Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hydrogymnastics, Weight Training or Dance? What's the Best Workout to Achieve Your 2015 Physique Goals, Girls?

Do you really need a barbell or will hopping around in a group dance course or working out in the water aka hydrogymnastic suffice to build the 2015 cover model physique that's part of your new year's resolution? A recent Portuguese + Brazilian study may hold the answer to this "important" question.
It's about time to think about a good new year's resolution; and since any resolution that's aimed at losing weight and/or building a better physique, naturally involves exercise, the latest study from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro comes right in time (Soares Costa de Mendonça. 2014).

The study that was conducted by Rosa Maria Soares Costa de Mendonça, Adenilson Targino de Araújo Júnior from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro in Portugal, Maria do Socorro Cirilo de Sousa from the Federal Institute of Technology Education in Brazil and Helder Miguel Fernandes from the Research Centre for Sport in Portugal was designed to investigate the possible effects of 16 weeks of practicing different physical exercise programmes (strength training, dance or hydrogymnastics) on the body composition and anthropometric dimensions of adult women.
If you don't like any of the suggestions, try doing  HIIT instead!

Never Train To Burn Calories!

Tabata = 14.2kcal /min ≠ Fat Loss

30s Intervals + 2:1 Work/Rec.

Making HIIT a Hit Part I/II

Making HIIT a Hit Part II/II

HIIT Ain't For Everyone
The sample was comprised of 89 adult women aged 25–55 (41.42 ± 9.23 years), who were used to train at least three times a week and had no history of health issues that may compromise their ability to participate in the study. . Of these, 60% were married, 27% single and 12% divorced, all residing in the northeastern part of Brazil. As the scientists point out, ...
"[t]hese women were selected using a non probabilistic manner in specific locations, such as fitness clubs, hydrogymnastic gyms and a public municipal institution.
The sample was randomly divided into four groups, of which one was designed as the control group consisting of individuals that were sedentary (CG) (n = 25) and three were characterised as experimental groups:
  • strength training (SG) (n = 25), in which the ladies trained three times per week under the supervision of a qualified trainer and did 3 sets of 8–12 repetitions (weights were progressively increased) with a 2–3 min rest period on each of the 50–60 workouts in which all the major muscle groups of the upper and lower limbs were exercised with the use of either machines with weights, free weights or resistance equipment,
  • dance (DG) (n = 18), which the women trained three times per week at a moderate to vigorous intensity, which was defined as 60 to 85% of the maximum heart rate as identified by the calculation 220 – age for 50 to 60 minutes workouts involving activities activating all the major muscle groups in a continuous manner using basic steps and a minimum of three rhythmic variations of popular dance styles and aerobics per session with songs of a rhythmic cadence of 100 to 160 beats per minute, and
  • hydrogymnastics (HG) (n = 21), in which the women trained with a frequency of three days per week at moderate to vigorous intensity, defined as 60 to 85% of the maximum heart rate using exercises that involved the major muscle groups of the upper and lower limbs with a focus on cardiorespiratory exercises, followed by muscular endurance exercises using equipment such as shin pads designed for hydrogymnastics, dumbbells, bars, plates, floating devices and pool edges with each exercise taking from 2 to 3 min to complete and the whole session lasting 45 to 55 min.
All workouts were designed according to the exercise routines from the ACSM guidelines (Garber. 2011) and the adherence to the exercise prescription was monitored by trained personnel. The workout duration and frequency were more or less identical and even the intensity was similar.
Figure 1: Changes in anthropometric parameters after 16 weeks of training (Soares Costa de Mendonça. 2014).
As you can see all training regimen lead to measurable improvements in the anthropometric parameters. Of the three different exercise regimen the "exotic", i.e. the hydrogymnastics training, was yet on overall the most effective "belly fat reducer" among the three training protocols.
Figure 2: Changes in body composition (calculated based on caliper data) after 16 weeks of hydrogymnastics, weight training, dance or idleness (Soares Costa de Mendonça. 2014).
Things look a bit different, when we take the body composition data the scientists calculated based on the skinfold measures into account: Here the strength training has a slight, but not necessarily significant edge over the hydrogymnastics (keep in mind that the efficacy of hydrogymnasticsmay partly be due to a novelty effect, i.e. new exercise = greater response | see fat mass loss after 8 vs. 16 weeks). Every ladies favorite, the group based dance exercise is yet - once again - trailing third.
Don't forget: Female Athletes' Body Composition Suffers From Chronic Energy Deficits | learn more
Bottom line: While it appears to be clear that (a) starting your next year as a couch potato is going to increase your waist line and body fat levels significantly (remember the ladies in the control group of the study at hand switched from training regularly to being sedentary for 16 weeks), it is not clear if lifting weights or doing hydrogymnastics, which involved some "weight training", as well is the better 2015 body recomposition exercise for women.

What appears to be clear, though, is that the highly popular dance courses are the least effective 2015 exercise protocol to follow, when your goal is to improve your body composition without dieting | Comment on Facebook!
  • Garber, Carol Ewing, et al. "American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 43.7 (2011): 1334-1359.
  • Soares Costa de Mendonça, Rosa Maria, et al. "The Effects of Different Exercise Programmes on Female Body Composition." Journal of Human Kinetics 43.1 (2014): 67-78.