Gauthier, C., Brosseau, R., Hicks, A. L., & Gagnon, D. H. (2018). Feasibility, Safety, and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Home-Based Self-Managed High-Intensity Interval Training Program Offered to Long-Term Manual Wheelchair Users. Rehabilitation research and practice, 2018.
Objectives. To investigate and compare the feasibility, safety, and preliminary effectiveness of home-based self-managed manual wheelchair high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) programs. Methods. Eleven manual wheelchair users were randomly assigned to the HIIT () or the MICT group (). Both six-week programs consisted of three 40-minute propulsion training sessions per week. The HIIT group alternated between 30 s high-intensity intervals and 60 s low-intensity intervals, whereas the MICT group maintained a constant moderate intensity. Cardiorespiratory fitness, upper limb strength, and shoulder pain were measured before and after the programs. Participants completed a questionnaire on the programs that explored general areas of feasibility. Results. The answers to the questionnaire demonstrated that both training programs were feasible in the community. No severe adverse events occurred, although some participants experienced increased shoulder pain during HIIT. Neither program yielded a significant change in cardiorespiratory fitness or upper limb strength. However, both groups reported moderate to significant subjective improvement. Conclusion. Home-based wheelchair HIIT appears feasible and safe although potential development of shoulder pain remains a concern and should be addressed with a future preventive shoulder exercise program. Some recommendations have been proposed for a larger study aiming to strengthen evidence regarding the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of HIIT.