High Intensity Strength Training Improves Strength and Functional Performance After Stroke

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the effects of a progressive resistance strength training program on changes in muscle strength, gait, and balance in older individuals 1 yr after stroke, seven individuals were recruited who were greater than 60-yr-old, 1 yr after stroke, living at home, and able to follow verbal commands.

Design:

Subjects participated in a 12-wk 2× per wk resistance training program at 70% of 1 repetition maximum.

Results:

Lower limb strength improved 68% on the affected side and 48% on the intact side during training, with the largest increases observed for hip extension (affected side: 88%, P < 0.01; intact side: 103%, P < 0.001). Repeated chair stand time decreased 21% (P < 0.02). Motor performance assessed by the Motor Assessment Scale improved 9% (P < 0.04) and static and dynamic balance (Berg balance scale) improved 12% (P < 0.004). Progressive resistance training in individuals 1 yr after stroke improves affected and intact side lower limb strength and was associated with gains in chair stand time, balance, and motor performance.

Conclusions:

These results support the concept that strength training is an appropriate intervention to improve the quality of physical function in older community dwelling stroke survivors.

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