Lab

Functional Intensity Training Lab

About the lab

Research conducted in the Functional Intensity Training laboratory is focused on the effects of high-intensity functional training (HIFT) on fitness, health and psychosocial outcomes delivered in a group-based context. FIT Lab researchers investigate these factors for different populations including tactical athletes, cancer survivors, youth, overweight/obese adults, and older adults, among others.

Featured projects (3)

Project
Though CrossFit has exploded in popularity over the past 17 years, little research has examined improvements in fitness due to CrossFit training. This study aims to examine the differences in muscular strength, power, and endurance between CrossFit and traditional weight training classes at the college level. https://experiment.com/crossfitstudy

Featured research (5)

United States Army soldiers must meet physical fitness test standards. Criticisms of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) include limited testing of only aerobic and muscular endurance activity domains; yet, it is unclear what levels of aerobic and muscle strengthening activity may help predict performance in aspects of the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). This study explored relationships between baseline self-reported aerobic and muscle strengthening activities and APFT- and ACFT-related performance. Baseline participant data (N = 123) were from a cluster-randomized clinical trial that recruited active-duty military personnel (mean age 33.7 ± 5.7 years, 72.4% White, 87.0% college-educated, 81.5% Officers). An online survey was used for self-report of socio-demographic characteristics and weekly aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity behaviors. Participants also completed the APFT (2 min push-ups, 2 min sit-ups, 2-mile run) and ACFT-related measures (1-repetition maximum deadlift, pull-up repetitions or timed flexed arm hang, horizontal jump, and dummy drag). Bivariate logistic regression found greater aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity predicted better APFT performance, while better ACFT-related performance was predicted by greater muscle-strengthening activity. Although our data are mostly from mid-career officers, command policies should emphasize the new Holistic Health and Fitness initiative that encourages regular aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity for soldiers.
Reduced physical activity (PA) during college is well-documented. Evidence shows many students gain weight as they progress through college. PA declines and increased weight gain may be more pronounced in female students. While childhood sports participation and adult PA engagement are linked, it is unclear if high school sports participants maintain PA throughout their college years. PURPOSE: x w w ' participation and subsequent college PA engagement; high school sports participants were hypothesized to engage in more PA during college. METHODS: College women (N = 371) aged 18-24 completed an online cross-sectional survey. Basic demographic information and current PA were collected via the International PA Questionnaire (IPAQ). High school sports participation was determined through an open-ended question asking participants to list sports in which they participated. Responses were coded numerically (0 = non-participant, 1 = participant) for analysis. Due to highly skewed data, a Mann-Whitney U-test was used for between-group differences. Only responses for which participants provided answers to IPAQ and participation in high school sports were analyzed (n = 292). RESULTS: Most respondents (86.6%, n = 253) indicated high school sports participation. Mean total MET-minutes (vigorous-intensity PA + moderate-intensity PA + walking) among high school sports participants (n = 253) were 4181.1 ± 4381.2 (range = 49.5-19,278). Among high school non-sports participants (n = 39) mean total MET-minutes were 1893.5 ± 2110.1 (range = 30-13,428). This difference in total MET-minutes was statistically significant (U = 6,769.5, p < .001). CONCLUSIONS: College women who had participated in high school sports currently engaged in more PA than those who had not participated in high school sports, thus supporting our hypothesis. Likely mechanisms explaining the between-group difference in PA include enhanced PA self-efficacy via high school sports experience. Because students are at high risk for developing obesity and other negative health behaviors during college, it is essential to identify protective factors that may reduce risk and promote healthful behaviors. Our data suggest high school sports participation may be one such protective factor.
This study examined if field-expedient physical fitness/performance assessments predicted performance during a simulated direct-fire engagement. Healthy subjects (N = 33, age =25.7 ± 7.0 years) completed upper- and lower-body strength and power assessments and a 3-minute all-out running test to determine critical velocity. Subjects completed a simulated direct-fire engagement that consisted of a marksmanship with cognitive workload assessment and a fire-and-move drill (16 6-m sprints) while wearing a combat load. Susceptibility to enemy fire was modeled on average sprint duration during the fire-and-move drill. Stepwise linear regression identified predictors for the performance during the simulated direct-fire engagement. Critical velocity (β=-0.30, p < 0.01) and standing broad jump (β=-0.67, p < 0.001) predicted susceptibility to enemy fire (R²=0.74, p < 0.001). All predictors demonstrated poor relationships with marksmanship accuracy and cognitive performance. These data demonstrate the importance of exercise tolerance and lower-body power during simulated direct-fire engagements and provide potential targets for interventions to monitor and enhance performance and support soldier survivability. PRACTITIONER SUMMARY This study identified field-expedient physical fitness/performance predictors of a simulated direct-fire engagement which evaluated susceptibility to enemy fire, marksmanship, and cognitive performance. Our findings suggest that high-intensity exercise tolerance and lower-body power are key determinants of performance that predicted susceptibility to enemy fire.
This commentary discusses the author’s views and experience regarding the importance of fostering community for effective and sustainable health behavior change.
High-intensity functional training (HIFT), which temporally combines aerobic and resistance exercise at high intensities, is growing in popularity because of its efficiency in improving health and fitness. Although participants report greater enjoyment during HIFT compared with traditional aerobic and/or resistance exercise training modalities, no studies have investigated affective responses to HIFT. We hypothesized HIFT would result in greater affective responses (i.e., arousal and pleasure) compared with moderate continuous training (MCT) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Seven participants (2 male and 5 female; 20.6 ± 3.2 years) completed 3 sessions of each exercise modality in a blocked, within-subjects cross-over design with affective arousal (Felt Activation Scale) and valence (Feelings Scale) assessed preexercise, during exercise, and postexercise. The Activation- Deactivation Adjective Check List was also administered pre- and postexercise. Perceived exertion increased across each modality (+97% for both HIIT and HIFT and +52% for MCT immediately postexercise) but remained elevated following the cooldown period for only HIFT and HIIT. Although affect increases did not differ across exercise modalities, inspection of the circumplex model of affect indicated that HIFT and HIIT shifted participants from a state of calmness to energy, whereas during MCT they remained in the calmness quadrant. Further, in contrast to HIIT, the slope of the affective response to HIFT continued to increase in pleasure and arousal until the end of the workouts. The affective responses observed in the present study may be because of the ability of participants to self-regulate their level of effort within HIFT.

