A1 Journal article (refereed)
Effects of the EXECP Intervention on Motor Function, Muscle Strength and Joint Flexibility in Individuals with Cerebral Palsy (2024)

Valadão, P., Cenni, F., Piitulainen, H., Avela, J., & Finni, T. (2024). Effects of the EXECP Intervention on Motor Function, Muscle Strength and Joint Flexibility in Individuals with Cerebral Palsy. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 56(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000003273

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsValadão, Pedro; Cenni, Francesco; Piitulainen, Harri; Avela, Janne; Finni, Taija

Journal or seriesMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise



Publication year2024

Publication date07/08/2023

Volume 56

Issue number1

Pages range1-12

PublisherLippincott Williams & Wilkins

Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/93284


Numerous exercise interventions to enhance motor function in cerebral palsy (CP) have been proposed, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Since motor function requires a combination of muscle strength, joint flexibility and motor coordination, we designed a supervised multicomponent exercise intervention (EXECP) for individuals with CP. Our aim was to evaluate the effects of the EXECP intervention and its retention after it ceased.

The EXECP intervention combined strength training for the lower limbs and trunk muscles, passive stretching for the lower limb muscles and inclined treadmill gait training. Eighteen participants with CP (mean age: 14, 13 males) were tested twice before the three-month intervention and twice after the intervention, each test separated by three months. Seventeen typically developing age and sex-matched controls were tested twice. Motor function was assessed with the six minutes walking test (6MWT) and the gross motor function measure (GMFM) dimensions D and E. Passive joint flexibility was measured with goniometry. Isometric and concentric muscle strength were assessed at the knee, ankle and trunk joints.

The EXECP intervention successfully increased 6MWT (p < 0.001), GMFM (p = 0.004) and muscle strength for knee and trunk muscles (p < 0.05), although no changes were observed for ankle joint muscles. Hip and knee joint flexibility also increased (p < 0.05). After the retention period, all tested variables except the 6MWT and knee joint flexibility regressed and were not different from the pre-tests.

The improvements in strength, flexibility, and possibly motor coordination brought by the EXECP intervention were transferred to significant functional gains. The regression towards baseline after the intervention highlights that training must be a life-long decision for individuals with CP.

Keywordscerebral palsychildren (age groups)cerebral strokeyoung adultsphysical functioningmotor functionstrainingintervention (treatment methods)rehabilitation

Free keywordschildren; young adults; training; rehabilitation; walking introduction

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

Preliminary JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-13-02 at 12:01