Implementing resistance training in the rehabilitation of coronary heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • Resistance training has demonstrated efficacy in cardiac rehabilitation programs, but the optimal prescription of resistance training is unknown. This systematic review with meta-analysis compared the effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation consisting of resistance training either alone (RT) or in combination with aerobic training (CT) with aerobic training only (AT) on outcomes of physical function. Further, resistance training intensity and intervention duration were examined to identify if these factors moderate efficacy.Six electronic databases were searched to identify studies investigating RT, coronary heart disease and physical function. The overall quality of evidence was assessed using the GRADE approach. Meta-analyses were performed when possible and qualitative analysis was performed for the remaining data.Improvements in peak oxygen uptake (WMD: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.20-1.10), peak work capacity (SMD: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.11-0.64) and muscular strength (SMD: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.43-0.87) significantly favoured CT over AT with moderate quality evidence. There was no evidence of a difference in effect when comparing RT and AT. Shorter duration CT was superior to shorter duration AT for improving peak oxygen uptake and muscular strength (low quality evidence) while longer duration CT was only superior to longer duration AT in improving muscular strength (moderate quality evidence).CT is more beneficial than AT alone for improving physical function. Although preliminary findings are promising, more high-quality evidence is required to determine the efficacy of high intensity resistance training. Shorter duration interventions that include resistance training might allow patients to return to their normal activities of daily living earlier.

publication date

  • 2017