The Running Shoe Debate Continues
One thing about the march of science – it never comes to a complete stop. For example, the long-running debate over which type of running shoe is best: highly cushioned (HCS) or minimally cushioned, or barefoot?
Many studies have investigated the various benefits of different footwear on running performance and injury prevention. In general, as almost any runner and running shoe store salesperson will tell you, everyone’s feet are different, so find the shoe that feels best for you. But that kind of advice may not suffice. Some might be wondering which shoe is best if I intend do a really hard workout and want to run again in a day or two?
So a British study, in cahoots with Nike Sport Research Labs, had 32 recreational runners do an incremental treadmill test to determine the oxygen cost (Oc) of a submaximal run. Then they were randomly divided into a HCS or regular running shoe (CON) group. Subsequently they each ran a 30-minute downhill run to create leg muscle soreness. Then they were tested on Oc 48 hours later to see which shoe gave them better performance.
The HCS made for better performance on the downhill run with less muscle damage and lower Oc. Both shoes led to a decrease in speed and increase in Oc after the muscle damage was induced. But the HCS had much lower Oc despite the presence of damage.
“HCS improved incremental exercise performance and Oc in the absence of muscle damage and show, for the first time, that despite worsening of Oc consequent to muscle damage, improved Oc in HCS is maintained,” the authors concluded. So maybe cushioned shoes aren’t so bad after all.
MSSE Apr. 2022
Training vs De-Training in Older Women: Never Stop!
As you might expect, when it comes to fitness, either use it or lose it. But as we age, that decline into less strength, power, endurance, and function is harder to gain and easier to lose. A Brazilian study assessed the strength, power and functional capacity (FC = Senior Fitness Test: 30-sec. arm curl, 30-sec. chair sit-stand, back scratch, chair sit and reach, 8’ get up and go, and 6-minute walk tests) in 5 resistance training (RT) groups of older women: strength-endurance (high-reps, low-loads), power (high loads, fast lifts, low reps), absolute strength (high loads, high sets), and traditional strength (2-3 sets of varying rep ranges), plus a control group.
The study consisted of 20 weeks of RT and 4 weeks of detraining. All training groups did the same 6 exercises twice a week under supervision.
As expected, all the RT groups improved in all the test variables of strength, power, endurance, and FC. The CG did not improve in any variable. The absolute RT group had more pronounced strength gains compared to the traditional RT. The power trainees stood out in their gains of power compared to the other RT groups.
After 4 weeks of detraining, again, as expected, the RT groups lost a lot of their gains but FC – remember, their performance on the Senior Fitness Test variables – though reduced, was “maintained at higher levels in comparison to [their] baseline.”
What’s notable is that the power and absolute RT groups lifted heavier loads and, in the case of the power trainees, faster lifts. The authors conclude by suggesting that older women can get long-lasting benefits from faster and heavier lifting that will last longer in the event you have to take some time off.
JSCR Apr. 2022