Leg muscle power is enhanced by training in people with Parkinson’s disease

The goal of this study was to determine the effects of leg muscle power training in persons with Parkinson’s disease. Participants were community-dwelling people with Parkinson’s disease. Leg muscle power training using pneumatic variable resistance equipment (experimental) was compared with low intensity sham exercise (control). Both groups exercised twice weekly for 12 weeks. Primary outcomes were peak power of four leg muscle groups. Secondary outcomes were measures of muscle strength, mobility, balance and falls. Exercise adherence was good in both groups. Leg muscle power was significantly better in the experimental group than the control group in all four primary outcome measures at 12 weeks after adjusting for baseline values: leg extensors (57.9 watts, 95% confidence interval (CI) 22.0–93.7, p = 0.002); knee flexors (29.6 watts, 95% CI 7.4–51.8, p = 0.01); hip flexors (68.1 watts, 95% CI 19.6–116.5, p = 0.007); and hip abductors (37.4 watts, 95% CI 19.9–54.9, p < 0.001). The experimental group performed significantly better on tests of leg muscle strength (p < 0.001 to 0.07) and showed trends toward better performance in the Timed Up and Go (p = 0.13) and choice stepping reaction time (p = 0.11). There was a non-significant decrease in the rate of falls in the experimental group in comparison with the control group (incidence rate ratio 0.84, p = 0.76).

This study found this programme increased muscle power in all trained muscle groups substantially.