Strength & Conditioning Research

I’m very excited to announce the launch of Strength and Conditioning Research, a monthly research review service. I believe that this is a much needed service in our profession, and I am very excited and honored to be presenting coaches, trainers, lifters, and therapists with updated findings in their respective fields.

I believe that this will really help our industry improve in terms of scientific understanding as well as practices and methods. I suspect that this service will help important studies receive the attention they deserve and that from here on out you’ll see more educated coaches and more intriguing conversations online.

I’ve teamed up with Chris Beardsley to provide a monthly summary of all the most exciting research in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Biomechanics, Physiology and Physical Therapy. We want to bridge the gap between the lab/journals and the weight room/field. We’ll bust our butts scouring through the journals and summarizing recent findings so you can rest assured that you’re up to date without having to spend hours sifting through Pubmed or various journals.

Each month we’ll be writing up around 50 studies and giving you the links to the other important studies that we haven’t written about for the month.  Subscribe, and you’ll soon be the most informed person you know when it comes to the latest developments in sports science.

March Questions

The March issue alone will help answer the following questions:

  • Does core strength improve explosive power?
  • Do partial reps improve strength and hypertrophy to the same extent of full range reps?
  • Is power or strength training more effective for the elderly?
  • Is early specialization necessary for sports success?
  • How do the various NFL combine tests correlate with one another?
  • What’s best for strength gains – one set, four sets, or eight sets?
  • Is sled towing and jump squatting more effective than free sprinting and jumping?
  • Does resisted treadmill sprinting improve speed?
  • How do powerlifters train, what are their favorite assistance lifts, and what percentage of them incorporates bands, chains, plyometrics, and Olympic variations?
  • Does resistance training improve running economy in marathon runners?
  • Can mental imagery training be used to alter landing kinematics and decrease the risk of ACL injuries?
  • Can low-load glute activation exercises be used to improve power output in a countermovement jump?
  • Should the NFL Combine Test include a flying-sprint in their arsenal, and how do combine results break down between different positions?
  • Do plyometrics improve sprint running speed?
  • Does the entire transverse abdominis truly contract prior to limb movement?
  • Which activates the leg muscle better and causes the release of more testosterone – the squat or the Bulgarian split squat?
  • What effect do weightlifting shoes have on forward trunk lean and depth in the squat exercise?
  • Do sprinters have thicker tendons and more tendon stiffness than sedentary controls?
  • Does the nucleus pulposus within the intervertebral disc truly migrate, or does it simply deform?
  • Do high heels change gait and increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis?
  • Do high heels increase leg muscle activity?
  • What protein has recently been found to basically restructure everything we knew about muscle dynamics (hint it’s a molecular spring that stores energy when muscles actively stretch)?
  • Does abdominal muscle activation change depending on whether lumbopelvic motion is initiated in the pelvis or the trunk?
  • Do weight bearing and non-weight bearing stretches both lead to increases in ankle dorsiflexion ROM?
  • Do cell-phones change the way we walk?
  • Do the rotator cuff muscles function differently during bench press and rowing exercises?
  • Static stretching reduces subsequent power production, but what if the stretch is held to less than 45 seconds?
  • Is increased stiffness following a plyometric regimen due to increases in muscle or tendon stiffness?
  • Is the pullover primarily a pec or a lat exercise?
  • Is the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) mentally pre-programmed or simply automatic?
  • Does the kettlebell swing with a 16 kg kb activate over 50% MVC for gluteal activation?
  • Do maximal strength and endurance resistance training improve insulin sensitivity through the same or through different mechanisms?
  • Does strength training lead to improvements in semen quality and anabolic hormone status?
  • Does fatigue influence spinal excitability and muscle activation?
  • Is it time we abandon the concept of motor unit types?
  • Does increased time under tension (TUT) indeed lead to greater muscle protein synthesis (MPS)?
  • What percentage of adult population is in anterior pelvic tilt?
  • Does inadequate hip range of motion increase the risk of low back pain in judo athletes?
  • Does inflammation affect fascial pliability?
  • Does fascia impact transmission from muscle force to bone and play a role in ballistic movements?
  • What is the greatest risk factor of hamstring injury in sport?
  • How does scapular movement differ between normal individuals, individuals with shoulder impingement syndrome, and individuals with glenohumeral instability during shoulder elevation?
  • There must be proper coordination between the abdominals and which muscle during challenging activity in order to maximize performance?
  • Can VMO onset be improved through rehabilitation exercise?
  • What route is better for improving FMS scores – focusing mostly on movement quality or focusing mostly on setting personal records?

