The effects of resistance training on functional outcomes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004 Apr;91(4):443-9. doi: 10.1007/s00421-003-1008-y. Epub 2003 Nov 25.


Aerobic exercise training is used for rehabilitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), although it has little effect on muscle weakness and atrophy. Resistance training may be a useful addition to aerobic programs for these patients. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of resistance training in addition to aerobic training on functional outcomes in patients with COPD. Seventeen COPD patients enrolled in an aerobic-based program that met twice a week were assigned to a 12-week control/aerobic [CON: n=8; 63 (8) years; mean (SD)] or a resistance/aerobic group [RES: n=9; 61 (7) years]. RES trained an additional twice a week on 12 resistance machines, performing three sets of 8-12 repetitions at 32-64% of their one-repetition maximum (1-RM) lifts. RES (P<0.05) increased upper (36%) and lower (36%) body strength, as well as lean body mass (5%), while CON showed little to no change. The 12-min walk distance increased (P<0.05) in only the RES [676 (219) to 875 (172) m]. Measurements of three of the eight tasks of activities of daily living improved in RES (P<0.05) compared to CON. This study demonstrated that progressive resistance training was well tolerated and improved functional outcomes in COPD patients that were currently involved in an aerobic training program.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Constitution
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / blood
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholesterol