Overweight students’ training for GTO complex tests


N.L. Volkova1
Dr.Hab., Professor G.N. Ponomarev2
Postgraduate student E.A. Fedotova2
1Lyceum № 393, St. Petersburg
2Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St. Petersburg

Keywords: schoolchildren, special health group, physical exercises, physical qualities, standards.

Background. The growth of school-age obesity and overweight has been ranked among the most critical health problems faced by the national school population lately. School health statistics report growth of body mass indices in the primary school population in virtually every region of the Russian Federation [3]. It should be mentioned that this group of schoolchildren is not qualified with the special health group and, hence, is not exempted from the standard school physical education program including trainings for the GTO Complex tests. 

Objective of the study was to find ways to motivate schoolchildren diagnozed with overweight for habitual physical practices and development.

Methods and structure of the study. For the purposes of the study, we developed and tested an experimental physical progress and motivations encouragement model for the schoolchildren with overweight designed to engage this school group into habitual physical fitness and weight control practices.

The physical progress and motivations encouragement model offers a customizable combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises for physical fitness and health improvement in this health group. The prime condition for the experimental model design was its customizability to offer individualized development options for the overweight-diagnosed school trainees. The model includes a set of anaerobic practices on training simulators and weight practices to facilitate the muscular mass building and fat burning processes, with specific exercises for 2-3 muscular groups per training day. The model exercises included barbell squats, seated leg presses, bench presses, deadlifts, dumbbell pullovers, standing dumbbell exercises etc. [1], with the training sessions including 7-8 exercises run 2-4 times with 7-18 reps. Weights were individualized for every trainee within 70-90% of the individual maximum.

Aerobic practices in the model included sets of circuit fat-burning exercises with the motor intensity increased in a stepped manner, with each set of exercises dominated by sequential gymnastic metabolism-spurring practices for the upper and lower limbs with controlled intensity. The set of exercises includes (one per station): squats, lunge squats, push-ups, bends, sit-ups, different jumps etc., with the set designed for 7-8 stations [2]. The training session includes 3-4 circles of 7-8 controlled-time exercises each, with each exercise taking 30-45s on every station. The training process intensity was individualized on every station based on the functionality test data (HR, fatigue manifestations etc.) with the training process intensity managed within 60-80% of the maximum.

Sampled for the study purposes were the 1-11-grade pupils (n=84) of Liceum №393 in Kirov District of Saint Petersburg (including 24 1-4-grade, 32 5-8-grade and 28 9-11-grade pupils) tested with the body mass indices in excess of 25 conventional units – that qualify them with the overweight/ pre-obesity group as per the WHO recommendations. The physical progress and motivations encouragement model testing experiment was run in 2015-16 school year. The sample was split up into an Experimental (EG) and Reference Group (RG) of 42 people each. The EG was trained 4 times a week, with 2 lessons under the standard Physical Education curriculum and 2 lessons (one substituting the third lesson of standard Physical Education and the other run on an off-class basis) under the experimental training model. The RG was trained under the standard Physical Education curriculum 3 times a week. The pre- and post-experimental physical fitness tests were run in September 2015 and May 2016, respectively, to rate progress of the trainees. The test data proved benefits of the model as verified by the EG progress versus RG.

The sample progress was tested by the speed rating 30/ 60/ 100m sprint tests; strength rating push-ups tests; endurance rating 1000/ 1500/ 2000m race tests; and flexibility rating standing bends test. The test data were classified into high, average and low levels versus the relevant GTO Complex test standards; with the high level corresponding to the gold/ silver GTO badges, the average level to the bronze GTO badge, and the low level short of the bronze GTO badge test rates.

Study findings and discussion. The pre-experimental test data of the EG and RG showed the physical qualities of the sample dominated by the average and low levels with insignificant intergroup differences. The post-experimental tests found statistically insignificant changes in the RG physical fitness rates. Given on Figure 1 hereunder are the EG progress test data.


Figure 1. Experimental Group physical fitness test data: pre- versus post-experimental test indices, %

The test data arrays demonstrate benefits of the experimental physical development and motivations encouragement model for the schoolchildren with overweight, with statistically significant progress (р≤0.05) found in the EG strength, speed and endurance rating tests. Progress in the EG flexibility rating tests was found statistically insignificant (р>0.05) was found. This finding shows the need for the experimental training model being upgraded to give a higher priority to the flexibility building practices, particularly in the senior schoolchildren subgroup. The physical progress achieved by the new training model contributes to the school population trainings for the GTO Complex tests. The pre-experimental tests showed no intergroup differences in the BMI (body mass indices). The post-experimental test data showed statistically significant (р≤0.05) progress of minus 4.5 conv. units in the EG BMI versus plus 0.1 conv. units in the RG. It should be emphasized that the EG progress in the BMI was associated with progress in the physical fitness test rates.

Conclusion. The experimental physical development and motivations encouragement model for the schoolchildren with overweight with its focused anaerobic strength trainings and sets of circuit training practices was found beneficial as verified by the Experimental Group and its significant progress in the body mass indices and physical fitness test indices.


  1. Volkova N.L., Ponomarev G.N. Primenenie trenazherov na zanyatiyakh po fizicheskoy kulture starshikh shkolnikov [Exercise machines used at physical education classes for senior students]. Kultura fizicheskaya i zdorovye, 2015, no. 3(54), pp. 110-113.
  2. Volkova N.L. Primenenie krugovoy trenirovki na urokakh po fizicheskoy kulture u shkolnikov s izbytochnym vesom [Circuit training at physical education lessons for overweight students]. Materialy XI Mezhdunarodnoy nauchno-prakticheskoy konferentsii 'Sovremennaya gimnastika: problemy, tendentsii, perspektivy' [Proc. XI International res.-practical conference 'Modern gymnastics: problems, trends, perspectives']. St. Petersburg: Herzen SPUR publ., 2015, pp. 13-16.
  3. Osolodkova E.V. Vliyanie snizheniya dvigatelnoy aktivnosti na sostoyanie zdorovya mladshego shkolnika [Motor activity decrease versus state of health of primary pupil]. Simvol nauki, 2017, no. 2, pp. 168-169.
  4. Ukaz Prezidenta RF ot 24.03.2014 #172 «O Vserossiyskom fizkulturno-sportivnom komplekse «Gotov k trudu i oborone» (Sobranie zakonodatelstva Rossiyskoy Federatsii, 2014, no. 13, art. 1452) [Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated March 24, 2014 No. 172 "On Russian Physical Culture and Sports Complex 'Ready for Labour and Defence']. Russian Federation Code.

Corresponding author: g-ponomarev@inbox.ru


As provided by Presidential Decree #172 of March 24, 2014, the Russian Physical Education and Sport GTO Complex has been reinstated to facilitate the physical fitness and health development initiatives and increase motivations for habitual physical practices. The study offers and assesses benefits of the overweight students’ training model for the GTO Complex tests including class and off-class physical trainings. The overweight students’ training model was found beneficial as verified by the model piloting experiment with a special emphasis on the strength practices and circuit training tools versus the standard school curriculum.