Effects of Respiratory Resistance Training With a Concurrent Flow Device on Wheelchair Athletes




Litchke, Lyn G.
Russian, Christopher J.
Lloyd, Lisa K.
Schmidt, Eric
Price, Larry R.
Walker, John L.

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Taylor & Francis


Background/Objective: To determine the effect of respiratory resistance training (RRT) with a concurrent flow respiratory (CFR) device on respiratory function and aerobic power in wheelchair athletes. Methods: Ten male wheelchair athletes (8 with spinal cord injuries, 1 with a neurological disorder, and 1 with postpolio syndrome), were matched by lesion level and/or track rating before random assignment to either a RRT group (n ¼ 5) or a control group (CON, n ¼ 5). The RRT group performed 1 set of breathing exercises using Expand-a-Lung, a CFR device, 2 to 3 times daily for 10 weeks. Pre/posttesting included measurement of maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV), maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP), and peak oxygen consumption (V̇O2peak). Results: Repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant group difference in change for MIP from pre- to posttest ( P , 0.05). The RRT group improved by 33.0 cm H2O, while the CON group improved by 0.6 cm H2O. Although not significant, the MVV increased for the RRT group and decreased for the CON group. There was no significant group difference between V̇O2peak for pre/posttesting. Due to small sample sizes in both groups and violations of some parametric statistical assumptions, nonparametric tests were also conducted as a crosscheck of the findings. The results of the nonparametric tests concurred with the parametric results. Conclusions: These data demonstrate that 10 weeks of RRT training with a CFR device can effectively improve MIP in wheelchair athletes. Further research and a larger sample size are warranted to further characterize the impact of Expand-a-Lung on performance and other cardiorespiratory variables in wheelchair athletes.



pulmonary function tests, respiratory function tests, respiratory therapy, wheelchair sports, paralympics, spinal cord injuries


Litchke, L. G., Russian, C. J., Lloyd, L. K., Schmidt, E. A., Price, L., & Walker, J. L. (2008). Effects of respiratory resistance training with a concurrent flow device on wheelchair athletes. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 31(1), pp. 65-71.


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