Exercises for CHFers Exercising with heart failure
Flexibility and balance
Resistance training
Endurance training
Exercise equipment
Examples of workouts
Exercise and supplements
Many CHFers are not ready to lift weights!
Begin by building up your strength with other resistance exercises. See

 General Weightlifting Principles

Heart Failure & Weight Training
If you are class 4, don't use weights. If you are class 3, talk to your doctor first! He might want you supervised at first. I don't agree with this but he is the doctor. See this page before weight training!
See this page.
Weight training is not a quick or easy fix. Set 6-month goals. What we want is to feel better. Set realistic goals and keep lifting.
Safety First
Lifting weights with heart failure is to make your life easier! Getting injured will make your life harder, so work out right. 
Weight training works because you overload your muscles, making them do more than they are used to doing. They respond by getting stronger. Training hard won't get you the results you want - training smart will. Overload followed by enough recovery is how you make progress.
This has nothing to do with pain. Intensity means that you do every exercise the absolute best you can, with really good form and really good effort. This makes short workouts work.
Morning or Evening?
Try whichever appeals to you and see how it goes. Switch if it doesn't work well.
This is a big factor in "designing" your workouts. At first, it really doesn't matter because with heart failure, you must start slow. Later, as you add exercises and sets, time begins to matter. Setting goals that are what you want counts.
Do it, and do it first. See
Stay in complete control of the weight during every exercise. If your form is poor, you're probably using too much weight. Use a movement speed that feels right for you - not real fast but not real slow is usually best.
Positive and Negative
Every weight lifting exercise has 2 phases: Positive (concentric) and Negative (eccentric). The movement that "flexes" the muscle is the positive phase, and the movement that returns the weight to its starting position is the negative phase.
Don't Forget To Breathe!
Generally, as you begin a rep, exhale through your mouth and keep exhaling until the muscle is "flexed." As you return the weight to its starting position, inhale through your nose. It's easy to hold your breath without realizing it but this is bad for your heart, so breathe.
Exercises, Sets & Reps
Dumbbell curls and calf raises are examples of exercises.
Sets are a group of reps with no rest between them. If you do 10 dumbbell curls without stopping, you have done one set. Rest between sets! I take 2 to 4 minutes and think that for a CHFer, this is about right. 
A repetition is doing a movement once. How many reps you do depends on the exercise, your physical condition, and your goals. I start a new exercise at a weight I can handle for 6 reps. After slowly increasing over time the number of reps I can do at that weight, I increase the weight and drop back to about 6 reps, then slowly increase reps again as I am able. Eventually, I raise the amount of weight again and drop back to 6 reps, repeating the cycle.
Barbell Safety
When using your barbell on a rack, never take more than 25 pounds off one side - then take the same amount off the other side, back and forth. Take more off one end and your barbell can flip off the rack end-over-end like lightning. This is incredibly dangerous.

All information on this site is opinion only. All concepts, explanations, trials, and studies have been re-written in plain English and may contain errors. I am not a doctor. Use the reference information at the end of each article to search MedLine for more complete and accurate information. All original copyrights apply. No information on this page should be used by any person to affect their medical, physical, legal, educational, social, or psychological treatment in any way. I am not a doctor. This web site and all its pages, graphics, and content copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Jon C.

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