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Exp Physiol. 2004 Nov;89(6):665-74. Epub 2004 Aug 24.

Haemodynamic responses following intermittent supramaximal exercise in athletes.

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  • 1Department of Sciences applied to Biological Systems, Section of Human Physiology, University of Cagliari, Via Porcell 4, 09124 Cagliari, Italy.


We aimed to investigate haemodynamics during active and passive recovery following repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise. Seven male athletes underwent two sessions of supramaximal exercise which consisted of a warm-up and of five bouts of cycling at the maximum speed possible for 30 s against a resistance equivalent to 150% of the maximum workload achieved in a previous incremental test. Bouts were separated by 1 min of recovery and followed by 10 min of recovery which was either active (pedalling at 40 W) or passive (completely rest seated on the cycle). Haemodynamic variables were evaluated by means of impedance cardiography. Heart rate (HR), stroke volume (SV), cardiac output (CO), mean blood pressure (MBP), thoracic electrical impedance (Z0) as an inverse index of central blood volume, and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) were assessed. The main findings were that active recovery, with respect to passive recovery, induced higher changes from baseline in HR (+29.1 +/- 4.5 versus +15.6 +/- 2.9 beats min(-1) at the 10th minute of recovery, P < 0.05), SV (+19.9 +/- 5.6 versus -6.4 +/- 3.3 ml, P < 0.01) and CO (+3.8 +/- 1.2 versus +0.4 +/- 0.2 l min(-1), P < 0.01). Furthermore, MBP was similar between the two kinds of recovery despite an increase in Z0 during passive compared to active recovery. These results suggest that the faster haemodynamic recovery towards baseline and the decrease in cardiac preload during passive recovery may be successfully prevented by cardiovascular regulatory mechanisms which include an increase in SVR, thus avoiding a drop in blood pressure.

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