Effects of high-speed versus traditional resistance training in older adults

Background: The losses of strength, agility, balance and functionality caused by aging are harmful to the elderly population. Resistance training (TR) may be an efficient tool to mitigate such neuromuscular decline and different RT methods can be used. Therefore, it is important to investigate the different responses to different training methods. Hypothesis: Eight weeks of traditional resistance training (TRT) are expected to promote similar results to high-speed training (HST) in physical functional performance (PFP) and quality of life in the elderly. Methods: Participants (n=24) with a mean age of 67.8 ± 6.3 years completed eight weeks of RT. Participants were randomized into HST (n=12) and TRT (n=12). TRT involved training with 10-12 repetitions at controlled velocity until momentary muscle failure; while HST involved performing 6-8 repetitions at 40-60% of 1RM at maximum velocity. Pre-and post-training, the participants were tested for: i) maximum strength in the 45º leg press and chest press; ii) PFP in the 30-second chair stand, timed-up-and-go (TUG); and medicine ball throw test; and iii) quality of life. Results: Both groups improved muscle strength in the 45º leg press, with greater increases for TRT (HST: +21% vs. TRT: +49%, p=0.019). There was no change in chest press strength for HST (-0.6%) (p=0.607), but there was a significant increase for the TRT group (+21%, p=0.001). There was a similar improvement (p<0.05) for both groups in TUG (HST: 7%; TRT: 10%), chair stand (HST: 18%; TRT: 21%), and medicine ball throwing performance (HST: 9%; TRT: 9%), with no difference between groups (p=0.081-0.944). Emotional aspect significantly increased by 20% (p=0.042) in HST and 50% (p=0.043) in TRT. Conclusions: Both TRT and HST are able to promote improvements in functional performance in the elderly with greater in strength gains for TRT. Therefore, exercise professionals could choose based on individual characteristics and preferences. Clinical Relevance: The findings provide important insights into how healthcare professionals can prescribe HST and TRT, considering efficiency, safety and individual aspects.

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