Aerobic and Resistance Training in Coronary Disease: Single versus Multiple Sets

MARZOLINI, Susan1,2; OH, Paul I.1; THOMAS, Scott G.3; GOODMAN, Jack M.3

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318177eb7f
CLINICAL SCIENCES: Clinical Investigations

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare resistance training (RT) (one set vs three sets) combined with aerobic training (AT) versus AT alone in persons with coronary artery disease.

Methods: Subjects (n = 72) were randomized to AT (5 d·wk−1) or combined AT (3 d·wk−1) with either one set (AT/RT1) or three sets (AT/RT3) of RT performed 2 d·wk−1. V˙O2peak, ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VAT), strength and endurance, body composition, and adherence were measured before and after 29 wk of training.

Results: Fifty-three subjects (mean ± SEM age 61 ± 2) completed the training. The increase from baseline in V˙O2peak (L·min−1) averaged 11% for AT (P < 0.05), 14% for AT/RT1 (P < 0.01), and 18% for AT/RT3 (P < 0.001), however, the difference between groups was not significant. VAT improved significantly in the AT/RT3 group only (P < 0.05). The AT/RT3 group gained more lean mass than the AT group (1.5 versus 0.4 kg, P < 0.01), yet gains between AT/RT1 and AT were similar (P = 0.2). Only AT + RT groups demonstrated a reduction in body fat (P < 0.05). Strength and endurance increased more in the AT + RT groups than AT alone (P < 0.05). Adherence to number of sets performed was lower in AT/RT3 than AT/RT1 (P < 0.02).

Conclusions: Combined AT + RT yields more pronounced physiological adaptations than AT alone and appears to be superior in producing improvements in V˙O2peak, muscular strength and endurance, and body composition. The data support the use of multiple set RT for patients desiring an increased RT stimulus which may further augment parameters that affect V˙O2peak, VAT, lower body endurance, and muscle mass in a cardiac population.

Author Information

1Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; 2Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; and 3Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Jack Goodman, Ph.D., Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, 55 Harbord St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2W6; E-mail:

Submitted for publication October 2007.

Accepted for publication March 2008.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine