Posts Tagged ‘training effects’

Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes



A new “hot topic” in the fitness world: Rhabdomyolysis. Acute Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (AER) is a syndrome in which muscle swelling results from a breakdown of muscle fibers where its cell contents get released into the bloodstream. This typically occurs from intense bouts of strenuous eccentric exercise (common cases have been reported in the military, CrossFit community, and long distance runners).

It is important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of this potentially fatal syndrome.

Symptoms: significant muscle swelling, severe muscle soreness (bilateral), cola-colored urine. If you have these symptoms, be sure to get to an Emergency Room right away.

Prevention: If you are an untrained or deconditioned individual, be sure to progress your exercise! Increase intensity of your exercise at a pace that will allow muscle tissue to recover. Also, proper exercise technique is imperative! Be away of extreme heat/humid situations, and be sure to stay hydrated!


T. Brudvig & P. Fitzgerald. “Identification of Signs and Symptoms of Acute Exertional Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes: A Guide for the Practitioner.” Strength and Conditioning Journal: February 2007.

5-Hour Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar….What are you putting into your body?

energy drinks

Energy drink sales have blown up! In 2002 Report Buyer estimated the market was at about $1.2 billion and would progress to $6.6 billion in 2007. And it doesn’t appear the energy drink market will slow down any time soon.

But, what are their risks and/or benefits?

Aerobic Performance:

One study by Candow and colleagues looked at the effects of sugar-free Red Bull on high-intensity run time to exhaustion in young adults. One group drank Red Bull and another group drank a non-caffeinated sugar-free placebo. They found no difference in run time to exhaustion or perceived exertion between groups

However, another study by Ivy and company showed conflicting results:  Performance on a bike test improved with energy drink consumption.

Anaerobic Performance:

Muscle strength was measured by a 3-set bench press test and endurance by an anaerobic power test on a Wingate cycle ergometer. The Red Bull group increased their total bench press reps but there was no effect on anaerobic power.

Conclusions: Similar results have been shown in other studies. Regardless of all the data on main ingredients of energy drinks (caffeine and carbs), there is limited data to show that they enhance aerobic or anaerobic exercise performance.

Recommendations: Energy drinks will not transform you into an “all-star” athlete. However, the occasional energy drink with regard to acute health risks is safe. But long-term studies have not been conducted yet. Be cautious of what you put into your body!


“Energy Drinks: Performance Effects and Safety Concerns”. Mike T. Nelson. 2012. National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Benefit to living in Bozeman? Live High-Train Low…

Have you ever wondered what effect altitude has on training? According to Stray-Gundersen’s research paper in the American Physiology Society,  altitude training improves sea level performance in male and female elite runners.

22 athletes performed high-intensity training at 1,250 meters (4,101 feet) before and after living at 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) for 27 days. These athletes improved their time trial performance (3,000-m) by 1.1% and 1/3 of the athletes achieved personal best times for the distance. Also, the athletes improved their VO2max. The mechanisms in which these changes take place are due to the expansion of red cell mass and increased circulating hemoglobin

Maybe there is a benefit to living closer to the mountains in Bozeman!


Stray-Gundersen, J., Chapman, R., and Levine, B. “Living high-training low” altitude training improves sea level performance in male and female elite runners. American Physiology Society. 2001.


Since one of the first studies on eccentric exercises in 1938, there  has been discussion about the physiological difference in eccentric versus concentric exercises. A Concentric exercise is the shortening of a muscle as it contracts (ex: raising of a weight during a bicep curl). An Eccentric exercise is the contraction of a lengthening muscle (ex: lowering of a weight during a bicep curl). Eccentric exercises have been shown to be more beneficial in terms of muscle physiology efficiency. In addition, eccentric exercises have been advocated for management of tendinopathies, muscle strains and prevention of ACL injury. Is it true, should we focus on the eccentric phase of exercises for maximum benefits?

Here are a few central reasons why eccentric exercises give you more bang for your physiological buck!

  • During eccentric exercise oxygen consumption rarely rises to more than twice the resting value (1).
  • When a muscle is eccentrically lengthened the energy requiring drops significantly because ATP breakdown and heat production are slowed (1).
  • Bigland-Ritchie et al found the following: less muscle activity was required to maintain the same force during eccentric work than concentric work; fewer muscle fibers were required to exert a given force and there was a large reduction in oxygen uptake when muscles were eccentrically lengthened compared to concentric shortening (2).
  • Eccentric exercise has been shown to reduce hamstring injury rates by 60-70% in various sports (3).

Conclusion: Eccentric exercise results in lower oxygen consumption, more force production, less energy expenditure and has been shown to prevent injuries when compared to concentric exercise.

Try an eccentric exercise:

Nordic Hamstring Exercise: Kneel on the ground while a partner holds your ankles to the ground. Lean forward leading with hips and keeping your knee, hips, and shoulders in a straight line. Keep leaning as long as possible until you fall on the ground and stop yourself with your hands. Push yourself back up and repeat.


1. Wilkie DR. Heat, work, and phosphorylcreatine break-down in muscle. Journal of Physiology 1968;195(1):57-183.

2. Bigland-Ritchie B, Woods JJ. Integrated electromyogram and oxygen uptake during positive and negative work. Journal of Physiology 1976;260(2):267-277.

3. Small K, et al. Effect of timing of eccentric hamstring strengthening exercises during soccer training: implications for muscle fatigability. J Strength Conditioning Research 2009;23(4):1077-1083.

