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Respir Med. 2004 Oct;98(10):1000-7.

Heavy resistance training increases muscle size, strength and physical function in elderly male COPD-patients--a pilot study.

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Institute of Sports Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, Copenhagen, Denmark.


This study investigated the effects of heavy resistance training in elderly males with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 18 Home-dwelling male patients (age range: 65-80 years), with a mean forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) of 46 +/- 3.4% of predicted value, were recruited. Baseline and post-training assessments included: Cross-sectional area (CSA) of quadriceps assessed by MRI, isometric and isokinetic knee extension strength, isometric trunk strength, leg extension power, normal and maximal gait-speed on a 30 m track, stair climbing time, number of chair stands in 30 s, lung function (FEV1) and self-reported health. Subjects were randomized to a resistance training group (RE, n = 9) or a control group conducting breathing exercises (CON, n = 9). RE performed heavy progressive resistance training twice a week for 12 weeks. 6 RE and 7 CON completed the study. In RE the following improved (P < 0.05): Quadriceps CSA: 4%, isometric knee extension strength: 14%, isokinetic knee extension strength at 60 degrees /s.: 18%, leg extension power: 19%, maximal gait speed: 14%, stair climbing time: 17%, isometric trunk flexion: 5% and self-reported health. In CON no changes were found. In conclusion, 12 weeks of heavy resistance training twice a week resulted in significant improvements in muscle size, knee extension strength, leg extension power, functional performance and self-reported health in elderly male COPD patients.

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