Can Heart Rate Variability Determine Recovery Following Distinct Strength Loadings? A Randomized Cross-Over Trial

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 7;16(22):4353. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16224353.


This study aimed to compare the acute effects of hypertrophic (HYP) and maximum strength (MAX) loadings on heart rate variability (HRV) and to compare possible loading-specific alterations with other markers of recovery. Ten young men with strength training experience performed two leg press loadings (HYP: five times 10 repetitions at 70% of one repetition maximum (1RM) with 2 minutes inter-set rest; MAX: 15 times one repetition at 100% of 1RM with 3 minutes inter-set rest) in a randomized order. The root mean square of successive differences statistically decreased after both protocols (HYP: 65.7 ± 26.6 ms to 23.9 ± 18.7 ms, p = 0.026; MAX: 77.7 ± 37.0 ms to 55.3 ± 22.3 ms, p = 0.049), while the frequency domains of HRV remained statistically unaltered. The low frequency (LF) band statistically increased at 48h post-MAX only (p = 0.033). Maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MVC) statistically decreased after HYP (p = 0.026) and returned to baseline after 24h of recovery. Creatine kinase (CK) statistically increased above baseline at 1h post-loadings (HYP p = 0.028; MAX p = 0.020), returning to baseline at 24h post. Our findings indicate no distinct associations between changes in HRV and MVC or CK.

Keywords: HRV; MVC; RMSSD; fatigue; recovery; strength performance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myalgia
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult


  • Lactic Acid
  • Creatine Kinase