Vol.5, No.2, 159-165 (2013) Health
Analysis of hemodynamic responses to resistance
exercise performed with different intensities and
recovery intervals
Dihogo Gama de Matos1*, Felipe José Aidar1, Mauro Lucio Mazini Filho1,
Rosimar da Silva Salgueiro2, Jordana Cristina de Oliveira2, Ingi P. Klain1,
Robert C. Hickner3, André Luis Carneiro1,4, Estélio Henrique Martin Dantas5
1Department of Sports Science, Exercise and Health of the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro University, Vila Real, Portugal;
*Corresponding Author: dihogogmc@hotmail.com
2University Center of Volta Redonda, Volta Redonda, Brazil
3Departments of Kinesiology, and Physiology, Center for Health Disparities Research, East Carolina University, Greenville, USA
4State University at Montes Claros (UNIMONTES), Montes Claros, Brazil
5Doctoral Program in Nursing and Biosciences—PpgEnfBio, Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Rio de Janeiro,
Received 19 October 2012; revised 18 November 2012; accepted 25 November 2012
This aim of the present study was to analyze the
hemodynamic responses during resistance ex-
ercise performed at different intensiti es and with
different recovery intervals. This study was con-
ducted on twenty-four apparently healthy male
individuals (25.50 ± 3.72 years and 76.50 ± 4.50
kg) experienced in strength training. The volun-
teers performed a 1RM test to determine the
training load for the study. Blood pressure and
Rate Pressure Product were measured before
and at the end of the exercise training. The only
significant difference observed was in SBP
during strength training at 70% int ensity (121.7 ±
8.68, p = 0.039), which was lo wer than SBP at the
remaining intensities of 80% (126.3 ± 7.11) and
90% (127.1 ± 7.51). It was concluded that strength
training performed at different intensities and re-
covery intervals did not significantly alter most
variables, changing only the SBP due to the in-
tensity employed.
Keyw ords: Strength Training (ST); Bloo d Pre ssure
(BP); Heart Rate (HR); Rate Pressure Product
Strength training (ST) is usually practiced by people
seeking benefits such as increased strength, change in
body composition and health maintenance [1-3]. Strength
training, when related to physical fitness, significantly
reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and tends to
cause autonomic and hemodynamic adaptations that in-
fluence the cardiovascular system to maintain cellular
homeostasis in the face of increased metabolic demands
Exercise challenges the ability of the coronary arteries
to provide enough blood to meet the demand of myo-
cardial oxygen consumption. Heart rate (HR) and systolic
blood pressure increase with exercise intensity [6,7].
Systolic blood pressure (SBP) is used to estimate the
pressure exerted against the walls of the arteries during
ventricular contraction and diastolic blood pressure (DBP)
is used to estimate the pressure exerted against the artery
walls when blood is not being forcibly ejected through
vessel. Blood pressure (BP) alternates between the sys-
tolic level and the diastolic level of 120 to 80 mmHg (in
rest) [8].
Citing some studies of hypertensive patients, the Ame-
rican College of Sports Medicine Position Stand (ACSM)
[9] states that physical activity is important in primary
prevention and control of hypertension. The frequency,
intensity, time and type of exercise (FITT) are speci-
fically important factors in determining the physiological
responses to exercise. Therefore, specific physical acti-
vities have been proposed because of their associations
with better health and quality of life. However, such
activities should meet certain safety criteria when they
are prescribed [10].
Among the variables mentioned, yet seldom studied, is
the length of periods of rest between sets and different
types of exercises, which influences the total stress of
training and total load that can be completed [11]. This
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
D. G. de Matos et al. / Health 5 (2013) 159-165
variable is considered valuable when developing a pro-
gram of strength training. Different periods of time be-
tween sets and exercises have been used in accordance
with the objectives to be achieved.
The doubled-product (or rate pressure product, RPP),
defined by the product of HR and SBP, is a variable
correlated with myocardial oxygen consumption (MVO2),
and is therefore considered the most reliable indicator of
the work of the heart during aerobic and anaerobic phy-
sical efforts [12]. The RPP is of great importance for the
prescription and monitoring of these activities in healthy
subjects or in those who have heart disease [12]. Little is
known about the responses of HR and RPP during
different work interval intensities and recovery interval
durations despite the increased frequency of using strength
training in hypertensive patients.
