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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Jun;48(2):190-6.

Muscle mass and strength, body composition and dietary intake in master strength athletes vs untrained men of different ages.

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Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.



The aim of this study was to compare muscle strength and thickness, body composition and dietary intake between master strength athletes and controls.


Cross-sectional comparison between: 1) young control men (25.7+/-3.4 y; n=10); 2) middle-aged master athletes (52.1+/-4.7 y; n=9); 3) middle-aged control men (51.9+/-3.1 y; n=11); 4) older master athletes (71.8+/-3.8 y; n=8); and 5) older control men (70.6+/-3.3 y; n=10). Athletes had been strength trained for 22.8+/-14.9 y. Maximal isometric strength of the leg extensors was measured with a leg dynamometer, body composition by skin folds, muscle thickness of the vastus lateralis with an ultrasound scanner and dietary intake by food diaries for 4 days.


Athletes had more lean body mass than age-matched controls (P<0.001-0.05) and young controls more than older controls (P<0.01). No group differences were observed in the thickness of vastus lateralis. Athletes showed higher absolute strength and strength per vastus lateralis thickness ratio than all control groups (P<0.01-0.001). Body mass adjusted dietary intake did not differ between the strength trained and control men. Dietary intake did not correlate with strength, muscle thickness and lean body mass.


The present older men with a long-term history of strength training showed greater muscle strength and strength per muscle thickness ratio than the untrained controls. The data support the usefulness of continuous strength training to preserve muscle strength in older men.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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