Effects of Strength Training And Detraining On Muscle Quality: Age And Gender Comparisons

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, J.T. Lemmer, M. Ness Aiver, E.J. Metter, J.L. Fozard and B.F. Hurley


This study compares the influence of age and gender on muscle quality in response to strength training and detraining. Eleven young men (20-30 yrs), 9 young women (20-30yrs), 11 older men (65-75 yrs) and 11 older women (65-75 yrs) completed a 9 week unilateral strength training program followed by a 31 week detraining program. Muscle strength and quality were measured via 1 repetition maximum and MRI in the trained and untrained legs of the 42 subjects.


The strength training program resulted in an increase in muscle strength and quality in all of the groups. It should be noted that the young women responded to strength training with a larger gain in muscle quality than the other three groups. After the 31 week detraining program all of the groups with the exception of the older women remained above their baseline measurements for strength and muscle quality. Aging does not appear to significantly impact training induced changes in muscle quality.


The results of this study demonstrate that non muscle mass adaptations to strength training account for a significant portion of the strength gains regardless of age or gender. In addition, these adaptations are retained for 31 weeks after discontinuing strength training, and are instrumental in preserving strength despite declining muscle mass during the same time frame. The authors suggest that some type of neuromuscular adaptation that enhances contractile properties may partially explain the increases in muscle quality with strength training. Finally, it is clear that prolonged interruptions in strength training exercise does not result in complete loss of muscle quality gains.

Keiser Equipment Used

Leg extension machine.

Published in Journal of Gerontology; Vol 55 A, No.3, B152-B157, 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