This week in the world of sports science, here’s what happened…
- Developing the foot and ankle complex
- The effect of caffeine timing on muscle reactivity
- Keep a golf ball in your freezer for strong feet!
Developing the foot and ankle complex
Chris Barnard, a well-known figure in the athletic community, recently uploaded a thought-provoking video on YouTube. In the video, he talks about the “missing piece or holy grail of performance development in athletes”, which he believes is the development of the foot and ankle complex. According to Barnard, coaches often struggle in this area, making it a crucial aspect of athletic performance that needs more attention.
Barnard emphasises the importance of building tendon stiffness and elastic strength qualities in the foot and ankle. He suggests that coaches should incorporate low-level plyometric exercises such as pogo hops that isolate the foot and ankle into their training sessions. Barnard also discusses some of the pogo hop series he uses before his sessions depending on the session’s goal.
Barnard advises that coaches should not neglect strengthening exercises for ankle plantar and dorsiflexion. He warns that performing only pogo hops may lead to injuries like shin splints if strength in this region is undeveloped. Therefore, Barnard recommends his athletes walk back on their heels after performing a pogo hop exercise to strengthen the tibialis anterior.
In conclusion, Barnard’s video provides valuable insights into the foot and ankle complex’s development, which is often overlooked by coaches. With Barnard’s practical recommendations, coaches can effectively program for the foot and ankle complex and intensify their programs.
The effect of caffeine timing on muscle reactivity
A new study on the effects of caffeine on muscle contraction timing was published recently. This study was unique because it measured the direct impact of caffeine on muscle fibers using tensiomyography, instead of focusing solely on the effects of caffeine on the nervous system.
Forty-two male athletes were given 6 mg/kg body weight of caffeine. Tensiomyography measurements were taken of the athletes’ gastrocnemius (calf) muscle before caffeine consumption, 30 minutes after caffeine consumption, and 60 minutes after caffeine consumption. The results showed caffeine consumption increased muscle contraction speed and reduced contraction delay time. However, the study found that consuming caffeine 30 minutes before performance was more effective than consuming caffeine 60 minutes prior.
This study suggests that athletes who require improved muscle performance may benefit from consuming caffeine 30 minutes before performance. The results indicate that improved muscle contraction time and reduced contraction delay can potentially aid athletic performance.
Keep a golf ball in your freezer for strong feet!
Foot strength seemed to be a hot topic last week! Matt Casturo of the Movement System shared a cool YouTube short video on a foot strength hack! Casturo suggests that keeping a golf or lacrosse ball in the freezer can help you build and maintain strong, healthy feet. While he emphasizes the benefits of using heavy loads to build the plantar fascia in the feet, a golf ball can be just as effective!
According to Casturo, rolling your foot over a golf ball placed on the ground can significantly reduce the risk of injury. He claims that spending just a few minutes each day on foot rolling movements “can decrease your injury risk by up to 2.4 times”. The study referred to by Casturo to support this video can be found here.
This video is an excellent example of how a simple hack can help to increase foot strength and reduce the risk of injury. However, it is worth mentioning that the video failed to describe why the golf ball should be stored in the freezer! Nevertheless, if you want to improve your foot strength and/or reduce injury risk, this short video is recommended!
From us this week:
>> New course: Testing Battery Approach
>> New podcast: Creating South Australia’s Best Gym
>> New infographic: Beetroot Juice Does Not Enhance Running Performance in Rugby Players
>> New article: Coach’s 10 Best Cold Plunge Tubs (2024): Portable, Budget & More!
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