Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Kinesiology and Sport Sciences (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Joseph F. Signorile

Second Committee Member

Kevin A. Jacobs

Third Committee Member

Moataz M. Eltoukhy

Fourth Committee Member

Cengiz Zopluoglu


Progressive resistance training (RT) is one of the most effective interventions for reducing age-related deficits in muscle mass and functional capacity. Researchers agree on the need for older adults' RT to progress at an appropriate speed, however, no consensus currently exists as to the best way to achieve this. PURPOSE To compare three common (and one novel-but-promising) progression models under an intent-to treat approach to determine if an optimal progression method exists for use in RT for older adults. METHODS: 82 healthy community-dwelling older adults (71.8 + 6.2 y) performed 11 weeks of structured RT (2.5 days/week) including a common two-week familiarization period designed to introduce the subjects to the exercise machines and allow for collection of baseline measures. Treatment groups were identical except for the method used to determine increases in training loads. RESULTS: Multiple analyses of covariance indicated no significant between-group differences on any strength (chest press 1RM; leg press 1RM) or functional performance outcome (usual walking speed, maximum walking speed, 8 foot timed up-and-go, gallon jug transfer test, 30 second sit-to-stand). The rating of perceived exertion (RPE) group found the exercise to be significantly more tolerable and enjoyable than subjects in the repetitions in reserve (RiR), repetition maximum (RM), and percentage of one repetition max (%1RM) group. CONCLUSION: Given no significant differences were identified between the RM, RPE, %1RM, or RiR methods with respect to strength gain or functional performance, the RPE method appears to be the optimal RT progression method for use with an older population because it is likely to be perceived as the most tolerable and enjoyable, which are two important factors determining older adults' continued participation in RT.


Intent-to-Treat; Older Adults; Repetitions in Reserve