The aim of this study was to examine the effects of maximal strength training (MST) on walking economy and walking performance in PAD patients. Ten patients with mild to moderate-severe claudication, classified as Fontaine stage II PAD and with functional limitations from intermittent claudication were recruited and went through an 8-week control period followed by an 8-week, three times a week, MST period. The patients performed four sets of five repetitions dynamic leg press with emphasis on maximal mobilization of force in the concentric action and with a progressive adjusted intensity corresponding to 85-90% of one repetition maximum (1 RM). After the MST period, leg press 1 RM significantly increased by 35.0Â±10.8 kg (31.3%). Dynamic rate of force development, measured on a force plate installed on the leg press, increased by 1424Â±1217 N/s (102.7%). The strength improvements led to a significant increase in walking economy of 9.7% when walking horizontally, and to a significant increase in walking performance of 13.6% measured on an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion.
The results suggest that application of MST could accompany aerobic endurance training as a part of the treatment of PAD patients with mild to moderate-severe claudication.