Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of 10 weeks of moderate resistance strength training followed by 6 weeks of detraining on muscle strength and jump performance in healthy, moderately active, older men, aged 61 - 75 years (mean age 68 +/- 5 years).
Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to a moderate resistance strength training group (RT, n = 9), or to a control group (C, n = 9). The RT group trained upper and lower body muscle groups at 60% of 1-Repetition Maximum (1-RM), 3 times per week for 12 weeks. Both groups were evaluated in the 1-RM knee extension and flexion strength, squat jump (SJ), and countermovement jump (CMJ) height before and after the training period. In addition, the RT group was evaluated in the same measurements after 6 weeks of detraining.
Results: After the training period, RT improved significantly (p < 0.001) the 1-RM knee extension (32%) and flexion (28%) strength, SJ (39%), and CMJ (31%) height. Significant reductions were observed in 1-RM lower body strength, SJ, and CMJ height by approximately 15%, after the detraining period.
Conclusions: Muscle strength and vertical jump performance improved after short-term moderate resistance strength training. A short-term detraining period affects the muscle strength and power in older adults, but the neuromuscular function does not return to pretraining levels. This suggests that the continuation of a strength training program is essential for the maintenance of muscle strength, functional performance, and independence in older adults.