Peripheral heart action (PHA) training as a valid substitute to high intensity interval training to improve resting cardiovascular changes and autonomic adaptation

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Apr;115(4):763-73. doi: 10.1007/s00421-014-3057-9. Epub 2014 Nov 27.


Purpose: The present study evaluated the effects of peripheral heart action training compared with high intensity interval training on changes in autonomic regulation and physical fitness.

Methods: Eighteen young adults (9 women, 9 men) (age 24 ± 3 years, BMI of 22.67 kg/m(2), V'O2max 32.89 ml/kg/min) were randomly assigned to either a high intensity interval training group (n = 8) or a peripheral heart action training (PHA) group (n = 10). Before and after training, maximal whole-body muscular strength, time series of beat-to-beat intervals for heart rate variability, and baroreflex sensitivity were recorded. Arterial baroreflex sensitivity and heart rate variability were estimated on both time and frequency domains. Physical fitness level was evaluated with maximum oxygen consumption test.

Results: The effects of PHA whole-body resistance training increased muscular strength and maximum oxygen consumption, with an effect on vagal-cardiac control and cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity.

Conclusions: After 30 training sessions performed in 3 months, PHA resistance exercise promoted cardiovascular adaptations, with a decrease in the power spectral component of vascular sympathetic activity and an increase in the vagal modulation. Low-frequency oscillation estimated from systolic blood pressure variability seems to be a suitable index of the sympathetic modulation of vasomotor activity. This investigation also want to emphasize the beneficial effects of this particular resistance exercise training, considering also that the increase in muscular strength is inversely associated with all-cause mortality and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, independent of cardiorespiratory fitness levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Baroreflex
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Heart / innervation
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Random Allocation