Influence of Rest Interval Length Between Sets on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Variability After a Strength Training Session Performed By Prehypertensive Men

Tiago Figueiredo, Jeffrey M Willardson, Humberto Miranda, Claudio M Bentes, Victor Machado Reis, Belmiro Freitas de Salles, Roberto Simão
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2016, 30 (7): 1813-24
Figueiredo, T, Willardson, JM, Miranda, H, Bentes, CM, Machado Reis, V, Freitas de Salles, B, and Simão, R. Influence of rest interval length between sets on blood pressure and heart rate variability after a strength training session performed by prehypertensive men. J Strength Cond Res 30(7): 1813-1824, 2016-The purposes of this study were to compare the effects of 2 different rest interval lengths between sets and exercises during strength training (ST) on blood pressure (BP) and heart rate variability (HRV) in prehypertensive trained men, and to verify how HRV influences BP. Eleven volunteer subjects (age: 26.1 ± 3.6 years; body mass: 74.1 ± 7.9 kg; height: 172.1 ± 4.1 cm; % body fat: 18.3 ± 6.3; ST experience: 1.7 ± 0.8 years) participated in this study. After assessing one repetition maximum (1RM) loads for the free weight bench press, lat pull-down, shoulder press, biceps curl, triceps extension, leg press, leg extension, and leg curl exercises; subjects performed 2 sessions with different rest intervals between sets and exercises in random order and 72 hours apart. Each ST session consisted of performing 3 sets of eight to 10 repetitions at 70% of a 1RM for each exercise, with either 1-minute (sequence 1 [SEQ1]) or 2-minute (sequence 2 [SEQ2]) rest intervals between sets and exercises, respectively. Before and after each session, BP and HRV (low frequency band, high frequency [HF] band, and square root of the mean squared difference of successive RR-interval index) were tracked for 60 minutes. The results demonstrated a postexercise hypotensive response (PEH) after both rest interval conditions (p ≤ 0.05). Additionally, increases in cardiac stress were noted after SEQ1, with a greater withdrawal in parasympathetic activity vs. baseline as noted in the HF band at 1-, 10-, and 20-minute postexercise (p ≤ 0.05). These results indicate that both sequences provided an effective stimulus for a PEH. Therefore, strength and conditioning professionals may prescribe 1- or 2-minute rest between sets and exercises when the goal is to reduce BP after training sessions. However, resting 1 minute between sets and exercises was associated with greater cardiac stress, and so this may necessitate prescription of longer rest intervals between sets and exercises when working with individuals who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular dysfunction.

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