Episodes

  • The spotlight falls on the most influential sports science research ever published. A recent paper produced a list of the 100 most influential sports science papers of the last 100 years. Gareth and Ross choose a handful of them, discussing what they found, what their authors didn't know at the time (and got wrong), and what it means today. We discover that the arc of sports science knowledge runs through all these studies, connecting people from AV Hill to Noakes, and themes including oxygen debt, lactate, altitude, pacing strategies, fatigue, and even the 2-hour marathon !


    Show notes


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    Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The paper that inspired the episode, a collection of 100 influential sports science articlesThe AV Hill Paper on muscular exertion, oxygen and 'lactic acid'. The OG of sports scienceGeorge Brooks proposes the Lactate ShuttleNoakes, St Clair Gibson and Lambert explain the concept of complex regulation. This is the summary and conclusion paper. The more detailed papers are:Why the "catastrophic model for fatigue" fails to explain real-world performance physiologyEvidence for complex systems integration and regulation of muscle activityHow fatigue and performance help control homeostasis during exercisede Koning and Foster explain how pacing is regulated during exercise, using the RPE and duration remainingMichael Joyner applies his physiological determinants of the marathon to the sub-2 hour questionLundby's review questioning the performance benefits of altitude trainingA more recent review on altitude training that covers how periodization, managing training, repeat visits and smarter nutrition may help create and increase the effectA more detailed paper on the role of nutrition when at altitude Get bonus content on Patreon

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  • Mark Coogan has been there, done that and got the t-shirt. As a former track athlete, sub-4 minute miler, Olympic marathoner and author of the book 'Personal Best Running', Coogan is passing on his wealth of talent to some of America's top track and field stars with much success. In this discussion, Coogan talks candidly about the process of developing Olympic-level elite athletes, how to spot elite-level talent, what makes a champion athlete, how to train athletes for events as important as the controversial American Trials and the Olympic Games and whether the sport is in a good place globally. Coogan works in the engine room of top-class athletics and his insights will inspire all levels of sports people.


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    Instagram & X @mark_coogan

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  • In this Spotlight, the team discuss exercise in the heat, using the challenging conditions and travails of Mark Cavendish and others in the Tour de France's first two stages as the catalyst. We explore why athletes 'fail' in the heat, and how the brain pulls a physiological ripcord to protect us when we either don't pace ourselves appropriately, or can't lose the heat we need to in order to avoid critical hyperthermia. We also briefly assess the state of the Tour's yellow jersey battle, where the first shots were landed by Pogacar on the Galibier in yesterday's Stage 4. But will they be decisive, and how likely is Vingegaard to bounce back and improve as the race progresses?


    Show notes


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    Some papers on heat stroke and limiting hyperthermia

    A position statement on heatstroke, including details on risk factors and pathology. Find out about "leaky guts" here!One of the Danish studies that shows how the hot brain just stops activating muscle and causes us to fail at exerciseAnother paper showing that perceived exertion is altered by hyperthermia during exercise in the heat

    Tour de France insights

    This is the best podcast you'll listen to on the Tour, in my opinion. That is, if you really like a deep technical dive into the tactics of the raceThe analysis of Pogacar's record climb of the Galibier yesterday. Note that it was a hard stage, and so a real test of durabilityThe record was also broken on San Luca on Stage 2. Here's that analysis and power estimate

    The Olympic Sport bracket that Gareth mentioned on the show - will road cycling bounce back and beat the marathon in the popularity stakes?

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  • The Tour de France begins Saturday and in this Spotlight, Ross and Gareth gaze into their crystal balls to discuss whether Jonas Vingegaard, the two-time defending champ, can recover from his April accident to challenge race favourite Tadej Pogacar? They explore how his injuries will have set back his preparation, and the challenges he'll have faced to balance recovery with adapting for the demands of a Grand Tour. They also explain how his 'durability' may be compromised, and how Pogacar may look to exploit this tactically, to kill the contest in Week 1. Add in some speculation and predictions we both hope are proven incorrect, and you have a TDF teed up for discussion and debate!


