Manual Therapy, Posturology & Rehabilitation Journal
Manual Therapy, Posturology & Rehabilitation Journal
Research Article

Elderly perform lower number of repetitions maximum than young at low instead high load resistance exercise

Sardeli, Amanda Veiga; Santos, Lucas do Carmo; Ferreira, Marina Lívia Venturini; Gáspari, Arthur Fernandes; Santos, Wellington Martins dos; Cavaglieri, Claudia Regina; Chacon-Mikahil, Mara Patrícia Traina


Aging process is characterized by reduction of muscle mass and strength, named sarcopenia. To attenuate these declines, resistance training has been purposed. The use 1RM test has been applied to define the maximal strength and prescription of exercise. Otherwise, it is not safe and it has not shown good practical applicability. Thus, the present study aim to compare the repetitions number for high and low load resistance exercise performed until failure between a young and elderly men groups. Methods: We compared (Mann-Whitney test) the repetitions number performed until muscle failure by 9 young and 9 elderly men at four sets 45ºleg press exercise for high (80% 1RM) and low load (30% 1RM). Results: Both groups reached maximum values for rate of perceived exertion, ensuring the muscle failure were achieved and no differences were seen between groups. The repetitions numbers were higher for young men with similar delta of reduction throughout sets between groups at low load resistance exercise. Otherwise, the delta of repetitions number reduction throughout sets at high load resistance exercise was higher for young men than elderly. Conclusions: We conclude elderly people need to perform lower number of repetition to reach muscle failure and thus achieve the desired training stimulus, mainly in low load resistance exercise. Furthermore, as they have better resistance to fatigue along sets the reduction of repetition number along sets is lower for them mainly when high load resistance exercise is performed.


Resistance training, Exercise therapy, Exercise, Exercise tolerance, Health of the elderly.


1. Marimuthu K, Murton AJ, Greenhaff PL. Mechanisms regulating muscle mass during disuse atrophy and rehabilitation in humans. Journal of applied physiology. 2011;110:555-60.

2. Doherty TJ. Invited review: Aging and sarcopenia. Journal of applied physiology. 2003;95:1717-27.

3. Reid KF, Naumova EN, Carabello RJ, Phillips EM, Fielding RA. Lower extremity muscle mass predicts functional performance in mobilitylimited elders. The journal of nutrition, health & aging. 2008;12:493-8.

4. Ishigaki EY, Ramos LG, Carvalho ES, Lunardi AC. Effectiveness of muscle strengthening and description of protocols for preventing falls in the elderly: a systematic review. Brazilian journal of physical therapy. 2014;18:111-8.

5. ACSM. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2009;41:687–708.

6. Reeves ND, Narici MV, Maganaris CN. In vivo human muscle structure and function: adaptations to resistance training in old age. Experimental physiology. 2004;89:675-89.

7. Nelson ME, Rejeski WJ, Blair SN, Duncan PW, Judge JO, King AC, et al. Physical activity and public health in older adults: recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2007;39:1435-45.

8. Braith RW, Graves JE, Leggett SH, Pollock ML. Effect of training on the relationship between maximal and submaximal strength. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993;25:132-8.

9. Ploutz-Snyder LL, Giamis EL. Orientation and familiarization to 1RM strength testing in old and young women. Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association. 2001;15:519-23.

10. Niewiadomski W, Laskowska D, Gasiorowaska A. Determin ation and prediction of one repetition maximum (1RM): safety considerations. J Hum Kinet. 2008;19:109–20

11. Fleck SJ, Kraemer WJ. Disigning Resistance Training Programs. Champaign: Human Kinetics; 1997.

12. Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, West DW, Burd NA, Breen L, Baker SK, et al. Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. Journal of applied physiology. 2012;113:71-7.

13. American College of Sports M. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2009;41:687-708.

14. VERKHOSHANSY Y, SIFF MC. Supertraining. 6ed ed2009.

15. BOMPA TO, CORNACCHIA L. Musculação Treinamento de Força Consciente. São Paulo: Phorte Editora; 2000.

16. Richens B, Cleather DJ. The relationship between the number of repetitions performed at given intensities is different in endurance and strength trained athletes. Biology of sport. 2014;31:157-61.

17. Alves BH, Roberto S, Dias MR. Número de repetições e percentual de cara máxima: Comparação entre exercício uni e multiarticular. Revista Brasileira de Prescrição e Fisiologia do Exercício2012.

18. Simão R, Poly MA, Lemos A. Prescrição de exercícios através do teste de uma repetição máxima (T1RM) em homens treinados. Fitness & Performance Journal2004. p. 47-52.

19. Arazi H, Asadi A. The relationship between the selected percentages of one repetition maximum and the number of repetitions in trained and untrained males. Physical Education and Sport2011. p. 25 - 33.

20. Moraes E, NP M, Maia M, BF S, H M, R. S. Influence of exercise order on the number of repetitions in untrained teenagers. MTP & Rehab Journal; 2016.

21. Brown LE, Weir JP. Procedures recommendation I: Accurate assessment of muscular strength and power. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online. 2001;4:1-21.

22. Burd NA, Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, Phillips SM. Bigger weights may not beget bigger muscles: evidence from acute muscle protein synthetic responses after resistance exercise. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme. 2012;37:551-4.

23. Kent-Braun JA. Skeletal muscle fatigue in old age: whose advantage? Exercise and sport sciences reviews. 2009;37:3-9.

24. Barcelos LC, Nunes PR, de Souza LR, de Oliveira AA, Furlanetto R, Marocolo M, et al. Low-load resistance training promotes muscular adaptation regardless of vascular occlusion, load, or volume. European journal of applied physiology. 2015;115:1559-68.

5a9eed380e88252a3477d857 mtprehab Articles
Links & Downloads

Man. Ther., Posturology Rehabil. J.

Share this page
Page Sections