With summer racing season in full swing, athletes are turning to the latest research and their favorite athletes for tips to gain the performance edge. This Week’s blog post explores hacks that might help you on race day. Read on to discover how bounce can affect your running speed, why low-glycemic carbs might be the ticket to winning on race day, and which exercises soccer superstar Ronaldo uses to leave the competition in the dust.
Want to increase your running speed? Decrease your bounce.
If you’re a particularly springy runner, you might want to reconsider your technique. Research has shown that vertical oscillation (the height you bounce up with each stride) could affect horizontal speed, fatigue, and susceptibility to injury. One such study—which asked female distance runners to exaggerate their natural vertical bounces—found a significant increase in the oxygen cost of their submaximal running efforts. There are now specialized apps available that allow you to measure your vertical oscillation on the go and give you feedback so you can reduce your battle against gravity and move forward more efficiently.
Is a low-glycemic diet the best of both worlds for athletes?
Athletes seem to get conflicting diet advice when it comes to carbs—do you do paleo, ketogenic, or low carb diets? Or do you carb-load just before a race? Are all carbs unhealthy or do we need them for our glycogen stores? The answer might just be a mix. Eating low-glycemic index carbs—that is, carbs that don’t spike blood sugar too much because they are natural, complex, and full of fiber—might just be the best of both worlds. Low-glycemic index options such as the carbs in fruits, veggies, beans, chickpeas, lentils, oats, and some whole grains can still provide energy but won’t affect metabolism negatively or cause weight gain the way refined carbs can do. Low-glycemic carbs might also help athletes recover better after a race. So perhaps try a big chopped salad with beans or chickpeas for a refreshing recovery meal on race day instead of an overload of refined carbs.
Want to run like soccer superstar Ronaldo?
Soccer superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, has been wowing fans over the years—not only for his performance on the soccer field but also for his dedication to fitness. Often doing two-a-day workout sessions, Ronaldo focuses on bodyweight workouts that target stabilizing muscles—which aid in performance and help prevent injury. He opts for glute-strengthening exercises such as single-leg glute bridges, which helps him attain the explosive speed for which he’s known. And he practices lateral bounds which increase his overall agility by focusing on side-to-side movements. Rounding out Ronaldo’s training routine is a diet rich in whole foods that are easily digestible as well as plenty of sleep to help him recover from his intense workouts.
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