Resistive exercise training in cardiac rehabilitation. An update

Sports Med. 1996 May;21(5):347-83. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199621050-00004.


Resistive exercise training has become very popular for patients of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programmes (CRPs). For decades, CRPs focused almost exclusively on improving cardiorespiratory endurance and most programmes ignored muscular fitness development. Moreover, resistance training was thought to be potentially hazardous for the cardiac patient due to the risk of cardiovascular complications from adverse haemodynamic responses. We now know that resistive exercise testing and training is very safe for properly screened patients, even at relatively high workloads. Improvement in muscular strength facilitates return to daily vocational and avocational activities and is important for the CRP participant to regain lost strength and resume work soon after a cardiac event. Circuit weight training (CWT) is helpful in this respect and has been shown to increase muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, body composition, bone density and mineral content, self-confidence, and self-efficacy in various populations. This article presents an update on current research in cardiac patients and also presents guidelines for implementing a properly supervised cardiac resistive exercise programme.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Heart / physiology
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Heart Diseases / psychology
  • Heart Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Endurance
  • Physical Fitness
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Weight Lifting