Prescribing and adjusting exercise training in chronic respiratory diseases – Expert-based practical recommendations

R. Gloeckl*, R. H. Zwick, U. Furlinger, I. Jarosch, T. Schneeberger, D. Leitl, A. R. Koczulla, K. Vonbank, C. Alexiou, Ioannis Vogiatzis, M. A. Spruit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


International guidelines recommend endurance (ET) and strength training (ST) in patients with chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs), but only provide rough guidance on how to set the initial training load. This may unintentionally lead to practice variation and inadequate training load adjustments. This study aimed to develop practical recommendations on tailoring ET and ST based on practices from international experts from the field of exercise training in CRDs.

35 experts were invited to address a 64-item online survey about how they prescribe and adjust exercise training.

Cycling (97%) and walking (86%) were the most commonly implemented ET modalities. Continuous endurance training (CET, 83%) and interval endurance training (IET, 86%) were the frequently applied ET types. Criteria to prescribe IET instead of CET were: patients do not tolerate CET due to dyspnoea at the initial training session (79%), intense breathlessness during initial exercise assessment (76%), and/or profound exercise-induced oxygen desaturation (59%). For ST, most experts (68%) recommend 3 sets per exercise; 62% of experts set the intensity at a specific load that patients can tolerate for a range of 8 to 15 repetitions per set. Also, 56% of experts advise patients to approach local muscular exhaustion at the end of a single ST set.

The experts´ practices were summarized to develop practical recommendations in the form of flowcharts on how experts apply and adjust CET, IET, and ST in patients with CRDs. These recommendations may guide health care professionals to optimize exercise training programs in patients with CRDs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-314
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Early online date20 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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