Exercise training bradycardia: The role of autonomic balance

Michael L. Smith, Donna L. Hudson, Howard M. Graitzer, Peter B. Raven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


We used an algebraic model of resting heart rate (HRr), HRr - mn (HRo), to compare resting parasympathetic (n) and sympathetic (m) influence, intrinsic heart rate (HRo), and resting autonomic balance (Abal) in ten endurance-trained (ET) and ten nontrained (NT) men. The values of m, n, and Abal were determined by selective pharmacological blockade with atropine and metoprolol. HRo was obtained during double blockade with atropine and metoprolol. HRo and HRr were significantly lower (P ≤ 0.04 and P ≤ 0.01, respectively) in the ET subjects (79.5 ± 2.8 beats-min−l and 54.7 ± 3.0 beats-min−1 respectively) when compared to the NT subjects (86.6 ± 2.5 beats-min1 and 70.2 ± 3.1 beats-min−1, respectively). Parasympathetic influence (n) was greater in the ET subjects (P ≤ 0.04), while sympathetic influence (m) was slightly (P ≤ 0.05) less in the ET subjects. Consequently, the value of Abal was significantly less in the ET subjects (P ≤ 0.02), indicating that resting parasympathetic predominance was significantly greater in the ET subjects. We concluded that the exercise training bradycardia, observed in this group of subjects, was due to both a lower HRO and an Abal, with an augmented parasympathetic dominance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1989


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