Does bench press grip width matter? How does collagen protein compare with whey even when it’s spiked with leucine? Are keto diets better for weight loss? Can Rhodiola rosea boost performance? Do pre-performance routines affect performance? This is what the latest research says about these questions.
This podcast is part of a new series I’m going to call Research Roundups. What is it going to be? Well, there is a ton of scientific research that gets published every year, and even if you narrow your focus to fitness research, it would still take several lifetimes to unravel the hairball of studies on nutrition, training, supplementation, and related fields.
That’s why my team and I put a lot of time into reviewing, dissecting, and describing scientific studies in articles, podcasts, and books. And while the principles of proper eating and exercising are relatively simple and fairly immutable at this point, new research can help us understand why the fundamentals work. They can help us understand how to better implement them, and how to get better results with them.
And occasionally every so often there are new and better methods of eating, exercising, supplementing, and living to achieve our health and fitness goals faster. And so in this series of episodes, you’re going to learn about new research on various things related to building muscle, losing fat, getting healthy, improving wellbeing, and so on.
In today’s episode, I’m going to be talking about the bench press grip, whether or not keto is better than normal dieting for weight loss, how pre-performance rituals can enhance your physical performance, and more. So listen if you want to learn the answers to those questions and more.
Oh and if you like this type of episode, let me know. Send me an email ([email protected]) or direct message me on Instagram (@muscleforlifefitness). And if you don’t like it, let me know that too or how you think it could be better.
0:00 – Want a free meal planning tool that figures out your calories, macros, and micros, and allows you to create custom meal plans for cutting, lean gaining, and maintaining in under 5 minutes? Go to https://buylegion.com/mealplan and download the tool for free!
3:39 – How does bench press grip affect the muscles being trained?
6:58 – What influence does the keto diet have on body composition?
9:47 – How does collagen protein compare to whey? Why don’t you sell a collagen protein?
13:10 – What are the effects of Rhodiola rosea?
16:00 – What is the effectiveness of pre-performance routines?
Mentioned on the Show:
Want a free meal planning tool that figures out your calories, macros, and micros, and allows you to create custom meal plans for cutting, lean gaining, and maintaining in under 5 minutes? Go to https://buylegion.com/mealplan and download the tool for free!
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello, hello and welcome. Welcome to a new episode of Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for something new, a new series of episodes that I want to do, which I have rather uninspired, if that’s a word. I don’t think it’s a word, but I’m gonna use it called Research Roundup.
If people like these episodes and I get good feedback on them, so please do let me know what you think. Email me, mike at Muscle for Life, f o r life.com. Then I might rebrand these episodes, but for now it is Research Roundup. Now, what is this series going to be? Well, there is a ton of scientific research that gets published every year.
It has been estimated that the number of papers is over 2 million per year and. If you narrow your focus to fitness research, it still would take several lifetimes to unravel the hairball of studies on nutrition training supplementation and related fields. And that’s why my team and I put a lot of time into.
Reviewing and dissecting and describing scientific studies in articles, podcasts, and books. And while the principles of proper eating and exercising are relatively simple and fairly immutable at this point, new research can help us understand why the fundamentals work. They can help us understand how to better implement them, how to get better results with them.
And occasionally, every so often there are. New and better methods of eating and exercising and supplementing and living to achieve our health and fitness goals faster. And so in this episode and in this series of episodes, you are going to learn about new research on various things related to building muscle losing fat.
Getting healthy, improving wellbeing, and so on. And in today’s episode, I’m gonna be talking about the bench press grip, whether or not keto is better than normal dieting for weight loss, how pre-performance rituals can enhance your physical performance and more. Before we get started, how would you like a free meal planning tool that figures out your calories, your macros, even your micros, and then.
Allows you to create 100% custom meal plans for cutting, lean, gaining, or maintaining in under five minutes. Well, all you gotta do is go to buy legion.com/meal plan b u y legion.com/meal plan and download the tool. And if I may say, this tool really is fantastic. My team and I spent over six months on this thing working with an Excel wizard, and inferior versions of this are often sold for 50, 60, even a hundred dollars.
