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It has been well documented that high-intensity strength training using weight machines and other laboratory controlled equipment and procedures improves strength in older adults. However, few studies have investigated the effects of low-cost, less intense strength conditioning programs suitable for use in a community setting. The purpose of this study was to test the effects of a 16-week, self-regulated resistance training program on strength and endurance of the ankle dorsi- and plantar flexors, and of the knee extensors and flexors. Forty-six older women (M = 67 yrs) were randomly assigned to either control or exercise groups. After initial testing, exercisers began a training regimen of seven exercises that stressed muscle groups of the lower extremities. Control subjects maintained their normal activity patterns. Significant (p < .05) or borderline significant (p < .07) exercise effects were found on 10 of the 16 dependent measures. Results of this study indicate that a field-based strength conditioning program of moderate, self-regulated intensity can improve some aspects of lower limb muscle function of older women.
C.J. Jones and R.E. Rikli, Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, California State Univ., Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 92634. J. Benedict and P. Williams, Dept. of HPER, Southwestern Louisiana State Univ., Lafayette, LA 70504.