Neuromuscular and balance responses to flywheel inertial versus weight training in older persons.

Onambélé GL, Maganaris CN, Mian OS, Tam E, Rejc E, McEwan IM, Narici MV

The purpose of this study was to investigate if resistance training improved not only strength but also postural balance in elderly people. Age-matched older individuals (69.9+/-1.3 years) were randomly assigned to flywheel or weight-lifting groups, training the knee extensors thrice weekly for 12 weeks. The hypotheses were that owing to a larger eccentric loading of the knee extensors, flywheel training would result in (a) greater gains in quadriceps strength; (b) greater improvements in balance performance compared with weight-lifting training. Isokinetic dynamometry, B-mode ultrasonography, electromyography, percutaneous muscle stimulation and magnetic resonance imaging were employed to acquire the parameters of interest.

Quadriceps flywheel loading not only produces a greater increase in power than weight training but its physiological benefits also transfer/overspill to the plantarflexor muscle-tendon unit resulting in a significantly improved balance.

Journal of Biomechanics, 2008, 41(15), 3133-8

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