This is the location of the Academy.
Check out my new book:
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
This is the location of the Academy.
Friday, 26 April 2013
It’s been an interesting month. Changing jobs and moving to new challenges. It has been also interesting because I had the chance to visit few places, give talks, meet people, learn loads and reflect on the last 8 years. I was in Vaxjo in Sweden at the end of March to talk about strength and power training. It was great to see some great coaches in the audience (one of my sporting idols and now successful silver medalist coach of the Swedish Handball team was there!) and a brilliant facility with plenty of athletes of all ages. This trip was followed by London for the Sports Analytics Summit to talk about data in Sport and how to use them better, great conference and lots of learning and new ideas. Then I lectured at the Strength and Conditioning Students Conference at Middlesex University and it was great to see so many young practitioners asking loads of questions and engaging to learn more. More recently I travelled to Potsdam University in Germany to give a talk about Science in Sport and discuss few potential collaborations with Professor Urs Granacher and his team. They do loads of interesting things on neuromuscular function, so watch this space for some exciting developments in the future. Spent a great afternoon at Birmingham University with my colleague Dr. Matt Bridge who is doing some very interesting work on Golf. and gave a talk on science and coaching on the road to London 2012. Finally, last Saturday I was at the Football Medicine Conference in London perfectly organised by Isokinetic to give a talk on vibration and its use in rehabilitation in a parallel workshop organised by UCL.
The next few weeks are going to be challenging as I am travelling again, but I am looking forward to catch up with loads of friends and colleagues and also learn about new things and continue to develop some ideas for research work to do in the next few years.
So, I will be at the VISTA conference in Bonn organised by the IPC to talk about technology in sport and how it can be used to help the coach and the athlete. Following that, I will be in Boston at the BSMPG Summer seminar to give two talks, but most of all to listen to some great speakers and visit some of the best sporting teams in the World and engage with some fantastic practitioners. Finally, at the end of May, I will be with Nike in Oregon at the #SPARQ2013 conference with some of my colleagues of the SPARQ Advisory Board.
If you are are a reader and are attending any of the above, make sure you get in touch and give some feedback. I am planning to rearrange the blog and improve it so feedback is needed to get it right. Also, I am starting to think about another edition of the strength and conditioning book so I need to start asking questions of what to improve in the next edition.
I promise to write a bit more in the next few weeks about few topics, time is now on my side (or at least this is what I believe!).
Apologies for radio silence. It has been a buys few months with loads happening. I have now left Team GB and moved on to new adventures (I will talk about it soon). In the meantime two papers have been recently published and the abstracts are here.
Horm Metab Res. 2013 Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print]
Combination of External Load and Whole Body Vibration Potentiates the GH-releasing Effect of Squatting in Healthy Females.
Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCS, Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Auxo-endocrinologiche, Milan and Piancavallo (VB), Italy.
In recent years, whole body vibration (WBV) has become an efficient complement or alternative to resistance training. Very limited data on the effects of different WBV protocols on anabolic hormones are available. In this study, we compared the growth hormone (GH), blood lactate (LA), and cortisol responses to different protocols involving WBV. Six healthy women recreationally active performed 10 sets of 12 dynamic squats in the following conditions: squatting alone (S), squatting+vibration (SV), squatting+external load (SE), and squatting+external load+vibration (SEV). All responses at the different stimuli determined acute increases in GH, cortisol, and LA. In particular, GH secretion significantly increased in all 4 conditions immediately after the exercise session compared to other time points. Furthermore, a significantly larger increase was identified following SEV as compared to the other conditions. Cortisol concentrations significantly decreased after S, SV and SE whereas they increased significantly following SEV. LA peaks occurred immediately at the end of each condition. However it reached statistical significance only following SEV. The results of our study demonstrate that the combination of squatting+external load+vibration (SEV) could represent the most suitable modality to potentiate the somatotropic function and, indirectly, to obtain an increase in muscle strength and positive changes in the body composition. Further studies are necessary in order to determine the chronic effects of this exercise modality on the hormonal profile.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print]
Neuromuscular fatigue induced by whole-body vibration exercise.
Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Lengghalde 2, 8008, Zurich, Switzerland, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The aim of this study was to examine the magnitude and the origin of neuromuscular fatigue induced by half-squat static whole-body vibration (WBV) exercise, and to compare it to a non-WBV condition. Nine healthy volunteers completed two fatiguing protocols (WBV and non-WBV, randomly presented) consisting of five 1-min bouts of static half-squat exercise with a load corresponding to 50 % of their individual body mass. Neuromuscular fatigue of knee and ankle muscles was investigated before and immediately after each fatiguing protocol. The main outcomes were maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque, voluntary activation, and doublet peak torque. Knee extensor MVC torque decreased significantly (P < 0.01) and to the same extent after WBV (-23 %) and non-WBV (-25 %), while knee flexor, plantar flexor, and dorsiflexor MVC torque was not affected by the treatments. Voluntary activation of knee extensor and plantar flexor muscles was unaffected by the two fatiguing protocols. Doublet peak torque decreased significantly and to a similar extent following WBV and non-WBV exercise, for both knee extensors (-25 %; P < 0.01) and plantar flexors (-7 %; P < 0.05). WBV exercise with additional load did not accentuate fatigue and did not change its causative factors compared to non-WBV half-squat resistive exercise in recreationally active subjects.
Saturday, 9 February 2013
When sad news reach you there are many ways to react. Disbelief, sadness and various other feelings mix up. You realise that life is a wonderful gift and you never know what the next day brings. When somebody dies in unexpected situations it is hard not to ask why? It is pointless…as of course there is no way to find an answer. For me, it’s a time for reflection. And such happenings help to put life in perspective. We are totally immersed in our working lives, totally taken by the challenges, battles and stresses that working in Sport provides us on a daily basis. Sometimes we lose track of everything else. Family, friends, people we know, we don’t realise how important they are for us and how lucky we are in having them around. Sadly we tend to realise this only when we lose them.
In the last few months I lost two great friends and colleagues. The kind of people I am lucky enough to have met because of the job I do. The kind of people you have not grown up with, but instantly become more than just a colleague, because you not only share the same views and passions, you also enjoy to spend time with them to talk about all sorts of other things that are not work-related. Their loss is sad, but I would like to celebrate what they did in life and how fortunate I was to meet them and spend time with them.
Nick Broad was the Head of Sports Science at Paris St. Germain. I met Nick probably 10 years ago for the first time at a conference in UK. We spoke about the impact of nutrition and science in Football and how this was evolving. He was a former Aberdeen student, having done his Master in Sports Nutrition with Prof. Ron Maughan in Scotland. So we had common ground, common friends, common interests. Nick progressed in his career from being one of the first Sports Nutritionists working in football trying to change the way nutrition was applied and delivered in the Premiership. Since his early career he was not only interested in nutrition, he realised quickly than an holistic approach was the way forward, and the use of all sciences was fundamental to improve the player’s performances. He was a keen listener, he always exchanged his views in an open and frank way and became soon one of the leaders in the field working as head of science at Chelsea Football club and recently at Paris St. Germain. He showed that people who strive for knowledge and excellence can make a difference also in a conservative sport like Football and I have no doubts he is a role model for the young practitioners who attended conferences he was presenting at. We used to meet and exchange ideas frequently and we both shared a passion for good coffee. I also enjoyed his challenging questions, because they made me think a lot and learn a lot. Today Nick is not with us anymore. I can say I have been fortunate to meet him. He was a great practitioner, a brilliant mind and a very good friend. I will miss our catch ups with good coffee.
Marcello Faina was the Head of Sports Science of the Italian Olympic Committee. I knew Marcello since I was a student in Rome, mainly because he was the closest collaborator of Professor Antonio Dal Monte. They were the brains of the Institute of Sports Science and Medicine of CONI in Rome. The team who was pushing boundaries to help Italian athletes succeed on the World stage. Marcello then became the director of the Institute and contributed to the preparation of Italian athletes to countless Olympic Games, Worlds and European Championships. Furthermore, he was heavily involved in education (educating coaches and young sports science and sports medicine students), research (we also published a paper together recently), and mentoring young practitioners. We met countless times over the years and were consistently in contact. He was my sounding board. His experience in the Olympic movement was immense, so I used to ask him advice and learn from his experiences. We met at the last 3 Olympic Games I attended with Team GB and used to joke about our rivalry. The last time we met it was two days before the closing ceremony in London. We had an ice cream outside the Italians’ HQ together with my Team GB colleagues and the rest of the Italian medical team. We were all happy about the results of our respective teams and were sharing knowledge/views and also chatting about things unrelated to sports. Marcello was due to receive the most prestigious award in Italian sport for his contributions to sports science and medicine over the years. He never made it, the award was given in his memory.
I never got the chance to thank you for the wise words and your way to find the positive and humorous side of each story. I will take the chance now. Thank you Marcello.
Monday, 31 December 2012
So, here is my thank you to all the readers. I hope readers find this blog useful and I will try to grow it a bit more in 2013, trying to update the theme and trying to develop more content with practical applications for coaches and sports scientists working in the real world of sport and physical activity.
I did not manage to publish much on this blog, less than 20 blog entries and a couple on my employers’ blog. It was a very difficult and stressful year. However all the hard work, the hours spent planning and executing the various projects in the lead up to the Olympics and the support provided during the London 2012 Olympic Games has been a journey I will never forget. Not an easy ride, but what an honour to be part of something so big! Most of all, it was a rewarding experience to be part of a thriving scientific community which was working hard to provide our athletes with the best possible resources to compete in London.
The London Games were a truly amazing experience. The Olympic Village was incredible, well built and really a great place to work.
We managed to design and run a fantastic facility for our athletes and staff to be able to prepare in the best possible way for each competition and recover faster between competitions. The place had a great atmosphere and it was brilliant to be there to support not only our wonderful athletes but also the incredible coaches and support staff working with them on a daily basis to help achieve the dream of winning an Olympic medal.
The medals won by Team GB were 65 in the end. 3rd overall place in the medal table, best result ever for Team GB, and most of all Team GB was better than Australia (there is such a rivalry between the two countries that even politicians bet on results and you can see here what kind of things the losing sports minister has to do!).
More medals in more sport than ever before. Incredible result. Our athletes were part of a great show organised perfectly by LOCOG with amazing ceremonies, incredible facilities, great organisation, fantastic volunteers and an incredibly positive atmosphere. When you see happy crowds like this one…you know that every minute spent working was well worth it.
The memories will stay with me forever.
Just few days to rest and recover and as soon as I was back at work lot of things happened. The legacy project of the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health finally became reality and a new base will be opened soon to provide research and education opportunities in partnership with University College London and UCLH. Two of my students completed their PhDs and published their first papers (Dr. Zoe Wimshurst for vision training and Dr. Catherine Hesford for Near Infrared Spectroscopy) and have started a career in applied research and higher education and I am sure they will do incredibly well in the future. I also managed to start a new research group at UCL dedicated to Sports and Health Analytics (SHARP). There are some incredible people with expertise in various fields and I am looking forward to a productive few years learning from great colleagues and developing new approaches to gathering and analysing data in Sport. I promise to write more about this exciting initiative in the new year. It was a great year also for the ESPRIT project which is continuously developing innovative technologies and approaches for sport and health. Again, a great pleasure to be part of such a talented group of people. On the sporting front, preparations for SOCHI 2014 are in full swing and projects and activities for our winter sports will accelerate in 2013 to make sure our winter athletes reach Russia with the best possible conditions to be the best they can be.
2013 looks already busy. I have a list of papers to write and submit, projects to start or complete, trips to make, athletes and coaches to work with, people to meet, lectures to give in the UK and abroad, but most of all I know there are loads of things I want to learn and develop. So I know already that it is going to be a great year. If I learn half of what I learnt this year, I will be a happy and lucky man in 2013.
With few hours left to the end of 2012 I wish you all the best for next year with good health and plenty of learning opportunities.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
How many times have your heard the following: "your gluts are not firing"? I bet many times. In the World of Strength and Conditio...
I decided to write this post after having seen numerous tests reports in which the results of squat jumps appear equal and sometimes higher...
It is well accepted that success in most sports depends on the ability of the athletes to exert high levels of strength and power (Stone...