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ACE Fitness Research

Evaluating Trends, Programs and Practices

As part of our mission to protect the public and keep our health and fitness professionals informed on the latest science, ACE regularly commissions independent research from universities and trusted partners nationwide. The results are introduced in Certified, our monthly publication dedicated to helping professionals grow.

 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: Does the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® Model Enhance Training Efficacy and Responsiveness? DOES THE ACE INTEGRATED FITNESS TRAINING® MODEL ENHANCE TRAINING EFFICACY AND RESPONSIVENESS?

There’s nothing more frustrating for clients than to do everything you ask of them and still not see results. These clients are likely what researchers call non-responders. Exclusive ACE-sponsored research from the Western State Colorado University recently compared the ACE IFT Model to a more traditional training approach to determine if there is a difference in how well the two programs improve fitness and cardiometabolic health, particularly among non-responders. Learn More »


 

ACE® SPONSORED RESEARCH: Investigating the Acute and Chronic Health Benefits of TRX® Suspension Training® ACE® SPONSORED RESEARCH: INVESTIGATING THE ACUTE AND CHRONIC HEALTH BENEFITS OF TRX® SUSPENSION TRAINING®

By leveraging both gravity and an exerciser’s body weight, the TRX Suspension Trainer makes it possible to perform hundreds of exercises, making it a favorite among health and fitness professionals. Seeing a lack of research investigating the physiological responses to this type of training, ACE commissioned a study to quantify the acute and chronic responses to TRX Suspension Training. Learn More »


 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: Can Stand-up Paddleboarding Stand Up to Scrutiny? CAN STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING STAND UP TO SCRUTINY?

Anecdotal reports suggest that stand-up paddleboarding provides a tough core workout and plenty of cardiorespiratory exercise. ACE enlisted the help of two teams of researchers to quantify the physiological effects of the time spent on the water participating in this increasingly popular sport. Learn More »


 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: Can Elevation Training Masks Improve Performance? CAN ELEVATION TRAINING MASKS IMPROVE PERFORMANCE?

In the never-ending quest to gain an endurance-training edge, many athletes seek to harness the power of training at high altitudes. This approach is not practical, however, if you happen to live at sea level. The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 aims to solve this problem by mimicking the conditions of training at elevation and making breathing more difficult. The latest ACE-sponsored study tested the effectiveness of the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 to determine if it lives up to the hype. Learn More »


 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: Can You Get Fit Playing Ultimate Frisbee? CAN YOU GET FIT PLAYING ULTIMATE FRISBEE?

Invented by a group of high school students in the late 1960s, ultimate Frisbee—or simply “ultimate”—can be seen everywhere from the sunny college campuses of Southern California to the liberal arts havens of the New England, but does playing this sport offer any significant health and fitness benefits? Just in time for summer, the latest ACE-sponsored research study has the answer. Learn More »


 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: HIIT vs. Steady-State Training HIIT VS. STEADY-STATE TRAINING

By Daniel J. Green

With the start of a New Year comes a huge wave of new clients looking to get healthy and fit. But what’s the best way to help someone get started exercising and, importantly, keep exercising over time? The latest ACE-sponsored research study, which set out to identify the best form of cardiorespiratory exercise for individuals just beginning an exercise program, may provide the answers health and fitness professionals have been searching for. Learn More »


 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: How Will Wearable Activity Devices Impact the Fitness Industry? HOW WILL WEARABLE ACTIVITY DEVICES IMPACT THE FITNESS INDUSTRY?

Many people are wondering what effect the growing popularity of wearable activity devices is having on the fitness industry. Will new technologies like these one day render health and fitness professionals obsolete? Not likely, according to the results of a new ACE-commissioned survey, which found that clients frequently seek the advice of health and fitness pros on which devices to choose and how to use them to reach their goals. Learn More »


 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: Can Aerial Yoga Take Your Workouts to Another Level? CAN AERIAL YOGA TAKE YOUR WORKOUTS TO ANOTHER LEVEL?

