Cardiovascular and muscular adaptations to combined endurance and strength training in elderly women


Alway Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC Box 6, Tampa, FL 33612–4799, USA.


Twenty-one women aged 60–75 years were examined to determine whether combined endurance and strength training resulted in greater increase in peak oxygen consumption, sub-maximal time to fatigue, cardiac output, stroke volume, and leg extension load when compared to endurance training alone. Subjects in both the endurance training (E) and endurance and strength (E & S) groups trained 3 days a week, for 12 weeks, at an intensity of 70–80% O2 peak for 30 min on a cycle ergometer. Subjects in the E & S groups also used resistance equipment to train the knee extensors. The workload for resistance training was based on an initial assessment of 10 repetitions maximum (10 RM), with 80% of that value used for training, three times weekly. Peak oxygen consumption increased to an average of 24.8 and 29.9% in the E and E & S groups, respectively, with no difference between groups. Subjects in the E & S and E groups significantly increased sub-maximal endurance time by 396 and 165%, respectively. Cardiac output, stroke volume, and arteriovenous oxygen difference at 80% peak O2 were unchanged by either of the training methods. A needle biopsy was taken from the vastus lateralis before and after 12 weeks of training. Chi-square analysis of fibre area data showed an increase in the frequency of larger type I fibres in the post-training data from the E & S group, but an increase in the frequency of smaller fibres in the E group post-training; however, mean fibre area was not significantly changed by training. These data suggest that greater improvements in sub-maximal time to fatigue and strength is achieved when resistance training is added to an aerobic training programme in healthy elderly women.