Effects of 12 weeks of short-duration isometric strength training in university students


  • Aitor Santisteban Leguina Faculty of Education and Sport. University of Deusto
  • Egoitz Mojas Faculty of Education and Sport. University of Deusto
  • Naiara Virto Faculty of Education and Sport. University of Deusto
  • Ramón Fernández Public College of Sports Teachings, Kirolene, Basque Government
  • Roberto Gómez Ikaika, Training Center
  • Xabier Río Faculty of Education and Sport. University of Deusto




Young adults, isometric training, phase angle, pain, HbA1c


Purpose: Isometric strength training has the advantage of improving musculoskeletal properties, neuromuscular function and health biomarkers compared with dynamic strength training. This study aimed to analyze the effects of short-term isometric strength training on pain, body composition, and biomarkers of health in young adults. Methods: This was a pre-post experimental study with isometric training period. The training period was carried out for 12 weeks with a single session per week, with a weekly training volume of 6 minutes. The study sample consisted of 22 students (20.5 years ± 1.37) of both sexes (15 males and 7 females). The maximum isometric force test (in Newton meters) using the MedX lumbar extension and knee extension machines. The InBody 770 were used for body composition analysis, visual analog scale for pain and glycated hemoglobin values were measured using the Quo-Lab. Results: Analysis of changes in pain showed a significant improvement in hip pain in the entire group (p≤0.05), with no other significant changes observed in the other pain scales (0.05), phase angle (0.02), glycated haemoglobin (0.00) and lumbar strength (<0.05) measured or segregating the sample by sex. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that a short duration strength training intervention can help to improve pain at anatomical points, reduce HbA1c levels, finding trends for improvement in numerous body composition variables. Highlighting the significant change in phase angle, a variable with a promising approach in the more accurate and comprehensive study of both body composition and metabolic health.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


American Diabetes Association. (2013). Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2013. Diabetes Care, 36(Supplement_1), S11–S66. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc13-S011

Androulakis-Korakakis, P., Fisher, J., Kolokotronis, P., Gentil, P., & Steele, J. (2018). Reduced Volume ‘Daily Max’ Training Compared to Higher Volume Periodized Training in Powerlifters Preparing for Competition—A Pilot Study. Sports, 6(3), 86. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6030086

Androulakis-Korakakis, P., Fisher, J. P., & Steele, J. (2020). The Minimum Effective Training Dose Required to Increase 1RM Strength in Resistance-Trained Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 50(4), 751–765. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-019-01236-0

Barbosa-Silva, M. C. G., Barros, A. J. D., Wang, J., Heymsfield, S., & Pierson, R. N. (2005). Bioelectrical impedance analysis: population reference values for phase angle by age and sex. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 82(1), 49–52. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/82.1.49

Bayles, M. P., & Swank, A. M. (2018). ACSM’s exercise testing and prescription (1st ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

Bruce-Low, S., Smith, D., Burnet, S., Fisher, J., Bissell, G., & Webster, L. (2012). One lumbar extension training session per week is sufficient for strength gains and reductions in pain in patients with chronic low back pain ergonomics. Ergonomics, 55(4), 500–507. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2011.644329

Bučan Nenadić, D., Radić, J., Kolak, E., Vučković, M., Novak, I., Selak, M., & Radić, M. (2022). Phase Angle Association with Dietary Habits and Metabolic Syndrome in Diabetic Hypertensive Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients, 14(23), 5058. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14235058

Buckner, S. L., Jessee, M. B., Mattocks, k T., Mouser, J. G., Counts, B. R., Dankel, S. J., & Loenneke, J. P. (2017). Determining Strength: A Case for Multiple Methods of Measurement. Sports Medicine, 47(2), 193–195. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0580-3

Califf, R. M. (2018). Biomarker definitions and their applications. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 243(3), 213–221. https://doi.org/10.1177/1535370217750088

Campa, F., Silva, A., & Toselli, S. (2018). Changes in Phase Angle and Handgrip Strength Induced by Suspension Training in Older Women. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(06), 442–449. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-0574-3166

Carpenter, D. M., Graves, J. E., Pollock, M. L., Leggett, S. H., Foster, D., Holmes, B., & Fulton, M. N. (1991). Effect of 12 and 20 Weeks of Resistance Training on Lumbar Extension Torque Production. Physical Therapy, 71(8), 580–588. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/71.8.580

Cavero-Redondo, I., Peleteiro, B., Álvarez-Bueno, C., Artero, E. G., Garrido-Miguel, M., & Martinez-Vizcaíno, V. (2018). The Effect of Physical Activity Interventions on Glycosylated Haemoglobin (HbA1c) in Non-diabetic Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 48(5), 1151–1164. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0861-0

