Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Large Type Edition
 QUICK SEARCH:   [advanced]
Year:  Vol:  Page: 

This Article
Right arrow Full Text
Right arrow Full Text (PDF)
Right arrow Alert me when this article is cited
Right arrow Alert me if a correction is posted
Right arrow Similar articles in this journal
Right arrow Similar articles in PubMed
Right arrow Alert me to new issues of the journal
Right arrow Download to citation manager
Right arrow Cited by other online articles
Google Scholar
Right arrow Articles by de Vos, N. J.
Right arrow Articles by Fiatarone Singh, M. A.
Right arrow Articles citing this Article
Right arrow PubMed Citation
Right arrow Articles by de Vos, N. J.
Right arrow Articles by Fiatarone Singh, M. A.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 60:638-647 (2005)
© 2005 The Gerontological Society of America


Optimal Load for Increasing Muscle Power During Explosive Resistance Training in Older Adults

Nathan J. de Vos1,, Nalin A. Singh2, Dale A. Ross2, Theodora M. Stavrinos2, Rhonda Orr1 and Maria A. Fiatarone Singh1,3

1 School of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Sydney, Australia.
2 Royal Prince Alfred and Balmain Hospitals, Sydney, Australia.
3 Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged, and Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tuffs University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Address correspondence to Nathan de Vos, 149 Ingleburn Road, Leppington, NSW 2171, Australia. E-mail: devos{at}


Background. Muscle power (force x velocity) recedes at a faster rate than strength with age and may also be a stronger predictor of fall risk and functional decline. The optimal training paradigm for improving muscle power in older adults is not known, although some literature suggests high velocity, low load training is optimal in young adults.

Methods. One hundred twelve healthy older adults (69 ± 6 years) were randomly assigned to either explosive resistance training at 20% (G20), 50% (G50), or 80% (G80) one repetition maximum (1RM) for 8–12 weeks or to a nontraining control group (CON). Participants trained twice per week (five exercises; three sets of eight rapidly concentric and slow eccentric repetitions) using pneumatic resistance machines. Repeated-measures analysis of variance and covariance (ANOVA and ANCOVA) were used to determine the effects of training.

Results. Average peak power increased significantly and similarly in G80 (14 ± 8%), G50 (15 ± 9%), and G20 (14 ± 6%) compared to CON (3 ± 6%) (p <.0001). By contrast, a positive dose-response relationship with training intensity was observed for relative changes in average strength (r =.40, p =.0009) and endurance (r =.43, p =.0005). Average strength increased in G80 (20 ± 7%), G50 (16 ± 7%), and G20 (13 ± 7%) compared to CON (4 ± 4%) (p <.0001). Average muscle endurance increased in G80 (185 ± 126%, p <.0001), G50 (103 ± 75%, p =.0004), and G20 (82 ± 57%, p =.0078) compared to CON (28 ± 29%).

Conclusion. Peak muscle power may be improved similarly using light, moderate, or heavy resistances, whereas there is a dose-response relationship between training intensity and muscle strength and endurance changes. Therefore, using heavy loads during explosive resistance training may be the most effective strategy to achieve simultaneous improvements in muscle strength, power, and endurance in older adults.

This article has been cited by other articles: (Search Google Scholar for Other Citing Articles)

Home page
Diabetes CareHome page
R. Orr, T. Tsang, P. Lam, E. Comino, and M. F. Singh
Mobility Impairment in Type 2 Diabetes: Association with muscle power and effect of Tai Chi intervention
Diabetes Care, September 1, 2006; 29(9): 2120 - 2122.
[Full Text] [PDF]

Home page
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med SciHome page
R. Orr, N. J. de Vos, N. A. Singh, D. A. Ross, T. M. Stavrinos, and M. A. Fiatarone-Singh
Power Training Improves Balance in Healthy Older Adults
J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci., January 1, 2006; 61(1): 78 - 85.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

All GSA journals The Gerontologist
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2005 by The Gerontological Society of America.