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Blunted Cardiac Output from Overtraining Is Related to Increased Arterial Stiffness


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 12 - p 2459–2464
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001725

Purpose Moderate overtraining has been characterized by decreased exercising HR and recently decreased exercising stroke volume (SV), independent of alterations to blood volume. The aim of this study was to assess changes in arterial stiffness and central hemodynamics, and their relationship to exercising SV, after 3 wk of overload training.

Methods Twenty-six cyclists and triathletes completed 3 wk of either regular training (CON; n = 13) or overload training (OL; n = 13). Testing took place before (PRE) and after regular or overload training (POST). Resting measures included brachial blood pressure, HR, carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) to assess arterial stiffness, and carotid pulse wave analysis to assess wave reflections and central hemodynamics. An incremental cycle test was used to assess peak power, maximal HR, and maximal lactate to assess overtraining status. Cardiac output (), SV, and HR were assessed using cardiac impedance.

Results Resting arterial stiffness was unaltered in CON but increased with OL after increased training (CON −0.1 ± 0.6 m·s−1 vs OL +0.5 ± 0.8 m·s−1, P = 0.04). Resting blood pressure and central hemodynamics, including aortic pressures, augmentation index, and subendocardial viability ratio, did not change (all P > 0.05). Maximal SV (CON +3 mL vs OL −9 mL, P = 0.04), HR (CON −2 ± 4 bpm vs OL −9 ± 3 bpm, P < 0.001), and (CON +0.32 L·min−1 vs OL −1.75 L·min−1, P = 0.01) decreased with OL from PRE to POST. A significant inverse relationship existed between changes in PWV and maximal (r = −0.44, P = 0.04) and changes in PWV and peak power (r = −0.48, P = 0.01), and trended for SV and PWV (r = −0.41, P = 0.055).

Conclusions Overload training results in increased resting arterial stiffness and reduced SV during exercise, with no changes to resting central hemodynamics.

1The Human Performance and Health Research Laboratory, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, CANADA;

2Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, CANADA; and

3Toronto General Research Institute, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, ON, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Jamie F. Burr, Ph.D., Animal Science and Nutrition, 50 Stone Road E. University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G 2W1; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2018.

Accepted for publication July 2018.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine