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The Effect of Periodised Resistance Training on Physical Function and Health Outcomes in Older Adults

A fundamental process in aging is the inevitable deterioration in skeletal muscle mass, termed sarcopaenia. The impact of sarcopaenia is significant with a deterioration of skeletal muscle and coinciding drop in neuromuscular function increasing the possibility of falls and fractures, thereby reducing functional capacity and negatively impacting QOL. Resistance training (RT) has consistently proven to be effective in preventing and treating sarcopaenia and increasing strength in elderly populations, predominantly via neuromuscular adaptations and training-induced muscle hypertrophy. However, at current, there is no consensus on an optimal RT model for older adults. Evidently, determining the optimal RT programme in aging individuals and the consequent impact on the overall health profile is vital. Research has consistently highlighted the superiority of periodised RT for improving neuromuscular performance and body composition when compared to non-periodised RT across athletic populations. However, investigation into the potential use of periodised RT in the health and wellness arena is scarce. Moreover, the quantification of training intensity is crucial in periodised RT via the ability to modulate training stressors and better manage fatigue, with the novel use of session RPE (sRPE) to quantify RT intensity proving a reliable method within young physically active adults and obese populations. Nevertheless, the prospective use of sRPE among older adults has yet to be explored and may provide a further means of optimising RT prescription in this population.

Therefore, the central aim of this study is to investigate the effect of periodised versus non-periodised RT on physical function and health outcomes in older adults. In addition, this research will aim to validate the use of sRPE in the quantification of workload in RT among older adults.

The proposed research will consist of a 24 week RT study comparing the effect of periodised and non-periodised RT on neuromuscular performance, functional capacity and physiological health outcomes in older adults. This project will ultimately provide insight into the impact of periodised RT on the overall health profile of aging individuals and may influence future RT recommendations in this population.

Project duration



Miss Jennifer Conlon
Associate Professor Greg Haff
Professor Rob Newton

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