Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why do humans vary in their responses to exercise training?

The concept of human variation in response to exercise training has been introduced about 30 years ago. Since the early 1980s a number of studies have supported this concept. In addition, several studies have shown that there is a genetic component that may explain the interindividual variation to training adaptations.

Professor Claude Bouchard, a pioneer on genetics of human adaptability to training, has summarized the available evidence in a review article last year.

You can download the paper from the Experimental Physiology at

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How to build your case

I know from my experience that many sports scientists might face difficulties to persuade their managers or senior management of the power of their plans. To help you towards becoming more effective in your communication, I am quoating below a relevant tip by the Harvard Business Reviews. I have highlighted some points which, I think, are more crucial.

"To Build Your Case, First Identify the Business Need

Before you can build a compelling case for a new product or initiative at your company, make sure the business need is crystal clear. If your stakeholders don’t understand and agree with your explanation of the problem, they’re not going to approve it. Start by talking to the people who are directly affected by the problem and will therefore benefit from the solution. Ask them: When did the issue start? How does it manifest itself? Gather any relevant data, reports, surveys—whatever evidence they can provide. But don’t just take people’s word for it. If possible, observe the issue firsthand. Through conversations with your beneficiaries and your own observations, develop a full picture of the problem so your solution is that much more enticing."

Friday, October 4, 2013

How to assess bilateral strength assymetry

Most of the sport scientists use isokinetic strength assessments to evaluate bilateral strength assymetry. However, this method is expensive and time consuming. It can also be argued that both the speed and the mode of muscle action is far from what is happening in real life. It appears that performing a vertical jump test on a force platform is a good alternative. It is much cheaper and evaluates muscle strength assymetries with a functional test.

This test should be repeated for the left and the right leg unless you have a system with two synchronized force platforms. Impellizzeri and his colleagues (MSSE 2007) have used this test and suggested that the range of normal bilateral assymetry should by -15 to 15%. These normative values are from more than 300 Italian football players (professional, semi-professional and amateur level).