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Bracko, Michael R. Ed.D., FACSM

ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal: May-June 2011 - Volume 15 - Issue 3 - p 34-35
doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e3182160eea

Motivation for Resistance Training; HIIT Versus Traditional Exercise; Exergaming!; Long Slow Distance of Intervals for Kids?

Michael R. Bracko, Ed.D., FACSM is an exercise physiologist and director of the Institute for Hockey Research and Dr. Bracko's Fitness in Calgary, Canada. He is an associate editor and regular contributor for ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal® and works in three areas: 1) the health and fitness industry, by contributing to fitness magazines, media consulting, and presenting at health and fitness meetings such as the ACSM's Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition; 2) sports physiology, where he conducts research on the performance characteristics of female ice hockey players, teaches high performance skating, and serves as the physiologist and strength and conditioning coach for the U.S.A. Men's Deaf Olympic Hockey Team; and 3) occupational physiologist in the areas of back injury prevention, ergonomics, work-station stretching, and pre-work warm-up.

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This study asked if demographic characteristics or health self-determinism (intrinsic or extrinsic motivation) of participants at a fitness facility were predictors of participation in resistance training. There were 185 participants who were recruited via the Internet and completed an online survey. The subjects were placed in four categories: 1) men aged 18 to 39 years, 2) men aged 40 to 64 years, 3) women aged 18 to 39 years, and 4) women aged 40 to 64 years.



Most of the subjects indicated that they had resistance trained to the point of meeting national health organization recommendations (ACSM and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines). Demographics were determined by age, gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, income, and education level. Health self-determinism was measured using a psychological evaluation tool to measure motivation for improved health behavior. Responses were classified into either intrinsic or extrinsic motivation toward health self-determinism.

The results indicate that self-determinism predicted the quantity of resistance training that was reported, but demographics did not. Specifically, subjects who were motivated intrinsically to health self-determinism performed significantly more resistance training than subjects who were motivated extrinsically. Participation in resistance training was not predicted by age, gender, marital status, income, or level of education. Nonwhite subjects reported 18% more resistance training than white subjects, but this was not significantly different.

The authors suggest that fitness facilities might identify members who are motivated intrinsically to increase participation in their resistance training programs. In addition, the methodology used in this study could be used to identify people who are in need of increasing their participation in resistance training and developing a heightened sense of motivation to do so (2).

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for promoting health compared with prolonged exercise and strength training. Thirty-six untrained men (mean age, 31 years) were recruited for the study.

The subjects were divided into four groups: 1) interval running, 2) strength training, 3) prolonged moderate continuous running, and 4) control with no exercise. The interval running group had a 5-minute warm-up followed by five intervals of 2 minutes of near-maximal running, for a total exercise time of 20 minutes. Because of injury, the interval running group completed two training sessions per week instead of three, which originally was scheduled. The prolonged moderate continuous running group consisted of 1 hour of running at 80% of HRmax. This group completed 2.5 training sessions per week. The strength training group performed 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 16 repetition maximum for the first 4 weeks, then 6 to 10 repetition maximum for 8 weeks. They completed two sessions per week. The strength training group performed the following exercises: squat, hack squat, inclined leg press, knee extension, hamstring curls, and calf raises.

The results show that the participants in the interval running group improved their maximal oxygen uptake compared with those in the other groups. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by 8 mmHg in all three groups. Resting heart rate, diastolic blood pressure, fat percentage, and the ratio between total and HDL cholesterol were reduced more in the prolonged moderate continuous running group. Total bone mass and lean body mass increased in the strength training group compared with the interval running group.

The authors suggest that HIIT is good for improving cardiorespiratory fitness, but compared with prolonged moderate intensity running, it is not as effective as a treatment for hyperlipidemia and obesity. And finally, the authors indicate that strength training is most effective for improved muscle and bone mass (3).

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The purpose of this study was to determine if young adults expend enough energy to meet ACSM's recommended intensity of 3 to 6 METS for moderate and more than 6 METS for vigorous exercise when using three different interactive video games. Thirteen (six male and seven female) participants, 26.6 years, were recruited for this study.

The three interactive video games included 1) 3-Kick - a game that has three posts the participant has to either kick or punch when it becomes illuminated, 2) Jackie Chan Studio Fitness Power Boxing - a game that uses boxing gloves with sensors where the participants throw punches to beat their opponent, and 3) Disney's Cars Piston Cup Race - a game that uses a stationary bike to propel the car, and the faster the participant pedals, the faster the car will go.

Subjects were given as much time as needed to play and become familiar with each game. After baseline resting energy expenditure was collected for 10 minutes, each subject was allowed to play any game they wanted. The subjects also could change games as desired. All subjects played one or more video games for 30 minutes.

The results show that subjects reached a peak V˙O2 of 28.87 mL kg−1 minute−1 while playing the game(s). The average rating of perceived exertion (6 to 20 scale) was 14.0 (between "somewhat hard" and "hard"). Total energy expenditure during the 30-minute game time was 226.07 kcal. No significant differences were found between the three interactive games for average heart rate, kcal min−1, or total kcals. However, the V˙O2 during the 3-Kick game significantly was greater than the V˙O2 found during the boxing game, and the participants played the boxing game longer than the other two games. On average, the participants in this study did reach recommended exercise intensity.



The authors suggest that playing active video games in the United States is so popular that they may be used to increase physical activity. The use of interactive games to increase energy expenditure in college-aged individuals has many implications for health and fitness (4).

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This study compared continuous running and intermittent running and how it affects the aerobic fitness of 63 children aged 9.6 years. The children were placed in one of three groups: 1) continuous running, 2) intermittent running, and 3) control. The children were pretested and posttested on a maximal graded exercise test to determine peak V˙O2 and maximal aerobic velocity (MAV).

For 7 weeks, the continuous running and intermittent running groups participated in three 18- to 39-minute running sessions per week. The continuous running group used set, repetition, and duration protocols as follows: 4 sets of 6 minutes, 3 sets of 8 minutes, 2 sets of 10 minutes, 2 sets of 12 minutes, 1 set of 15 minutes, 1 set of 18 minutes, and 1 set of 20 minutes, all between 80% and 85% of MAV. The intermittent running group performed the following exercise protocol: 5 sets of 15 seconds, 10 sets of 10 seconds, 15 sets of 10 seconds, 20 sets of 20 seconds, all between 100% and 190% of MAV.

The results indicate that both groups increased peak V˙O2 and MAV. The authors conclude that many different forms of exercise can be used to improve the fitness of children. Moreover, they suggest that continuous running can be boring for children and for fitness professionals to consider a variety of training programs for children (1).

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1. Baquet G, Gamelin F-X, Mucci P, Thevenet D, Praagh EV, Berthoin S. Continuous vs. interval training in 8- to 11-year-old children. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(5):1381-8.
2. Kathrins BP, Turbow DJ. Motivation of fitness center participants toward resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(9):2483-90.
3. Nybo L, Sundstrup E, Jakobsen MD, et al. High-intensity training versus traditional exercise interventions for promoting health. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42(10):1951-8.
4. Siegel SR, Haddock BL, Dubois AM, Wilkin LD. Active video/arcade games (exergaming) and energy expenditure in college students. Int J Exerc Sci. 2009;2(3):165-74.
© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine.