To examine the effectiveness of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) resistance training (RT) guidelines to improve physical function and functional classification in older adults with reduced physical abilities.
Twenty-five at-risk older adults were randomized to a control (CON = 13) or 8-week resistance training intervention arm (RT = 12). Progressive RT included 8 exercises for 1 set of 10 repetitions at a perceived exertion of 5–6 performed twice a week. Individuals were assessed for physical function and functional classification change (low, moderate or high) by the short physical performance battery (SPPB) and muscle strength measures.
Postintervention, significant differences were found between groups for SPPB—Chair Stand [F(1,22) = 9.14, P < .01, η = .29] and SPPB—Total Score [F(1,22) = 7.40, P < .05, η = .25]. Functional classification was improved as a result of the intervention with 83% of participants in the RT group improving from low to moderate functioning or moderate to high functioning. Strength significantly improved on all exercises in the RT compared with the CON group.
A RT program congruent with the current ASCM and AHA guidelines is effective to improve overall physical function, functional classification, and muscle strength for older adults with reduced physical abilities.
Gennuso is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Zalewski, Cashin, and Strath are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.