Cardiovascular Responses to Unilateral, Bilateral, and Alternating Limb Resistance Exercise Performed Using Different Body Segments

J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Mar;31(3):644-652. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001160.


Moreira, OC, Faraci, LL, de Matos, DG, Mazini Filho, ML, da Silva, SF, Aidar, FJ, Hickner, RC, and de Oliveira, CEP. Cardiovascular responses to unilateral, bilateral and alternating limb resistance exercise performed using different body segments. J Strength Cond Res 31(3): 644-652, 2017-The aim of this study was to verify and compare the cardiovascular responses to unilateral, bilateral, and alternating limb resistance exercise (RE) performed using different body segments. Fifteen men experienced in RE were studied during biceps curls, barbell rows, and knee extension exercises when performed bilaterally, unilaterally, and using alternating limbs. The protocol consisted of 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 80% of 10 repetition maximum with 2-minute rest between sets. Heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) were measured after the last repetition. There was a statistically significant increase in HR, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and rate pressure product (RPP), from rest to postexercise. The RPP was higher in the third set of all exercises and in all 3 forms of execution, when compared with the first set. Bilateral biceps curls caused a greater increase in RPP (first and second sets) and HR, compared with the same exercise performed unilaterally. Furthermore, the performance of bilateral biceps curls induced greater HR and RPP, in all sets, compared with bilateral knee extension and barbell rows. There was also a significantly higher SBP for the alternating second and third sets and also for the bilateral third set of the knee extensions as compared with the barbell rows. It was concluded from the data of this study that the cardiovascular response was increased from rest to postexercise in all forms of exercise, especially immediately after the third set of RE. For exercises performed bilaterally with the upper body (biceps curls), there was a greater cardiovascular response when compared with the same exercise performed unilaterally or with lower-body exercise performed bilaterally.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Young Adult