Faculty Publications

Muscular Adaptations To Periodized Resistance-Training In Older Adults

Document Type



Aging, Muscular endurance, Periodization, Resistance training, Sarcopenia

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Science and Sports





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Objectives: Due to skeletal muscle wasting (sarcopenia) older adults rely on a larger proportion of their remaining skeletal muscle to generate force and power for everyday activities. As a consequence, premature fatigue and a cycle of further inactivity and disability ensue. Thus, different fitness components, such as muscular strength and endurance may need to be targeted to counteract functional decline. Although, resistance training periodization has been shown to result in superior muscle strength adaptations in younger populations, the effects are less clear in older adults. Equipment and methods: We recruited previously trained, older male and female subjects (n = 15, > 60 years of age) for a ten-week pre- post-test design, two days/week periodized resistance training program. The program consisted of one day high-intensity/low volume [∼85% of the estimated 1 repetition maximum (RM) with 6 repetitions] and one day low-moderate intensity/high volume (∼67% of the estimated 1RM with 12 repetitions) training. Results: 1RM increased significantly (P = 0.000) for both the leg press and chest press exercises after resistance training by 17.9 and 17.3%, respectively. Moreover, the subjects completed more repetitions with the higher load (60% of post-training 1RM) after training, thus volume load (VL) (number of repetitions × 60% of 1RM load) increased significantly (P = 0.000) in both the leg press (43.3%) and the chest press (21.6%) exercises. Chest press strength and endurance improvements showed a significant (P = 0.017) moderate correlation (r = 0.59). On the other hand, no changes were detected in body composition and lean mass as a result of the program. Resistance training periodization is a feasible strategy in older populations to improve muscular strength and muscular endurance simultaneously. The results indicate that exercise professionals can utilize even low frequency periodization training to improve muscle strength and endurance in active older adults in a time-efficient manner.


Department of Kinesiology

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UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa