Table 2. Resistance Training Guidelines for Persons with Spasticity
- Involved limbs may experience a temporary increase in tone after resistance training the affected (spastic) or non-affected side. This should dissipate soon after the exercise session is completed.
- Occasionally, the person may experience muscle spasms. These are often transient and should not present a problem in resistance training routines unless they are occurring often. They can often be stopped by placing the limb (arm or leg) in an extended position.
- Avoid quick movements that may increase spasticity or cause a muscle spasm. Slow, controlled movements are often best in avoiding increases in spasticity or muscle spasms.
- Most experts recommend that high-intensity training be avoided in spastic muscle groups.
- When training spastic muscle groups, emphasize slow and fluid movements within the person's capability. It may be impossible for some clients to move the limb in a completely smooth fashion due to high levels of spasticity.
- To improve or maintain muscle balance between flexors and extensors, strengthen muscle groups that oppose the spastic muscle. For example, if the biceps have a high level of spasticity, work on strengthening the triceps.
- Remember: tight muscle groups (spastic) are not necessarily strong and also need to be strengthened.