Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Use of Scientific Studies in Blog Posts

I'm going to start a short series of posts on what I believe to be the most common mistakes people make in their training. Training methodology can be a touchy subject, and I'm sure there will be a lot of disagreement with my opinions. So I want to emphasis that I will be only stating my opinions which are primarily based on 35+ years of experience on what gets results and what doesn't.

I do base some of my opinions on scientific research, but there are problems with relying too heavily on scientific research.  First, research often lags behind training methodology, and it often represents an incomplete understanding of the subject matter that can be misleading. While on-going research generally improves that understanding over time, on subjects as complex as human physiology, and biomechanics, there is still a long way to go before they are completely understood.

Second, there is also another issue with quoting research on a venue such as this blog, most people do not have the training to interpret scientific studies in the proper context. Some common mistakes people make with scientific studies are the following:
  • There is a tendency to over generalize the results and conclusions.
  • There is a tendency to see a study as proving something, and that is rarely the case with an individual study. 
  • There is a tendency to assume the study was well designed and the data was collected and analyzed correctly. Not all studies are created equal, and most people without the proper academic background will not necessarily be able to tell the difference.
    For the reasons outlined above, I'm not going to do much quoting of scientific research here. There are some great blogs written by people with the proper academic credentials that discuss the science very well. However, on this blog, my statements on training will be my opinions based on a variety sources such as experience, books, and also some research.

    Here are some blogs I like that are more about science and the research:

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