3-time Olympic gold medalist, Nathan Adrian, explains why he uses the ancient art of cupping to recover.
Adrian continues to control the 100 meter freestyle for Team USA, recently dropping a 48.1 at the Santa Clara Grand Prix. Adrian’s in-season 48.1 essentially ties his (shaved) win at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships. With Michael Phelps in the 100 free mix this summer, Adrian will be challenged in this event.
Prediction: Adrian, after suffering sickness at the 2013 FINA World Championships, returns to form at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, winning the 100 freestyle in 47.36.
What’s your prediction for the men’s 100 free at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships?
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This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com.
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Sven, Thank you for taking the time to write such thorough replies to my comments on this subject. I fully understand your point of view. I don’t like it when people make jokes at the expense of others or belittle them because they lack knowledge instead of seeking to educate, but I respect people who can write a coherent argument. I’m not trying to make enemies here, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on a few points. You are obviously an intelligent man, and I hope to read many positive, constructive comments from you on this site in the future!
I never claimed to be an expert in exercise physiology or muscle development, I was only trying to explain in a manner that the average swimming fan could understand why somebody like Nathan Adrian might consider cupping treatments, but if you want to get more scientific:
Lactic acid, which can lose a proton in with to become the lactate ion, is a byproduct of muscle cell metabolism. During anaerobic exercise when the demand for energy is high, glucose is broken down to pyruvate and lactate is produced from the pyruvate faster than it can be removed from the tissue, so lactate concentrations rise. Even during moderate exercise lactate concentrations increase as a result of limitations in enzyme activity in muscle… Read more »
I understood the point, and anecdotal evidence absolutely has value, don’t get me wrong. I’m not even saying that acupuncture and/or cupping are useless, I’m not qualified to make that call. I was just asking for a case where a normal, healthy athlete was shown to have their muscle growth restricted by fascia as you suggested.
And again, lactic acid is not a waste product. Yes, the pH of blood lowers, but it’s not because of the lactic acid, and this study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15308499) says it actually slows down the pH change. And it absolutely does not cause muscle soreness, that is a myth. The proton causes the muscles to burn while exercise… Read more »
The effect of the production of lactate on acidosis has been the subject of much debate and study recently, which highlights the point that western style scientific studies are usually predicated upon theories which can not be set in stone. One study, even by the NIH does not prove or disprove anything, it just provides evidence that might direct further research in a different direction.
Although one could state that the production of lactate from glucose does not acidify the tissue because the H+ ions are absorbed in the creation of ATP, this absorbed acidity is released in the subsequent hydrolysis if ATP, so overall pH does lower. In addition, lactate is produced in RBC that lack mitochondria, and enzymatic… Read more »
I’m done talking about lactate. My only point was that referring to lactic acid as a waste product is not correct and that it is wrongly blamed for soreness after exercise. I’m not going to waste any more time on what I said from the beginning was a matter of semantics.
I actually agree with the second half. If Adrian or Coughlin think it makes them better, then that’s good and, again, I have no beef with cupping or acupuncture. Whether cupping works or not, I don’t think it’s going to be the thing that stops either of them from winning a gold medal, and just the confidence gained by believing in the process is valuable.
With that last bit,… Read more »
I do think that it is snide to make repeated negative comments about semantics and disrespectful to make jokes at the expense of members who post comments about their experiences. You know quite well that muscle soreness following intense exercise is commonly explained by toxins building up and the need for removal of waste products by people who are not familiar with the biochemistry involved. In fact, in the training required to receive a LMT certification that terminology is taught to students whose job it will be to assist athletes in exercise recovery. I repeat that the major point is that improved blood flow to the affected area is the matter at hand, and cupping may be an effective way… Read more »
I made one joke about someone using the phrase “they say…,” I’ll admit that much, but what else have I said that’s disrespectful? Yes, I’m skeptical about fascial stretching, but don’t conflate skepticism and rudeness. I made a correction and I asked if one of your statements was documented.
“You know quite well that muscle soreness following exercise is commonly explained by toxins building up and the need for removal of waste products by people who are not familiar with the biochemistry involved”
Yes, so I made you more familiar. My entire point from the very beginning has been that lactic acid is neither a toxin nor a waste product, and thus shouldn’t have been included in your initial comment.… Read more »
I must ask..how does he lose that much weight during taper??? Seems slightly bizarre, or at least I’ve never heard of that happening.
A good poop
Yes, I wondered the same thing! Maybe it’s muscle weight, because his dry land training is reduced. Interesting, not sure what that could be.
Predicting a 47.3 for Adrian? Oooff. That would be something. Having said that, he’s been a 46.6 in a relay so that roughly converts to a 47.3 on a flat start doesn’t it?
His relay times are the fastest in the field so far since 2012 .
Just finished watching the video.
Nathan LOSES 5-10 POUNDS on taper???
Most people I know GAIN weight on taper. Same metabolism, same appetite, less calorie-burning. How does one LOSE weight on taper?
I know. Crazy huh? Sounds like a lot of muscle-mass loss. Can’t be fat… Don’t honestly have an answer for that…
I was very curious about the weight loss comment also. Perhaps it is diet related… definitely worth a follow up
I would too. Definitely not more than 5 lbs, but it happened consistently throughout my adult career so I wasn’t too concerned. My guess was just I ate less overly fatty, heavy, or unnecessary foods.
I wonder if he loses some appetite with a decreased workload. A big guy like him could lose about 5 pound overnight if he is either carb or sodium (water) depleted. Otherwise I don’t get it.
I think that Adrian will go 47.5 or 47.6, around where he went to win the London Olympics… I think that Phelps and Adrian will both swim the 100 free at pan pacs…only one will beat the Australian star(s). (Magnussen or McEvoy)
Anything under 47.5 is a win for Adrian…but I think it’s time for him to make a drop…after gold in London and being sick last year.
I also do regular cupping/blood-letting, using pen-like sterile needle to prick the skin and help the blood flows out easily when cupped. It feels really good afterwards. They say it also helps rid toxins off the body.
Please name the “toxins” that cupping helps remove. A healthy individual will remove toxins just fine via the liver, kidney, and lymphatic system. I apologize for the tone of this comment, but I cannot stand the promotion of pseudoscience.
Ok, maybe they’re not toxins, but they’re definitely chemicals. 😉
You dare dispute the wisdom of “they?”
(I am not trained in cupping but I am a physical therapist and licensed massage therapist)
It is true that a healthy body is able to remove toxins in the bloodstream; however, an athlete who is regularly pushing his/her body to its physical limits will produce large quantities of waste products during workouts (ie: lactic acid), and it is difficult for the body to remove that waste before the next workout. This is particularly true in mature athletes with larger bodies and thicker muscle mass, because there is simply a greater distance for the blood/lymph to travel and more tissue to clean. If a swimmer is also strength training, microtears will be created along with the localized inflammation necessary to… Read more »
First, some semantics: Lactic acid is not a waste product.
And second, please point me to some evidence that fascia restrict muscle development. The closest thing I can find is a study from like 20 years ago with birds where they hung weights from the wings and declared that muscle was gained due to stretching, and not the weights (somehow).
I agree with Sven, lactate is not a waste product or ‘toxin’, it is a very useful source of energy for exercise and competition. Lactate does not cause post-exercise muscle soreness and in healthy individuals, lactate levels should return to pre-exercise levels about 90 minutes after training or competition, regardless of any warm-down, stretching or massage. (Warm-down, stretching, and massage are all useful for other reasons and may lead to slightly quicker lactate removal which is useful when swimming multiple races.)
If you have soreness or recovery issues, go see a doctor or a PT like Danjohnrob, who will help you with proven modalities that will help your athletic performance and health. Please do not pay someone to lance you… Read more »
…to prick the sin and help the blood flow out??? Do you mean out of the skin? That hardly seems clean to me, and I’ve never had any needles involved when I’ve gotten cupping (aside when I’ve had combined sessions with acupuncture treatment)
Mel , i am with u on this bold prediction . I have always felt Adrian’s bigger drop on 100 free would come one day soon ; specially after end of 2009 when the super suits were banned . He did a super relay anchor in 2009 in that 400 free relay and amazing others ones since than . If the Aussies leave a bit too much Energy at The CWG , Adrian will be defenetly the favourite with a great time . I would predict a 47.3 like u did . It’s in the range of his potential and maturity / age factors . This time i beleive Usa will take the gold on the 400 free relay ;… Read more »