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Cardiac Rehabilitation: Weight and Resistance Training

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Topic Overview

Resistance training with weights, elastic bands, or your own body weight may help you regain the physical strength and confidence to do the daily tasks you performed before your heart problem or surgery. Resistance training can help you get the most benefit from your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab)program.

Do not start a strength-training program without discussing it with your doctor. Your doctor can help make sure your training program is as safe as possible for you. Everyone is different. So you, your doctor, and your cardiac rehab team will create an exercise program that fits with your health risks and your fitness level.

A physical therapist or other rehab professional can carefully design and monitor a program that's right for your level of injury and fitness. They will help teach you how to train with weights and will check to make sure you are exercising safely.

You might do weight training 2 or 3 days each week. You will start with light weights and add more weight as you get stronger. You will likely do 8 to 10 different exercises that work the major muscle groups. These exercises may include the chest press, leg press, and biceps curl.


Other Works Consulted

  • American College of Sports Medicine (2010). Exercise prescription for patients with cardiac disease. In WR Thompson et al., eds., ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed., pp. 207-224. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  • Williams MA, et al. (2007). Resistance exercise in individuals with and without cardiovascular disease: 2007 update: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism. Circulation, 116(5): 572-584.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRichard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Current as ofDecember 6, 2017

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