Aging leads to a decline in strength and an associated loss of independence. The authors examined changes in muscle volume, maximum isometric joint moment, functional strength, and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) after resistance training (RT) in the upper extremity of older adults. They evaluated isometric joint moment and muscle volume as predictors of functional strength. Sixteen healthy older adults (average age 75 ± 4.3 yr) were randomized to a 6-wk upper extremity RT program or control group. The RT group increased 1RM significantly (p < .01 for all exercises). Compared with controls, randomization to RT led to greater functional pulling strength (p = .003), isometric shoulder-adduction moment (p = .041), elbow-flexor volume (p = .017), and shoulder-adductor volume (p = .009). Shoulder-muscle volumes and isometric moments were good predictors of functional strength. The authors conclude that shoulder strength is an important factor for performing functional reaching and pulling tasks and a key target for upper extremity RT interventions.
Daly is with the Athletic Dept., Williams College, Williamstown, MA. Vidt and Saul are with the Virginia Tech–Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC. Eggebeen, Simpson, Miller, and Marsh are with the Dept. of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.