gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Strength training and the fibromyalgia syndrom - effects on strength performances and perception of health

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author J. Felder - University of Bonn, Germany
  • H. Mechling - German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • H. Hüneburg - University of Bonn, Germany

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa026

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Felder et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




The fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic none inflammatory rheumatic disease, which general causes are unknown until today.

Primarily affected are middle aged women and it goes along with a broad spectrum of symptoms, including diffuse musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, stiffness, disordered sleep and the presence of 12-18 body areas, which are especially pain sensitive. Additionally most patients suffer from depression, social isolation and a physical capacity which is below the average of normal population.

Several studies (Mengshoel, Komnaes et al. 1992; Nichols and Glenn 1994) could observe a positive effect of aerobic endurance training on the symptoms of the FMS. The studies of Maquet, Croisier et al. (2002) and Bengtsson and Henriksson (1989) showed that not only the endurance but also the strength performances are below the average of the population standards. Only few studies (Bailey 1999; Rooks 2002) analysed the effects of a combined endurance and strength training and only two explored the effects of an exclusive strength training (Hakkinen 2002; Geel 2001). The results of these studies were inconsistent therefore the purpose of this study was to evaluate a 10 week strength training program for fibromyalgia patients. The controlled effects were the strength performances and the perception of subjective health.


The sample consisted of 35 Patients. The mean age was 52.89 years (+ 7.14). Patients were assigned to either a training group (TG) or a control group (CG). The TG performed 10 weeks of progressive strength training while the patients of the CG were advised to continue with their habitual activities.

Isometric strength of the lower and upper body was measured with the DR. Wolf Isocheck. The perception of subjective health was measured with the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ) and the Medical Outcome Survey Short Form-36 (SF-36). The study was executed in 2005.


Only 27 of 35 subjects completed the study. Baseline diagnosis showed no significant differences between those patients who completed the study and those who dropped out. After the intervention the patients of the TG showed significant increases in isometric strength and perceived their subjective health significantly higher than at baseline. Outcome measures of the CG showed no change.


The training intervention resulted in significantly higher strength performances and perceived health in the TG. An examination of the correlation between the strength performances and the items pain and social role functioning showed a significant coherence. Strength training might be a useful tool in the therapy of the FMS and pain in general. This observation should be used to optimise the therapy of FMS.