TheraBand resistance offers similar metabolic benefit as machines for paraplegic exercise

04 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

In 2002, researchers at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and University of Miami School of Medicine compared 2 types of resistance training on metabolic responses in paraplegic patients: Machine-based and elastic-resistance based. Persons with paraplegia must maintain cardiovascular fitness; however, they are limited to upper body exercise. Circuit resistance training appears to satisfy the need for both cardiorespiratory endurance and upper extremity strengthening in persons with paraplegia.


The researchers evaluated the exercise responses of 2 types of circuit resistance training routines in 17 persons (16 males, 1 female, ages 20-45) with complete paraplegia (T4-L1). Exercises were performed with a multistation isoinertial strengthening machine (MultiGym) and on a custom-built system using TheraBand elastic bands. Both groups performed 6 exercises for 10 repetitions at 50% of 1 repetition maximum (predicted). The TheraBand elastic resistance was equalized with the isoinertial resistance based on resistance of the bands. Exercises included military press, seated row, wide-grip pull down, arm press down, chest press, and elbow curls. During exercise, subjects’ heart rate, oxygen consumption (V02), and perceived exertion (RPE) were evaluated. Rapid arm spinning was interposed between strengthening exercises. Subjects were habituated to both conditions for 2 weeks prior to testing.

There was no significant difference in heart rate or oxygen consumption between the traditional MultiGym exercise and TheraBand exercises; thus both modalities were effective in producing similar metabolic responses. Subjects did note a slightly higher perceived exertion using the TheraBand exercise because of the need for self-stabilization. This study demonstrated that a TheraBand resistive exercise system is safe, efficacious, affordable, and requires only limited space.

Compared to the traditional mode of strengthening on the MultiGym, elastic resistive exercises require similar metabolic demand; therefore, TheraBand resistive exercise offers the same level of training for less cost. TheraBand resistive exercises also require more self-stabilization, possibly improving postural trunk control. The conditioning adaptations and long-term effects of TheraBand training in paraplegics need to be evaluated.

REFERENCE: Nash MS, et al. 2002. A comparison of two circuit exercise training techniques for eliciting matched metabolic responses in persons with paraplegia.Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 83(2):201-209.

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