The addition of strength training to aerobic interval training: effects on muscle strength and body composition in CHF patients

Anthi Bouchla, Eleftherios Karatzanos, Stavros Dimopoulos, Athanasios Tasoulis, Varvara Agapitou, Nikolaos Diakos, Eleni Tseliou, John Terrovitis, Serafim Nanas
Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention 2011, 31 (1): 47-51

PURPOSE: The loss of lean muscle mass and muscle strength is a common problem in chronic heart failure (CHF) patients. Endurance training is efficient in improving patient exercise capacity. This study sought to evaluate the additional effects of strength training on muscle strength and body composition in chf patients participating in an interval training program.

METHODS: Twenty consecutive, stable CHF patients participated in a rehabilitation program. Subjects were randomly assigned to aerobic (n = 10) or combined aerobic plus strength training group (n = 10). Aerobic group performed interval training on cycle ergometers. Strength training incorporated exercises for various muscle groups, including quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps brachii, and the deltoids. Both regimes were of the same duration. Body composition was evaluated by whole-body dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and quadriceps strength by the sum of the 2-repetition maximum (2-RM) test for each leg. Peak oxygen uptake (.VO(2peak)) and peak work load (W(peak)) as well as oxygen uptake (.VO(2AT)) and workload at anaerobic threshold (W(AT)) were evaluated by a symptom limited cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

RESULTS: Concerning leg lean mass, no significant within-subjects or between-groups changes were observed (P > .05). Both groups improved in 2-RM test (P < .05), while a significant difference was observed between groups (P < .05). .VO(2peak) and .VO(2AT) and W(peak) and W(AT) were equally improved between training groups (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Combined aerobic interval and strength training induces a greater benefit than interval training alone on muscle strength in CHF patients. Adaptations other than hypertrophy, such as muscle fiber type alterations and/or neuromuscular adjustments, may account for these results.

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