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Heitor O. Santos, Gederson K. Gomes, Brad J. Schoenfeld, and Erick P. de Oliveira

Whole egg may have potential benefits for enhancing muscle mass, independent of its protein content. The yolk comprises ∼40% of the total protein in an egg, as well as containing several nonprotein nutrients that could possess anabolic properties (e.g., microRNAs, vitamins, minerals, lipids, phosphatidic acid and other phospholipids). Therefore, the purpose of this narrative review is to discuss the current evidence as to the possible effects of egg yolk compounds on skeletal muscle accretion beyond those of egg whites alone. The intake of whole egg seems to promote greater myofibrillar protein synthesis than egg white intake in young men. However, limited evidence shows no difference in muscle hypertrophy when comparing the consumption of whole egg versus an isonitrogenous quantity of egg white in young men performing resistance training. Although egg yolk intake seems to promote additional acute increases on myofibrillar protein synthesis, it does not seem to further enhance muscle mass when compared to egg whites when consumed as part of a high-protein dietary patterns, at least in young men. This conclusion is based on very limited evidence and more studies are needed to evaluate the effects of egg yolk (or whole eggs) intake on muscle mass not only in young men, but also in other populations such as women, older adults, and individuals with muscle wasting diseases.

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Bret Contreras, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Chris Beardsley, and John Cronin

Bridging exercise variations are well researched and commonly employed for both rehabilitation and sport performance. However, resisted bridge exercise variations have not yet been compared in a controlled experimental study. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the differences in upper and lower gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis electromyography (EMG) amplitude for the barbell, band, and American hip thrust variations. Thirteen healthy female subjects (age = 28.9 y; height = 164.3 cm; body mass = 58.2 kg) familiar with the hip thrust performed 10 repetitions of their 10-repetition maximum of each variation in a counterbalanced and randomized order. The barbell hip thrust variation elicited statistically greater mean gluteus maximus EMG amplitude than the American and band hip thrusts, and statistically greater peak gluteus maximus EMG amplitude than the band hip thrust (P ≤ .05), but no other statistical differences were observed. It is recommended that resisted bridging exercise be prescribed according to the individual’s preferences and desired outcomes.

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Bret Contreras, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Chris Beardsley, and John Cronin

Front, full, and parallel squats are some of the most popular squat variations. The purpose of this investigation was to compare mean and peak electromyography (EMG) amplitude of the upper gluteus maximus, lower gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis of front, full, and parallel squats. Thirteen healthy women (age = 28.9 ± 5.1 y; height = 164 ± 6.3 cm; body mass = 58.2 ± 6.4 kg) performed 10 repetitions of their estimated 10-repetition maximum of each respective variation. There were no statistical (P = .05) differences between full, front, and parallel squats in any of the tested muscles. Given these findings, it can be concluded that the front, full, or parallel squat can be performed for similar EMG amplitudes. However, given the results of previous research, it is recommended that individuals use a full range of motion when squatting, assuming full range can be safely achieved, to promote more favorable training adaptations. Furthermore, despite requiring lighter loads, the front squat may provide a similar training stimulus to the back squat.

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Bret Contreras, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Chris Beardsley, and John Cronin

The back squat and barbell hip thrust are both popular exercises used to target the lower body musculature; however, these exercises have yet to be compared. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the surface electromyographic (EMG) activity of the upper and lower gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis between the back squat and barbell hip thrust. Thirteen trained women (n = 13; age = 28.9 years; height = 164 cm; mass = 58.2 kg) performed estimated 10-repetition maximums (RM) in the back squat and barbell hip thrust. The barbell hip thrust elicited significantly greater mean (69.5% vs 29.4%) and peak (172% vs 84.9%) upper gluteus maximus, mean (86.8% vs 45.4%) and peak (216% vs 130%) lower gluteus maximus, and mean (40.8% vs 14.9%) and peak (86.9% vs 37.5%) biceps femoris EMG activity than the back squat. There were no significant differences in mean (99.5% vs 110%) or peak (216% vs 244%) vastus lateralis EMG activity. The barbell hip thrust activates the gluteus maximus and biceps femoris to a greater degree than the back squat when using estimated 10RM loads. Longitudinal training studies are needed to determine if this enhanced activation correlates with increased strength, hypertrophy, and performance.

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Daniel L. Plotkin, Kenneth Delcastillo, Derrick W. Van Every, Kevin D. Tipton, Alan A. Aragon, and Brad J. Schoenfeld

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are one of the most popular sports supplements, marketed under the premise that they enhance muscular adaptations. Despite their prevalent consumption among athletes and the general public, the efficacy of BCAA has been an ongoing source of controversy in the sports nutrition field. Early support for BCAA supplementation was derived from extrapolation of mechanistic data on their role in muscle protein metabolism. Of the three BCAA, leucine has received the most attention because of its ability to stimulate the initial acute anabolic response. However, a substantial body of both acute and longitudinal research has now accumulated on the topic, affording the ability to scrutinize the effects of BCAA and leucine from a practical standpoint. This article aims to critically review the current literature and draw evidence-based conclusions about the putative benefits of BCAA or leucine supplementation on muscle strength and hypertrophy as well as illuminate gaps in the literature that warrant future study.

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Jozo Grgic, Filip Sabol, Sandro Venier, Ivan Mikulic, Nenad Bratkovic, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Craig Pickering, David J. Bishop, Zeljko Pedisic, and Pavle Mikulic

Purpose: To explore the effects of 3 doses of caffeine on muscle strength and muscle endurance. Methods: Twenty-eight resistance-trained men completed the testing sessions under 5 conditions: no-placebo control, placebo control, and with caffeine doses of 2, 4, and 6 mg·kg−1. Muscle strength was assessed using the 1-repetition-maximum test; muscle endurance was assessed by having the participants perform a maximal number of repetitions with 60% 1-repetition maximum. Results: In comparison with both control conditions, only a caffeine dose of 2 mg·kg−1 enhanced lower-body strength (d = 0.13–0.15). In comparison with the no-placebo control condition, caffeine doses of 4 and 6 mg·kg−1 enhanced upper-body strength (d = 0.07–0.09) with a significant linear trend for the effectiveness of different doses of caffeine (P = .020). Compared with both control conditions, all 3 caffeine doses enhanced lower-body muscle endurance (d = 0.46–0.68). For upper-body muscle endurance, this study did not find significant effects of caffeine. Conclusions: This study revealed a linear trend between the dose of caffeine and its effects on upper-body strength. The study found no clear association between the dose of caffeine and the magnitude of its ergogenic effects on lower-body strength and muscle endurance. From a practical standpoint, the magnitude of caffeine’s effects on strength is of questionable relevance. A low dose of caffeine (2 mg·kg−1)—for an 80-kg individual, the dose of caffeine in 1–2 cups of coffee—may produce substantial improvements in lower-body muscle endurance with the magnitude of the effect being similar to that attained using higher doses of caffeine.

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Alex S. Ribeiro, Rafael Deminice, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Crisieli M. Tomeleri, Camila S. Padilha, Danielle Venturini, Décio S. Barbosa, Luís B. Sardinha, and Edilson S. Cyrino

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of two different resistance training (RT) systems on oxidative stress biomarkers in older women. Fifty-nine older women (67.9 ± 5.0 years) were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Two training groups performed an 8 week RT program either in traditional (TD, n = 20) or a pyramid (PR, n = 20) system 3 times per week, or a control group (CG, n = 19). The TD program consisted of 3 sets of 8–12 RM with constant load for the 3 sets, whereas the PR training consisted of 3 sets of 12/10/8 RM with incremental loads for each set. As compared with the CG, both TD and PR achieved upregulation of the antioxidant system as evidenced by higher (p < .05) values of total radical-trapping antioxidant parameter plasma concentration after intervention (TD= 930.4 ± 160.0 µmolTrolox, PR= 977.8 ± 145.2 µmolTrolox, CG= 794.4 ± 130.2 µmolTrolox). For the protein oxidation adducts, TD and PR presented lower (p < .05) scores compared with CG (TD= 91.2 ± 25.0 µmol/L, PR= 93.0 ± 30.3 µmol/L, CG= 111.0 ± 20.4 µmol/L). However, there were no differences (p < .05) between trained groups in the antioxidant capacity markers and in the protein oxidation adducts markers. The results suggest that 8 weeks of progressive RT promotes an improvement in markers of oxidative stress in older women independent of the load-management RT system.

