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Volunteers of All Fitness Levels Needed for Weight-Lifting Study

By: Cienna Madrid

The Department of Kinesiology is recruiting volunteers to participate in a research study designed to test the efficacy of a newly developed wrist-worn activity monitor in workouts.

“We have developed a method for identifying weight-lifting exercises using a wrist-worn activity monitor,” explained Scott Conger, an assistant professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Kinesiology. “Now, we need to test it during a normal workout.” He added that no weightlifting experience is necessary.

As most people are aware, resistance training is an important part of physical activity. But to be able to determine the health benefits of physical activity, we need to have accurate methods of objectively monitoring it. Conger explained that while we have 35 years of research on monitoring aerobic physical activity using accelerometer-based activity monitors, no studies have determined if resistance training exercises can be tracked using these same monitors. With the popularity of wrist-worn activity monitors (FitBit, Misfit, Jawbone, Fuelband, Apple Watch, etc.), being able to use these monitors to track all aspects of physical activity is important to determine the health benefits of exercise. Rather than using a commercially available monitor, Boise State’s research is using a research-grade monitor that will allow Conger’s team to access the raw data to generate their own prediction algorithms.

“Sometimes, these types of studies work well in a controlled lab setting but do not work as well during an unstructured workout,” Conger explained. “Our current study for which we are recruiting has two purposes. In part I, we are going to try to use some more sophisticated methods and additional data channels to improve on our prediction algorithms. We’ll have a research assistant demonstrate each exercise for the participants, then have the participant complete one set of 10 with a light weight. Part 2 is to test these algorithms during an ‘uncontrolled’ workout.”

For the study, Conger is recruiting men and women between 18-55 years old who are in good physical health and have no physical limitations when it comes to completing various dumbbell exercises (with light weights). The time commitment is one visit lasting 1-2 hours.

The study requirements include:

    • Part 1  Template exercises: complete one set of 10 reps of 12 different dumbbell exercises using 15 lbs or less.
    • Bench press, shoulder press, lateral raises, overhead triceps extensions, squats, standing bent over rows, kneeling bent over rows, upright rows, bicep curls, calf raises, walking lunges, triceps kickbacks.
    • Part 2 – Free-living workout: complete your normal workout while a researcher follows behind writing down everything that you do.
    • During your workout, include at least one set of at least 5 reps of each of the previous 12 dumbbell exercises.
    • Can complete as many sets/reps and with any resistance that you choose.
    • Can complete any additional exercises that you choose.

“While this may seem like a study for weight lifters, we are really looking for people with all ranges of weight-lifting experience,” Conger added. “For our prediction algorithms, the more variety that we have in the participants’ experience with weight lifting, the better. For people who are not regular exercisers, we will provide a list of different exercises that they can complete for their free-living workout.”

Conger’s goal is to recruit 150 participants for this study (and can test multiple people at a time, if you want to bring a buddy). For more information or to schedule a time to participate, send an email to