Ann Rheum Dis 60:21-26 doi:10.1136/ard.60.1.21
  • Extended report

Strength training induced adaptations in neuromuscular function of premenopausal women with fibromyalgia: comparison with healthy women


OBJECTIVE To investigate the effects of 21 weeks' progressive strength training on neuromuscular function and subjectively perceived symptoms in premenopausal women with fibromyalgia (FM).

METHODS Twenty one women with FM were randomly assigned to experimental (FMT) or control (FMC) groups. Twelve healthy women served as training controls (HT). The FMT and HT groups carried out progressive strength training twice a week for 21 weeks. The major outcome measures were muscle strength and electromyographic (EMG) recordings. Secondary outcome measures were pain, sleep, fatigue, physical function capacity (Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire), and mood (short version of Beck's depression index).

RESULTS Female FMT subjects increased their maximal and explosive strength and EMG activity to the same extent as the HT group. Moreover, the progressive strength training showed immediate benefits on subjectively perceived fatigue, depression, and neck pain of training patients with FM.

CONCLUSIONS The strength training data indicate comparable trainability of the neuromuscular system of women with FM and healthy women. Progressive strength training can safely be used in the treatment of FM to decrease the impact of the syndrome on the neuromuscular system, perceived symptoms, and functional capacity. These results confirm the opinion that FM syndrome has a central rather than a peripheral or muscular basis.


  • This study was supported in part by grants from Finnish Social Insurance Institution and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation.