Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare resistance training (RT) (one set vs three sets) combined with aerobic training (AT) versus AT alone in persons with coronary artery disease.
Methods: Subjects (n = 72) were randomized to AT (5 d x wk(-1)) or combined AT (3 d x wk(-1)) with either one set (AT/RT1) or three sets (AT/RT3) of RT performed 2 d x wk(-1). VO2peak, ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VAT), strength and endurance, body composition, and adherence were measured before and after 29 wk of training.
Results: Fifty-three subjects (mean +/- SEM age 61 +/- 2) completed the training. The increase from baseline in VO2peak (L x min(-1)) averaged 11% for AT (P < 0.05), 14% for AT/RT1 (P < 0.01), and 18% for AT/RT3 (P < 0.001), however, the difference between groups was not significant. VAT improved significantly in the AT/RT3 group only (P < 0.05). The AT/RT3 group gained more lean mass than the AT group (1.5 versus 0.4 kg, P < 0.01), yet gains between AT/RT1 and AT were similar (P = 0.2). Only AT + RT groups demonstrated a reduction in body fat (P < 0.05). Strength and endurance increased more in the AT + RT groups than AT alone (P < 0.05). Adherence to number of sets performed was lower in AT/RT3 than AT/RT1 (P < 0.02).
Conclusions: Combined AT + RT yields more pronounced physiological adaptations than AT alone and appears to be superior in producing improvements in VO2peak, muscular strength and endurance, and body composition. The data support the use of multiple set RT for patients desiring an increased RT stimulus which may further augment parameters that affect VO2peak, VAT, lower body endurance, and muscle mass in a cardiac population.