Hubble, K., Garver, K., Delaney, D., Ward, T., Gray, M., & Powers, M. (2012). Strength and power as predictors of functional fitness for senior adults. Presentation 3096 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study determined if strength and power are predictors of functional fitness for senior adults and if so, which is the better predictor? Senior adults over the age of 75 years (N = 46) completed the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), hand-grip (HG) assessment, the Senior Fitness Test (SFT), chair-stand power test, and one-repetition maximum (1RM) testing. SPPB, HG, and SFT were used as functional measures. The SPPB is a survey functional assessment evaluating balance, gait, and chair stands. Hand-grip was measured with a hand-grip dynamometer. The maximum of each hand was averaged as the measurement. The SFT includes chair stands (CS), arm curl (AC), 8-foot Up-and-Go (UpGo), sit-and-reach (SR), back scratch (BS), and 6-minute walk (WALK). The chair-stand power test was used to determine average power and involved 10 explosive chair-stand trials. Lastly, six 1RM tests were combined to quantify total strength.

Strength and power were indicated as significant predictors collectively for SPPB, CS, AC, UpGo, and HG. When comparing power and strength, power emerged as the only significant individual predictor for SPPB, CS, AC, and UpGo. Conversely, total strength was indicated as the significant predictor for HG. Neither strength nor average power was indicated as a significant predictor for WALK, BS, and SR.

Implication. Average power rather than strength may be a better predictor for the functional fitness of older adults.

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