Cross Training Best For Cardiac Patients

A new study, published in the ACSM’s journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, shows that coronary artery disease patients should replace their existing aerobic exercise programs with a combined resistance / aerobic training program.

The study looked at various markers of health important to individuals suffering from coronary artery disease.

These markers were:

  • Vo2 peak
  • Body Composition
  • Anaerobic Endurance
  • Muscular Strength
  • Muscular Endurance

The cross training (combined Resistance and Aerobic training) group demonstrated greater improvements than the aerobic group in every single marker of health.

After 29 weeks:

  • Vo2 peak – Improved 18% in the Cross-Training (CT) group and 11% in the Aerobic (AT) group (data)
  • Lean Body Mass – The CT group gained close to 4x more muscle mass than the AT group (1.5 kg v.s 0.4 kg) (data)
  • Body Fat – The CT group lost 2% body-fat while the AT group lost 0.1% (data)
  • Anaerobic Endurance – Insignificant changes in both the AT and CT groups (data)
  • Muscular Strength – The CT group increased their leg strength by 18%, while the AT group increased leg strength by only 6% (data)
  • Muscular Endurance – Muscular Endurance (tested by Leg Press) improved 100% in the CT group and only 15% in the AT group (data)


Scientific Conclusion


The major findings of this study are that replacing two aerobic training (AT) sessions with two Resistance Training (RT) sessions (creating a Cross Training (CT) workout) each week elicited similar or higher changes in cardiovascular fitness (V⋅O2peak) than AT alone (5 sessions per week) with the added benefits of significant gains in muscle strength, local muscle endurance, lean mass accretion and reduction in percent body fat in CAD patients.

These data support the hypothesis that combined RT/AT training (or CT) was superior in eliciting physiological adaptations, with more substantial gains seen with increased volume of RT for lean muscle mass, lower body muscular endurance, VAT, and V⋅O2peak.


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Related Posts

1. Aerobic and Resistance Training in Coronary Disease: Single versus Multiple Sets, Susan Marzolini; Paul I. Oh; Scott G. Thomas; Jack M. Goodman


One comment

  1. I’ve been running since a life-changing moment when I was 26 — I realized I was utterly out of shape and wanted to change that.

    I’m now 33 and in fantastic health. I run between 7-9 miles 3 times a week, weather permitting, as it’s a mix of cross-country and road.

    But I decided to step things up a gear about 2 months ago by joining a gym.

    Initially, partly due to a long standing knee injury, I really didn’t want to do any leg exercises. But my knee improved and decided to take all of my exercise routine on.

    I’ve since seen a massive improvement in my stamina and lung capacity, which really surprised me, especially since this is only the 2nd month.

    I’ve not actually lost weight, so I think I’ve just rearranged a whole bunch of fat molecules into muscle!

    But seriously, this is all down to cross training; ellipticals, some cycling and plenty of rowing. As well as a mixture of lower and upper body weight training, too.

    All of this takes at least 1-2 hours out of each day (I work out 6 days a week), but if I gain another 10 years of life on Earth, with most of those years spent healthy and disease free, I’d say it’s time invested, not ill spent…

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