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Uncategorized

September 27, 2013


This and That…

Lot’s going on. Without further ado…

Research_Assistants

  • The journey to obtain my PhD is now in its final phase. I passed my comprehensive exams back in July and officially became a doctoral candidate! I am now in the process of collecting data and have an awesome research team assembled that’s helping in these efforts (see the team photo on the left). The study involves investigating the effects of different resistance training loading ranges on muscular adaptations in well-trained individuals. It will be the first study of its kind and should provide substantial insight into the practical manipulation of program variables for optimizing muscle strength and hypertrophy. If all goes according to plan, I hope to defend my dissertation in January! I will be posting updates as the study progresses. Stay tuned!
  • Now that my PhD coursework is complete I’ve rededicated my efforts to again writing consumer articles. Here are a couple that I recently penned for T-Nation. The first is a collaboration with a colleague Dan Ogborn. Dan is extremely knowledgeable about muscle building, both from a research as well as practical standpoint. Our article, titled, Light Weights for Big Gains, discusses how integrating low-load training can play an important role in maximizing the hypertrophic response to lifting. We actually have a review article on the topic that is currently in editorial review at a popular journal. The second article covers a technique called blood flow restricted (BFR) training. Over the past couple of years I’ve experimented with using BFR as a supplement to my own training, as well as that of several physique athletes with whom I consult. Based on empirical experience, it’s been an effective technique as a means to enhance hypertrophic gains. In my T-Nation article, Blood Flow Restriction, I discuss the basics of BFR and how it can be employed for optimum results. For those interested in the science of the topic, see my recent collaborative review published in the current issue of Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
  • I had the pleasure of being interviewed by uber trainers and top-ranked bodybuilders John Meadows and Shelby Starnes for their new show, Blue Collar Radio. I’m honored that they asked me to be the first guest on the premier broadcast. It’s basically three muscle-heads discussing the art and science of hypertrophy training. Hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed doing the interview.
  • Speaking of articles, no one has been more profilic lately than my bud Bret Contreras. Bret is hands-down one of the best fitness pros in the business and he consistently puts out quality high quality info at an amazing rate. Here is an excellent post on Squat Biomechanics that’s an excellent read. If you’re not reading his blog on a regular basis, you should be.
  • Another good friend and colleague, Alan Aragon stepped into the lion’s den for an interview to challenge the theories and merits of Paleo Dieting. Note that the interview was conducted on a paleo website, but Alan stood his ground and provided an in depth critical analysis of the diet, pointing out its inconsistencies. No one knows the practical applicaitons of nutritional research better than Alan and his knowledge is well-displayed here
  • Finally, I’ll be doing a webinar on muscle hypertrophy…in Spanish! The webinar is being hosted by one of the largest Spanish fitness sites, Grupo Sobre Entrenamiento. Me habla Espanol muy poquito (translation: I speak very little Spanish), so I’ll be lecturing in English and it will be translated into Espanol. This will be a new experience for me and I’m excited to be able to share scientifici muscle-building practices with a foreign audience.
  • That’s all for now. Will post again soon!

    Brad


    Uncategorized

    July 1, 2013


    Website Makeover

    website_makeover
    If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll probably notice something different. Yep, I’ve taken the plunge and completely revamped my website. It had been six years since I last updated the site design. In the world of cyberspace that’s an eternity. I realized that it needed a makeover to keep up with the times.

    The first thing you’ll see from the makeover is that my blog is now fully integrated into my primary site (www.lookgreatnaked.com). Sure, you can still access the blog by typing in Workout911.com. But now the blog and site are seamless in their navigation. The focus of the blog will remain the same; I’ll continue to strive to deliver quality content on fitness-related matters. The fact that I’m finishing up my PhD coursework should allow me more time to devote to posts.

    The site itself is designed for functionality. In the “Articles” section I’ve posted the PDFs to many of my peer-reviewed papers as well as links to some of my online articles. I’ll continue to update this page more of my work becomes available. The site also has lots of other areas of interest. I’ve updated my bio and media kit, added testimonials, and revamped the products/services page. The site is an ongoing work-in-progress so I hope to enhance its utility over the coming months.

