THE EFFECT OF RESISTANCE-TRAINING INTENSITY ON STRENGTH-GAIN RESPONSE IN THE OLDER ADULT

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

This study examined how training intensity affects strength gains in older adults over an 18-week training period using nonperiodized, progressive resistance-training protocols. Untrained men and women participants were separated into 4 groups: group A (n = 17, 71.4 ± 4.6 years) performed 2 sets of 15 repetitions maximum (RM), group B (n = 13, 71.5 ± 5.2 years) performed 3 sets of 9 RM, group C (n = 17, 69.4 ± 4.4 years) performed 4 sets of 6 RM, group D (n = 14, 72.3 ± 5.9 years) served as controls. Training groups exercised 2 days/week performing 8 resistance exercises. Except for training intensity, the acute program variables were equated between groups. A 1RM for 8 exercises was obtained every 6 weeks. The total of 1RM for the 8 exercises served as the dependent variable. Results: repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Scheffe post hoc revealed that, at 6 weeks, only groups B and C were significantly stronger than group D (p < 0.01). By weeks 12 and 18, all training groups were significantly stronger than controls (p < 0.01). However, no difference existed between groups A, B, and C at any time. The data suggests that, for protocols with equated acute program variables, strength gain is similar over 18 weeks for training intensities ranging from 6 to 15 RM in previously untrained older adults. When programming nonperiodized, progressive resistance exercise for novice senior lifters, in the initial phases of the program, a wide range of intensities may be employed with similar strength gain.

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