Effects of One-Legged Exercise Training of Patients With COPD

Dolmage T.E., Goldstein R.S

Eighteen patients with COPD (mean FEV1 38% of predicted) were randomized into two groups. Both groups trained on a stationary cycle for 30 min, 3 days a week, for seven weeks. Two-legged trainers cycled continuously for 30 minutes, while one-legged trainers, trained with one leg for 15 minutes and then switched legs for a further 15 minutes. The results showed that both groups increased their training intensity and total work, while the one-legged group had a greater change in peak VO2, a greater peak ventilation and lower sub-maximal heart rate and ventilation.

Clinical relevance: Although based on a small number of participants this study shows that minute ventilation was lower during single-leg exercise thus allowing patients to exercise for longer at the same muscle-specific intensity. These results suggest that there is an alternative way of achieving a greater training response in otherwise difficult to train (due to ventilatory limitation) patients with stable COPD.

Chest 2008;133; 370 – 376

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