The aim of this study was therefore to analyze the
response of blood pressure, heart rate and rate pressure
product after strength training exercise using different
intensities and recovery intervals.
2.1. General Protocol
The study consisted of twenty-four male individuals
(25.50 ± 3.72 years, 76.50 ± 4.50 kg) with a minimum
experience of 12 months in ST, released for participation
in the intervention by a physician. All participants re-
sponded negatively to the PAR-Q [13,14]. The volunteers
were informed about the study, and all signed an authori-
zation according to resolution no. 196/1996 of the Na-
tional Health Council, for human experiments, in accor-
dance with the ethical principles contained in the De-
claration of Helsinki (1964, revised in 1975, 1983, 1989,
1996 and 2000), the “World Medical Association”.
Participants were instructed not to consume caffeine or
alcohol for the 24 hours prior to data collection and not
to consume food for the 3 hours before the tests: this fact
being conferred through interview after the tests. In
addition, exclusion criteria were the use of ergogenic
aids and medications that could affect cardiovascular re-
sponses, as well as SBP and DBP higher, than 139 and 89
mmHg, respectively. These criteria were reconfirmed at
each evaluation.
An interview (anamnesis) as well as anthropometric
measurements of weight, height and skinfold were con-
ducted [15]. There were two sessions for familiarization
and two sessions training load determination, conducted
with a minimum of 48 hours between sessions. The train-
ing load was established through the 1RM testing of Leg
Press. The load determination was performed in two days:
one day for testing and the second day for retesting to
determine the reliability of the test. Figure 1 sym-
bolizes the standardization of tests.
2.2. Test of 1 Repetition Maximum (1RM)
The 1RM tests were conducted twice after two fami-
liarization sessions according to the protocol proposed by
Brown et al. [16]. The subjects performed 3 - 5 min of
light activities involving the muscle group tested, and
after 1 min of light stretching, a warm-up of 8 repetitions
at a perceived load of approximately 50% 1RM, followed
by 3 repetitions at a perceived load of approximately
70% 1RM. After a five-min recovery period, the 1RM
test was conducted by adding when necessary 0.4 to 5 kg
to the load until the load could not be successfully lifted.
The total number of attempts was 3 - 5 attempts. The
maximum load that was raised in one motion was re-
corded as the 1RM load.
On the fifth day of the trial, after two familiarization
sessions and two sessions to determine the maximum
load, the SBP, DBP and HR were measured after the
subject was seated for 10 minutes in a comfortable posi-
tion in a quiet environment. After determining the load
for the training, the experimental protocol was conducted
on three additional days, not consecutive, with a mini-
mum duration of 48 hours between sessions.
On the sixth day of trial, SBP, DBP and HR at rest and
after exercise were again measured. Participants, after
measuring variables at rest, performed 3 sets with 10 re-
petitions at 70%, 8 repetitions at 80% and 6 repetitions at
90% of 1RM load in succession [17-20], with sixty
second rest intervals. On the seventh and eighth day of
assessments, training was repeated, but with intervals be-
tween sessions of, 60, 90, and 120 seconds, respectively.
If at least one cardiovascular variable in relation to the
value observed on the first day, the exercise was not per-
formed and the participant was asked to revisit. Through-
out the experiment we adopted a minimum rest of 48
hours between sessions.
Aiming to reduce the margin of error in the test we
adopted the following strategies: standardized instruc-
tions were provided before testing, the subject was in-
structed to technical execution of the exercise, including
Figure 1. Testing days.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
D. G. de Matos et al. / Health 5 (2013) 159-165
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
multiple familiarization and testing sessions to reduce
possible effects of learning.