Aerial Yoga, one of the latest evolutions of yoga practice, involves the use of circus hammocks to lift participants off the floor and enable them to achieve traditional yoga poses and realign the body. But does it offer a good workout? This ACE-sponsored research has the answer. Learn More »


 

Ready, Set, ElliptiGO!  ACE-commissioned Research Evaluates the ElliptiGO Outdoor Elliptical Machine READY, SET, ELLIPTIGO! ACE-COMMISSIONED RESEARCH EVALUATES THE ELLIPTIGO OUTDOOR ELLIPTICAL MACHINE

Elliptical cross-trainer machines have steadily ranked among the most popular cardio options among gym-goers, but what about those who prefer to exercise outdoors? The ElliptiGO machine hopes to provide that outdoor option for elliptical devotees. This ACE-commissioned research evaluates whether the relative exercise intensity and energy cost of exercise on the ElliptiGO is sufficient to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition. Learn More »


 

ACE-sponsored Research Evaluates the Effectiveness of Pedaling Backward ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH EVALUATES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PEDALING BACKWARD

The Cascade CMXRT recumbent exercise bike provides resistance for pedaling in both forward and backward directions. Pedaling backward doesn’t translate directly to the movements performed during a typical bike ride, but can it provide benefits beyond those seen with regular cycling? ACE teams with the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse to find out.

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ACE Study Examines Effects of Bikram Yoga on Core Body Temps ACE STUDY EXAMINES EFFECTS OF BIKRAM YOGA ON CORE BODY TEMPS

Despite Bikram yoga's wide range of potential benefits, the question of safety regarding the performance of exercise in hot, humid environments has lingered. In this exclusive ACE-sponsored study, researchers examined the effects of exercising in such extreme conditions.

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ACE-sponsored Research: Identifying the Best Method to Program Exercise Intensity IDENTIFYING THE BEST METHOD TO PROGRAM EXERCISE INTENSITY

Exercise intensity is typically presented as a percentage of heart-rate reserve, maximum heart rate or VO2reserve, but this method often yields mixed results. A new ACE-commissioned study compared the effectiveness of two exercise-training programs for improving cardiorespiratory fitness: the ACE three-zone training model versus the more common relative-percent method. Read on to learn their findings and how to apply them.

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ACE-sponsored Research: Are Activity Trackers Accurate? ARE ACTIVITY TRACKERS ACCURATE?

Activity trackers are everywhere these days, but when it comes to tracking steps and calories, are they really accurate? A new ACE-sponsored research study examined five popular activity trackers to determine whether or not they are worth your time or your money.

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ACE Research Study: Sequencing Exercise for Optimum Results ACE RESEARCH STUDY: SEQUENCING EXERCISE FOR OPTIMUM RESULTS

Industry guidelines spell out how much the various types of training should be performed each week. But when it comes to creating your clients’ programs, is there an optimal order for performing cardio, resistance, flexibility and neuromotor exercise? This exclusive new ACE-sponsored study sheds light on how to best organize your workouts for maximum results.

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Dynamite Delts: ACE Research Identifies Top Shoulder Exercises DYNAMITE DELTS: ACE RESEARCH IDENTIFIES TOP SHOULDER EXERCISES

When it comes to both functional strength and aesthetics, strong shoulder muscles are key. But what’s the best way to effectively strengthen and shape the entire shoulder muscle? To learn the answer, check out this exclusive ACE study, which evaluated 10 popular shoulder exercises to determine which ones are the most effective.

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ACE Study Reveals Best Biceps Exercises ACE STUDY REVEALS BEST BICEPS EXERCISES

Some call them the vanity muscles—and for good reason. In gyms across the nation, the biceps are among the most coveted, sought after and overly trained muscles in the human body. But what’s the best way to safely build strong and defined biceps? Exclusive ACE-sponsored research evaluates eight popular biceps exercises to determine which is the most effective.

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Improve Walking Workouts with Weighted Vests IMPROVE WALKING WORKOUTS WITH WEIGHTED VESTS

If you work with highly unfit or overweight clients, the latest ACE-commissioned study offers important findings for how to safely increase the intensity of your clients’ walking workouts through the use of weighted vests. Plus, we include several ready-to-go walking workouts that you can begin using with your clients today. Learn More »


 

Abs! Abs! Abs! ABS! ABS! ABS!

Strong abs are about much more than good looks—they are key to increasing core strength and endurance, improving posture, reducing low-back pain and enhancing sport performance. In keeping with its role as America’s Workout Watchdog®, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned exclusive research to determine just how effective some of the most popular devices and ab exercises are in comparison to the traditional crunch.

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Exclusive ACE Research: Do Youth Coaches Need Coaching, Too? EXCLUSIVE ACE RESEARCH: DO YOUTH COACHES NEED COACHING, TOO?

How experienced and knowledgeable are the volunteers coaching youth sports? After all, they’re responsible for keeping kids safe, whether on the field or during practice. Though no one expects these valiant volunteers to have advanced degrees in exercise science, this exclusive ACE study exposes alarming gaps in qualifications for those who coach youth sports.

