In this study, a group of older men performed full body weight training 3 days a week at a moderately intense effort level. The men substantially increased their upper body and lower body strength and muscle mass over the course of the study.
Heavy Resistance Training for Older Males
Sarcopenia, defined as age-related loss of muscle mass, negatively affects strength, which subsequently decreases the ability to perform tasks of daily living. This has become a very large problem for many older individuals. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined if a short-term heavy resistance training program in healthy older men could eliminate deficits in muscle mass and strength (ST) compared with healthy younger men.
The results of this study found that short-term, heavy resistance training in healthy older men is sufficient to overcome deficits in muscle mass and strength when compared to healthy younger men. In this study, the older males trained three days per week for 3 sets of 10 repetitions to muscular fatigue with 2 min of rest between sets for each exercise (5 upper body, 4 lower body) at an intensity that corresponded with 70% 1RM for the leg press and bench press and a weight corresponding to their 10RM for other exercises.
The practical application from this research is that healthy older men can be prescribed a whole-body, heavy resistance training program to substantially increase muscle mass and strength to levels similar to younger active individuals.
Professional members can read the full-text article by using journal links on the NSCA Publications Page (opens in new window).
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.
National Strength & Conditioning Association - Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research,