Interview originally published on FREELAPUSA.COM
Athlete Profiling with Fiber Type and Blood Analysis
Freelap USA — Can you get into some detail about the process from acquisition to analysis with data? For example, a team may do speed testing a few times a year but do blood draws and muscle fiber estimation randomly. Will you break down how organizing testing periods and managing data during a season is more than just picking convenient windows?
Fernandez — We need to evaluate training and measure its impact on the players. New wearables such as the Sensecore and others are working towards integrating external load and its physiological response and I am curious to see how athlete tracking systems develop beyond what they currently provide. I like to keep performance testing very minimal, but it is necessary. Specific power and speed tests done monthly is still useful and can be paired with more functional and movement based metrics.
Daily monitoring has to be passively aggregated along with short collection times for compliance. Wellbeing and subjective data are my starting point. Based on each athlete, coaches can decide whether to collect it remotely or on-site at the training ground. Morning heart rate and heart rate variability are widely used and I prefer mobile options. Facial coding adds more objectivity to the process. Some SDK options such as the Sightcorps platform are mobile and cloud friendly for easier customization. Coaches can explore the demo app if interested. I haven´t figured out what protocols work better with facial expressions but the potential is there, not just purely because of micro-expression analysis and mood correlations but because of the athlete´s honesty increases when interacting virtually.
Soft tissue dynamics and muscle function done weekly is essential since alterations at this level have a direct impact on injuries. Touching on myoanalytics again and without going in too much detail, the combination of thermal diagrams with tensiomyographic data is my preferred option and it’s simple to implement. Superficial temperature shows inflammation 24h post games and helps pinpoint which areas should be followed up with TMG for more structural detail, which can then lead to optimized recovery and therapy between games. Tonometers as the only option are less realistic within team settings due to longer testing times, hence the importance of highlighting areas of risk and use the thermal filter. A second thermal diagram 24h before games allows for comparison.
Trimestral blood panels help to gain insight into all the other areas such as muscle function and soft tissue recovery rates, mood patterns and nutrition. Fiber profiling is done in preseason and follow-up testing strategically placed during the season at similar times as blood analysis enables for comparison. Higher risk players undergo more muscle specific followup weekly to look at monthly patterns.
There are as many athlete monitoring strategies as there are coaches and I am never 100% comfortable with mine. Many more variables such as age, previous injuries, race or genetics, etc., have to be reviewed in order to design more individual approaches. I may change and adapt technologies to each environment, but the above provides roughly an idea of my philosophy. The process needs to be very flexible and adaptable since technology is being developed as we speak and we should be able to make changes and remove or add new metrics seamlessly.
Figure 1: Muscle Fiber Estimation profiling by Haloview
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"The limiter, therefore, may not be the size of the aerobic bank but the body’s spending habits."
"Imagine you have to water your plants and that if you fill your 5-litre watering can, you will have just enough to do the 5-minute job. Imagine now, that you fill your can but you discover it has a number of holes in the side and is leaking 200 millilitres a minute. You will be lefts short. Is this because the watering can was not big enough or because it leaked? Seal the leaks, and the watering can would be big enough.
The same applies to the repeated shuttles example. If the athlete’s running mechanics were suboptimal, or if turning technique was poor, irrespective or metabolic capacity, the athlete would be spending energy reserves at a much greater rate than a more efficient counterpart. This is the same as the watering-can example. The limiter, therefore, may not be the size of the aerobic bank but the body’s spending habits."
excerpt from HIGH-PERFORMANCE TRAINING FOR SPORTS
"We're not optimizing machines but organisms with the invisible hand of biology lurking behind our every behavior."
by Robert M. SapolskyArticle originally published at: The Wall Street Journal
The notion that humans are Homo economicus, rational economic decision makers, has taken some serious hits ever since people bought more than 1.5 million Pet Rocks in the 1970s. Research in behavioral economics shows that we are typically more generous in economic games than logic would predict, that we will pay to spitefully punish freeloaders and that we tend to make rapid emotional decisions—and then struggle to rationalize them. A new study adds to this theme by showing how a class of stress hormones can distort decision-making in a setting resembling the stock market.
In a splashy, much-discussed paper published in 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, John Coatesand Joe Herbertof Cambridge University examined the levels of various hormones in male floor traders at the London stock market over the course of eight days of work. They wanted to see if hormone patterns correlated at all with how the market was doing and/or with the trader's own market performance. (Dr. Coates, it is worth adding, had spent his errant youth working as a trader at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, before being born again as a neuroscientist.)
One of their key findings concerned cortisol (aka hydrocortisone, part of a class of adrenal steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids). Stress spurs cortisol secretions. If you're stressed like a normal mammal, running from a predator, cortisol helps to save your life. But chronic psychological stress—a human specialty—elevates long-term cortisol levels, which increases the risks of stress-related diseases.
So when did cortisol levels rise in these traders? You might think: when they lost money. But that wasn't it. Instead, market volatility raised cortisol. This made wonderful sense, given that the two key building blocks of psychological stress are lack of control and unpredictable situations.
In addition to its effects throughout the body, cortisol also influences cognition, emotions and behavior. This raised a critical question for the researchers: What do elevated levels of cortisol do to decision-making by traders?
This is what Dr. Coates and his colleagues address in their new study, also published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
For this work, the researchers administered cortisol to volunteers. They carefully calibrated the amount so that it raised levels not through the roof but into the moderate stress range observed in the 2008 study. Subjects then played a financial risk-taking game.
The result? One exposure to high cortisol did nothing, consistent with prior findings that it's typically chronic exposure to stress levels of the hormone that alters behavior. But eight days of exposure changed the subjects' behavior in the game: The volunteers now preferred low expected returns and lower-variance bets. In other words, they became more averse to risk.
This jibes with prior research. Suppose subjects have learned to respond successfully to a challenge in a certain way. Suddenly, that response stops working. Should they try a new strategy? Maybe, but in such situations, we instead often become perseverative—doing the same thing over and over, faster, more often, while crossing our fingers, while wearing our lucky underwear.
Studies have shown that stress and cortisol make humans and lab animals more perseverative in this way. Moreover, we know the discouraging biological underpinning of such findings: Sustained stress and stress-hormone exposure cause atrophy of the frontal cortex, the brain region that plays a key role in decision-making.
What does it mean that market volatility pushes stress hormone levels into a range that makes people risk-averse? Is this good or bad for the traders?
Don't ask me; I'm no economist. The main point is one that Dr. Coates also emphasizes: We're not optimizing machines but organisms with the invisible hand of biology lurking behind our every behavior.
Trey Burke’s heroics may not have been the only thing that led to Kansas’ loss to Michigan in the 2013 Sweet 16.
A scientific study by a group of KU researchers confirms what many might have already assumed: Stress — both on and off the court — affected the Jayhawks during the most crucial point of the season.
After testing for hormone levels in athletes, KU researcher Matt Andre and coinvestigator Dr. Andrew Fry believe they’ve taken a crucial first step in researching the physiology of basketball players.
So what did they find out about KU’s players? And could this change how basketball is played for years to come?
* * * * * *
Initially, KU forward Jamari Traylor was afraid of his cotton ball.
When strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy first told Traylor and his teammates they’d be popping a cotton ball in their mouth every Thursday to collect saliva and check their stress levels … well, Traylor’s imagination went a little crazy.
“We were just all thinking, ‘Man, what if we’re tired, but the cotton balls say we’re not tired? Coach is going to go harder on us,’” Traylor said with a laugh. “Crazy stuff like that.”
In actuality, Hudy wasn’t looking for a way to pick on her players — or even immediate results.
After consulting with Fry — a professor in KU’s department of health, sport & exercise sciences — Hudy had volunteered her basketball players to be part of a funded study that would test their hormone levels for each week throughout the season.
The testing was simple: Put a cotton swab in your mouth for two minutes, let the saliva soak in, then drop the swab in a tube for sampling.
KU’s players were tested for 27 out of 30 weeks, starting with the preseason and ending two weeks after their Sweet 16 exit. This season-long study provided comprehensive data on hormone levels in basketball players that had never been published before, even by professional teams.
When the season was over, Andre spent 4-6 hours studying each individual player’s samples, starting an uninterrupted process that included spinning them in a centrifuge.
The final goal was this: Find out the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio of each player for each week — a number that would determine when KU’s players were stressed the most.
Cortisol levels have been a recent hot topic in sports study, as at a base level, the hormone is catabolic, meaning it tears down muscle.
Because each person has a different baseline, however, cortisol is best tested when compared to a person’s testosterone level.
“If testosterone plummets and cortisol is up, then you have a problem … mood, performance, everything,” Hudy said. “But with cortisol down and testosterone up, you could rule the world.”
Andre was about to find out that the Jayhawks did have times when they were rulers of the world … just not during the most important stage of the season.
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You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure
slide courtesy of Eric Oetter, BSMPG 2014
Chronic Psychological Stress Impairs Recovery of Muscular Function and Somatic Sensations Over a 96-Hour Period
Stults-Kolehmainen, Matthew A.1,2; Bartholomew, John B.1; Sinha, Rajita2
Abstract: Stults-Kolehmainen, MA, Bartholomew, JB, and Sinha, R. Chronic psychological stress impairs recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations over a 96-hour period. J Strength Cond Res 28(7): 2007–2017, 2014—The primary aim of this study was to determine whether chronic mental stress moderates recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations: perceived energy, fatigue, and soreness, in a 4-day period after a bout of strenuous resistance exercise. Undergraduate resistance training students (n = 31; age, 20.26 ± 1.34 years) completed the Perceived Stress Scale and the Undergraduate Stress Questionnaire, a measure of life event stress. At a later visit, they performed an acute heavy-resistance exercise protocol (10 repetition maximum [RM] leg press test plus 6 sets: 80–100% of 10RM). Maximal isometric force (MIF), perceived energy, fatigue, and soreness were assessed in approximately 24-hour intervals after exercise. Recovery data were analyzed with hierarchical linear modeling growth curve analysis. Life event stress significantly moderated linear (p = 0.027) and squared (p = 0.031) recovery of MIF. This relationship held even when the model was adjusted for fitness, workload, and training experience. Perceived energy (p = 0.038), fatigue (p = 0.040), and soreness (p = 0.027) all were moderated by life stress. Mean perceived stress modulated linear and squared recovery of MIF (p < 0.001) and energy (p = 0.004) but not fatigue or soreness. In all analyses, higher stress was associated with worse recovery. Stress, whether assessed as life event stress or perceived stress, moderated the recovery trajectories of muscular function and somatic sensations in a 96-hour period after strenuous resistance exercise. Therefore, under conditions of inordinate stress, individuals may need to be more mindful about observing an appropriate length of recovery.
"Social garbage in,
Musculoskeletal garbage out."
- Charlie Weingroff
Click below to see highlights from our 2014 BSMPG Summer Seminar featuring Patrick Ward.
More highlights are set to come in the next few weeks so stay tuned!
A special thanks again to our SPONSORS!
Topic: From Data Collection to Application: The Evolving Role of the Strength Coach
From 2006 to 2012, Patrick Ward ran his own sports performance training facility in Phoenix, AZ, where he worked with athletes across a variety of sports, including golf, volleyball, football, soccer and other world-class athletes training for international competition. Patrick earned a Master of Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania in 2007, holds NSCA and CSCS certifications and is a licensed massage therapist. Currently Patrick works within the Nike Sports Research Lab in Portland, OR, where he works with some of the greatest athletes in the world and helps Nike collect sports performance insights.
Patrick maintains an active blog, www.optimumsportsperformance.com, where he frequently writes about his thoughts and ideas in the world of health and human performance.
We asked the leaders in Sports Medicine and Performance Training what they are either currently reading or have read and here is what they said!
See complete (and ever growing) list of suggested reading at the BSMPG LIBRARY.
by Robert A. Panariello MS, PT, ATC, CSCS
In a recent conversation with my good friend Hall of Fame Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach Johnny Parker he commented on his recent visit to a D1 University where in discussions with this University Head S&C Coach regarding the review of the football team’s weight room program design, it was stated that approximately 80% of the program design placed emphasized toward athletic performance and approximately 20% placed emphasis on “prehab” and injury prevention. A breakdown of this football training program design revealed a 50%/50% split of the program exercise volume for both athletic performance and prehab/injury prevention and not the assumed 80% to 20% originally stated.
Coach Parker and I had previously spent time together at a D1 University to present on the topic of program design for the S&C staff at this institution with an emphasis on football program design. We also observed and made recommendations during the football team’s participation during their off-season training.
During our first “classroom” session with the football S&C staff, they were asked to list in order of importance; the exercises they felt should best be incorporated in their football program design. The top 2 exercises listed were the squat and the Olympic lifts. A breakdown of this particular D1 football program design revealed that approximately 10% of the total program volume was dedicated to the squat exercise performance and approximately 12% was dedicated to the Olympic lifts. Just as in Coach Parkers recent visit, you could imagine the surprise of this D1 football S&C staff when the actual numbers presented were very far below the program design perceived squat exercise and Olympic lift volume of work. These examples of the misconception of the actual work performed occur more often than assumed. Why does this incident of perception vs. reality of program design exercise (athletic performance) volume occur? Before I proceed I would also like to mention that these two D1 programs have excellent Head S&C Coach’s and staffs. These S&C coaches have the respect of their players, football coaching staff, and university administration. They are very organized and run outstanding and successful programs, i.e. conference championships, bowl game appearances, etc.
