BMC Public Health (Aug 2020)

Protocol for Minute Calisthenics: a randomized controlled study of a daily, habit-based, bodyweight resistance training program

  • Joshua C. Hollingsworth,
  • Kaelin C. Young,
  • Siraj F. Abdullah,
  • Danielle D. Wadsworth,
  • Ahmad Abukhader,
  • Bari Elfenbein,
  • Zachary Holley

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 20, no. 1
pp. 1 – 9


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Abstract Background Resistance-training (RT) provides significant health benefits. However, roughly 3/4 of adults in the United States do not meet current Physical Activity Guidelines in this regard. There has been a call for research examining the effectiveness of interventions to increase participation in physical activity and to better understand the dose response relationship upon health outcomes. Studies are needed that assess the effectiveness of RT programs that are time-efficient and simple to perform. This fully-powered, randomized controlled study will assess a habit-based RT program consisting of one set of push-ups, angled-rows, and bodyweight-squats performed every weekday for 12–24 weeks in untrained individuals. Methods Forty–60 untrained osteopathic medical students and college/university employees who work in an office setting will be recruited and randomized (1:1) to an intervention or waitlist control group. After 12-week follow-up assessment, the intervention group will continue the program and the control group will initiate the program for 12 weeks. In addition to the equipment and training needed to safely perform the exercises, all participants will receive training in the Tiny Habits® Method (THM) and digital coaching for the duration of the study. Participants will complete weekly assessments regarding the program during their initial 12-week intervention phase. The primary outcome is the change from baseline to 12 weeks in the intervention group versus the control group, in the combined number of repetitions performed in one set of each of the three exercises (composite repetitions) under a standardized protocol. Secondary outcomes include adherence to and satisfaction with the program, and change from baseline to 12- and 24-week follow-up in blood pressure, fasting lipid panel, hemoglobin A1c, body mass index, anthropometry, body composition, mid-thigh muscle thickness, and habit strength. Discussion This study will evaluate a simple, habit-based RT intervention in untrained individuals. The approach is unique in that it utilizes brief but frequent bodyweight exercises and, via the THM, focuses on consistency and habit formation first, with effort being increased as participants are motivated and able. If effective, the program can be easily scaled for wider adoption. Trial registration This study was prospectively registered at, identifier NCT04207567 , on December 23rd, 2019.