Different types of upper extremity exercise training in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: effects on functional performance, strength, endurance, and ambulation

Muscle Nerve. 2015 May;51(5):697-705. doi: 10.1002/mus.24451. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


Introduction: We investigated and compared the effects of 2 different types of upper extremity exercise training on upper extremity function, strength, endurance, and ambulation in patients with early-stage Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Methods: The study group (n = 12) exercised with an arm ergometer under the supervision of a physiotherapist, whereas the control group (n = 12) underwent a strengthening range-of-motion (ROM) exercise program under the supervision of their families at home for 8 weeks. Upper extremity functional performance, strength, endurance, and ambulatory status were assessed before and after the training.

Results: Ambulation scores, endurance, and arm functions, as well as proximal muscle strength, were improved after the training in the study group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that upper extremity training with an arm ergometer is more effective in preserving and improving the functional level of early-stage DMD patients compared to ROM exercises alone.

Keywords: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; endurance; exercise; function; upper extremity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / therapy*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Extremity / physiopathology*
  • Walking / physiology*