    A big thanks to Michael Muff of White Buck Media for doing an outstanding job on the design and working tirelessly to make sure that the implementation was smooth and successful. I recommend him wholeheartedly for any web-related consulting.

    Hope you enjoy the new site. I welcome any and all feedback that you may have. Just drop me a line.

    Cheers!

    Brad


    Uncategorized

    June 9, 2013


    This and That…

    rocky-mountain-universitySo much going on that I want to share. First, I just returned from my last semester of PhD coursework at Rocky Mountain University in beautiful Provo, Utah. The attainment of my doctoral degree is finally in sight! I am on schedule to begin data collection on my dissertation research later this summer and, if all goes according to plan, defend my dissertation in January. This has been an amazing–albeit grueling–educational journey. I’ve learned so much about critical thinking, met so many incredible people, and honed my skills as a researcher along the way these past two-and-a=half years. I’ll be blogging about my experience in the near future. Stay tuned…

    My review article, Postexercise hypertrophic adaptations: a reexamination of the hormone hypothesis and its applicability to resistance training program design has been published in the current issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The article exhaustively reviews the literature on whether acute hormonal elevations following resistance training play a role in muscle growth. For years, it was believed that spiking hormones after exercise was the key to maximizing hypertrophy. Entire workouts were planned around maximizing the anabolic hormonal response. Turns out, this belief was misguided. Studies are equivocal as to whether post-workout hormonal elevations are involved in the muscle-building process; some show a positive correlation, others do not. Bottom line is that if there is a hypertrophic effect from such elevations, it would be relatively modest. That said, even a modest effect on hypertrophy could be practically meaningful to someone seeking maximal muscle development, such as a bodybuilder or strength athlete. There are still many gaps in the literature that need to be sorted out before a definitive conclusion can me made on the topic–particularly with respect to the effects in experienced lifters. I will be carrying out research in the coming months that hopefully will help to fill in some of these gaps. Will keep you updated here when I have data to share.

    I recently did two interviews of interest with Super Human Radio. The first, The Role of Metabolic Stress in Muscle Growth is an extensive discussion of various aspects of muscle hypertrophy. The second, Look Great Naked delves into women’s fitness as well as touching on post-workout nutrition. What I really like about these interviews is that the host, Carl Lanore, is a true science geek. As such, he let’s me expound on the science of these topics in depth. I go into a level of detail generally not afforded in other media outlets. Each interview lasts about an hour so there’s a lot of listening for your enjoyment 🙂

    Fit_RX
    About a year or so ago I wrote an article on glute training that appeared in Fitness Rx for Women magazine. Well, lo and behold, they published the article online for free! The article is called, The Tight and Toned Butt Workout (yeah, I know the title is a bit cheesy, but hey, that’s apparently what sells magazines…). Although the article is geared toward women, it’s a routine that can be used effectively by men too. Check it out.

    Book update: Rodale has acquired the mail order rights to my book, The M.A.X. Muscle Plan. In case you don’t know, Rodale is an industry leader in fitness media. They publish Men’s Health Magazine, as well as many other fitness publications. As I’ve mentioned previously, this book was the culmination of many years of of research and practice, and represents the most cutting-edge muscle building program ever developed (and I’m not blowing smoke when I say this!). It’s available at a discount on Amazon.com as well. I hope you’ll give it a read; I’d love to hear your feedback.

    reebokFinally and importantly, I have agreed to a consultant role with Reebok International. In my role, I will be providing educational content for fitness professionals as well as making select appearances at Reebok-sponsored events. There are other as-yet undefined areas that may be explored as well. I am honored to be affiliated with such a terrific brand and look forward to partnering with them to share my fitness expertise.

    Stay Fit!

    Brad


    Supplementation, Uncategorized

    April 20, 2013


    The Anti-Oxidant Paradox and Its Implications for Interpreting Research

    antioxidants
    Antioxidant supplements continue to be touted by many fitness professionals as a nutritional panacea. In case you’re not aware, antioxidants are the body’s scavengers. They help to defend against damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) — unstable molecules that can injure healthy cells and tissues — which are produced in abundance each day during the normal course of respiration. The main culprit: oxygen. Every time you breathe, oxygen uptake causes ROS production. Environmental factors such as pollutants, smoke and certain chemicals also contribute to their formation. Their production have been linked to a multitude of ailments including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer. Not surprisingly, exercise is associated with substantially greater ROS production given that it substantially inreases oxygen consumption. This has led to the supposition that antioxidant supplements are especially beneficial for hardcore exercisers.

    Here’s a short-course in how the process works: Your body is made up of billions of cells held together by a series of electronic bonds. These bonds are arranged in pairs so that one electron balances the other. However, in response to various occurrences (such as oxygen consumption), a molecule can lose one of its electron pairs making it an unstable free radical. The free radical then tries to replace its lost electron by stealing one from another molecule. This sets up a chain reaction where the second molecule becomes a free radical and destabilizes a third molecule, which becomes a free radical and destabilizes a fourth molecule and so on.

    To prevent rampant ROS production, your body has a sophisticated internal antioxidant system. Various antioxidant enzymes combine with antioxidants from the foods you eat to help keep ROS at bay. There are dozens of known antioxidants including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, and carotenoids, amongst others. Although these nutrients are readily obtainable from food sources, it is often postulated that it’s virtually impossible to consume adequate quantities from your daily diet, thus making supplementation mandatory. In theory, supplementing with antioxidants would seemingly make sense since a greater availability should allow for greater protection against ROS. Question is, does theory translate into practice?

    antioxidants_benefits
    I first became interested about the topic a dozen or so years ago. A friend gave me a book to read called The Antioxidant Miracle, which as the title implies touted the wonders of antioxidant supplementation. The book piqued my curiousity. I delved into the research. Lo and behold, the claims seemed legit. A large number of studies showed positive effects of supplementation on a wide array of health-related benefits. What really caught my attention was a review by Dekkers et al. in the journal Sports Medicine, which discussed favorable results of antioxidant supplements during intense physical activity. The article went on to conclude that “human studies reviewed indicate that antioxidant vitamin supplementation can be recommended to individuals performing regular heavy exercise.” At the time, I wasn’t very savvy as to the complexities of research. I jumped on the antioxidant supplement bandwagon.

    My bad.

    Fast forward several years. Larger randomized controlled trials were conducted. The findings of these studies were at best decidedly mixed, with a majority showing no health-related benefits from supplementing with antioxidants. Alarmingly, several meta-analyses reported that there may even be an increased supplement-associated risk for cancer, stroke, and all-cause mortality. An objective evaluation of the current literature would make it difficult for even the most ardent antioxidant proponent to make a case for improving well-being by supplementation.

    What’s particularly interesting to me as an exercise scientist is emerging research suggesting that antioxidant supplements may actually have a *detrimental* effect on training-related adaptations, particularly those associated with muscle hypertrophy. At issue here is the distinction between chronic versus acute ROS production. Evidence does show that chronically elevated levels of ROS can impair muscle function and even bring about muscle wasting conditions. Understand, however, that exercise upregulates the body’s antioxidant defenses. This ultimately helps to reduce chronic elevations in ROS without the need for supplementation.

    On the other hand, acute production of ROS during a workout has been implicated in a variety of exercise-related adaptations including enhanced muscle remodeling. ROS production has been found to promote growth in both smooth muscle and cardiac muscle, lending credence to the supposition that these substances may have similar hypertrophic effects on skeletal muscle as well. The mechanisms have yet to be determined, but studies show that ROS can function as key cellular anabolic signaling molecules in the response to exercise. What’s more, there is evidence that they help to mediate the activity of satellite cells, which are responsible for aiding in repair and regeneration of muscle fibers. I have covered these topics extensively in my recent reviews of the roles of metabolic stress and muscle damage in exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy. By suppressing ROS production, antioxidant supplements may inhibit these hypertrophic effects and thus impair the growth and repair process. Indeed, preliminary studies indicate a negative impact of supplementation on exercise-induced adaptations.

