Endurance exercise training-induced resting bradycardia: A brief review

Chao-Yin Chen, S. E. Dicarlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Endurance exercise training is associated with a reduction in resting heart rate. The mechanisms responsible for the training-induced resting bradycardia remain unclear. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the literature and propose a model which analyzes the components contributing to the training-induced resting bradycardia. In addition, important training principles required to obtain the training-induced resting bradycardia are discussed. Our model suggests that a reduced intrinsic heart rate and an altered cardiac autonomic balance in favor of parasympathetic dominance contribute to the training-induced resting bradycardia. The reduced intrinsic heart rate may be due to the effects of an increased mechanical force and/or an altered electrophysiological and metabolic environment at the sinoatrial node. Increased cardiac parasympathetic dominance is associated with an increased cardiac parasympathetic nerve activity and a decreased cardiac sympathetic nerve activity. These adaptations require a high intensity, endurance exercise training program during an extended period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-77
Number of pages41
JournalSports Medicine, Training and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomic balance
  • Cardiac parasympathetic nerve activity
  • Cardiac sympathetic nerve activity
  • Intrinsic heart rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Rehabilitation


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