Explosive Strength Training for Improving Function of Older Adults
Regular resistance training (RT), which involves lifting and lowering weights is commonly recommended for older adults to help maintain strength/power. Regular RT has been shown to decrease fall risk and improve the performance of daily activities (e.g. climbing stairs, walking speed) in older adults. Current RT guidelines focus on maintaining/improving muscle strength, through lifting relatively heavy weights with slow controlled movements (e.g. 2 seconds to lift and then 2 seconds to lower the weight). However, muscle power appears to be more important for the physical function and health of older adults. Therefore, it would seem important to know how older adults can best improve muscle power.
RT with light weights, but moved as quickly as possible, called explosive power training, seems to be the best way to develop muscle power in young adults. However, the responses and possible benefits of explosive power training for older adults remains unexplored. Therefore, the ideal way of doing explosive power training in older adults needs to be researched, such as the optimal weight, use of speed feedback etc. as well as how older adults experience this type of exercise e.g. do they enjoy it does it make them feel tired etc.
Aims and Objectives:
- How does the load lifted and the intended speed of movement (rapid or slow) effect muscle power production?
- How does a prior lowering phase effect muscle power production during a subsequent lift?
- Does information on movement speed help older adults to achieve faster lifts and greater muscle power production?
- Do older adults find explosive power training more enjoyable and tolerable than traditional slow, heavy strength training?
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