A comparison of load-velocity and load-power relationships between well-trained young and middle-aged males during three popular resistance exercises
This study examined the load-velocity and load-power relationships among 20 young (age 21.0 ± 1.6 y) and 20 middle-aged (age 42.6 ± 6.7 y) resistance trained males. Participants performed three repetitions of bench press, squat and bent-over-row across a range of loads corresponding to 20 to 80% of one repetition maximum (1RM). Analysis revealed effects (P < 0.05) of group and load x group on barbell velocity for all three exercises, and interaction effects on power for squat and bent-over-row (P < 0.05). For bench press and bent-over-row, the young group produced higher barbell velocities, with the magnitude of the differences decreasing as load increased (ES; effect size 0.0 to 1.7 and 1.0 to 2.0, respectively). Squat velocity was higher in the young group than the middle-aged group (ES 1.0 to 1.7) across all loads, as was power for each exercise (ES 1.0 to 2.3). For all three exercises, both velocity and 1RM were correlated with optimal power in the middle-aged group (r = .613 to .825, P < 0.05), but only 1RM was correlated with optimal power (r = .708 to .867, P < 0.05) in the young group. These findings indicate that despite their resistance training, middle-aged males were unable to achieve velocities at low external loads and power outputs as high as the young males across a range of external resistances. Moreover, the strong correlations between 1RM and velocity with optimal power suggest that middle-aged males would benefit from training methods which maximise these adaptations.