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Article Title

FITNESS ADAPTATIONS AFTER SIX WEEKS OF MODERATE INTENSITY OR HIGH-INTENSITY EXERCISE TRAINING IN OLDER ADULTS

Abstract

Erin M. Blocker1, Victoria Blaufuss1, Andrew C. Fry2 & Paul Luebbers1. 1Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas; 2University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas; e-mail: eblocker@emporia.edu

High intensity training has regained popularity in recent years with the advent of new exercise programs. These types of programs are in contrast to the more traditional training programs recommended by many governing bodies. While some research has been conducted to examine the body composition and cardiovascular adaptations to these types of high intensity programs, few studies have examined the effects on muscular strength and endurance. PURPOSE: This study investigated the maximal strength, muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance adaptations after six weeks of performing either traditionally structured exercise training or high intensity, constantly varied exercise training. METHODS: Two groups of 8 healthy, untrained older adults (40-72 yrs) volunteered for this study. After two familiarization sessions, initial assessments were conducted to determine maximal strength (Deadlift=DL), muscular endurance (Push-Up test = PU) and cardiovascular endurance (Queen’s College Step Test=VO2max). The groups were then randomly assigned to either the traditional (moderate intensity) or non-traditional (high intensity) training group, in which they performed six weeks of exercise training (2 sessions/week). After six weeks, the same assessments were conducted again. RESULTS: Both groups noticed significant improvements in maximal strength, muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance (Mean improvement for DL = 30.63 lbs.; mean improvement for PU = 12.38 reps; mean VO2max improvement = 4.35 ml/kg/min.). There were no significant differences in muscular strength, muscular endurance or cardiovascular endurance between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: Healthy older adults are capable of performing high intensity exercise training, if administered properly. However, high intensity training did not result in greater strength or cardiovascular gains. Both moderate intensity and high intensity workouts can improve overall fitness levels in older adults. Thus, workout type is dependent upon the preference of the individual. High intensity training may appeal to populations that experience problems adhering to a workout regimen due to the variety and shorter duration of the workouts.

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