The effect of chest wall restriction on exercise capacity

J. Richard Coast, Camala C. Cline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Subjects with restrictive pulmonary disease exhibit a decreased exercise capacity compared to non-diseased subjects, as do subjects in certain workplace situations, for example when wearing bullet-proof vests. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of varying degrees of chest wall restrictive loading on exercise performance. We have designed and validated a chest wall restrictor that mimics the elastic loading occurring in some disease states and some occupational situations. Methodology: In this study, 18 subjects performed five graded maximal cycling tests while wearing the device at four different inflation pressures (0, 20, 40, and 60 mmHg). Results: Maximal values of oxygen uptake (V̇O2max), minute ventilation (V̇1max), tidal volume (VT at max) and breathing frequency (fB at max) were monitored, as was the time to maximal exercise (TTM). V̇O2, V̇1, VT, and fB were also measured at three submaximal loads. The results showed that V̇O2max, V1max, TTM, and VT at max were significantly decreased, while fB at max was maintained. At submaximal loads, the ventilatory parameters VT, and fB were altered with load, but V̇1 and V̇O2 were not affected by load. Conclusions: These results indicate that the wearing of this device decreases variables associated with maximal exercise, and that the decreases are related to the degree of chest wall restriction. Furthermore, submaximal exercise ventilation was minimally altered, with an increase in fB and a decrease in VT associated with increasing restrictive loads. Submaximal oxygen uptake was not affected by breathing restriction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Cycling exercise
  • Restricted breathing
  • Tidal volume
  • Work of breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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