Objective: To determine whether women with fibromyalgia benefit from strength training.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Testing was completed at the university and training was completed at a local community wellness facility.
Participants: Twenty-nine women (age range, 18-54 y) with fibromyalgia participated. Subjects were randomly assigned to a control (n=14; wait-listed for exercise) or strength (n=15) group. After the first 4 weeks, 7 (47%) women dropped from the strength group.
Intervention: Subjects underwent 12 weeks of training on 11 exercises, 2 times a week, performing 1 set of 8 to 12 repetitions at 40% to 60% of their maximal lifts and were progressed to 60% to 80%.
Main outcome measures: Subjects were measured for strength, functionality, tender point sensitivity, and fibromyalgia impact.
Results: The strength group significantly (P< or =.05) improved upper- (strength, 39+/-11 to 42+/-12 kg; control, 38+/-13 to 38+/-12 kg) and lower- (strength, 68+/-28 to 82+/-25 kg; control, 61+/-25 to 61+/-26 kg) body strength. Upper-body functionality measured by the Continuous-Scale Physical Functional Performance test improved significantly (strength, 44+/-11 to 50+/-16U; control, 51+/-11 to 49+/-13U) after training. Tender point sensitivity and fibromyalgia impact did not change.
Conclusions: Strength training improved strength and some functionality in women with fibromyalgia. Interventions with resistance have important implications on independence and quality of life issues for women with fibromyalgia.