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Social media is part of the lives of young adults. Their influence extends to health behavior or nutrition. “Fitness challenges” often appear and they should affect the motivation to exercise, body composition changes, performance improvement. 67 healthy young adults (32 women, 20.3 years; 35 men, 20.8 years) took part in the “challenge”, where they completed 3 series of 12 – 15 push-ups every day for 30 days. After the intervention, both groups showed a statistically significant (α = 0.01) improvement, women 5.8 repetitions, men by 7 repetitions. The research was supplemented by a questionnaire, which showed a positive effect on increasing motivation for this activity. Furthermore, it has been shown that “fitness challenges” bring obvious health risks that need to be taken into account. It seems that with the optimal setting of the content of the exercise program, the “fitness challenge” can be a good instrument of increasing the physical acitivty, motivation to exercise, and positively influencing strength performance.
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DOI 10.2478/afepuc-2021-0020
© Acta Facultatis Educationis Physicae Universitatis Comenianae 2021, 61(2): 238-248
Petr Schlegel, Adam Křehký, Radka Dostálová
Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Education, University of Hradec Králové, Czech
Summary. Social media is part of the lives of young adults. Their influence extends to health behavior
or nutrition. "Fitness challenges" often appear and they should affect the motivation to exercise, body
composition changes, performance improvement. 67 healthy young adults (32 women, 20.3 years; 35
men, 20.8 years) took part in the "challenge", where they completed 3 series of 12 15 push-ups every
day for 30 days. After the intervention, both groups showed a statistically significant ( = 0.01)
improvement, women 5.8 repetitions, men by 7 repetitions. The research was supplemented by a
questionnaire, which showed a positive effect on increasing motivation for this activity. Furthermore, it
has been shown that "fitness challenges" bring obvious health risks that need to be taken into account. It
seems that with the optimal setting of the content of the exercise program, the "fitness challenge" can be
a good instrument of increasing the physical acitivty, motivation to exercise, and positively influencing
strength performance.
Keywords: push-up, exercise, motivation, performance
The use of social media has become an integral part of young people's lives. According
to Ilakuvan et al. (2018), 88 % of young adults (18 29 years) use them regularly. This virtual
space has become, among other things, a source of information, a means of communication, or
self-presentation. Over time, groups have been formed within social networks focusing on
healthy lifestyles, nutrition, exercise, and appearance (Alberga et al. 2018). These are open
groups (e.g. Fitspiration, fitspo, Thinspiration), where users can freely contribute or be just
passive recipients. These groups have tens of millions of posts and even a higher number of
followers (Raggat et al. 2018). The content includes pictures, videos, texts to help with
motivation to exercise, and a healthy diet (Tigemann and Zaccardo 2018). Followers (“likers”)
can thus encounter motivational contributions containing intensive exercise, proper exercise
technique, presentation of training or certain methods, or weight reduction.
Part of the "life" of social media are "challenges" that cut across different areas. This
phenomenon also applies to exercise groups. Usually, "likers" are encouraged to perform a
certain type of exercise that is not demanding on material security, for a relatively short period
of up to several weeks. The purpose of the “fitness challenge” is to increase motivation to
exercise, achieve visible changes in the body, fun (Polsgrove and Frimming 2013). Similar
interventions are rather an exception (Yoshimoto et al. 2016), but still show positive results in
the development of physical fitness parameters.
Western society is struggling with an inadequate exercise regime (Choi et al. 2017). By
influencing health behavior (Carrotte et al. 2015), modern technologies or social networks
could be a way to increase adherence to exercise. Increasing a regular physical activity is an
important step in the development of overall health and the fight against civilization diseases.
The aim of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of the "fitness challenge" and
to assess its limitations and threats.
Material and methods
The subjects were students of the University of Hradec Králové; 32 women (20.3 2.1
years, 161.8 6.3 cm, 62.2 7.9 kg), 35 men (20.8 1.9 years, 181.9 6.4 cm, 79.7 7.9 kg).
Students were contacted via email and social networks, which described the "fitness challenge"
- 30 days of push-ups. Any student could participate, regardless of the field of study, age or
sport experience. Prior to registration, the particpants were acquainted in detail with the
intention of the research. The participants who missed more than 5 days were excluded from
the research.
As part of the pre- and posttest, the subjects passed the test of the maximum number of
push-ups. Push-up test: Starting position with arms outstretched, palms shoulder-width apart.
It is important to follow the standard of the push-up with each repetition it visibly touches the
chest of the ground, in the upper position the elbows must be straight. Except for the toes,
palms, and chest, no other part of the body should touch the ground. The subject can stop the
movement at will, but s/he must hold the starting position. The maximum test time is 60
seconds. After completion of the „fitness challenge“ and posttest, the participants filled out a
questionnaire, which included questions about social networks, health aspects, subjective
feelings of the "challenge", or motivation.
The goal was to perform 3 working series of push-ups each day for 12 15 repetitions
(pause between sets of 2 minutes), preceded by warm-up and 2 "warm-up" series. Participants
were given a stack of different difficulty variants so that everyone could complete the
prescribed repetitions. The day before the start, a pretest was performed and the day after the
end of the posttest. The "Challenge" was conducted online, each of the participants had to shoot
a video according to the required standards and put it in a group on Facebook (FB).
Contributions about warming up, exercise techniques, or motivation to exercise were given to
this group during the course. It was also possible to submit videos privately. During the
research, participants could supplement the push-ups with other physical activities, but they
were not allowed to include push-exercises on the upper half of the body. Furthermore, they
were not allowed to change their eating habits or exercise regime. The research group was
instructed to interrupt the research and contact the organizers in the event of any health
Figure 1
Study time course
Statistical analysis
The pre- and posttest results were analyzed on a group-by-group basis and also by
gender. A parametric t-test was used to evaluate the changes, using the IBM SPSS software,
version 20. Furthermore, the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was applied to verify the
relationship of selected quantities. The described software was also used for creating tables and
descriptive statistics for the obtained data sample.
The results compared the performances of men, women and the whole group. The
pretest results show large differences between the sexes (men 24.9 11.9, women 4.8 5.1
repetitions). The mean value of the whole group was 15.2 repetitions. Both groups showed a
statistically significant improvement ( = 0.01) (Table 1). In women, the posttest result was
10.5 6.7 repetitions, in men 31.9 10.2 repetitions. Men improved by more repetitions, but
in terms of percentage increase, the shift was more visible in women (119 %). The whole group
also showed statistically significant progress with the value of the posttest 21.7.
Table 1
Pre- and posttest results
pre - pretest average; post - posttest average; %- proventual diffence; t- t value (p<0,01)
Within the statistical data processing, the correlation of selected quantities was
performed. The relationship between the values, height and weight was investigated. Due to
significant differences between men and women, they were compared separately (Tables 2 and
3). A weak correlation was found between the variables in both groups (maximum -0.279). It
can be stated that neither height nor weight were significantly related to the results of pre- and
posttest in men and women.
Table 2
Correlation of height, weight and test results in women
Table 3
Correlation of height, weight and test results in men
The selected results of the questionnaire show (Table 4) that almost all (95 %) use social
networks on a daily basis. Facebook (95 %) and Instagram (92 %) have a dominant
representation. Most respondents have already encountered a "fitness challenge" and more than
half (52 %) have actively participated in it. During the "challenge", 20 % developed certain
health problems (pain), which led to the omission of exercise. Nevertheless, 30 % of
participants exercised every day and 34 % missed 3 or 4 days. In five participants (7.5 %), the
consequences remained in the form of certain pain, which concerned the shoulder and wrist
area. It is important to mention that overall the “challenge” was perceived positively (7.9 / 10)
and the majority of participants would be involved in another similar activity (82 %).
Table 4
Questionnaire results
How often do you follow social networks?
95 % daily
What social networks do you use?
95 % facebook, 92 % instagram
Have you participated a similar "fitness challenge"?
82 % yes
Have you participated in such a "challenge" before?
52 % yes
Have you posted posts about your workout on social
networks more often?
