Age and Gender Responses to Strength Training and Detraining

By Ty Sevin, Sep 01, 2021

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

Jeff T. Lemmer, Diane E. Hurlbut, Greg F. Martel, Brian L. Tracy, Fred M. Ivey, E. Jeffrey Metter, James L. Fozard, Jerome L. Fleg and Ben F. Hurley


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of age and gender on the strength response to 9 weeks of strength training and 31 weeks of detraining. Eighteen young (20-30yr) and 23 older (65-75yr) men and women trained one leg (dominant) while the other was left untrained as a reference. Muscle strength was measured by 1 repetition maximum and isokenetic peak torque in the trained and untrained leg. Five sets of unilateral knee extensions of the dominant leg were performed three times a week for 9 weeks on a Keiser k-300 leg extension machine.


In all age and gender groups 1 repetition maximum strength significantly increased with 9 weeks of training and significantly decreased after 31 weeks of detraining. No significant differences in strength gains or losses between men and women or either age group were observed. All subject groups maintained 1 RM strength at 12 weeks of detraining, however significant losses occurred (6+ 2% and 13+2%) in the young and older groups during weeks 12 -31. Young subjects demonstrated a significantly greater increase in 1 RM strength (34+3%) than older subjects (28+3%) and experienced significantly smaller losses in 1 RM, (8+2% and 14+2%) respectively after 31 weeks of detraining.


The results of this study show that age affects the changes in 1 repetition maximum strength during both strength training and detraining, whereas gender does not. However, older individuals responded well to strength training and were able to maintain muscular strength as well as the young individuals for at least 12 weeks after training had ceased. This study reinforces earlier studies showing that strength training effectively improves strength for both young and older individuals.

Keiser Equipment Used

Leg extension machine.

Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Jan: 1505-1512, 2000.

Link to Original Research

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