In This Section:

  • How To Perform the Bench Press Exercise

    by David Barr | Jun 28, 2021

    Bench Press Peter Ronai ACSM

    Bench Press Exercise Technique | A Practical Walkthrough

    This featured video-supported article from ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal® guides you through the benefits and variations of the bench press exercise.

    Watch and Read

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  • Recognizing the ESSR 2020 Paper of the Year “A Time to Eat and a Time to Exercise” in the University Classroom

    by Caitlin Kinser | Jun 07, 2021

    With the recognition of the Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews (ESSR) 2020 Paper of the Year designation (congratulations!), Parr, Heilbronn and Hawley’s Perspectives for Progress article, “A Time to Eat and a Time to Exercise,” published in January 2020 should expect to get a few more interactions online. Those who read the article when it first came out may even give it another perusal. In doing so, some of us who are teaching a summer University course or even thinking ahead to next academic year may begin looking for new classroom material and will hopefully consider incorporating a review paper such as this one.

    This Perspectives for Progress is an excellent source to consider as an introduction to time-restricted eating (TRE) and the potential impact on circadian biology, especially as a means to limit some of the damaging impact caused by modern human lifestyles (i.e., perpetual access to highly caloric foods and low recurrent physical activity). The article provides insight into the potential complementary effects of exercise and TRE, which encourages longer daily fasting to improve metabolic health.

    Specific suggestions for incorporating this paper in the classroom could entail instructors expanding on different diets, especially in a nutrition course, or recognizing the impact of food intake on exercise interventions in a course on exercise prescriptions. Students may be asked to research and present on a “mainstream” diet and then compare their findings to those reported on TRE. Parr and colleagues recognize the significance in timing of food intake, which could be expanded on in the classroom through a lecture on the circadian cycle, a topic I, for one, do not typically cover in my Neuromuscular Aspects of Exercise, Motor Learning or Applied Human Physiology courses but should consider, given the significant role of sleep (or lack of) in exercise and motor skill acquisition and retention (Walker et al. 2002, Walker et al. 2003).

    ESSR A Time to Eat and a Time to Exercise infographicIn lieu of (or in addition to) incorporating a research-based assignment to instill an opportunity for activity learning in the classroom, instructors may opt for a more visual activity, such as through infographic development. Figure 2 in the recognized paper demonstrates the effects of TRE and exercise training on human metabolic health. Students in a classroom may easily develop their own infographics on related topics by using programs such as Canva and AdobeSpark. Instructors may choose to create an infographic themselves, perhaps to aesthetically demonstrate main findings of a paper such as this one.

    Unconvinced that this article will fit your course topic or level? Not a problem. Although this winning paper does not currently have an article supplement, others published in ESSR come with freely accessible video abstracts, journal club questions and visual abstracts. Incorporating research articles, especially review papers, is an excellent method to teach students curriculum content while developing their professional research skills and comes highly recommended.

    Again, a big congratulations to Evelyn Parr. Ph.D., Leonie Heilbronn, Ph.D., and John Hawley, Ph.D., for the selection of their article as the ESSR 2020 Paper of the Year!

    Don’t forget to View the current and previous Paper of the Year selections and editorials covering the selected articles at the ESSR Paper of the Year Topical Collection.


    Parr EB, Heilbronn LK, Hawley JA. A time to eat and a time to exercise. Exercs. Sport Sci. Rev. 2020; 48(1):4-10.

    Walker MP, Brakefield T, Morgan A, Allan Hobson J, Stickgold R. Practice with sleep makes perfect: sleep-dependent motor skill learning. Neuron. 2002; 35(1):205-211.

    Walker MP, Brakefield T, Seidman J, Morgan A, Allan Hobson J, Stickgold R. Sleep and the time course of motor skill learning. Learn Mem. 2003; 10(4):275-284.

    Diba Mani, Ph.D., is a lecturer in the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology at the University of Florida. She serves as the Digital Editor for Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. She earned her degrees under the mentorship of Dr. Roger Enoka in the Neurophysiology of Movement Laboratory at the University of Colorado. Her doctoral dissertation focused on evaluating the effects of electrical nerve stimulation on motor unit discharge properties and mobility in young and older adults. Dr. Mani most enjoys the human component of any work she is engaging in, be it research in the field of geriatrics or teaching college students in the classroom. Dr. Mani is an internationally certified judo referee and coach, and a regular vinyasa yoga practitioner. She is passionate about diversity and cultural promotion through involvement in groups such as Iranian American Academics & Professionals and the Persian Students Organization.

  • Highlighted Sessions in Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement to be Presented at the 2021 ACSM Annual Meeting

    by Caitlin Kinser | May 25, 2021

    Each day of the 2021 ACSM Annual Meeting will include a session in the Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement topical area.

    Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement The Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement content will kick off on Tuesday, June 1 at 11:30 AM with the virtual presentation of 123 abstracts in our topical area. Check out these posters to see the most up-to-date research on running biomechanics and injury, wearable technology, osteoarthritis and ACL prevention, repair and rehabilitation. Highlights include abstracts on the effect of sleep on healthy gait, metabolic cost of locomotion, gait patterns with Autism Spectrum Disorder, muscle activity and neural reflexes, among other great topics.

    Our showcase highlighted symposium this year will be “The Aging Neuromuscular System and the Protective Effects of Physical Activity,” on Thursday, June 3, 1:15 – 3:15 PM MDT. Presenters include Sandra Hunter, Ph.D., FACSM, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; Ashleigh Smith, Ph.D., University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia; Christopher Sundberg, Ph.D., Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; and Russell Richardson, Ph.D., University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. Age-related changes to the neuromuscular system can be profound leading to functional declines and loss of independence in older men and women. This symposium will highlight how aging affects the physiology and function of the central nervous system and skeletal muscle of older adults as well as the functional consequences such as reduced muscle strength, power and increased fatigability of limb muscles. Importantly, it will highlight physical activity as a powerful tool to protect against declines in neuromuscular function that typically accompany aging. We are presenting this session unopposed by other biomechanics and neural control of movement offerings to give everyone the opportunity to attend.

    The other symposia and tutorial sessions for Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement include the following:

    Wednesday June 2, 8:00 – 10:00 AM MDT: “Modern Statistical Approaches for Improved Analysis of Neuromechanical Data: Applications and Fundamental Principles,” presented by Alyssa Evans-Pickett, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; Garritt Page, Ph.D., Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; Jon T. Hopkins, Ph.D., FACSM, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; and chaired by Matthew Seeley, Ph.D., Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. Topics include functional data analysis and cluster analysis for studying lower-extremity injury biomechanics and the neuromechanics of chronic ankle instability.

    Thursday June 3, 3:30 – 5:30 PM MDT: “Training Load Monitoring of Distance Runners: New Thoughts on an Old Problem,” presented by Max Paquette, Ph.D., FACSM, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN; Irene Davis, Ph.D., FACSM, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA; Trent Stellingwerff, Ph.D., FACSM, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, Victoria, BC, Canada; Olivier Girard, Ph.D., The University of Western Australia, Crawley, BC, Australia. Topics include the current approaches and new recommendations for monitoring training loads, monitoring training loads for 800m and marathon event runners and internal/external load management using environmental stress.

    Friday, June 4, 9:00 – 9:50 AM MDT: “The Art and Science of a Bike Fit,” presented by Andrea Cyr, D.O, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL; Terry Nicola, M.D. FACSM, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL; Joe Ascher, PT, DPT, PhysioPartners Chicago, Chicago, IL. This comprehensive tutorial is presented by a certified bike fitter and medical clinicians who will review the key concepts for an appropriate bike fit to reduce musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. It will be of interest to clinicians, athletes, cycling commuters and recreational cycling enthusiasts alike.

    Saturday, June 5, 9:00 – 9:50 AM MDT: “The Value of Movement Assessment Technology in the Clinic and Real World: Application to Running Injuries and ACL Rehabilitation,” presented by Susan Sigward, Ph.D., PT, ATC, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; and Richard Willy, Ph.D., PT, University of Montana - Missoula, Missoula, MT. This tutorial will discuss the effective and efficient use of commercial technologies designed for movement assessments for use in the clinic to quantify movement impairments and intervention progress.

    The Biomechanics Interest Group (BIG) will be hosting their virtual meeting the week after the ACSM Annual meeting. Stay tuned to their website and Twitter for details about the event as they become available. The virtual BIG meeting will include a social event, awards ceremony, and a talk dedicated to the 2020/2021 ACSM-BIG Career Achievement Award Winner.

    Register today to join us at the 2021 ACSM virtual Annual Meeting!

    Allison GruberAllison H. Gruber, Ph.D., FACSM, is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology in the Indiana University School of Public Health – Bloomington. She is the new Topical Representative for Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement and the outgoing chairperson of the ACSM Biomechanics Interest Group. Her research interests include the mechanisms of running-related musculoskeletal injuries, wearable technology, and using advanced analysis techniques to better understand biomechanical signals for gait analysis. 

    Dr. Clare MilnerClare E. Milner, Ph.D., FACSM, is an academic and researcher in rehabilitation sciences and an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences at Drexel University. Her research interests are in human movement during daily functional activities, such as walking in people with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, and in fitness and leisure activities such as running.

    Follow Clare on Twitter @ClareEMilner

  • Exercise Guidelines for Parkinson’s

    by David Barr | May 24, 2021

    Parkinsons Foundation

    Practical Strategies to Implement Parkinson’s Exercise Guidelines

    Parkinson’s and Exercise

    To understand the role exercise plays in treating Parkinson’s disease (PD), we first need to understand the symptoms of the disease. Parkinson’s is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that affects about one million people in the United States and 10 million people worldwide. It is called a movement disorder because of the “motor features” it can cause – tremors, slow movements, stiffness and muscle cramping. Symptoms are diverse and usually develop slowly over time. Parkinson’s not only disrupts brain networks that control movement, but also those linked to mood, behavior and thinking (cognition).

    The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include more than just the motor features. Parkinson’s impacts thinking: the disease can affect working memory, decision-making, staying attentive and concentration. Parkinson’s is also linked to depression and anxiety, and it can affect behavior and disturb sleep.

    Research from the Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest-ever clinical study of Parkinson’s, suggests that people with PD do at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week for a better quality of life. Exercise is increasingly accepted as an adjunct treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

    The Role of Exercise Professionals

    Exercise professionals provide leadership, expertise and programs to help people living with PD achieve their goals and manage their Parkinson’s symptoms. These professionals should be considered an integral part of the interprofessional care team for people with Parkinson’s.

    As a leader in driving better health outcomes and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s, the Parkinson's Foundation has created Exercise Guidelines for people with Parkinson’s and is in the process of creating a competency framework for Exercise Professionals to ensure that people with Parkinson’s are receiving safe and effective programs and instruction.


    Exercise professionals provide leadership, expertise and programs to help people living with PD achieve their goals and manage their Parkinson’s symptoms.


    Parkinson’s Exercise Guidelines | Resources

    Parkinson’s Exercise Guidelines for People with Parkinson’s: Professional Version (External Link)

    Parkinson’s Exercise Guidelines Video (External Link)
    Miriam Rafferty, PT, DPT, PhD

    Parkinson’s Exercise Recommendations for People with Parkinson’s

    The guidelines include recommended frequency, intensity, time, type, volume, and progression (FITT-VP) of exercises that are safe and effective for people with Parkinson’s across four domains: aerobic, strengthening, flexibility, and balance.

    The exercise guideline table contains information synthesized in previous versions of ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription1 and ACSM’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities2. One large addition is the inclusion of a fourth column to highlight the importance of balance and agility exercises, including multitasking. Also highlighted is the importance of cognitive and behavioral considerations given the nonmotor symptoms of PD.

    It is recommended that people with PD 1) see a physical therapist specializing in Parkinson’s for full functional evaluation and recommendations and 2) exercise during “on” periods when taking medication.

    Parkinson's Exercise Guidelines ACSM


    Figure 1: Change of Exercise Post Diagnosis: Balance, agility or dual-tasking was the type of exercise with the largest change before and a year after diagnosis, with an increase of 30.24%. Stretching and strength training also increased significantly.



    Given the progressive nature of the disease and associated decline in physical function, there are some safety precautions and strategies to be aware of as exercises may need to be modified.

    Orthostatic Hypotension: Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up from a seated or prone (lying down) position.

    Risk of Falling: People living with PD are at a higher risk for falls due to the motor symptoms, including stiff muscles, freezing (temporary inability to move), and balance impairment.

    Cognitive Challenges: Feelings of distraction, decreased executive function, or disorganization can accompany cognitive impairment, along with difficulty planning and accomplishing tasks.

    Cueing Strategies:  People with PD often depend on external cues during execution of motor tasks due to a loss of automaticity that may cause disruptions in processing intrinsic information.

    Motivation to Move

    Apathy, depression and fatigue are some of the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s that may hinder your client’s ability to participate in exercise. Although knowing the benefits of participating in physical activity, these and other non-motor symptoms are often overlooked and undertreated when motivating a client to exercise.

    Exercise is an essential part of managing Parkinson’s disease and exercise professionals play a vital role in developing safe and effective programs to optimize quality of life for those living with PD.


    1. People with Parkinson’s should find ways to participate in regular exercise targeting aerobic fitness, strengthening, flexibility, as well as balance, agility and multi-tasking.

    2. Skilled and knowledgeable exercise professionals provide personal training and/or group exercise instruction for people with Parkinson’s, along with social support and motivation. 

    3. Exercise professionals may have more contact with people with PD than the traditional interprofessional healthcare team, providing great opportunity for positive impact on quality of life.

    Learn More

    The Parkinson’s Foundation believes in empowering the Parkinson’s community through education. Learn more about exercise and Parkinson’s at


    Lisa Hoffman MA
    Lisa Hoffman, MA is the Director of Professional Education at the Parkinson’s Foundation. She guided the inclusion of exercise professionals as part of the care team for people with Parkinson’s by initiating Development of Criteria for Exercise Education Programs & Competency Framework for Exercise Professionals. Lisa was the founder and director of Solo Fitness and Wellness, Inc. a NYC based in-home personal training company for 30 years.  She earned her master’s degree from Columbia University in Applied Physiology, received her bachelor’s degree in Modern Dance from SUNY Brockport.

    1.     American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 10th ed. Baltimore (MD): Wolters Kluwer; 2017.

    2.    American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics; 2016.

    ACSMs Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription 11th edition

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  • ACSM Guidelines Update Video | Children and Adolescents

    by David Barr | May 24, 2021

    ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 11th edition, update: ExRx for Children and Adolescents.

    DOWNLOAD your sample of the Guidelines book

    ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 11th edition contributor Melanna Cox, MS shares what has been updated in the Children and Adolescents section of Chapter 6, Exercise Prescription for Healthy Populations with Special Considerations.

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