High-Speed Resistance Training May Not Be Effective for Frail NH Residents

January 25, 2022

January 25, 2022

Contact: Ellen Mullally

While some experts recommend high-speed resistance training (HSRT) as a possible strategy to manage frailty in older adults, research to support this is lacking. According to a study in the January issue of JAMDA, common issues such as reduced joint flexibility and cognitive decline might reduce the efficiency and feasibility of HSRT in frail nursing home (NH) residents.

In Is High-Speed Resistance Training an Efficient and Feasible Exercise Strategy for Frail Nursing Home Residents, the authors observed that no reported clinical trials have investigated the effects of HSRT on frailty status in frail older adults. At the same time, they cited a study showing that traditional resistance training (TRT) was more effective than HSRT to reverse frailty status and improve neuromuscular parameters in frail older adults living in long-term care settings such as NHs. The results of this study suggested that more residents who received TRT (12.5%) returned to robust condition than those who underwent HSRT (9.0%).

As a consequence of sedentary behavior patterns, the authors suggested, frail institutionalized older adults “might experience smaller gains in physical function in response to HSRT because reduced range of motion limits the duration of velocity development across muscle contractions, likely generating less power and recruitment of type II muscle fibers.”

Some researchers have argued that exercise training might stimulate cognitive function. However, the authors suggested that there isn’t evidence of this in frail NH residents, particularly due to the high prevalence of cognitive deficits, higher risk of dementia, and poor mental health commonly seen in this patient population. They also cited a recent pilot study reporting that “frail institutionalized older adults showed reduced episodic memory after a unique session of HSRT.” In fact, the authors of the JAMDA article said data suggests that “HSRT might be a cognitively demanding task to frail nursing home residents.”

The authors concluded that evidence of HSRT’s effectiveness on frailty status in older adults has only been documented in studies involving community-dwelling individuals. “Reduced joint mobility and diminished resiliency to cognitively demanding task are common features in frail institutionalized older adults and two major obstacles that likely reduce the efficiency and feasibility of HSRT in this population,” they said, emphasizing the urgent need to study this topic further.

This study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Gerontology, Catholic University of Brasilia Taguatinga, Brazil.

Get more information on the findings above and more details about the study. To contact the researchers or JAMDA editor for an interview, please email emullally@paltc.org.



JAMDA is the official journal of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. JAMDA publishes peer-reviewed articles including original studies, reviews, clinical experience articles, case reports, and more, on all topics more important to post-acute and long-term care medicine. Visit www.jamda.com for more information.

About AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings. Dedicated to defining and improving quality, we advance our mission through timely professional development, evidence-based clinical guidance, and tireless advocacy on behalf of members, patients, families, and staff. Visit www.paltc.org for more information.