaspoon of mustard or an ounce of pickle juice before bedtime also has enthusiastic advocates,” the story continued. “In fact, the pickle juice preventive has become a staple among athletes who want to avoid being sidelined by cramps.”
More...from Triathlon Magazine.
7. Exploring the limits of human performance:
We train our bodies in every possible way to be as efficient as possible, but there is a limit to what we can achieve.
Earlier in February, we looked at the impact the work of breathing has on performance. The body, in response to higher intensities, will redistribute oxygenated blood to muscles that need oxygen to produce energy. A lack of oxygen leads to lactate build-up and fatigue. So while locomotor muscle have to work harder with an increase in effort, respiratory muscles are forced to work at higher lung volumes due to a flow limitation. Thus significantly increasing the work of breathing. Essentially, the respiratory muscles will ‘steal’ oxygenated blood from the locomotor muscles, causing a limit in performance. We covered this in-depth in “Do your respiratory muscles ‘steal’ blood from your locomotor muscles?”
However, this phenomenon is more complex than just the respiratory muscles stealing oxygenated blood. There is another phenomenon at play called exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia (EIAH). (Definition of hypoxemia; an abnormally low concentration of oxygen in the blood.)
EIAH has been commonly used to describe an increase in the alveolar (lung)-arterial difference in oxygen. Meaning, there is less oxygen being diffused/transported into the blood than normal. This is thought by some to be due to an insufficient hyperventilation response to support increasingly high intensities. Thus resulting in lower arterial oxygen saturation.
More...from Triathlon Magazine.
8. The case for exercising outdoors:
Maybe it’s because the gym is where I work, and who likes hanging out at the office after hours? Or it could be that I’m an exhibitionist at heart and I secretly get my kicks from being on display. Whatever the reason, I mostly can’t stand working out indoors.
Of course there are some obvious advantages to lifting with a roof over your head, especially here in Canada where the snow can fall right into May. I’m no Viking warrior. When it’s winter, I seek out warmth. But once that mercury settles into a double-digit groove, I train outside as much as possible.
Now here’s my shortlist of reasons why, even if you’re a member of the best gym in town, you should consider doing so too.
More...from the Globe and Mail.
9. This finals season, a brief ‘priming’ workout could boost performance on the sports field and beyond :
As humans, it is in our nature to want to do better, find that edge and succeed. This couldn’t be truer than in sport, where winning and losing are often separated by tenths of a second, a successful score attempt in the dying stages of a game, or a split-second decision.
So, there is always a need for effective and legal strategies to boost performance. “Priming” is a tool attracting more and more interest from athletes, coaches and scientists.
The good news is it is not just for elite athletes.
Not just a warm-up
Priming, also called “morning exercise”, “pre-activation” or “pre-competition training”, has attracted renewed interest among scientists in recent years. Many sporting teams are already on the ball, with more than half of coaches using priming to help their athletes gain a performance advantage.
More...from The Conversation.
10. 9 Benefits Of Performing Cardio Exercises Daily:
Performing cardiovascular exercises on a daily basis can provide many benefits that improve overall health, fitness, and quality of life.
Cardiovascular exercises are physical activities that aim to improve the heart and lungs' endurance by increasing the oxygen intake and circulation in the body. Also known as aerobic exercises, these workouts involve the use of the larger muscle groups and activities that require repetitive movements for an extended period.
Running, jogging, cycling, swimming, brisk walking, and rowing are some of the popular cardiovascular exercises that one can perform. Cardiovascular exercises work by increasing the heart rate and breathing rate, facilitating the blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles' cells. In addition to these physical benefits, cardiovascular exercises also have some psychological benefits. Continue reading as we list some of the most common benefits of practicing cardio.
12. Should you use painkillers to exercise through the pain-barrier?
Precision Fuel & Hydration’s Athlete Support Manager JP recently laced up his trainers for a tough coastal marathon in North Devon. A grumbling from his Achilles heel meant he was forced to ease off the running during the four weeks leading up to race-day and it prompted him to make an uncharacteristic, anxiety-driven decision on the morning of the event.
On the way to the start of the race, JP nipped into a local shop, bought a packet of ibuprofen and popped a couple en route. His thought process went along the lines of ‘why not? They can only help ease the Achilles niggle, surely’.
This train of thought when using painkillers is commonplace among athletes but a growing body of evidence suggests they do more harm than good. Unfortunately for JP, he found this out the hard way…
What are NSAIDs?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, pronounced ‘n-sads’), like ibuprofen or aspirin, are used by athletes to relieve mild-to-moderate pain and soreness before, during or after exercise in an attempt to keep up with their training and competition demands. The drugs ‘kill’ pain by impeding the body’s inflammatory response (hence the name anti-inflammatory drugs).
More...from Precision Hydration.
13. 9 of the best On running shoes for the road and trail:
From the Cloudmonster to the Cloudboom, we've put On's running shoes to the test.
Swiss running brand On has made great strides since it launched its first shoe – the Cloudracer – in 2012. Rewind to 2010, however, and On's success was merely a twinkle in the eye of its co-founders, Olivier Bernhard (a former six-time Ironman champ), Caspar Coppetti and David Allemann, who joined forces in Bernhard’s quest to create a running shoe that delivered a uniquely cushioned landing followed by an explosive toe-off.
Twelve years later, the running brand’s distinctive ‘Cloud’-clad outsole design is instantly recognisable, and the company is touted as being one of the world’s fastest-growing running shoe brands.
On's secret sauce – and the reason behind its unmistakable silhouette – is undoubtedly its unique CloudTec technology; hollow pods strategically placed throughout the outsole, which compress to absorb impact forces for a soft landing and then lock to form a solid foundation for a powerful push-off. On calls this ‘running on clouds’.
More...from Runner's World.
14. 10 Rules for Altitude Training:
Researchers look back on the lessons from 25 years of “live high, train low”.
At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, American distance runners earned a total of zero medals in front of their home fans. Two decades later, in Rio, they picked up seven medals in events between 800 meters and the marathon. What changed?
There are plenty of theories, including changes in training philosophy, the rise of sponsored all-star training groups, and the dissemination of knowledge on the Internet. But a new paper in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance argues that sports science also played a role. Essentially no American runners used altitude training to prepare for Atlanta. Then, in 1997, Ben Levine and James Stray-Gundersen published a paper introducing the concept of “live high, train low” (LHTL) altitude training. By 2016, every single one of the American medalists was using this approach.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
15. First female Boston Marathon runner Bobbi Gibb on starting a running revolution: “We knew the world was never going to be the same”:
In an exclusive interview with the Olympics.com podcast celebrating the launch of the ‘Free To Run’ exhibition at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, marathon trailblazer Bobbi Gibb tells the remarkable story behind her history-making run.
As far back as Roberta 'Bobbi' Gibb can remember she always loved running.
From the very moment she inched up onto her feet just shy of her first birthday to breezing through local forests with dogs alongside her years later, the movement felt as natural to her as the world itself.
“I just had this sense of joy and I just ran as fast as my little legs could carry me,” the 80-year-old American tells Olympics.com podcast, looking back.
When her friends began to outgrow the childish fun of chasing each other around and playing pretend, she never stopped despite her mother’s pleas.
“‘How do you expect to find a husband running the woods with the dogs?’” Gibb says her parents would cry out as they tried to dissuade her. But she refused to listen.
“In the woods, I could be myself. I could run.”