Brain oxygenation during multiple sets of isometric and dynamic resistance exercise of equivalent workloads: Association with systemic haemodynamics


Brain function relies on sufficient blood flow and oxygen supply. Changes in cerebral oxygenation during exercise have been linked to brain activity and central command. Isometric- and dynamic-resistance exercise-(RE) may elicit differential responses in systemic circulation, neural function and metabolism; all important regulators of cerebral circulation. We examined whether (i) cerebral oxygenation differs between isometric- and dynamic-RE of similar exercise characteristics and (ii) cerebral oxygenation changes relate to cardiovascular adjustments occurring during RE. Fourteen men performed, randomly, an isometric-RE and a dynamic-RE of similar characteristics (bilateral-leg-press, 2-min×4-sets, 30% of maximal-voluntary-contraction, equivalent tension-time-index/workload). Cerebral-oxygenation (oxyhaemoglobin-O2Hb; total haemoglobin-tHb/blood-volume-index; deoxyhemoglobin-HHb) was assessed by NIRS and beat-by-beat haemodynamics via photoplethysmography. Cerebral-O2Hb and tHb progressively increased from the 1st to 4th set in both RE-protocols (p textless 0.05); HHb slightly decreased (p textless 0.05). Changes in NIRS-parameters were similar between RE-protocols within each exercise-set (p = 0.91–1.00) and during the entire protocol (including resting-phases) (p = 0.48–0.63). O2Hb and tHb changes were not correlated with changes in systemic haemodynamics. In conclusion, cerebral oxygenation/blood-volume steadily increased during multiple-set RE-protocols. Isometric- and dynamic-RE of matched exercise characteristics resulted in similar prefrontal oxygenation/blood volume changes, suggesting similar cerebral haemodynamic and possibly neuronal responses to maintain a predetermined force.

Journal of Sports Sciences