Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Resistance exercise leading to failure versus not to failure: effects on cardiovascular control

Jéssica Cardoso De Souza1, Ramires Alsamir Tibana1, Claudia Regina Cavaglieri5, Denis César Leite Vieira1, Nuno Manuel Frade De Sousa2, Felipe Augusto Dos Santos Mendes3, Vitor Tajra1, Wagner Rodrigues Martins3, Darlan Lopes De Farias1, Sandor Balsamo3, James Wilfred Navalta4, Carmen Silvia Grubert Campbell1 and Jonato Prestes1*

Author Affiliations

1 Graduation Program on Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia 71966-700, Brazil

2 Graduation Program Inter-unities - Bioengineering, EESC/FMRP/IQSC, USP, Sao Carlos, Brazil

3 University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

4 Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

5 School of Physical Education, State University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:105  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-105

Published: 19 November 2013



The aim of the present study was to evaluate the acute effects of resistance exercise (RE) leading to failure and RE that was not to failure on 24 h blood pressure (BP) and heart rate variability (HRV) in sedentary normotensive adult women.


Ten women (33.2 ± 5.8 years; 159.3 ± 9.4 cm; 58.0 ±6.4 kg; body fat 28.4 ± 2.8%) randomly underwent three experimental sessions: control (40 minutes of seated rest), RE leading to failure with 3 sets of 10 repetitions maximum (10-RM), and RE not to failure at 60% of 10-RM with 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Immediately post session BP and HRV were measured for 24 h.


Ratings of perceived exertion and heart rate were higher during the 10-RM session when compared with 60% of 10-RM (6.4 ± 0.5 vs 3.5 ± 0.8 and 123.7 ± 13.9 vs 104.5 ± 7.3 bpm, respectively). The systolic, diastolic and mean BP decreased at 07:00 a.m. after the 10-RM session when compared with the control session (−9.0 ± 7.8 mmHg, -16.0 ± 12.9 mmHg and −14.3 ± 11.2 mmHg, respectively). The root mean square of the squared differences between R-R intervals decreased after both the 60% of 10-RM and 10-RM sessions compared with the control session.


An acute RE session leading to failure induced a higher drop of BP upon awakening, while both RE sessions reduced cardiac parasympathetic modulation. RE may be an interesting training strategy to acutely decrease BP in adult women.

Resistance training; Blood pressure; Hypotension