Effect of Krankcylcle Training on Physical Fitness among Adults with Disabilities

By Barfield, J. P.; Nyikos, Ildiko et al. | Palaestra, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview
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Effect of Krankcylcle Training on Physical Fitness among Adults with Disabilities

Barfield, J. P., Nyikos, Ildiko, Malone, Laurie A., Palaestra

Cycle and arm ergometry are extensively used in fitness and rehabilitation settings to improve the health and function of adults with disabilities (Durstine, Moore, Painter, & Roberts, 2009). Multiple research studies suggest that these exercise modes improve various areas of health-related physical fitness, including aerobic capacity and muscular fitness (Fowler et al., 2010; Jacobs, Mahoney, Nash, & Green, 2002; Valent et al., 2009). The limitation of cycle and arm ergometry, however, is that the person must have similar functional capacity in both targeted limbs. Unfortunately, many adults with a disability do not have similar bilateral function. For example, persons with various physical disabilities can have less function in one hemisphere of the body and thus are at a disadvantage when using strictly asynchronous crank equipment such as arm or cycle ergometers. (Asynchronous indicates that the crank is turned reciprocally by the right and left limbs.) Persons with a variety of physical disabilities (e.g., arthritis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, or stroke) cannot generate similar forces through both limbs and find asynchronous ergometry difficult. Therefore, a need exists to identify alternative exercise modes that yield the same health-related fitness benefits as those that require bilateral control.

The Krankcycle[R] (Five Giri, Inc., Montecito, CA) is a new exercise modality that is being used as inclusive exercise equipment. The Krankcycle enables participants to sit or stand and turn crank arms either asynchronously, as with a traditional ergometer, or independently when strength and mobility are greater on one side of the body. Krankcycle classes are now being used as either alternatives or complements to popular 'spin' exercise classes, and this training option is a viable modality for adults possessing unequal bilateral function.

To our knowledge, only one research study has assessed the potential fitness benefit of a Krankcycle class. In this study, 20 adults completed a 30-minute Krankcycle bout and researchers reported an average exercise intensity of 72% of predicted O2Max and an average caloric expenditure of 269 kcal across the exercise session (Boyer, Porcari, & Foster, 2010). This acute response shows the potential of Krankcycle exercise to yield fitness benefits, but longitudinal research is needed to examine the potential efficacy of this training for adults with physical disabilities. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether a 12-week Krankcycle training program would improve health-related physical fitness among adults with physical disabilities. To address this purpose, we examined changes in health-related fitness among adults with disabilities compared with age-matched adults without disabilities.


Participants were recruited from adult members of a community-based exercise facility (MAge = 51.20 + 12.61 years, MPercent Fat = 41.20 + 10.55%; O2 at 80% of HRpeak, 13.46 - 1.88 mL/kg/min). The facility targets adults with physical disabilities and chronic conditions, and the current sample consisted of primarily obese adults with poor fitness. Institutional review board approval was obtained before the study. All prospective participants provided informed consent and were screened for presence of a heart condition.


Aerobic Fitness. The O2 at 80% of HRpeak was measured by the TrueOne[R] 2400 metabolic measurement system (Parvo Medics, Provo, UT) during submaximal exercise on a PRO1[R] arm ergometer (SciFit, Tulsa, OK). Exercise testing consisted of a 5-minute warm-up at 60 rpm followed by continuous, 10-W increases every 2 minutes until 80% of age-predicted HRpeak was achieved..

Power Output. Power output (W) at 80% HRpeak was assessed simultaneously with O2 and recorded once the designated heart rate was achieved.

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Effect of Krankcylcle Training on Physical Fitness among Adults with Disabilities


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