One doesn’t have to do a whole lot of research into exercise programming and exercise physiology before they start seeing the name Dr. Andy Galpin appear everywhere. Dr. Galpin is a professor of kinesiology and the director of the Center for Sport Performance at California State University and his an industry leader in strength training research and research related to overall athletic performance.
Here are some important takeaways from what the new scientific research is telling us:
Dr. Galpern’s research provides us with a deeper understanding of how muscle fibers adapt to different types of strength training and how muscle damage, recovery, and memory play in an important role in achieving the results we desire.
One of the key findings from Dr. Galpin’s research is that muscle fibers adapt differently to different types of strength training. He has shown that heavy weightlifting leads to an increase in the size and number of muscle fibers, while high-rep training leads to an increase in the number of blood vessels within the muscle. This suggests that different types of training can target specific muscle fibers and lead to specific adaptations. Can someone say, “constantly varied“?!
Another important finding from Dr. Galpin’s research is that muscle fibers can change from one type to another in response to strength training. For example, endurance training can cause muscle fibers that are typically used for short-term, explosive movements to become more fatigue-resistant. This suggests that muscle fibers are not fixed in their properties and can change based on the type of training they are exposed to. One of the reasons we love using Mayhem’s programming in our gym is because there is an understanding of this and overall exercise physiology.
Dr. Galpin also conducted research on muscle damage and muscle recovery, showing that muscle damage is a necessary part of the muscle adaptation process, but that the severity and duration of muscle damage can vary depending on the type of training. This has important implications for understanding how to recover from training and avoid overtraining. Overtraining is one of the most difficult hurdles that many crossfitters struggle to overcome. We want to improve and we want to get better fast. So we start thinking more is better. But the science tells us over and over again that this just isn’t true. We grow when we rest!
Finally, Dr. Galpin has also studied the concept of muscle memory, which suggests that muscle fibers can remember previous training and respond more quickly to future training. He found that muscle fibers do indeed retain some level of “memory,” but that it is not as robust as previously thought. This research helps to explain why people who have been sedentary for a long time may experience more difficulty in regaining strength and muscle mass compared to people who have been consistently training.
So what can we take away from Dr. Galpin’s research that will help us?
When it comes to achieving the athletic performance and overall fitness results you desire, the following elements need to be considered in your training:
- Progressive overload: The program would gradually increase the weight or difficulty of the exercises to continue challenging the muscles and stimulating growth.
- Variety in training: The program would include a variety of exercises and training modalities such as heavy weightlifting, high-rep training, and endurance training to target different muscle fibers and promote different adaptations.
- Emphasis on recovery: The program would include appropriate recovery strategies such as adequate rest, proper nutrition, and active recovery methods to minimize muscle damage and promote healing.
- Monitoring of progress: The program would include regular assessments of strength, muscle mass, and other markers of progress to ensure that the individual is on track to achieving their goals.
- Adaptations based on the goals: The program could include different types of training based on the goals of the individual. For example, if the goal is to increase muscle mass, the program would include more heavy weightlifting exercises, if the goal is to increase endurance, the program would include more high-rep training and endurance-type exercises.
- Keep in mind that muscle memory is not as robust as previously thought, the program should not include extended periods of inactivity.
It’s worth mentioning that a program tailored to an individual’s needs and goals would be the best approach, taking into account factors such as fitness level, age, health conditions, and more.
Dr. Andy Galpin is a professor of kinesiology and the director of the Center for Sport Performance at California State University, Fullerton. He is also a research scientist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is known for his research on muscle physiology, muscle damage, and muscle recovery.
Dr. Galpin received his Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and his Master of Science and Ph.D. in kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, where he studied muscle physiology and muscle damage.
Dr. Galpin has published over 50 scientific articles and book chapters in the field of muscle physiology and muscle damage, he also been invited to present his research at conferences around the world. He has also been a guest on many podcasts and YouTube channels.
Dr. Galpin is also a competitive powerlifter and has competed at the national and international level. He brings his practical experience as an athlete to his research, which helps to ensure that his findings are relevant and applicable to real-world settings.
Dr. Galpin’s research has been featured in several media outlets such as Men’s Health, The New York Times, Forbes, and many more. He is considered an expert in the field of muscle physiology and muscle damage and has made important contributions to our understanding of how muscles adapt to different types of training and how muscle damage, recovery, and memory play a role in performance.