Exercise study is looking for research participants

An exercise science master’s student, Drew Gourley, is looking for research participants for his master’s thesis.

“We’re interested in looking on the effects of kettlebell training, kind of a high intensity interval protocol,” said Gourley. “So, participants are only gonna actually exercise for 12 minutes total and then we’ll have a warmup and a cooldown. We’re interested in seeing how that can affect a person who is previously sedentary in an unfit category, how it can affect their blood pressure. We expect it to be beneficial, but to what degree?”

Gourley is still actively looking for participants and intends to start the study after Mardi Gras.

“One thing we’ve found is that recruitment’s tough,” said Gourley. “That’s something I didn’t anticipate going into the study. Essentially, the ideal person to study is someone who is currently sedentary, and what sedentary means is someone who has not participated in 30 minutes of exercise three time a day for the last three months. So, if you don’t fit that category, if you exercise really well for one week and then you forget for two weeks, then you go back and do really good, you’re still technically sedentary. A lot of people don’t like to hear that about themselves. Then we’re also looking for people that are in a pre-hypertensive range. Anything that is 120 to 129 over 80 to 89 is what’s considered pre-hypertensive. These people are not in a disease category, just an at-risk group. If you’re in that range, you should begin lifestyle modifications which can either be through increased physical activity, which we’re focused on, or you can do dietary modifications.”

The majority of research linking blood pressure to exercise involves aerobic exercises not resistance training.

“The current research on exercise and blood pressure been for probably 10-20 years looking at aerobic training, so running, cycling, walking, jogging, and swimming,” said Gourley. “Any type of aerobic exercise is known to have significant improvements. These types of research have what the American College of Sports Medicine considers evidence A, which is the highest degree of evidence that this is effective and beneficial, so that’s known. Whereas resistance training, lifting weights in a variety of different ways is actually in what’s considered an evidence B category. They know that it can improve and there’s been a lot of studies that show resistance training can reduce blood pressure. It’s just not as consistent and the reductions aren’t as high, so it’s not as clear that that’s gonna be beneficial to all people.”




Kettlebell training has not been looked at much so far.

“We’re interested in kettlebell because it’s kind of a new area, there’s only a handful of studies, but when someone’s doing kettlebell training in an interval style program, it elicits an aerobic response,” said Gourley. “But, because it’s a kettlebell and it’s weighted, you also get some of the resistance trainings. There’s the possibility for muscular-skeletal development. We’re interested in looking at kettlebell because it meets both of those things. A big area of more recent research is what’s called concurrent training. That’s training that involves resistance and aerobics, but separately.”

The training participants will be doing is designed to target multiple muscle groups.

“The motions that we’re doing in this study specifically, because the kettlebell itself is versatile, we’re gonna be doing both upper body and lower body exercises,” said Gourley. “When you do upper body exercise, you get higher heart rate responses. So, the way we’re doing it is full body exercise. So, you’ll have upper body exercise where the heart rate can get a little higher, and then we’ll also be doing some lower body exercises where we’re hoping we’ll see an average heart rate between the peak in the upper body exercises and in those exercises that hit the larger muscle groups.”

If interested in joining the study, or for more information, contact Gourley at [email protected]