The effects of 6 months of progressive high effort resistance training methods upon strength, body composition, function, and wellbeing of elderly adults

Purpose: The present study examined the progressive implementation of a high effort resistance training (RT) approach in older adults over 6 months and through a 6 month follow-up on strength, body composition, function and wellbeing of older adults. Methods: Twenty three older adults (aged 61 to 80 years) completed a 6 month supervised RT intervention applying progressive introduction of higher effort set end points. After completion of the intervention participants could choose to continue performing RT unsupervised until 6 months follow-up. Results: Strength, body composition, function, and wellbeing all significantly improved over the intervention. Over the follow-up, body composition changes reverted to baseline values, strength was reduced though remained significantly higher than baseline, and wellbeing outcomes were mostly maintained. Comparisons over the follow-up between those who did, and those who did not, continue with RT revealed no significant differences for changes in any outcome measure. Conclusions: Supervised RT employing progressive application of high effort set end points is well tolerated and effective in improving strength, body composition, function and wellbeing in older adults. However, whether participants continued, or did not, with RT unsupervised at follow-up had no effect on outcomes perhaps due to reduced effort employed during unsupervised RT.

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