2.3. Measurement of Blood Pressure
BP and HR at rest, during exercise and during recovery
were measured with an aneroid sphygmomanometer
(Tycos®, USA) and stethoscope (Littemann Quality®,
Germany) and with a heart rate monitor (Polar S725X,
Polar Electro OY, Finland), respectively. For the meas-
urement of HR and BP, we took into account the re-
sponses of peaks normally occurring during the last re-
petitions of a series [20]. Thus, data collection occurred
at the end of the last repetition of the leg press exercise
The BP measurement was performed in the left arm
with the volunteers seated. The proper relationship be-
tween the cuff width and arm diameter arm was main-
tained for all subjects [21] (Kohlmann et al., 1999). Al-
though not the gold standard for blood pressure mea-
surements, our method provides continuous reading of
SBP and DBP, and, in the case of the resistance exercise,
the most suitable noninvasive method to measure blood
pressure [11]. The blood pressure data were recorded in
mmHg. Participants were asked to flex their arm at the
elbow, with the level of their extended hand at the level
of the thorax in order to prevent the data from being
contaminated by gravitational action on the extended arm
[21]. The subjects were also instructed not to contract or
move the arm, hand and fingers where the stethoscope
was attached, as well as to not perform the Valsalva
maneuver. The measurement was performed at rest with
the subject lying supine so there was no body movement
between recordings.
2.4. Statistics
Descriptive analysis were performed, using measures
of central tendency Data were presented as mean and
standard deviation (mean ± SD). Normality of the data
was checked using the Shapiro Wilk test. Two-factor
ANOVA (Intensity and Interval) with Tukey post hoc
was used to test for significance, with an alpha level of p
< 0.05. Data analysis was performed using SPSS for
Windows 15.0.
The HR, SBP, DBP and RPP in relation to intensity
and rest interval duration are presented in Tables 1-4,
Systolic blood pressure was determined in 24 Parti-
cipants at the end of a strength training protocol con-
sisting of three sets, with 10 repetitions at 70%, 8 re-
petitions at 80% and 6 repetitions at 90% of 1RM load
with either 60, 90 or 120 second rest intervals between
Figure 2 shows the response of SBP in 24 participants
during strength training at different intensities and inter-
Table 1. Heart rate (beats per minutes) at three intensities and three recovery intervals.
Intensity Interval N Mean ± SD p
70% 24 117.33 ± 18.52 0.98
80% 24 116.42 ± 18.25
90% 24 117.08 ± 17.12
60 24 116.21 ± 18.07 0.95
90 24 117.92 ± 16.68
120 24 116.71 ± 19.06
*p < 0.05.
Table 2. Systolic blood pressure (mmHg) at three intensities and three recovery intervals.
Intensity Interval N Mean ± SD % p
70% 24 121.7 ± 8.68* 0.00 0.039
80% 24 126.3 ± 7.11 3.78
90% 24 127.1 ± 7.51 4.43
60 24 127.1 ± 8.07 4.09 0.074
90 24 125.8 ± 7.17 3.03
120 24 122.1 ± 8.33 0.00
*p < 0.05.
D. G. de Matos et al. / Health 5 (2013) 159-165
Table 3. Diastolic blood pressure (mmHg) at three intensities and three recovery intervals.
Intensity Interval N Mean ± SD p
70% 24 85.83 ± 18.86 0.10
80% 24 98.33 ± 11.29
90% 24 91.67 ± 27.29
60 24 96.25 ± 10.56 0.69
90 24 95.42 ± 11.79
120 24 84.17 ± 31.06
*p < 0.05.
Table 4. Rate pressure product (mmHg × bpm) at three intensities and three recovery intervals.
Intensidade Intervalo N Média ± DP p
70% 24 14283.75 ± 2520.24 0.70
80% 24 14700.42 ± 2455.22
90% 24 14877.50 ± 2304.00
60 24 14696.25 ± 2037.33 0.73
90 24 14862.08 ± 2419.73
120 24 14303.33 ± 2776.51
*p < 0.05.
Figure 2. Systolic blood pressure during strength training comprised of different intensities
and lengths of rest interval. *p < 0.05 for systolic blood pressure at 70% compared to 80% and
No significant differences were observed in the fol-
lowing variables: HR—intensity (p = 0.98), interval (p =
0.95) and intensity/interval (p = 1.00); SBP—interval (p
= 0.07), interval/intensity (p = 0.82); DBP, intensity (p =
0.09), interval (p = 0.06), intensity/interval (p = 0.47).
RPP, intensity (p = 0.70), interval (p = 0.73) interval/
intensity (p = 0.97). However, there was a significant
difference in intensity (SBP: p = 0.03).
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
D. G. de Matos et al. / Health 5 (2013) 159-165 163
This aim of the present study was to analyze the he-
modynamic responses during resistance exercise per-
formed at different intensities and with different recovery
intervals. The only significant difference observed was in
SBP during strength training at 70% intensity (121.7 ±
8.68, p = 0.039), which was lower than SBP at the
remaining intensities of 80% (126.3 ± 7.11) and 90%
(127.1 ± 7.51).
Although all individuals were able to complete the re-
quired number of sets in each series, shorter recovery
time between them may have contributed to a higher
physiological stress associated with that work intensity
[22]. This could be attributed to two principal mecha-
nisms: one of central and the other of peripheral origin
[23]. The central mechanism involves the radiation of
impulses from the motor cortex to central cardiovascular
control. The peripheral mechanism consists of a reflex
pathway that is yet to be fully described [24]. This
mechanism is originated in the release of metabolites
from muscles that are active (potassium and lactic acid,
for example), increasing the osmolarity of interstitial
fluid [25]. The release of these substances can activate
chemoreceptor), which activates a feedback cardiovas-
cular control center, increasing blood pressure [26,27]. In
addition, the increased blood pressure can be influenced
by the number of motor units required during exercise. In
this case of increased motor unit recruitment, the adjust-
ment would be perceived by mechanoreceptors which,
like the chemoreceptor’s, inform the cardiovascular con-
trol center of the need to modify the cardiovascular re-
sponses in relation to the strength and speed of move-
ment [28].
The increase in SBP occurs during the ST due to con-
siderable mechanical resistance to blood flow during
muscle contraction. The ST increases blood flow, which
results in increased peripheral resistance. This fact causes
increased blood pressure, which corresponds to an in-
crease in cardiovascular work, as evidenced by the in-
creased rate pressure product [29-31].
There are few well-controlled studies of the changes in
BP and HR associated with varying lengths of recovery
interval between sets. The present study found no sig-
nificant difference between protocols of different inten-
sity (p = 0.98), and recovery interval (p = 0.95). It is
possible that heart rate is associated with the exercise
mode due to vascular occlusion being more pronounced
in bilateral exercise. With vascular occlusion, venous
return is reduced. HR should be increased to avoid com-
promising cardiac output [32]. However, there were no
differences in recorded blood pressure or heart rate for
the various series of exercises performed with different
intensity or recovery periods.
In the experiment of Miranda et al. [10], the authors
compared the heart hate, blood pressure and double
product during bench press exercise while sitting or lying
on the bench, with 10 repetitions performed at 65% of
one repetition maximum (1RM). The authors did not
identify significant differences in cardiovascular vari-
ables in their comparison of the performance in the
seated or supine bench press. These results corroborate
our findings in the present study.
Regarding RPP, no significant differences were found
for intensity (p = 0.70) or recovery interval (p = 0.73).
The fact that heart rate does not vary may have influ-
enced the RPP results. Although the rate pressure product
is not valid for estimating the myocardial oxygen con-
sumption in activities of high intensity and short duration,
it can be considered the best indicator of cardiac demand
during resistance exercise [33,34]. However, the beha-
vior of RPP depends not only on the intensity but also
the type and duration of exercise. Until recently, there
was a tendency to consider only aerobic activities safer
for subjects with elevated risk of cardiac complications.
Exercises with weights were contraindicated for this
population [34]. However, some studies show that the
exercise double product with weights is usually lower
than that observed in aerobic activities of moderate in-
tensity [10,35,36].
A limitation of this study is the measurement of BP by
auscultation because of potential appraiser error. The
intra-arterial catheterization, although more accurate in
measuring BP, was not feasible for this study due to the
invasive process and associated high risk for volunteers.
Automated or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
(ABPM) is another reliable method that we could have
used, although this system was not available for the cur-
rent study.
Based on the results, we conclude that the resistance
training conducted at different intensities and lengths of
recovery does not result in measurable differences in
diastolic blood pressure or rate pressure product. How-
ever, systolic blood pressure was increased with in-
creased intensity.
It is therefore suggested that there be further studies
analyzing different methods of strength training to under-
stand the physiological parameters important to deter-
mining a safe and effective physical activity prescription.
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ST: Strength Training
HR: Heart Rate
BP: Blood Pressure
SBP: Systolic Blood Pressure
DBP: Diastolic Blood Pressure
RPP: Rate Pressure Product
MVO2: Myocardial Oxygen Consumption
1RM: Test of 1 Repetition Maximum
bpm: beats per minutes
ABPM: Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring