In the last blog post I detailed discrepancies in desaturation patterns in the right and left vastus lateralis during a mountain biking workout. In this workout I saw a slowed warm-up response in the left leg. Further in the workout the right leg wasn’t desaturating as much as the left. In order to further test if these discrepancies exhibited, are sport specific, I wore Moxy’s on both VL’s, again, and did an interval workout on the stair climber.
Injuries are one of the major causes of stagnation or lack of progress during training. I am sure many of you have been there, you are working very hard towards your next big goal race, then, during one of your major training sessions you feel the start of a dull ache in the front of your knee. Your first thought is “Oh it’s nothing, just a little soreness from all the hard work I have been putting in.” The next day you can barely walk without shooting pain from your knee to your hip. You take a day off, rest, ice, and foam roll, and next thing you know it’s been three weeks of no concerted training. The next time you complete a solid training session you feel as if you lost ALL of your progress. Any athlete who has trained for an extended period of time has experienced the pain and disappointment of an overuse injury. For those of you who have experienced this the main recommendation from most coaches, trainers, or doctors, is to get more rest and don’t push yourself as hard. Essentially, you need to recover harder and smarter. While I believe that proper rest and recovery is EXTREMELY important to longevity in any athletic pursuit, I don’t think it’s the only piece of the puzzle, especially if you continually get injuries only occurring on one side of the body. The prediction of an overuse injury is almost impossible and it’s extremely challenging to identify how or why these types of injuries occur. While I have written a lot about using Moxy to dictate training I want to start to explore how Moxy could be used to identify unilateral differences in muscle oxygenation, and how this could be used to prevent or potentially identify weaknesses that could cause overuse injuries.
In the last blog post I discussed the use of a 3 minute critical power test to monitor, and dictate racing and training for cyclists. Just to recap, after warming up, begin the 3-minute all out test by shifting to a gear that will allow you to get the highest power output, ride as long and as hard as possible, shifting gears so that by the end of the three minutes you’re pedaling at your preferred cadence. Typically between 80-100rpm. Average the power output for the last 30s of the 3 minute test and use that as critical power, it’s as simple as that. In this blog post I want to detail the results of three 3 minute critical power tests that I did while wearing a Moxy monitor on my right VL. These tests were done to try to identify if there is a critical SmO2 as measured by Moxy and differentiate between HR and SmO2 signal.
Functional threshold power (FTP) tests have been used by cyclists to determine the highest sustainable power a rider can maintain for rides/races lasting anywhere from 30-90 minutes. Detailed - here - FTP is determined by either 90 or 95% of the power maintained for an 8 or 20 minute all out ride, respectively.
In the last blog post, I detailed my adventure through the back country of Utah, in the Behind the Rocks 30k. I explained the training leading up to the race, as well as the race itself, which left me begging for mercy with bilateral hamstring cramps 3 miles from the finish line. During the race, I was wearing a heart rate monitor, and Moxy monitor while also tracking speed, elevation, and running dynamics. In this post I want to explore the biometric data that was collected throughout the race to see if there were any indicators that cramps or decreases in performance were immanent.
Warning: The following post, as opposed to having technical physiology, is mainly a recap of the race I completed in Moab, Utah. And the suffering that ensued. Enjoy! Recently, I completed the Behind the Rocks 30k. A beautifully, brutal course consisting of sandy fire roads, washed out slab rock, technical descents,1600ft of climbing, massive rock pillars, and deep canyons, that leave participants in awe, wonder, and a whole world of hurt.
Topics: Altitude and Performance
Historical importance of Lactate
The discovery of lactic acid occurred in 1780 when Swedish Chemist, Carl Wilhelm Sheele was able to purify lactic acid from sour milk. Much scrutiny was placed upon his experimental conditions, but in 1810 his findings were verified when scientists discovered lactic acid in purified organic tissues such as milk, ox meat, and blood. However, it wasn’t until the 1920’s that lactic acid was researched in association with fatigue. Archibald Vivian Hill and Otto Meyerhoff, two pioneers of exercise physiology, showed that lactate (thought to be lactic acid) was created during times of high intensity exercise. This was generally accepted, and when Margaria et al. 1933 showed a relationship between lactic acid in the blood and hydrogen ion (H+) content during exercise. Thus, cementing the thought that lactic acid CAUSES fatigue.
Topics: Altitude and Performance
Altitude Training a Primer
High altitude training is thought to improve performance. The apparent benefits of high-altitude training include: increases in the blood cell stimulating hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which leads to slow increases in red blood cell volume (RBC), and in turn can result in a higher hematocrit level (the proportion of blood that is made up of RBC), allowing the body to maintain higher blood oxygen concentrations during exercise. While this does occur with altitude exposure, the time course for these adaptations, if they do occur, is not short. A commentary by Duke et al. concluded that in order to elicit performance benefits from altitude, one must live at an altitude of 2,000 – 2,500m (~6,500 – 8,200ft), for > 20 hours daily, for a period of no less than 28 days. Meaning that a ‘stint’ to high altitude by going snowboarding for a week is not a sufficient amount of time to elicit the performance gains from altitude exposure. Furthermore, most high-altitude research lacks solid control populations, as well as placebo control, and some studies have incomplete study design leaving many researchers skeptical to the efficacy of altitude training.
Topics: Altitude and Performance
We have recently explored the benefits of strength training as well as outlining how to implement strength training for endurance athletes. In the last blog post we explored how Moxy can be used to dictate an endurance/hypertrophy strength session. In this post I want to provide another case study, as to how I am currently using my Moxy Monitor to dictate my power-based weight lifting sessions. The strength training session was completed on Jan. 23th, and consisted of 4 sets of 15-20 reps of dumbbell snatches, lunge jumps, quick band rows, weighted oblique twists, and 4-6 reps of deadlift with 3-5min rest. The goal of the workout was to push SmO2, (moxy on right v.lateralis) as low as possible within the 15-20reps, as well as maintain top speed of movement (power), then recover, until SmO2 reached enhanced recovery, which means that SmO2 remained steady above baseline recovery.
Topics: strength training