Top Things to Know: Resistance Exercise Training in Individuals With and Without Cardiovascular Disease: 2023 Update

Published: December 07, 2023

  1. Resistance training is beneficial for cardiometabolic health and benefits a wide range of populations:
    • Resistance training (RT), also known as strength training, provides significant health benefits related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. It improves blood pressure, glycemia, lipid profiles, and body composition, particularly benefiting older adults and those with elevated cardiometabolic risk.
    • RT has positive effects on non-traditional CVD risk factors, such as cardiorespiratory fitness, endothelial function, and psychological well-being.
    • Combining RT with aerobic training may offer more benefit in reducing certain CVD risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia, compared to resistance training or aerobic training alone.
    • Resistance training offers tailored health benefits for specific populations including pregnant and postpartum women, older adults, individuals with heart failure, peripheral artery disease, HIV, Alzheimer's Disease, and chronic kidney disease. These benefits encompass improvements in muscular strength, body composition, cardiovascular risk factors, and functional capacity.
  2. Resistance training regimens can be simple and do not require a lot of time:
    • Mode: RT can involve free weights, body weight exercises, machine weights, and resistance bands. Body weight training can be equally effective as training with weights or machines.
    • Amount: For apparently healthy adults, a regimen of 8 to 10 different exercises involving major muscle groups, performed in 1 to 3 sets of moderate intensity loads (allowing 8 to 12 repetitions per set) at least two times a week, is effective for achieving both muscular and cardiovascular benefits.
    • Progression: Gradually increasing the resistance, number of sets, or frequency of training over time is crucial for continued improvements in muscle adaptation and strength.
    • Safety: RT is generally safe for individuals with various health conditions. However, proper evaluation and monitoring for contraindications is crucial especially in individuals with specific health conditions, such as diabetes, musculoskeletal limitations, or cardiovascular issues.
  3. Resistance training participation is low and a focus on promotion strategies is needed:
    • Despite its benefits, participation rates in RT are lower in the U.S. population compared to aerobic training. To promote RT, addressing barriers like equipment availability, perceived complexity, and how to safely and effectively perform RT is essential. Utilizing technology, such as mobile apps and online videos, can expand access to RT interventions, particularly for individuals without contraindications who require minimal supervision.
    • Disparities exist in RT participation across demographic groups, with older individuals, females, non-white populations, and those with lower socioeconomic status being less likely to engage in RT. Tailoring RT promotion strategies to specific populations and considering socio-ecological factors can help address these disparities and improve RT participation rates.


Paluch AE, Boyer WR, Franklin BA, Laddu D, Lobelo F, Lee D, McDermott MM, Swift DL, Webel AR, Lane A; on behalf the American Heart Association Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; and Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease. Resistance exercise training in individuals with and without cardiovascular disease: 2023 update: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Published online December 7, 2023. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000001189