The majority of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) referrals consist of patients who have survived an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Although major changes have been implemented in ACS treatment since the 1980s, which highly influenced mortality and morbidity, CR programs have barely changed and only few data are available on the optimal CR format in these patients. We postulated that standard CR programs followed by relatively brief maintenance programs and booster sessions, including behavioural techniques and focusing on incorporating lifestyle changes into daily life, can improve long-term adherence to lifestyle modifications. These strategies might result in improved (cardiac) mortality and morbidity in a cost-effective fashion. In the OPTImal CArdiac REhabilitation (OPTICARE) trial we will assess the effects of two advanced and extended CR programs that are designed to stimulate permanent adaption of a heart-healthy lifestyle, compared with current standard CR, in ACS patients. We will study the effects in terms of cardiac risk profile, levels of daily physical activity, quality of life and health care consumption.