Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rimmer, James H.

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Exercise for the aged; Leg; Physical fitness for the aged


The purpose of this study was to determine if a 12-week stair climbing program would increase leg strength, functional mobility, and hamstring flexibility in men and women aged 76 to 86 yrs. A total of 11 sedentary men and women participated in this study. The training group consisted of one male and five females (M age 81.0 ?3.46 yrs) and the control group consisted of one male and four females (M age 82.8 ?2.95 yrs). The MERAC Isokinetic dynamometer was used to measure peak torque at 60, 180, and 300 deg/sec at the hip, knee and ankle. Functional mobility tests included timed trials of stair climbing (eight steps) and walking 9.1 m. Flexibility was assessed using a modified Sit and Reach test. Subjects in the training group exercised for up to 20 min, three times per wk, for a total of 12 wk on the StairMaster 4000CT. Exercise intensity was monitored by heart rate, self rating of intensity, blood pressure and the climbing ability of each subject. Nineteen of the 21 test-retest reliability measures were rated moderately high to very high (from 0.74 on knee flexion at 300 deg/sec to 0.99 on stair climbing). The two remaining measures, hip extension at 180 deg/sec and hip extension at 300 deg/sec were calculated at R=0.57 and R=0.35, respectively. The only measurements found to be statistically significant between the training and control groups were knee extension at 60 deg/sec and the stair climb and walking speed. A wide variability in strength scores was seen in the training group as well as in the control group. The subjects in the training group improved on 12 of the 18 strength tests and all three functional tests, while subjects in the control group improved on 10 of the 18 strength tests and one functional test. This wide variability in strength and functional scores may related to the heterogeneity of the sample, learning effect in the control group, and small sample size. More research is needed to determine if a stair climbing program will increase muscular strength, functional mobility, and hamstring flexibility in older frail adults with limited mobility.


Includes bibliographical references.


78 pages




Northern Illinois University

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