The effects of systematic resistance training in the elderly.Int J Sports Med. 2007 Jan; 28(1):59-65.IJ
The aim of the study was to examine the effects of a maximal resistance training following the principles of the most effective resistance training known from sport adapted to elderly people. Twenty-four subjects were randomly assigned into a training group (10 females and 4 males, age; 76.2 +/- 3.2 years) that underwent a training program and a control group (6 females and 4 males, age; 76.6 +/- 2.7 years) that did not participate in the training program. Before and after the training period, both groups were identically examined (blood and urine sample, spiroergometric testing, morphological measurements). The training group underwent a 12-week training program. Eight different exercises for the largest muscle groups of the largest joints were defined as one training circle. Training took place twice a week and commenced with two training circles per week (one circle per training session). After every four weeks, one training circle per week was added until four training circles per week were reached. Before, after every four weeks (changes in training amount) and after the training period, the maximum strength was measured. Data was analysed by the independent T-test and the analysis of variance, in case of significance, the dependent T-test and the Scheffé-test were used. In the resistance training group, the fat-free body mass was increased by approximately 2.9 +/- 0.5 kg, with no significant difference between females and males. Ergometrical fitness was increased by approximately 15 %, while the maximum oxygen uptake was increased by approximately 12 %. Maximum strength was increased between 26 % (bench pull) and 38 % (leg press). Resistance training that consisted of two training sessions per week was found to be at least as efficient as resistance training that included three training sessions per week, provided that the number of sets performed were equal. Seventy-five-year-old females were found to have a significantly higher body fat content than males of the same age (37 % versus 26 %, respectively). However, the decrease in body fat mass due to resistance training was found to be equal in both females and males (- 4 +/- 0.8 kg). Furthermore, there was almost no difference in muscle strength between the sexes for this age group (for example; leg press: females 86 kg versus males 82 kg).