Older adults’ reduced performance in functional activities of daily living (ADL) such as gait, sit to stand or stair climbing may reflect age-related declines in muscular power more so than strength. Therefore, this review was conducted to determine if power training is effective in improving the functional ability of older adults, and if so, if it was more effective than strength training. The review was performed using Medline (PubMed), CINAHL, Sports Discus, ProQuest 5000 International and Google Scholar with the keywords “power training”, “older adult” and “elder” and all derivatives. Of the 12 eligible studies identified, nine also included a strength training group. Virtually all studies reported significant increases in strength and power for the strength and power training groups. Significant improvements in functional performance were observed for the power training groups in 10 of the 12 studies and in the strength training group in four of the nine studies that also examined the effect of strength training. These results demonstrate that strength and power training can both significantly improve functional performance in older adults, and suggest that power training may be more effective than strength training in this regard. Future research in this area should involve larger sample sizes of older men and women with varying levels of pre-training strength, power and functional ability and: 1) compare the relative efficacy of strength and power training; 2) determine if the optimal training prescription differs somewhat for each functional task; and 3) examine changes in quality of life and falls rate.
Rice†, John and Keogh‡, Justin
"Power Training: Can it Improve Functional Performance in Older Adults? A Systematic Review,"
International Journal of Exercise Science:
2, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol2/iss2/6