Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 159, Issue 2, pp 225–238 | Cite as

Transfer of resistance training to enhance rapid coordinated force production by older adults

  • Benjamin K. BarryEmail author
  • Richard G. Carson
Research Article


The purpose of this study was to examine the capacity of resistance training to enhance the rapid and coordinated production of force by older people. Thirty adults (≥60 years) completed a visually guided aiming task that required the generation of isometric torque in 2 df about the elbow prior to and following a 4-week training period. Groups of six participants were allocated to two progressive (40–100% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)) resistance-training (PRT) groups, to two constant low-load (10% MVC) training groups (CLO) and to one no-training control group. Training movements required the generation of either combined flexion and supination (FLESUP), or combined extension and supination (EXTSUP). In response to training, target acquisition times in the aiming task decreased for all groups; however, both the nature of the training load and the training movement influenced the pattern and magnitude of improvements (EXTSUP_CLO: 36%, FLESUP_PRT 26%, EXTSUP_PRT 22%, FLESUP_CLO 20%, CONTROL 15%). For one group that trained with progressively increasing loads, there arose a subsequent decrease in performance in one condition of the transfer task. For each group, these adaptations were accompanied by systematic changes in the coordination of muscles about the elbow joint, particularly the biceps brachii.


Ageing Strength Muscle Coordination Specificity 



maximal voluntary contraction




progressive resistance training


constant low-load training


flexion plus supination


extension plus supination


flexion plus pronation


extension plus pronation










root mean square



The authors wish to thank Mr Dave Perkins for the construction of the testing device, Mr Robert Bryant for his aid with the electronic equipment, Mr Jonathan Shemmell, Dr Stephen Riek, Dr James Tresilian and Dr Guy Wallis for their advice and assistance in data analysis, and the volunteers who so generously donated their time. We would also like to extend our appreciation for the helpful comments provided on an earlier version of the manuscript by Dr John Semmler, Dr Roger Enoka and their group, and also by Dr Timothy Carroll. This study was supported by The Australian Research Council, The National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Australasian Centre on Ageing, The University of Queensland. We are grateful for the helpful comments provided by the reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perception and Motor Systems Laboratory, School of Human Movement StudiesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Neural Control of Movement Laboratory, Carlson 202G 354 UCB, Department of Integrative PhysiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulder

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