The Initial Effects of Low-Volume Strength Training on Balance in Untrained Older Men and Women

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Evidence indicates that leg weakness in older adults is associated with decreased control of balance. The gender-specific implications of strength training on control of balance in older men and women remains unknown. This study examined the initial adaptations to 12 weeks of low-volume, single-set-to-failure strength training and its effect on quadriceps strength and control of multidirectional balance in previously untrained older men (n = 11) and women (n = 11) 59–83 years of age. Leg strength increased 23–30% (p < 0.001) across genders; however, the effect on balance varied between genders. No significant changes were noted in the women, whereas 37% (p < 0.014) more sway in the medial-lateral direction was noted in the men, with no change in the anterior-posterior direction. These results demonstrate that this training protocol may not be effective for improving balance and may lead to worsening of balance in older men.

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