Effects of Resistance Training on Functional Strength and Muscle Mass in 70-Year-Old Individuals With Pre-sarcopenia: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2019 Jan;20(1):28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2018.09.011. Epub 2018 Nov 7.


Objective: Sarcopenia has been defined as age-related loss of muscle mass and function. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to examine the effects of a 10-week instructor-led resistance training program on functional strength and body composition in men and women aged 70 years with pre-sarcopenia.

Design, setting, and participants: Participants were randomized to either 10 weeks of a physical training regimen including optional nutritional supplementation (n = 36) or to a control group (n = 34) (ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT03297632). The main outcome was changes in the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) score. Secondary outcomes included the Timed Up and Go test, chair sit-stand time, lean body mass, and fat mass.

Results: The intervention had no significant effect on SPPB in the total cohort (P = .18), when comparing changes in the intervention group with the control group. However, those given the intervention in the male subcohort increased 0.5 ± 0.4 (mean ± standard error for the difference) points in SPPB during follow-up (P = .02) compared to male controls. With respect to secondary outcomes, the intervention group decreased 0.9 ± 0.6 seconds in chair sit-stand time compared to controls (P = .01). Furthermore, the intervention resulted in significantly greater improvements for the training group than control group in all measures of body composition (P ≤ .01 for all). For example, lean body mass increased by a mean of 1147 ± 282 g (P < .001), and total fat mass decreased by a mean of 553 ± 225 g (P = .003), favoring the intervention group.

Conclusion/implications: The main finding of this intervention study is that an easy-to-use, functional resistance training program was effective in maintaining functional strength and increasing muscle mass in older adults with pre-sarcopenia.

Keywords: Resistance training; functional strength; muscle mass.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology*
  • Sarcopenia / prevention & control*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03297632