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Journal of Human Kinetics

The Journal of Academy of Physical Education in Katowice

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Differences in Maximum Upper and Lower Limb Strength in Older Adults After a 12 Week Intense Resistance Training Program

Nelson Sousa1, / Romeu Mendes1, / Catarina Abrantes1, / Jaime Sampaio1,

Sport Health & Human Development, Research Center, Portugal1

Sport Sciences, Exercise & Health Department, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Portugal2

University of Beira Interior, Portugal3

This content is open access.

Citation Information: Journal of Human Kinetics. Volume 30, Issue , Pages 183–188, ISSN (Online) 1899-7562, ISSN (Print) 1640-5544, DOI: 10.2478/v10078-011-0086-x, December 2011

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Differences in Maximum Upper and Lower Limb Strength in Older Adults After a 12 Week Intense Resistance Training Program

The purpose of this study was to identify differences in maximum strength after an intense strength training program, contrasting muscle groups from upper limbs versus lower limbs. The sample consisted of 10 healthy elderly males (age 73±6 years) with independent living. The training program lasted 12 weeks (3 × week, 50 to 80% of 1RM, 2-3 sets, 6 to 12 repetitions). Two muscle groups were analyzed: LOWER (sum of average values of three exercises for the lower limbs) and UPPER (sum of average values of four exercises for the upper limbs). Measurement of 1RM was performed at intervals of 4 weeks by direct methods. Repeated measures ANOVA identified significant differences in muscle groups (F=8.1, p=0.006), time (F=730.0 p=0.000) and also their interaction (F=4.4, p=0.014). The gains in 1RM values were higher for upper limbs. These results may suggest that the muscles of the lower limbs are elicited more frequently and therefore, have a smaller potential to gain strength at older age. The muscles of the upper limbs are in accelerated muscle atrophy and their trainability is probably higher.

Keywords: aging; upper limbs; lower limbs; muscle atrophy; exercise

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