Physical Test to Estimate Suitable Workloads for an Exercise Program in Breast Cancer Survivors

J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Dec;34(12):3593-3599. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002337.


Guillamó, E, Travier, N, Oviedo, GR, Fonseca-Nunes, A, Alamo, JM, Cos, F, Roca, A, Niño, O, Agudo, A, and Javierre, C. Physical test to estimate suitable workloads for an exercise program in breast cancer survivors. J Strength Cond Res 34(12): 3593-3599, 2020-Epidemiologic studies suggest that patients with breast cancer who gain weight after diagnosis have a higher risk of recurrence and death. Regular physical exercise can help minimize postdiagnosis weight gain. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of a physical test for individualizing the workloads used during a fitness program. To continuously individualize the intensity of the training, a test was designed and integrated into the sessions. The test consisted in monitoring heart rate and workload during 2 bouts of cycling at moderate intensity. The workload parameters recorded during the tests were later used as reference values to plan the intensity of the next in-person training sessions. The 5 tests conducted during the 12 weeks of the intervention showed significant differences in intensity (F = 3.034, p = 0.047). Compared with the first evaluation, the intensities measured during the third, fourth, and fifth tests presented increases of 9.9% (p = 0.02), 13.2% (p = 0.019), and 17.5% (p = 0.002), respectively. A significant increase in workload with respect to body weight was observed in the physical assessment performed after the program (t = 13.2, p = 0.0001). The peak oxygen consumption with respect to body weight (peak V[Combining Dot Above]O2) achieved by the subjects during the assessment at the end of the program had also increased (t = 9.72, p = 0.0001). The intensity test, introduced in the training sessions along with the physical exercise program, was an easy-to-use, practical tool for monitoring intensity. It allows an adjustment of the workload over the program period that respects the individual progression of each patient.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms*
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Workload