If I am using ingredients that weren’t around 100 years ago, does that make sense?

At Rec Sports & Fitness we don’t promote any one particular diet or lifestyle. This is to be used for information purposes only. After working in the sport and fitness industry for well over 20 years, I have seen a lot of diet information come out. I usually like to say to my clients and staff, “If it didn’t come out of the ground or have a heartbeat, don’t eat it.” The nice thing about this, is that even they are vegetarians, it can still work out. In recent years, the paleo diet has taken center stage. It follows closely the quote which was just mentioned.  Check out the links below for more information.

Please remember that I am not promoting any of the products sold on these websites.  These sites have good information.

Other great things to remember is that you don’t have to be 100% faithful to your diet.  Take a break, perhaps follow the classic 80/20 rule.

On another note, I recently had some clients go “wheat-free” because of the gluten which is found in wheat.  Remember that carbohydrates are good for you, they just could come in the form of fruits and vegetables and rice and quinoa.  You can also choose breads which have no gluten in them as well (also pasta).  Thanks to the manufacturers over the years for perfecting these wheat-free beauties.

That is it for now, will post more later. 🙂  Enjoy the day!

Neuroendocrine Response to Resistance Training

What is the neuroendocrine response, and how do I get it?

Neuroendocrine refers to interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system. So what does this have to do with fitness? Muscle growth and strength increases largely depend on the neuroendocrine adaptations and acute responses evoked during exercise. Some helpful hormones that are released include testosterone, GH or growth hormone, cortisol, insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1), insulin, and the catecholamines. All of which play a role in the process of muscle breakdown and rebuilding. The breakdown, or catabolism, happens during exercise and the rebuilding, or anabolism, occurs during recovery.

Certain exercises and manipulations of exercise protocols can maximize the neuroendocrine response. The most effective exercises that stimulate the neuroendocrine system include large groups of muscle. Kraemer et al. found that “Large muscle-mass exercises such as the Olympic lifts, deadlifts and jump squats have been shown to produce large elevations in testosterone in comparison with small muscle-mass exercises” (2005). These types of exercises when done prior to smaller exercises significantly increase the amount of testosterone circulating in the blood a short time after exercise while exercises such as “bicep curls” done without doing lower body large muscle mass exercises beforehand did not (Hansen et. al. 2001).

Now let’s focus in on testosterone. Not only does the type of exercise matter but also how that exercise is performed is essential to eliciting a significant neuroendocrine increase of testosterone concentration. The intensity, volume, and rest interval of the exercise being the major factors in programming; the intensity of exercise is how hard it is or the amount of resistance. The volume changes with the number of sets and repetitions performed Volume= (Sets x Reps x Resistance). The ideal programming for a good acute testosterone response according to Kraemer et al 2005 is a high volume with moderate to high resistance. Other factors that influence this acute response include age, sex, and training status.

One of Kraemer’s programs showed significant acute increases of testosterone and involved 8 exercises total with 3-5 sets done with 5 repetitions with 1 and 3 minute rest intervals (1991). Another significant change was recorded by Pakarinen with a program of 10 sets of 10 repetitions at 70% of 1 Repetition Maximum (1993). These are but a few ways of programming effectively for muscle growth and strength.

To put it in simple terms in order to maximize neuroendocrine response focus on working large muscle groups before smaller muscle groups. Use higher volume and moderate to high intensity with shorter rest intervals between sets.



Hakkinen K. Pakarinen A. Acute hormonal responses to two different fatiguing heavy-resistance protocols in male athletes. J Appl Physiol 1993;74:882-7

Kraemer W.J., Gordon SE, Fleck SJ. Et al. Endogenous anabolic hormonal and growth factor responses to heavy resistance exercisein males and females. Int J Sports Med 1991; 12:228-35

Kraemer W.J., Ratamess N.A. Hormonal Responses and Adaptations to Resistance Exercise and Training. Sports Medicine 2005;35(4)

This article was written by Kevin Erickson ACSM-HFS.  Kevin is currently accepting new clients at the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center.  Call 994-6309 for more information about Kevin’s training methods.

Want More BANG For Your BUCK From Your Workout??

The Holiday Festivities are among us, including pumpkin pie, turkey, potatoes galore, and Aunt Sally’s famous fruitcake. With your busy schedule your time is slim, but your waistline is not. Fear not; make your workouts more beneficial and less time consuming!

I ask this question: why train muscles individually when they always work together?

Here’s an answer: you don’t have to. Very rarely do your muscles work as each individual part. Any activity you perform requires activation from numerous muscles in your body. This means using large movements that take as many joints as possible through their available range of motion (Broadbent). Think of it like this; with the holidays you will be carrying lots of boxes (gifts, decorations, etc), shoveling snow, picking up nieces, nephews, and grandkids, and helping move furniture to accommodate the in-laws flying in from Texas. When performing these tasks it would be nice not to throw out your back, correct? Now is time to start training your body for these useful and practical duties and keep your pants buttoned! Working more muscles at once decreases your time spent at the gym, increases total calories burned, and keeps you in shape for those family outings.

According to Juan Carlos Santana, there are 4 pillars of human movement:

  1. Standing and locomotion
  2. Level changes in the body’s center of mass
  3. Pushing and pulling
  4. Rotation

Consider those movements condensed together! BOOM, more bang for your buck and BOOM, the focus is on functionality of the human body. Try these two multi-pillar based exercises.

  1. Sled Pull Aparts
  2. Squats with Overhead Press: start and finish