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Peripheral Muscle Strength Training in COPD*: A Systematic Review

Simone D. O’Shea, BPhty (Hons); Nicholas F. Taylor, PhD; Jennifer Paratz, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From Wodonga Regional Health Service (Ms. O’Shea), Wodonga; Musculoskeletal Research Centre (Dr. Taylor), La Trobe University Melbourne; and The Alfred Hospital (Dr. Paratz), Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Correspondence to: Simone O’Shea, BPthy (Hons), Wodonga Regional Health Service, PO Box 156, Wodonga, VIC, 3689, Australia; e-mail: simoshe@optusnet.com.au



Chest. 2004;126(3):903-914. doi:10.1378/chest.126.3.903
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Background: Skeletal muscle weakness, and the associated impact on exercise tolerance, provides a strong theoretical rationale for strength training intervention for people with COPD.

Aim: The purpose of this review was to examine systematically the current evidence for peripheral muscle strength training in people with COPD.

Method: Empirical trials and reviews relating to strength training in COPD were obtained by searching electronic databases and citation tracking, using the keywords of COPD with strength/resistance training and skeletal muscle. Two reviewers completed data extraction and quality assessment independently, using the PEDro (physiotherapy evidence database) scale and a checklist for review articles. Effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals were determined for empiric trials and metaanalysis used where appropriate.

Results: The search strategy yielded 13 articles (9 empirical trials and 4 reviews). Strength training was found to have strong evidence for improving upper body and leg strength. However, no strong evidence for strength training was found for other outcome measures.

Conclusions: Further research is required to investigate the effects of strength training on functional activities, such as balance, upper limb function, self care, and participation in daily life.

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