FAST CP (Functional Anaerobic and Strength Training in adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy) findings

10 Aug 2018
Jared Gillett presenting
PhD student Jarred Gillett presenting at the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Conference 2018.

We have recently completed a combined functional anaerobic and resistance training intervention in young adults with cerebral palsy to target the leg muscle size and strength deficits. Supervised training sessions have taken place 3 times per week, for 12-weeks. The leg muscles, particularly the calf muscles, were targeted by heavy progressive resistance training exercises. The functional training included shuttle running, stair climbing, step-ups, agility running, and sprints that were performed in short bursts of maximum effort lasting 20-30s.

We found that combined functional anaerobic and strength training improved calf muscle size by 7 – 10%. Calf muscle strength increased on average by 25% after training, and functional capacity improved (walking distance by 6%; sprint power by 8.5%; agility by 13%) following training. These findings were presented at the AusACPDM Conference in Auckland in March 2018, and recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports and ExerciseOur team has published another recent paper in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showing that calf muscle strength is related to how far an adult with CP can walk in 6 minutes, regardless of how stiff their muscles are or their functional classification. Take home message: Muscle strength is important for functional capacity in adults with CP!

In June 2018, Mr Jarred Gillett presented his project t research groups at Liverpool John Moores University, and the Oxford Gait Laboratory, in the United Kingdom. Jarred also attended a “What’s new in CP research” day at Brunel University in London. The gait outcomes from the FAST CP study are currently being written up for peer-review publication and Jarred will submit his PhD thesis in the coming months.

Relevant publications

Gillett JG, Lichtwark GA, Boyd RN, Barber LA. (2018). Functional Anaerobic and Strength Training in Young Adults with Cerebral Palsy. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001614.

Gillett JG, Lichtwark GA, Boyd RN, Barber LA. (2018). Functional capacity in adults with cerebral palsy: Lower limb muscle strength matters. Archives of Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2018.01.020.

Contact details

For more information about the project, please contact Jarred Gillett, PhD student, Ph: 0418554853, E:

Chief Investigators: Jarred Gillett, Dr Lee Barber, Prof. Roslyn Boyd, and A/Prof. Glen Litchwark.