The impact of maximal strength training on quality of life among women with breast cancer undergoing treatment

R. Cešeiko (Coresponding Author), J. Eglitis, A. Srebnijs, M. Timofejevs, E. Purmalis, R. Erts, A. Vetra, S. Tomsone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer rehabilitation programs mainly involve endurance cardio training while little attention has been paid to strength training. Breast cancer (BC) patients lose muscle strength while undergoing adjuvant treatment, thus affecting daily activities and quality of life. Maximal strength training, with an emphasis on velocity in the concentric phase, improves maximal strength and muscle force development characteristics. However, the effect of maximal strength training on quality of life for BC patients undergoing treatment remains elusive. Consequently, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of maximal strength training in Health related quality of life in women with newly diagnosed BC. Materials and Methods: 55 BC patients with disease stage I-III were randomized into a training group and control group. The training group performed maximal strength training twice a week for 3 months, whereas the control group followed prescribed treatment without strength training. Overall quality of life was measured by The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of life Questionnaire-C30 and additional BC module BR23 before and after the intervention. Results: The results obtained from pre-tests and those obtained after 3 months of intervention revealed that patients in the training group significantly increased one repetion maximum, by 20.4 kg (20%) (p = 0.001, d = 0.9). Simultaneously, statistically significant alterations were observed in this variable for the control group, one repetition maximum decreased by 8.9 kg (9%) (p = 0.001, d = 0.5). The overall quality of life improved significantly by 13% for the training group with large effect (p = 0.002, d = 0.6), but no relevant changes were observed in the control group (p = 0.44, d = 0.2). Results revealed remarkable changes in overall quality of life after 3-month post-test period between the two groups with large effect (p = 0.002, d = 0.9). The training sessions had helped in diminishing the sense of fatigue by 24% (p = 0.03, d = 0.6), while it had got worse by 25% (p = 0.02, d = 0.4) for the control group. Again, the data on large effect were noticed to differ between the groups (p = 0.01, d = 0.6). Conclusion: Maximal strength training for BC patients was well tolerated, safe and feasible and showed strength improvements that led to improved muscle strength and improved overall quality of life. These data certainly support the therapeutic role for maximal strength training in the treatment of BC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-172
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • Muscle strength
  • Physical activity
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine
  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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