Keep up the weight training if you want to perform into older age

The Introductiongym - old

This study examined the effect of strength training and short-term detraining on maximum force and rate of force development in previously sedentary, healthy older men. It highlights the great changes that occur in strength and power with weight training and equally what happens when you stop weight training.

The Research

Twenty-four healthy but previously inactive older men (70-80 years) were randomly assigned to a strength training group (n = 12) and a control group (n = 12) that did no strength training. Training consisted of three sets of six to ten repetitions on an incline squat at 70-90% of one repetition maximum three times per week for 16 weeks followed by 4 weeks of no strength training. Upper leg muscle mass, strength and muscle power were measured in each group before and after the 16 weeks of strength training and again after the 4 weeks of no training.

The Results

The strength training significantly increased muscle power, upper leg muscle mass and strength above pre-training values (14, 7, and 90%, respectively). After 4 weeks no strength training, all these variables were significantly lower than after 16 weeks of strength training but remained significantly higher than pre-training levels except for muscle power which had returned to pre-training levels in the strength training group.

The So What?

These findings demonstrate that high-intensity strength training can improve maximum strength and power in older men. However, older individuals may lose some strength and particularly power performance (crucial for athletes both young and old) after a period of short-term rest. This strongly suggests that weight training should be performed on a regular basis to maintain both strength and power.

 Lovell, D.I., Cuneo, R. and Gass, G.C. (2010). The effect of strength training and short-term detraining on maximum force and the rate of force development of older men. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 109(3): 429 – 435.

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