Does squatting need attention?—A dual-task study on cognitive resources in resistance exercise

Autoři: Fabian Herold aff001;  Dennis Hamacher aff002;  Alexander Törpel aff002;  Leonard Goldschmidt aff002;  Notger G. Müller aff001;  Lutz Schega aff002
Působiště autorů: Research Group Neuroprotection, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Magdeburg, Germany aff001;  Institute III, Department of Sport Science, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany aff002;  Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS), Magdeburg, Germany aff003;  Department of Neurology, Medical Faculty, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article



Accumulating evidence shows that acute resistance exercises and long-term resistance training positively influence cognitive functions, but the underlying mechanisms have been rarely investigated. One explanatory approach assumes that the execution of resistance exercises requires higher cognitive processes which, in turn, lead to an ‘indirect’ training of higher cognitive functions. However, current knowledge on the engagement of higher cognitive functions during the execution of resistance exercises is relatively sparse. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine to what extent cognitive resources are needed to perform a resistance exercise in the form of barbell back squatting.


Twenty-four young adults performed a cognitive task (serial subtraction of 7’s) during standing and during barbell back squatting on a Smith machine. The total number and the number of correct responses were analyzed and taken as indicators of the cognitive load imposed by the experimental condition (squatting) and the control condition (standing). Additionally, participants’ perceived exertion, mean heart rate, and the number of squats they were able to perform were assessed.


While accuracy scores were found not to be significantly different between conditions, the numbers of total and of correct responses were significantly lower during squatting than during standing. Additionally, during squatting a higher number of total answers was given in the fifth set compared to the first set. We attribute this phenomenon to a learning effect. Furthermore, there was no statistically significant correlation between cognitive measures and perceived exertion.


Results suggest that perceived exertion cannot explain the higher dual-task costs observed during squatting. They rather reflect that more cognitive resources are needed to perform low-load barbell back squats than during standing. However, further research is necessary to confirm and generalize these findings.

Klíčová slova:

Cognition – Cognitive impairment – Cognitive psychology – Exercise – Heart rate – Learning – Physical activity – Strength training


1. Soga K, Masaki H, Gerber M, Ludyga S. Acute and Long-term Effects of Resistance Training on Executive Function. J Cogn Enhanc. 2018; 56: 729. doi: 10.1007/s41465-018-0079-y

2. Li Z, Peng X, Xiang W, Han J, Li K. The effect of resistance training on cognitive function in the older adults: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2018. doi: 10.1007/s40520-018-0998-6 30006762

3. Landrigan J-F, Bell T, Crowe M, Clay OJ, Mirman D. Lifting cognition: a meta-analysis of effects of resistance exercise on cognition. Psychological Research. 2019. doi: 10.1007/s00426-019-01145-x 30627769

4. Chang Y-K, Pan C-Y, Chen F-T, Tsai C-L, Huang C-C. Effect of Resistance-Exercise Training on Cognitive Function in Healthy Older Adults. A Review. J Aging Phys Act. 2012; 20: 497–517. doi: 10.1123/japa.20.4.497 22186664

5. Stillman CM, Cohen J, Lehman ME, Erickson KI. Mediators of Physical Activity on Neurocognitive Function: A Review at Multiple Levels of Analysis. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016; 10: 626. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00626 28018195

6. Herold F, Törpel A, Schega L, Müller NG. Functional and/or structural brain changes in response to resistance exercises and resistance training lead to cognitive improvements–a systematic review. Eur Rev Aging Phys Act. 2019; 16: 1676. doi: 10.1186/s11556-019-0217-2 31333805

7. Törpel A, Herold F, Hamacher D, Müller NG, Schega L. Strengthening the Brain—Is Resistance Training with Blood Flow Restriction an Effective Strategy for Cognitive Improvement. J Clin Med. 2018; 7: 377. doi: 10.3390/jcm7100337 30304785

8. Fissler P, Küster O, Schlee W, Kolassa I-T. Novelty interventions to enhance broad cognitive abilities and prevent dementia. Synergistic approaches for the facilitation of positive plastic change. Prog Brain Res. 2013; 207: 403–434. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63327-9.00017-5 24309264

9. Clark DJ. Automaticity of walking: functional significance, mechanisms, measurement and rehabilitation strategies. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 2015; 9. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00246 25999838

10. Woollacott M, Shumway-Cook A. Attention and the control of posture and gait: a review of an emerging area of research. Gait & Posture. 2002; 16: 1–14. doi: 10.1016/S0966-6362(01)00156-4

11. Al-Yahya E, Dawes H, Smith L, Dennis A, Howells K, Cockburn J. Cognitive motor interference while walking: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2011; 35: 715–728. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.08.008 20833198

12. Huang HJ, Mercer VS. Dual-task methodology: applications in studies of cognitive and motor performance in adults and children. Pediatr Phys Ther. 2001; 13: 133–140. 17053670

13. Boisgontier MP, Beets IAM, Duysens J, Nieuwboer A, Krampe RT, Swinnen SP. Age-related differences in attentional cost associated with postural dual tasks: Increased recruitment of generic cognitive resources in older adults. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2013; 37: 1824–1837. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.07.014 23911924

14. Balady GJ, Chaitman B, Driscoll D, Foster C, Froelicher E, Gordon N, et al. Recommendations for Cardiovascular Screening, Staffing, and Emergency Policies at Health/Fitness Facilities. Circulation. 1998; 97: 2283–2293. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.97.22.2283 9631884

15. Adams R. Revised Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. Can Fam Physician. 1999; 45: 992, 995, 1004–5. 10216799

16. Finger JD, Gisle L, Mimilidis H, Santos-Hoevener C, Kruusmaa EK, Matsi A, et al. How well do physical activity questions perform? A European cognitive testing study. Arch Public Health. 2015; 73: 57. doi: 10.1186/s13690-015-0109-5 26629340

17. Folstein MF, Folstein SE, McHugh PR. "Mini-mental state". A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res. 1975; 12: 189–198. doi: 10.1016/0022-3956(75)90026-6 1202204

18. Reitan RM. The relation of the Trail Making Test to organic brain damage. Journal of Consulting Psychology. 1955; 19: 393–394. doi: 10.1037/h0044509 13263471

19. Beck AT, Steer RA, Brown GK. Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio, Texas: Psychological Corporation; 1996.

20. Fuchs R, Klaperski S, Gerber M, Seelig H. Messung der Bewegungs- und Sportaktivität mit dem BSA-Fragebogen. Zeitschrift für Gesundheitspsychologie. 2015; 23: 60–76. doi: 10.1026/0943-8149/a000137

21. Bowie CR, Harvey PD. Administration and interpretation of the Trail Making Test. Nat Protoc. 2006; 1: 2277–2281. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.390 17406468

22. Crowe SF. The differential contribution of mental tracking, cognitive flexibility, visual search, and motor speed to performance on parts A and B of the trail making test. J. Clin. Psychol. 1998; 54: 585–591. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4679(199808)54:5<585::aid-jclp4>;2-k 9696108

23. Corrigan JD, Hinkeldey NS. Relationships between parts A and B of the Trail Making Test. J. Clin. Psychol. 1987; 43: 402–409. doi: 10.1002/1097-4679(198707)43:4<402::aid-jclp2270430411>;2-e 3611374

24. Gail S, Rodefeld S, Künzell S. Reproducibility of a 5-repetition maximum strength test in older adults. IES. 2015; 23: 291–295. doi: 10.3233/IES-150590

25. Baechle TR, Earle RW. Essentials of strength training and conditioning. 3rd ed. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics; 2008.

26. Zourdos MC, Klemp A, Dolan C, Quiles JM, Schau KA, Jo E, et al. Novel Resistance Training-Specific Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale Measuring Repetitions in Reserve. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2016; 30: 267–275. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001049 26049792

27. Tsukamoto H, Suga T, Takenaka S, Takeuchi T, Tanaka D, Hamaoka T, et al. An acute bout of localized resistance exercise can rapidly improve inhibitory control. PLOS ONE. 2017; 12: e0184075. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184075 28877232

28. Hamacher D, Brennicke M, Behrendt T, Alt P, Törpel A, Schega L. Motor-cognitive dual-tasking under hypoxia. Experimental Brain Research. 2017. doi: 10.1007/s00221-017-5036-y 28721516

29. Borg GA. Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1982; 14: 377–381. 7154893

30. Tarvainen MP, Niskanen J-P, Lipponen JA, Ranta-Aho PO, Karjalainen PA. Kubios HRV—heart rate variability analysis software. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2014; 113: 210–220. doi: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2013.07.024 24054542