19 % yes
How often have you missed an exercise?
0x 30 %, 1x 25 %, 2x 26 %, 3x 20 %,
4x 14 %
Did health problems (pain) occur during the course that led
to the omission of exercise?
20 % yes
Are there any pains left after (caused by "challenge")?
8,3 % yes (shoulder, wrist)
How do you perceive the "fitness challenge"?
7.9/10 (10 - absolutely positive)
Would you join the next "challenge"?
82 % yes
Young adults very often use social networks (Ilakuvan et al. 2018), which was
confirmed in this research. 95 % of respondents use them daily and are mainly on Facebook
and Instagram. This finding has consequences in the form of a strong influence of social media
on humans. The frequent exploitation of social media can be used to disseminate information
and positively influence the target group (Berg et al. 2020). Facebook (closed group) has in this
research proven to be a suitable tool. The content was carefully chosen to educate and also
motivate. The nature of the contributions is an important factor that can influence the approach
to the exercise or body image (Tiggemann & Zaccardo 2015). This aspect must be respected
because the content of groups of the type "fitspiration" is often focused on appearance
(displaying edited photos, presentation of unreal beauty), which can negatively affect
followers/likers (Tiggemann & Zaccardo, 2018).
The existence of "fitness challenges" is not unusual and was met by 82 % of participants.
Even more than half (52 %) have actively participated in it in the past. This is an activity that
deserves attention and it is important to know its strengths and weaknesses. It is confirmed that
young adults are confronted with groups, pictures, or texts, which have the potential to influence
a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition (Williams et al. 2014). In this context, it is important
to note that the content and quality of a message may vary and is perceived accordingly by the
user (Raggatt et al. 2018).
The chosen intervention is non-traditional and represents a high-frequency one-sided
program. The usual length is at least 6 8 weeks (Schoenfeld et al. 2017). A similar design can
be found in Takai et al. (2013) and Yoshimoto et al. (2016), where participants completed 100
squats each day for 45 days. Both studies have proven to be positive in the development of
strength performance and body composition. In the case of push-ups, no comparable research
was found. However, the inclusion of push-ups twice a week for 8 weeks has been shown to
develop upper body strength (Chulvi-Medrano et al. 2012). In the case of this "challenge", 90
work series were completed during the whole period, which represents a significantly higher
volume than is usually applied (Lima et al. 2018). Due to the number and size of muscle groups
involved, there is a lower potential to change body composition. In order to achieve measurable
changes (fat, lean body mass), it would be appropriate to supplement such program with other
exercises and adapt the exercise method (Myers et al. 2015).
Participants achieved a statistically significant ( = 0.01) improvement, as well as a
separate group of women and men. The reason for the improvement may be the relatively high
volume of exercise. Another possible factor may be the exercise of the push-up, which may not
have been a regular part of their physical activity, which brings the potential for a complete
adaptation in the form of inter and intramuscular coordination. Due to the short duration of the
intervention, no muscle hypertrophy could occur that would affect the results (Schoenfeld et al.
2017). In particular, women recorded significant progress in the absolute number of push ups,
the number more than doubled. Performance in men can be described as above average, women
showed values that indicate a lower level of strength of the upper half of the body. These are
the expected outcomes (Paoli & Bianco 2015).
For bodyweight strength performances (pull-up, push-up), weight is essential, which is
directly proportional to the number of repetitions performed (Lima et al. 2018). However, the
correlation did not confirm this fact (Table 4). For the sample, the weight had no statistically
significant relationship with the number of push-ups before or after the intervention. According
to the average weight (females 62.2 kg, males 79.7 kg), it was a group without major deviations
from the standard (overweight, obesity), otherwise they would probably show the opposite
tendency (Sword 2012).
