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Association of Age with Muscle Size and Strength Before and After Short-Term Resistance Training in Young Adults

Lowndes, Joshua1; Carpenter, Richard L1; Zoeller, Robert F2; Seip, Richard L3; Moyna, Naill M4; Price, Thomas B5; Clarkson, Priscilla M6; Gordon, Paul M7; Pescatello, Linda S8; Visich, Paul S9; Devaney, Joseph M10; Gordish-Dressman, Heather10; Hoffman, Eric P10; Thompson, Paul D3; Angelopoulos, Theodore J1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 7 - p 1915-1920
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b94b35
Original Research

Lowndes, J, Carpenter, RL, Zoeller, RF, Seip, RL, Moyna, NM, Price, TB, Clarkson, PM, Gordon, PM, Pescatello, LS, Visich, PS, Devaney, JM, Gordish-Dressman, H, Hoffman, EP, Thompson, PD, and Angelopoulos, TJ. Association of age with muscle size and strength before and after short-term resistance training in young adults. J Strength Cond Res 23(7): 1915-1920, 2009-The purpose of this study was to assess the association of age with muscle mass and strength in a group of young adults before and after 12 weeks of progressive resistance training. Eight hundred twenty-six young males and females (age 24.34 ± 5.69 yr, range 18-39 yr) completed a strictly supervised 12-week unilateral resistance training program of the nondominant arm. Isometric (maximal voluntary contraction [MVC]) and dynamic strength (1 repetition maximum [1RM]) of the elbow flexors and cross-sectional area (CSA) of the biceps-brachii using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were measured before and after training. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated for size and strength variables and age. In addition, the cohort was divided into groups according to decade of life and differences assessed by analysis of variance. Age correlated significantly and positively with all pretraining measures of muscle size and strength (CSA: r = 0.191, p < 0.001; MVC: r = 0.109, p = 0.002; 1RM: r = 0.109, p = 0.002). Age was not related to the training-induced changes in CSA or MVC but was negatively associated with the change in 1RM (r = −0.217, p < 0.001). The study indicates that age does have a significant positive relationship with muscle size and strength in untrained young adults. Although age was negatively associated with improvements in 1RM, the effect of age was small relative to the improvements induced through resistance training, thus suggesting age does not limit response to training in any practical way during early adulthood.

1Center for Lifestyle Medicine and Department of Health Professions, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32826; 2Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida 33431; 3Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut 06102; 4Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland; 5Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06510; 6University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003; 7West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506; 8University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269; 9Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan 48859; and 10Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010

Address correspondence to Dr. Theodore J. Angelopoulos,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association