Eccentric Arm Cycling: A Potential Exercise for Wheelchair Users.

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Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology


OBJECTIVE: To compare metabolic, cardiorespiratory, and perceptual responses to acute eccentric and traditional concentric arm cycling in a cohort of wheelchair users.

DESIGN: Single-group repeated measures.

SETTING: Exercise physiology laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS: A convenience sample of 7 manual wheelchair users (45±15 y; 87±21 kg; 1.8±0.1 m; time in wheelchair 17±14 y) volunteered.

INTERVENTIONS: Participants performed 5-minute trials of eccentric and concentric arm cycling at (1) isometabolic rate (35% of peak oxygen consumption) and (2) isopower output (80W). Exercise trials were performed on an eccentric/concentric arm cycle ergometer that integrated with a personal wheelchair.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary measures included power output, oxygen consumption, heart rate, ventilation, blood lactate, and perceived exertion. Secondary measures assessed included perceived muscle soreness, likability, frequency of use, and duration of use.

RESULTS: At isometabolic rate, power production during eccentric arm cycling was ∼3× greater than concentric arm cycling (80±36 vs 26±10 W; P.05).

CONCLUSION: Eccentric arm cycling provided a metabolically efficient (high-force, low-energy cost) and usable (wheelchair accessible, safe, likable) exercise for wheelchair users. Implementation of eccentric arm cycling with this population is promising but additional research is needed to confirm this possibility.

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Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation