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Weight training study

Hi all, this research was posted on Arthritis Action forum, thought you might find it interesting.

Weight training Study

The trial

Researchers at Bangor University and Gwynedd Hospital recruited 28 patients with RA in order to study the effect of high-intensity progressive resistance training on their muscles. Volunteers were divided into two study groups, with 13 participants taking part in twice-weekly resistance training sessions for 24 weeks and the remaining 15 patients doing a series of home exercises. The group represented the average RA patient; two thirds were women, who had had RA for about eight years, and their disease was under control.

Assessments were carried out at the beginning and end of the 24-week study period and the findings were published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

The researchers found that people who took part in resistance training sessions typically benefited from an increase in lean body mass – a person’s body weight minus their fat – and appendicular lean mass, which is the mass of the muscles in the arms and legs, and a decrease in total fat mass, which was apparent in a reduction of fat mass in their trunk (so reducing their risk of diabetes and cardio-vascular disease).

Participants’ strength in terms of training improved by 119 per cent, including a 30 per cent improvement in chair stands, a 25 per cent rise in knee extensor strength, a 23 per cent increase in arm curls and a 17 per cent improvement in walk time. In fact, function in these patients improved to the point where it was the equivalent to that of healthy individuals of the same age; in other words, RA-related disability had been removed.

Increases in muscle volume were also found to be associated with a rise in muscle levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and IGF binding protein 3, both of which promote the growth of muscles, bone and cartilage.

The second group experienced improvement although to nowhere near the same degree as group one.

7 Replies

It shows that - if you get the disease under control - you can recover your strength and fitness. But for so many, getting the disease under control is the first difficulty.


I agree Oldtimer,

It's not going to be achievable or even the right approach for everyone. Just thought I'd post it as research information. 😀


Thanks, interesting stuff. I knew all my hours in the gym had a good reason!


Many thanks for the article; just encouraged me to continue my exercise despite the difficulties


The danger with that study was the use of patients who have their RD under control? What does that truly mean!

It again tells you , it is all in your hands. I can hear my mother in laws voice. You need to get outside and walk. Walking indoors does not count ? Forget about air quality .

I do know that moving is critical to survival. Sitting for any length of time is exhausting. I maybe stiff initially but it does get better if you persist. My Rheumy does not even recommend yoga for me. Please always consult your health care team before trying anything. Diets and supplements can be dangerous as well.

I think what I find frustrating is being lumped in as one group. Clearly if there was ever a need for a shift in paradigm it is with autoimmune disease.

I am beginning to appreciate the move to individualized treatment protocols. I want something that works for me. So far not so good.


I agree, it can't be a one size fits all, we are all unique, respond differently to treatment and have varying degrees of the disease.


Thank you for that. It is just the last push to get off my bottom and really research the availability of controlled resistance training in my area. I do exercises more or less regularly at home but still don't gain much my leg muscle. So thanks again. All the best.

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