Free US Shipping Over $99

Free US Shipping Over $99


This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

The Benefits of Strength Training for Aging Adults

strength training for aging adults

As we get older, our muscles naturally start to get smaller and weaker, a process known as sarcopenia. After the age of 60, we lose muscle more quickly[1]. This isn't just about not being able to move as easily; it can lead to more serious problems like higher risk of falling, weaker bones, and even higher chances of getting really sick or losing the ability to do things on our own[2]. Taking care of people with these muscle issues costs a lot of money, too—about $28.5 billion every year[3].

However, there's good news! Studies show that regular exercise, like lifting weights, can help older people keep their muscles strong and work better. Even though older adults might not build muscle as easily as younger people when they exercise, it's still really helpful. This article looks at how exercise helps our muscles at the cellular level, especially as we age, and talks about whether taking supplements along with exercise can make an even bigger difference in keeping muscles strong and preventing the problems that come with sarcopenia.

Let’s dive into this!

Strength and Power

A critical aspect of the functional decline associated with sarcopenia is the reduction in muscle power output. This decreased ability to rapidly and forcefully contract muscles has significant implications, including an increased risk of falls and challenges in performing weight-bearing activities. Research has consistently shown that resistance training can lead to significant enhancements in muscle power among older adults[4]. These improvements in power are not limited to overall muscle performance but are also observed at the individual muscle fiber level, indicating a profound physiological adaptation.

Enhancements in muscle power are closely tied to the specific training regimen employed, with evidence pointing towards the superiority of high-velocity, low-resistance training protocols in maximizing gains in power. Such training modalities mimic the quick, forceful actions required in daily tasks and are therefore highly relevant to improving functional capabilities in older adults.

For example, in a study by Newton et al.[4], researchers examined how a 10-week structured resistance training program impacted force and power during squat jumps in two age groups: younger adults around 30 years old and older adults about 61 years old. The findings revealed that both age groups saw improvements in force and power, indicating that older individuals have a comparable ability to younger ones when it comes to enhancing strength and power through resistance training.

What about strength increases?

In a meta-analysis by Peterson et al[5]., the effects of resistance training on strength were evaluated across 47 studies, encompassing 1079 older adults. This analysis focused on changes in strength metrics such as leg press, chest press, knee extension, and lat pull exercises. Intriguingly, the findings indicated a significant increase in strength across all these exercises, ranging from 25 to 33 percent. This substantial improvement underscores the positive impact of resistance training on enhancing muscular strength in the elderly.

Energy Expenditure

Both at rest and during activity, energy expenditure decreases as we age, with a more significant drop in energy spent during activities. Research has shown that from age 20 to 90, the energy we use for daily activities drops from 35% to 25% of our total energy expenditure[6]. This reduction, especially in activity-related energy use, can make it harder to keep a stable weight as we get older.

High levels of physical activity have been linked to maintaining weight, while low activity levels often lead to weight gain[7–9]. For example, in a study tracking energy use and weight changes over a year, those who were less active gained more weight, showing that being more active can help prevent weight gain[10].

Although resistance training, like lifting weights, can reduce body fat, it usually increases muscle mass, so total body weight might not change much[11]. This doesn't mean it doesn't help with weight management; it's just that the benefits come from changing body composition, not losing weight.

Some studies have shown that intense resistance training can increase the energy you burn at rest, but total energy burned throughout the day may not change much if people are less active outside of their workouts[12].

However, if resistance training is continued for enough time, older adults report feeling less tired and more energetic, capable of doing daily tasks more easily. This was shown in a study where older adults increased their total daily energy expenditure after sticking with a training program for 26 weeks, despite the training itself not adding much to their daily calorie burn[13].

This suggests that over time, consistent resistance training can lead to increased overall energy levels and activity.

Bone Mineral Density

Bone density, which indicates the amount of mineral in bones per area, plays a crucial role in determining bone strength and risk for frailty and diseases like osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is quite common among postmenopausal women in Europe and the US, with a significant number facing the risk of fractures[14]. Bone mass decreases with age due to factors like muscle loss and lifestyle habits. However, engaging in strength training can reduce the yearly decline in bone density, particularly in critical areas such as the hip and lower spine, enhancing bone health.

Interestingly, some research[15][16] indicates that strength training can slightly improve bone density in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, suggesting a potential for slowing bone density loss with age.

Other studies[17][18] reported minimal changes in bone density from strength training, highlighting a possible preventive effect against the natural decline associated with aging.

Interestingly, resistance training combined with high-impact activities like running or tennis showed better outcomes for bone density improvement[19]. This suggests that a mixed approach might be more effective in maintaining bone health in older adults. Variations in training intensity, duration, and participant characteristics could explain the differing results across studies.

Other Benefits

Besides abovementioned benefits, strength training results in:

  • increased muscle and tendon strength, reducing injury risks, and improving quality of life[20].
  • it enhances mental health, maintains motor function, and combats sarcopenia[21][22].
  • The benefits, including better balance and reduced disease risk, persist long after cessation of training[23].


In summary, strength training is a key intervention for older adults, providing a wide range of benefits that extend from enhanced muscle strength and reduced injury risk to improved mental health and cognitive function.

  • Strength training offers long-term muscle performance benefits that persist even after training cessation.
  • Strength training combats sarcopenia and maintains motor function with minimal side effects.
  • Strength training increases muscle mass, strength, power, and bone density, while also improving insulin resistance and balance.
  • Strength training enhances maximal and explosive strength, walking speed, and dynamic balance, making it invaluable for rehabilitation or preventive health strategies.

Overall, incorporating strength training into the routines of the elderly is crucial for sustaining health, function, and quality of life.


Build Whey Protein Powder

Build Whey Protein

Outwork Build contains 100% whey protein isolate with ~3g of leucine per serving to help you recover from hard training and build more muscle. 💪 




1. Iii, L. J. M.; Khosla, S.; Crowson, C. S.; O’Connor, M. K.; O’Fallon, W. M.; Riggs, B. L. Epidemiology of Sarcopenia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2000, 48 (6), 625–630.

2. Fukagawa, N. K.; Wolfson, L.; Judge, J.; Whipple, R.; King, M. Strength Is a Major Factor in Balance, Gait, and the Occurrence of Falls. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 1995, 50A (Special_Issue), 64–67.

3. Janssen, I.; Shepard, D. S.; Katzmarzyk, P. T.; Roubenoff, R. The Healthcare Costs of Sarcopenia in the United States. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2004, 52 (1), 80–85.

4. Newton, R. U.; H??Kkinen, K.; H??Kkinen, A.; Mccormick, M.; Volek, J.; Kraemer, W. J. Mixed-Methods Resistance Training Increases Power and Strength of Young and Older Men: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2002, 34 (8), 1367–1375.

5. Peterson, M. D.; Rhea, M. R.; Sen, A.; Gordon, P. M. Resistance Exercise for Muscular Strength in Older Adults: A Meta-Analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 2010, 9 (3), 226–237.

6. Westerterp, K. R. Daily Physical Activity and Ageing. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 2000, 3 (6), 485.

7. Poehlman, E. T.; Toth, M. J.; Bunyard, L. B.; Gardner, A. W.; Donaldson, K. E.; Colman, E.; Fonong, T.; Ades, P. A. Physiological Predictors of Increasing Total and Central Adiposity in Aging Men and Women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1995, 155 (22), 2443–2448.

8. Samaras, K. Genetic and Environmental Influences on Total-Body and Central Abdominal Fat: The Effect of Physical Activity in Female Twins. Ann Intern Med, 1999, 130 (11), 873.

9. Rissanen, A. M.; Heliövaara, M.; Knekt, P.; Reunanen, A.; Aromaa, A. Determinants of Weight Gain and Overweight in Adult Finns. Eur J Clin Nutr, 1991, 45 (9), 419–430.

10. Weinsier, R. L.; Hunter, G. R.; Desmond, R. A.; Byrne, N. M.; Zuckerman, P. A.; Darnell, B. E. Free-Living Activity Energy Expenditure in Women Successful and Unsuccessful at Maintaining a Normal Body Weight123. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, 75 (3), 499–504.

11. McCarthy, J. P.; Bamman, M. M.; Yelle, J. M.; LeBlanc, A. D.; Rowe, R. M.; Greenisen, M. C.; Lee, S. M. C.; Spector, E. R.; Fortney, S. M. Resistance Exercise Training and the Orthostatic Response. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1997, 76 (1), 32–40.

12. McCarthy, J. P.; Agre, J. C.; Graf, B. K.; Pozniak, M. A.; Vailas, A. C. Compatibility of Adaptive Responses with Combining Strength and Endurance Training. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1995, 27 (3), 429–436.

13. McLafferty, C. L.; Wetzstein, C. J.; Hunter, G. R. Resistance Training Is Associated with Improved Mood in Healthy Older Adults. Percept Mot Skills, 2004, 98 (3 Pt 1), 947–957.

14. Daly, R. M.; Dalla Via, J.; Duckham, R. L.; Fraser, S. F.; Helge, E. W. Exercise for the Prevention of Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women: An Evidence-Based Guide to the Optimal Prescription. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 2019, 23 (2), 170–180.

15. Arija-Blázquez, A.; Ceruelo-Abajo, S.; Díaz-Merino, M. S.; Godino-Durán, J. A.; Martínez-Dhier, L.; Martin, J. L. R.; Florensa-Vila, J. Effects of Electromyostimulation on Muscle and Bone in Men with Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 2014, 37 (3), 299–309.

16. Going, S. B.; Laudermilk, M. Osteoporosis and Strength Training. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 2009, 3 (4), 310–319.

17. Weaver, C. M.; Gordon, C. M.; Janz, K. F.; Kalkwarf, H. J.; Lappe, J. M.; Lewis, R.; O’Karma, M.; Wallace, T. C.; Zemel, B. S. The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s Position Statement on Peak Bone Mass Development and Lifestyle Factors: A Systematic Review and Implementation Recommendations. Osteoporos Int, 2016, 27 (4), 1281–1386.

18. Min, S.-K.; Oh, T.; Kim, S. H.; Cho, J.; Chung, H. Y.; Park, D.-H.; Kim, C.-S. Position Statement: Exercise Guidelines to Increase Peak Bone Mass in Adolescents. J Bone Metab, 2019, 26 (4), 225–239.

19. Bemben, D. A.; Palmer, I. J.; Bemben, M. G.; Knehans, A. W. Effects of Combined Whole-Body Vibration and Resistance Training on Muscular Strength and Bone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women. Bone, 2010, 47 (3), 650–656.

20. Reeves, N. D.; Maganaris, C. N.; Narici, M. V. Effect of Strength Training on Human Patella Tendon Mechanical Properties of Older Individuals. J Physiol, 2003, 548 (Pt 3), 971–981.

21. Aartolahti, E.; Lönnroos, E.; Hartikainen, S.; Häkkinen, A. Long-Term Strength and Balance Training in Prevention of Decline in Muscle Strength and Mobility in Older Adults. Aging Clin Exp Res, 2020, 32 (1), 59–66.

22. Kimura, K.; Obuchi, S.; Arai, T.; Nagasawa, H.; Shiba, Y.; Watanabe, S.; Kojima, M. The Influence of Short-Term Strength Training on Health-Related Quality of Life and Executive Cognitive Function. J Physiol Anthropol, 2010, 29 (3), 95–101.

23. Cannataro, R.; Cione, E.; Bonilla, D. A.; Cerullo, G.; Angelini, F.; D’Antona, G. Strength Training in Elderly: An Useful Tool against Sarcopenia. Front. Sports Act. Living, 2022, 4.

Your cart is empty
Free shipping on orders over $99
Free Shipping
Free T-Shirt
T-Shirt - Logo A
T-Shirt - Logo A
You may also like:
Sleep: Outwork's natural sleep aid supplement from the front
Shaker Bottle
Shaker Bottle
gummy bear burst recovery Supplement