Determining the cortical, spinal and muscular adaptations to strength-training in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Ummatul Siddique, Ashlyn Frazer, Janne Avela, Simon J. Walker, Juha Ahtiainen, Glyn Howatson, Jamie Tallent, Dawson Kidgell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

There are observable decreases in muscle strength as a result of ageing that occur from the age of 40, which is thought to occur as a result of changes within the neuromuscular system. Strength-training in older adults is a suitable intervention that may counteract the age-related loss in force production. The neuromuscular adaptations (i.e., cortical, spinal and muscular) to strength-training in older adults is largely equivocal and a systematic review with meta-analysis will serve to clarify the present circumstances regarding the benefits of strength-training in older adults. 20 studies entered the meta-analysis and were analysed using a random-effects model. A best evidence synthesis that included 36 studies was performed for variables that had insufficient data for metaanalysis. One study entered both. There was strong evidence that strength-training increases maximal force production and rate of force development and muscle activation in older adults. There was limited evidence for strength-training to improve voluntary-activation, the volitional-wave and spinal excitability, but strong evidence for increased muscle mass. The findings suggest that strength-training performed between 2-12 weeks increases strength, rate of force development and muscle activation, which likely improves motoneurone excitability by increased motor unit recruitment and improved discharge rates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101746
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Volume82
Early online date9 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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