Interval training with coronary artery disease

(9-4-2013) People suffering from cardiovascular training with coronary artery diseasedisease benefit greatly from proper training. Especially cardiovascular exercise, which exercises the heart, leads to many positive effects regarding health and daily functioning. Despite the many advantages many heart patients have difficulty finding the time to exercise regularly. To find a solution for this excuse, scientists from the University of Ontario Canada performed a study regarding the effects of an interval training with coronary artery disease patients.

What did the researchers do?

The researchers recruted 22 patient suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD). The patients were randomly divided over two groups. Both groups trained twice a week for 12 weeks in total. One group performed cardiotraining at 58% of their peak power output on a stationary bicycle. The first four weeks they trained for 30 minutes, the next four weeks 40 minutes and 50 minutes during the last four weeks. The other group performed an interval training which consisted of 1 minute high intensity intervals at 89% of their peak power output alternated with 1 minute of 10% of their peak power output. Total training time in the interval group was 10 minutes. After the first four weeks, exercise intensity was increased to 102% of original peak power output and to 110% in the last four weeks. Exercise duration remained at 10 minutes in the interval group. Before and after the 12 week training period, the subjects were tested on Maximum Oxygen consumption (VO2max), peak power output and on anaerobic threshold.

What were the results?

The results of the study are depicted in the figures below

Interval training with coronary artery disease effects on VO2max










Figure 1: VO2max values in ml/min/kg

Interval training with coronary artery disease effects on Power output










Figure 2: Peak Power Output in W


Interval training with coronary artery disease effects on anaerobic threshold










Figure 3: Anaerobic Threshold in VO2Max

Both Training protocols resulted in significant improvements in VO2max, Peak Power Output and Anaerobic Threshold. There were no significant differences between both training protocols.

What did the researchers conclude?

The researchers concluded that a short HIIT protocol of only 10 minutes is just as effective as a moderate intensity training protocol of 30-50 minutes. In addition, the patients were perfectly able to perform the high intensity training and no complications occured as a result of the training.

What does this mean for me?

-Both short HIIT programs as longer moderate intensity cardio training are effective in increasing endurance and daily functioning in CAD patients.

-To achieve good results a HIIT protocol is much more time efficient, requiring only 10 minutes instead of 30-50.


-Currie, K.D., Dubberley, J.B., McKelvie, R.S., MacDonald, M.J. Low-Volume, High-Intensity Interval Training in Patients with CAD. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2013, 45, 8, 1436-1442.