McMaster University
Hacking Exercise For Health. The surprising new science of fitness.
McMaster University

Hacking Exercise For Health. The surprising new science of fitness.

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

75,812 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Martin Gibala
Stuart Phillips

Instructors: Martin Gibala


(783 reviews)

Beginner level
No prior experience required
22 hours to complete
3 weeks at 7 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • How to evaluate the role that physical activity plays in your health

  • How your cardiorespiratory fitness can be improved with aerobic training

  • How strength training results in strength gains and improve your health

  • How to formulate you own cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal exercise routine to improve your health

Details to know

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There are 4 modules in this course

The human body is rare in that it actually improves with use. In fact, the changes that various kinds of exercise trigger in the body are downright miraculous. This week, Marty and Stu explain the mechanics behind that process. They start by breaking down the two types of fitness: “Cardiorespiratory” and “musculoskeletal.” Next, they’ll tell you why each one is important to living a long and healthy life. With a can-do attitude designed to inspire, they’ll inform you how much of each activity you’re supposed to get, then wrap up the week by posing a question that exercise scientists have been debating for years: Which type of exercise is better for you?

What's included

5 videos5 readings1 discussion prompt2 plugins

This week Marty tells you all about cardiorespiratory fitness, and the latest research in terms of time-efficient ways to get fitter faster. Why do some scientists think that cardiorespiratory fitness should be the fifth vital sign? What is VO2max? What’s an easy way to determine your own VO2max? And how does aerobic exercise boost it? The week wraps up with Marty teaching a series of techniques to build cardiorespiratory fitness in less time than you ever thought possible.

What's included

6 videos5 readings4 discussion prompts1 plugin

Many people believe strength training isn’t for them. They might feel intimidated by lifting weights because they think it’s only for big hulking bodybuilders. Besides, what are the health benefits of lifting weights? During week 3, Stu argues that everyone should engage in some form of strength training—and the practice becomes more important, not less, as you age. Once you’re convinced, Stu teaches techniques that will help everyone to be stronger, to stave off the decline in muscle strength that otherwise happens as we age. Finally, Stu provides hacks to get you comfortable performing strengthening exercises—and teaches you to design your own resistance-training workouts.

What's included

6 videos9 readings4 discussion prompts1 plugin

Remember the question Marty and Stu posed in the first week? What’s more important, cardiorespiratory or musculoskeletal health? In the last week they’ll finally answer it for you. They’ll talk about some of the surprising benefits of exercise—like the fact that it can help you mentally retain information (sweat so you don’t forget!). They’ll discuss the debate over the exercise pill. They’ll teach you hacks that help you boost muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, together—and finish the course by teaching you techniques to design your own fun, combined workouts designed to keep you exercising for the rest of your life!

What's included

6 videos6 readings1 quiz2 discussion prompts1 plugin


Instructor ratings
4.8 (183 ratings)
Martin Gibala
McMaster University
1 Course75,812 learners

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