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Effects of Heavy Resistance Training on Strength and Power in Upper Extremities in Wheelchair Athletes

Turbanski, Stephan; Schmidtbleicher, Dietmar

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - p 8-16
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bdddda
Original Research

Turbanski, S and Schmidtbleicher, D. Effects of heavy resistance traning on strength and power in upper extremities in wheelchair athletes. J Strength Cond Res 24(1): 8-16, 2010-Little is known about strength training in subjects with spinal cord injury (SCI), especially in athletes performing competitive sports. Sixteen male subjects participated in this study-8 with SCI and 8 healthy physical education students (control subjects). The 8-week program consisted of heavy-resistance exercise performed twice per week with 10 to 12 repetitions in 5 sets. Subjects' performances were tested in static and in dynamic conditions concerning several strength and power parameters. Furthermore, we tested 10-m sprinting performance in wheelchair athletes. Overall, wheelchair athletes and control subjects achieved similar results; in almost all parameters both groups improved considerably in post-testing. Regarding percentages in most strength and power parameters, wheelchair athletes showed a tendency to benefit more from the strength training performed in the present study. Using analyses of group differences, however, only the comparison of effects on rate of force development (p = 0.010) resulted in a significant higher improvement for wheelchair athletes. In contrast to previous assumptions about minor adaptation capacities to training exercises in patients with SCI, our study proved clear effects of strength training. In conclusion, we suggest that heavy resistance training should be of increasing importance in wheelchair sports.

Institute of Sport Sciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Funding was received for this study by Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaften (BISp; German Federal Institute of Sport Science).

There are no conflicts of interest to report, and the results of the present study do not constitute endorsement of the product by the authors or the NSCA.

Address correspondence to Stephan Turbanski,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association