Muscle size responses to strength training in young and older men and women

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2001 Nov;49(11):1428-33. doi: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.4911233.x.


Objectives: To examine the possible influences of age and gender on muscle volume responses to strength training (ST).

Design: Prospective intervention study.

Setting: University of Maryland Exercise Science and Wellness Research Laboratories.

Participants: Eight young men (age 20-30 years), six young women (age 20-30 years), nine older men (age 65-75 years), and ten older women (age 65-75 years).

Intervention: A 6-month whole-body ST program that exercised all major muscle groups of the upper and lower body 3 days/week.

Measurements: Thigh and quadriceps muscle volumes and mid-thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging before and after the ST program.

Results: Thigh and quadriceps muscle volume increased significantly in all age and gender groups as a result of ST (P < .001), with no significant differences between the groups. Modest correlations were observed between both the change in quadriceps versus the change in total thigh muscle volume (r = 0.65; P < .001) and the change in thigh muscle volume versus the change in mid-thigh CSA (r = 0.76, P < .001).

Conclusions: The results indicate that neither age nor gender affects muscle volume response to whole-body ST. Muscle volume, rather than muscle CSA, is recommended for studying muscle mass responses to ST.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Anthropometry*
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*