Monday, April 4, 2011

Compression Gear Take 2, The 4th Horseman Of The Apocolypse, and thoughts on the 2011 Crossfit Open

On April 26th, Chris Fletcher, the local sales rep from Skins, a compression gear company, is going to be at our gym.  This event is also co-hosted by Runner's Soul(If you don't buy your footwear from there, I'll come to your house and beat you with a frozen salmon, I swear) and Chris is offering 50% off the price of Skins.

I've blogged about compression gear before, and I thought I'd dig up a little more of the sciency goodness; my stance has changed a bit on this, but not much:  It's not an essential piece of gear, isn't a safety factor like a belt, proper shoes, or even wrist wraps, but it CAN help, especially with recovery.

The effects of compression garments on recovery.

Sports Council for Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether wearing lower-body compression garments attenuate indices of muscle damage and decrements in performance following drop-jump training. Seven trained female and four trained male subjects undertook blood collection for creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), a mid-thigh girth measurement, and reported their perceived muscle soreness (PMS). A series of performance tests were then completed including sprints (5 m, 10 m, and 20 m), a 5-0-5 agility test, and a countermovement jump test. In a randomized crossover experimental design, separated by 1 week, subjects completed 5 x 20 maximal drop-jumps, followed immediately after exercise by either wearing graduated compression tights (CG) or undertook passive recovery as a control (CON) for 48 hours. CK, LDH, mid-thigh girth, and PMS were retested after 24 hours and 48 hours of recovery. The performance tests were repeated after 48 hours of recovery. Analysis of variance for repeated measures indicated that for female subjects, CK values were elevated after 24-hour recovery (p = 0.020) and a greater PMS was observed after 48-hour recovery in the CON condition (p = 0.002) but not for the CG condition. For all the subjects (n = 11), a greater PMS was observed after 48-hour recovery in the CON condition (p = 0.001) but not the CG condition. Significant increases in time were reported for 10-m (p = 0.016, 0.004) and 20-m sprints (p = 0.004, 0.001) in both the CON and CG conditions and for the 5-m sprint (p = 0.014) in the CG condition. All other parameters were unchanged in either condition. Data indicates that CK responses and PMS might be attenuated by wearing compression tights in some participants after drop-jump training; however, no benefit in performance was observed.

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jul;24(7):1901-10.

The effects of whole-body compression garments on prolonged high-intensity intermittent exercise.

Sport Performance and Development, National Talent Identification and Development Program, Australian Sports Commission, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


The current study investigated the effects of wearing whole-body compression garments (WBCGs) on prolonged high-intensity intermittent exercise (PHIIE) performance. Eight male team-sport athletes ([X +/- SD] 20.6 +/- 1.2 years; 72.9 +/- 5.9 kg; 57.5 +/- 3.7 completed a prescribed 45-minute PHIIE protocol on a nonmotorized treadmill in randomly assigned WBCG and control (typical soccer apparel) conditions. Subjects were given verbal and visual cues for movement categories, and they followed set target speeds, except when instructed of a variable run or sprint where the aim was to run as fast as possible. Total distance, velocity-specific distance, and high-intensity self-paced running speeds were taken as performance indicators. Heart rate, VO(2), tissue oxygenation index (TOI), and tissue hemoglobin index (nTHi) were continuously monitored across the protocol. Blood-lactate concentration ([BLa(-)]) was measured every 15 minutes. Magnitude-based inferences suggested that wearing WBCGs provided moderate strength likely improvements in total distance covered (5.42 +/- 0.63 vs. 5.88 +/- 0.64 km; 88:10:2%; and eta = 0.6) and low-intensity activity distance (4.21 +/- 0.51 vs. 4.56 +/- 0.57 km; 83:14:3%; and eta = 0.6) compared with the control. A similar likely increase was also observed in the average TOI of the WBCG condition (53.5 +/- 8.3% vs. 55.8 +/- 7.2%; 87:11:2%; and eta = 0.6). The current data demonstrated that wearing WBCGs likely increased physical performance, possibly because of improvements in muscle oxygenation and associated metabolic benefits. Therefore, wearing WBCGs during PHIIE may benefit the physical performance of team-sport athletes by likely metabolic changes within the muscle between high-intensity efforts.
Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2008 Dec;3(4):454-68.

