The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of moderate-intensity, progressive, upper-body resistance training (RT) on muscle strength and perceived performance of household physical activities (HPA) among women in cardiac rehabilitation.
The 10-week, pretest-posttest, experiment randomized women to either usual care (UC) aerobic exercise or RT. Muscle strength for 5 upper-body RT exercises (chest press, shoulder press, biceps curl, lateral row, and triceps extension) was measured using the 1-Repetition Maximum Assessment. The RT group progressively increased weight lifted using 40%, 50%, and 60% of obtained 1-Repetition Maximum Assessment at 3-week intervals. Perceived performance of HPA was measured with the Kimble Household Activities Scale.
The RT group (n = 16, mean age 64 ± 11) significantly increased muscle strength in all 5 exercises in comparison with the UC group (n = 14, mean age 65 ± 10) (chest press, 18% vs 11%; shoulder press, 24% vs 14%; biceps curl, 21% vs 12%; lateral row, 32% vs 9%; and triceps extension, 28% vs 20%, respectively). By study end, Household Activities Scale scores significantly increased (F = 13.878, P = .001) in the RT group (8.75 ± 3.19 vs 11.25 ± 2.14), whereas scores in the UC group decreased (8.60 ± 3.11 vs 6.86 ± 4.13).
Progressive upper-body RT in women shows promise as an effective tool to increase muscle strength and improve the ability to perform HPA after a cardiac event. Beginning RT early after a cardiac event in a monitored cardiac rehabilitation environment can maximize the strengthening benefit.