PURPOSE: Handgrip strength is considered as important indicator for general fitness in older adults. However, it does not notably reflect adaptations from whole-body training but may reflect adaptions of multicomponent exercise training. These approaches seem to be more functional and related to relevant daily tasks. Effects of multicomponent agility training on handgrip strength are analysed.
METHODS: Healthy older adults (N = 79, 69.3 ± 4.4 years, 64% female) were randomly assigned to an intervention (IG) or control group (CG). IG took part in a twice weekly 60 min multicomponent agility training for 12 months. Adherence rate of the participants was 75 ± 10 %.
RESULTS: Neither maximum handgrip strength (Fmax) differed between groups (IG: 318 ± 97 N, CG: 302 ± 92 N) nor did it change after the intervention (IG: 315 ± 90 N, CG: 301 ± 97 N). Mixed ANOVA for Fmax (F(1,49) = 0.018, p = 0.893) revealed no significant group × time interaction with an effect size of [Formula: see text]. Similar results were observed for rate of force development (RFD) (F(1,49) = 0.038, p = 0.847) with an effect size [Formula: see text] . RFD did not differ between groups in pre (IG: 876 ± 585 N/s, CG: 712 ± 303 N/s) and post (IG: 890 ± 424 N/s, CG: 702 ± 368 N/s) measurements. Correlation for ACE and Fmax (r(64) = - 0.367, p = 0.005) and for RFD (r(64) = - 0.487, p < 0.001) was found to be negative.
CONCLUSION: A 1-year multicomponent agility training does not affect handgrip strength in healthy older adults. However, handgrip strength (Fmax and RFD) is associated with agility, thus both handgrip strength indicators and agility might serve as local and functional vitality surrogates.