Aim To determine the effect of two neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) periods on quadriceps strength (QS) and functional performance in nursing home residents. Methods A total of 53 older adults living in a nursing home were randomized into two groups: NMES with a short stimulation period and NMES with a long stimulation period. The quadriceps muscles were bilaterally stimulated three times a week for 6 weeks in both groups. Strength was measured with a digital handheld dynamometer and 30-s chair stand test. Functional performance was evaluated with the Berg balance scale, Timed Up and Go test and 6-min walking test. Results Analysis was carried out on 44 older adults, who completed the study protocol. The isometric QS did not change within groups or between groups. Interestingly, the 30-s chair stand test score increased for both groups, but the improvements were similar among groups. The Berg balance scale score, Timed Up and Go test time and 6-min walking test distance also improved in both groups. However, no difference in any of the functional outcome measures was observed between groups. Conclusions The present findings showed that both NMES protocols might be an alternative to achieve an improvement in functional strength of the lower extremities and functional performance in nursing home residents, whereas neither of the two protocols seems effective for improving isometric QS. Both methods might contribute to maintaining isometric QS during the aging process. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2019; 19: 409-413.