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Systolic and Diastolic Left Ventricular Mechanics during and after Resistance Exercise


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 10 - p 2025–2031
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001326
Basic Sciences

Purpose To improve the current understanding of the impact of resistance exercise on the heart, by examining the acute responses of left ventricular (LV) strain, twist, and untwisting rate (“LV mechanics”).

Methods LV echocardiographic images were recorded in systole and diastole before, during and immediately after (7–12 s) double-leg press exercise at two intensities (30% and 60% of maximum strength, one-repetition maximum). Speckle tracking analysis generated LV strain, twist, and untwisting rate data. Additionally, beat-by-beat blood pressure was recorded and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) and LV wall stress were calculated.

Results Responses in both exercise trials were statistically similar (P > 0.05). During effort, stroke volume decreased, whereas SVR and LV wall stress increased (P < 0.05). Immediately after effort, stroke volume returned to baseline, whereas SVR and wall stress decreased (P < 0.05). Similarly, acute exercise was accompanied by a significant decrease in systolic parameters of LV muscle mechanics (P < 0.05). However, diastolic parameters, including LV untwisting rate, were statistically unaltered (P > 0.05). Immediately after exercise, systolic LV mechanics returned to baseline levels (P < 0.05) but LV untwisting rate increased significantly (P < 0.05).

Conclusions A single, acute bout of double-leg press resistance exercise transiently reduces systolic LV mechanics, but increases diastolic mechanics after exercise, suggesting that resistance exercise has a differential impact on systolic and diastolic heart muscle function. The findings may explain why acute resistance exercise has been associated with reduced stroke volume but chronic exercise training may result in increased LV volumes.

Discipline of Physiology & Health, Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Eric Stöhr, Ph.D., Columbia University Irving Medical Center, 51 Audubon Avenue, New York City, NY 10032; E-mail:

Submitted for publication January 2017.

Accepted for publication May 2017.

© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine