Wheelchair-specific fitness of inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury


Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To describe wheelchair-specific anaerobic work capacity, isometric strength and peak aerobic work capacity of physically inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury using outcomes of tests that are feasible for use in rehabilitation centres, and to determine associations among these fitness components.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

PARTICIPANTS: Manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury for at least 10 years, who were inactive based on a norm score of a physical activity questionnaire (n = 29; 22 men; 20 with paraplegia; median age 53 years).

METHODS: Participants performed 3 exercise tests in their own wheelchair to determine: highest 5-s power output over 15-m overground sprinting (P5-15m); highest 3-s isometric push-force (Fiso); and peak power output (POpeak) and peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) over a peak test.

RESULTS: Median (interquartile range) was in P5-15m 16.1 W (9.4-20.9); in Fiso 399 N (284-610); in POpeak 40.9 W (19.1-54.9); and in VO2peak 1.26 l/min (0.80-1.67). Correlations among outcomes of fitness components were weak (r = 0.50-0.67, p < 0.01), except for P5-15m with POpeak (r = 0.79, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: All fitness components measured in this sample were at relatively low levels, implying a specific need for interventions to improve wheelchair-specific fitness. The weak-to-moderate associations among components imply that separate tests should be used when monitoring wheelchair-specific fitness in rehabilitation centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-7
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia/rehabilitation
  • Spinal Cord Injuries/rehabilitation
  • Wheelchairs/statistics & numerical data


Dive into the research topics of 'Wheelchair-specific fitness of inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this