Exercise as Medicine

See how our strength and conditioning coach, Ben Fletcher, helped transform the gym habits of four people at Push Doctor.

Video

How it works

Ben Fletcher is our fitness and conditioning expert. He’s worked with elite athletes in sports such as football and rugby and is an accredited member of the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA).

We tasked Ben with creating a training programme for four healthy members of the Push Doctor team, who are sat at desks for the majority of the working day. We wanted to see if NHS physical activity recommendations delivered meaningful results over nine weeks.

The programme in numbers

Over just nine weeks
Personalised@x5

Body Composition

 
Muscle mass increase of 1.5kg, fat mass decrease of 1.8kg and body fat reduced by 2.4%.
Tailored Nutrition@x5

Heart

 
Resting heart rate reduction of 16% and visible strength improvements across all four participants.
Training@x5

Endurance

 
Aerobic endurance improved by 5%, peak power increased by 12% and power per kilo improved by 9%.
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strength-conditioning

Our training methods

The training programme was performed on four days per week for nine weeks and included two strength sessions (total body) and two endurance sessions (performed on the Wattbike). All strength sessions were designed and delivered by a strength and conditioning coach, while endurance sessions could be completed without supervision. Participants were asked to refrain from extra training performed on their own, however, weekend activities such as walking were acceptable.

Training yourself

If you want to build your own training programme, Ben has created tutorial videos to show you how to carry out strength and conditioning exercises safely and effectively.

Strength Training
High Hurdle Exercises
Landing Exercises
Trap Bar Deadlift Exercises
Hip Bridge Exercises
Split Squat Exercises
Romanian Deadlift Exercises

Our approach to testing

Peak power, the 30-second test and 5-minute aerobic test were performed on the Wattbike. Blood pressure was taken using the Omron M10-IT Digital Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor and body composition was assessed by an ISAK-accredited nutritionist using skin calipers and the Reilly (2009) equation, and a Movement Screen was performed to assess participants’ movement patterns.

exercise-bike

Results

heart-rate

Although there was no difference in systolic and diastolic pressure, resting heart rate was reduced on average by 16% across the four participants. The average improvement in the five-minute aerobic test was 5%, while average power and power per kilo improved by 8% and 9% respectively on the 30-second test. Peak power increased by 12%.

On average, fat mass was reduced by 1.8kg, while muscle mass increased by 1.5kg. Although no formal strength testing was performed and included in the remit of this study, a continuous improvement in the resistance lifted was observed. Case in point, if we consider the trap-bar deadlift, the average starting weight was 0.57 x the participant’s bodyweight, with an average finishing weight of 1.16 x their bodyweight after nine weeks. The pre and post movement screen showed further positive improvements in movement patterns.
fat-percentage

Conclusion

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improvement

A progressive nine-week training programme will improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance and peak power scores. In addition, a training programme will reduce resting heart rate and positively impact an individual's body composition, muscle strength and movement competency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limitations

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Natural, but unavoidable limitations in the study that are worth noting. Firstly, sessions being missed altogether in some cases due to schedule conflicts, holidays or illness. This meant that the programme could not be delivered to the letter for some participants, in much the same way training programmes are often delivered or realised in the “real” world.
Further, nutritional support was not included in the scope of this study – though the support of a nutritionist was used to measure body composition. Future studies could include nutritional support or analysis to determine whether it was the fitness programme in isolation that produced the above results, or a combination of the programme and a conscious dietary decision made by the participants.

Our training methods

The training programme was performed on four days per week for nine weeks and included two strength sessions (total body) and two endurance sessions (performed on the Wattbike). All strength sessions were designed and delivered by a strength and conditioning coach, while endurance sessions could be completed without supervision. Participants were asked to refrain from extra training performed on their own, however, weekend activities such as walking were acceptable.