Why does Perception vs. Reality in the Program Design occur?
With all of the available training information presented at conferences, in books, articles, and videos, as well as the gazillions of internet articles and blogs, etc. available, the S&C Professional is faced with a significant dilemma, which exercises to include and which exercises to omit from the athlete’s training program design. What appears to transpire is that the S&C Professional attempts to include everything they can in their program design i.e. as many exercise’s as possible for athletic performance and prehab/injury prevention. This seems to occur because the S&C professional is faced with the concerns of (a) if I don’t include all of these exercises am I cheating my athletes from being the best that they can be and (b) If I don’t include everything in our training program design and my competition does, do my opponents now have an unfair advantage over our players?
This trend also occurs in the field of rehabilitation as I have witnessed less experienced physical therapist’s and athletic trainer’s who will appropriately add more advanced exercises as their patient’s/athlete’s condition progresses, yet do not remove the easier basic rehab exercises performed at the initiation of care. As this tendency continues over time the total volume of work performed by the patient/athlete may become excessive and may lead to the risk of overuse type pathologies.
With regard to the S&C program design, how does the S&C Professional determine which exercises to include and which ones to omit?
Establish a Training Philosophy
It is important for the S&C Professional to establish an athletic performance training philosophy. Once this philosophy is established, regardless of the type of philosophy, the S&C Professional should adhere to this philosophy to allow enough significant time for this philosophy to make its impact upon the athlete regardless of all the “outside noise” of additional exercises of which the coach may continue to be bombarded. Now does this infer that the S&C Professional should not continue to strive to progress and improve to achieve the best training program design as possible? Of course not as to do so would be certainly be foolish and limit the positive outcomes of the athlete during the training process. However, with that said the S&C Professional should not ignore the successes of the past.
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We asked the leaders in Sports Medicine and Performance Training what they are either currently reading or have read and here is what they said!
See complete (and ever growing) list of suggested reading at the BSMPG LIBRARY.
by Derek M. Hansen
I spent the better part of the last month preparing for a conference presentation in Boston on “Recovery and Regeneration.” The conference, by the way, was a great event held every year by Art Horne at Northeastern University. If you have a chance, I encourage you to attend the Boston Sport Medicine and Performance Group conference, as you will encounter high quality presenters and a very informed and enthusiastic group of attendees. And, of course, Boston is a great city for sports.
The main thrust of my Recovery and Regeneration presentation was a better approach to the organization of training elements, not scrambling for modalities and cold tubs after poor training methods have been implemented. As part of this discussion I presented the high-low approach developed by Charlie Francis in the 1980’s. By dividing your training into high intensity and low intensity elements, while eliminating the medium intensity elements from your program, you could maximize the adaptation of key attributes in speed and power athletes. A very simple approach with a complex explanation that allows you to easily distinguish between alactic adaptations and aerobic systems geared at improving both work capacity and recovery abilities.
The approach seemed to be well received by the coaches and practitioners in attendance and it generated a lot of discussion. In particular, I engaged in some detailed discussion with a collegiate football strength and conditioning coach who had some great ideas on incorporating a high-low approach with both his off-season conditioning regimen, as well as sitting down with his head football coach about organizing training camp and practice in a similar fashion. I thought this was a great idea. If we could convince football coaches to apply a high-low approach to their practices and specific football preparation, I believe we could improve alactic abilities, enhance recovery and reduce the risk of injury during these sessions.
The approach to off-season strength and conditioning workouts is the easiest part of this equation. High-intensity elements include sprinting, jumping, explosive med-ball work and maximal agility efforts. In addition, explosive lifts and heavier multi-joint efforts can be classified as high-intensity training elements that are performed on the same day. Conversely, low intensity efforts can be undertaken on a separate day, including tempo runs, med-ball circuit throws and passes, body-weight circuits, sub-maximal agility drills, range-of-motion work and other peripheral activities.
It is important to note that on the low intensity day athletes will need an explicit explanation of the magnitude of intensity expected – very sub-maximal – understanding that they will be working continuously, but at a manageable intensity. The work can still be characterized as ‘difficult’ with athletes breathing hard and feeling a burn in their muscles. This is especially true in the early phases of the training program when athletes are adapting to the work rates and volumes. It is not uncharacteristic for athletes to creep into the ‘medium’ zone during these early stages of a training program. The important point is to not increase the training volumes too rapidly during these early workouts, thereby giving the athletes a chance to adapt to the work and assimilate the training within their low intensity zone.
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