Original article| Volume 91, ISSUE 10, P1551-1557, October 2010

The Effects of 12 Weeks of Resistance Exercise Training on Disease Severity and Autonomic Modulation at Rest and After Acute Leg Resistance Exercise in Women with Fibromyalgia


      Kingsley JD, McMillan V, Figueroa A. The effects of 12 weeks of resistance exercise training on disease severity and autonomic modulation at rest and after acute leg resistance exercise in women with fibromyalgia.


      To determine the effects of 12 weeks of resistance exercise training (RET) on disease severity and autonomic modulation at rest and after acute leg resistance exercise in women with fibromyalgia (FM) and healthy controls (HCs).


      Before-after trial.


      Testing and training occurred in a university setting.


      Women with FM (n=9; mean age ± SD, 42±5y) and HCs (n=15; mean age, 45±5y).


      Both groups underwent testing before and after 12 weeks of whole-body RET consisting of 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions on 5 different exercises.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Disease severity was assessed using the number of active tender points, myalgic score, and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). Heart rate and autonomic modulation using power spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) were measured at rest and 20 minutes after 5 sets of leg-press exercise.


      There was no group-by-time interaction for any variable. Women with FM and HCs had similar increases in maximal strength (P<.05) after RET. Number of active tender points, myalgic score, and FIQ score were decreased (P<.05) after RET in women with FM. Heart rate and natural log (Ln) high frequency (LnHF) were recovered, whereas Ln low frequency (LnLF) and LnLF/LnHF ratio were increased (P<.05) 20 minutes after acute leg resistance exercise. There were no significant effects of RET on HRV at rest or postexercise.


      These findings indicate that cardiovagal modulation of heart rate recovers early after leg resistance exercise in women with FM and HCs. It is concluded that RET reduces the severity of FM, but it has no impact on autonomic modulation of heart rate.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      1RM (1-repetition maximum), 10-RM (10-repetition maximum), ANOVA (analysis of variance), BMI (body mass ind), CI (confidence interval), ECG (electrocardiogram), FIQ (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire), FM (fibromyalgia), HCs (healthy controls), HF (high frequency), HRV (heart rate variability), Ln (natural log), LF (low frequency), RET (resistance exercise training)
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