High-intensity resistance training improves muscle strength, self-reported function, and disability in long-term stroke survivors

Michelle M. Ouellette, Nathan K. LeBrasseur, Jonathan F. Bean, Edward Phillips, Joel Stein, Walter R. Frontera, Roger A. Fielding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - To evaluate the efficacy of supervised high-intensity progressive resistance training (PRT) on lower extremity strength, function, and disability in older, long-term stroke survivors. Methods - Forty-two volunteers aged 50 years and above, 6 months to 6 years after a single mild to moderate stroke, were randomized into either a control group of upper extremity stretching or a PRT group that received a 12-week supervised high-intensity resistance training program consisting of bilateral leg press (LP), unilateral paretic and nonparetic knee extension (KE), ankle dorsiflexion (DF), and plantarflexion (PF) exercises. Functional performance was assessed using the 6-minute walk, stair-climb time, repeated chair-rise time, and habitual and maximal gait velocities. Self-reported changes in function and disability were evaluated using the Late Life Function and Disability Instrument (LLFDI). Results - Single-repetition maximum strength significantly improved in the PRT group for LP (16.2%), paretic KE (31.4%), and nonparetic KE (38.2%) with no change in the control group. Paretic ankle DF (66.7% versus -24.0%), paretic ankle PF (35.5% versus -20.3%), and nonparetic ankle PF (14.7% versus -13.8%) significantly improved in the PRT group compared with the control. The PRT group showed significant improvement in self-reported function and disability with no change in the control. There was no significant difference between groups for any performance-based measure of function. Conclusions - High-intensity PRT improves both paretic and nonparetic lower extremity strength after stroke, and results in reductions in functional limitations and disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1404-1409
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Exercise
  • Recovery of function
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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