Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Robert L. Lamb


A paucity of research exists in the strength training and aging literature. Hettinger (1958) reported that strength declined with age and that older persons gained less with strength training than younger persons. This study altered Hettinger's design by using a different muscle and a different strengthening routine. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of isometric strength training of the non-dominant left abductor digiti minimi muscles of young subjects and old subjects. The ten young female subjects, mean age 22.6 years, were all nursing students. The ten older female subjects, mean age 69.2 years, did not constitute a similar homogeneous group; although they all lived in the metropolitan area of Richmond, Virginia. All subjects were volunteers. Training consisted of each subject performing twenty maximal isometric contractions of the left abductor digiti minimi three times weekly for six weeks. A pretest and six weekly measurements of strength were made on a strain gauge. The results of this study are not in agreement with Hettinger's findings. Significant strength increases were found for the pretest-post-test measurements within each group at the same P < .0001 level. However, when the young and older groups were compared on the initial strength measurements, no statistically significant differences were found. Therefore the null hypotheses were accepted.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission