Objectives: The importance of strength training to elderly individuals is well established. However, the dose-response relationship of the benefits of strength training in this population is unclear. The purpose of the study was to use meta-analysis to investigate the dose-response of the effects of strength training in elderly individuals.
Design: Fifteen studies with a total of 84 effect-sizes were included. The analyses examined the dose-response relationships of the following training variables 'intensity', 'number of sets', 'weekly frequency', and 'training duration' on strength improvement.
Methods: The studies selected met the following inclusion criteria: (a) randomized controlled trials; (b) trained healthy subjects of both genders; (c) trained subjects aged 55 years or older; (d) strength increases were determined pre- and post-training; (e) use of similar strength evaluation techniques (strength determined by a repetition maximum test) and training routine (dynamic concentric-eccentric knee extension exercise to train the quadriceps muscle group). The effect-sizes were calculated using fixed and random effect models with the main effects determined by meta-regression.
Results: Many combinations of training variables resulted in strength increases. However meta-regression indicated only "training duration" had a significant dose-response relationship to strength gains (p=0.001). Over durations of 8-52 weeks, longer training durations had a greater effect on strength gains compared to shorter duration protocols.
Conclusions: Resistive training causes strength gains in elderly individuals, provided the training duration is sufficiently long, regardless of the combination of other training variables.
Keywords: Aging; Exercise; Health; Meta-regression; Physical activity; Physical fitness.
Copyright © 2013 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.