Effect of resistance training volume on walking speed performance in postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Low muscle strength and high abdominal fatness play an important role in fast and usual walking speeds decrement in postmenopausal women (PW). Low-volume resistance training (RT) improves muscle strength. However, high-volume RT has shown to improve muscle strength and abdominal fatness in PW. Thus, high-volume RT would elicit greater improvement in fast and usual walking speeds than low-volume RT.

Objective:

To confirm whether the high-volume RT is better than the low-volume RT, we performed a randomized controlled trial (clinical trial registration: RBR-8SBBVP) study to investigated the effects of two different RT volumes (three sets vs. six sets) on fast and usual walking speed performances (fast: one-mile walk test and usual: four-meter walk), muscle strength (1 RM test), and abdominal fatness (WC – waist circumference; WC/W waist circumference-to-weight ratio; WHtR – waist-to-height ratio; ABSI – A body shape index; BRI – body roundness index; CI – conicity index) in PW.

Methods:

Thirty-three PW were randomized (simple randomization) in three groups: control group (CT – no exercise), low-volume RT (LV) and high-volume RT (HV). The RT consisted of eight total body exercises at 70% of one repetition maximum for 16 weeks performed three times a week.

Results:

The fast walking speed (6.1% [CI 95% 2.3–9.9]), WC (− 4.1% [CI 95% − 6.9 to − 1.4]), WHtR (− 4.2% [CI 95% − 7.0 to − 1.4]) and BRI (− 10.3% [CI 95% − 17.3 to − 3.4]) improved in the HV when compared to the LV and CT. The WC/W (− 3.7% [CI 95% − 6.5 to − 0.93]), ABSI (− 3.8% [CI 95% − 6.5 to − 1.2]) and CI (− 3.9% [CI 95% − 6.6 to − 1.3]) improved in the HV when compared to the CT. Muscle strength improved similarly in trained groups (LV: 49.1% [CI 95% 42.5–55.6] and HV: 43.7% [CI 95% 33.0–54.5]) when compared with the CT. No differences were observed in usual walking speed.

Conclusion:

Our results suggest that high-volume RT (six sets) at 70% of 1 RM is necessary to promote an improved fast walking speed performance and abdominal fatness in PW.

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