Effect of eccentric flywheel training on musculoskeletal characteristics and physical function in older adults

  • Matthew Roberts

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    Falls among older adults represent a major public health problem, often leading to progressive functional decline, the start of dependency and the development of comorbidities. However, falls are not random events and are often preventable by targeting intrinsic risk factors such as reduced muscle size and strength contributing to poor postural control. Traditional resistance training has been shown to provide benefits to older adults for mobility and strength, improving quality of life. However, evidence suggests performing exercises in an upright position provides a greater stimulus, such as eccentric resistance exercise. Therefore, the aim of the study was to determine the effects of flywheel training on muscle thickness/quality, physical functioning, postural stability and fear of falling among older people. Twenty-one physically activity participants (10 females and 11 males, age 62.52 years ± 6.72, 75.4 ± 12.9kg, 170.6 ± 9.4m) were split into groups, intervention (n = 13) and control (n = 8) with both groups completing muscle thickness and quality (ultrasonography), posturography, timed-up-and-go (TUG), sit to stand (30 secs STS and 5 x STS), strength dynamometer and fear of falling (FOF), six weeks apart from pretesting. The intervention group completed 6 weeks of eccentric flywheel training (ECC), performing between four sets of eight to twelve throughout the intervention, on squats and plantarflexion movements. Following ECC intervention, results showed no significant group × time interactions were found for muscle thickness (all P > 0.05), muscle quality (all P > 0.05), posturography (all P > 0.05), TUG (all P > 0.05), 30 secs STS (all P > 0.05), 5 x STS (all P > 0.05), strength (all P > 0.05) and FOF (all P > 0.05). However, we observed a large magnitude reduction in the 30-s STS (d = 1.07) and moderate reduction in TUG (d = 0.77) and 5 x STS (d = 0.61) with a moderate magnitude of change from pre to post intervention left vastus lateralis (d = 0.70) and for left gastrocnemius medial (d = 0.47). From the first to final training sessions, squat average power (54%), concentric (115%) and eccentric peak power (115%) improved throughout the six weeks. Furthermore, plantarflexion average power (28%), concentric (62%) and eccentric peak power (59%) improved throughout the six weeks. The results highlight that eccentric flywheel training may have the potential to elicit beneficial effects on physical function outcomes in older adults. A greater understanding of the effects of eccentric flywheel training of a greater dose on these outcomes would further contribute to the evidence-based practice in older people.
    Date of AwardAug 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorMike Price (Supervisor) & Mathew Hill (Supervisor)

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