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Circuit weight training and cardiac morphology: a trial with magnetic resonance imaging
  1. M D Camargo1,
  2. R Stein2,
  3. J P Ribeiro2,
  4. P R Schvartzman3,
  5. M O Rizzatti2,
  6. B D Schaan1
  1. 1
    Institute of Cardiology of Rio Grande do Sul/FUC (IC/FUC), Porto Alegre, Brazil
  2. 2
    Exercise Pathophysiology Research Laboratory and Cardiology Division, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil
  3. 3
    Medicina Diagnóstica Mãe de Deus Center, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
  1. Beatriz D Schaan, Unidade de Pesquisa do IC/FUC, Av. Princesa Isabel, 370 Santana, 90.620-001 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil; bschaan.pesquisa{at}


Background: Aerobic training (AT) and circuit weight training (CWT) improve peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak). During CWT the circulatory system is exposed to higher pressure, which could induce left ventricle morphological adaptations, possibly distinct from those derived from aerobic training.

Objective: To compare the effects of aerobic training and CWT upon morphological and functional cardiac adaptations detected by magnetic resonance imaging.

Methods: Twenty healthy sedentary individuals were randomly assigned to participate in a 12-week programme of aerobic training (n = 6), CWR (n = 7) or no intervention (n = 7, controls). Training programmes consisted of 36 sessions, 35 min each, 3 times per week, at 70% of maximal heart rate, and CWT included series of resistance exercises performed at 60% of 1 maximal repetition. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging were performed before and after the intervention.

Results: There was a similar improvement in VO2peak following aerobic training (mean (SD) increment: 12 (4)%) and CWT (12 (4)%), while there was no change in the control group. Aerobic training (12 (6)%) and CWT (16 (5)%) improved strength in the lower limbs, and only CWT resulted in improvement of 13 (4)% in the strength of the upper limbs. However, there were no detectable changes in left ventricular mass, end-diastolic volume, stroke volume or ejection fraction.

Conclusion: In previously sedentary individuals, short-term CWT and aerobic training induce similar improvement in functional capacity without any adaptation in cardiac morphology detectable by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • Funding: This study was partially supported by a grant from FIPE-Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre and FAPICC (funding research of Institute of Cardiology of Rio Grande do Sul).

  • Competing interests: None.

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