I’m just full of these things lately, aren’t I? Full of something at any rate.
Glute activation: It works, bitches.
- Low load exercises targeting the gluteal muscle group acutely enhance explosive power output in elite athletes (J. Strength Cond. Res.)
(h/t Conditioning Research.)
From the abstract:
A group of 22 elite Australian Rules Football players performed 3 different warm-up protocols over 3 testing sessions in a randomized order. The protocols included a series of low load exercises targeting the gluteal muscle group (GM-P), a whole-body vibration (WBV) protocol (WBV-P) wherein the subjects stood on a platform vibrating at 30 Hz for 45 seconds, and a no-warm-up condition (CON). The CMJ testing was performed within 5 minutes of each warm-up protocol on an unloaded Smith machine using a linear encoder to measure peak power output. Peak power production was significantly greater after the GM-P than after both the CON (p < 0.05) and WBV-P (p < 0.01). No significant differences in peak power production were detected between the WBV-P and CON. These results have demonstrated that a low load exercise protocol targeting the gluteal muscle group is effective at acutely enhancing peak power output in elite athletes.
One of the consequences of sitting on my ass at a keyboard all day is that my hip flexors get shortened and my glutes consequently lengthen and deactivate. Lately I’ve been working on mobility stuff, including soft-tissue work for the piriformis and stretching for the hip flexors. Easiest ten pounds I’ve put on my deadlift ever.
Next, Mark Sisson reminds all concerned to eat their damn salads:
- Why you should eat leafy greens (Mark’s Daily Apple)
I already linked to this video a couple months back, so why bring it up again, you might ask? Back when I watched it for the first time, something caught my ear: the focus on vegetation. Wahls speaks of eating nine cups of plants every day, with three coming as leafy greens, three as sulfur-rich vegetables, and three as brightly colored fruits and vegetables. She explains why each category is so important, not just for someone looking to reverse MS, but for anyone who wants to be healthier in general.
If you lift, you’re probably a member of the Cult of Protein, and if you’re a member of the Cult of Protein (and/or its parallel institution, the Fish Oil Tabernacle) you probably eat a lot of canned tuna, salmon, and sardines. Now, the canonical way to consume canned fish is in a Tuna Shake, but dumping a can of whatever you’re eating today in with a couple of chopped hard-boiled eggs and a double handful of whatever’s green and leafy in the fridge is a pretty damn painless way to get 30-50 grams of protein and cross “salad” off your list at the same time.
The Journal of Physiology brings us news that interval training — running hill sprints, say — can coerce your muscle into building more mitochondria:
- A practical model of low-volume high-intensity training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: Potential mechanisms
That’s just the paper’s title, by the way. I’ve read abstracts shorter than that.
Anyway, this result is interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s based on a HIIT model that’s a lot more relevant to what most people do than, say, repeated Wingate tests or crazy Tabata shit. (In other words: These are intervals you might actually be able to convince real people to do regularly, rather than just work into your Crossfit WoD when you’re feeling particularly masochistic.) Second, mitochondrial density is thought to be critical for insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle, so if you’re hoping that adding muscle will help drag you out of insulin resistance and generally improve your metabolic flexibility, you might want to add some sprints to your workouts.
Speaking of which, you probably want to add some sprints to your workouts even if you just want to get swole. Dr. Andro points out some research telling us that HIIT increases the number of satellite cells in skeletal muscle, a necessary precondition to useful hypertrophy:
- HIT your satellite cells to increase your gains! (SuppVersity)
He also mentions something nifty:
[S]low-twitch type I fibers, with their greater number of satellite cells, have an increased propensity for maximal myonuclear numbers, the fable of the “hypertrophy-prone fast-twitch type II” fibers, on the other end, is a consequence of their ability to accumulate more protein per myonucleus.
(Emphasis in the original.)
Well, we know that long-distance endurance training will force type II fibres to adapt and act more like type I fibres; it’s not surprising that things should also work out the other way around. Sprinting is definitely a “fast-twitch” kind of movement, so perhaps the type I fibres are adapting by packing in more myonuclei rather than bigger ones.
Finally, how about some polemicism about teh ebil dietary cholesterol? Here’s Peter to kick things off:
- Anacetrapib and phytotoxins (Hyperlipid)
Ok, the usual recap:
First there was cholesterol. It was bad, life was simple.
Then came Good cholesterol, HDL battling the Bad cholesterol, LDL.
Then there was Good LDL, large buoyant battling with Really Bad LDL, small dense LDL, sdLDL.
Not only that but native LDL appears to be harmless, it’s only oxidised LDL which is the killer, oxLDL.
So the evil sdLDL is only really evil because it is more easily oxidised than fluffier LDL. Maybe, but in general I tend to have glazed over by now, befuddled by the blur of the moving goal posts.
So what the hell is anacetrapib? Well, it’s a new miracle drug that nearly eliminates sdLDL… and, um, leads to increased all-factors and heart disease death rates in the sample population. (For a less skeptical take, see William Davis here and here.)
And here’s Michael Eades on a trio of China Studies:
Difficult to excerpt, but here’s a taste of the latter — a rhetorical evisceration of a study in which an observational study found that Chinese folks who ate more vegetables were also more likely to be fat. The researchers involved, desperate to fit the narrative, figured they’d find some way to blame dietary fat:
In conclusion, we found a positive association between intake of vegetable-rich food pattern and obesity. This association can be linked to the high intake of energy due to liberal use of vegetable oil for cooking vegetables.
There you have it. Fat is the culprit. And although vegetable oils have been the darling fats of the mainstream folks for ages, they don’t hesitate to throw them under the bus when their beloved vegetables are challenged.
But hold on. There is a fly in the ointment here.
There is absolutely no difference in the amount of fat consumed in the group that ate the most vegetables as compared to the group who ate the least.
(Emphasis in the original. And yes, the researchers’ own data backs this up.)