Project aims and overview Project aims and overview

We want to find out whether a new therapy called Functional Strength Training (FST) is effective for people later after their stroke.

What is Functional Strength Training (FST)?

Every day we need to perform a wide range of movements, such as walking, lifting, pushing, pulling, bending and twisting. The purpose of Functional Strength Training (FST) is to work to improve strength in a way that the activities of daily living are easier to perform.

This means practising tasks while gradually increasing the number of repetitions or making it harder bit by bit. FST is a progressive, resistive, low-intensity exercise.

What is FeSTIvAlS?

To test the possible benefits for individuals that have had a stroke, the FeSTIvAlS trial provided functional strength training in their own homes by a Research Physiotherapist for one hour per day, four days per week for a total of six weeks.

All participants were chosen at random to receive FST for either their paretic upper limb or paretic lower limb.

FST for the Lower Limb focused on functional activities, for example sit-to-stand with body weight used as resistance. The height of the supporting surface will be progressively lowered as participants improve.

FST for the Upper Limb focused on motions such as reaching, retrieving and manipulating everyday objects for activities such as pouring water from a jug, opening jars and lacing a shoe.


The participants who were allocated to FST-upper limb had better hand and arm function at the end of the trial than participants allocated to FST-lower limb. This was statistically significant. There were no statistically significant differences for lower limb function.


Mares, K, Cross, J, Clark, A, Barton, G, Poland, F, O'Driscoll, M, Watson, MJ, McGlashan, K, Myint, P and Pomeroy, V .The FeSTivaLS trial protocol: a randomized evaluation of the efficacy of functional strength training on enhancing walking and upper limb function later after stroke. International Journal of Stroke. 2012;7:86-93

Key Contact

Kath Mares
+44 (0) 01603 593099