Effects of strength and endurance training on isometric muscle strength and walking speed in elderly women


  • This study was supported by grants from the State Council for Research in Sport and Physical Education of the Ministry of Education, Finland. The authors would like to thank Ms Tuija Luokkanen, Ms Eva Mannila and Ms Hanna Tuominen for their conscientious work in this project.

S. SipiläDepartment of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, FIN-40351 Jyväskylä, Finland


The separate effects of 18 weeks of intensive strength and endurance training on isometric knee extension (KE) and flexion (KF) strength and walking speed were studied in 76-to 78-year-old women. Maximal voluntary isometric force for both KE and KF was measured in a sitting position on a custom-made dynamometer chair at a knee angle of 60° from full extension. Maximal walking speed was measured over a distance of 10 m. The endurance-trained women increased KE torque and KE torque/body mass after the first 9 weeks of training when compared with the controls. When comparing the baseline, 9 week and 18 week measurements within the groups separately, both the endurance- and strength-training groups increased KE torque, KE torque/body mass and walking speed. Individual changes in KE torque/body mass before and after 18 weeks of training averaged 19.1% in the strength group, 30.9% in the endurance group and 2.0% in the controls. This study indicates that in elderly women the effects of physical training on muscle strength and walking speed occur after endurance as well as strength training. The considerable interindividual variation in change of muscle performance is also worth noticing.