Relative leg press strength relates to activity energy expenditure in older women: Implications for exercise prescription

Academic Article


  • Limited work has evaluated how leg press strength (LPS), relative to body mass (i.e., rLPS), affects heart rate (HR) responses during activities of daily living. Such information would prove useful by informing a specific level of rLPS needed to promote independent mobility and physical activity. Secondary analyses were performed on baseline measures of 76 untrained older (65 ± 4 y) women. After familiarization, one-repetition maximum leg press was converted to rLPS by dividing the external load lifted (kg) by body mass (BM). Participants were stratified according to percentile of age-group norms of rLPS: ≤50 % (low, ≤0.99 kg/BM, n = 15), 51–89 % (middle, 1.0–1.31 kg/BM, n = 31), and ≥90 % (high, ≥1.32 kg/BM, n = 30). HR was measured at rest and during laboratory-based tasks including fixed-speed (0.89 m·s−1) non-graded treadmill walking, graded (2.5 %) treadmill walking, and stair stepping. Maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) was measured via indirect calorimetry. Doubly labeled water was used to quantify activity energy expenditure (AEE) over a 14-d period. Relative LPS per group were: 0.85 ± 0.12 (low), 1.16 ± 0.09 (middle), and 1.55 ± 0.25 (high) (p < 0.001). Significant between-group differences in HR emerged during both walking tasks and stair stepping – with the high rLPS group having the lowest HR. AEE between-group comparisons did not yield statistical significance (p = 0.084), however, rLPS correlated with AEE (r = 0.234, p = 0.042) and V̇O2max (r = 0.430, p < 0.001). Such findings suggest a higher rLPS attenuates HR for weight-bearing activities while also demonstrating a significant, albeit modest, positive link to AEE among older women. This information may be especially relevant for informing thresholds of rLPS linked to mobility and functional independence in older women.
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    Author List

  • Carter SJ; Singh H; Nabhan DC; Long EB; Hunter GR
  • Volume

  • 169