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A unique form of light-load training improves steadiness and performance on some functional tasks in older adults



Beginning Movement Load (BML) training is a unique form of light-load training that comprises a lengthening–shortening sequence of muscle actions about multiple degrees of freedom. The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of BML training at improving the performance of old adults on four functional tasks and to identify some of the neuromuscular adaptations that contributed to these gains. Healthy old adults (67.5 ± 5.23 years) were randomly assigned to either a BML training group (n = 17) or a control group (n = 7). The training group exercised with a 30% of the one repetition-maximum (1-RM) load and performed five to seven sets of 15 repetitions, three times per week for 8 weeks. BML training increased maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force significantly for the knee extensors (31.6%), but not the elbow flexors (9.8%), and improved the steadiness of isometric contractions (10%, 30%, and 65% MVC forces). Training-associated changes in times for ascending and descending stairs and one-legged balance, but not the chair rise, were predicted by changes in selected combinations of MVC force and steadiness. The attributes of BML training that enabled it to elicit functionally meaningful adaptations in the neuromuscular system of older adults should be explored with more mechanistic studies.

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