A shorter set reduces the loss of cardiac autonomic and baroreflex control after resistance exercise

Eur J Sport Sci. 2016 Nov;16(8):996-1004. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2015.1108367. Epub 2015 Nov 15.


Set configuration may affect the recovery pattern of cardiac vagal autonomic and reflex modulation after a resistance exercise, since it is closely associated with intensity and volume and determines the metabolic involvement of the session. We tested the hypothesis that longer set configurations have a higher impact on cardiac autonomic control and baroreflex sensitivity compared with shorter set configurations. We studied the effects of three set configurations with the same components of work on the cardiac autonomic control and baroreflex sensitivity. Seventeen subjects performed one control session and three experimental sessions of a leg-press exercise with the same volume (40 repetitions), resting time (720 s) and intensity (10RM load): (a) 5 sets of 8 repetitions with 3 min of rest between sets (8S), (b) 10 sets of 4 repetitions with 80 s of rest between sets (4S) and (c) 40 sets of 1 repetition with 18.5 s of rest between each repetition (1S). Longer set configurations (8S and 4S) induced greater reductions of the vagal cardiac autonomic control and baroreflex sensitivity (p ≤ .001) compared with a shorter set configuration (1S). Also, 1S had non-significant reductions versus the control session (p > .05). These findings suggest that a shorter set configuration can reduce the impact of resistance exercise on the post-exercise cardiac vagal autonomic control and baroreflex sensitivity.

Keywords: Cardiac autonomic control; baroreflex sensitivity; resistance exercise; set configuration.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Baroreflex / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult