One thing we are noticing at SBN is an increase in the interest from health and fitness professionals to assess individuals not only for injury prevention and rehabilitation purposes but also for longevity and health optimization.
A recent study by Lichtenstein et al explored the trajectories of strength parameters across different ages in a healthy population ranging from 20 to 91 years old. The researchers compared new strength tests such as CMJ and IMTP with widely studied ones such as Grip Strength to determine their suitability for health surveillance purposes. The findings revealed that while most strength parameters followed similar downward trajectories after the age of 40, lower body explosive power exhibited a consistent linear decline throughout the observed age range. On the other hand, all other parameters demonstrated an accelerated decline with increasing age. These results provide valuable insights for assessing muscular fitness levels and comparing individuals with their healthy peers that could be used for health optimization and keeping clients "on track" with their health.
Contrary to other research, the assessment of handgrip-derived explosive power or maximum grip strength did not prove to be a better predictor for leg power compared to IMTP or CMJ. While handgrip maximum strength remains a cost-effective, reliable, and valid tool for health surveillance, the data collected also indicated the importance of considering lower body power tests when evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and performing a complete physical assessment.
Compared to previous studies that reported higher rates of decline in certain muscle groups due to factors such as lack of use in daily activities or inclusion of participants with comorbidities, this study focused on healthy individuals. Therefore the information provided can be utilized to determine the neuromuscular age of a patient and compare it to healthy peers. This analysis could provide valuable knowledge about the preclinical stages of transitioning from a healthy to an unhealthy state. Based on the data presented, it appears that maintaining a performance level of approximately 60% of a young adult's capability is adequate for maintaining independence in old age. Deviations from this level may indicate a decline in health.