Resistance exercise training at different loads in frail and healthy older adults: a randomised feasibility trial

Rebecca Marshall-McKenna, Evan Campbell, Frederick Ho, Matthew Banger, Jane Ireland, Philip Rowe, Christine McAlpine, Terence J. Quinn, Stuart R. Gray

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Objectives: This trial aimed to determine the feasibility of recruitment, retention, adherence, and safety of a resistance training (RT) intervention to skeletal muscle failure in both frail and non-frail older adults. Design: An 8-week randomised feasibility trial. Setting and participants: Older adults, with and without frailty, recruited from both clinics and community. Methods: Recruitment was based on the number of participants enrolled from those provided with a Patient Information Sheet (PIS). Retention was based on the number of participants who completed the trial. Adherence was based on the number of RT sessions attended out of 16. Outcomes included frailty (Fried criteria), muscle strength (maximal voluntary contraction), functional abilities (Short Physical Performance battery), quality of life (EQ-5D-5L), activities of daily living (LIADL) and safety (diary). Results: Recruitment target (n = 60) was achieved within 15 months, 58 were randomised to high (n = 30) or low repetition-load (n = 28) groups. Mean age of participants was 72 years (range 65–93). Adherence and retention rate for the RT intervention was ≥70%. There was one serious adverse experience due to the RT intervention. There were no differences (P > 0.05) in effects of RT on outcome variables between low and high repetition-load groups. Conclusions and implications: Recruitment of frail people was challenging. Older adults performing supervised RT to skeletal muscle failure was feasible and safe, with appropriate caution, and the repetition-load did not appear to influence its efficacy. Future research into the effectiveness of this simplified model of RT is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111496
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Early online date21 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • feasibility
  • frailty
  • older adults
  • resistance training
  • sarcopenia


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