© 2002 by the American Geriatrics Society
High-Velocity Resistance Training Increases Skeletal Muscle Peak
Power in Older Women
Roger A. Fielding, PhD,* Nathan K. LeBrasseur, MSPT,* Anthony Cuoco, MS,* Jonathan Bean,
Kelly Mizer, BS,* and Maria A. Fiatarone Singh, MD
Peak power declines more precipitously
than strength with advancing age and is a reliable measure
of impairment and a strong predictor of functional perfor-
mance. We tested the hypothesis that a high-velocity resis-
tance-training program (HI) would increase muscle power
more than a traditional low-velocity resistance-training
Randomized controlled trial.
University-based human physiology laboratory.
Thirty women with self-reported dis-
ability (aged 73
1, body mass index 30.1
We conducted a randomized trial
comparing changes in skeletal muscle power and strength
after 16 weeks of HI or LO. Training was performed three
times per week, and subjects completed three sets (8–10
repetitions) of leg press (LP) and knee extension (KE) exer-
cises at 70% of the one-repetition maximum (1RM).
One-repetition maximum (1RM) and
peak power for KE and LP.
LP and KE relative training force and total
work were similar between groups (
HI generated significantly higher power during training
sessions than LO for LP (3.7-fold greater,
KE (2.1-fold greater,
.001). Although LP and KE
1RM muscle strength increased similarly in both groups as
a result of the training (
.001), LP peak power in-
creased significantly more in HI than in LO (267 W vs 139
.001). Furthermore, HI resulted in a significantly
greater improvement in LP power at 40%, 50%, 60%,
70%, 80%, and 90% of the 1RM than did LO (
HI improved 1RM strength similarly
and was more effective in improving peak power than was
traditional LO in older women. Improvements in lower
extremity peak power may exert a greater influence on
age-associated reductions in physical functioning than
other exercise interventions.
J Am Geriatr Soc 50:655–
Key words: exercise; aging; power training
keletal muscle strength, or the maximum capacity to
generate force, declines with advancing age after the
fifth decade of life.
A progressive loss in muscle mass, or
sarcopenia, due to reductions in the number and size of
contractile velocity, and muscle quality (de-
clines in single-fiber diameter, peak force, and maximum
appears to contribute to this phe-
nomenon. Peak skeletal muscle power, the product of the
force and velocity of muscle shortening, declines earlier
and more precipitously than strength with advancing age.