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J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Mar;25(3):640-5. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c1fcc7.

Isolated and combined effects of aerobic and strength exercise on post-exercise blood pressure and cardiac vagal reactivation in normotensive men.

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  • 1Department of Physical Education, Center of Physical Education and Sport, State University of Londrina, Londrina, Brazil.


The purpose of this study was to examine blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and cardiac vagal reactivation (VR) after an aerobic training session (ATS), a strength training session (STS), and a combined aerobic and strength training session (ASTS) in normotensive men. Eleven healthy men (age 26.8 ± 2.9 years, body mass index 24.3 ± 1.6 kg·m) with at least 6 months of strength and aerobic training experience performed an STS, an ATS, and an ASTS in a counterbalanced crossover design. Blood pressure and HR were measured at rest and at 15-minute intervals post-training for 1 hour. Vagal reactivation was measured during the first minute immediately post-exercise. After STS and ASTS, systolic BP (SBP) and mean arterial BP (MAP) remained significantly lower than at rest at all time intervals (p < 0.05). After ATS, SBP was significantly lower than at rest at 30 minutes and beyond (p < 0.01); however, no significant differences were observed for MAP. Post-training HR remained high after STS and ASTS at all intervals (p < 0.01). However, after ATS, the HR remained high only at the 15-minute post-exercise interval (p < 0.01). Vagal reactivation was significantly less pronounced after the first 30 seconds post-exercise (p < 0.01) in ASTS (531.3 ± 329.6 seconds) than in ATS (220.7 ± 88.5 seconds) and in STS (317.6 ± 158.5 seconds). The delta of the HR decrease at 60 seconds post-exercise was greater (p < 0.00) in ATS (33.4 ± 12.7 b·min) than in STS (14.1 ± 7.2 b·min) and in ASTS (11.4 ± 7.1 b·min). In conclusion, post-exercise BP reduction was independent of the type of exercise; however, HR remained significantly greater after combination of strength and aerobic exercise, implying a reduction in cardiac VR after this type of training. Therefore, strength and conditioning professionals may prescribe aerobic, strength, or a combination of aerobic and strength exercise to assist individuals concerned with BP control, thus allowing for variety in training while similarly impacting post-exercise SBP regardless of desired exercise modality.

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