The outcomes of quantitative investigations examining the effectiveness of exercise interventions for people with COPD are limited by the small number of measurement tools that can be included. In contrast, qualitative inquiry allows broader exploration of the perceived outcomes of an intervention. The purpose of this investigation is to explore the qualitative outcomes of a progressive resistance exercise (PRE) program for people with COPD. People with COPD, enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of PRE, were invited to participate in two semi-structured interviews conducted at the end (12 weeks) and 12 weeks after the training intervention (24 weeks). Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and then coded independently by two researchers. Themes relating to training outcomes were then developed and described. Twenty-two participants were interviewed at 12 weeks, and 19 participants at 24 weeks. After PRE, participants reported a range of physical gains, particularly with regard to improved strength and reduced breathlessness during daily activities. Improved control and confidence during activities of daily living were important psychological benefits perceived by people with COPD, as was the social support experienced during group training sessions. At 24 weeks, confidence persisted despite a perceived plateau or dissipation of physical gains. People with COPD reported physical, psychological and social benefits after PRE, which had a positive effect on activity performance. Although the perceived physical benefits of training were not prominent at 24 weeks, feelings of increased confidence and control persisted.