Circuit weight training (CWT) has been used in our cardiac exercise program since 1983. In 1986, 3-year changes in strength, self-efficacy (SE), body weight, and skinfolds were studied in 25 men (58 ± 8 years) involved in the cardiac exercise program. All patients regularly performed cardiovascular (CV) endurance exercise consisting of walking and jogging or cycling. Seventeen of these patients also performed CWT while eight did not (CV group). Strength was the sum of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) on six arm and two leg machines on a Universal gym (Universal Gym Equipment, Cedar Rapids, IA), and a maximum handgrip test. The SE scales measured perceived ability to engage in arm or leg tasks. At each of the 10 machines, CWT patients performed 12–15 repetitions at 40% of 1RM within 30 seconds, and rested 30 seconds between machines. Two circuits were performed during each exercise session. Sessions were scheduled three times per week. There were no changes in handgrip strength. The CWT group significantly increased 13% in arm strength, 40% in leg strength, and 16% in arm SE. The CV group significantly decreased 11% in arm SE. Leg SE increased 5.6% in the CWT group and decreased 20% in the CV group (P <.11). No serious cardiac or orthopedic complications occurred with CWT. Thus, compared with participation in only a traditional program, CWT improved arm and leg strength, was accompanied by increased SE for activities similar to the training tasks, and was performed safely by our group of selected cardiac patients.
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