Resistance strength training exercise in children with spinal muscular atrophy

Muscle Nerve. 2015 Oct;52(4):559-67. doi: 10.1002/mus.24568.


Introduction: Preliminary evidence in adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and in SMA animal models suggests exercise has potential benefits in improving or stabilizing muscle strength and motor function.

Methods: We evaluated feasibility, safety, and effects on strength and motor function of a home-based, supervised progressive resistance strength training exercise program in children with SMA types II and III. Up to 14 bilateral proximal muscles were exercised 3 times weekly for 12 weeks.

Results: Nine children with SMA, aged 10.4 ± 3.8 years, completed the resistance training exercise program. Ninety percent of visits occurred per protocol. Training sessions were pain-free (99.8%), and no study-related adverse events occurred. Trends in improved strength and motor function were observed.

Conclusions: A 12-week supervised, home-based, 3-day/week progressive resistance training exercise program is feasible, safe, and well tolerated in children with SMA. These findings can inform future studies of exercise in SMA.

Keywords: home-based exercise program; neuromuscular disorder; progressive resistance training exercise; spinal muscular atrophy; strength training exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / physiopathology
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / rehabilitation*
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome*