Strength training improves submaximum cardiovascular performance in older men
Date of this Version
Purpose: To determine if 16 weeks of strength training can improve the cardiovascular function of older men during submaximum aerobic exercise.
Methods: Twenty four men aged 70-80 yr were randomly assigned to a strength training (ST; n =12) and control group (C; n = 12). Training consisted of 3 sets of 6 - 10 repetitions at 70% to 90% of 1RM, 3 times per week, on an incline squat machine for 16 weeks, followed by 4 weeks detraining. Leg strength and maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) were assessed every 4 weeks of the 20-week study. Cardiovascular function was assessed during submaximum cycle exercise at 40 Watts, 50% and 70% of VO2 max before training, after 16 weeks training, and after 4 weeks detraining.
Results: At 40 Watts, heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure, and rate pressure product (RPP) were lower and stroke volume (SV) significantly higher after 16 weeks training and 4 weeks detraining: at 50% VO2 max, HR and RPP were lower after 16 weeks training and 4 weeks detraining: at 70% VO2 max, cycle ergometry power, VO2 and arterio-venous oxygen difference ( a - v O2 ) were higher after 16 weeks training. Leg strength and VO2 max increased after 16 weeks training, with leg strength remaining above pre-training levels after 4-weeks detraining.
Conclusions: Sixteen weeks of strength training significantly improves the cardiovascular function of older men. Therefore strength training not only increases muscular strength and hypertrophy but also provides significant cardiovascular benefits for older individuals.
This document has been peer reviewed.