Authors – Rhonda Orr , Nathan J de Vos, Nalin A Singh, Dale A Ross, Theodora M Stavrinos, Maria A Fiatarone-Singh
- PMID: 16456197
- DOI: 10.1093/gerona/61.1.78
Background: Age-related decline in muscle power may be an early indicator of balance deficits and fall risk, even in nonfrail adults. This study examined the dose-dependent effect of power training on balance performance in healthy older adults.
Methods: One hundred twelve community-dwelling healthy older adults (69 +/- 6 years) were randomized to 8-12 weeks of power training at 20% (LOW), 50% (MED), or 80% (HIGH) of maximal strength, or a nontraining control (CON) group. Participants trained twice weekly (five exercises; three sets of eight rapid concentric/slow eccentric repetitions) using pneumatic resistance machines. Balance, muscle performance (strength, power, endurance, contraction velocity), and body composition were measured.
Results: Power training significantly improved balance performance (p =.006) in participants who underwent power training compared to controls. Low intensity power training produced the greatest improvement in balance performance (p =.048). Average contraction velocity at low load (40% one repetition maximum [1RM]) at baseline independently predicted improvement in balance following training (r = -.29, p =.004).
Conclusions: Power training improves balance, particularly using a low load, high velocity regimen, in older adults with initial lower muscle power and slower contraction. Further studies are warranted to define the mechanisms underlying this adaptation, as well as the optimum power training intensity for a range of physiological and clinical outcomes in older adults with varying levels of health status and functional independence.