Prescription of resistance training for health and disease

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Jan;31(1):38-45. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199901000-00008.


When prescribed appropriately, resistance training is effective for developing fitness, health, and for the prevention and rehabilitation of orthopedic injuries. Because resistance training is an integral component in the comprehensive health program promoted by the major health organizations (e.g., American College of Sports Medicine, American Heart Association, American Association of Cardiovascular and Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Surgeon General's Office), population-specific guidelines have recently been published. The current research indicates that, for healthy persons of all ages and many patients with chronic diseases, single set programs of up to 15 repetitions performed a minimum of 2 d x wk(-1) are recommended. Each workout session should consist of 8-10 different exercises that train the major muscle groups. Single set programs are less time consuming and more cost efficient, which generally translates into improved program compliance. Further, single set programs are recommended for the above-mentioned populations because they produce most of the health and fitness benefits of multiple set programs. The goal of this type of program is to develop and maintain a significant amount of muscle mass, endurance, and strength to contribute to overall fitness and health. Patients with chronic diseases (e.g., arthritis) may have to limit range of motion for some exercises and use lighter weights with more repetitions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Heart Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Weight Lifting*
  • Weight-Bearing