Obesity is a prevalent and complex health issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is associated with various health risks, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal problems. As fitness professionals, we play a crucial role in helping our clients with obesity become more active and improve their overall health. To better understand how to achieve this goal, let’s explore the findings from a recent study titled “Hybrid-type, multicomponent interval training upregulates musculoskeletal fitness of adults with overweight and obesity in a volume-dependent manner: A 1-year dose-response randomised controlled trial” conducted by Alexios Batrakoulis, Athanasios Z. Jamurtas, and their colleagues.

The Study Overview

The study in question aimed to investigate the effects of a one-year hybrid-type, multicomponent interval training programme (DoIT) on various musculoskeletal fitness parameters among inactive overweight and obese adults. The research involved 97 middle-aged individuals with overweight or obesity, with 66% of them being female. Participants were randomly assigned to four groups: a control group (CON) and three DoIT groups performing the programme once, twice, or thrice weekly.

The DoIT programme was designed as a time-efficient, intermittent-based, multicomponent exercise protocol. It incorporated progressive loaded fundamental movement patterns with prescribed work-to-rest intervals (ranging from 1:3 to 2:1) in a circuit format consisting of 2 to 3 rounds. The study assessed various musculoskeletal fitness parameters at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months after the intervention, including muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, passive range of motion (PRoM), static balance, and functional movement screen (FMS®). 

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Key Findings

The study’s results were compelling and hold valuable insights for fitness professionals working with clients suffering from obesity:

  1. Muscular Strength: All exercise groups exhibited superior changes in muscular strength compared to the control group, with improvements ranging from 13% to 38%.
  2. Muscular Endurance: Similar to muscular strength, participants in the exercise groups showed substantial improvements in muscular endurance, with gains ranging from 42% to 159%.
  3. Flexibility: Flexibility also significantly improved in the exercise groups, with gains ranging from 12% to 42%.
  4. Passive Range of Motion (PRoM): PRoM increased by 6% to 50% in the exercise groups, indicating enhanced joint mobility.
  5. Static Balance: Participants in the exercise groups displayed notable enhancements in static balance, with improvements ranging from 61% to 163%.
  6. Functional Movement Screen (FMS®): FMS scores increased by 18% to 39% in the exercise groups, signifying improvements in functional movement patterns.

Furthermore, the study highlighted that the response to training was 100% for all exercise groups, underscoring the effectiveness of the intervention. Notably, the improvements in musculoskeletal fitness demonstrated a dose-dependent response, with those engaging in two or three sessions per week experiencing greater benefits.

Implications For Us

These findings have significant implications for fitness professionals working with clients dealing with obesity:

  1. Multicomponent Exercise Approach: Encourage clients to engage in a multicomponent exercise approach that combines bodyweight drills and resistance-based alternative modes.
  2. Frequency Matters: Emphasise the importance of regular exercise. While even a single session per week can yield positive results, the study suggests that increasing the frequency to two or three sessions per week can lead to a dose-dependent response, with greater improvements in musculoskeletal fitness.
  3. Tailored Programmes: Design exercise programmes that suit the individual needs and preferences of clients. Consider their fitness level, available time, and any physical limitations when creating a tailored plan.
  4. Holistic Approach: Promote a holistic approach to health that includes both exercise and nutritional guidance. Weight management and obesity control often require a combination of diet and physical activity.
  5. Regular Assessments: Periodically assess and track your clients‘ progress to ensure that they are on the right track and make adjustments to their programme if necessary.

Helping clients with obesity become more active and improve their musculoskeletal fitness is a crucial aspect of our role as fitness professionals. The findings from the study mentioned above demonstrate the effectiveness of a multicomponent exercise approach, with a clear dose-dependent response. By incorporating these insights into our training programmes and emphasising the importance of regular exercise, we can play a pivotal role in helping our clients achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall health.


  1.  Alexios Batrakoulis, Athanasios Z. Jamurtas, Panagiotis Tsimeas, Athanasios Poulios, Konstantinos Perivoliotis, Niki Syrou, Konstantinos Papanikolaou, Dimitrios Draganidis, Charikleia K. Deli, Georgios S. Metsios, Theodore J. Angelopoulos, Yuri Feito & Ioannis G. Fatouros (2023) Hybrid-type, multicomponent interval training upregulates musculoskeletal fitness of adults with overweight and obesity in a volume-dependent manner: A 1-year dose-response randomised controlled trial, European Journal of Sport Science, 23:3, 432-443, Click here to review the full research article 

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