2014 Year in Review

It has been a pretty busy year! Here’s a bit of summary, and a bit of play by play.

Website:

I launched the website in August of this year, as a place for me to put down my thoughts, and write about topics I really like to write about. I get the luxury of writing with bad jokes, sarcasm, and well, voice. You don’t typically get that in academic/scientific writing- though don’t get me wrong, I like that a lot too.

Anyway, this site has been an enjoyable adventure so far. I’ve learned a lot about WordPress, a bit about CSS and HTML (emphasis on a bit- I won’t be coding any websites from scratch anytime soon). Since I started up Google Analytics tracking in October, I have had around 650 sessions and 1500 pageviews, which on internet standards, is a ghost-town. It is however, 1500 more than I had previously, so I really can’t complain. The onus is on me to create good content to keep that increasing! Thank you to everybody that has followed links to this site and read posts, or signed up for post updates.

Speaking of good content (har har- bad segway)- here are the most popular articles this year based on pageviews:

We are not training weightlifters
Software and Apps that I use – part 1
Software and Apps that I use – part 2

Scholarship:

On this front, things have been moving along rather well! I’ve had lots of opportunities for research and conferences this year, so I and my colleagues have been pretty productive. The fall/early winter was entirely dedicated to my dissertation. Here are the highlights:

Dissertation Testing
Slaving away for science!

 

Research Papers:

You can tell from my thesis, publication record, and my dissertation topic that I am a fan of multi-joint isometric testing. While I generally prefer isometric mid-thigh pulls, isometric squats seem similarly useful. This paper further supported the idea of joint angle training specificity.

The idea behind this paper was to give a run-down on all of the basics of force plate use. It wasn’t meant to be incredibly in-depth, rather it aimed to give somebody a pretty good working knowledge of how force plates work, how they are put together etc. It also has some good reference information for force plate specs.

These papers came from SPEC monitoring data, and helped to increase our understanding of the potentially useful reactive strength index-modified, which is calculated by dividing jump height by time spent on the ground in the countermovement jump or other type of jump. The original reactive strength index used only drop jumps, while RSImod can be used with others (although the calculation is the same). From what we can tell, this is a pretty useful variable, since it gives us some insight into how an athlete is able to use the stretch shortening cycle in relation to their jump height. It will probably add much to similar variables, like eccentric utilization ratio etc.

One of Tim Suchomel’s major research interests are weightlifting derivatives. He and I have some cross-over in interest in this area, and I’m lucky to be able to work with him on things, since he is a publishing monster! These four papers from Strength and Conditioning Journal and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research investigate on the hang high pull, the jump shrug, and the hang power clean. The sum totals of the paper make a pretty good argument (the JSCR papers anyway) that weightlifting derivatives don’t necessarily need to have a catch portion of the lift, since power outputs, forces, and bar velocities are pretty darn high.

Conference Papers/Abstracts/Posters:

Conference Presentations:

Events

I had the awesome opportunity to go to a whole bunch of events this year.  I went to the National American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Orlando, we hosted the Annual Conference for the International Society for Biomechanics in Sports here in Johnson City. I attended the Southwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Costa Mesa, CA, and finished off the year at our Ninth Annual Coaches and Sport Science College here in December! Awesome year for conferences.

ACSM Group Picture
Some good looking conference goers, if I say so myself!

 

I also had the opportunity to participate in a bunch of events on top of the academic conferences. We hosted Olympic Day again for area kids and we ran a small event for local high school kids interested in exercise science. The CESSCE hosted a hole at a local golf tournament, and I played on the CESSCE team. I would say that I played well, and made us look really good- but I would be lying! Lots of fun though. I also was the meet announcer for our annual Stoneage invitational in November. That was a blast, although I had no voice left by the end.

Future Directions

This next year will be filled up with continued research. It is going to be a busy year though, finishing up my dissertation, and thus my PhD, moving to wherever a new job takes me and my family, and starting that job… somewhere. I’m looking forward to even bigger and better things!

In 2015, I’m planning to write longer articles than I have previously for this website. So far, posts have been roughly 500-1000 words, and I’m planning to ratchet that up quite a bit. I may not write as many, but I would like to flesh out topics a bit more in depth. Stay tuned.

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