Safety and possible effects of low-intensity resistance training associated with partial blood flow restriction in polymyositis and dermatomyositis

Arthritis Res Ther. 2014 Oct 25;16(5):473. doi: 10.1186/s13075-014-0473-5.


Introduction: Our aim was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a low-intensity resistance training program combined with partial blow flow restriction (BFR training) in a cohort of patients with polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM).

Methods: In total, 13 patients with PM and DM completed a 12-week twice a week low-intensity (that is, 30% one-repetition-maximum (1RM)) resistance exercise training program combined with partial blood flow restriction (BFR). Assessments of muscle strength, physical function, quadriceps cross sectional (CSA) area, health-related quality of life, and clinical and laboratory parameters were assessed at baseline and after the intervention.

Results: The BFR training program was effective in increasing the maximal dynamic strength in both the leg-press (19.6%, P <0.001) and knee-extension exercises (25.2% P <0.001), as well as in the timed-stands (15.1%, P <0.001) and timed-up-and-go test (-4.5%, P =0.002). Quadriceps CSA was also significantly increased after the intervention (4.57%, P =0.01). Similarly, all of the components of the Short Form-36 Health Survey, the Health Assessment Questionnaire scores, and the patient- and physician reported Visual Analogue Scale were significantly improved after training (P <0.05). Importantly, no clinical evidence or any other self-reported adverse event were found. Laboratory parameters (creatine kinase and aldolase) were also unchanged (P >0.05) after the intervention.

Conclusions: We demonstrated that a 12-week supervised low-intensity resistance training program associated with partial blood flow restriction may be safe and effective in improving muscle strength and function as well as muscle mass and health-related quality of life in patients with PM and DM.

Trial registration: NCT01501019. Registered November 29, 2011.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Dermatomyositis / physiopathology
  • Dermatomyositis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Polymyositis / physiopathology
  • Polymyositis / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quadriceps Muscle / blood supply
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiopathology
  • Quality of Life
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Analog Scale

Associated data