Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 407–415 | Cite as

Can mat Pilates intervention increase lower limb rate of force development in overweight physically active older women?

  • Josefina BertoliEmail author
  • Fernando Diefenthaeler
  • Daniele Detanico
  • Juliano Dal Pupo
  • Marco Aurélio Vaz
  • Cíntia de la Rocha Freitas
Original Article



This study investigated the effect of 12 weeks of mat Pilates intervention (60 min sessions, three times per week) on lower limb rate of force development (RFD) parameters (absolute and relative values and contractile impulse) in physically active and overweight elderly women.


Fourteen elderly women (age 62 ± 3 years) participated in this study. Workouts were performed in three sets; repetitions increased every 4 weeks, and exercise difficulty increased from beginner to intermediate and advanced levels. Knee extensor and hip extensor–flexor RTD parameters were measured at different time intervals (0–30, 0–50, 0–100, 0–150, 0–200, and 0–250 ms) before (weeks − 4 and 0, control period) and after 6 and 12 weeks of mat Pilates intervention.


No statistical difference (p > 0.05) was observed between weeks − 4 and 0 (control period). However, significant increments were observed after week 12 for most time intervals for absolute and relative knee extensor and hip extensor–flexor RFD, as well as for contractile impulse for the same muscle groups.


We conclude that the mat Pilates causes significant increments in knee extensor and hip extensor–flexor RFD and contractile impulse using an incremental structure of training in physically active elderly women.


Aging Physical activity Rapid force Muscle contraction 



The authors wish to thank the study participants, CAPES for the scholarship for JB, and CNPq for the fellowship for FD and MAV.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The local Human Research Ethics Committee approved the study (Protocol No. 44972915.9.0000.0110), procedures were conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and the participants signed an informed consent form.

Supplementary material

11332_2019_533_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.7 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1705 KB)


