Alex Hutchinson: Brain Training to Boost Performance, Plus: Concurrent Training and Static Stretching – What’s the Bottom Line?

February 25, 2015
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cardioorweightsAlex Hutchinson is a writer, physicist and athlete who is a wealth of information on everything in the exercise science world. Alex’s popular blog Sweat Science is featured on, and on it he highlights the best research going on involving running, endurance sport, athletic performance, nutrition and more. His book: Which Comes First Cardio or Weights  is another fabulous source of research-backed truths on the science of exercise.
On this show we cover three major topics including:
Brain training

  • Brain Training Boost Endurance
  • The concepts of brain training and combining cognitive and physical tasks,
  • What are the results?
  • How does this differ from and relate to the Central Governor Theory,
  • Mental training athletes were “training themselves to tolerate a harder perceived effort, so when the cognitive task was removed, the effort felt easier.”
  • When should you avoid the cognitive and just focus on the physical?
  • Practical applications and takeaways from this approach? is it worth it?
  • Brain Plasticity in Skill vs. Endurance Sports,
  • What is brain plasticity?
  • Why do skill athletes show greater motor cortex plasticity?
  • Always learning vs. mastering a sport so you go on “autopilot” – pros and cons.
  • Personal examples from Alex and Tawnee,
  • Brain Training in Your Training Program:
    – Thoughts on how we can tie together our brain and training (mind body connection) — i.e. listening to our bodies as the best way to decide how to workout – intensity, duration, etc.
    – Mention of Run by Matt Fitzgerald,
  • More on brain training,
  • Mental imagery.

Concurrent training

  • Setting the record straight: Does strength training hinder endurance adaptations? Is it generally good or bad for runners or triathletes – and does the type/intensity of strength training depend?
  • What does the research say on order of strength vs endurance if you are to do them as back-to-back workouts? Again, does the type of workout for each matter?
  • Lunge matrix example.

Stretching pre-workout

  • The research on static stretching before a workout? Ya or nay?
  • No research to show that stretching reduces injury risk, and in fact it can have negative consequences on RPE, etc.
  • Alex’s standup desk mentioned.

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