Influence of Load Intensity on Postexercise Hypotension and Heart Rate Variability after a Strength Training Session

Tiago Figueiredo, Jeffrey M Willardson, Humberto Miranda, Claudio M Bentes, Victor M Reis, Roberto Simão
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2015, 29 (10): 2941-8
The purpose of this study was to compare blood pressure and heart rate variability (HRV) responses in trained men after strength training (ST) sessions with loads of 60, 70, and 80% of a 1 repetition maximum (1RM). Eleven men (age: 26.1 ± 3.6 years; body mass: 74.1 ± 8.1 kg; height: 172.0 ± 4.0 cm; body mass index: 25.0 ± 1.96 kg·m(-2); %G: 18.3 ± 6.4) with at least 6-month ST experience participated in this study. After assessment of 1RM loads for the bench press (BP), lat pull-down (LPD), shoulder press (SP), biceps curl (BC), triceps extension (TE), leg press (LP), leg extension (LE), and leg curl (LC), subjects performed 3 experimental sessions in random order. During each experimental session, subjects performed 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions at 60, 70, or 80% of 1RM loads, with 2-minute rest intervals between sets and exercises. All experimental sessions were performed in the following exercise order: BP, LPD, SP, BC, TE, LP, LE, and LC. Before and for 1 hour after each experimental session, blood pressure and HRV were tracked. The results demonstrated a greater duration of postexercise hypotension (PEH) after the 70% of 1RM session vs. the 60 or 80% of 1RM session. These results indicate that the load/volume associated with completion of 8-10 repetitions at 70% of 1RM load may provide the best stimulus for the PEH response when compared with training with a 60 or 80% of 1RM loads. In conclusion, strength and conditioning professionals may prescribe exercises with 60, 70, and 80% of 1RM loads if the intent is to elicit an acute decrease in blood pressure after an ST session; however, 70% of 1RM provides a longer PEH.

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