The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effects of a combined cardiorespiratory and resistance exercise training program of short duration on the cardiorespiratory fitness, strength endurance, task specific functional muscle capacity, body composition and quality of life (QOL) in women breast cancer survivors. Sixteen subjects were randomly assigned to either a training (n = 8; age: 50 +/- 5 yrs) or control non-exercising group (n = 8; age: 51 +/- 10 yrs). The training group followed an 8-week exercise program consisting of 3 weekly sessions of 90-min duration, supervised by an experienced investigator and divided into resistance exercises and aerobic training. Before and after the intervention period, all of the subjects performed a cardiorespiratory test to measure peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), a dynamic strength endurance test (maximum number of repetitions for chest and leg press exercise at 30 - 35 % and 100 - 110 % of body mass, respectively) and a sit-stand test. Quality of life was assessed using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 (EORTC-C30) questionnaire. In response to training, QOL, VO2peak (mean 3.9 ml/kg/min; 95 % CI, 0.93, 6.90) performance in leg press (17.9 kg; 95 % CI, 12.8, 22.4) and sit-stand test (- 0.67 s; 95 % CI, - 0.52, - 1.2) improved (p < or = 0.05). We observed no significant changes in the control group. Combined cardiorespiratory and resistance training, even of very brief duration, improves the QOL and the overall physical fitness of women breast cancer survivors.