Neurologists at the University of South Wales have found that the better aerobic shape a person is in, the more pain they can withstand. We’ve all known that cyclists can take extraordinary amounts of discomfort (just look at their shorts), but this study shows a clear line between measurable levels of aerobic fitness and the ability to endure pain. In the experiment, subjects were placed on a six-week bicycle training program and were tested how long they could squeeze a hand gripper. As the subjects got in better shape, they were able to squeeze the implement for longer, even though it progressively got more painful. Interestingly, hitting the weights seemed to have no effect on pain tolerance. However, men who bicycled and lifted weights did experience improved pain threshold.
Upper Chest Quest
Many people have said it: You can’t do too much upper-chest work. It’s an area of the body that can almost always be improved. One way to improve it is through push-ups. But not just any push-ups: flexed trunk push-ups. Sports researchers at Inje University in South Korea investigated the difference in muscle activation between standard push-ups and flexed trunk push-ups, when the subject keeps the lower body at a 30-degree angle. Instead of a flat back, the glutes are pushed toward the ceiling in a modest pike position. By measuring the electrical activity in the muscle groups, the scientists found that this variation of push-up elicited far more response in the muscle fibers of the upper chest and serratus anterior than a traditional push-up. Conversely, the traditional push-up created more stimulation in the lower pecs than the flexed-trunk push-up.
How many times can you play hooky from the gym and not lose your gains? It’s a question that comes up every holiday, anniversary, or vacation. A study in the Asian Journal Of Sports Medicine sought to find that magic line of demarcation. The study followed 90 male college students who followed a total-body workout program for 11 weeks. At the end of the program, the results were sorted into three groups based on attendance. The groups who only missed five percent or 15 percent of the workouts made similar progress in how much weight they could bench press. However, the group who missed 25 percent of the workouts made significantly less progress. The leaders of the study theorize that you can miss 20 percent of workouts and not risk losing very much of what you have been able to build.