Muscle strengthening and physical conditioning to reduce impairment and disability in chronic stroke survivors

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Oct;80(10):1211-8. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(99)90018-7.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of a program of muscle strengthening and physical conditioning on impairment and disability in chronic stroke subjects.

Design: A randomized pretest and posttest control group, followed by a single-group pretest and posttest design.

Subjects: Thirteen community-dwelling stroke survivors of at least 9 months.

Intervention: A 10-week (3 days/week) program consisting of a warm-up, aerobic exercises, lower extremity muscle strengthening, and a cool-down.

Main outcome measures: Peak isokinetic torque of the major muscle groups of the affected lower limb, quadriceps and ankle plantarflexor spasticity, gait speed, rate of stair climbing, the Human Activity Profile (HAP), and the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) were recorded twice for the treatment group and three times for the control group.

Results: Significant improvements were found for all the selected outcome measures (HAP, NHP, and gait speed) for the treatment group (p < .001). In terms of overall training effects, the 13 subjects demonstrated increases in strength of the affected major muscle groups, in HAP and NHP profiles, and in gait speed and rate of stair climbing without concomitant increases in either quadriceps or ankle plantarflexor spasticity.

Conclusions: The 10-week combined program of muscle strengthening and physical conditioning resulted in gains in all measures of impairment and disability. These gains were not associated with measurable changes of spasticity in either quadriceps or ankle plantarflexors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Weakness / etiology
  • Muscle Weakness / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Survivors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Lifting