Objectives: To assess the prevalence of non-responders to different tests and to compare the effects of different resistance training (RT) volumes on muscle strength, anthropometric and functional performance of older women.
Methods: Three hundred seventy six women performed 12weeks of RT with either low or high volume (LV, 71.29±5.77years and HV 69.73±5.88years, respectively). Both groups performed the same exercises, and all parameters were held constant except for the number of sets performed per week. LV performed 8-12 for upper and 4-6 for lower body, while HV performed 16-20 and 8-10, respectively. Before and after the training period, the participants were tested for bench press and leg press 1RM, 30-s chair stand, 30-s arm curl, six-minute walk test, sit and reach, body weight and waist circumference.
Results: Both groups significantly improved in all strength and functional tests and reduced their body weight and waist circumference. ANOVA revealed higher gains in the leg press 1RM, 30-s arm curls and 6-min walk test for the HV group and higher increases in the results of the sit and reach test for the LV group. However, the differences were negligible and may be attributable to a type I error due to the large sample size. Non-responsiveness was not apparent in any subject, as a positive response on at least one outcome was present in every participant.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that RT, even at low volume, improves waist circumference, muscle strength and physical function in the older population, with no evidence of non-responsiveness. Therefore, we should not be restrictive in prescribing this type of exercise to this population.
Keywords: Functionality; Muscle strength; Resistance exercise; Strength training.
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