The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of functional progressive resistance exercise (PRE) training on walking ability in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Fifty-one ambulant children with spastic CP (mean age 10 years 5 months, 29 boys) were randomized to an intervention (n=26) or control group (n=25, receiving usual care). The intervention consisted of 12 weeks functional PRE circuit training, for 3 times a week. Main outcome measures were walking ability and participation. Secondary outcomes were muscle strength and anaerobic muscle power. Possible adverse outcomes were spasticity and passive range of motion (ROM). Muscle strength increased significantly in the training group compared to the control group, but walking ability, participation and anaerobic muscle power did not change. Spasticity and ROM remained unchanged, except for a significant decrease in rectus femoris length in the intervention group. It is concluded that twelve weeks of functional PRE-training does not improve walking ability, despite improved muscle strength.
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