Tai Chi Chuan to improve muscular strength and endurance in elderly individuals: a pilot study

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000 May;81(5):604-7. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(00)90042-x.


Objective: To evaluate the training effect of a Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) program on knee extensor muscular strength and endurance in elderly individuals.

Design: Before-after trial.

Setting: Community setting.

Participants: Forty-one community dwelling subjects aged 61.1 +/- 9.8 years undertook a TCC program. Nine dropped out during the study. Pretraining and posttraining measurements were obtained from 15 men and 17 women.

Intervention: Subjects participated in a 6-month TCC program. Each session consisted of 20 minutes of warm-up, 24 minutes of structured TCC training, and 10 minutes of cool-down exercises.

Main outcome measures: Peak torque of dominant and nondominant knee extensors was tested at speeds of 60 degrees , 180 degrees , and 240 degrees/sec concentrically and eccentrically. Muscular endurance of the knee extensor was tested at the speed of 180 degrees /sec.

Results: In the group of men, concentric knee extensor peak torque increased by 15.1% to 20.0% and eccentric peak torque increased by 15.1% to 23.7%. The group of women also showed increases, ranging from 13.5% to 21.8% in concentric peak torque, and 18.3% to 23.8% in eccentric peak torque. In addition, the knee extensor endurance ratio increased by 9.6% to 18.8% in the men and 10.1% to 14.6% in the women.

Conclusion: TCC training may enhance muscular strength and endurance of knee extensors in elderly individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Knee / physiology
  • Male
  • Martial Arts*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome