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February 9, 1952


Author Affiliations

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chief of Physical Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital.

JAMA. 1952;148(6):443-446. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930060025008

The prescription of any of the many varieties of therapeutic exercise should be detailed and specific depending on their purpose. For example, the aim may be to improve coordination, reeducate muscles, increase range of joint motion or enhance endurance. The purpose of progressive resistance exercise is primarily that of increasing strength. This technique is based on the sound physiological principle that one must contract against a resistance which calls forth a near maximal voluntary effort and that the resistance must be progressively increased in order to significantly and rapidly improve muscular strength or torque. There is a large body of evidence based on empiric practice that this is true for normal persons, as, for example, in the training of professional weight lifters. For a more detailed discussion of the physiology of this type of exercise the reader is referred to a recent publication by Hellebrandt.1

The application in clinical

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