Determinants of isometric muscle strength in men of different ages

  • P. Era
  • A. L. Lyyra
  • J. T. Viitasalo
  • E. Heikkinen


Values of maximal isometric strength of five muscle groups and associated factors including occupational status, life style and health were studied in three groups of men aged from 31 to 35, 51 to 55, and 71 to 75 years. The results indicated significant differences between the age groups in isometric handgrip, elbow flexion, knee extension, trunk extension and trunk flexion strength. In the youngest group, the manual workers tended to have higher strength values in all muscle groups than the lower and higher status white collar workers; whereas among the middle-aged and oldest men the manual workers tended to have the poorest performance. Good self-rated health and the intensity of physical exercise during leisure were positively associated with muscle strength in the youngest and middle-aged groups whereas in the oldest group the most important variable was home gymnastics. The multivariate structural equation models of isometric strength differed somewhat among the age groups and in these models the above-mentioned variables accounted for from 33% to 43% of the variance in isometric strength within the age groups. The results illustrated the most important factors associated with isometric strength in samples of men of different ages and also provided suggestions as to how these determinants might influence comparisons between different age groups in respect of muscle strength.

Key words

Isometric muscle strength Aging Physical activity Occupational background 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Era
    • 1
  • A. L. Lyyra
    • 2
  • J. T. Viitasalo
    • 3
  • E. Heikkinen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Department of Biology of Physical ActivityUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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