The STAR Trial: Strength Training for Adolescents with ceRebral palsy

The STAR trial evaluated strength training for young people with cerebral palsy. People with cerebral palsy generally have weak muscles. Their calf muscles in particular can be weak which may make it more difficult to do activities like walk and climb stairs.


In the STAR trial, we evaluated the effects of strength training for the calf muscles in young people with cerebral palsy aged 10-19 years and we asked them what they thought of the programme.

The objectives of the STAR trial were to:


Evaluate the effect of strength training on muscle strength, gait efficiency, and participation in physical activity and everyday activities.


Evaluate the effect of strength training on the function and structure of the calf muscle and Achilles tendon.


Explore what young people thought about strength training and what physiotherapists thought about delivering a strength training programme.

What we did

We conducted a randomised controlled trial involving 64 young people with cerebral palsy. Half of them took part in a strength training programme for 10 weeks, three times per week. The other half continued with their usual physiotherapy. We measured muscle strength, gait efficiency, physical activity and several other outcomes in all young people before and after the 10-week programme. We also interviewed young people and physiotherapists to understand what they thought about the programme.

The team

The research team was:

  • Dr Jennifer Ryan, Dr. Grace Lavelle, Dr. Marika Noorkoiv, Dr. Cherry Kilbride, Dr Thomas Korff, and Professor Bill Baltzopoulos from Brunel University London
  • Dr Nicola Theis from University of Gloucester
  • Dr Adam Shortland from Guy’s Hospital
  • Wendy Levin from Swiss Cottage School


The STAR trial was funded by Action Medical Research and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Charitable Trust.