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Jim  Pivarnik - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Jim Pivarnik Jim  Pivarnik

Professor of Kinesiology and Epidemiology | Michigan State University


Expert on physical fitness, special interest in fitness related to women and pregnancy.





Jim Pivarnik runs Olympic torch relay Jim Pivarnik on the ACSM American Fitness Index™ Jim Pivarnik ACSM President Jim Pivarnik Carries Olympic Torch Jim Pivarnik - Huffines Discussion 2013



James Pivarnik is a professor of kinesiology and epidemiology and is also the Director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health. As an exercise physiologist and epidemiologist, he studies the exercise responses of females, particularly during pregnancy, and children, both healthy and those with chronic diseases. His focus is on the role of physical activity in reducing the risk factors for chronic disease development (e.g., cardiovascular disease) and the morbidity and mortality of those suffering from such conditions.

Industry Expertise (2)


Health and Wellness

Areas of Expertise (3)

Computer applications

Exercise and sport physiology

Physiological testing

Education (3)

Indiana University: Ph.D. 1982

James Madison University: M.S. 1977

Indiana University: B.S. 1973

Affiliations (1)

  • American College of Sports Medicine

News (5)

Kate Upton graces 3 'Sports Illustrated' swimsuit covers



Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University, tells SELF that Upton’s focus on weight training can be a smart one, noting that the main purpose of weight training for most people is to overload specific and small muscle groups so that they get stronger. Known as progressive overload, this process encourages people to increase weights, sets, and reps as they get stronger. Many times, this can make muscles grow in a way that makes one look fitter, Pivarnik says...

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Bar Refaeli’s post-childbirth workout routine targets the muscles new moms need to work most



Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University, tells SELF that a BOSU ball and TRX bands are great tools for working out, period. A BOSU ball's unstable surface helps muscles "fire," or engage faster and more efficiently, by adding instability, Caitlin Bailey, senior personal trainer at New York's PhilanthroFIT training studio, tells SELF. And TRX bands can be used to do so many different strength exercises that they're often an excellent addition to any fitness repertoire...

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This amazing ‘Before-And-After’ photo shows that sometimes weight is just a number



Albert Matheny, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., of SoHo Strength Lab and Promix Nutrition, tells SELF it’s actually “100 percent common” to see the scale climb when you're committed to getting fit. Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University, agrees. He also tells SELF that it’s “very common” to put on weight when you start training more, especially if you were fairly lean to begin with...

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Keeping America in shape

Michigan State University - 360 Perspective  online


Jim Pivarnik is a man who wears many hats. He is a professor in the departments of Kinesiology and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health. He serves as MSU’s research integrity officer and is a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition's Science Board. When asked to write about my role as a member of a National Science Advisory Board to the President, I had to stop and think for a minute. I know that we do quite a bit, but rarely does anyone ever hear about us. Stepping back a moment, we must begin with a paper published in 1953 that indicated the physical fitness of America’s youth was significantly lower than that seen in many European countries. As a result, then-President Dwight Eisenhower established the President’s Council on Youth Fitness in 1956.

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How Sheryl Swoopes's pregnancy changed professional sports forever

The Atlantic  online


Today, though, adverse effects of activity on a pregnant person's body have been negated so thoroughly that researchers have shifted their focus to other areas. Dr. James Pivarnik, director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health at Michigan State, and his colleagues are now examining just how much exercise benefits a pregnant person with regard to diseases like pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes. Overall, Pivarnik worries more about everyday women who believe that they, too, can (or should) train like an Olympic athlete while with child. "People at that level are just different," he says. "Their bodies respond better to training and they can do so much more than the average person physically and psychologically, that pregnancy becomes a mild physiologic distraction. Most of us can only dream of being that skilled, pregnant or not."

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Journal Articles (5)

Associations among work-related and leisure-time physical activity with level of nausea during pregnancy

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

2017 Pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting are common maladies during early pregnancy and may be related to physical activity (PA). Our objective was to determine relations among work-related PA (work PA), leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), and nausea during the first trimester.

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Strategic priorities for physical activity surveillance in the United States

Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

2016 Purpose: Develop strategic priorities to guide future physical activity surveillance in the United States.

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The stress-metabolic syndrome relationship in adolescents: An examination of the moderating potential of physical activity

Journal of Physical Activity and Health

2016 The role of psychosocial stress in the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome is receiving increased attention and has led to examination of whether physical activity may moderate the stress-metabolic syndrome relationship. The current study examined relationships among physical activity, stress, and metabolic syndrome in adolescents.

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Age-related differences in OMNI-RPE scale validity in youth: A longitudinal analysis.

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

2016 RPE scales are used in exercise science research to assess perceptions of physical effort. RPE scale validity has been evaluated by assessing correlations between RPE and physiological indicators. Cross-sectional studies indicate that RPE scale validity improves with age; however, this has not been studied longitudinally.

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The influence of risk perceptions and efficacy beliefs on leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy

The Official Journal of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health

2016 Pregnancy risk perceptions and physical activity efficacy beliefs may facilitate or impede pregnancy leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). We examined the separate and joint influence of these variables on LTPA behavior among pregnant women.

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