This study examined the efficacy of a progressive resistance exercise program, using equal concentric/eccentric (CE) or greater eccentric/concentric (GE) workloads, for increasing strength and improving functional abilities of community-dwelling older adults. Sixty men and women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: CE, GE, or control. All strength testing and training took place on six Lifecircuit machines. Functional tests included a bas carry, weighted stair climb, shelf task 1-RM, and static balance. Significant interactions in strength tests were noted for the chest, back, and shoulder exercises. GE improved in shoulder strength more than CE and control For functional measures, all weight trainers were grouped and compared to controls. A significant interaction occurred for the stair climb and balance with the exercise groups decreasing stair climb time by 11% and increasing balance time by 26%. Relative improvements by weight trainers of 12% for the shelf task and 7% for the bag carry were not significant. These data indicate that a moderate intensity resistance program can have positive effects on tasks required for everyday function.
The authors are with the Department of Physical Education, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-0171.