Or you have to download an app and pay every month or sign up for a weight loss service and pay every month, 10, 20, 40, 50, even $60 a month for what is essentially. In this free tool. So if you are struggling to improve your body composition, if you are struggling to lose fat or gain muscle, the right meal plan can change everything.
Dieting can go from feeling like running in the sand in a sandstorm to riding a bike on a breezy day down a hill. So again, if you want my free meal planning tool, go to buy legion.com/meal plan, bu y legion.com/meal plan. Enter your email address and you will get instant access. I. All right, so let’s start with a study on the bench press grip and how it affects the muscles trained.
And this study is called the effect of grip width on Muscle Strength and Electromyographic. Activity in bench press among novice and resistance trained men. Published on June 14th, 2021 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Now you have probably heard that bench pressing with a wide or wider grip primarily trains your pecs.
And pressing with a narrow or narrower grip primarily trains your triceps. Well, this study casts doubt on this dogma. It was conducted by scientists at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and in the study the scientists split 28, managed into two groups. You had a resistance trained group. A novice trained group, the resistance trained participants had at least one year of weightlifting experience and were able to bench press at least 125% of their body weight.
And the novice trained participants had performed no training for at least six months, but were familiar with the bench press. And what the researchers did is they had all of the participants perform three sets of six reps of the bench press with either a wide. Regular or narrow grip while attached to an E M G, which is a machine that measures the activation of muscles.
So in this case, it measured the activation of the pecs, triceps, and deltoid. And what the scientists found is that grip width had almost no impact on muscle activation. All of their muscles were activated about the same, regardless of the grip. With two exceptions, one among weightlifters with at least one year of training experience.
So among the more experienced lifters, triceps, activation was significantly greater with the medium grip than the wide grip. And two among weightlifters with no recent training experience, front dealt activity was significantly greater with the medium grip. Than the narrow grip. Now, it’s worth noting that although the differences seen in muscle activation were statistically significant, they were not large enough to likely make a meaningful impact on long-term muscle growth.
And while other studies have shown that using a narrower grip on the bench press does tend to cause a larger increase in triceps activation. This study and a couple of others like it, indicate that using a wider than normal grip width probably does not significantly improve chest muscle activation. So the key takeaway here is this bench pressing with a slightly narrower grip.
Does emphasize the triceps and it appears to do so much more in stronger people rather than people who are brand new to weightlifting and also bench pressing with an extra wide grip. Some people suggest doing that because it is supposedly better for training your pecs specifically. That does not seem to be true.
The weight of the evidence is continuing to grow against that claim. Also, something else to keep in mind with a very wide grip or a wider than normal grip bench press is it’s quite hard on your shoulders. I’m not a fan. Okay, let’s move on to some research on the keto diet, and this study is called The Influence of Cyclical Ketogenic Reduction Diet versus Nutritionally Balanced Reduction Diet on body composition, strength, and Endurance Performance in healthy young males, A randomized.
Controlled trial, and this was published on September 3rd, 2020 in the Journal of Nutrients. And despite the popularity of the ketogenic diet, there is no consensus on whether it has any benefit over conventional diet strategies for improving body composition or improving performance. And this study that I am, Covering in this podcast here.
This was conducted by scientists at the first faculty of Medicine and General University Hospital, and it adds to a growing body of evidence that is showing that keto is a lot of sizzle with very little stake. In this experiment, researchers split 25 young men into two groups. You had a group that followed a keto diet and a group that followed a balanced diet.
Both of the groups maintained a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day, and they followed a three day push pull legs, a strength training program for eight weeks. And at the end of the study, the results showed that the keto group lost some fat. As well as some muscle. They gained no strength and they did not improve their endurance.
The balanced diet group, though, they lost about twice as much fat as the keto group. They maintained their muscle and they increased their strength and endurance. Now, it’s important to remember that this is just one study, so. You don’t want to just write off the keto diet because of this one experiment.
