The Strength and Conditioning Professional’s Role in Preventing Falls of Older Adults

by Jeffrey A. Alexander
Other June 2017
Vol 2, Issue 4


This article reviews common risk factors for falls, discusses practical means to assess risks, and proposes training strategies and other avenues aimed at reducing the risk of falling in older adults.

Paywall block issue

This article is not configured properly for members or paid content.
isMemberOnly: {{isMemberOnly}} | isPaidContent: {{isPaidContent}}
spc: One or more parts of the product SPC is missing.

Read the full article

View the video

Login to view more

{{discountDesc}} Valid thru {{discountEnds}}

This {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}} is available with a NSCA membership

This {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}} can be purchased for {{prices}}
Price includes membership pricing and promotions

Purchase this {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}}. Price range: {{prices}}
Price range includes membership pricing and promotions

Become a Member Add to Cart Login

This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »



1. Ambrose, AF, Paul, G, and Hausdorff, JM. Risk factors for falls among older adults: A review of the literature. Maturitas 75(1): 51-61, 2013.
2. Benton, MJ, and Alexander, JL. Validation of functional fitness tests as surrogates for strength measurement in frail, older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 88(7): 579-583, 2009.
3. Brzycki, M. Strength testing – predicting a one-rep max from reps to fatigue. JOPERD 68: 88-90, 1993.
4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Important facts about falls. Home and Recreational Safety. September 2015. Retrieved 2015 from
5. Deandrea, S, Lucenteforte, E, Bravi, F, Foschi, R, La Vecchia, C, and Negri, E. Risk factors for falls in community-dwelling older people: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Epidemiology 21(5): 658-668, 2010.
6. Emilio, EJML, Hita-Contreras, F, Jiménez-Lara, PM, Latorre-Román, P, and Martínez-Amat, A. The association of flexibility, balance, and lumbar strength with balance ability: Risk of falls in older adults. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 13(2): 349–357, 2014. 
7. Franco, MR, Pereira, LS, and Ferreira, PH. Exercise interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community. British Journal of Sports Medicine 48: 867-868, 2014.
8. Grundstrom, AC, Guse, CE, and Layde, PM. Risk factors for falls and fall-related injuries in adults 85 years of age and older. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 54(3): 421-428, 2012.
9. Han, L, and Yang, F. Strength or power, which is more important to prevent slip-related falls? Human Movement Science 44: 192-200, 2015.
10. Jones, CJ, Rikli, RE, Max, J, and Noffal, G. The reliability and validity of a chair sit-and-reach test as a measure of hamstring flexibility in older adults. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 69(4): 338-343, 2013.
11. LaRoche, DP, Cremin, KA, Greenleaf, B, and Croce, RV. Rapid torque development in older female fallers and non-fallers: A comparison across lower-extremity muscles. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 20(3): 482-488, 2010.
12. Menz, HB, Morris, ME, and Lord, SR. Foot and ankle characteristics associated with impaired balance and functional ability in older people. The Journals of Gerontology Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 60(12): 1546-1552, 2005.
13. Morcelli, MH, Crozara, LF, Rossi, DM, LaRoche, DP, Ribeiro Marques, N, Hallal, CZ, et al. Hip muscles strength and activation in older fallers and non-fallers. Isokinetics and Exercise Science 22(3): 191-196, 2014.
14. Moreland, J, Richardson, J, Goldsmith, C, and Clase, C. Muscle weakness and falls in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 52(7): 1121-1129, 2004.
15. National Council on Aging. Retrieved November 2015 from
16. Panel on Prevention of Falls in Older Persons, American Geriatrics Society, and British Geriatrics Society. Summary of the Updated American Geriatrics Society/British Geriatrics Society Clinical Practice Guideline for Prevention of Falls in Older Persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 59: 148-157, 2011.
17. Pereira, VV, Maia, RA, and de Azevedo Silva, SMC. The functional assessment Berg Balance Scale is better capable of estimating fall risk in the elderly than the post-urographic Balance Stability System. Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria 71(1): 5-10, 2013.
18. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Medical Social Sciences Informatics. Rehabilitation measures database – Berg balance scale. 2010. Retrieved 2015 from
19. Stevens, JA, Corso, PS, Finkelstein, EA, and Miller, TR. The costs of fatal and non-fatal falls among older adults. Injury Prevention 12(5): 290-295, 2006.
20. Stevens, JA, and Sogolow, ED. Gender differences for nonfatal unintentional fall related injuries among older adults. Injury Prevention 11(2): 115-119, 2005.
21. Studenski, S, Duncan, PW, and Chandler, J. Postural responses and effector factors in persons with unexplained falls: Results and methodologic issues. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 39(3): 229-234, 1991.
22. Whipple, RH, Wolfson, LI, and Amerman, PM. The relationship of knee and ankle weakness to falls in nursing home residents: an isokinetic study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 35(1): 13-20, 1987.

About the author

Jeff A. Alexander

Contact Jeff Alexander

Contact Jeff Alexander

Your first name is required.
Your last name is required.
Your email is required.
Your message is required.
Your reCaptcha is required.

Your email was successfully sent to Jeff Alexander

Jeffrey Alexander is an Associate Professor in the Doctor of Health Sciences Program at A.T. Still University. He completed his Bachelors and Masters ...

View full biography
#NSCAStrong #NSCAStrong

has been added to your shopping cart!

Continue Shopping Checkout Now