The amount of time one rests between sets is an often missed, or often underestimated training variable. It’s also one of the least studied variables when it comes to looking at hypertrophy as the outcome (as opposed to strength, or other performance variables, or even biochemical markers). So it is a treat to see a study where hypertrophy is the variable of interest, and where measurement of hypertrophy is truly a direct measurement. While not every investigator can measure hypertrophy in this way, it does go to show that “It can’t be done,” or “It will never get done,” are just words, because these researchers, in the words of the famous Dos Remedios, “did work.”
de Souza TP, Fleck SJ, Simao R, et al. Comparison between constant and decreasing rest intervals: Influence on maximal strength and hypertrophy. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24(7) 1843-1850, 2010.
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First off, I LOVE how this article starts, “The use of nutritional supplements continues to increase with athletes and recreationally active trainees…” That’s right, you gym rats (me included); we’re not athletes. Quit pretending. It’s okay.
Snarkiness aside, I’ve been wanting to discuss nitric oxide or NO supplements (as well as pre-workout drinks) for a long time; but oddly enough, the literature was incredibly sparse on the topic in terms of studies involving humans and outcomes training individuals would be interested in. NO-type ingredients seem to be in everything, to the point where you don’t have to _decide_ to take an NO-related ingredient, you probably just are, particularly if you’re taking anything that is designed as a pre-workout supplement. In fact, it’s amazing that they can stuff more than 30 ingredients into a single pre-workout drink such that it will still fit into a couple of scoops.
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The concept of progressive overload is a cornerstone to any weight-training program. Lifting more weight, or lifting the same weight for more reps is the goal that is theorized to produce muscle growth, or better performance (however you decide to measure that).
Citrulline malate has been an ingredient in a multitude of sport supplements. It is theorized to work through 3 proposed mechanisms: 1) malate is proposed to accelerate ammonium clearance and citrulline is proposed to facilitate lactate metabolism (these effects however, were noted in microbial models, i.e. germs in a dish); 2) citrulline malate has been noted to protect against acidosis which is proposed to counter fatigue; 3) Citrulline malate is proposed to increase nitric oxide production, which has been shown to have many potentially physiologically beneficial effects (though none of these effects may affect the stuff you’re concerned about like muscle growth, fat loss, or any performance benefit).
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There is a neat research tool that I use a lot. It’s called the Web of Science. A lot of you use PubMed to find articles. You punch in a topic and it spits out a list of studies about that topic (roughly). Web of Science is a similar database, but it’s like a reverse lookup for studies. I punch in a study and Web of Science tells me about all the studies that have citied that study (i.e. have listed it in the references). This is an extremely useful tool when looking for follow-up studies.
We’ve already talked about very recent evidence about pre-workout protein and energy expenditure, so this week, I wanted to find the most recent evidence of using pre-workout protein for muscle growth, since that’s probably the REAL reason you’re drinking protein before a workout. While there are some studies that have looked at post-workout protein as well as both pre and post-workout protein, surprisingly, there haven’t been many studies on just pre-workout protein use and muscle growth.
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