Methods: Sixteen elderly and 20 young male adults participated in our cross-sectional study. The subjects performed a modified Sorensen test (on a 45° Roman chair) to quantify lumbopelvic extensor muscle endurance. Pre and postfatigue back extension maximal voluntary force was assessed according to an isometric lift test in a semicrouched position. Endurance time, perceived exertion (Borg CR10 scale), and postfatigue reduction of lifting force were recorded and compared among groups.
Results: Elderly subjects showed a trend toward decreased endurance time compared to young adults, but the difference was not significant. Similar perceived exertion and diminished maximal force after the fatiguing protocol were observed in both young and elderly subjects. Maximal isometric lift force was significantly associated with endurance time in young but not in elderly subjects.
Conclusions: Lumbopelvic extensor muscle endurance and perceived exertion do not differ between young and healthy elderly individuals. However, back muscle endurance seems to be modulated by different neurophysiologic factors in the elderly. Normative data on young adults should be interpreted with caution in assessing back fitness in elderly subjects.
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