Cavero-Redondo, I., Peleteiro, B., Álvarez-Bueno, C., Garrido-Miguel, M., Artero, E. G., & Martinez-Vizcaino, V. (2017). The effects of physical activity interventions on glycated haemoglobin A1c in non-diabetic populations: a protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 7(7), e015801. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015801

Cohen, J., & Cohen J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Cranmer, M., & Walston, Z. (2022). Heavy resistance training in the management of hip pain in older adults: A case series. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 38(12), 2241–2249. https://doi.org/10.1080/09593985.2021.1917022

Custódio Martins, P., de Lima, T. R., Silva, A. M., & Santos Silva, D. A. (2022). Association of phase angle with muscle strength and aerobic fitness in different populations: A systematic review. Nutrition, 93, 111489. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2021.111489

Dahab, K. S., & McCambridge, T. M. (2009). Strength Training in Children and Adolescents: Raising the Bar for Young Athletes? Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 1(3), 223–226. https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738109334215

Egan, B., & Sharples, A. P. (2023). Molecular responses to acute exercise and their relevance for adaptations in skeletal muscle to exercise training. Physiological Reviews, 103(3), 2057–2170. https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00054.2021

Faigenbaum, A. D. (2007). State of the Art Reviews: Resistance Training for Children and Adolescents. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 1(3), 190–200. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827606296814

Faigenbaum, A. D., Kraemer, W. J., Blimkie, C. J. R., Jeffreys, I., Micheli, L. J., Nitka, M., & Rowland, T. W. (2009). Youth Resistance Training: Updated Position Statement Paper From the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(Supplement 5), S60–S79. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31819df407

Faigenbaum, A. D., Stracciolini, A., MacDonald, J. P., & Rial Rebullido, T. (2022). Mythology of youth resistance training. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 56(17), 997–998. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2022-105804

Fisher, J. P., Steele, J., Gentil, P., Giessing, J., & Westcott, W. L. (2017). A minimal dose approach to resistance training for the older adult; the prophylactic for aging. Experimental Gerontology, 99, 80–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2017.09.012

Franchi, M. V, Reeves, N. D., & Narici, M. V. (2017). Skeletal Muscle Remodeling in Response to Eccentric vs. Concentric Loading: Morphological, Molecular, and Metabolic Adaptations. Frontiers in Physiology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00447

Fyfe, J. J., Hamilton, D. L., & Daly, R. M. (2022). Minimal-Dose Resistance Training for Improving Muscle Mass, Strength, and Function: A Narrative Review of Current Evidence and Practical Considerations. Sports Medicine, 52(3), 463–479. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01605-8

Graves, J. E., Pollock, M. L., Carpenter, D. M., Leggett, S. H., JOnes, A., MacMillan, M., & Fulton, M. (1990). Quantitative Assessment of Full Range-of-Motion Isometric Lumbar Extension Strength. Spine, 15(4), 289–294. https://doi.org/10.1097/00007632-199004000-00008

Hasan, M. M., Yaqoob, U., Ali, S. S., & Siddiqui, A. A. (2018). Frequency of Musculoskeletal Pain and Associated Factors among Undergraduate Students. Case Reports in Clinical Medicine, 07(02), 131–145. https://doi.org/10.4236/crcm.2018.72011

Inbody. (2014). Inbody. Retrieved from https://www.composicion-corporal-inbody.com/InBody-770.html

Ismail, A. D., Alkhayl, F. F. A., Wilson, J., Johnston, L., Gill, J. M. R., & Gray, S. R. (2019). The effect of short‐duration resistance training on insulin sensitivity and muscle adaptations in overweight men. Experimental Physiology, 104(4), 540–545. https://doi.org/10.1113/EP087435

Iversen, V. M., Norum, M., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Fimland, M. S. (2021). No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. Sports Medicine, 51(10), 2079–2095. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01490-1

Jansson, A. K., Chan, L. X., Lubans, D. R., Duncan, M. J., & Plotnikoff, R. C. (2022). Effect of resistance training on HbA1c in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and the moderating effect of changes in muscular strength: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, 10(2), e002595. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjdrc-2021-002595

Krzysztofik, M., Wilk, M., Wojdała, G., & Gołaś, A. (2019). Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(24), 4897. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244897

Layne, J. E., & Nelson, M. E. (1999). The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 31(1), 25–30. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-199901000-00006

Legerlotz, K. (2020). The Effects of Resistance Training on Health of Children and Adolescents With Disabilities. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 14(4), 382–396. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827618759640

