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Evidence from large multicentre exercise intervention trials in heart failure patients, investigating both moderate continuous aerobic training and high intensity interval training, indicates that the ‘crème de la crème’ exercise programme for this population remains to be found. The ‘aerobic/resistance/inspiratory (ARIS) muscle training hypothesis in heart failure’ is introduced, suggesting that combined ARIS muscle training may result in maximal exercise pathophysiological and functional benefits in heart failure patients. The hypothesis is based on the decoding of the ‘skeletal muscle hypothesis in heart failure’ and on revision of experimental evidence to date showing that exercise and functional intolerance in heart failure patients are associated not only with reduced muscle endurance, indication for aerobic training (AT), but also with reduced muscle strength and decreased inspiratory muscle function contributing to weakness, dyspnoea, fatigue and low aerobic capacity, forming the grounds for the addition of both resistance training (RT) and inspiratory muscle training (IMT) to AT. The hypothesis will be tested by comparing all potential exercise combinations, ARIS, AT/RT, AT/IMT, AT, evaluating both functional and cardiac indices in a large sample of heart failure patients of New York Heart Association class II–III and left ventricular ejection fraction ≤35% ad hoc by the multicentre randomized clinical trial, Aerobic Resistance, InSpiratory Training OutcomeS in Heart Failure (ARISTOS-HF trial).