Increased resistance training does not yield any additional benefits for cardiac rehabilitation patients, a new study has found.
Researchers compared two resistance training (RT) regimens of different intensity in combination with aerobic exercise training (AT), and found that the higher volume of RT in combination with AT does not yield any benefits.
"Our data demonstrate that for cardiac patients, women and men engaged in combined AT and RT, a twice-per-week 3 set into 15 reps volume of resistance exercise performed on 10 different lifts resulted in no training advantage over 2 set into 12 reps," said Serge P. von Duvillard, PhD, FACSM, FECSS, Director, Applied Physiology Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology-Exercise Science and Biology, The College of Idaho.
"Furthermore, combining resistance protocol with more traditional AT in cardiac rehabilitation programs resulted in substantial physical fitness benefits, as well as reductions in cardiovascular risk markers.
"In the interest of supervision time, exercise duration, and equipment usage, applying the 2 set into 12 reps model of resistance exercise appears effective and efficient," Duvillard said.
Investigators compared the effectiveness of RT combined with aerobic training in a residential cardiac rehabilitation setting. 295 patients were randomly divided into 2 groups that performed two levels of RT.
Patients at the higher repetition level were performing about twice the exercise of the other group. Patients all completed moderate AT composed of cycling 6 times per week and walking 5 times per week during the 26-day rehabilitation.
Both groups showed equivalent improvement in exercise capacity, muscular strength, hemodynamics and blood chemistries regardless of RT volume.
Blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk indicators were generally improved. Maximal oxygen uptake increased by 11 percent. There were modest but significant reductions in resting heart rate and resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Collectively, these results point to a reduction in overall cardiac risk, along with improvement in physiologic performance variables that should result in an improvement in quality of life.
Patients enrolled in the study did not exhibit adverse effects like increased blood pressure or heart rate or cardiac events as the result of RT.
The study is scheduled for publication in the October issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.