Resistance strength training exercise in children with spinal muscular atrophy

Aga Lewelt*, Kristin J. Krosschell, Gregory J. Stoddard, Cindy Weng, Mei Xue, Robin L. Marcus, Eduard Gappmaier, Louis Viollet, Barbara A. Johnson, Andrea T. White, Donata Viazzo-Trussell, Philippe Lopes, Robert H. Lane, John C. Carey, Kathryn J. Swoboda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Introduction: Preliminary evidence in adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and in SMA animal models suggests exercise has potential benefits in improving or stabilizing muscle strength and motor function. Methods: We evaluated feasibility, safety, and effects on strength and motor function of a home-based, supervised progressive resistance strength training exercise program in children with SMA types II and III. Up to 14 bilateral proximal muscles were exercised 3 times weekly for 12 weeks. Results: Nine children with SMA, aged 10.4±3.8 years, completed the resistance training exercise program. Ninety percent of visits occurred per protocol. Training sessions were pain-free (99.8%), and no study-related adverse events occurred. Trends in improved strength and motor function were observed. Conclusions: A 12-week supervised, home-based, 3-day/week progressive resistance training exercise program is feasible, safe, and well tolerated in children with SMA. These findings can inform future studies of exercise in SMA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Home-based exercise program
  • Neuromuscular disorder
  • Progressive resistance training exercise
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Strength training exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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