Lindell, M., & Grimby-Ekman, A. (2022). Stress, non-restorative sleep, and physical inactivity as risk factors for chronic pain in young adults: A cohort study. PLOS ONE, 17(1), e0262601. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262601

Lloyd, R. S., Faigenbaum, A. D., Stone, M. H., Oliver, J. L., Jeffreys, I., Moody, J. A., Brewer, C., Pierce, K. C., McCambridge, T. M., Howard, R., Herrington, L., Hainline, B., Micheli, L. J., Jaques, R., Kraemer, W. J., McBride, M. G., Best, T. M., Chu, D. A., Alvar, B. A., & Myer, G. D. (2014). Position statement on youth resistance training: the 2014 International Consensus. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(7), 498–505. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952

Lloyd, R. S., & Oliver, J. L. (2019). Strength and conditioning for young athletes: science and application. (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Lopez, P., Radaelli, R., Taaffe, D. R., Newton, R. U., Galvão, D. A., Trajano, G. S., Teodoro, J. L., Kraemer, W. J., Häkkinen, K., & Pinto, R. S. (2021). Resistance Training Load Effects on Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain: Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 53(6), 1206–1216. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002585

Lum, D., & Barbosa, T. M. (2019). Brief Review: Effects of Isometric Strength Training on Strength and Dynamic Performance. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 40(06), 363–375. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-0863-4539

Mattocks, K. T., Buckner, S. L., Jessee, M. B., Dankel, S. J., Mouser, J. G., & Loenneke, J. P. (2017). Practicing the Test Produces Strength Equivalent to Higher Volume Training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 49(9), 1945–1954. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001300

McLester, C. N., Nickerson, B. S., Kliszczewicz, B. M., & McLester, J. R. (2020). Reliability and Agreement of Various InBody Body Composition Analyzers as Compared to Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry in Healthy Men and Women. Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 23(3), 443–450. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocd.2018.10.008

Mullie, L., Obrand, A., Bendayan, M., Trnkus, A., Ouimet, M. C., Moss, E., Chen‐Tournoux, A., Rudski, L. G., & Afilalo, J. (2018). Phase Angle as a Biomarker for Frailty and Postoperative Mortality: The BICS Study. Journal of the American Heart Association, 7(17), e008721. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.118.008721

Nascimento, L. R., Teixeira-Salmela, L. F., Souza, R. B., & Resende, R. A. (2018). Hip and Knee Strengthening Is More Effective Than Knee Strengthening Alone for Reducing Pain and Improving Activity in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 48(1), 19–31. https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2018.7365

Norman, K., Wirth, R., Neubauer, M., Eckardt, R., & Stobäus, N. (2015). The Bioimpedance Phase Angle Predicts Low Muscle Strength, Impaired Quality of Life, and Increased Mortality in Old Patients With Cancer. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 16(2), 173.e17-173.e22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2014.10.024

Nunes, J. P., Ribeiro, A. S., Silva, A. M., Schoenfeld, B. J., dos Santos, L., Cunha, P. M., Nascimento, M. A., Tomeleri, C. M., Nabuco, H. C. G., Antunes, M., Cyrino, L. T., & Cyrino, E. S. (2019). Improvements in Phase Angle Are Related With Muscle Quality Index After Resistance Training in Older Women. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 27(4), 515–520. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2018-0259

Ochi, E., Maruo, M., Tsuchiya, Y., Ishii, N., Miura, K., & Sasaki, K. (2018). Higher Training Frequency Is Important for Gaining Muscular Strength Under Volume-Matched Training. Frontiers in Physiology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.00744

Oranchuk, D. J., Storey, A. G., Nelson, A. R., & Cronin, J. B. (2019). Isometric training and long-term adaptations: Effects of muscle length, intensity, and intent: A systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 29(4), 484–503. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13375

Pearcey, G. E. P., Alizedah, S., Power, K. E., & Button, D. C. (2021). Chronic resistance training: is it time to rethink the time course of neural contributions to strength gain? European Journal of Applied Physiology, 121(9), 2413–2422. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04730-4

Penkala, S., El-Debal, H., & Coxon, K. (2018). Work-related musculoskeletal problems related to laboratory training in university medical science students: a cross sectional survey. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 1208. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6125-y

Pollock, M. L., Leggett, S. H., Graves, J. E., Jones, A., Fulton, M., & Cirulli, J. (1989). Effect of resistance training on lumbar extension strength. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 17(5), 624–629. https://doi.org/10.1177/036354658901700506

Ribeiro, A. S., Avelar, A., Schoenfeld, B. J., Fleck, S. J., Souza, M. F., Padilha, C. S., & Cyrino, E. S. (2015). Analysis of the training load during a hypertrophy-type resistance training programme in men and women. European Journal of Sport Science, 15(4), 256–264. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2014.940559

Richter, E. A., & Hargreaves, M. (2013). Exercise, GLUT4, and Skeletal Muscle Glucose Uptake. Physiological Reviews, 93(3), 993–1017. https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00038.2012

Riebe, D., Ehrman, J. K., Liguori, G., Magal, M., & ACSM. (2018). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (10th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

Río, X., Sáez, I., González, J., Besga, A., Santano, E., Ruiz, N., Solabarrieta, J., & Coca, A. (2022). Effects of a Physical Exercise Intervention on Pain in Workplaces: A Case Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1331. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031331

Rowland, T. W. (2007). Promoting Physical Activity for Children´s Health. Sports Medicine, 37(11), 929–936. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200737110-00001

Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J. W. (2017). Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(11), 1073–1082. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.1210197

Sjøberg, K. A., Frøsig, C., Kjøbsted, R., Sylow, L., Kleinert, M., Betik, A. C., Shaw, C. S., Kiens, B., Wojtaszewski, J. F. P., Rattigan, S., Richter, E. A., & McConell, G. K. (2017). Exercise Increases Human Skeletal Muscle Insulin Sensitivity via Coordinated Increases in Microvascular Perfusion and Molecular Signaling. Diabetes, 66(6), 1501–1510. https://doi.org/10.2337/db16-1327

Smith, D., Bissell, G., Bruce-Low, S., & Wakefield, C. (2011). The effect of lumbar extension training with and without pelvic stabilization on lumbar strength and low back pain1. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 24(4), 241–249. https://doi.org/10.3233/BMR-2011-0301

Smith, J. J., Eather, N., Morgan, P. J., Plotnikoff, R. C., Faigenbaum, A. D., & Lubans, D. R. (2014). The Health Benefits of Muscular Fitness for Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 44(9), 1209–1223. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0196-4

Sperlich, B., Hahn, L. S., Edel, A., Behr, T., Helmprobst, J., Leppich, R., Wallmann-Sperlich, B., & Holmberg, H. C. (2018). A 4-Week Intervention Involving Mobile-Based Daily 6-Minute Micro-Sessions of Functional High-Intensity Circuit Training Improves Strength and Quality of Life, but Not Cardio-Respiratory Fitness of Young Untrained Adults. Frontiers in Physiology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.00423

Spitz, R. W., Kataoka, R., Dankel, S. J., Bell, Z. W., Song, J. S., Wong, V., Yamada, Y., & Loenneke, J. P. (2023). Quantifying the Generality of Strength Adaptation: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 53(3), 637–648. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-022-01790-0

Steele, J., Fisher, J. P., Giessing, J., Androulakis-Korakakis, P., Wolf, M., Kroeske, B., & Reuters, R. (2022). Long-Term Time-Course of Strength Adaptation to Minimal Dose Resistance Training Through Retrospective Longitudinal Growth Modeling. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2022.2070592

Tillin, N. A., Pain, M. T. G., & Folland, J. P. (2011). Short-term unilateral resistance training affects the agonist-antagonist but not the force-agonist activation relationship. Muscle & Nerve, 43(3), 375–384. https://doi.org/10.1002/mus.21885

Trujillo, C. M. (1983). The effect of weight training and running exercise intervention programs on the self-esteem of college women. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 14(3), 162–173.

Vicente Herrero, M. T., Delgado Bueno, S., Bandrés Moyá, F., Ramírez Iñiguez de la Torre, M. V, & Capdevila García, L. (2018). Valoración del dolor. Revisión Comparativa de Escalas y Cuestionarios. Revista de La Sociedad Española Del Dolor, 25(4), 228–236. https://doi.org/10.20986/resed.2018.3632/2017

Virto, N., Etayo-Urtasun, P., Sánchez Isla, J. R., Arietanizbeaskoa, M. S., Mendizabal Gallastegui, N., Grandes, G., Gutierrez, B., Coca, A., & Río, X. (2023). Efectos de una intervención de 12 semanas de ejercicio en los niveles de hemoglobina glicada (HbA1c) en pacientes con cáncer (Effects of a 12-week exercise intervention on glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in cancer patients). Retos, 48, 153–160. https://doi.org/10.47197/retos.v48.96221

Weiss, T., Kreitinger, J., Wilde, H., Wiora, C., Steege, M., Dalleck, L., & Janot, J. (2010). Effect of Functional Resistance Training on Muscular Fitness Outcomes in Young Adults. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, 8(2), 113–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1728-869X(10)60017-2

Westcott, W. L. (2012). Resistance Training is Medicine. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 11(4), 209–216. https://doi.org/10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8






Original Research