This study investigated the influence of cardiac intervention and physical capacity of individuals attending an Australian outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program on the initial exercise prescription. A total of 85 patients commencing outpatient cardiac rehabilitation at a major metropolitan hospital had their physical capacity assessed by an incremental shuttle walk test, and the initial aerobic exercise intensity and resistance training load prescribed were recorded. Physical capacity was lower in surgical patients than nonsurgical patients. While physical capacity was higher in younger compared with older surgical patients, there was no difference between younger and older nonsurgical patients. The initial exercise intensity did not differ between surgical and nonsurgical patients. This study highlights the importance of preprogram exercise testing to enable exercise prescription to be individualized according to actual physical capacity, rather than symptoms, comorbidities and age, in order to maximize the benefit of cardiac rehabilitation.