Effects of lower limb reciprocal pedalling exercise on motor function after stroke: a systematic review of randomized and nonrandomized studies


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.
  • Funding: N. J. H. is funded by the Medical Research Council UAE PhD studentship.

Correspondence: Nicola J. Hancock*, Restorative Neurology Group, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Queen's Building, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.

E-mail: n.hancock@uea.ac.uk


This review systematically synthesized current evidence on the effects of lower limb reciprocal pedalling exercise on motor function poststroke. Detailed analysis of single studies in the review revealed multiple instances of heterogeneity including outcome measures; therefore we decided to avoid undertaking a single, potentially misleading meta-analysis. We found that despite beneficial (although nondefinitive) effects on balance, functional independence, and muscle strength, it is not possible to make clinical recommendations that support or refute the use of reciprocal pedalling exercise to enhance recovery of motor function after stroke. Our findings provide proof-of-concept for pedalling interventions and provide a foundation for subsequent research, suggesting a need for further standardized, controlled clinical trials of clearly described pedalling interventions for stroke survivors and with subsequent transparent reported findings.