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Clin Cardiol. 1990 Dec;13(12):851-61.

Interval versus continuous exercise training after coronary bypass surgery: a comparison of training-induced acute reactions with respect to the effectiveness of the exercise methods.

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Theresien-Klinik, Bad Krozingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


In order to improve endurance by exercise on a bicycle ergometer, both the interval method (I) (exertion and recovery phases alternate each minute) and the continuous method (constant exertion) can be employed. We examined the effects of both methods on the following parameters: heart rate, blood pressure, rate-pressure product, glucose, lactate, and catecholamine levels, and physical performance. Two groups of nine male patients were trained daily on a bicycle ergometer for 3.5 weeks. These patients had undergone coronary bypass surgery 24 and/or 26 days before the training started. The training heart rate was set at 86% of the individual maximum heart rate. In the last week of training, the exercise intensity in both patient groups, following either I or C regimen, was 20:121 W and 83 W respectively. The exercise training lasted 20 minutes with the following findings: (1) there were no significant differences in blood pressure, rate-pressure product, rates of glucose and catecholamines, and (2) there was a significantly higher rate of lactate in the second ten minutes of the I training. Before and after the training period, the patients were subjected to a multistage bicycle ergometer exercise test (sitting). The following results obtained after the training favor the I method: (1) patients' physical performance increased (+0.63 vs. +0.26 W/kg; p less than 0.001); (2) heart rate was lower at rest (-9 vs. -4 beats/min; p less than 0.04) and at 75 W (-12 vs. -2 beats/min; p less than 0.02); (3) rate-pressure product was lower at rest (-1675 vs. -291; p less than 0.04) and at 75 W (-2810 vs. -735; p less than 0.05); (4) rate of lactate was lower at 75 W (-0.83 vs. -0.33 mmol/l; p less than 0.04); (5) catecholamines were not lowered by I or C training, and no differences between the two groups could be observed. Exercise training according to the I method involves both the aerobic and anaerobic capacity of the organism, whereas exercise training according to the C method involves only oxidative capacity. After coronary bypass surgery, the I method is better suited to increase physical performance and is more effective in economizing the cardiac function.

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