31. Pendleton DM, Sakalik ML, Moore ML, Tomporowski PD. Mental engagement during cognitive and psychomotor tasks. Effects of task type, processing demands, and practice. Int J Psychophysiol. 2016; 109: 124–131. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.08.012 27585951

32. de Sousa TLW, Di Ostoli TLVP, Sperandio EF, Arantes RL, Gagliardi ARdT, Romiti M, et al. Dose-response relationship between very vigorous physical activity and cardiovascular health assessed by heart rate variability in adults: Cross-sectional results from the EPIMOV study. PLOS ONE. 2019; 14: e0210216. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210216 30703127

33. Burke S. Missing Values, Outliers, Robust Statistics & Non-parametric Methods. LC•GC Europe Online Supplement. 2001: 19–24.

34. Whitley E, Ball J. Statistics review 6: Nonparametric methods. Crit Care. 2002; 6: 509–513. doi: 10.1186/cc1820 12493072

35. Coolican H. Research methods and statistics in psychology. 5th ed. London: Hodder Education; 2009.

36. Fritz CO, Morris PE, Richler JJ. Effect size estimates. Current use, calculations, and interpretation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 2012; 141: 2–18. doi: 10.1037/a0024338 21823805

37. Zhu W. Sadly, the earth is still round (p < 0.05). Journal of Sport and Health Science. 2012; 1: 9–11. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2012.02.002

38. Holm S. A Simple Sequentially Rejective Multiple Test Procedure. Scandinavian Journal of Statistics. 1979; 6: 65–70.

39. McLaughlin MJ, Sainani KL. Bonferroni, Holm, and Hochberg Corrections: Fun Names, Serious Changes to P Values. PM&R. 2014; 6: 544–546. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2014.04.006 24769263

40. Ludbrook J. MULTIPLE COMPARISON PROCEDURES UPDATED. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1998; 25: 1032–1037. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1998.tb02179.x 9888002

41. Atkinson G. Analysis of repeated measurements in physical therapy research. Multiple comparisons amongst level means and multi-factorial designs. Physical Therapy in Sport. 2002; 3: 191–203. doi: 10.1054/ptsp.2002.0123

42. Patel P, Lamar M, Bhatt T. Effect of type of cognitive task and walking speed on cognitive-motor interference during dual-task walking. Neuroscience. 2014; 260: 140–148. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.12.016 24345478

43. Srygley JM, Mirelman A, Herman T, Giladi N, Hausdorff JM. When does walking alter thinking? Age and task associated findings. Brain Research. 2009; 1253: 92–99. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.11.067 19084511

44. Regnaux JP, Roberston J, Smail DB, Daniel O, Bussel B. Human treadmill walking needs attention. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2006; 3: 19. doi: 10.1186/1743-0003-3-19 16923186

45. Wollesen B, Voelcker-Rehage C, Regenbrecht T, Mattes K. Influence of a visual–verbal Stroop test on standing and walking performance of older adults. Neuroscience. 2016; 318: 166–177. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.01.031 26808774

46. Wickens CD. The structure of attentional resources. In: Nickerson RS, editor. Attention and performance VIII. Hillsdale: Erlbaum; 1980.

47. Mayer RE, Moreno R. Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning. Educational Psychologist. 2003; 38: 43–52. doi: 10.1207/S15326985EP3801_6

48. Schaefer S, Lindenberger U. Thinking While Walking: Experienced High-Heel Walkers Flexibly Adjust Their Gait. Front. Psychol. 2013; 4. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00316 23760158

49. Schaefer S, Scornaienchi D. Table Tennis Experts Outperform Novices in a Demanding Cognitive-Motor Dual-Task Situation. Journal of Motor Behavior. 2019: 1–10. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2019.1602506 30982463

50. Rémy F, Wenderoth N, Lipkens K, Swinnen SP. Dual-task interference during initial learning of a new motor task results from competition for the same brain areas. Neuropsychologia. 2010; 48: 2517–2527. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.04.026 20434467

51. Bherer L, Kramer AF, Peterson MS, Colcombe S, Erickson K, Becic E. Transfer Effects in Task-Set Cost and Dual-Task Cost After Dual-Task Training in Older and Younger Adults: Further Evidence for Cognitive Plasticity in Attentional Control in Late Adulthood. Experimental Aging Research. 2008; 34: 188–219. doi: 10.1080/03610730802070068 18568979

Článek vyšel v časopise


2020 Číslo 1
Nejčtenější tento týden