    antioxdant_food
    There are a couple of take-home messages here, the most obvious of which is that the risk/reward ratio for antioxidant supplementation appears to be poor. Focus on eating a diet replete in vegetables and fruits and you’ll get all the antioxidants you need to support basic health. Overloading on antioxidants via supplements will not confer any additional benefits; it’s possible they may actually cause harm. And although the jury is still out, it is at least conceivable that supplementation can impede muscular development and other exercise-related adaptations. Any way you slice it, antioxidant supplementation doesn’t seem to make sense, at least for otherwise healthy individuals who exercise on a regular basis.

    On a broader scale, the overriding message to be gleaned is the importance of using caution when interpreting research. This is particularly true of exercise-related studies, which are usually limited by small sample sizes, the inability to control for various confounders, and the almost unlimited number of variations that encompass exercise program design. All-too-often fitness professionals are quick to form opinions based on limited evidence. Such an approach is decidedly misguided and unscientific. As illustrated here, I was guilty of falling into this trap. Fortunately I learned from the mistake and as a result became a more astute fitness professional.

    Extrapolating research findings in an evidence-based fashion can be equated to solving a jigsaw puzzle. Each published study is a piece to the puzzle. In almost every situation there will be conflicting results between studies. Sometimes two studies will report diametrically opposite findings on the same topic. How can you make sense of all this?

    The best fitness professionals, guys like Bret Contreras, Alan Aragon, Joe Dowdell, and James Krieger, will weigh the body of evidence by considering factors such as the type of study (experimental vs. observational), the subjects (animal vs. human), and the setting (in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo, etc). They’ll also take into account numerous other factors including study design, statistical power, generalizability, and the quality of the journal in which the study was published. Only after a thorough analysis of the prevailing body of literature can an educated opinion be formed that guides decision-making and provides the basis for practical recommendations. It’s a skill that can be honed. The more research you read, the better you become at critical thinking, allowing you to piece together the puzzle in question.

    One last thing: I frequently hear trainers and even researchers cite a study as “proof” of a given opinion. Not! A single study never “proves” anything. Rather, it simply lends support to a given theory. As noted, some studies carry more weight than others. The greater the strength of evidence, the more support there is for the theory. But theories are not set in stone. Case in point: Until recently, it was taken as gospel that saturated fat and cholesterol caused cardiovascular disease. Every nutrition text, bar none, stated such as fact. Recent research has now challenged these assumptions, however, suggesting that any relationship is far more complex than previously thought. Bottom line is that the more knowledge we acquire, the more we realize just how much more there is to learn.

    Always be skeptical. Always be willing to change your opinion based on new information. This is what separates the ordinary practitioners from the elite.

    Cheers!

    Brad


    Uncategorized

    April 14, 2013


    Hypertrophy Seminar in NYC


    For those in the New York City area, I will be giving a 3-hour seminar next month on Advanced Programming for Muscle Hypertrophy. The seminar is being held at the American Academy of Personal Training, located in the meat-packing district of Manhattan, as part of their continuing education series. Here is the session description.

    Muscle development is of primary interest to those who partake in resistance training. But developing muscle size, as opposed to strength or endurance, involves its own unique set of considerations. This AAPT course elucidates the science behind optimizing muscular hypertrophy, exploring how factors such as exercise modality, training to failure, speed of movement and recovery affect muscle growth. You will learn the significance of metabolic stress in relation to protein synthesis, as well as gain a trove of valuable techniques in manipulating intensity, sets, repetitions, and rest intervals. Sample routines will be provided in the context of a periodized approach to help you with perfecting program design for muscle hypertrophy.

    The seminar will take an evidence-based approach, going in-depth into how to combine science and art in creating optimal hypertrophy training programs. Below is the link to register. Hope to see you there!

