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Functional Resistance Training and Affective Response in Female College-Age Students


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 6 - p 1186–1194
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001895

Introduction Although resistance training (RT) can lead to acute improvements in psychological, physiological and psychosocial outcomes, prevalence rates remain low in college-age females likely due to perceived barriers. This study compared the effects of an acute bout of both a functional RT (FRT) and traditional RT (TRT) session on affect, state anxiety enjoyment and physiological measures.

Methods Females (n = 34, mean age = 27 ± 4.5 yr) not currently meeting American College of Sports Medicine RT guidelines completed four sessions (2 FRT, 2 TRT) within 4 wk in a randomized crossover design. Session 1 familiarized participants to the RT exercises. Session 2 consisted of 2 × 10 moderate intensity repetitions. Outcome measures included affect and state anxiety (preexercise, postexercise, and 15 min postexercise); enjoyment (post), and manipulation measures of session RPE and HR).

Results Between-condition comparisons indicate change scores in state anxiety pre- to post-15 (P = 0.028) and enjoyment levels post- (P = 0.02) were significantly greater in FRT than TRT. Within-condition analyses revealed pre- to post-15 changes in affect were positive and greater in FRT (d = 0.79) than TRT (d = 0.53, P = 0.47), and greater in decreases in state anxiety (FRT, d = −0.58; TRT, d = −0.37, P = 0.028). Mean session RPE was not significantly different between conditions (FRT 6 ± 1.2 units; TRT 6.3 ± 1.1 units; P = 0.11), though average percent of age-predicted maximum HR (FRT 68.7 ± 7.6; TRT 57.1 ± 8.4) was significantly different (P < 0.01).

Conclusions Findings suggest that compared with TRT, FRT is associated with higher acute positive psychological states, higher levels of enjoyment, and greater energy expenditure. Future studies are recommended to examine additional measures of affect and in-task timepoints to determine how these responses relate to maintenance and adherence, thereby potentially increasing the proportion of college females meeting American College of Sports Medicine RT and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity guidelines.

1Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA;

2Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA;

3Department of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA; and

4Department of Health Sciences, Lasell College, Newton, MA

Address for correspondence: Jamie Faro, Ph.D., Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 368 Plantation St. Worcester, MA 01605; E-mail:

Submitted for publication September 2018.

Accepted for publication January 2019.

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine