EMOTIV FLEX EEG Study Reveals Brain Activity Patterns in Resistance Exercise

EEG resistance training for cognitive therapy

A new joint study has found that resistance exercise creates a highly stable and repeatable pattern of brain activity that could be used to track the progress and efficacy of training programs. This discovery could further research into resistance training to prevent neurodegenerative diseases by revealing how exercise affects the central nervous system.

The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, used EMOTIV’s 32-channel FLEX EEG system to collect data from 18 “apparently healthy but physically inactive young adults.” The participants included ten men and eight women. 

“Highly repeatable measurement of EEG bands is the key to allowing widespread use in longitudinal follow-up studies if exercise training is to be used as a cognitive therapeutic intervention,” writes Domingos et al. (2023), adding: “Surprisingly, the repeatability of EEG bands in exercise-related settings has been overlooked.”

After a brief warm-up and practice run, participants were monitored while performing moderate-intensity leg press exercises with two evaluations 48 hours apart. EEG data during the resistance exercise showed high repeatability in all frequency bands, with excellent ICCs (>0.90) and bias close to zero, regardless of sex. Data was monitored and recorded using EmotivPRO software.

Figure 2 – looking at the different moments, differences were found in the delta band in the P3, PO9, and F4, in the theta band, differences were found in the Oz and T8 channels, and in the alpha band, the FP1 electrode showed differences. (Domingo et al., 2023)

The authors note, “These results suggest that a 32-channel wireless EEG system can be used to collect data on controlled resistance exercise tasks performed at moderate intensities.”

This paper was a joint effort between researchers from the Instituto Politécnico de Santarém, Instituto Superior Técnico at the University of Lisbon, and the Egas Moniz School of Health in Portugal, as well as the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Domingo et al. hope that the mapping of brain areas and their respective brain waves during resistance exercise will pave the way for improving the assessment of brain activity during exercise in future studies. They note that future studies should replicate these results with a larger sample size, as well as different resistance exercises and intensities.


Domingos, C., Marôco, J. L., Miranda, M., Da Silva, C. M., Melo, X., & Borrego, C. C. (2023). Repeatability of Brain Activity as Measured by a 32-Channel EEG System during Resistance Exercise in Healthy Young Adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(3), 1992. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031992

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