Progressive resistance strengthening exercises after stroke: a single-blind randomized controlled trial

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Oct;84(10):1433-40. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(03)00360-5.


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of progressive resistance strengthening exercises to improve gross motor function and walking in patients receiving intensive rehabilitation after stroke.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Five inpatient rehabilitation programs affiliated with teaching hospitals.

Participants: Inclusion criteria included less than 6 months poststroke and recovery of the leg stages 3 to 5 on the Chedoke-McMaster Stroke Assessment (CMSA).

Interventions: Both groups received conventional physical therapy programs. In addition, the experimental group performed 9 lower-extremity progressive resistance exercises 3 times a week for the duration of their stay, whereas the control group did the same exercises and for the same duration but without resistance.

Main outcome measures: The Disability Inventory of the CMSA and the 2-minute walk test (2MWT) at baseline, 4 weeks, discharge, and 6 months after discharge.

Results: Over the length of stay, the rate of change in the Disability Inventory was.27 points per day in the experimental group and.29 points per day in the control group; the between-group difference was -.02 points per day (95% confidence interval [CI], -.10 to.06; P=.62). At discharge, the rate of change in the 2MWT was -.01 m in the experimental group and.15m in the control group; the between-group difference was -.16 m (95% CI, -.37 to.05; P=.14).

Conclusions: Progressive resistance strengthening exercises as applied in our study were not effective when compared with the same exercises given without resistance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome