Slow movement resistance training using body weight improves muscle mass in the elderly: A randomized controlled trial

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018 Apr;28(4):1339-1344. doi: 10.1111/sms.13039. Epub 2018 Jan 30.


To examine the effect of a 12-week slow movement resistance training using body weight as a load (SRT-BW) on muscle mass, strength, and fat distribution in healthy elderly people. Fifty-three men and 35 women aged 70 years old or older without experience in resistance training participated, and they were randomly assigned to a SRT-BW group or control group. The control group did not receive any intervention, but participants in this group underwent a repeat measurement 12 weeks later. The SRT-BW program consisted of 3 different exercises (squat, tabletop push-up, and sit-up), which were designed to stimulate anterior major muscles. Initially, these exercises were performed by 2 sets of 10 repetitions, and subsequently, the number of repetitions was increased progressively by 2 repetitions every 4 weeks. Participants were instructed to perform each eccentric and concentric phase of movement slowly (spending 4 seconds on each movement), covering the full range of motion. We evaluated muscle mass, strength, and fat distribution at baseline and after 12 weeks of training. Changes over 12 weeks were significantly greater in the SRT-BW group than in the control group, with a decrease in waist circumference, hip circumference, and abdominal preperitoneal and subcutaneous fat thickness, and an increase in thigh muscle thickness, knee extension strength, and hip flexion strength. In conclusion, relatively short-term SRT-BW was effective in improving muscle mass, strength, and fat distribution in healthy elderly people.

Keywords: RCT trial; elderly; muscle mass; resistance training; sarcopenia; slow movement.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat
  • Aged
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sarcopenia / prevention & control
  • Subcutaneous Fat
  • Waist Circumference