Introduction: The chronic effects of respiratory muscle training (RMT) on the cardiovascular system remain unclear. This investigation tested to which degree a single sessions of RMT with or without added vibration, which could enhance peripheral blood flow and vascular response, or a 4-week RMT program could result in changes in pulse wave velocity (PWV), blood pressure (systolic, SBP; diastolic, DBP) and other markers of cardiovascular health.
Methods: Sixteen young and healthy participants (8 m/8f) performed 15 min of either continuous normocapnic hyperpnea (RMET), sprint-interval-type hyperpnea (RMSIT) or a control session (quiet sitting). Sessions were performed once with and once without passive vibration of the lower limbs. To assess training-induced adaptations, thirty-four young and healthy participants (17 m/17f) were measured before and after 4 weeks (three weekly sessions) of RMET (n = 13, 30-min sessions of normocapnic hyperpnea), RMSIT [n = 11, 6 × 1 min (1 min break) normocapnic hyperpnea with added resistance] or placebo (n = 10).
Results: SBP was elevated from baseline at 5 min after each RMT session, but returned to baseline levels after 15 min, whereas DBP was unchanged from baseline following RMT. Carotid-femoral PWV (PWVCF) was elevated at 5 and 15 min after RMT compared to baseline (main effect of time, P = 0.001), whereas no changes were seen for carotid-radial PWV (PWVCR) or the PWVCF/PWVCR ratio. Vibration had no effects in any of the interventions. Following the 4-week training period, no differences from the placebo group were seen for SBP (P = 0.686), DBP (P = 0.233), PWVCF (P = 0.844), PWVCR (P = 0.815) or the PWVCF/PWVCR ratio (P = 0.389).
Discussion/Conclusion: Although 15 min of RMT sessions elicited transient increases in PWVCF and SBP, no changes were detected following 4 weeks of either RMET or RMSIT. Adding passive vibration of the lower limbs during RMT sessions did not provide additional value to the session with regards to vascular responses.