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    Our TDF Fantasy League is open - here are the details


    The physiology of the Grand Tours

    What happens to the hormone levels during a Grand tour?Review of the physiology of the Tour, with some high level overviews of the requirements to race a Grand TourPerformance requirements of racing a Grand Tour, with some nice power data from the very best cyclists

    Durability in cycling, as discussed on the show

    A field study of durability in elite cyclists, showing a 3% (average) drop in 20 min TT power after a fatiguing bout. Note that the fatiguing bout used (10 kJ/kg/hr) is equivalent to an easy-to-moderate mountain day in the Tour. UAE will want rivals to do a LOT more work than this before attacking in the final 20 minutesA nice study looking at how fatigue affects the power-duration curve in elite cyclists. This shows that World Tour riders are more "durable" than Pro Tour riders, and that the greater the work before "the test", the greater the decline. Again, a cue for a rider who wants to win the Tour to put his rivals under pressure before the final climb

    Resource for power estimates in the Tour

    Pogacar's best climb of the Giro, because of the work done before it, and the altitudeCrazy high numbers from Switzerland on the short 43km stage where fatigue was not a factorRoglic's best Dauphine performance, contextualized against Pogacar at the Giro - just a few percent off where it needs to be to match Pogacar Get bonus content on Patreon

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  • Dr Tamara Hew-Butler is the Queen of Hyponatremia (@hyponaqueen on X). What's hyponatremia, you may be wondering? It is a condition that is far more dangerous than dehydration, and which can develop when we drink too much fluid during exercise, with potentially lethal and often tragic consequences. We have been conditioned to fear the health and performance risks of dehydration during exercise, to believe that we cannot afford to lose fluid, and that by the time we are thirsty, it's too late. But Hew Butler, a world authority on fluid requirements during exercise, is here to set the record straight, to explain how exquisitely our bodies regulate our sodium and fluid levels, and why we can and should trust our physiology instead of the marketing messages of sports drinks and water companies. This is an episode that will challenge beliefs, and set the record straight on exercise hydration.


    Show notes


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    Links to articles on the subject matter of the podcast

    Tami is lead author on a series of consensus statements on Exercise Associated Hyponatremia. This is the most recent version of that consensusThe Men's Health article mentioned on the show, discussing overhydration and quoting TamiA review article by Tami, published in 2017, with details on the physiology, treatment and prevention of hyponatremiaA 2022 paper by Tami, on the Physiology, Psychology and pathophysiology of overhydrationA study Tami was involved in looking at soldiers doing a 40km march, showing that drinking to thirst avoided the dangers of both hyponatremia and dehydrationIn the show, we spoke about research we did at the Comrades Ultramarathon. Here is one of the papers from those studies in the medical tentTwo papers on what typically happens during ultra-endurance exercise, first in Ironman athletes, by Sharwood et alA second paper describing over 2000 endurance athletes and the changes in body weight, sodium levels and hydration statusThe first case series of hyponatremic athlete in the Comrades, going all the way back to the 1980sTami's X handle: @hyponaqueen Get bonus content on Patreon

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  • Kenyan athletes are being banned, literally, by the hundreds. The country that produces many of the world's outstanding distance performers has a huge credibility crisis. It is clear that doping is widespread, but frustratingly, despite dozens of athletes being caught and banned every month, we are no closer to identifying how what have been described as "sophisticated doping regimes" are being managed and delivered to many of the best Kenyan athletes. In this Spotlight, the second episode of the Series, Ross and Gareth talk about the extent of the problem, the challenges faced by authorities who are casting their own spotlight on Kenyan running, and the shadow that sadly looms over Kenyan medals and records.


    Show notes


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    The latest AIU list of banned Kenyan runners, as at 1 June 2024. This list has since grown by about 30 namesA year ago, Kenyan government pledged to fight the doping problem with a significant investment. The bans now may be the result, but is it the solution?Rhonex Kipruto is one of the biggest Kenyan names banned to date. Here is the AIU Reasoned Decision describing the ban, including the results and graphs discussed by Ross and Gareth on the show

    Olympic surveys:

    Here is the survey we have created for you to rate every Olympic sport's "athleticism" and attributesHere is the "bracket", where you choose your favourite Olympic sport in a series of Head-to-Head battles. We are now in Round 2 Get bonus content on Patreon

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  • Dr Geoff Burns lives and breaths running. From his own accomplishments as an elite-level ultra racer, Burns has spent years researching the biomechanics of running, the science behind what makes great runners and the impact of the new super shoes in this new age of running. Burns has a PhD in Sports Science, is a physiologist with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and is a researcher and engineer with a special interest in running.


