Effects of Attentional Focusing Strategies on Muscular Power in Older Women

J Aging Phys Act. 2015 Jul;23(3):333-8. doi: 10.1123/japa.2013-0022. Epub 2014 Jun 20.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of different foci of attention on parameters related to maximum muscular power in older women. Using a counterbalanced within-participant design, 23 physically active young-old women (age 59-69) completed a maximum effort cycle ergometer test following three types of verbal instructions. The external instruction (EXF) was designed to focus attention on moving the pedals as fast as possible, internal instruction (INF) directed attention toward moving the legs as fast as possible, and a control condition (CON) was created in which participants were instructed to perform the task to the best of their abilities. Results indicated that the EXF and CON conditions resulted in greater muscular power compared with the INF condition. Results also indicated that directing attention internally hindered muscular power performance in older women, which is consistent with the predictions of the constrained action hypothesis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*