HeartCORE Frequently Asked Questions

What is HeartCORE?

HeartCORE is a high-intensity resistance training program that involves 20 minute appointments up to twice per week as part of your physical activity program. The goal during each and every appointment is to bring all major muscle groups to the point of maximal effort. Rest is required between appointments to allow for optimal muscle growth.


Why Heart Niagara?

Heart Niagara established in 1977 by Dr. Stafford W Dobbin with a goal for a healthier Niagara. HeartCORE is one component of our business and vision for a healthier community.


Is this for heart patients?

This is a question we are asked often based on our name and history of delivering health services in Niagara.  The short answer is yes, each of us can work on improving our heart muscle. The long answer this circuit is designed for people who are not actively (0-6 months) recovering from a cardiac event. Post surgery and event members are welcome after 3 months to review your personal health goals and build a plan that works for you.


Is there a fee?

Yes, HeartCORE is a membership-based program to cover the cost of the operation and staffing. Heart Niagara nor HeartCORE receiving any funding from the Ministry of Health to offer these services.  


What age group is this for?

The program is suitable for ages 14 plus and fitness levels as the routine is performed with slow, controlled movements. At every session, members are accompanied by an experienced personal energy coach who sets the machine weights and chair heights.  Throughout the session the coaches provide support, posture corrections and encouragement. Safety is our number one priority with customer services remaining top of the list. FUN FACT the youngest HeartCORE member is 14 and our oldest member is 97.


What are Heart Niagara's procedures to maintain client, staff, and student safety due the pandemic and the coronavirus and variants?

  •  You will receive a short self-assessment based on the Public Health Screening Tool
  • We do provide temperatures check on arrival.
  • If clients are not feeling well, they are urged to stay at home and they will be re-scheduled with no penalty.
  • Everyone is asked to sanitize their hands when they arrive and throughout the day
  • Participants will continue with appropriate social distancing guidelines.
  • All doors, where possible, will be propped open to avoid excess contact with door handles.
  • All clients are required to bring a face mask or facial covering while walking around the building and in conversation with other members.
  • For those who do not bring a mask, one will be provided.
  • Clients may remove your mask when sitting at the MED-X machines to do their workout.
  • HeartCORE coach will always wear a face mask for everyone’s comfort.
  • The building and machines are cleaned using approved commercial disinfectants to eliminate coronavirus on surfaces


What is your active screening process?

  • All staff, clients, patients, students and volunteers are screened on arrive using the Public Health Screening Tool. 
  • Clients and patients are advised to arrive no earlier than 5 minutes prior to your appointment and wait in waiting room to be screened and brought in.


Where do I park?

  • There is free parking behind the 4635 Queen Street building off Park Street and St. Lawrence.


Why do I use only five machines per session?

  • The MedX equipment at Heart Niagara relies on the research-based program designed by John Little and Dr. Doug McGuff.  The program consists exclusively of compound exercises, which means that the MedX machines will involve engaging several muscular groups per exercise in your workout. The order of the exercising is designed to train the biggest muscle first, and then end with the smallest muscle.  


Can I do more than 5 machines?

  • Core strengthening MEDX machines may be added to your routine as you progress. You can discuss with your HeartCORE coach regarding your specific needs. The program is designed and scheduled in 20-minute increments with 2 minutes to reach failure on each machine.


Why do I perform each movement for up to two minutes?

The Time Under Load (TUL) method of measuring exercise performance is the foundation of the theory.   Muscles contain different fibres that each have unique characteristics.  Some fibres fatigue quickly while others take longer.  Strength improvements occur when all muscle fibres fatigue, which can take up to 90 seconds. 


When do the weights move up?

If you can perform an exercise for two minutes or more, this indicates that your weight can be increased at the next session to accomplish the muscle fatigue necessary to build muscle.  In addition, measuring TUL rather than number of repetitions or sets, encourages you to have good form throughout the exercise. Remember that second’s count, not repetition.


Why is each exercise performed so slowly?

Slow movements keep the muscle under a continuous stress, and which there is no time for the muscles to rest or recover.  Slow movements also stop you from engaging your entire body to move the machines.  This approach maximizes the time spent performing each exercise and focusing on the targeted muscles.


Why don’t I have to stretch or perform a warm-up prior to the program?

Doing stretching movements can sometimes place the muscle in an overly extended position, causing that tugging sensation, which can lead to over stretching doing more harm than good. Using the MedX “Big-Five” lets you move weight that provides a meaningful tension on the muscle through its full range of motion.  Both stretching and warm–up results are achieved while performing the movement itself, providing you with time efficiencies.  At each exercise, the intensity is lower due to the muscle not reaching fatigue.  These initial movements function as a warm-up (lower intensity) to start, but the intensity builds over the two-minute period as the muscle fatigues.


Why do I only attend HeartCORE machine work-out once or twice a week?

With high intensity strength training, the goal is to achieve muscle fatigue at each session.  True muscle fatigue requires lots of rest for the muscles to repair before your next session.  While the necessary rest interval may vary between individuals, allowing at least two days of recovery in between workouts ensures enough muscle rest and recovery for each client.   


Does this program really work?

Performing circuit training to maximum muscle fatigue eliminates the need to do multiple sets and sessions per week. Building muscle mass boosts metabolism which results in calorie burn for several hours after exercise has been completed. Small weight increments ensure safe and effective progression for all fitness levels.

Yes, with regular attendance, the HeartCORE program will increase strength, muscle, and increase quality of daily life tasks.  The resistance through weight will increase under your HeartCORE coach’s supervision, you will see a slow and steady increase in the amount of weight you can move.  Members experience other benefits such as an increased energy level, improved strength and clothes may fit better. Talk to your HeartCORE Coach about how to reach your goals.