Explosive heavy-resistance training in old and very old adults: changes in rapid muscle force, strength and power

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2008 Dec;18(6):773-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2007.00732.x. Epub 2008 Jan 30.


Age-related decline in muscle power predicts falls, motor impairments and disability. Recent guidelines suggested that training programs should be tailored to maximize muscle power. This study investigated the effects of 12 weeks of explosive-type heavy-resistance training (75-80% of 1 repetition maximum) in old (60-65 years, TG60) and very old (80-89 years, TG80) community-dwelling women. Training was performed with maximal intentional acceleration of the training load during the concentric movement phase. Maximal isometric voluntary muscle strength (MVC), rapid force capacity, assessed as rate of force development (RFD), and impulse, maximal muscle power during a countermovement jump (CMJ) and during unilateral leg extension task (LEP) were evaluated. RFD, impulse and MVC increased by 51%, 42% and 28% in TG80, and by 21%, 18% and 18% in TG60, respectively. CMJ jump height increased by 18% and 10% in TG80 and TG60, respectively, while jump peak power increased in TG60 (5%). Finally, LEP increased 28% in TG80 and 12% in TG60. These findings demonstrate that explosive-type heavy-resistance training seems to be safe and well tolerated in healthy women even in the eighth decade of life and elicits adaptive neuromuscular changes in selected physiological variables that are commonly associated with the risk of falls and disability in aged individuals.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Resistance Training*