Women over 60 respond just as well to 2 full body workouts as to 3 full body workouts per week
Meta-studies have shown that muscle groups become stronger and larger the faster you handle them more often per week. However, the results of those studies do not apply to older people, warn Brazilian sports scientists from the University of Northern Parana. They published a study in the International Journal of Exercise Science in which the over-60s responded just as well to 2 full body workouts per week as to 3 full body workouts per week.
According to meta studies, strength training results in more strength [Sports Med. 2018;48(5):1207-20.] and in more muscle mass [J Sports Sci. 2019;37(11):1286-95.] as athletes train their muscle groups more often per week. However, those meta-studies usually relate to a. healthy people in their twenties and b. people who are relatively 'fresh' in strength training.
Can you extrapolate the outcomes of these meta studies to other groups? For example, to people over 60 who already have some experience with strength training? These Brazilians wanted to answer that question.
The researchers divided 39 women, who were sixty or older, into 2 groups. All women did strength training for 24 weeks. One group trained twice a week, the other group 3 times a week.
Each training was a full body workout consisting of 8 basic exercises: the seated chest press, horizontal leg press, seated row, knee extension, preacher curl, leg curl, triceps pushdown and the seated calf raise. The women did 1 set of each exercise for the first 12 weeks, 2 sets for the second 12 weeks.
The women who trained 3 times a week built up a little more power than the women who trained twice a week. However, the difference was not statistically significant.
The opposite was true for muscle mass. The women who trained twice a week built up slightly more muscle mass than the women in the other group. But this difference was also not statistically significant.
"These results indicate that resistance training induced muscular adaptation occurs regardless of training twice or thrice a week in older women", the researchers summarize. "Instructors, coaches and practitioners can choose their training frequency preference, since both frequencies provided similar adaptations."
Int J Exerc Sci. 2019;12(6):623-35.
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