Ischemic Preconditioning with High and Low Pressure Enhances Maximum Strength and Modulates Heart Rate Variability

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jun 23;19(13):7655. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19137655.


Background: The application of ischemic preconditioning (IPC) to resistance exercise has attracted some attention, owing to increases in muscle performance. However, there is still no consensus on the optimal occlusion pressure for this procedure. This study compared the acute effects of IPC with high and low pressure of occlusion on upper and lower limb maximal strength and heart rate variability in recreationally trained individuals. Methods: Sixteen recreationally trained men (25.3 ± 1.7 years; 78.4 ± 6.2 kg; 176.9 ± 5.4 cm; 25.1 ± 1.5 m2 kg−1) were thoroughly familiarized with one repetition maximum (1 RM) testing in the following exercises: bench press (BP), front latissimus pull-down (FLPD), and shoulder press (SP) for upper limbs, and leg press 45º (LP45), hack machine (HM), and Smith Squat (SS) for lower limbs. The 1 RM exercises were then randomly performed on three separate days: after a high pressure (220 mmHg, IPChigh) and a low pressure (20 mmHg, IPClow) IPC protocol and after no intervention (control, CON). Heart rate variability was also measured at rest, during and after the entire IPC protocol, and after the exercises. Results: Maximal strength was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in both IPChigh and IPClow compared with CON in all upper- and lower-limb exercises. There was no difference between the two experimental conditions. No significant differences were found in the comparison across the different experimental conditions for LFnu, HFnu, LF/HF ratio, and RMSSDms. Conclusions: IPC performed with both high and low pressures influenced heart rate variability, which may partly explain the maximal strength enhancement.

Keywords: heart rate variability; ischemic preconditioning; maximum strength; resistance exercises.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Preconditioning*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training* / methods
  • Weight Lifting / physiology

Grants and funding

The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (I.P., Grant/Award Number UIDB/04748/2020) funded this research.