    SHOW NOTES

    Follow Geoff on Twitter


    The paper that describes the relationship between calf circumference and running economy


    The Japanese study comparing the tendon function of Kenyans to Japanese runners


    A paper that looked at cerebral oxygenation in Kenyan runners, another where the effect of being a good runner is hard to tease out from being a Kenyan effect


    Geoff and ROSS collaborated on this paper, as discussed on the show, looking at barefoot vs shod running in elite vs recreational runners


    www.geoffreyburns.com/stream


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  • Today we introduce the Science of Sport Spotlight, a category of podcast that we intend to use to round up all the big sports stories with a sports science angle, and then share those insights with you. Today, we discuss the news that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has lost a case brought against World Aquatics' transgender guidelines at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But it's not entirely as it seems - the case was dismissed because Thomas is not eligible to bring the case as Thomas is no longer a member of US Swimming. In this Spotlight episode, Professor Ross Tucker explains why that is frustrating for World Aquatics and other sports, and why the Thomas case would have made an interesting test in the court.


    Notes:

    Sean ingle's article on the decisionThe research paper by Senefeld that analysis Thomas' performance changes with testosterone suppression, alluded to in the showAnother research paper, on which I am a co-author, which explains why the IOC Guideline on the trans issue is so misguidedPatrons only: The discourse thread that mentions the Ultra cycling race won by a trans woman this past weekend

    You can join the ongoing sports science conversation, and support our work, by becoming a Patron member at this link.


    That Patron membership gives you access to our Discourse channels, where like-minded enthusiasts discuss sports science and news

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  • With 50 days to go to the Paris Olympics, it's all systems go for athletes, coaches, and media. Sean Ingle will be covering his 7th Olympic Games, and he joins us from Rome's European Track and Field Championships to talk about some of the themes we expect to make the news at these Paris Games. They include tech's pervasive and unavoidable influence on performance, a simmering feud in the world of anti-doping, and the evolution and relevance of the Olympic Games in the face of both external and internal pressures. We also present The Official Science of Sport surveys in which you get to vote for your favourite event of the Games, and our ambitious consensus project to classify the Olympic Sports by their physiological and psychological demands. A busy period of great sport starts here!


    Show notes:


    Here is where you sign up to become a Patron and get access to our awesome and informative Discourse community


    The Discourse page, for those who are already Patrons of the pod (you sign in with your Patron log-ins)


    If you want to join our survey to rate the Olympic sports for their athletic components, here is the link to the once-off survey


    Our 'bracket' challenge to pick your most engaging, popular specific event


    We spoke of tech in cycling on the show, and here's an announcement from Team GB/Lotus about their track bikes for their Paris campaign


    Here's the paper with Kenenisa Bekele has a co-author, that recognizes that the new era performances, powered by super shoes, and aided by wavelights, need an asterisk alongside them


    Follow Sean Ingle on Twitter/X


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  • Join host Mike Finch, co-host Prof. Jill Warner and Dr Dale Rae, Director at Sleep Science and a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Physiological Sciences at the University of Cape Town, as they discuss what good sleeping habits look like, what constitutes a good sleep routine, catching up on sleep, the effects of sleep deprivation and why sleep dictates mood regulation, body health and even weight gain.

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  • Dr Nick Tiller literally wrote the book on it, The Skeptics Guide to Sports Science (available from Amazon HERE). As an exercise scientist at Harbour-UCLA in the US, columnist, writer and author, Tiller challenges many of the claims made by marketers and others, in the name of sport science. With the team Tiller delves into the details of questionable sports science, how to spot the good from the bad and the areas where sports science is most vulnerable.


    Follow Nick:

    Web: www.nbtiller.com Instagram: @nb.tiller X: @NBTiller

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  • The team is joined by Professor Stuart Phillips from the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and one of the leading experts on resistance training. Phillips is the Director of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE), the McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Health Research and Lab Lead for the Exercise Metabolism Research Group. In this episode Phillips explains the amazing benefits of weight training, why even a little can reap big benefits for everyone and what sort of training suits best depending on your age, sport and goals.


