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Athlete using a lacrosse ball for muscle recovery

Tactics for Better Range of Motion, Optimal Caffeine Timing, and How to Boost Aerobic Fitness

Welcome to our weekly summary of the latest research from the world of sports nutrition.

In this week’s summary:


The Effects of Myofascial Release on Joint Range of Motion

Athlete using a lacrosse ball for muscle recovery

This review analyzed ten studies to determine how myofascial release techniques (MRTs), which involve manipulating the muscles and fascia (layers of strong, stretchy tissue), affect athletes' joint range of motion (ROM). The researchers found that MRTs moderately improve ROM compared to control methods. Different MRT methods, like myofascial trigger point therapy, can further enhance ROM. Factors such as the athlete's gender, the duration of the intervention, and the type of joint being treated may influence how effective these techniques are. Overall, MRTs can be beneficial for athletes looking to increase their flexibility and movement range.

Our thoughts: The results of this study are precisely why we include a lacrosse ball in every athlete’s first order with us. Myofascial release is just one of many recovery techniques we recommend, and it’s included in our list of post-training recovery tips to speed up your progress along with sports nutrition products like HMB Sport


The Time of Day You Ingest Caffeine Can Impact Its Effectiveness

Athlete doing an early morning training session in the gym

This review examined how the timing of caffeine intake affects its performance-enhancing effects, focusing on the morning (6:00 to 10:00 AM) and evening (4:00 to 9:00 PM). Researchers found that our body's natural circadian rhythms can cause a dip in athletic performance in the morning. However, caffeine can help counteract this dip, improving performance to levels comparable to the evening. The review also discussed how caffeine works in the body, including blocking adenosine receptors, increasing muscle calcium release, and affecting hormones like catecholamines. Moreover, caffeine may help adjust our circadian rhythms by making us more responsive to light. While the exact ways caffeine improves morning performance are not fully understood, the timing of caffeine intake is crucial for maximizing its benefits. Future research should consider when caffeine is consumed to better understand and optimize its performance-enhancing effects.

Our thoughts: Anyone who drinks a morning coffee is aware of caffeine’s ability to wake up the mind, but its ability to wake up the body is a newer discovery. To what degree it’ll make your 6:00 AM training session any more appealing is debatable, to say the least. For more information about caffeine, check out our article on how caffeine improves your athletic performance.


Blood Flow Restriction Training Improves Measurements of Aerobic Fitness

Rower in his boat rowing across a lake

This study explored how low-intensity rowing with blood flow restriction affects elite rowers' aerobic capacity. Over five weeks, eleven elite male rowers added blood flow restriction training to their usual regimen, using elastic wraps to restrict blood flow to their legs during low-intensity rowing sessions three times a week. The results showed a significant increase in the rowers' maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), an important measure of aerobic fitness, indicating improved endurance. However, there were no notable changes in their peak power output or 2000-meter time trial performance. The study suggests that incorporating blood flow restriction into training can effectively boost aerobic capacity without affecting power or speed.

Our thoughts: This one is very interesting. It may have similarities to altitude training where limited oxygen availability leads to adaptations at the muscular level. We’ll definitely be monitoring further research on this topic. 


That’s all for this week. We hope you learned something new that you can incorporate into your training!


— Train hard!


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