Is the Self-Selected Resistance Exercise Intensity by Older Women Consistent With the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines to Improve Muscular Fitness?

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Elsangedy, HM, Krause, MP, Krinski, K, Alves, RC, Hsin Nery Chao, C, and da Silva, SG. Is the self-selected resistance exercise intensity by older women consistent with the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines to improve muscular fitness? J Strength Cond Res 27(7): 1877–1884, 2013—The purpose of this study was to verify the self-selected intensity during resistance training (RT) in older women. Twenty healthy women (mean age, 65.6 years) underwent a 2-week familiarization period followed by 3 experimental sessions. During the first session, anthropometric measurements were taken. The second session involved completion of a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) test for the following exercises: chest press, leg press, lat pull-down, leg extension, lateral shoulder raise, leg curl, biceps curl, and triceps pushdown. Last, a single RT session was performed at a self-selected intensity. During the RT session, participants were instructed to self-select a load for performing 3 sets of 10–15 repetitions. Data were analyzed by mean (SD) and analysis of variance with repeated measures (p < 0.05). Global mean of the 3 sets was bench press 41.0% 1RM (11.9), leg press 43.0% 1RM (17.2), lat pull-down 47.2% 1RM (11.1), leg extension 33.0% 1RM (8.1), lateral shoulder raise 51.1% 1RM (12.1), leg curl 43.5% 1RM (8.8), biceps curl 48.0% 1RM (15.5), and triceps pushdown 51.7% 1RM (13.3); there were no significant differences between the sets (p > 0.05). These results indicate that inactive older women self-selected an intensity exercise during RT below the recommendation for improvements on muscle fitness in apparently healthy older adults. However, this intensity is recommended for very deconditioned individuals. Nevertheless, the use of self-selection strategy during an exercise program can have greater advantages because of its easy applicability, its positive relation with exercise adherence, and for promoting initial muscle conditioning in older adults. Furthermore, it is crucial to gradually increase the RT load to guarantee better and sustainable effects on muscle fitness. Finally, future studies are needed to establish the chronic effects of RT at self-selected intensity on muscle fitness and the functional health of older adults.

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