Antonio Ross, Isaac Henry, Hannah Kostelecky, Laura Huckeby, Melissa Powers & Paul House

University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma

High-velocity resistance training is recommended for older adults to improve muscular power; however, the impact on balance outcomes is not well understood. Further, the optimal training intensity for high-velocity resistance training is not known. PURPOSE: The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the effects a community-based, high-velocity resistance training program, at two different intensities, had on balance outcomes among older adults. Changes in self-efficacy, balance confidence, dynamic balance, and forward balance were of main concern. METHODS: Eight subjects (> 65 years of age) participated in a high-velocity free-weight resistance training program two days per week for 14 weeks. Subjects completed three sets of eight repetitions for each of the eight upper and lower body exercises, which targeted major muscle groups. All participants were assessed before and after the intervention. Several assessment tools were used including: an Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC) for assessing levels of balance-confidence, the 4-Square Test to determine dynamic balance, a Maximum Step Length Test on the left (MSL) and right (MSR) leg to measure forward balance, and the Self-Efficacy for Exercise Scale (ESE) to evaluate self-efficacy. Subjects were randomly assigned to two different groups working at either 30% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM; n=4) or 60% 1RM (n=4). ANOVA with repeated measures were conducted for all variables. Due to small sample size, we also calculated univariate effect sizes. RESULTS: No significant interaction or main effects were observed in any variable (p > .05). However, moderate to large effect sizes were found. In the 30% 1RM group, moderate improvements were observed for ABC (d= 0.537) and MSR (d= 0.696), while a large improvement was seen in MSL (d= 1.025). In the 60% 1RM group, moderate to large improvements were observed in the 4-square test (d= 0.995), MSR (d= 0.627), MSL (d= 0.778), and ESE (d= 0.861), while a moderate decrease was observed in the ABC (d = 0.595). CONCLUSION: A high-velocity resistance training program that utilizes 30% of 1RM appears to be superior at improving balance confidence; whereas, utilizing 60% 1RM seems to be more effective at improving dynamic balance among older adults. Further research, with a larger, more representative sample, is recommended to fully understand the impact of training intensity of high-velocity resistance training on balance outcomes.

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