The purpose of this study was to examine the capacity of resistance training to enhance the rapid and coordinated production of force by older people. Thirty adults (greater than or equal to 60 years) completed a visually guided aiming task that required the generation of isometric torque in 2 df about the elbow prior to and following a 4-week training period. Groups of six participants were allocated to two progressive ( 40 - 100% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)) resistance-training (PRT) groups, to two constant low-load (10% MVC) training groups (CLO) and to one no-training control group. Training movements required the generation of either combined flexion and supination (FLESUP), or combined extension and supination (EXTSUP). In response to training, target acquisition times in the aiming task decreased for all groups; however, both the nature of the training load and the training movement influenced the pattern and magnitude of improvements (EXTSUP_ CLO: 36%, FLESUP_ PRT 26%, EXTSUP_ PRT 22%, FLESUP_ CLO 20%, CONTROL 15%). For one group that trained with progressively increasing loads, there arose a subsequent decrease in performance in one condition of the transfer task. For each group, these adaptations were accompanied by systematic changes in the coordination of muscles about the elbow joint, particularly the biceps brachii.
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