The push-up is one of the basic exercises for developing upper body strength (Calatayud
et al. 2014). When placed alone without further exercise, an asymmetric load is created that is
not optimal for the shoulder joint, spine, or posture (Dhahbi et al. 2018). The content of the
intervention was set to correspond to the real situation on social networks. A proper exercise
program must include exercises that affect all the large joints, spine and will strenghten large
muscle groups. It should also include activities that develop the function of the cardiovascular
system. Only in this way a harmonious development of fitness can be achieved (Paoli & Bianko
The questionnaire showed that only 30 % of participants had not missed a single
exercise, 34 % had missed three or four times. It turns out that maintaining motivation to
exercise on a daily basis is difficult. At the same time, it is related to the information that 20 %
of the sample experienced increased discomfort in the form of some pain, which was then a
reason to skip the exercise session. For the sporting population, such a condition is often
received positively, but may also have the opposite effect (Duncan et al. 2010).
The unsupervised exercise that has been the subject of this research carries certain risks.
Although participants receive instructions on exercise techniques, or warm-up, they are not
under professional supervision. The technique has a clear effect on muscle activation, joint
loading and overall health effect. In the case of the push-up, it is mainly the area of the shoulder
blade, shoulder and wrist (Dhahbi et al. 2018). In five participants, the health problems persisted
even after the end of the "challenge" and the problem was in the mentioned parts of the body.
This could be due to technical deficiencies, excessive loads or previous injuries (Goossens et
al. 2019). A related problem in these "challenges" is the absence of musculoskeletal diagnostics,
which would determine the organism's readiness for such a program (Toivo et al. 2018).
Participants must assess their own health, which can be risky.
Overall, the "challenge" was perceived positively (7.9 points out of 10), despite the
problems in the form of discomfort/pain during the exercise. The assessment may be affected
by performance improvements (Duncan et al. 2010), which may have been surprising to many.
Although the participants had to practice on their own, they were part of a group that helped
them. In this context, a stable contact via Facebook in the form of regular posts was also
important. The "Challenge" had a positive motivational impact, 82 % of participants would
again engage in a similar activity.
The exercises were checked only in the pre- and posttest, the participants were not
supervised during the intervention. It is therefore not possible to assess with certainty to what
extent the numbers of series or repetitions were observed. However, it was a research plan to
create real conditions for the "fitness challenge". During the research, the weight of some
participants may also have changed, which may have affected the test result (Chulvi-Medrano
et al. 2012). Although participants were encouraged to follow their current eating habits and
exercise regimen, this fact cannot be excluded. The video performance evaluation is not
standard, however, but it is similarly used in other sports (Serafini et al. 2018).
Social networks are a space where groups have formed to spread information about
exercise, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. One means is the "fitness challenge", which aims to
increase motivation to exercise, help reduce weight or improve performance. In the research,
the "challenge" focused on push-ups proved to be a good means of developing the strength
abilities of the upper body. In the case of optimally chosen content, a "fitness challenge" can
be a good source of motivation, information, improved strength performance or a positive effect
on body image in young adults. At the same time, it can help increase the amount of physical
activity that is generally insufficient in Western society. It is important to take into account the
health risks and deficiencies associated with exercise without professional supervision.
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Background Understanding which factors influence participation in physical activity is important to improve the public health. The aim of the present review of reviews was to summarize and present updated evidence on personal and environmental factors associated with physical activity. MethodsMEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for reviews published up to 31 Jan. 2017 reporting on potential factors of physical activity in adults aged over 18 years. The quality of each review was appraised with the Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) checklist. The corrected covered area (CCA) was calculated as a measure of overlap for the primary publications in each review. ResultsTwenty-five articles met the inclusion criteria which reviewed 90 personal and 27 environmental factors. The average quality of the studies was moderate, and the CCA ranged from 0 to 4.3%. For personal factors, self-efficacy was shown as the strongest factor for participation in physical activity (7 out of 9). Intention to exercise, outcome expectation, perceived behavioral control and perceived fitness were positively associated with physical activity in more than 3 reviews, while age and bad status of health or fitness were negatively associated with participation in physical activity in more than 3 reviews. For environmental factors, accessibility to facilities, presence of sidewalks, and aesthetics were positively associated with participation in physical activity. Conclusions The findings of this review of reviews suggest that some personal and environmental factors were related with participation in physical activity. However, an association of various factors with physical activity could not be established because of the lack of primary studies to build up the organized evidence. More studies with a prospective design should be conducted to understand the potential causes for physical activity.
