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Cycling as a novel approach to resistance training increases muscle strength, power and selected functional abilities in healthy older women

Macaluso, A. and Young, A. and Rowe, D.A. and De Vito, G. (2003) Cycling as a novel approach to resistance training increases muscle strength, power and selected functional abilities in healthy older women. Journal of Applied Physiology, 95. pp. 2544-2553. ISSN 0021-8987

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Abstract

Cycling on a mechanically braked cycle ergometer was used as a novel approach to compare the effects of three different 16-wk resistance-training programs on isometric force, power output, and selected functional abilities in 31 healthy 65- to 74-yr-old women. Training was conducted three times per week. During each session, individuals of the speed group performed 8 sets of 16 pedal revolutions at 40% of the maximal resistance to complete two revolutions (2 RM); strength group performed 8 sets of 8 revolutions at 80% of 2 RM; and combination group performed 4 sets of 16 revolutions at 40% and 4 sets of 8 revolutions at 80% of 2 RM. During each set, all participants were required to pedal as fast as possible with a 2-min interval between sets. All training groups significantly increased force, power, and functional abilities (maximal treadmill walking speed, vertical jumping, and box stepping) at week 8 (in the range from 6.5 to 20.8%) with no further improvement at week 16 (except maximal treadmill walking speed), but no significant differences were observed between the three groups. The novel approach to performing both low- and high-resistance training, based on the use of a cycle ergometer, has been shown to be effective in improving strength, power, and functional abilities in a group of healthy women. Even fit older women can still improve in functional abilities. Interestingly, the "high-speed" and "low-speed" programs induced an increase in both power and strength of similar magnitude.