In Parkinson's disease (PD), the characteristic triphasic agonist and antagonist muscle activation pattern during ballistic movement is impaired: the number of agonist muscle bursts is increased and the amplitudes of the agonist and antagonist bursts are reduced. The breakdown of the triphasic EMG pattern has been hypothesized to underlie bradykinesia in PD. Progressive resistance exercise has been shown to improve clinical measures of bradykinesia, but it is not clear if the benefits for bradykinesia are accompanied by changes in agonist and antagonist muscle activity. This study examined the spatiotemporal changes in agonist and antagonist muscle activity following 24 months of progressive resistance exercise, and the combined relationship between spatiotemporal muscle activity and strength measures, and upper limb bradykinesia. We compared the effects of Progressive Resistance Exercise Training (PRET) with a non-progressive exercise intervention, modified Fitness Counts (mFC), in patients with PD. We randomized 48 participants with mild-to-moderate PD to mFC or PRET. At the study end-point of 24 months participants randomized to PRET compared to mFC had significantly faster movement velocity, accompanied by significant increases in the duration, magnitude, and magnitude normalized to duration of the first agonist burst, and fewer number of agonist bursts prior to peak velocity. The antagonist muscle activity was increased relative to baseline but did not differ between groups. Spatiotemporal EMG muscle activity and muscle strength were significantly associated with upper limb bradykinesia. These findings demonstrate that progressive resistance exercise improves upper limb movement velocity and restores some aspects of the triphasic EMG pattern.
- Progressive resistance exercise
- Parkinson's disease
- PRET-PD randomized clinical trial
- EMG triphasic muscle activation pattern
- Copyright © 2015, Journal of Neurophysiology