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Todd M. Manini, Marvin Druger and Lori Ploutz-Snyder

The purposes of this study were to determine current opinions of strength exercise among older adults and whether knowledge of recommended protocols differs between strength-exercise participants and nonparticipants. One hundred twenty-nine older adults (77.5 ± 8.6 years) responded to questions about their opinions, experiences, and knowledge of strength-exercise recommendations. Some misconceptions were identified in the sample, with 48.4% of participants responding “no” to “strength training increases muscle mass,” 45% responding “no” to “increasing weight is more important than number of repetitions for building strength,” and 37% responding that walking is more effective than lifting weights at building muscle strength. The number of correct responses was related to the number of years in school (semipartial r 2 = .046). More education is needed about the benefits and recommendations to ensure proper use of current strength-exercise protocols among older adults.

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John M. Mayer, James E. Graves, Todd M. Manini, James L. Nuzzo and Lori L. Ploutz-Snyder

The purpose of this preliminary study was to assess lumbar multifidus, erector spinae, and quadratus lum-borum muscle activity during lifts as measured by changes in transverse relaxation time (T2) from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Thirteen healthy adults performed dynamic squat, stoop, and asymmetric stoop lifts at a standard load, with each lift followed by MRI. Increase in T2 for the multifidus and erector spinae was greater for the stoop than squat. No difference in T2 increase was noted between the multifidus and erector spinae for the squat or stoop. Increase in T2 for the contralateral multifidus was less for the asymmetric stoop than stoop. Future research using MRI and other biomechanical techniques is needed to fully characterize lumbar muscle activity during lifts for various populations, settings, postures, and loads.

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Maria Giné-Garriga, Míriam Guerra, Esther Pagès, Todd M. Manini, Rosario Jiménez and Viswanath B. Unnithan

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a 12-wk functional circuit-training program (FCT) could alter markers of physical frailty in a group of frail community-dwelling adults. Fifty-one individuals (31 women, 20 men), mean age (± SD) 84 (± 2.9) yr, met frailty criteria and were randomly assigned into groups (FCT = 26, control group [CG] = 25). FCT underwent a 12-wk exercise program. CG met once a week for health education meetings. Measures of physical frailty, function, strength, balance, and gait speed were assessed at Weeks 0, 12, and 36. Physical-frailty measures in FCT showed significant (p < .05) improvements relative to those in CG (Barthel Index at Weeks 0 and 36: 73.41 (± 2.35) and 77.0 (± 2.38) for the FCT and 70.79 (± 2.53) and 66.73 (± 2.73) for the CG. These data indicate that an FCT program is effective in improving measures of function and reducing physical frailty among frail older adults.