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Comparison of Exercise Performance in Recreationally Active and Masters Athlete Women

Stone, Matthew, S.1; Glenn, Jordan, M.2; Vincenzo, Jennifer, L.3; Gray, Michelle1

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: February 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 565–571
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002351
Original Research

Stone, MS, Glenn, JM, Vincenzo, JL, and Gray, M. Comparison of exercise performance in recreationally active and masters athlete women. J Strength Cond Res 32(2): 565–571, 2018—Master athletes (MA) are an understudied, ever-growing cohort. As such, it is important to examine how age affects muscular power and fatigability. Of particular interest is muscular power maintenance and fatigue mitigation of MA compared with young, healthy adults. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the differences in peak power, average power, total work (WRK), and fatigue index (FI) between recreationally active (RA) younger adults and female MA during anaerobic cycling exercise. Two groups, RA (n = 15; 20.6 ± 0.8 years) and MA (n = 17; 50.5 ± 8.6 years), participated in this study. Peak power, APWR, WRK, and FI were measured during a 30-second Wingate maximum anaerobic cycling protocol at a predetermined resistance of 7.5% body mass. Peak power (p = 0.92; RA: 654.1 ± 114.5 W; MA: 658.6 ± 147.6 W), APWR (p = 0.09; RA: 429.8 ± 73.3 W; MA: 384 ± 73.8 W), WRK (p = 0.09; RA: 12,894.3 ± 2,198.3 J; MA: 18,044.3 ± 27,184.9 J), and FI (p = 0.30; RA: 11.8 ± 4.1 W·s−1; MA: 14 ± 5.2 W·s−1) were not significantly different between groups. Master athletes produce power and WRK comparable to rates of fatigue among RA. This suggests that MA can maintain physical ability similar to RA in multiple parameters of high-intensity exercise while mitigating fatigue comparably. These data allow for advancements in exercise training and performance outcomes in MA populations. Further research within the MA population is warranted regarding other aspects of exercise and sport performance.

1Human Performance Laboratory, Office for Studies on Aging, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas;

2Sport and Movement Science Laboratory, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana; and

3Department of Physical Therapy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Address correspondence to Michelle Gray,

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.