The majority are not performing home-exercises correctly two weeks after their initial instruction-an assessor-blinded study

PeerJ. 2015 Jul 21;3:e1102. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1102. eCollection 2015.


Introduction. Time-under-tension (TUT) reflects time under load during strength training and is a proxy of the total exercise dose during strength training. The purpose of this study was to investigate if young participants are able to reproduce TUT and exercise form after two weeks of unsupervised exercises. Material and Methods. The study was an assessor-blinded intervention study with 29 participants. After an initial instruction, all participants were instructed to perform two weeks of home-based unsupervised shoulder abduction exercises three times per week with an elastic exercise band. The participants were instructed in performing an exercise with a predefined TUT (3 s concentric; 2 s isometric; 3 s eccentric; 2 s break) corresponding to a total of 240 s of TUT during three sets of 10 repetitions. After completing two weeks of unsupervised home exercises, they returned for a follow-up assessment of TUT and exercise form while performing the shoulder abduction exercise. A stretch sensor attached to the elastic band was used to measure TUT at baseline and follow-up. A physiotherapist used a pre-defined clinical observation protocol to determine if participants used the correct exercise form. Results. Fourteen of the 29 participants trained with the instructed TUT at follow-up (predefined target: 240 s ±8%). Thirteen of the 29 participants performed the shoulder abduction exercise with a correct exercise form. Seven of the 29 participants trained with the instructed TUT and exercise form at follow-up. Conclusion. The majority of participants did not use the instructed TUT and exercise form at follow-up after two weeks of unsupervised exercises. These findings emphasize the importance of clear and specific home exercise instructions if participants are to follow the given exercise prescription regarding TUT and exercise form as too many or too few exercise stimuli in relation to the initially prescribed amount of exercise most likely will provide a misinterpretation of the actual effect of any given specific home exercise intervention.

Keywords: Adherence; Compliance; Exercises; Time-under-tension.

Grant support

There was no external funding for this study.