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Isolated and Combined Effects of Aerobic and Strength Exercise on Post-exercise Blood Pressure and Cardiac Vagal Reactivation in Normotensive Men

Ruiz, Roberto José1; Simão, Roberto2; Saccomani, Milene Granja1; Casonatto, Juliano1; Alexander, Jeffrey L3; Rhea, Matthew3; Polito, Marcos Doederlein1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c1fcc7
Original Research

Ruiz, RJ, Simão, R, Saccomani, MG, Casonatto, J, Alexander, JL, Rhea, M, and Polito, MD. Isolated and combined effects of aerobic and strength exercise on post-exercise blood pressure and cardiac vagal reactivation in normotensive men. J Strength Cond Res 25(3): 640-645, 2011-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−2) 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−1) than in STS (14.1 ± 7.2 b·min−1) and in ASTS (11.4 ± 7.1 b·min−1). 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.

Author Information

1Department of Physical Education, Center of Physical Education and Sport, State University of Londrina, Londrina, Brazil; 2School of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and 3Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona

Address correspondence to Roberto Simão,

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association