Purpose: Weakening of trunk muscles in stroke patients hinders functional ability, safety and balance. To confirm whether strengthening trunk muscles could facilitate rehabilitation of stroke patients, we investigated the effectiveness of sling exercise therapy (SET) using closed kinetic chain exercises to
activate trunk muscles and improve balance in stroke patients.

Subjects and Methods: Twenty stroke patients with chronic hemiplegia were equally divided into 2 groups, a SET group and a control group that performed regular exercises on a mat with the assistance of a table. Patients in both groups exercised for 30 min, three times per week for 4 weeks. Trunk muscle activity was measured using surface electromyography, whereas balance was measured using the Berg Balance Scale, Frailty and Injuries Cooperative Studies of Intervention
Technique, Timed Up & Go test, and BioRescue before and after the 4-week experimental period.

Results: Trunk muscle activity and balance before and after intervention in both groups were significantly different. However, no significant differences were observed between the 2 groups.

Conclusion: Although SET was not more effective than regular exercise, significant improvement was observed before and after SET. Therefore, SET can be considered effective in strengthening trunk muscles in stroke patients with chronic hemiplegia.

Key words: Chronic stroke patients, Sling exercise therapy, Trunk muscles