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Short-Term Heavy Resistance Training Eliminates Age-Related Deficits in Muscle Mass and Strength in Healthy Older Males

Candow, Darren G; Chilibeck, Philip D; Abeysekara, Saman; Zello, Gordon A

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - p 326-333
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bf43c8
Original Research

Candow, DG, Chilibeck, PD, Abeysekara, S, and Zello, GA. Short-term heavy resistance training eliminates age-related deficits in muscle mass and strength in healthy older males. J Strength Cond Res 25(2): 326-333, 2011-The objective of this investigation was to determine whether short-term heavy resistance training (RT) in healthy older men could eliminate deficits in muscle mass and strength (ST) compared with healthy younger men. Seventeen older men (60-71 yr) performed supervised RT for 22 weeks. Before and after RT, measurements were made for lean tissue mass (LTM), muscle thickness (MT), and ST (leg and bench press 1 repetition maximum) and were compared with values of younger men (n = 22-60 for the different measures, 18-31 yr). Before training, older men had significantly lower (p < 0.05) LTM (58.4 ± 7.0 kg), MT (3.4 ± 0.7 cm), and ST (leg press = 168 ± 33 kg; bench press = 75 ± 18 kg) compared with younger men (LTM 64.3 ± 7.1 kg; MT 4.0 ± 0.8 cm; leg press = 231 ± 54 kg; bench press = 121 ± 31 kg). All deficits were eliminated after 22 weeks of RT (LTM = 60.5 ± 7.6 kg; MT = 4.0 ± 0.7 cm; leg press = 222 ± 48 kg; bench press = 107 ± 19 kg). Short-term, heavy RT in healthy older men is sufficient to overcome deficits in muscle mass and ST when compared with healthy younger men. The practical application from this research is that healthy older men can be prescribed a whole-body heavy RT program to substantially increase muscle mass and ST to levels similar to young, active individuals.

1Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; 2College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; and 3College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Address correspondence to Dr. Darren G. Candow,

Copyright © 2011 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.