Lab head

Katie M Heinrich
Department
  • Department of Kinesiology
About Katie M Heinrich
  • I am an exercise behavioral scientist, currently focused on examining the effects of high-intensity functional training on body composition, fitness, and health for multiple populations including healthy adults, adults with chronic diseases (e.g., obesity, diabetes), tactical athletes, and older adults.

Members (13)

Walker S C Poston
  • NDRI-USA, Inc.
Nattinee Jitnarin
  • NDRI-USA, Inc.
Sarah Joann Stevenson
  • Kansas State University
Justin DeBlauw
  • Skidmore College
Cassandra M. Beattie
  • Kansas State University
Brady K. Kurtz
  • Kansas State University
Melitza R. Ramirez
  • Kansas State University
Jacob Frye
Jacob Frye
  • Not confirmed yet
Taran Carlisle
Taran Carlisle
  • Not confirmed yet
Blake D. Goodman
Blake D. Goodman
  • Not confirmed yet
Chaddrick D Beshirs
Chaddrick D Beshirs
  • Not confirmed yet
Kendra M Holte
Kendra M Holte
  • Not confirmed yet
Cale Hepler
Cale Hepler
  • Not confirmed yet
Katelyn E. O. Gilmore
Katelyn E. O. Gilmore
  • Not confirmed yet

Alumni (1)

Jesse A Stein
  • U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine