Effects of low- and moderate-intensity training in spinal cord-injured persons

S. P. Hooker, C. L. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


This study examined the applicability of exercise prescription guidelines established for the able-bodied to spinal cord-injured (SCI) persons. Two SCI groups performed wheelchair ergometry (WCE) 20 min three times per week for 8 wk. Low-intensity (LI, N=6) and moderate-intensity (MI, N=5) groups trained at 50-60% and 70-80% maximal heart rate reserve (HRR), respectively. The subjects completed an incremental discontinuous maximal WCE test to exhaustion pre- and post-training. A submaximal WCE test consisting of 4-min exercise stages at power outputs of 5, 10, and 15 W was also performed pre- and post-training. Blood samples were collected before and after training and analyzed for total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C). The TC/HDL-C ratio was calculated. Both groups exhibited no significant changes (P > 0.10) in VO2max, HRmax, POmax, lactate (La)max, and VO2 at 4 mmol [La]. No pre- to post-training differences were recorded in the LI group for submaximal VO2, HR, VE, La, and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE). The MI group had significantly lower (P < 0.10) post-training submaximal HR, La, and RPE and no changes in VO2 or VE. Blood lipid levels remained unaltered in the LI group, while the MI group exhibited significant increases in HDL-C and decreases in TG, LDL-C, and the TC/HDL-C ratio. The maximal test data revealed that 8 wk of LI and MI wheelchair ergometry training did not improve VO2max in SCI persons. The submaximal test and blood lipid results indicate that 70% maximal HRR was the threshold intensity needed to elicit training benefits in SCI persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-22
Number of pages5
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1989


  • Asthma
  • Control of breathing
  • Incremental exercise
  • Respiratory load compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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