Power training (PT) improves muscle power in older adults; however, intensity recommendations are less clear. A narrative approach was used to compare high- versus low-intensity PT on muscle power (and function) in healthy, older adults. Searches were performed using Medline, Embase, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, AgeLine, and Scopus. Interventions in which older subjects (60+ years) were instructed to perform the concentric phase “as fast as possible” were included. After searches were performed, a third category of PT (moderate intensity) was included. Evidence from 27 studies (32 PT groups) showed changes in muscle power that averaged 26.8%, 33.4%, and 21.5% for high-, moderate-, and low-intensity PT, respectively, with greater changes with longer training duration and in mildly mobility-limited older adults. Function improved similarly across categories. In conclusion, both low- and high-intensity PT led to clinically significant changes in power and are viable options for improving power and function in older adults.
Katsoulis is with the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. Stathokostas is with the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada. Amara is with the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.