High Intensity Resistance Exercise Training to Improve Body Composition and Strength in Older Men With Osteosarcopenia. Results of the Randomized Controlled Franconian Osteopenia and Sarcopenia Trial (FrOST)

Front Sports Act Living. 2020 Jan 28;2:4. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2020.00004. eCollection 2020.


Considerably decreased muscle mass and function are subsumed under "sarcopenia," a geriatric syndrome. Dedicated exercise programs maintain muscle mass and function; however, due to the limited enthusiasm of older adults to exercise, it is important to generate low-threshold interventions for this vulnerable cohort. Thus, the primary aim of this study was to determine the effect of low volume/high intensity resistance exercise training (HIT-RT) combined with protein supplementation on body composition and strength in older men with sarcopenia and osteopenia (osteosarcopenia). Forty-three community-dwelling (cdw) older men (78 ± 4 years) with osteosarcopenia were randomly allocated to a consistently supervised HIT-RT (n = 21) or an inactive control group (CG, n = 22). HIT-RT scheduled a single set protocol with high intensity and effort applied twice a week for 36 weeks so far. Both groups were supplemented with Vit-D (800 IE/d), calcium (1,000 mg/d) and whey-protein (CG: 1.2 vs. HIT-RT: 1.5-1.7 g/kg/d). Study endpoints were body composition (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) and maximum isokinetic hip/leg-extensor strength (MIES) by leg-press. After 36 weeks, one participant who developed prostate cancer after inclusion in the study (HIT-RT) and two participants who lost interest (CG, HIT-RT) quit the study. Attendance rate for HIT-RT averaged 93 ± 5%. Total and thigh lean body mass (LBM) significantly (p < 0.001) increased in the HIT-RT and was maintained in the CG (p = 0.46 and 0.37). Differences between the groups for changes of total and thigh LBM were pronounced (p < 0.001; SMD d' = 1.17 and 1.20). Total and abdominal body fat percentage decreased significantly in the HIT-RT (p < 0.001) and increased in the CG (p = 0.039 and p = 0.097). Intergroup differences were significant (p < 0.001; SMD: d' = 1.35 and 1.28). Finally, MIES was maintained in the CG (p = 0.860), and improved significantly (p < 0.001) in the HIT-RT. Differences between the groups were significant (p < 0.001, SMD: d' = 2.41). No adverse effects of the intervention were observed. In summary, the HIT-RT/protein protocol significantly affected body composition and strength in cdw men 72 years+ with osteosarcopenia. In the absence of negative side effects, the intervention was feasible, attractive and time effective. Thus, we conclude that supervised HIT-RT might be an exercise option for older men.

Keywords: fat free mass; high intensity; muscle strength; older men; osteopenia; resistance exercise; sarcopenia.