Wiener klinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 121, Issue 23–24, pp 757–764 | Cite as

Efficacy of systematic endurance and resistance training on muscle strength and endurance performance in elderly adults – a randomized controlled trial

  • Barbara Strasser
  • Markus Keinrad
  • Paul Haber
  • Wolfgang Schobersberger
Original article


BACKGROUND: Aging is associated with loss in both muscle mass and the metabolic quality of skeletal muscle. A major part of these changes is associated with an age-related decrease in the level of physical activity and may be counteracted by endurance training (ET) and resistance training (RT). OBJECTIVE: Since both muscle strength and aerobic power decrease with age, we investigated what form of training might be best for improvements in physical performance in the elderly. In detail, we wanted to know whether systematic ET can augment muscle strength and/or whether systematic RT can augment the aerobic power of healthy elderly adults. METHODS: Forty-two volunteers (32 women, 10 men) were recruited for the study and randomized into three groups: 13 persons undertook a continuous 6-month ET program, 15 undertook a continuous 6-month RT program and 14 served as a control group. All persons performed a cycling test to measure aerobic power (VO2max) and maximum workload (Wmax) before and after the training period. Maximum strength was determined from one repetition maximum (1-RM). RESULTS: After 6 months of RT, maximum strength increased by an average of 15% for leg press (P < 0.01), 25% for bench press (P < 0.01) and 30% for bench pull (P < 0.001); ET showed no effect on maximum strength except for the 1-RM in bench pull. Aerobic power improved by 6% in the ET group and by 2.5% in the RT group, neither of which was significant. Maximum workload improved significantly by 31% in the ET group (P < 0.001) and by 6% in the RT group (P = 0.05). ET resulted in a significant 5.3% reduction of body fat (P < 0.05), whereas only RT increased lean body mass by 1.0 ± 0.5 kg. CONCLUSION: RT leads to a genuine increase in lean body mass and muscle strength in healthy elderly adults and is therefore the best method for treatment of amyotrophia. ET appears to be the most efficacious training mode for maintaining and improving maximum aerobic power in the elderly and should be viewed as a complement to RT. The loading intensity to promote hypertrophy should approach 60–80% of 1-RM with an exercise volume ranging from 3 to 6 sets per muscle group per week of 10–15 repetitions per exercise. ET should be performed on two days per week controlled by a heart rate according to 60% of VO2max and an exercise volume ranging from 30 to 60 minutes per week.


Age Endurance training Resistance training Aerobic power Muscle strength Body composition 

Effekte von systematischem Ausdauer- und Krafttraining auf die Muskelkraft und Ausdauerleistungsfähigkeit bei alten Menschen – eine randomisierte Kontrollstudie


HINTERGRUND: Im Alter kommt es sowohl zu einer Reduktion der Muskelmasse als auch zu metabolischen Veränderungen im Skelettmuskel. Ein Großteil dieser Veränderungen ist auf Bewegungsmangel zurückzuführen und kann durch ein Ausdauertraining (ET) und Krafttraining (RT) verhindert werden. FRAGESTELLUNG: Welche Trainingsmethode ist die effektivste, um die physische Leistungsfähigkeit im Alter zu verbessern? Das Ziel dieser Studie ist es festzustellen, ob ein systematisches ET auch die Muskelkraft steigern kann und/oder ob ein systematisches RT auch die aerobe Kapazität von gesunden alten Menschen verbessern kann. UNTERSUCHUNGEN/METHODEN: 42 Probanden (32 Frauen, 10 Männer) wurden für die Studie rekrutiert und in 3 Gruppen randomisiert: 13 Probanden führten ein 6-monatiges ET Programm durch, 15 Probanden ein 6-monatiges RT Programm und 14 Probanden wurden in die Kontrollgruppe gelost. Eine Belastungsspiroergometrie und eine Dynamometrie wurden zu Beginn und am Ende der Studie absolviert, um die aerobe Kapazität (VO2max), die maximale Leistungsfähigkeit (Wmax), sowie die Maximalkraft (1-RM) zu testen. ERGEBNISSE: Die Maximalkraft verbesserte sich signifikant (zwischen 15% und 30%) nach 6 Monaten RT, während ET zu keiner signifikanten Veränderung der Maximalkraft führte. ET resultierte in einer hoch signifikanten Verbesserung der Wmax um 31%, während RT nur eine moderate Verbesserung der Wmax um 6% zeigte. ET resultierte zusätzlich in einer signifikanten Reduktion des Körperfettanteils, RT in einer Zunahme der fettfreien Magermasse. SCHLUSSFOLGERUNG: Sowohl ET, als auch RT wirken positiv auf die Gesundheit und Fitness gesunder alter Menschen, jedoch auf unterschiedliche Art und Weise: ET verbessert die aerobe Kapazität, jedoch nicht die Muskelkraft, und reduziert das kardiovaskuläre Risiko wahrscheinlich effektiver. RT verbessert die Muskelkraft und tendenziell das metabolische Risiko, das bei einer reduzierten Muskelmasse im Alter erhöht ist. Wir empfehlen bei gesunden, alten Menschen vor allem ein Maximalkrafttraining mit einer Intensität von 60–80% des EWM, 8–15 Wiederholungen pro Übung und einem Volumen von 3–6 Sätzen pro Muskelgruppe und Woche. ET sollte ergänzend 2-mal pro Woche mit einer Intensität von 60% VO2max (nach Karvonen) und einer wöchentlichen Nettotrainingszeit von 30 bis 60 Minuten durchgeführt werden.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Strasser
    • 1
  • Markus Keinrad
    • 2
  • Paul Haber
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Schobersberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sports-, Alpine Medicine and Health TourismUniversity for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and TechnologyHall i. T.Austria
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine II, Division of PulmologyMedical University ViennaViennaAustria

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