Stair-Ascent Performance in Elderly Women: Effect of Explosive Strength Training

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Explosive-type strength training may alter kinetics and neuromuscular activity during stair ascent in elderly women. This may improve functional ability. Nineteen women (69.7 ± 3.4 yr) were randomly allocated to strength training (TG; twice per wk, 12 wk) or a control group (CG). Stair ascent was assessed at self-chosen (AFV), standardized (ASV), and maximal velocity (AMV) pre- and posttraining. Ground-reaction force (GRF) and EMG quantified kinetics and neuromuscular activity. After training, TG increased AMV and AFV velocity by 8% (p = .02) and 17% (p = .007), respectively (TG vs. CG; p < .05). This was accompanied by elevated rectus femoris EMG (from 21% to 48%, p < .047). At AFV, TG increased GRF first peak force 4% (p = .047), and CG increased second peak force 5% (p = .036). Muscle coactivation remained unaltered in both groups. Explosive-type strength training led to enhanced stair-climbing performance at maximal and self-chosen speed, reflecting an improved functional ability.

Holsgaard-Larsen, Puggaard, and Aagaard are with the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Bio-mechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. Caserotti is with the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD.