The impact of high-speed versus low-speed isokinetic training on functional performance measures in elderly women ages 61--75

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Sara J. Czaja - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Joseph F. Signorile - Committee Member


The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of high-speed (HS) versus low-speed (LS) isokinetic training on functional performance measures in women ages 61--75. Twenty-four healthy, free living, women were randomly assigned to a HS (n = 9), LS (n = 8) or control (C; n = 7) group. The subjects performed isokinetic knee extension and flexion, and ankle dorsiflexion and plantar flexion exercises bilaterally on a Biodex dynamometer. The HS group exercised the knee at 270°/s and the ankle at 180 °/s the LS group exercised the knee and ankle at 60°/s; the C group was given an active-assisted stretching program. The subjects trained three times a week for 12 weeks. Isokinetic testing for peak torque (PT) and average power (AP) was performed at 60°/s, 180°/s and 300°/s on a Biodex dynamometer. The functional measures included agility, anaerobic power, functional reach, gait speed, small object lifting, and a 5-repetition stand-up test. All measures were taken pre and post-training.Results indicated a significant time x condition x test speed interaction for knee extension PT (p < .01). Contrasts set up a priori indicated no significant differences among conditions at 60°/s, a superior improvement in PT for the HS versus LS and C at 180°/s and greater improvements in the HS versus the C condition at 300°/s. Although not significant, the trend for AP was similar to that of PT.Significant treatment x time interactions were detected for functional reach (p < .005), gait speed (p < .04), and small object lift (p < .05). Contrasts set up a priori indicated that HS made superior improvements in functional reach compared to LS and C. LS showed superior gains compared to HS and C in small object lift, and C made superior gains over the LS, but not HS, in gait speed.These results indicate the need to apply specific training stimuli to address the multi-dimensional functional needs of this population. Therefore, designing a training program that addresses each functional need may provide the optimal method for addressing the functional needs of an older population to improve performance of activities of daily living and increase independence.


Gerontology; Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy; Women's Studies; Health Sciences, Recreation

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