Objectives: To determine the effect of 26 weeks of low-load high-repetition resistance training (BodyPump™) on maximal strength, gait speed, balance and self-reported health status in healthy, active middle-aged and older adults. Design: Two-group randomised control trial. Methods: Sixty-eight apparently healthy, active adults aged over 55 years completed either 26 weeks of BodyPump™ training (PUMP) or served as control participants (CON). The BodyPump™ group (n = 32, age = 66 ± 4 years) trained twice per week for 26 weeks while the control group (n = 36, age = 66 ± 5 years) continued with their normal activities. Leg-press and Smith-machine bench-press one repetition maximum (1RM), gait speed, balance, and self-reported health status were all assessed at baseline and follow-up. Results: Significant group-by-time interactions in favour of the BodyPump™ group were found for leg-press 1RM (PUMP +13%, CON +3%, p = 0.007, partial eta2 = 0.11), Smith-machine bench-press 1RM (PUMP +14%, CON +5%, p = 0.001, partial eta2 = 0.18), normal gait speed (PUMP +23%, CON +9%, p = 0.028, partial eta2 = 0.08) and single leg balance right (PUMP +24%, CON -7%, p = 0.006, partial eta2 = 0.12). There were no group-by-time interactions for health status measures. Three participants in the BodyPump™ group withdrew from training due to injury or fear of injury related to training. Conclusions: Low-load high-repetition resistance training in the form of BodyPump™ is effective at improving maximal strength, gait speed and some aspects of standing balance in adults over 55 years. The training was well tolerated by the majority of participants.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport / Vol. 18, No. 5, pp.596-600