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independence, physical function, resistance training



  1. Phillips, Wayne T. PhD, FACSM
  2. Benton, Melissa J. MSN, PhD, RN, CNS
  3. Wagner, Carolyn L. BSN, RN
  4. Riley, Cathy BSN, MBA, RN


PURPOSE: The primary goal of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is for patients to achieve and maintain their maximum level of independence and functioning in the community. Traditional PR uses a predominantly aerobic/endurance approach to rehabilitation with little or no inclusion of exercises to increase strength. Few studies have investigated the impact of resistance training on PR despite growing evidence supporting its efficacy to improve physical function (functional fitness) in both healthy individuals and those with chronic disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of single-set resistance training on strength and functional fitness outcomes in PR patients.


METHODS: Twenty PR patients, 60 to 81 years old, were randomly assigned to an 8-week endurance-based PR program (ET) or an ET plus resistance training program (RT).


RESULTS: Strength increased in RT (P < .05) and decreased in ET for both upper and lower body. Functional fitness improved (P < .05) in 5 of 7 tests for RT compared with 2 tests for ET.


Conclusions: Single set RT can elicit significant improvements in both strength and functional fitness, which is not obtained by traditional PR alone. Our results are comparable to other studies with similar outcomes using multiple-set RT protocols. These findings may have important implications for program design, application, and adherence in PR.