  1. 1.
    Yu F, Hedström M, Cristea A et al (2007) Effects of ageing and gender on contractile properties in human skeletal muscle and single fibres. Acta Physiol 190:229–241. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mitchell WK, Williams J, Atherton P et al (2012) Sarcopenia, dynapenia, and the impact of advancing age on human skeletal muscle size and strength; a quantitative review. Front Physiol 3:1–18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Narici MV, Maffulli N, Maganaris CN (2008) Ageing of human muscles and tendons. Disabil Rehabil 30:1548–1554. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Narici MV, Maganaris CN, Reeves ND, Capodaglio P (2003) Effect of aging on human muscle architecture. J Appl Physiol 95:2229–2234. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Newman AB, Lee JS, Visser M et al (2005) Weight change and the conservation of lean mass in old age: the health, aging and body composition study. Am J Clin Nutr 82:872–878. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kuk JL, Saunders TJ, Davidson LE, Ross R (2009) Age-related changes in total and regional fat distribution. Ageing Res Rev 8:339–348. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Santanasto AJ, Glynn NW, Newman MA et al (2011) Impact of weight loss on physical function with changes in strength, muscle mass, and muscle fat infiltration in overweight to moderately obese older adults: a randomized clinical trial. J Obes. Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    LaRoche DP, Cremin KA, Greenleaf B, Croce RV (2010) Rapid torque development in older female fallers and nonfallers: a comparison across lower-extremity muscles. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 20:482–488. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Doherty TJ (2003) Invited review: aging and sarcopenia. J Appl Physiol 95:1717–1727. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Thompson BJ, Ryan ED, Herda TJ et al (2014) Age-related changes in the rate of muscle activation and rapid force characteristics. Age (Dordr) 36:839–849. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aagaard P, Simonsen EB, Andersen JL et al (2002) Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training. J Appl Physiol 93:1318–1326. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Caserotti P, Aagaard P, Larsen JB, Puggaard L (2008) Explosive heavy-resistance training in old and very old adults: changes in rapid muscle force, strength and power. Scand J Med Sci Sports 18:773–782. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Barboza BHV, Gurjão ALD, Jambassi Filho JC et al (2008) Age-related decline on rate of force development and the effect of resistance training in older women. Acta Fisiátrica 16:4–9Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Moura BM de, Sakugawa RL, Orssatto LBR da et al (2017) Functional capacity improves in-line with neuromuscular performance after 12 weeks of non-linear periodization strength training in the elderly. Aging Clin Exp Res 1–10.
  15. 15.
    Tiggemann CL, Dias CP, Radaelli R et al (2016) Effect of traditional resistance and power training using rated perceived exertion for enhancement of muscle strength, power, and functional performance. Age (Dordr) 38:42. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Blazevich AJ, Horne S, Cannavan D et al (2008) Effect of contraction mode of slow-speed resistance training on the maximum rate of force development in the human quadriceps. Muscle Nerv 38:1133–1146. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Souza MS, Vieira BC, C (2006) Who are the people looking for the Pilates method? J Bodyw Mov Ther 10:328–334. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wells C, Kolt GS, Bialocerkowski A (2012) Defining Pilates exercise: a systematic review. Complement Ther Med 20:253–262. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Oliveira LC, Oliveira RG, Pires-Oliveira DAA (2016) Comparison between static stretching and the Pilates method on the flexibility of older women. J Bodyw Mov Ther 1–7.
  20. 20.
    Rogers K, Gibson AL (2009) Eight-week traditional mat Pilates training-program effects on adult fitness characteristics. Res Q Exerc Sport 80:569–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Oliveira LC, Pires-Oliveira DAA, Abucarub AC, Oliveira RG De et al (2017) Pilates increases isokinetic muscular strength of the elbow flexor and extensor muscles of older women: a randomized controlled clinical trial. J Bodyw Mov Ther 21:2–10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bertoli J, Dal Pupo J, Vaz MA et al (2018) Effects of mat Pilates on hip and knee isokinetic torque parameters in elderly women. J Bodyw Mov Ther 22:798–804. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kloubec J (2011) Pilates: how does it work and who needs it? Muscles Ligament Tendons J 1:61–66Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Aagaard P (2003) Training-induced changes in neural function. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 31:61–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Higbie EJ, Cureton KJ, Warren GL, Prior BM (1996) Effects of concentric and eccentric training on muscle strength, cross-sectional area, and neural activation. J Appl Physiol 81:2173–2181. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Avelar BP, Costa JNA de, Safons MP et al (2016) Balance exercises circuit improves muscle strength, balance, and functional performance in older women. Age (Dordr) 38:14. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Dvir Z (2002) Isokinetic of the hip muscles. In: Isokinetics: muscle testing, interpretation, and clinical applications, pp 91–100Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Neumann D (2010) Kinesiology of the hip: a focus on muscular actions. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 40:82–94. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Skelton DA, Greig CA, Davies JM, Young A (1994) Strength, power and related functional ability of healthy people aged 65–89 years. Age Ageing 23:371–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Cohen J (1992) A power primer. Psychol Bull 112:155–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Brucki SMD, Nitrini R, Caramelli P et al (2003) Sugestões para o uso do mini-exame do estado mental no Brasil. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 61:777–781. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Folstein MF, Robins LN, Helzer JE (1983) The mini-mental state examination. Arch Gen Psychiatry 40:812. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yesavage JA, Sheikh JI (1986) 9/ Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) sigeriatric depression recent evidence and development of a shorter version. Clin Gerontol ISSN 5:165–173. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Häkkinen K, Newton RU, Gordon SE et al (1998) Changes in muscle morphology, electromyographic activity, and force production characteristics during progressive strength training in young and older men. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 53:415–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Häkkinen K, Kallinen M, Izquierdo M et al (1998) Changes in agonist-antagonist EMG, muscle CSA, and force during strength training in middle-aged and older people Changes in agonist-antagonist EMG, muscle CSA, and force during strength training in middle-aged and older people. J Appl Physiol 84:1341–1349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Latey P (2002) Updating the principles of the Pilates method—part 2. J Bodyw Mov Ther 6:94–101. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Walker S, Peltonen H, Sautel J et al (2014) Neuromuscular adaptations to constant vs. variable resistance training in older men. Int J Sports Med 35:69–74. Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Maffiuletti NA, Aagaard P, Blazevich AJ et al (2016) Rate of force development: physiological and methodological considerations. Eur J Appl Physiol 116:1091–1116. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Thompson BJ, Ryan ED, Sobolewski EJ et al (2013) Age related differences in maximal and rapid torque characteristics of the leg extensors and flexors in young, middle-aged and old men. Exp Gerontol 48:277–282. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Izquierdo M, Aguado X, Gonzalez R et al (1999) Maximal and explosive force production capacity and balance performance in men of different ages. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 79:260–267. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Bellumori M, Jaric S, Knight CA (2013) Age-related decline in the rate of force development scaling factor. Mot Control 17:370–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Klass M, Baudry S, Duchateau J (2008) Age-related decline in rate of torque development is accompanied by lower maximal motor unit discharge frequency during fast contractions. J Appl Physiol 104:739–746. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Thelen DG, Muriuki M, James J et al (2000) Muscle activities used by young and old adults when stepping to regain balance during a forward fall. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 10:93–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Reinders I, Murphy RA, Koster A et al (2015) Muscle quality and muscle fat infiltration in relation to incident mobility disability and gait speed decline: the age, gene/environment susceptibility-Reykjavik study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 70:1030–1036. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    LaRoche DP, Kralian RJ, Millett ED (2011) Fat mass limits lower-extremity relative strength and maximal walking performance in older women. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 21:754–761. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Folland JP, Buckthorpe MW, Hannah R (2014) Human capacity for explosive force production: neural and contractile determinants. Scand J Med Sci Sports 24:894–906. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Bassey EJ, Fiatarone MA, O’Neill EF et al (1992) Leg extensor power and functional performance in very old men and women. Clin Sci 82:321–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Andersen LL, Aagaard P (2006) Influence of maximal muscle strength and intrinsic muscle contractile properties on contractile rate of force development. Eur J Appl Physiol 96:46–52. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    D’Antona G (2003) The effect of ageing and immobilization on structure and function of human skeletal muscle fibres. J Physiol 552:499–511. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Foldvari M, Clark M, Laviolette LC et al (2000) Association of muscle power with functional status in community-dwelling elderly women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 55:M192–M199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Behm DG, Drinkwater EJ, Willardson JM, Cowley PM (2010) The use of instability to train the core musculature. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 35:91–108. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josefina Bertoli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fernando Diefenthaeler
    • 1
  • Daniele Detanico
    • 1
  • Juliano Dal Pupo
    • 1
  • Marco Aurélio Vaz
    • 2
  • Cíntia de la Rocha Freitas
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Biomecânica, Centro de DesportosUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Pesquisa do ExercícioUniversidade Federal de Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

Personalised recommendations