Not interested in these topics? Why not check out our brand new, free hypertrophy resource instead!


25 thoughts on “Strength & Conditioning Research

  1. Lauren

    This is fantastic! Just what the industry needs! Thanks for all the hard work! Will you have a reference page at the end of each monthly review sent out?

    1. Bret Post author

      Lauren, we have a TOC and we put links to the abstracts for every article. In time we might include references, I suppose in APA format…something I’ll consider doing. Thanks for the encouragement!!!

  2. Alex Kraszewski

    Wow that is some list, you’ve definitely sparked my interest. I’ve got a few questions;

    Are you going through a pre-selected set of journals each month, or pick the ‘best of the bunch’ so to speak?

    Will there be any appraisal of the research methods of said studies?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Bret Post author

      Alex, yep; I go through around 50-100 journals each month and then pick what I feel is most valuable. Since each review is a single page, we’re limited in space. Sometimes we point out limitations or recommendations for future research, and sometimes we include the author’s omission of limitations. But you just gave me a good idea for next month’s column. I might do a “general” write-up on limitations so as to save space. For example, I can point out limitations for in vitro studies, animal studies, it situ models, review papers, extrapolations from certain variables, etc.

      What I don’t want to do is “hate” on all research. Every study has limitations but I don’t like how many research-types find fault in every single aspect of every study. It’s good to critically appraise, but at the same time to see value and respect the authors’ hard work and intentions.

  3. Collin Messer

    Dude, this is awesome! I’m definitely going to get them all. I thought it was funny that the NSCA’s motto is “Bridging the gap between science and application” and your goal is to “bridge the gap between the lab/journals and the weight room/field.”

    I feel like you’re going to accomplish this goal so, so, so much better than they will/have. :) Props to you!

    1. Bret Post author

      Collin, I read tons of journals and the NSCA’s are by far my favorite and are the most applicable to our field. I’m hoping to one day get more involved with the NSCA as I’m a big fan of them. Each month they come out with great stuff that is relevant to our field. So I’m proud to extend their reach and summarize their journals for others. Thanks!

  4. Jorge Nikolas

    Bret, this is gonna be one of my most valuable tools. This is definetly gonna help lots of people. The review service will be awesome, I know it! Thanks for doing this service, sir!

  5. Matt

    Hi Bret,

    Is this publication going to produce review articles of those that appear in the major strength, exercise phys etc publications (e.g NSCA journal, sports med, Applied Physiology etc)


    1. Bret Post author

      Matt, we will review all types of articles, from original research articles to review articles to editorials, etc. And yes, we’ll be reviewing all of the major journals. If it’s important, I’ll get it to you. BC

  6. Risto Uuk

    It sounds very interesting. So far I only know that Alan Aragon does something similar, but of course, you don’t include nutrition in this as much and yours seems to be much more deep.

    How applicable will it be for personal trainers who work with regular people?

  7. Neal W.

    Bret, this looks amazing! If I might make a suggestion (as a potential customer), if you could say something about the strength/weaknesses of each article and the context of the article (how do the results compare to previous research?), that would be amazing. I actually wouldn’t mind if you put in less content to fit this extra stuff in. That’s my two cents.

  8. carlos delacruz

    Hi Brett, I got a quick question, as far as safety and function goes which one of the two would be safer and work the muscles more effectively, a safety squat bar or a cambered squat bar?

    1. Bret Post author

      Hmmm, I have both but I’d have to say the cambered bar. I’m sure many powerlifters would disagree but the safety squat bar actually makes it harder not to round the back which is why I’m going with the cambered bar.

  9. Paul NoHeart

    Aweaome content man!

    I’m feeling the fact that it will help most of us coaches out there to save us some time on doing research to back up our workout programs. Kudos bru

    Think you will incorporate some metabolic resistance training researches in your releases? Any nutrition-muscle rebuild relations also?

    1. Bret Post author

      Hey Paul, we’ll definitely include research on MRT and HIIT as it’s released. I haven’t seen anything on it recently, but every several months a new study comes out and you can bet we’ll jump right on it. And I don’t delve into the nutrition side too much (unless it’s really important) since Alan Aragon has a badass research review service that he’s been doing for the past several years. I recommend you subscribe to his service as it compliments ours very well. Cheers, BC


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