Resistance training performed at distinct angular velocities elicits velocity-specific alterations in muscle strength and mobility status in older adults

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Abstract

Background:

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of high and low velocity knee extension training on changes in muscle strength and mobility status in high-functioning older adults.

Methods:

Twenty-six (16 female, 10 male) older adults (mean age of 65) were randomized to either 6 weeks of low velocity resistance training (LVRT) performed at 75°/s or high velocity resistance training (HVRT) performed at 240°/s. Both groups performed 3 sets of knee extension exercises at maximal effort, 3 times a week. Muscle strength was assessed through a range of testing velocities on an isokinetic dynamometer. Mobility status was assessed with the short physical performance battery (SPPB) and myosin heavy chain (MyHC) transcript levels were quantified via qRT-PCR.

Results:

From baseline to post-training, there were several significant (P < 0.05) differences in muscle strength and functional characteristics in LVRT (n = 13) and HVRT (n = 13) groups. From baseline to post-training, MyHC-α mRNA and MyHC-IIa mRNA showed a significant (P < 0.05) increase within HVRT but MyHC-IIx mRNA did not change significantly. Our results demonstrate HVRT provides a greater number of muscular enhancements when compared to LVRT, particularly under conditions of high velocity muscle contraction.

Conclusion:

HVRT is emerging as the optimal training stimulus for the older adult. The present study demonstrates, in addition to increased strength and functional outcomes, HVRT elicits a potentially therapeutic (i.e., slow to fast) transcriptional response in MyHC.

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