Age and Gender Responses to Strength Training

By Ty Sevin, Sep 01, 2021

< Back to Benefits of Strength Training on Strength and Power Gains in Older Adults

F.M. Ivey, B.L. Tracy, D. Barlow, J.L. Lemmer, D.E. Hurlbut, G.F. Martel, E.J. Metter, J.L. Fozard, J.L. Fleg, & B.F. Hurley, FACSM. Univ. of Maryland & NIA, GRC, College Park & Baltimore, MD (Sponsor, B.F. Hurley, FACSM).


To determine age and gender responses to strength training, the researchers studied the effects of a 9 week, unilateral (one leg) knee extensor program on the trained quadriceps muscle group in 44 subjects. Each subject trained with one leg while the other leg was left untrained to act as a reference measure. 22 subjects were identified as young (20-30 years) and 22 were older (65-75 years). There were an equal number of men & women in each group. Muscular strength, thigh fat free mass, and total volume of the quadriceps muscle group were measured by 1 repetition maximum, DEXA, & MRI in the trained and untrained legs of the 44 subjects. Four sets of heavy strength training was performed 3 times per week on a Keiser K-300 leg extension machine.


The strength training program increased 1 repetition maximum strength, thigh fat free mass, and quadriceps muscle volume in all age and gender groups. There was a greater increase in thigh fat free mass and muscle volume in the young men compared to the young women. The older men only showed a greater increase in thigh fat free mass when compared to the older women. There were no significant differences in the increases of either thigh fat free mass or muscle volume between the older and younger groups.


In contrast to previous reports, these results show that the increased muscle size in response to strength training is greater in men than in women regardless of age. It also suggests that increased muscle size in response to strength training is not significantly different in a younger verses an older group.

Keiser Equipment Used

Leg extension machine

Published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1995, Copyright American College of Sports Medicine.

About the author

Ty Sevin

Director of Human Performance, Education and Research

Articles by Ty Sevin >

With over 25 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and Olympic levels, Ty Sevin is one of the most influential track and field coaches in the country. Ty has worked for the United States Olympic Committee, serving as the Director of the Track and Field Residency Program at the USOC Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. He has also served as an assistant coach for Team USA on three separate occasions, for both the men’s and women’s teams. Ty himself was a four-time U.S. Olympics Trials qualifier in javelin. Ty most recently spent four years as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Texas at Austin for both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. Prior to that, he led the men’s and women’s track and cross-country teams at the University of New Orleans and McNeese State.

Currently, Ty applies his vast industry experience to the role of Director of Human Performance, Research and Education for Keiser Corporation, where he consults with college and professional sports teams regarding the utilization of Keiser strength equipment. He is also responsible for creating educational curriculum relating to human performance and overseeing Keiser research projects