European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 429–435

The effect of strength training and short-term detraining on maximum force and the rate of force development of older men

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-010-1375-0

Cite this article as:
Lovell, D.I., Cuneo, R. & Gass, G.C. Eur J Appl Physiol (2010) 109: 429. doi:10.1007/s00421-010-1375-0


This study examined the effect of strength training (ST) and short-term detraining on maximum force and rate of force development (RFD) in previously sedentary, healthy older men. Twenty-four older men (70–80 years) were randomly assigned to a ST group (n = 12) and C group (control, n = 12). Training consisted of three sets of six to ten repetitions on an incline squat at 70–90% of one repetition maximum three times per week for 16 weeks followed by 4 weeks of detraining. Regional muscle mass was assessed before and after training by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Training increased RFD, maximum bilateral isometric force, and force in 500 ms, upper leg muscle mass and strength above pre-training values (14, 25, 22, 7, 90%, respectively; P < 0.05). After 4 weeks detraining all neuromuscular variables were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than after 16 weeks training but remained significantly (P < 0.05) higher than pre-training levels except for RFD which had returned to pre-training levels. These findings demonstrate that high-intensity ST can improve maximum force and RFD of older men. However, older individuals may lose some neuromuscular performance after a period of short-term detraining and that resistance exercise should be performed on a regular basis to maintain training adaptations.


Strength trainingMaximum forceRate of force developmentDetraining

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health and Sport SciencesThe University of the Sunshine CoastMaroochydoreAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Diabetes and EndocrinologyPrincess Alexandra HospitalBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Health Sciences and MedicineBond UniversityGold CoastAustralia