The strongest argument in favor of keto is that some people do find that it helps them control their appetite better, and therefore they can stick to their diet better. They can stick to their calories and their macros better. And get better long-term results, particularly with fat loss. That in my experience, has not been the norm.
Most people I have heard from and spoken with over the years as keto has gotten more popular, have reported the opposite, that it did not work well for them, especially when they couldn’t just. Eat as much fatty stuff as they wanted. When they understood that energy balance is non-negotiable and they had to control their calories and macros, they could only eat so much food every day if they wanted to consistently lose fat.
And then when they tried to make that work with the keto diet, again, most people I’ve heard from did not report success and reported much better success with a more balanced. Diet. That said, this study is just more evidence that keto is not the one true diet as many people would have you believe. Okay, next up, we have a study on collagen protein, which is something that I refuse to sell over at Legion, even though many people ask why I don’t sell a collagen protein.
It is very trendy. Right now, and here’s one of the reasons I don’t sell a collagen protein in this study, which is titled Whey Protein Supplementation is superior to leucine matched collagen peptides to increase muscle thickness during a 10 week resistance training program in untrained young adults.
And this paper was published on January 17th, 2022 in the Journal, international Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. And the key takeaway here is that it showed as the, the title implies that collagen protein is not better for building muscle than whey protein, even when it’s spiked with leucine.
And I can’t say I’ve even seen a collagen protein on the market spiked with leucine. But even when you match for leucine, which is the essential amino acid, most responsible for starting protein synthesis for triggering protein synthesis. So even when you match the leucine, whe still wins. Then you might be wondering, why is Collagen Protein so popular then?
Why do so many people sell it, and why do so many people talk about it? Well, so many people sell it because it’s very profitable. It is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to a high quality whey protein. And so many people talk about it because the people who sell it pay them to talk about it. It is really that simple.
Now, the big problem with collagen protein is it is abysmally low. In the amino acids that are most responsible for muscle growth. And to get around this, some people have said that, well, maybe you can just spike the collagen protein, for example, with leucine. Maybe you can add leucine to it to match the amount of leucine that you get from whey protein, for example.
And that is a theory that this study. Tested. And so what the researchers did is they split eight men and three women into two groups. You had a whey protein group and a leucine spiked collagen protein group. And all of these people completed a 10 week strength training program, and they consumed about 1.6 to two grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day with 35 grams of that daily protein coming from either way or collagen.
And thanks to the fortification of the. Collagen Protein, it provided about three grams of leucine and the whey protein naturally provided about the same. And the results showed that the Whey Protein group gained significantly more muscle than the Collagen Protein group. Specifically the whey protein group increased their vast laterals, which is uh, a quad muscle size by 8.4%.
Their biceps size by 10.1%, whereas the collagen group only increased the vastus laterals by 5.6% and biceps by 6%. Now, why was that? Well, collagen protein’s entire amino acid profile, I. Is wanting, and you can’t make up for that by just adding leucine. And the most likely reason for that is although leucine does kickstart the muscle building process, you need other amino acids to actually create those new muscle proteins.
Therefore, if your goal is to gain muscle, don’t waste your money on collagen. Protein. Alright, moving on to a study on Rhodiola Rosea. And this study showed that it can boost anaerobic performance as much as caffeine. So this comes from a paper called Effects of Short-Term Rhodiola Rosea Golden Root Extract, supplementation on Anaerobic Exercise Performance, and it was published on October 29th, 2018 in the Journal of Sports Sciences.
Now Rola Rosea, which is also known as Golden Root, is a plant that grows in the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. And several studies show that it effectively reduces perceptions of mental and physical fatigue, and it improves cognitive performance when you feel tired or stressed, and many people have speculated about its ability to improve physical.
Performance and to test that theory, scientists at Sanford University had 11 women take either 500 milligrams of Rhodiola or a placebo three times per day for three days, and then report to the lab for testing. And when the women went to the lab, what they did is. Take their supplements, so either Rhodiola or a placebo.
