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Chron Respir Dis. 2012 Aug;9(3):153-62. doi: 10.1177/1479972312440814. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Arm exercise training in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomised controlled trial.

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Discipline of Physiotherapy, Clinical and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.


The aim of this study was to compare the effects of arm endurance training, arm strength training, a combination of arm endurance and strength training, and no arm training on endurance arm exercise capacity. A randomised controlled trial was undertaken with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subjects randomised into one of four groups to complete 8 weeks of training: (a) arm endurance training (endurance group) consisting of supported and unsupported arm exercises, (b) arm strength training (strength group) using weight machines, (c) a combination of arm endurance and arm strength training (combined group), or (d) no arm training (control group). The primary outcome measurement was endurance arm exercise capacity measured by an endurance arm crank test. Secondary outcomes included functional arm exercise capacity measured by the incremental unsupported arm exercise test and health-related quality of life. A total of 52 subjects were recruited and 38 (73%) completed the study. When comparing the arm endurance group to the control group, there was a significant increase in endurance time of 6 min (95% CI 2-10, p < 0.01) following the interventions. When comparing the combined group to each of the control, endurance and strength groups, there was a significantly greater reduction in dyspnoea and rate of perceived exertion at the end of the functional arm exercise test for the combined group following the interventions. The mode of training to be favoured to increase endurance arm exercise capacity is arm endurance training. However, combined arm endurance and strength training may also be very useful to reduce the symptoms during everyday arm tasks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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