To identify whether variability in limb movement velocity during high-speed power training (HSPT) may impact physical functioning in older adults.
42 older men and women (71.3 ± 6.6 years) were randomized to lower extremity HSPT (n = 28) or control (CON; n = 14) (Analysis 1) for 12 weeks. A second analysis (Analysis 2) allocated HSPT into high-velocity (n = 14) or low-velocity (n = 14) based on a limb movement speed above or below the median average velocity during the 12-week HSPT intervention. Habitual gait speed, maximal gait speed, timed up-and-go, and the short physical performance battery were measured at baseline and 12 weeks. Change scores were compared between HSPT and CON (Analysis 1), and high-velocity, low-velocity, and CON (Analysis 2) using ANCOVA. Statistical significance was accepted at p < 0.05.
Analysis 1 There were no group differences in habitual gait speed, maximal gait speed, or timed up-and-go between HSPT and CON (all p > 0.05). Short physical performance battery was greater in HSPT (0.96 ± 0.19) compared to CON (0.10 ± 0.26; p = 0.01). Analysis 2 There were no group differences in the change in habitual GS (p = 0.33) among high-velocity, low-velocity and CON. There were significant group differences in the change in maximal GS (p = 0.007), timed up-and-go (p = 0.03), and short physical performance battery (p = 0.03).
There is considerable variation in self-selected maximal limb velocity during HSPT in older adults. In the present cohort, an average limb velocity of 0.88 m/s during HSPT was necessary to ensure optimal improvement in functional performance for older adults, but this threshold will need further investigation.
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Analysis of covariance
Body mass index
Geriatric depression scale
Gait speed (habitual and maximal)
High-velocity training group within HSPT with limb movement speed >0.88 m/s
High-speed power training
Low-velocity training group within HSPT with limb movement speed <0.88 m/s
Number of medications taken
Mini-mental state examination
Short physical performance battery
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Data from this study were supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging R03-AG025141-01 and the Arthritis Foundation.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Communicated by Jean-René Lacour.
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Sayers, S.P., Gibson, K. & Bryan Mann, J. Improvement in functional performance with high-speed power training in older adults is optimized in those with the highest training velocity. Eur J Appl Physiol 116, 2327–2336 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-016-3484-x
- Average velocity
- Power training
- Functional performance