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Respect recovery. Ultrarunners have been vanishing from the sport in a troubling trend and overtraining syndrome is to blame. This unfortunate trend is a lesson in how important it is to respect the role that skilled recovery techniques play in improving human performance. Meaghen Brown detailed this in Outside Magazine:
Running on Empty - Meaghen Brown
Incorporating squats in your training. Strength and conditioning professionals worship the squat for its ability to positively impact core function, muscle gain and lower body power/speed. The squat deserves this adoration but as I wrote here - just because an exercise is great doesn't mean it's great for everyone. If your training has been squat free but you are interested in incorporating this power exercise, be sure to start with the basics.
If you can do pain-free, body weight squats with your chest up, butt below parallel and feet flat without letting your knees cave in, then the squat has a place in your training. I spoke with Lee Boyce about how to groove your squat technique and figure out how much weight to use:
How Much Should You Be Able to Squat? - Lee Boyce
Next level sushi for next level muscle building. Your ordinary sushi needed a new look - enter the sushi burrito:
If you like sushi and you like leveraging nutrition to help you build muscle, then find a local sushi burrito shop AFTER your big workouts. The protein from the fish is one reason why this hybrid food belongs in your plans for more lean mass...the white rice is the other. Health and nutrition studs like you keep refined sugar intake at a responsible minimum to avoid chronic insulin elevation - good work. Now you can use insulin to your advantage.
Eating a variety of fresh, real foods will keep your insulin gauge from getting stuck on high and allow you to use insulin as the post-workout muscle building hormone that it is. The white rice from one of these fused burritos will stimulate an insulin spike. In this context, the insulin will help to shuttle amino acids and glucose into the muscle cell so that it can heal and grow back in a super-sized way. Learn how to build your own here:
Recent TDAE posts:
Durability is elusive for today's athlete. If you are involved in competitive athletics at any age or level then you know that unnecessary non-contact injuries are a significant and persistent issue. How is this possible when more science and technology is swirling around sports equipment and human performance than ever before?
Trans fats to be banned. I applaud the efforts by the FDA and consumer advocates who have pushed through a ban on extremely harmful trans fats or hydrogenated oils. I would be careful to celebrate the ultimate victory too soon though. Slapping the "NO TRANS FAT" label on various food items may simply create a smokescreen that hides other harmful ingredients.
READ MORE: Banning Trans Fats is a Start but No Panacea
Uncommon leafy greens. We've all strolled past the leafy greens at the grocery store and said "I know these are supposed to be good for me but how would I ever make them taste good!?" This recipe is one easy way to turn uncommon leafy greens into the nutrition studs that they are and enjoy them.
Kids and weight training. One question that I get regularly is from parents about when it is appropriate for kids to begin lifting weights. The idea that starting kids on an organized resistance training program too soon will damage growth plates and stunt their growth is a belief that looms over this discussion. Eric Cressey used both anecdote and evidence to dispel this pesky myth in this 2009 post.
Determining the right time to let a young athlete begin to experience responsible resistance training depends on the individual. Most importantly the youngster must be self-motivated/interested in learning the skills of the weight room. As Eric explained, starting a kid in the weight room must be done responsibly: make it fun, encourage basic movement pattern literacy, stick to body weight activities and focus on form versus worrying about load. Benefits include boosting confidence, enhanced sport performance, injury prevention and a way for a young person to see early how putting time and effort into an organized plan of attack can pay off.
The Truth About Strength Training for Kids - Eric Cressey
Do agility ladders deserve their popularity? Agility ladder drills are a popular tool used by fitness professionals and sport-skill development coaches alike. Their popularity stems from the fact that they are cheap, easy to travel with, easy to use or master for all ages/levels, can be done just about anywhere, allow for endless drill creativity, and are fun - who wouldn't enjoy an exciting take on hop-scotch? The issue that I have with agility ladder drills is that they often end up being prioritized in speed/agility training without any real evidence that they directly lead to speed or agility results.
Mike Boyle brought a sensible view to help reign in how agility ladders are being used and what we should expect from them in this post about results-driven speed and agility training. Mike's post is an excellent reminder that falling in love with any one training tool or mode takes away from training for higher function.
Improving Foot Speed and Agility - Mike Boyle
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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and Founder of TD Athletes Edge, where he provides fitness, recovery and nutrition guidance to aspiring and professional athletes. For training advice, visit www.tdathletesedge.com and follow him on Twitter/Instagram through @tdathletesedge.