Effect of Resistance Training and Aerobic Conditioning on Muscular Strength and Submaximal Fitness for Individuals with Chronic Heart Failure: Influence of Age and Gender

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Swank, AM, Funk, DC, Manire, JT, Allard, AL, and Denny, DM. Effect of resistance training and aerobic conditioning on muscular strength and submaximal fitness for individuals with chronic heart failure: influence of age and gender. J Strength Cond Res 24(5): 1298-1305, 2010-The hallmark characteristic of chronic heart failure (CHF) is exercise intolerance. This study evaluated a combined exercise program that would be consistent with current cardiac rehabilitation guidelines. The program consisted of progressive resistance training (intensity progressing from 50 to 80% maximum) and aerobic conditioning (70% of heart rate reserve). Outcomes included muscular strength measured as 8-repetition maximum and submaximal aerobic fitness indicators (measured at 50% of predicted maximal oxygen consumption) including heart rate, blood pressure, and rate pressure product. Subjects were taken retrospectively from a database of CHF patients who underwent cardiac rehabilitation between 1998 and 2004 with the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center of River Cities Cardiology in Jeffersonville, IN. The same data set was used to evaluate 2 research questions: to compare training outcomes between gender (men and women) and to compare outcomes between young (≤65 years) and old (>65 years) subjects. Forty-two subjects (15 women and 27 men; 19 were ≤65 and 23 were >65 years of age) met inclusion and exclusion criteria and underwent 36 sessions of cardiac rehabilitation over a 14-week time period. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to test whether strength and submaximal responses differed across gender or age. Analysis indicated that regardless of gender or age, subjects significantly increased their strength on each of 6 strength tests. Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and rate pressure product were lower after training indicating increased aerobic efficiency. Progressive resistance training and aerobic conditioning prescribed in a manner consistent with cardiac rehabilitation guidelines resulted in similar improvements regardless of gender or age for individuals with CHF suggesting that no training program adjustments are necessary to accommodate age or gender.

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