    SHOW NOTES:


    Join us on Patreon for more content including access to our Science of Sport Discourse platform, and join the conversation!


    Follow our guest Prof Stuart Phillips on X


    Stuart's recent paper on the coming of age of resistance training as a primary form of exercise for health


    A previous article on Stuart's resistance training research from his university


    A few of the specific papers on strength training that were discussed on the show:

    Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young menTraining for strength and hypertrophy: an evidence-based approachLow-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young menEffects of once- versus twice-weekly eccentric resistance training on muscular function and structure in older adults: a randomised controlled trial

    Instagram handle for Avery Faigenbaum, Professor of Pediatric Exercise Science, who Stuart mentioned as a good source of information




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  • A wrap-up of the best stories on our Discourse channel: Spring marathon season: The top performers / Should Eliud Kipchoge go to the Paris Olympics? / Why track and field athletes are earning prize money in Paris for the first time / Is the UCI doing enough to ensure the safety of pro cyclists? / China's doping controversy sparks division in the anti-doping world.


    SHOW NOTES:

    The Guardian story on prize money in athletics at the Paris Olympics


    The Guardian story on the 23 Chinese swimmers who won Olympic golds after testing positive for banned drug


    WADA statement on the case of the 23 swimmers


    Travis Tygart from USADA releases a statement about WADA statement


    WADA statement following comments by Tygart

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  • Building on from our previous discussions on optimal fuelling for endurance exercise, in this episode we go deep into the details of why carbohydrates are the rocket fuel for our bodies, and how we can take advantage of metabolic agility and different fuel strategies to unlock performance gains. To do this, we are joined by Dr Jamie Whitfield, a postdoctoral researcher in exercise nutrition and an expert in muscle physiology and metabolism. We explore how your body ‘chooses’ whether to burn fats or carbs as fuel and which carbs it prioritizes as we change our intensity and diet. We discuss whether fasting or feasting before exercise is beneficial, and we learn whether ketogenic diets hinder or enhance exercise performance.


    SHOW NOTES:

    Jamie’s X account: @jwhitfie


    Jamie’s page at the ACU


    The article by Jamie and a former guest, Prof Louise Burke, responding to Prof Tim Noakes on Keto diets and performance. The entire point-counterpoint is available at the link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38485731/


    A research study that Jamie referred to that looked at how ingesting carbohydrates at different rates affected total carbohydrate use during exercise: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-022-05019-w

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  • In this special episode we join an exclusive panel discussion - in partnership with World Rugby - to debate the future of the sport as it battles to find a balance between the welfare and safety of players and the enjoyment of the game by both participants and spectators. On the panel is Dr Eanna Falvey, World Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer, and former British & Irish Lions Team Doctor; Kate Zachary, the experienced American women's captain and veteran of two World Cups; Ugo Monye, an English rugby pundit/commentator and former rugby union player who played 14 times for England, 241 times for his only club Harlequins and played twice for the British & Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa; English Test player Sarah Bern, who was shortlisted for World Rugby’s Women’s Player of the Year award in 2019 and our very own co-host Prof Ross Tucker, who is also a Research Consultant and Independent Scientist with World Rugby.


    SHOW NOTES:


    The videos from the entire Welfare Week, not just those preceding this session, will be available on the World Rugby site soon. They're not out just yet, unfortunately, but check back here in the next few days for the specific links.

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  • It's one of the hottest topics on our Discourse channel but can World Rugby's new law proposasl preserve the spectacle of the game while still ensuring player safety? The team dig into some of the changes being trialled and proposals for more changes.


    Plus ultra runners Camille Herron - who broke six world endurance running records on her way to a new women's six-day record - and Jasmin Paris - who became the first female to finish the legendary Barkley Marathon - have raised the question of how women compare to men in endurance sport. Is the gap closing?


    Plus why did a group of 26 independent scientists (including Ross) publish a paper to refute the IOC's framework and academic paper on transgender athletes?


    Support our work on Patreon HERE at and get free access to our Discourse channel HERE


    SHOW NOTES:


    Rugby rule changes on our Discourse group.

    https://scienceofsportpodcast.discourse.group/t/world-rugby-new-plans-for-the-game/1197/4


    Reassessing the use of the TMO in rugby

    World Rugby wants to ­overhaul TMO protocol which has come under widespread criticism for bringing too many lengthy stoppages to the game. 


