Effects of Power Training on Individuals With Cerebral Palsy: Preliminary Results From a Pilot Study

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Background: Power training (PT) may be an effective modality to overcome muscle weakness for individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). The purpose of this project was to pilot test a PT intervention for individuals with CP.

Methods: Using rolling recruitment, six participants were randomly assigned to either the control group (CG, n=3) or training group (TG, n=3). Investigators used the SkiergTM to simulate a unilateral, overhand throwing exercise, performed by the most affected arm. Following PT guidelines, training took place three times per week for 6 weeks. An isokinetic dynamometer was used to measure both passive and active strength pre- and post-training.

Results: Although no statistically significant differences were found, a remarkable trend was observed. Shoulder extension torque increased 15% (13.97 to 16.09 Newton-meters [Nm]) for TG, compared to a 1% (9.77 to 9.90 Nm) increase for CG between pre- and post-tests. Similar results were observed in elbow extension (3.90 to 9.60 Nm, 7.20 to 15.5 Nm, for CG and TG). Shoulder flexion torque increased more for TG (from 2.10 to 4.07 Nm, pre and post) than for CG (1.60 to 3.07 Nm). Similar results were observed with elbow flexion. A 35% reduction of peak extension torque during passive stretching at 10 (4.93 to 3.07 Nm) and 30 deg / s (5.27 to 3.40 Nm) was observed among TG but not CG. The reduction of peak power during passive stretching indicates a reduction of spasticity.

Conclusion: Power training may facilitate improvements in strength and reductions in spasticity among individuals with CP.


American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA)


New Orleans, LA