• coronary artery bypass grafting;
  • health promotion;
  • integrative review;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • resistance training


Aim  This review aims to search and evaluate evidence related to benefits and risks of resistance exercises for patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), post myocardial infarction (MI) and its surgical treatment or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

Method  An integrative literature review was carried out. The guiding question of this review was: What evidence is available regarding benefits and risks of muscle resistance training for patients with CAD, post-MI or CABG? Studies from January 1997 to August 2007 were included, taken from the following electronic databases: Medline, PEDro, Cochrane Controlled Trials Database and CINAHL.

Results  After the selection process, 11 articles were included in the review. Five articles presented just the resistance exercises, and six combined the resistance exercises with aerobic exercise. The benefits of intervention found in the articles were the improvement of peripheral muscular strength, increase of physical capacity, improvement of emotional state and quality of life. No risks were reported in the articles related to the application of the resistance exercise.

Conclusions  The resistance exercises can be used as a safe and effective strategy in health promotion programmes for coronary patients, making social, physical and psychological rehabilitation easier for those people.