• heart rate;
  • blood pressure;
  • spectral analysis;
  • intermittent exercise;
  • autonomic nervous system;
  • baroreflex;
  • recovery

The autonomic nervous activity was assessed following supramaximal exercise through heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) variability (HRV and BPV) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS). The beat-to-beat HR and BP were recorded during the supine and standing states before (PRE) and at 60 (R60) and 120 min (R120) following single (one Wingate, 1W) and multiple sprint intervals (four Wingates interspersed with 4 min of light cycling, 4W). The supine low frequency (LF) component was increased (P<0.001) and the high frequency (HF) was reduced (P<0.01) at R60 (LF, 178.1 ± 11.0; HF, 74.8 ± 10.5) compared with PRE (LF, 140.2 ± 7.4; HF, 110.4 ± 7.2) after both exercises. Supine systolic BPV LF:HF was higher at R60 (4.6 ± 1.4) compared with PRE (6.8 ± 2.4) only after 4W (P=0.035). Supine BRS was lower (P<0.001) at R60 (6.8 ± 1.1) than at PRE (15.3 ± 1.8) and R120 (11.3 ± 1.3). BRS at R120 remained lower after 4W (P=0.02). Standing BRS was less (P<0.001) at R60 (2.3 ± 0.5) than at PRE (5.6 ± 0.8) or R120 (3.7 ± 0.6) and returned to PRE values only after 1W. We concluded that (a) autonomic balance is shifted to a greater sympathetic and less parasympathetic activation following both types of exercise, (b) it takes longer than 1 h to recover following supramaximal exercise and (c) the recovery is longer after 4W than 1W.