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Age (Dordr). 2014 Feb;36(1):365-72. doi: 10.1007/s11357-013-9567-2. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Short-term strength training improves muscle quality and functional capacity of elderly women.

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Physical Education School, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil,


To assess effects of a short-term strength training (ST) program on muscle quality (MQ) and functional capacity, 36 sedentary elderly women (age = 66.0 ± 8 year, height = 159.1 ± 9.2 cm, body mass = 68.3 ± 12.1 kg, body fat = 37.0 ± 4.2 %) were randomly divided into an experimental group (EG; n = 19) or a control group (CG; n = 17). The EG performed two to three sets of 12-15 repeats of leg press, knee extension, and knee flexion exercises, 2 days/week for 6 weeks. Before and after training, lower body one repetition maximum (1RM), functional performance tests, quadriceps femoris muscle thickness (MT), and muscle quality (MQ) (1RM and quadriceps MT quotient) were assessed. After training, only the EG showed significant improvements in 1RM (p < 0.05), 30-s sit-to-stand (p < 0.001), and 8 foot up-and-go (p < 0.001). In addition, only in the EG, significant increases in all quadriceps femoris MT measurements (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris) (p ≤ 0.05), and MQ (p < 0.001) were demonstrated. No changes were observed in the CG. Furthermore, there were significant associations between individual changes in MQ and corresponding changes in 30-s sit-to-stand (r = 0.62, p < 0.001), and 8 foot up-and-go (r = -0.71, p < 0.001). In conclusion, a ST program of only 6 weeks was sufficient to enhance MQ of the knee extensors in elderly women, which resulted in beneficial changes in functional capacity.

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