Heart failure accounts for more deaths in the United States than any other detrimental human pathology. Recently, repairing the heart after seemingly irreversible injury leading to heart failure appears to have come within reach. Cellular cardiomyoplasty, transplanting viable cell alternatives into the diseased myocardium, has emerged as a promising possible solution. Translating this approach from the laboratory to the clinic, however, has been met with several challenges, leaving many questions unanswered. This review assesses the state of investigation of several progenitor cell sources, including induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, bone marrow stem cells, adipose-derived adult stem cells, amniotic fluid stem cells, skeletal muscle progenitors, induced pluripotent stem cells and cardiac progenitors. Several current roadblocks to maximum success are discussed. These include understanding the need for cardiomyocyte differentiation, appreciating the role of paracrine factors, and addressing the low engraftment rates using current techniques. Tissue engineering strategies to address these obstacles and to help maximize cellular cardiomyoplasty success are reviewed.