Strength Gains as a Result of Brief, Infrequent Resistance Exercise in Older Adults

J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2014;2014:731890. doi: 10.1155/2014/731890. Epub 2014 Sep 30.

Abstract

Chronological aging is associated with a decrease in skeletal muscle mass and bone mineral density, an increase in fat mass, frequency of falls and fractures, and the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Resistance exercise has been shown to counter all of these effects of aging and, in turn, reduce the risk of all-cause mortality. However, variables such as volume and frequency have become contentious issues, with recent publications suggesting that similar physiological adaptations are possible with both high- and low-volume approaches. The aim of this research was to consider strength increases as a result of brief, infrequent resistance exercise. The present study offers data from 33 (14 male and 19 female) older adults (M = 55 years) who underwent brief (<15 minutes per exercise session), infrequent (2×/week), resistance exercise to a high intensity of effort (6-repetition maximum) at a controlled repetition duration (10 seconds concentric : 10 seconds eccentric) on 5 resistance machines (chest press, leg press, pull-down, seated row, and overhead press). Data is presented for training interventions of 12 weeks (male) and 19 weeks (female). Significant strength increases were identified for all exercises. With the detailed health benefits obtainable, the present study suggests that resistance exercise can be efficacious in much smaller volumes than previously considered.