PainSci summary of Taaffe 1999?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
Taaffe et al studied strength training frequency in a few dozen healthy older adults, aged 65 to 79 years — remember, strength training is not just for bodybuilders! Training consisted of “three sets of eight exercises targeting major muscle groups of the upper and lower body, at 80% of one-repetition maximum (1-RM) for eight repetitions,” which would be a pretty decent regimen for a young person as well. They were divided into groups training 1, 2, or 3 days per week. They all did well. They all got equally stronger. “A program of once or twice weekly resistance exercise achieves muscle strength gains similar to 3 days per week training in older adults.”
original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of frequency of resistive training on gain in muscle strength and neuromuscular performance in healthy older adults.
DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial with subjects assigned either to high-intensity resistance training 1 (EX1), 2 (EX2), or 3 (EX3) days per week for 24 weeks or to a control group (CO).
SETTING: An exercise facility at an academic medical center.
SUBJECTS: Forty-six community-dwelling healthy men (n = 29) and women (n = 17) aged 65 to 79 years.
INTERVENTION: Progressive resistance training consisting of three sets of eight exercises targeting major muscle groups of the upper and lower body, at 80% of one-repetition maximum (1-RM) for eight repetitions, either 1, 2, or 3 days per week.
MEASURES: Dynamic muscle strength (1-RM) using isotonic equipment every 4 weeks, bone mineral density and body composition by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and neuromuscular performance by timed chair rise and 6-meter backward tandem walk.
RESULTS: For each of the eight exercises, muscle strength increased in the exercise groups relative to CO (P < .01), with no difference among EX1, EX2 and EX3 groups at any measurement interval. Percent change averaged 3.9 +/- 2.4 (CO), 37.0 +/- 15.2 (EX1), 41.9 +/- 18.2 (EX2), and 39.7 +/- 9.8 (EX3). The time to rise successfully from the chair 5 times decreased significantly (P < .01) at 24 weeks, whereas improvement in the 6-meter backward tandem walk approached significance (P = .10) in the three exercise groups compared with CO. Changes in chair rise ability were correlated to percent changes in quadriceps strength (r = -0.40, P < .01) and lean mass (r = -0.40, P < .01).
CONCLUSIONS: A program of once or twice weekly resistance exercise achieves muscle strength gains similar to 3 days per week training in older adults and is associated with improved neuromuscular performance. Such improvement could potentially reduce the risk of falls and fracture in older adults.
One article on PainScience.com cites Taaffe 1999 as a source:
- PS Strength Training Frequency — Less is more than enough: go to the gym less frequently but still gain strength fast enough for anyone but a bodybuilder
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