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Alex S. Ribeiro, Luiz C. Pereira, Danilo R.P. Silva, Leandro dos Santos, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Denilson C. Teixeira, Edilson S. Cyrino, and Dartagnan P. Guedes

The purpose of the study was to clarify the independent association between sedentary behavior and physical activity with multiple chronic diseases and medicine intake in older individuals. Sedentary behavior and physical activity were measured by questionnaires. Diseases and medication use were self-reported. Poisson’s regression was adopted for main analysis, through crude and adjusted prevalence ratio and confidence interval of 95%. For men, sedentary time >4 hr/day presented a 76% higher prevalence of ≥2 chronic diseases, while physical inactivity increases the likelihood of using ≥2 medicines in 95%. For women, sedentary behavior >4 hr/day presented an 82% and 43% greater prevalence for ≥2 chronic diseases and the intake of ≥2 medicines, respectively. Sedentary behavior represents an independent associated factor of multiple chronic diseases in older men and women. In addition, inactivity for men and sedentarism for women are associated with the amount of medicine intake.

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Alex S. Ribeiro, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Danilo R.P. Silva, Fábio L.C. Pina, Débora A. Guariglia, Marcelo Porto, Nailza Maestá, Roberto C. Burini, and Edilson S. Cyrino

The purpose of this study was to compare different split resistance training routines on body composition and muscular strength in elite bodybuilders. Ten male bodybuilders (26.7 ± 2.7 years, 85.3 ± 10.4 kg) were randomly assigned into one of two resistance training groups: 4 and 6 times per week (G4× and G6×, respectively), in which the individuals trained for 4 weeks, 4 sets for each exercise performing 6–12 repetitions maximum (RM) in a pyramid fashion. Body composition was assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, muscle strength was evaluated by 1RM bench-press testing. The food intake was planned by nutritionists and offered individually throughout the duration of the experiment. Significant increases (p < .05) in fat-free mass (G4× = +4.2%, G6× = +3.5%) and muscular strength (G4× = +8.4%, G6× = +11.4%) with no group by time interaction were observed. We conclude that 4 and 6 weekly sessions frequencies of resistance training promote similar increases in fat-free mass and muscular strength in elite bodybuilders.

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Alex S. Ribeiro, João Pedro Nunes, Karina E. Coronado, Aluísio Andrade-Lima, Leandro dos Santos, Andreo F. Aguiar, Brad J. Schoenfeld, and Edilson S. Cyrino

This study aimed to compare the effects of resistance training performed with low versus moderate loads on systemic resting blood pressure (BP) in older women. A total of 29 women (72.6 ± 5.1 years) were randomized into two groups: low load (LOW, n = 15) and moderate load (MOD, n = 14). An 8-week whole-body resistance training program was carried out 3 days/week (eight exercises, three sets, 10 or 15 repetition maximum). The LOW and MOD groups trained with a relative load of 15 and 10 repetition maximum, respectively. Outcome measures included resting systolic and diastolic BP. After 8 weeks, both groups presented significant changes (p < .05) in systolic BP (LOW = −3.0%; MOD = −4.6%) and mean BP (LOW = −1.9%; MOD = −3.1%). There was no change for diastolic BP in the posttest in both groups. The results suggest that low and moderate loads are equally effective for promoting decreases in resting BP in older women.