Resistance exercise performance variability at submaximal intensities in older and younger adults
Gregory J Grosicki,1 Michael E Miller,2 Anthony P Marsh1
1Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA; 2Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Abstract: We assessed the variability in the number of repetitions completed at submaximal loads in three resistance tasks in older (N=32, 16 female, 74.3±5.4 years) and younger (N=16, 8 female, 22.8±1.8 years) men and women. One repetition maximum (1RM) was determined on two separate visits on three tasks: leg press (LP), leg extension (LE), and bicep curl (BC). Subjects then completed repetitions to failure on each of the three tasks during two visits, a minimum of 48 hours apart, at either 60% 1RM or 80% 1RM. High reliability for all 1RM assessments was observed. Greater muscular strength was observed in younger compared to older men and women on all tasks (P<0.05). At both 60% and 80% 1RM, considerable interindividual variability was observed in the number of repetitions completed. However, the average number of repetitions completed by younger and older men and women at 60% and 80% 1RM in each of the three tasks was similar, with the only significant difference occurring between younger and older men at 80% 1RM on the leg press (P=0.0258). We did not observe any abnormal blood pressure responses to either the 1RM testing or maximal repetition testing sessions. Considerable interindividual variability was observed in the number of repetitions completed by younger and older men and women at relative intensities typical of resistance training programs. Practitioners should give consideration to individual variability when attempting to maximize the benefits of resistance training.
Keywords: resistance exercise, exercise prescription, relative intensity, reliability, older adults, blood pressure
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