Strength training in elderly people improves static balance: a randomized controlled trial

Authors: Sarabon Nejc (1,2), Stefan Loefler (1), Jan Cvecka (3), Milan Sedliak (3), Helmut Kern (1,4)

Source: Eur J of Trans Myol - BAM 23(3):85-89, 2013

Keywords: aging, falls, balance, strength, training


Aim of this study was to investigate the effects of two different types of strength training programs on static balance in elderly subjects. Subjects older than 65 years of age were enrolled and assigned to control group (CG, n =19), electrical stimulation group (ES, n = 27) or leg press group (LP, n = 28). Subjects in both the training groups were exposed to training (2-3x/week) for a period of 9 weeks. In the ES group the subjects received neuromuscular electrical stimulation of the anterior thigh muscles. In the LP group the subjects performed strength training on a computer-controlled leg press machine. Before and after the training period, static balance of the subject was tested using a quiet stance task. Average velocity, amplitude and frequency of the center-of-pressure (CoP) were calculated from the acquired force plate signal. The data was statistically tested with analysis of (co)variance and t-tests. The three groups of subjects showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) regarding the pre-training vs. post-training changes in CoP velocity, amplitude and frequency. The differences were more pronounced for CoP velocity and amplitude, while they were less evident in case of mean frequency. The mean improvements were higher in the LP group than in the ES group. Our results provide supportive evidence to the existence of the strength-balance relationship. Additionally, results indicate the role of recruiting central processes and activation of functional kinetic chains for the better end effect.


1 Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Electrical Stimulation and Physical Rehabilitation, Vienna, Austria
2 University of Primorska, Science and Research Centre, Koper, Slovenia;
3 Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia;
4 Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wilhelminenspital, Austria, Vienna