Cardiac Autonomic and Blood Pressure Responses to an Acute Bout of Kettlebell Exercise

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Abstract

Kettlebell (KB) training has become an extremely popular exercise program for improving both muscle strength and aerobic fitness. However, the cardiac autonomic modulation and blood pressure (BP) responses induced by an acute KB exercise session are currently unknown. Understanding the impact of this exercise modality on the post-exercise autonomic modulation and BP would facilitate appropriate exercise prescription in susceptible populations. The present study evaluated the effects of an acute session of KB exercise on heart rate variability (HRV) and BP responses in healthy individuals. Seventeen (M=10, F=7) healthy subjects completed either a KB or non-exercise control trial in randomized order. HRV and BP measurements were collected at baseline, 3, 10 and 30 min after each trial. There were significant increases (P < 0.01) in heart rate, markers of sympathetic activity (nLF) and sympathovagal balance (nLF/nHF) for 30 min after the trial KB trial, while no changes from baseline were observed after the control trial. There were also significant decreases (P < 0.01) in markers of vagal tone (RMMSD, nHF) for 30 min as well as (P < 0.01) systolic BP and diastolic BP at 10 and 30 min after the trial KB trial while no changes from baseline were observed after the control trial. Our findings indicate that KB exercise increases sympathovagal balance for 30 min post-intervention which is concurrent with an important hypotensive effect. Further research is warranted to evaluate the potential clinical application of KB training in populations that might benefit from post-exercise hypotension, such as hypertensives.

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