Summary Statements:

Proper Strength Training and its Effects on

Cardiovascular Fitness

Property performed, weight training (strength training) is an extremely effective means by which to stimulate cardiovascular health and Fitness. In fact, maximum increases in strength and cardiovascular fitness can be obtained from the same type of exercise -- strength training. This eliminates the need for two separate types of exercise for total fitness, i.e., weight training for strength and aerobic activity for cardiovascular fitness. In light of the fact that aerobic activities expose the participant to high levels of impact force -- therefore injuries, repetitive overuse syndromes, and muscle wasting, it is wise to avoid aerobics. The use of properly applied strength training for both strength and cardiovascular fitness is not only more effective and time efficient, but also much safer.  A careful study of human biology, anatomy, physiology, and mechanical physics combined with logical extrapolations, quite easily substantiates the superiority of strength training as the only sane, sensible, rational approach to total fitness. Additional scientific support is found in the following information, which summarizes the results of several research studies on the effect of high intensity, short rest weight training and its effect on cardiovascular health and fitness. Complete reprints of the formal scientific papers detailing the methods and results of these studies are available. 


1.  Excerpted from: Project Total Conditioning, Conducted at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. James A. Peterson, Ph.D. Paper presented to the Pre-Montreal Olympic Conference of the International Congress of Physical Activity Sciences, Quebec City, Canada, and July 15, 1976

"In the present study, by maintaining the intensity of the training at a high level, substantial improvement was achieved in both the level of muscular fitness and the cardiovascular condition of the experimental subjects. In addition to enabling the subjects to accommodate more resistance in a shorter period of time, the level of aerobic capacity of the experimental subjects was significantly increased. These results are contrary to the traditional viewpoint that weight training does not affect the cardiovascular efficiency of the individual trainee. Obviously, however, the consequences of a weight-training program are dependent upon the methods and equipment used in the program. Utilizing the mechanical and design advantages of Nautilus weight training equipment, a high intensity workout of relatively short duration resulted in improvement in more than merely the level of muscular fitness. Unfortunately, the misinformation and speculation attendant to many traditional practices in weight training have hampered the search for insight and clarification into the proper ways to train and the benefits of such training. Hopefully, the results of "Project Total Conditioning" provide, not only a partial solution to many of the enigmas associated with weight training, but also the impetus for additional scientific inquiry into this area."

-- James A. Peterson, Ph.D.


2. Excerpted from: Total Conditioning - A Case Study

"Contrary to most commonly held beliefs on the subject of strength training, the training also significantly improved the cardiovascular condition of the subjects. By maintaining the intensity of the workouts at a high level and by limiting the amount of rest between exercises, the training resulted in improvements on each of 60 separate measures of cardiovascular fitness. Contrary to widespread opinion, not only will a properly conducted strength training program produce increases in muscular strength, but will also significantly improve an individual's level of cardiovascular conditioning. The data suggests that some of these cardiovascular benefits apparently cannot be achieved by any other type of training."

-- James A. Peterson, Ph.D.

 3. Excerpted from: Flexibility and Metabolic Condition

"It seems logical to assume that muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance must always remain some distance apart ... must always be developed by separate and greatly divergent types of exercise. The real facts indicate otherwise.  In the supervised research program in cooperation with the physical education staff of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, more than 100 military cadets were used as test subjects. To the best of our knowledge, this was the largest, most comprehensive, most carefully conducted, and probably the most expensive research program ever conducted in the area of strength training.

During this project we were interested in all aspects of physical condition ... we wanted to increase muscular strength as much as possible, and as quickly as possible . . . but we also wanted to produce large-scale increases in cardiovascular condition ... and we wished to demonstrate that both results could be produced by exactly the same style of training.

In a period of less than six weeks a group of 19 football players increased their strength by an average of approximately 60 per cent ... that's right, 60 percent, an average increase of 10 percent per week, a rate of strength increase previously considered to be literally impossible by most experts. And, it must be clearly understood that these test subjects were not average subjects ... instead, they were highly conditioned football players who were already quite strong at the start of the special training program; subjects with an average height of just below 6 feet, 2 inches, and an average weight well in excess of 200 pounds. Producing such an almost unbelievable strength increase in such a short period of time would certainly have been a significant result even if absolutely nothing was accomplished in the way of cardiovascular improvement; but, in fact, an equally significant improvement in cardiovascular endurance was produced simultaneously ... produced as a result of the same very brief training program that produced the spectacular strength increases.

Therefore, it appears that many of the experts have been wrong . . . in fact, it is neither necessary nor even desirable to conduct two distinct types of exercise programs, one program to produce strength increases and a second program to improve cardiovascular condition. In practice, it is easily possible to produce both results from the same program.

And, in order to produce a third level of condition, the previously mentioned metabolic condition, it is absolutely necessary to train in this fashion; necessary to train in a fashion that will unavoidably produce rapid and large scale increases in strength, in cardiovascular condition, and in metabolic condition."

-- Arthur Jones 

 4. Transcript from: The Medicine Man Television Program

"The lifting of weights is so much superior for the purpose of improving the cardiovascular condition of the human being that whatever is in second place is not even in the running, no pun intended.

That is to say, running is a very poor, a very dangerous, a very slow, a very inefficient, and a very nonproductive method for eventually producing a very limited, low order of cardiovascular benefit.

Any, ANY, result that can be produced by any amount of running can be duplicated and surpassed by the proper use of weight lifting for cardiovascular benefits.

Now I realize that there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people in this country who don't understand that, who don't believe that, who will not admit that. Now these people are simply uninformed. Certainly, it's possible to run with no benefit, it's possible to lift weights with no benefit. I'm talking about the proper use of weight lifting; and properly applied, weight lifting will improve your cardiovascular benefit to a degree that is impossible to attain with any amount of running."

-- Arthur Jones

 5. Summarized from the Research Study: Alterations in Strength and Maximal Oxygen Uptake
Consequent to Nautilus Weight Training
, by Stephen P. Messier and Mary Elizabeth Dill, Wake
Forest University

In terms of improvement in V02 Max: These results suggest that for a training period of short duration, Nautilus circuit weight training appears to be an effective means of enhancing cardio respiratory fitness and an equally effective alternative to running programs.

 6.  Excerpted from: Aerobic Versus Strength Training for Risk factor Intervention in Middle-Aged Men at Risk for Coronary Heart Disease, M.A. Smutok, C. Reece, P.F. Kokkinos, C. Farmer, P. Dawson, R. Shulman, J. DeVane-Bell, J. Patterson, C. Charabogos, A. P. Goldberg, and B.F. Hurley, University of Maryland.

"The results of this study suggest that Strength Training and Aerobic Training have comparable effects on risk factors for Coronary Heart Disease. In Summary, 20 weeks of Strength training had the same effect as 20 weeks of Aerobic Training on risk factors for Coronary Heart Disease."

7.  Excerpted from: Circuit Weight Training in Cardiac Patients, M. Kelemen, MD, FACC, K.J. Stewart, EdD, R. E. Gillian, MD, C.K. Ewart, PhD., S.A. Valenti, MD, J.D. Manley, BS, M.D. Kelemen, John Hopkins School of Medicine, Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.

"Circuit weight training appears to be safe, and to result in significant increases in aerobic endurance and musculoskeletel strength compared with traditional exercise (aerobic only) used in cardiac rehabilitation programs. In fact a control group of cardiac patients engaged in only a walk/jog program did not improve."  

Medx Rehabilitative Exercise and Fitness provides an extremely safe, effective, efficient, and fully supervised exercise program that stimulates total fitness with only one, 30-minute sessions per week. Call for a complimentary trial session and program orientation.


Sarah Mcgregor

Office 732-671-1430 Cell 917-701-6066