    Women's Ultrarunning

    Discourse discussion on the Barkley marathon


    Sean Ingle's article on Jasmin Paris' Barkley success


    Transgender Paper

    The academic paper refuting the IOC's Framework and scientific argument


    Our Discourse discussion on the paper and the issues


    More than 100 elite British sportswomen have told the BBC they would be uncomfortable with transgender women competing in female categories in their sport.

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  • Never-say-die Maddie le Roux may have been forced to give up her dream of becoming a professional cyclist until the Zwift Academy changed her life and her career. Here's how hard work and pure determination helped this bubbly 27-year-old turn a dream into a reality.

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  • Is the field of sports science facing a credibility crisis? According to guest Dr Joe Warne, key instigator of the Sports Science Replication Centre at the Technological University in Dublin, most of the research done in the field is unreliable. So what is the true picture, how can studies be done better, what role do journals play in ensuring better standards and how do consumers discern the good from the bad?


    Show notes:

    Our Patreon page, where you can sign up for access to the Discourse and other benefitsThe Discourse discussion, for all the post podcast discussions, insights into sports science, and even training and injury prevention advice. For Patrons only!Joe Warne's original post on Discourse that inspired this episode (Patron only)Simona Halep is cleared to play. We'll wait for the full CAS Decision for more discussion of this decision, but if you want to read the previous decision that led to the four year ban, it's at this linkFor Patrons, via Discourse, more discussion about Halep's ban and clearing can be found hereArticle on the cycling race in Spain that saw 130 riders out of 182 not finish, and anti-doping had shown up. The degree to which the two are linked remains unclear, as discussedJoe Warne's Sports Science Replication Center websiteOne example of a paper that Warne's group has had published on this issue Get bonus content on Patreon

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  • Knowing how to measure and train close to your VO2Max may lead to big performance gains. But what is VO2Max and what's the best way to use it? We also discuss the latest developments around rugby's smart mouthguard and the announcement by World Athletics that they are trialling a new way of measuring the long jump which involves a take-off zone rather than a take-off mark. And no, it's not an April Fools joke!


    SHOW NOTES

    The New Science of Sport Discourse - a Patron exclusive, a community that we aspire to make the most well-informed forum on sports science in the world: https://scienceofsportpodcast.discourse.group/. Log in with your patron details


    Become a Patron of The Science of Sport to get access to the community: https://www.patreon.com/thescienceofsport


    The IFSC Policy on RED-S


    Article on that RED-S policy, including athlete interviews


    The Long Jump article re changing of the laws


    The BBC article on the mouthguards in rugby. Full of holes and errors, a bit of misunderstanding, and some outright dishonesty, which we tried to explain and address in the show


    The paper on the sub-2 hour marathon physiology that shows how those elite runners can get to 90% of VO2max for two hours


    A more lay explanation of the 2 hour marathon, again discussing how close to max elites can run


    Paper on how different durations of interval training affect Power, HR and RPE, which may be useful to guide your choice of interval session structure


    The research study that shows how 8 min blocks at close to VO2max improves VO2max and performance, and that the more time you spend close to VO2max, the greater the benefit

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  • Can you make your own sports drink and what would be the right mix? Here's what to look for. The team also tackles (see what we did there!) the use of smart mouthguards in rugby, whether trail star Stian Angermund was really guilty of doping, why parkrun has removed some of its records from its website and if the controversial Enhanced Games has any chance of succeeding.


    SHOW NOTES


    Stian Angermund Doping Case

    Reigning world short-course trail running champion Stian Angermund says he is innocent and “utterly bewildered” after testing positive for banned substance chlorthalidone after winning the 55km OCC event at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc for the second time last year.


    Also the Quartz WADA crossover

    https://runningmagazine.ca/trail-running/anti-doping-in-trail-and-ultrarunning-is-the-quartz-program-enough/


    James Magnussen and the enhanced games

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/feb/09/australian-swimmer-james-magnussen-enhanced-games-drug-taking


    Parkrun removes records

    https://www.parkrun.com/blog/news/2024/02/08/changes-to-statistics-on-the-parkrun-websites/

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