Cycling on a mechanically braked cycle ergometer was used as a novel approach to compare the effects of three different 16-wk resistance-training programs on isometric force, power output, and selected functional abilities in 31 healthy 65- to 74-yr-old women. Training was conducted three times per week. During each session, individuals of the speed group performed 8 sets of 16 pedal revolutions at 40% of the maximal resistance to complete two revolutions (2 RM); strength group performed 8 sets of 8 revolutions at 80% of 2 RM; and combination group performed 4 sets of 16 revolutions at 40% and 4 sets of 8 revolutions at 80% of 2 RM. During each set, all participants were required to pedal as fast as possible with a 2-min interval between sets. All training groups significantly increased force, power, and functional abilities (maximal treadmill walking speed, vertical jumping, and box stepping) at week 8 (in the range from 6.5 to 20.8%) with no further improvement at week 16 (except maximal treadmill walking speed), but no significant differences were observed between the three groups. The novel approach to performing both low- and high-resistance training, based on the use of a cycle ergometer, has been shown to be effective in improving strength, power, and functional abilities in a group of healthy women. Even fit older women can still improve in functional abilities. Interestingly, the "high-speed" and "low-speed" programs induced an increase in both power and strength of similar magnitude.
- muscle power
- functional abilities