Pint Of Science 2018 (#POS18)

In May this year, as in the previous one, I had the chance to take part in Pint Of Science (POS) which is a festival that delivers interesting and relevant talks on the latest scientific research in an accessible format to the public across pubs, not only in the UK. For more details please refer to

This year topic was “The equilibrium of being human” and the abstract is here summarised.

“Our body is in equilibrium when there is no change in motion or applied external forces. In athletic performance and daily life, maintaining equilibrium during movement is of primary importance to balance control and postural stability. As such, many physiological and sensory systems must become active to achieve equilibrium. However, these are challenged in athletics, ageing and disease.
This talk will explore the muscular and neurological systems that co-operate to maintain balance and equilibrium, what you can do to improve balance and why these systems fail in ageing.”

In one of the oldest and famous pubs of Bournemouth, the Chaplin’s bar along with other researchers and members of the public we had the chance to discuss our studies, answer questions, drive audience curiosity and solve possible concerns.
It was a magic night and if you would like to have a taste of it the slides are now available on Youtube.

I am looking forward to the next activity which is going to be The Festival of Learning where I will present the four pillars of health and functional fitness.

Suspension Training

Figure 1 – Navy Seal working out with TRX©.

In gyms and sporting facilities, more and more people are talking about CrossFit, functional, suspension, core training, and others. These are training methods that have been in the sporting world for a long time and previously were part of the cultural baggage of proper strength and conditioning trainer.

Recently the Gym-Business has turned the spotlight on these training methods, especially among others the spotlight was turned on suspension training.  In a nutshell, through the use straps and rings the suspension training allows you to train your body by taking advantage of its weight, a training practice already well known to gymnastics.

The most famous tools for this type of training are TRX © and Inkaflexx©. I had the opportunity to experience TRX©,  my self, and I still use for my workouts and to training my clients.

Figure 2 – Frontal view of the Core muscles.

The history behind TRX©  is fascinating; this tool was designed by Randy Hetrick along with his companions of the Navy Seal (special body of the US Navy) who used the parachute straps sewn together and combining them with repair tools for the dinghies. They come up with the TRX ©, with the purpose of training the military in extreme situations with little space and without any tools.

One the characteristic of this instrument is its light weight and therefore its portability. However the TRX © also has other advantages over the standard protocol of traditional bodyweight training: it improves the functional strength (often defined as the neuromuscular efficiency in the displacement of the body load, especially in daily activities) and at the same time allows to increase the flexibility, static and dynamic balance and the stability of the trunk.

One of the essential characteristics of this tool is indeed the possibility to train the core muscles (including the abdominal area, the pelvic floor, the buttocks and the lumbar musculature) figure 2 and to perform a complete three-dimensional workouts (on the three planes: frontal, sagittal and transverse) figure 3; all essential characteristics for an excellent functional training.

Figure 3 – The three body planes: frontal, sagittal and transverse.

The TRX© training is suitable for almost everyone, with the due precautions and precautions, in fact, you can tailor the intensity of the load by merely changing your position with respect to the tool to have a more or less intense stimulus. For example, in a chest press exercise or during a rowing for the back, the more you will be perpendicular to the TRX©  the more difficult the exercise will be.

Concluding suspension training is a training experience that I recommend to everyone, but always pay attention: in suspension training, there are many “un-official” courses and poor quality products. Always ask if your instructor has the qualifications to teach with specific tools such as TRX ©



  • Ryder A, TRX Suspension Trainer,Barb Gates 2014

Heat disorders

Outdoor training is a gratifying experience; however, it requires much more attention, as temperature and humidity may vary rapidly unlike than in a gym where there are adequate standards, therefore precaution should be used.

Especially in summer, we have to guard against all those risks that can come from excessive heat.

But what are the main heat disturbances? And how to recognise them Exposure to stress from environmental heat can lead to three types of heat disorders: cramps, collapse and heat stroke.

  • Cramps

This is the less severe malaise of the three main disorders due to heat and is characterised by an intense state of contracture of skeletal muscles. The cramps affect the muscles most engaged in the exercise that we are doing (so if you went out for jogging it might affect your legs). This disorder is due to dehydration caused by the loss of mineral salts and of course sweating.

  • Collapse

It is associated with symptoms such as extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, vomiting, fainting, cold and wet skin, hypotension, confusion and rapid pulse. Collapse occurs when the cardiovascular system fails to satisfy the body’s demands, which can occur during a moderate activity performed at very high temperatures.

  • Heat stroke

It is a pathological event that puts the person in danger of life and requires immediate medical attention. It is characterised by increased temperature, interruption of sweating, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse and breathing, hypertension, confusion and fainting. It is due to the collapse of the organism’s thermoregulatory mechanisms.


Hence, how to behave if you want to start exercising outdoors in the summer, avoiding any heat disorders

  • Timing

Keep in mind the timetable in which to perform your training. During the hottest hours, any activity is not recommended, thus avoid the time slot between 12:00 and 16:00 and instead workout when the heat is less intense.

  • Clothing

Assuming that you are aware that the more sweat does means that you are losing more fat. Said so avoid keeway (if there is no wind) or other clothing who increase sweat, it is better to opt for more breathable clothes that allow a regular and proper sweating. Further advice: wearing a hat or a bandana, is always a good precaution as will keep your head safe.

  • Hydration

During your exercises do not forget that your body will need to remain hydrated, to avoid unpleasant accidents and to maintain the rate of electrolytes and high mineral salts.

  • Environment

Prefer parks with shaded areas or other areas where you can stay a little cooler if needed.

  • Performance

The performance will unavoidably diminish, at least in the initial phase. Give your body the time it needs to adapt to new stress and after a few weeks at these temperatures, you can increase volume, intensity and duration of the exercise.