30 minutes before performing a Wingate test, which consists of three 15 second all-out cycle sprints separated by two minutes of rest. And while the participants did that, the researchers evaluated several measures of anaerobic performance in the results showed. That taking Rhodiola improved Wingate performance by four to 8.5% on average.
And to put that in perspective, a recent study showed that caffeine supplementation only improves Wingate performance by about three to 4%. So in other words, Rhodiola, in this case, it improved anaerobic performance about as much as caffeine or even a little bit. More so than caffeine. And so if you are interested in improving your anaerobic performance, your ability to do very high intensity exercise, then Rhodiola might be worth adding to your regimen.
And if that doesn’t interest you, there are. Other reasons why you might want to add Rhodiola to your supplementation regimen. For example, studies show that it improves mood and reduces symptoms of stress and depression. It reduces stress related feelings of fatigue. It can preserve and possibly even enhance cognition and mood during strenuous.
Periods, it may reduce exercise-induced muscle damage, and it may also help the body defend against viral infections, and that is why it is in my supplement called Vitality, which you can learn about. [email protected], vitality contains a clinically effective dosage of Rhodiola Rosea, along with three other ingredients that are designed to help balance hormones, particularly in middle aged people.
Increase energy levels and reduce stress and fatigue. Okay. The final study I want to share with you in today’s episode is regarding a pre-performance routine. And this comes from the paper, the effectiveness of pre-performance routines in sports, a meta-analysis, and this was published on October 14th, 2021 in the Journal, international Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology.
Now, Most athletes, professional and amateur, they go through some sort of pre-performance routine before they’re given sport. For example, before taking a free throw, Michael Jordan would take a shoulder width stance. He would spin the ball in his hands. He would bounce it three times. He would fixate on the rim and then spin the ball again before.
Shooting. I know many professional golfers have very specific routines that they go through before every shot. I remember reading about Tiger Woods’s pre-performance routine for shots, and somebody had analyzed like hundreds of shots that he had taken and found that his routine barely varied at all. I mean, down to like fractions of a second, he would do the exact same.
Thing in the exact same way, at the exact same speed before every shot over the course of hundreds of shots that were analyzed. Now, many people would hear about Michael Jordan’s little free throw routine, and Tiger Woods’s. Pre-shot routine and think that maybe it’s just a, a tick, it’s just kind of an idiosyncrasy, or maybe it’s a superstitious habit.
But research conducted by scientists at the University of Vienna shows that these routines can give us a performance boost. So in this meta-analysis, the researchers parsed. The results of 33 papers and found that regardless of the stakes, the experience of the athlete or the particulars of the ritual performing a pre-performance routine improves athletic performance.
Now, it’s worth noting that none of the studies included in the meta-analysis looked at weightlifting, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that pre-performance routines would help us in the gym if we are about to maybe. Pull a heavy deadlift or do a heavy squat just as much as it would help Tiger Woods hit a better drive.
And for what it’s worth, anecdotally, many, if not most, high level Olympic lifters, power lifters and other strength athletes, they do use. Pre lift routines. Now, what do those routines look like? Well, for some people they use active imagery. And if you wanna learn about that, just head over to legion athletics.com and search for active imagery, and you’ll find an article I wrote on it, pretty interesting research, weightlifting cues.
That’s another example. That would fall under the heading of a pre routine. And if you wanna learn about some great weightlifting cues that can immediately improve your performance. Legion athletics.com search for weightlifting cues. And there are a couple of articles actually on different weightlifting cues and listening to.
Certain types of music, many people have, for example, their deadlift song, their squat song, their overhead press song. Some music does just fire us up more than others, and there’s research on that as well. And if you want to hear some of my favorite songs for working out, head over to legion athletics.com, search for playlists, and you should see an article called 70 Songs to Work Out To Picks from my Playlists.
Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.
And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have, uh, ideas or suggestions or just. Feedback to share. Shoot me an email, [email protected], muscle f o r life.com and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.
I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.