Fish oil supplementation has gained a lot of attention for their health benefits. Specifically supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids have demonstrated positive effects on blood pressure, triglycerides, and heart rate (1). Additionally, they’ve been shown to improve arterial dilation, possess antiarrhythmic and anti-inflammatory properties. All of which has been shown to have protective effects against the development of cardiovascular disease (1). But less is known about the role of fish oil supplementation in recovery from resistance training. A 2020 paper by VanDusseldorp et al. set out to examine the effects of fish oil supplementation on various markers of recovery following a strenuous bout of eccentric exercise (2).
A paper by Heileson et al. found that the minimum effective dose for fish oil supplementation to elicit a positive response on recovery was 2g supplemented for at least four weeks (3). However research has been conflicting regarding what the appropriate dosing should be. Therefore previously mentioned paper by VanDusseldorp and colleagues examined the effects of a seven week fish oil supplementation protocol where dosages were set to 2g, 4g, and 6g between groups. This was a well controlled study “Utilizing a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind experimental design, participants were randomly assigned to consume 2- (2G), 4- (4G), or 6- (6G) g/da of either FO or placebo (PL) supplementation for ~7.5 weeks (8 participants per group (4 males and 4 females per group); a 6-week run in the supplementation period, 1 week involving familiarization testing at the beginning of the week and experimental testing at the end of the week, and three days of recovery testing). Muscle soreness, venous blood (for the assessment of creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and indices of muscle function were collected prior to eccentric exercise, as well as immediately post, 1-, 2-, 4-, 24-, 48-, and 72-h (H) post-exercise. Participants continued to supplement until they completed the 72H time-point.” (2)
Participants completed eccentric squats on a smith machine at a tempo of 4-0-1 for ten sets of eight reps using 70% of their 1RM and taking three minutes rest between sets. Additionally participants were made to complete five sets of twenty bodyweight split jump squats. The primary metrics used to evaluate muscle damage and recovery were blood biomarkers, perceived soreness, vertical jump, agility test, forty yard sprint, and maximum voluntary isometric contraction.
Researchers observed 6g of fish oil supplementation had a beneficial effect on perceived muscle soreness. Whereby participants reported lower soreness scores across all timepoints of measurement. The 6g group also decreased the recovery time of vertical jump performance, and in some cases also resulted in better blood values when monitoring indirect markers of muscle damage when compared to the other controls.
So, what does this mean practically? Well, although the researchers did find a beneficial effect on recovery when supplementing 6g/day of fish oils the magnitude of effect was still relatively small. Therefore utilization of this strategy should be decided upon based on a costs benefit analysis. I typically don’t recommend many supplements to individuals. However from a health perspective I think fish oil supplementation is generally beneficial. So if you decide to take it for that reason you may also experience some minor benefits of enhanced recovery.
Finally, if you want a comprehensive analysis of primary recovery strategies and how to effectively utilize them for better results you can refer to my previous article “Optimize Your Recovery For Maximal Strength Gains”.
The writing of this article was prompted by all the social media posts I’ve seen talking about men’s mental health. Apparently November is men’s mental health month. That is unless you’re struggling with your own mental health issues. Then, every month, week, and day may very well be an ongoing struggle. Although throughout this article I’ll be referencing comparative data between men and women and differing demographics, the point is not to prop up men's suffering above women or anyone else for that matter. It’s simply there to elucidate the current state of men’s mental health, which is the central focus of this article. “Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” (1). This mentality exists in contrast to the current lack of awareness pertaining to the drivers of psychological ill-health. Social media and articles routinely discuss what to do if you’re depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But seldom does anyone discuss the complexity of the subject. Unfortunately, without truly understanding the issues that lead to ill-health it’s unlikely to come up with an effective solution and subsequent prevention strategies. Therefore the aim of this article is as follows:
Optimizing exercise range of motion to maximize muscle growth is a popular topic to discuss. As new research emerges, it often leaves you with more questions about the fundamental mechanisms and application of hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension is known as a primary driver of hypertrophy. Therefore it stands to reason that training a muscle through larger ranges of motion will create more tension, resulting in a greater hypertrophic stimulus. Although this makes sense at face value, it’s ultimately an unsatisfactory answer. At deeper levels of analysis, mechanical tension alone (or at least our current model) can not explain some of the observed outcomes we see both in the literature and anecdotally. The aim of this article is to provide a brief review of the topic, provide context to the ROM discussion, and offer practical recommendations to implement into your own training.