From The Desk Of Clarence Bass
People who don’t benefit from endurance workouts may get results from sprint intervals, and vice versa, Canadian researchers reported December 9, 2016, in PLOS ONE.
Exercise Non-Responders Respond to Change
Those who don’t benefit from exercise (non-responders) are few and far between after training is changed.
Researchers examined the adaptive response from both endurance (END) and sprint interval training (SIT) in a group of 21 recreationally active adults. All participants completed three weeks of both END and SIT followed by a randomized crossover study design with a three-month washout period between training interventions.
While the combined regimens produced significant improvements at the group level, individual response varied significantly, with all participants responding positively to either endurance or interval training.
“These results suggest that the individual response to exercise training is highly variable following different training protocols and that the incidence of non-response to exercise training may be reduced by changing the training stimulus for non-responders to three weeks of END or SIT,” Jacob T. Bonafiglia, School of Kinetics, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and his team concluded December 9, 2016, in PLOS ONE.
New York Times fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds asked senior researcher Dr. Brendon J. Gurd (also of Queens College) how to decide the best exercise. Simple trial and error is a good way to start, he responded. Evaluate your fitness and decide whether you’re ready to walk, jog, sprint or whatever suits you. Give it a month or two and see if you are making progress. If you’re not responding, he suggests switching to something else and try again.
Dr. Gurd’s parting message was that training helps everyone “once you find your own best exercise.” Every single participant who didn’t respond to one protocol did benefit from the other. Those that didn’t respond to 3 weeks of endurance training, were found to increase fitness by completing three weeks of sprint intervals.
For many more details, you can read the entire study online: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0167790
No Non-Responders in Resistance Training
Some forms of exercise seem to work for almost everyone. Resistance training appears to be one of them. A positive adaptive response on at least one training outcome is seen in just about everyone.
In his highly regarded Master Trainer (June, 2015), Dr. Richard Winett lamented that we sometime fixate on the idea that people need special exercise regimens or that exercise is futile for non-responders. A recent study addressed that issue head on, hypothesizing that there are no nonresponders to resistance-type exercise training. They were correct.
Led by Tyler A. Churchward-Venne, PhD, (Department of Human Movement Sciences, Maastricht Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands) the researchers assessed the outcomes across two resistance training studies with 110 healthy men & women ( >65 years) who were participants in either a 12- or 24-week supervised training protocol. Participants performed whole body routines two or three times a week.
Churchward-Venne et al reported their conclusions in JAMDA 16 (2015) 400-411:
A large [variability] was apparent in the adaptive response to prolonged resistance-type exercise training when changes in lean body mass, muscle fiber size, strength, and physical function were assessed in older men and women. The level of responsiveness was strongly affected by the duration of the exercise intervention, with more positive responses following more prolonged exercise training. We conclude that there are no nonresponders to the benefits of resistance-type exercise training on lean body mass, fiber size, strength, or function in the older population. Consequently, resistance-type exercise should be promoted without restriction to support healthy aging in the older population.
Dr. Winett, one of the most knowledgeable proponents of resistance training in the health and fitness field, concurs. He says public health resources should be devoted to efforts to have people lift weights regularly. “This is how better quality of health across the country is likely to be achieved,” he asserts.
For full details, the entire study is available online: http://www.jamda.com/article/S1525-8610(15)00072-9/fulltext
Dick Winett and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to the form of exercise that suits us best. Weight training has worked for us like no other form of exercise.
When I picked up my dad’s barbell for the first time I soon knew that I was on the right track. I tried other forms of exercise and even won a state high school all-round fitness competition--thanks largely to my weight training--but I always came back to weight training.
About the time I started weight training. Once the Iron Pills began to work there was no stopping me.
I found my preferred form of exercise and stuck with it. Over time I also enjoyed various forms of aerobic exercise. But even there I focused on the intensity that permeates most forms of strength training. I rarely went long, preferring intervals or sprints. No marathons for me.
Motivation is also an important to long term success. We are eager to keep doing the type of exercise we enjoy and do well—and just as quick to drop what doesn't work.
Follow Dr. Gurd’s advice. Use trial and error until you find the form or forms of exercise that suit you best. Be a responder—and keep doing it.
February 1, 2017
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