Purpose: Social media use is pervasive among young adults, and different sites have different purposes, features, and audiences. This study identified classes of young adults based on what combination of sites they use and how frequently, and compared their health risk factors and behaviors. Methods: Latent profile models were developed based on frequency of using 10 sites from a national sample of young adults aged 18-24years (n = 1,062). Bivariate analyses and multivariable regressions examined the relationship between class membership and alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Results: The optimal model identified five classes: Low Users (7.9%), High Users (63.1%), Professional Users - high use of LinkedIn (10.1%), Creative Users - high use of Vine and Tumblr (11.5%), and Mainstream Users - high use of Facebook and YouTube (7.4%). Classes differed significantly on ATOD use and depressive symptoms. Compared to High Users, Creative Users had higher odds of using most substances and lower odds of depressive symptoms, Mainstream Users had higher odds of substances used socially (alcohol and hookah), Professional Users had higher odds of using alcohol, cigarettes, and cigars, and Low Users had higher odds of using other drugs (e.g., cocaine and heroin). Conclusions: A young adult's social media site use profile is associated with ATOD use and depressive symptoms. Use and co-use of certain sites may influence the volume and nature of ATOD-related content and norms young adults experience in social media. Targeting interventions to sites selected based on use patterns associated with each health risk may be effective.
training-specific adaptations with an 8-week yoak push-up training program. J Strength Cond Res 32(9): 2409-2418, 2018-There are few progressive metastability training programs in the literature. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in strength, endurance, muscle activation, and neuromuscular efficiency after an 8-week progressive, push-up training program under stable and unstable conditions. Nineteen male and female recreationally trained participants performed twice per week, an 8-week push-up training program, using either a relatively unstable suspension system (Yoak) or under stable conditions. Participants were tested in 2 separate sessions before and after training for chest press maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) forces, and unstable and stable push-up endurance. Participants were tested during all testing measures for anterior deltoid, biceps brachii (BB), tri-ceps brachii (TB), and serratus anterior (SA) electromyography (EMG) activity. The training progression consisted of altering the suspension configurations, push-up height, and increasing the number of sets (1-3 sets). The stable group performed 153.3 and 33.8% less repetitions than the Yoak group when performing push-ups on the Yoak device or stable floor, respectively (p = 0.03). Training-induced MVIC forces were 9.2% (p = 0.03) greater for the Yoak vs. the stable group. Regarding neuromuscular efficiency, the Yoak group decreased (30.4%; p = 0.01) and stable group increased (97.8%; p = 0.02) antagonist BB EMG activity from pre-to post-training. Both groups decreased the TB fatigue index from pre-to post-training. Nevertheless, Yoak group demonstrated 12.5% (p = 0.09) and 8.9% (p = 0.02) lower fatigue indexes with TB and SA, respectively, than the stable group. These findings suggest that Yoak training demonstrates superior improvements over stable training for push-up endurance, neuro-muscular efficiency, MVIC, and fatigue index.
Sports injuries are a considerable problem in physical education teacher education (PETE) students. They have important consequences and might affect the attitude that PETE students have towards sports and physical activity. Up to now, several efficacious injury prevention programmes have been developed for various sports disciplines. There is a high probability that several components of those prevention programmes are transferable to the PETE environment. A systematic review was conducted to identify intrinsic components that are potentially applicable in PETE programmes. The databases PubMed and Web of Science were searched for articles published between 1974 and 1 February 2015. The systematic study selection resulted in the inclusion of 59 studies. Seventeen studies were rated as having a low risk of bias. Efficacy of the applied programme was proven in 11 of these. Analysis led to guidelines for an injury prevention programme for PETE students. A multiple preventive intervention should include an awareness programme, functional strength training, stretching, warm-up, core stability and dynamic stability exercises of the lower limbs. This multiple preventive intervention preferably has a gradual build-up, makes use of no or only simple materials and is executed around three times per week.