Stuff you should read 16/10/16

By Clem | In General Musings, Stuff you should read | on October 16, 2016

I’m spending this weekend in the wild west of Ireland in the mother ship of county Clare. The club I grew up with, Clonlara, are in the final of the county hurling championship (THE best game in the world, here’s proof). Getting home takes a long ass time (8 hours door to door) but its always worth it and hopefully this weekend should be an extra special one for the little village I call home.

Lets get straight to the three good reads for this week:

Ice baths, new research

It seems like ice baths are still as much of an institution in both amateur and elite level sport as ever in spite of the questionable research backing it up. I have written about this in the past here but new research has yet again found that those athletes that partake in submerging themselves in ice cold water and subjecting themselves to hell on earth, may need a rethink. The thinking of a lot of coaches and athletes is that cryo-therapy assists the repair of muscle tissue. Well this study (sample size was small n=9) took muscle biopsies (muscle tissue samples) at 24 hours and 48 hours after resistance training and compared those in the punishing regime to those who did a cool down on a bike. They failed to find a difference.

Personally I think ice baths serve as a distraction and a new context for pain, Research in the past has suggested the effect is more psychological than physical which makes sense to me. Research like this helps answer yet again that it is not having a major effect on muscles themselves.

Discs dont slip dammit

I just asked my mother, “do you believe discs in your back can slip?” The answer; “Oh yeah, that happened my friend a few years back and she could barely get out of bed!” Granted my mother is not an institution of knowledge in physical therapy but she represents a large amount of people that believe that disc slippage is a thing and should be feared. This flawed belief tips the scale in favour of the pain = tissue damage notion that we now know is even more flawed. This account from Jarod Hall details why discs do not and cannot slip. Discs are extremely strong structures with very good recovery potential . Obviously it is possible to damage them in certain instances like that below but not all pain you experience can be linked to these instances.

Jarod makes a great point that this is not a question of semantics but that visualising a disc slipping out of place can have a detrimental impact on recovery when the pain may not be related to structure at all.

Position statement on youth resistance training: the 2014 International Consensus

I usually share blog or print media articles but this is a research article that answers a very big concern for parents; should my kid lift weights? Traditionally there have been understandable questions raised by parents if their child (11 – 13) or adolescent (13 – 18) should be strength training. Publications like this from the British Journal of Sports Science reassures parents that resistance training can have very important benefits for youth. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognise physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality for non communicable diseases, and supports participation in a variety of physical activities including those that strengthen muscle and bone. The WHO now include resistance training as part of their physical activity guidelines for children and adolescents. These are a few keys points from the position statement:

  1. resistance training is supported as long as it is being supervised by a qualified professional and the training undertaken is consistent with the goals and needs of that individual.
  2. Parents, teachers and coaches should acknowledge the benefits of resistance training for both children and adolescents. These benefits include reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, physical injury, and may have psychological (stress, depression, self-esteem, etc.) benefits too. Youth who do not participate in activities that enhance muscle strength and motor skills early in life may be at increased risk for negative health outcomes later in life.
  3. Starting youth into a resistance program early in life may encourage participation in physical activity as they grow older which can only be a good thing.

If you are a parent, it is understandable that you are going to be concerned about your child training with heavy weights but as long as that weights program is appropriate for the individual and supervised, the evidence is heavily in favour of the training.


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