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CrossFitTM: New Research Puts Popular Workout to the Test  CROSSFITTM: NEW RESEARCH PUTS POPULAR WORKOUT TO THE TEST

By Paige Babiash, M.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Jeffery Steffen, Ph.D., Scott Doberstein, M.S., and Carl Foster, Ph.D.
CrossFitTM is, arguably, the hottest trend in fitness these days, with legions of devotees performing WODs (workouts of the day). But are these short, high-intensity workouts enough to get you fit? This ACE-sponsored study, which looked at the calorie burn and intensity of two popular CrossFit workouts, has the answer.

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Is Tabata All It's Cracked Up To Be? IS TABATA ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE?

Tabata, a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is one of the hottest trends in fitness right now, with legions of exercisers doing high-intensity Tabata-style workouts, including most notably the CrossFit community. In this exclusive ACE-sponsored study, researchers examined the physiological responses to a Tabata-style workout to determine if it is really as effective as many believe it to be.

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ACE-sponsored Research: The Metabolic Cost of Weighted Vests During Standing Cycling THE METABOLIC COST OF WEIGHTED VESTS DURING STANDING CYCLING

Indoor cycling is ideal for challenging the cardiovascular system and burning a ton of calories. New ACE-sponsored research suggests that incorporating more standing cycling—with or without weighted vests, which help simulate hill climbing—can be an effective way to increase the intensity of indoor cycling even more.

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ACE-sponsored Study: Hot Yoga—Go Ahead and Turn Up the Heat ACE-SPONSORED STUDY: HOT YOGA—GO AHEAD AND TURN UP THE HEAT

The heat and humidity are stifling. Sweat pours down the brows and bodies of two dozen people as they contort into vinyasa yoga poses, diligently trying to follow along with the instructor. Based on the heat this could be India, the birthplace of yoga. But it’s actually winter in Wisconsin, at The Body and Sol Yoga Studio in the little town of Onalaska.

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ACE Sponsored Research Study: Kettlebells Kick Butt ACE SPONSORED RESEARCH STUDY: KETTLEBELLS KICK BUTT

To analyze the fitness benefits of kettlebell training, ACE, America’s Workout Watchdog, enlisted the research experts at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science to conduct a full-fledged training study. Learn More »


 

ACE-sponsored Research: Can You QiDance™ Your Way to Fitness? CAN YOU QIDANCE YOUR WAY TO FITNESS?

By Megan E. Buermann, M.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Cordial Gillette, Ph.D., and Carl Foster, Ph.D. Following in the footsteps of other popular dance-inspired workouts, QiDance is touted as a fun way to burn lots of calories. But is it worth your time? Exclusive ACE research puts QiDance to the test.

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Human Joysticks HUMAN JOYSTICKS

Could a videogame be the secret to making our kids more fit and less fat? First introduced in Japan in 1998, see how this dance videogame commonly known as DDR measures up as ACE tests its efficacy in this university-based research study. Learn More »


 

Wellness on Wheels WELLNESS ON WHEELS

With a recent study showing that mothers of young children are less likely to get even the minimum amount of exercise they need to stay healthy compared to women of a similar age without kids, ACE studies the calorie burn and body benefits of walking with a baby stroller. Just how good is this workout? Learn More »


 

Toning Pants—Too Good to Be True? TONING PANTS—TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

By Alexa Kleingartner, M.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Scott Doberstein, M.S., Charles Hendrix, M.S., Carl Foster, Ph.D.

Fila USA claims its Toning Resistance Tight Capri provides a “50% increase in muscle workouts.” But does this $50 exercise pant really work as advertised? A new ACE-commissioned research study offers answers.

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ACE-Sponsored Research: Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises TOP 3 MOST EFFECTIVE CHEST EXERCISES

Whether you’re swinging a tennis racket, throwing a baseball, or pushing a lawnmower or grocery cart, strong chest muscles are essential to a wide range of everyday activities and sports Learn More »


 

Zumba Fitness: Sure It’s Fun But Is it Effective? ZUMBA FITNESS: SURE IT’S FUN BUT IS IT EFFECTIVE?

By Mary Luettgen, M.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Carl Foster, Ph.D., Richard Mikat, Ph.D., and Jose Rodriguez-Morroyo, Ph.D. Zumba fitness has quickly grown to one of the most popular group exercise classes on the planet. In fact, the Latin-dance inspired workout is reportedly performed by more than 12 million people at 110,000 sites, in 125 countries around the world.

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Does the Mega-selling Shake Weight Live Up to the Hype? DOES THE MEGA-SELLING SHAKE WEIGHT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?

Hitting the infomercial airwaves in 2009 with promises like these, Shake Weight quickly became one of the hottest-selling products on TV. Learn More »


 

Does P90X Really Bring It? DOES P90X REALLY BRING IT?

With more than 3 million copies sold, P90X has been the best-selling home exercise program for seven years in a row and has attracted legions of fans including celebrities, weekend warriors and stay-at-home moms. But is it really as effective as the infomercials claim? Exclusive ACE-sponsored research puts it to the test. Learn More »


 

Like Barefoot, Only Better? LIKE BAREFOOT, ONLY BETTER?

Barefoot-style and minimalist shoes are one of the hottest trends to sweep the footwear category since Nike Waffle Trainer running shoes and Crocs. Learn More »


 

ACE-sponsored Research: Best Triceps Exercises BEST TRICEPS EXERCISES

Women from all walks of life struggle to avoid the dreaded flabby, jiggly arms—and they often turn to personal trainers and fitness pros for help. “Guys always want to get rid of their bellies, while women always seem to want to tone their triceps,” says John Porcari, Ph.D., a physiologist with the University of Wisconsin. Learn More »


 

An Elliptical Cross-Trainer on Three Wheels? AN ELLIPTICAL CROSS-TRAINER ON THREE WHEELS?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take your elliptical trainer outdoors? That’s the concept behind the StreetStrider, which uses the movements of both the legs and the arms to meld the motion of jogging, cycling, and cross-country skiing into one. But does it offer a good workout? New exclusive ACE research examines the fitness benefits of this product. Learn More »


 

Power Balance or Power of Persuasion? POWER BALANCE OR POWER OF PERSUASION?

By John P. Porcari, PH.D., Rachel Hazuga, M.S., Carl Foster, PH.D., Scott Doberstein, Jordan Becker, Dennis Kline, Thomas Mickschl, and Chris Dodge, with Mark Anders Exclusive ACE Study Tests the Claims of the Popular Power Balance Bracelets Learn More »


 

ACE-Sponsored Research: Exergaming—Not Just for Kids Anymore! EXERGAMING—NOT JUST FOR KIDS ANYMORE!

Exergames have been proven to help get kids moving—now new ACE-sponsored research shows that video games like Wii Fit® Shaun White Snowboarding, XaviX® Boxing and Dancetown® are a great way to help older adults become more physically active as well. Learn how these video games can be used to complement traditional exercise programs. Learn More »


 

ACE-sponsored Research: Hooping—Effective Workout or Child’s Play? HOOPING—EFFECTIVE WORKOUT OR CHILD’S PLAY?

Is the hula hoop fitness trend truly an effective workout or just fun and games? Exclusive new ACE-sponsored research puts hooping to the test to determine its intensity and calorie-burning benefits…and you just might be surprised by the results. Learn More »


 

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: Validating the Talk Test as a Measure of Exercise Intensity VALIDATING THE TALK TEST AS A MEASURE OF EXERCISE INTENSITY

By CARL FOSTER, Ph.D., and JOHN P. PORCARI, Ph.D. In a world where technology is king, some might consider the decidedly low-tech Talk Test more akin to the court jester. But a growing body of research is helping to elevate its status as a valid and easy-to-use tool for helping clients exercise at the appropriate intensity level. Learn More »


 

ACE-sponsored Research: Exploring the Effects of Music on Exercise Intensity EXPLORING THE EFFECTS OF MUSIC ON EXERCISE INTENSITY

By CARL FOSTER, Ph.D., and JOHN POCARI, Ph.D., with MARK ANDERS “Music is like a legal drug for athletes,” says one of the leading authorities on music and exercise. New ACE-sponsored research confirms that claim, with seven studies demonstrating the power of music to improve exercise performance and, of course, make it more enjoyable. Learn how to apply this research to enhance your clients’ workout experiences. Learn More »


 

Wii Fit — Or Just A Wee Bit? WII FIT — OR JUST A WEE BIT?

Since its launch in late 2007, the Wii Fit has sold well over 21 million units and, at the time of this research, was the third best-selling video game of all time. These stats are encouraging, given the well-publicized epidemic of childhood obesity in our country and the fact that obesity and its complications cause as many as 300,000 premature deaths each year. Learn More »


 

Dance the Calories Away DANCE THE CALORIES AWAY

The PC-based exer-game, Dancetown, encourages older adults and those in retirement communities to follow onscreen dance step cues on a wired dance pad while the computer records their accuracy. But does it really produce the exercise intensity to be beneficial? Learn More »


 

Drop and Give Me 20! DROP AND GIVE ME 20!

The boot-camp trend is still going strong perhaps because it’s not really trendy at all. The workout is simple, goes back to basics, is not tied to a single piece of equipment and uses a motivating team-oriented atmosphere. Discover the fitness benefits of popular boot camp style workouts in this unique ACE study. Learn More »


 

The Wii: As Good as the Real Thing? THE WII: AS GOOD AS THE REAL THING?

In the fall of 2006, a new video game system called the Nintendo Wii hit the streets and quickly became an instant hit with a full-fledged craze, selling more than 11 million consoles in the Americas alone. But is the exercise you get through the exer-gaming system as good as the real thing? Learn More »


 

Function Follows Fitness FUNCTION FOLLOWS FITNESS

Many fitness professionals have been promoting functional fitness programs as a way for older adults to remain active and independent as they age. But how beneficial is this form of exercise and how quickly can benefits be reaped? Learn More »


 

Do You 10K a Day? DO YOU 10K A DAY?

Given that society spends at least half of our waking hours on the job, ACE turns to the workplace to examine the physical activity of 10 common job occupations. How much of a workday workout are you getting? From teachers and police officers, to nurses and receptionists, see how you measure up. Learn More »


 

Mind Over Body MIND OVER BODY

A new ACE sponsored study measured what happens when athletes think they're getting an extra boost in the form of "super-oxygenated" water. Can the mind trick the body into performing better? Learn More »


 

Glutes to the Max GLUTES TO THE MAX

Gluteus maximus, rear end, tush, gluteals, butt, rump, “the sit” muscles, bottom, buttocks, boo-tay. Nothing really seems to roll off the tongue. But for better or worse, it’s one of the biggest reasons people exercise. So what are the most effective exercises for the glutes? Learn More »


 

Can Pilates Do it All CAN PILATES DO IT ALL

Pilates is still one of the hottest trends in fitness with its long list of benefits including improved body mechanics, balance, coordination, strength and flexibility. But is it enough to keep you aerobically fit? Learn More »


 

Does Yoga Really Do the Body Good? DOES YOGA REALLY DO THE BODY GOOD?

Exercise enthusiasts are flocking to yoga studios in hopes of reaping the benefits of improved mind-body connection, improved muscle tone and strength, better balance and increased flexibility. But just how beneficial is the 5,000 year old practice of Hatha yoga? Learn More »


 

ACE Puts Curves to the Test ACE PUTS CURVES TO THE TEST

Between its inception in 1992 and the time of this research study, more than four million women joined the 30-minute circuit-training gyms, Curves. The fastest growing franchise in U.S. history, women love it, but does their popular circuit workout really work? Learn More »


 

The Perfect Push-up THE PERFECT PUSH-UP

As seen on TV! Created by a former U.S. Navy SEAL, see if the Perfect Push-up by BodyRev lives up to its claims of maximizing the effectiveness of this basic exercise with better results in less time. Learn More »


 

Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time? KETTLEBELLS: TWICE THE RESULTS IN HALF THE TIME?

These cannonball-shaped iron orbs with handles lifted in a swinging motion were developed by Russian strongmen in the early 1700s as a way to build strength, balance, flexibility and endurance quickly. Learn More »


 

Krank It KRANK IT

The Krankcycle resembles a conventional Upper Body Ergometer (UBE) in which you sit and essentially “pedal” with your hands. The UBE is standard issue in rehab environments, but healthy exercisers have traditionally paid little attention to the machines in the gym environment. Learn More »


 

Getting To The Bottom of EMS GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF EMS

The potential draw for consumers is the notion they can tone their muscles without taking the time to exercise. Can you get the buttocks you want with the Slendertone Bottom Toner or are the claims too good to be true? Learn More »


 

Toning Shoes - Will They Really Give You a Better Body? TONING SHOES - WILL THEY REALLY GIVE YOU A BETTER BODY?

Toning shoes, each of which uses uniquely shaped rounded soles and extra cushioning to alter the wearer’s normal walking gait, are currently all the rage in footwear, but is all the buzz and marketing hype too good to be true? Learn More »


 

New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises NEW STUDY PUTS THE CRUNCH ON INEFFECTIVE AB EXERCISES

In recent years, a host of infomercial products and exercise videos have preyed on people’s desire for a toned mid-section. But what is the best, most efficient route to tighter abs? We look at 13 of the most common ab exercises, ranking them from best to worst. Learn More »