What I Do: Undergraduate Research

What I Do: Undergraduate Research

For this week’s post, I want to focus on the topic of undergraduate research. More specifically, I want to focus on my job and research project. As I stated in my first post, I work in study called the BFREE study which compares the efficacy of different exercise regimens in older adults that are at risk for mobility limitations. Within the study, there are three groups of subjects: Low load with blood flow restriction, high load, and control. The low load group is the group of the most interest because the study is aimed at determining the amount of hypertrophy (muscle growth) experienced in this group compared to the high load group. The high load and low load groups each complete a 12 week, twice a week resistance training program for their lower body. The exercises include a leg press, leg extension, and leg curl on machines. The difference in the training regimens for each group is that the high load performs traditional resistance training, like you would when you go to the gym, using a load that is 80% of their 1 repetition maximum (RM). On the other hand, the low load group performs these exercises using a load that is 30% of their 1RM while wearing cuffs around their upper thighs that restrict blood flow to the muscles. The cuffs’ purpose is to fatigue the muscles quicker, which is why 30% of the 1RM is uses as a load. The control group does exercises, twice a week for 12 weeks, aimed at strengthening the upper body, so they’re not expected to have any strength gains in the lower body. Mobility and strength tests are performed before, in the middle of, and after the training programs to look at improvements. One of the tests each subject performs is the 4 meter walk test. This is where my personal research project comes into play.
During this test, each subject walks at a preferred speed for 4 meters and the time it takes them is recorded. The purpose of my study is to determine the effect of high load resistance training on preferred walking speed in older adults and to determine the relationship between changes in hamstring and quadriceps strength and walking speed. Basically, I’m just looking at the 4 meter walk test and the subjects in the high load group, and comparing the changes of their walking speed and strength from the beginning of the study to the end of the study. I’m very excited to start analyzing data for this project and I will be presenting it at the Undergraduate Research Conference (URC). If you have any interest in undergraduate research, you should check out the link below and talk to your advisor and professors.
More info: www.unh.edu/urc