Dialysis is a rough procedure and many patients spend hours in bed during their time on in it. This leads to both muscle wasting and the possibility of infected bed sores.
Molsted, et al 2013 wanted to determine if strength could be maintained or improved during dialysis treatments. 29 patients undergoing dialysis were selected. They had their one rep repetition max knee extension, rate of force development (by EMG), a 20 sec static knee extension hold and a muscle biopsy.
The patients underwent 16 weeks of strength training in conjunction with treatment. Their 1 rep max leg extension showed a 46% increase, the RFD showed 21-38% increase, and the amplitude of the electromyography improved 33%. The electromyography signals remained unchanged. Biopsy revealed slightly larger type 2 muscle cells.
This demonstrates that even abbreviated training for the very sick can lead to significant increases in strength and muscle mass.