    Advanced Programming for Muscle Hypertrophy

    Brad


    Uncategorized

    April 12, 2013


    Upcoming Workshop Details

    I’m excited to announce that I’ll be presenting a two-day intensive workshop on optimizing body composition next month in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I’ll be sharing cutting-edge info and strategies, including the most up-t0-date research on all facets of exercise and nutrition. Topics include:

    • fat loss strategies
    • nutrient timing
    • maximizing muscle development
    • hands on exercise coaching

    This will be a small group workshop limited to 20 people and is eligible for CECs. The format will allow for highly individualized attention, with extensive question and answer sessions integrated into each seminar. The early bird registration has been extended to April 24th. You can check out the details at the link below. Hope to see you in Windsor!

    Optimizing Body Composition Workshop

     


    Uncategorized

    April 7, 2013


    Does Adding Aerobic Exercise to Resistance Training Increase Muscle Growth?

    A number of readers have asked my opinion on the recent study by Lundberg et al. (2013), which showed that adding cardio to a resistance training routine actually increased muscle growth. I actually wrote a critique of this study several months ago for Alan Aragon’s Research Review. Alan was kind enough to grant me permission to reprint the critique on my blog. So without further ado, here’s what we can take away from the study by Lundberg et al.:


    Background Info
    A large body of research indicates that combining aerobic training with resistance training (i.e. concurrent training) has a negative effect on gains in muscular strength and size (9). There is evidence that aerobic exercise mediates catabolic pathways while anaerobic exercise mediates anabolic pathways. This has led to the “AMPK-PKB switch” hypothesis, which professes that the two types of exercise are incompatible (2). It has been shown, however, that considerable overlap exists in signaling responses to mechanical stimuli, calling into question the validity of this hypothesis (5).

    Recently, Lundberg et al. (6) found that acute anabolic signaling markers (mTOR and p70S6K) were actually greater with concurrent training compared to resistance exercise alone. This seemingly contradicts the majority of previous research, and raises the possibility that aerobic exercise may in fact be beneficial to muscle hypertrophy. However, such results must be taken with caution as the response of translational signaling components to an acute exercise bout are often unrelated to the degree of myofiber hypertrophy seen after long-term resistance training (1). Hence, the current study was conducted by the same lab as a follow-up to this previous work, with the objective of assessing the chronic impact of concurrent training on muscular hypertrophy, strength, power, and endurance.

    Study Specifics
    Subjects were 10 “moderately trained” college students. The study employed a within-subject design, where participants performed resistance training on one leg while performing concurrent training (both aerobic and resistance exercise) on the other leg. The limb chosen to receive concurrent exercise was counterbalanced between subjects, meaning that for every subject who performed concurrent training on the right leg another would perform the condition on the left leg. This type of design has the inherent advantage of negating any inter-individual differences in response to training, thereby improving statistical power. Thus, the low sample size was not as big an issue as it would have been had the researchers evaluated two independent groups (although the study was still likely underpowered nevertheless).

    The training program was carried out over the course of 5 weeks. Aerobic training consisted of 40 minutes of one-legged cycle ergometer exercise per session at 70 percent of peak power output. Immediately following each 40 minute aerobic bout, the workload was bumped up to near maximum peak power and subjects continued pedaling until failure (which occurred, on average, after approximately 2 minutes 30 seconds). Aerobic sessions were performed 3 non-consecutive days a week. Resistance exercise comprised 4 sets of 7 reps of unilateral leg extensions with 2 minutes rest between sets. Resistance sessions were performed 6 hours after the aerobic bout and took place 2-3 days a week (2 days/week in weeks 1, 3, and 5; 3 days/week in weeks 2 and 4). Maximal strength was assessed via isokinetic dynamometry; peak muscle torque, power, and endurance were assessed by flywheel ergometry; muscle hypertrophy was assessed by MRI as well as muscle biopsy.

    The study produced some interesting findings. To no one’s surprise, the concurrent training leg showed a strong trend for greater muscular endurance as determined by time to exhaustion. Aerobic exercise requires local endurance and it therefore stands to reason that consistent cycle ergometry training would mediate specific adaptations to enhance this variable. Somewhat surprisingly, measures of strength and power were not different between conditions. Given that a preponderance of evidence seems to indicate that concurrent training interferes with strength-related gains (9), one might have assumed that the resistance-only leg would have shown greater improvements in strength/power. The most surprising finding was that muscle volume and cross sectional area in the concurrent leg was almost double that of the resistance-only leg (13.6% vs. 7.8%, respectively)! Muscle biopsy indicated that these results were primarily attributable to increases in type I fiber hypertrophy. This led researchers to conclude that aerobic exercise may provide synergistic hypertrophic benefits when incorporated into a resistance training routine without compromising functional gains attained from resistance exercise.

    A Critical Analysis of Results
    So what to make of these results? Should aerobic exercise be included as part of any hypertrophy protocol? Let’s dig a little deeper and see what can be ascertained from a practical standpoint…

    The first thing to evaluate in any scientific study is its theoretical rationale; in other words, does the data make sense? In this case, we need to consider why hypertrophic adaptations take place in muscle tissue. The principle of specificity dictates that adaptations are specific to the stimulus applied. With respect to hypertrophy, muscles grow larger in an effort to respond to strength-related challenges. When an overload stimulus is repeatedly imposed on a muscle (such as during resistance training), it will synthesize proteins in order to meet this challenge in the future. By its very nature, aerobic exercise does not challenge the muscle in a strength-related manner, so there would be little reason for the muscle to respond by hypertrophying. In fact, hypertrophy is detrimental to lengthy aerobic-endurance exercise as it requires the body to continually support a greater load during performance. So although we should not dismiss the results of the study outright, we nevertheless must be skeptical as to their validity.

    A couple of things stand out upon close scrutiny of the findings. For one, subjects were classified as “moderately trained.” By the authors’ definition, this meant that participants were involved in recreational activities such as skiing and team sports, but had not performed resistance training in the past year. So in essence, the subjects were actually untrained from a resistance training standpoint. Why is this an issue? Well, in those without training experience, virtually any stimulus will be a challenge to the musculature and thus cause hypertrophy. On the other hand, well-trained subjects have already adapted to lower-level stresses, and it therefore remains questionable whether aerobic training would provide enough of a stimulus for further muscular adaptation. It stands to reason that it would not.

    Another interesting finding was that while muscle hypertrophy was deemed to be substantially greater in the concurrent leg compared to the resistance-only leg, muscle strength and power was not different between the two conditions. This seems to defy logic. Studies show a direct correlation between muscle strength and muscle CSA: a greater cross sectional area is strongly associated with greater strength (4). The fact that a greater increase in muscle mass did not lead to greater strength therefore sends up a red flag. It would seem that this contradiction is due, at least in part, to the fact that hypertrophic differences were primarily attributed to type I fiber growth. Type I fibers are endurance-related fibers with a limited force-producing capacity; it’s the type II fibers that are primarily responsible for strength and power, and these fibers showed no significant difference between groups. It seems reasonable to question whether such type I fiber hypertrophy is sustainable over the long-term. Since these fibers are highly fatigue-resistant, it could be speculated that they’d be increasingly stubborn to continued growth after an initial period of conditioning. This theory remains to be elucidated.

    It also should be noted that MRI signal intensity was markedly increased with concurrent exercise but not with resistance exercise. The significance here is that an increased MRI signal intensity is consistent with an increase in tissue water content. This suggests that the greater muscle volume seen with combined aerobic and resistance exercise may well have been related to intramuscular fluid accumulation, presumably mediated by edema pursuant to muscle damage. The researchers tried to minimize this possibility by obtaining MRI scans 48 hours after completion of the final exercise session. However, peak swelling has been shown to occur approximately 5 days post-exercise (3), raising serious questions as to whether edema in fact played a role in results. The researchers downplayed any potential confounding effects from muscle damage by stating that no subject reported any soreness at the time of testing. But studies show that DOMS is not necessarily well correlated to various markers of muscle damage including maximal isometric strength, ROM, upper arm circumference, and plasma CK levels (7), making it a poor gauge of both the presence and magnitude of tissue trauma. Taking all factors into account, it appears likely that a good portion of the hypertrophic differences between conditions were related to sarcoplasmic elements rather than an increase in contractile muscle proteins.

    A major limitation of the study was its short duration. One of the biggest detriments of concurrent training with respect to strength and hypertrophy is that hastens the onset of overtraining syndrome (OS). OS causes the body to shift into a catabolic state, leading to decrements in performance and impaired muscular adaptations (8). The chronic interference hypothesis suggests that the addition of aerobic exercise to a resistance training program results in long-term competing adaptations that ultimately brings about OS and thus interferes with strength-related muscular adaptations (9). Thing is, the effects of OS take time to manifest–certainly more than the five week time-course of this study. Moreover, the volume and frequency of the resistance routine employed was not very demanding, to say the least. 4 sets of knee extensions performed 2-3 days a week is no way representative of the type of routine used by most serious lifters. A higher volume routine, similar to what is customarily employed in a hypertrophy-oriented program, would place greater demands on recuperative abilities and thereby increase the potential for overtraining when combined with frequent aerobic exercise. All things considered, it is impossible to extrapolate the results of this study to long-term, higher volume training programs.

    Another limitation is that the study is that a single type of aerobic exercise (cycling) was evaluated for a single muscle group (quadriceps). We cannot conclude that other forms of aerobic exercise (i.e. jogging, treadmill, stepmill, stairmaster, elliptical training, etc) provide the same effects for the quadriceps, nor can we conclude that the same effects will occur in the other lower body muscles, such as the glutes, hamstrings, or calves. In fact, evidence shows that running interferes with strength-related gains to a greater extent than cycling (9). Finally, we cannot conclude that the upper body muscles would respond similarly to upper body aerobics such as swimming or arm ergometry.

    In conclusion, this study provided interesting data that challenges existing beliefs with respect to concurrent training. However, the inherent limitations of the study make it far too premature to draw any definitive conclusions on the topic. Future research should seek to examine the chronic effects of concurrent training on muscular hypertrophy over longer time periods and employing routines consistent with what lifters actually perform in real-world situations.

    References
    1. Adams G, Bamman MM. Characterization and regulation of mechanical loading-induced compensatory muscle hypertrophy. Comprehensive Physiology. 2012; 2829(2970).
    2. Atherton PJ, Babraj J, Smith K, Singh J, Rennie MJ, Wackerhage H. Selective activation of AMPK-PGC-1alpha or PKB-TSC2-mTOR signaling can explain specific adaptive responses to endurance or resistance training-like electrical muscle stimulation. FASEB J. 2005; 19(7):786-8.
    3. Clarkson PM, Nosaka K, Braun B. Muscle function after exercise-induced muscle damage and rapid adaptation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992; 24(5):512-20.
    4. Frontera WR, Hughes VA, Fielding RA, Fiatarone MA, Evans WJ, Roubenoff R. Aging of skeletal muscle: a 12-yr longitudinal study. J Appl Physiol. 2000; 88(4):1321-6.
    5. Gibala M. Molecular responses to high-intensity interval exercise. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009; 34(3):428-32.
    6. Lundberg TR, Fernandez-Gonzalo R, Gustafsson T, Tesch PA. Aerobic exercise alters skeletal muscle molecular responses to resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012; 44(9):1680-8.
    7. Nosaka K, Newton M, Sacco P. Delayed-onset muscle soreness does not reflect the magnitude of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2002; 12(6):337-46.
    8. Schoenfeld BJ. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010; 24(10):2857-72.
    9. Wilson JM, Marin PJ, Rhea MR, Wilson SM, Loenneke JP, Anderson JC. Concurrent training: a meta-analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2012; 26(8):2293-307.


    Uncategorized

    October 6, 2012


    This and that…

    Lots to talk about and share. So without further ado…

  • For those following along, I am entering the home stretch of my PhD coursework; just about 9 months left. To paraphrase the immortal words of Tom Cruise in the movie, A Few Good Men: “That’s just a little more than a hockey season.” Suffice to say, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m excited to soon carry out my doctoral research. Stay tuned for more info on specifics. Should be an interesting ride…
  • I recently was interviewed by two industry leaders where I discussed a wide array of fitness topics, including my new book, The MAX Muscle Plan . First off, here is an interview I did with uber strength and conditioning pro Bret Contreras. As you would imagine when two muscleheads get together to talk about training, we really delve into the nitty gritty science about bulking up. I also discuss the limitations of research with respect to exercise programming.

    An Interview With Brad Schoenfeld – The Hypertrophy Specialist

    And here is an interview I did with fitness marketing guru Jon Goodman. This one is a bit lighter than the interview I did with Bret, but there’s a lot of good take-away training info, nonetheless.

    The Max Muscle Interview with Brad Schoenfeld

  • For those in the New York area, I’ll be making two appearances next month discussing, what else? Muscle hypertrophy! First, I’ll be giving a one-hour lecture on how to periodize a muscle-building routine at the annual Greater New York American College of Sports Medicine conference. The conference will be held at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, 53 East 124th, NYC on Saturday, November 10. Here is a link:

    Max Muscle: A periodized approach to optimizing muscle hypertrophy

    The second is a three-hour hypertrophy seminar that will explore the mechanisms of muscle growth, their application to training, and how to put this information into practice with respect to program design. The seminar is being hosted by Innovative Wellness Consulting and will be held at the American Academy of Personal Training, 138 West 14th Street, NYC on Friday, November 16. Here is a link for registration:

    Advanced Programming for Muscle Hypertrophy

  • I am currently collaborating with Bret Contreras and several other prominent researchers on a study to investigate muscle activity in variations of the plank exercise. One such variation is the long-lever posterior-tilt plank (LLPTP). This exercise was first promoted by RKC as a more advanced alternative to the traditional plank. We hope to have data on the study before the end of the year. In the meantime, here is a video of Bret demonstrating the exercise. Give it a try!

    embedded by Embedded Video

    .youtube.com/watch?v=CS9X0-GUJS4&feature=plcp


  • Uncategorized

    July 23, 2012


    Strategies to Maximize Muscle Strength and Size


    Here is a link to a recent article I wrote for T-Nation titled, Demolish Your Genetic Limits. The article details 5 strategies that I’ve successfully used to help experienced lifters enhance muscle strength and size, all backed by solid research. They’re particularly effective for those who have hit a plateau in their training efforts. Enjoy!

    Brad


    Uncategorized

    June 21, 2012


    Where are the posts?

    Yes, I know I need to be more diligent with posting to the blog! Sorry to those who have emailed me about the lack of activity. Thoughtful posts require a lot of time and and I don’t want to just dash off something for the sake of putting out content. I hope to increase the frequency of posts as the summer wears on and my schedule clears a bit.

    In the meantime, I wanted to remind everyone that the NSCA National Conference, taking place in Providence, RI, is less than a month away! I’ll be giving two lectures at the event. First, a 2-hour precon on Wednesday, July 11th titled “Scientific Muscle: A Periodized Approach to Maximizing Muscle Development.” If you want to maximize your muscle development or want to learn how to program routines to help others do so, this is one you don’t want to miss as I’ll delve deep into the how science can be blended with art to customize a routine for optimal growth. In addition, ’ll be doing a general session on Friday, July 13th titled “Metabolic Resistance Training.” This lecture focuses on how to structure your lifting routine to optimize fat loss while maintaining lean muscle. Here is the link to register for the conference. Hope you can join me there!

    Also wanted to once again state that I am running for a seat on the board of directors at the NSCA. I consider the NSCA to be the world’s elite certifying fitness organization, and I am deeply committed to their mission which is to, “…support and disseminate research-based knowledge and its practical application, to improve athletic performance and fitness.” If elected, I will work diligently to further this mission and promote the importance of evidence-based practice. That’s a promise. If you are an NSCA member, I would greatly appreciate your vote. You can vote at the following link: NSCA Board of Directors. If you don’t have your password, just give the NSCA a call at 800-815-6826. Many thanks in advance!

    Brad