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  1. Jordan, Shannon PhD
  2. Karcher, Justin MS
  3. Rogers, Rebecca MS
  4. Kennedy, Kathleen MS
  5. Lawrence, Anne RN
  6. Adams, Jenny PhD


PURPOSE: Updated cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and return-to-work guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) now include specificity of training for industrial athletes (exercise training that involves the muscle groups, movements, and energy systems that these patients use during occupational tasks). However, many CR facilities do not apply this principle, relying instead on the traditional protocol that consists primarily of aerobic exercise. This study was conducted to measure the metabolic cost of typical farming tasks and to compare 2 methods of calculating training intensities.


METHODS: Metabolic data were collected from 28 participants (23 men and 5 women, aged 18 to 57 years) while they loaded 10 hay bales, dug a fence posthole, filled 8 seed hoppers, and shoveled grain.


RESULTS: Mean metabolic equivalent levels during these activities were 5.9 to 7.6 and participants reached 60% to 70% of heart rate reserve (HRR). By comparison, their mean resting heart rate + 30 beats per minute (RHR+30, a traditional CR intensity level) represented only 28% of HRR.


CONCLUSIONS: Participants in the current study performed farming tasks within the ACSM's recommended range of 40% to 80% of HRR, and the results suggest that training at RHR+30 would have been inadequate for helping a farmer return to work after a cardiac event. Using the study tasks as a basis, we described exercises that would be appropriate for the supervised resistance training of farmers in a CR setting.