The effects of compression garments on intermittent exercise performance and recovery on consecutive days.

School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia.


PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to determine whether compression garments improve intermittent-sprint performance and aid performance or self-reported recovery from high-intensity efforts on consecutive days.
METHODS: Following familiarization, 14 male rugby players performed two randomized testing conditions (with or without garments) involving consecutive days of a simulated team sport exercise protocol, separated by 24 h of recovery within each condition and 2 weeks between conditions. Each day involved an 80-min high-intensity exercise circuit, with exercise performance determined by repeated 20-m sprints and peak power on a cart dynamometer (single-man scrum machine). Measures of nude mass, heart rate, skin and tympanic temperature, and blood lactate (La-) were recorded throughout each day; also, creatine kinase (CK) and muscle soreness were recorded each day and 48 h following exercise.
RESULTS: No differences (P=.20 to 0.40) were present between conditions on either day of the exercise protocol for repeated 20-m sprint efforts or peak power on a cart dynamometer. Heart rate, tympanic temperature, and body mass did not significantly differ between conditions; however, skin temperature was higher under the compression garments. Although no differences (P=.50) in La- or CK were present, participants felt reduced levels of perceived muscle soreness in the ensuing 48 h postexercise when wearing the garments (2.5+/-1.7 vs 3.5+/-2.1 for garment and control; P=.01).
CONCLUSIONS: The use of compression garments did not improve or hamper simulated team-sport activity on consecutive days. Despite benefits of reduced self-reported muscle soreness when wearing garments during and following exercise each day, no improvements in performance or recovery were apparent.

J Sci Med Sport. 2010 Jan;13(1):136-40. Epub 2009 Jan 7.

The effects of compression garments on recovery of muscle performance following high-intensity sprint and plyometric exercise.

School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Australia.


This study compared the effects of compression garments on recovery of evoked and voluntary performance following fatiguing exercise. Eleven participants performed 2 sessions separated by 7 days, with and without lower-body compression garments during and 24h post-exercise. Participants performed a 10-min exercise protocol of a 20-m sprint and 10 plyometric bounds every minute. Before, following, 2h and 24h post-exercise, evoked twitch properties of the knee extensors, peak concentric knee extension and flexion force were assessed, with blood samples drawn to measure lactate [La(-)], pH, creatine kinase (CK), aspartate transaminase (AST) and c-reactive protein (C-RP). Heart rate, exertion (RPE) and muscle soreness (MS) measures were obtained pre- and post-exercise. No differences (P=0.50-0.80) and small effect sizes (d<0.3) were present for 20-m sprint (3.59+/-0.22 vs. 3.59+/-0.18s) or bounding performance (17.13+/-1.4 vs. 17.21+/-1.7 m) in garment and control conditions. The decline and recovery in concentric force were not different (P=0.40) between conditions. Full recovery of voluntary performance was observed 2h post-exercise, however, evoked twitch properties remained suppressed 2h post-exercise in both conditions. No differences (P=0.40-0.80, d<0.3) were present between conditions for heart rate, RPE, [La(-)], pH, CK or C-RP. However, 24h post-exercise a smaller change (P=0.08; d=2.5) in AST (23.1+/-3.1 vs. 26.0+/-4.0) and reduced (P=0.01; d=1.1) MS (2.8+/-1.2 vs. 4.5+/-1.4) were present in the garments. In conclusion the effects of compression garments on voluntary performance and recovery were minimal; however, reduced levels of perceived MS were reported following recovery in the garments.

My Thoughts:  Like I stated above, not much has changed; I have yet to come across a definitive study on performance, but there seems to be a strong and reproducible effect of DOMS reduction, probably through increased capillary BP.

Am I going to buy some more on April 26th?  Is a Crossfitter a super elite warrior with mad ninja skills wrapped in a suit of fuckin' Kevlar?  That's a yes to both.

The Four Horseman Of The Nutritional Apocalypse:
Fructose, Gluten, Linoleic Acid, and Soy
Figures Gluten would be jacked.  Definitely the badass of the bunch.  Soy?  Looks like death to me. :) 
 Hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction associated with soy product consumption.
Center for Autonomic and Peripheral Nerve Disorders, Beth Israel Medical Deaconess Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Previous research has focused on the beneficial effects of soy and its active ingredients, isoflavones. For instance, soy consumption has been associated with lower cardiovascular and breast cancer risks. However, the number of reports demonstrating adverse effects of isoflavones due to their estrogenlike properties has increased. We present the case of a 19-y-old type 1 diabetic but otherwise healthy man with sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction after the ingestion of large quantities of soy-based products in a vegan-style diet. Blood levels of free and total testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were taken at the initial presentation for examination and continuously monitored up to 2 y after discontinuation of the vegan diet. Blood concentrations of free and total testosterone were initially decreased, whereas DHEA was increased. These parameters normalized within 1 y after cessation of the vegan diet. Normalization of testosterone and DHEA levels was paralleled by a constant improvement of symptoms; full sexual function was regained 1 y after cessation of the vegan diet. This case indicates that soy product consumption is related to hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a combination of decreased free testosterone and increased DHEA blood concentrations after consuming a soy-rich diet. Hence, this case emphasizes the impact of isoflavones in the regulation of sex hormones and associated physical alterations.
  1. Soybeans contain large quantities of natural toxins or “antinutrients”. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion.
  2. These inhibitors are not deactivated during cooking & processing.  Test animals fed these inhibitors developed enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer.
  3. Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together.
  4. 99% of soy is genetically modified and it among the highest contamination by pesticides of any of our foods.
  5. Soybeans are high in phytic acid, a substance that blocks the uptake of the essential minerals calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc, in the intestinal tract.
  6. Soy products contain high levels of aluminum, leached from the aluminum tanks in which they are acid washed and processed at high temperatures.
  7. Nitrites, which are potent carcinogens, are formed during the spray-drying of soy.
  8. Soy Protein Isolates, which are shown to enlarge the pancreas and thyroid and increase fatty acid deposits in the liver.
  9. Soy contains toxic isoflavones. 
  10. Soy foods have a high concentration of goitrogens which block production of thyroid hormones. 

Some personal thoughts on the barely-started 2011 Crossfit Games:
  • I was initially very skeptical (wow, that's new!) of the "open" format---but I think it's an ingenious idea.  Bigger buy-in, bigger talent draw, global participation---from a marketing perspective, genius.  And at 10 bucks a pop to register, easy money with little overhead.  Some quick calcs looks like about $150,000+
  • Did I just say little overhead?  SHOULD HAVE SPENT IT ON A WEBSITE, Greg.  Holy shit, it's 2011, we have had people around for the past 20 years building websites for a living.  Crossfit is ALMOST ready to be mainstream.  Shit like this is inexcusable.  
  • WODs 11.1  + 11.2:  Well, not what anyone expected, but really, what did anyone expect?  I liked both, but it makes me wonder if the HQ gang whipped these up after a night of drinking:
        Couch:  Faaaaawwwwk, I losht dat piece of ppppaper *burp* wif duh WODszs fer the Gamezzz
        Boney:  Well, if we created a functional movement pattern that inflicts a stress on midline stability....
        Blasto:  Double Unders!  Couch! Couch! Couch!  Can we do double unders!!!  Please! Pleaseplease please!  I like the way they make my hair bounce!  And I'm good at them!
        Phat:  Well this is tooootally exciting *eye roll*  I'm going to In-N-Out burger for an exact 4 Block Zone meal, and then heading to my garage and crushing shit, because its awesome.  My garage, that is.
  • On a serious note, group programming, and making said programming scalable on a global perspective more than likely isn't easy.  But two AMRAPs in a row?  Meh, it could have been different.  We have three more, and my money is still on the 1RM thruster showing up.
     Men:  This is a total crapshoot.  I expect to see guys like Salo, Froning, Maleollo and Morrison place well, but there's no way to pick #1.  In my neck of the woods?  Rogers, Howell, Lutz, Fraser, Meredith, Fitzgerald, and Manning will all place well regionally.
    Women:  Thorisdottir.  There can be no other.  I mean, she's the offspring of the God of Thunder.
     Canada West:  Gillespie, Connors, Miller and Pryor will all place well.

My Training:  I post various WODS from my training usually every time---is this worthwhile to people, or just wasted time on my part digging up workouts off my phone?  Please post your thoughts to comments.