Connective Tissue Health

Most articles I read regarding studies about training protocols, movements, or supplements are terrible. For example an article citing a study of 36 untrained individuals performed different types of exercise and concluded the 2 various routines tested had similar outcomes in strength. Sounds great, problem is untrained individuals (beginners) get better from ANY new exercise. Unfortunately that improvement from any stimulus doesn’t last forever and doesn’t prove the efficacy of an exercise program. Every once in while I come across a good article providing useful information for training and I get excited to pass it along.
Recent research explored connective tissue’s response to exercise and it’s relationship to improvements in muscle building and strength. Post workout soreness, as it turns out, has less to do with the micro tears in myofibers (muscle fibers) and more to do with micro tears in connective tissues, specifically the extracellular matrix. In addition, the soreness itself is important in the muscle building response, and taking things like ibuprofen post workout and can negate the gains (gainz). Researchers also found that connective tissue responds to light weights with just 5 minutes of work, with a recovery time of 6 hours. Faster movements (olympic lifts anyone?) more specifically targeted and improved connective tissue strength compared to slower movements.
What you should do with this information:
-Practice movements like olympic lifts with light weights to improve movement efficiency and improve connective tissue strength for greater strength and speed potential.
-Enjoy the soreness, it’s good for you.
-Add 5 minutes of connective tissue love at least every day or even every 6 hours, it’s just 5 minutes. Light weight, any movements from isolated exercises to calisthenics. Focus on your problem areas like lower back, knees, wrists, etc.
-Foods like Jell-o are great fuel for connective tissue growth, eat your Jell-o.

Jeff Edwards

- National Coach USA Weightlifting - Crossfit Coach of individual and team competitors - Outdoorsy nerd - Owner and Head Coach at BR Fit Club