If you’ve listened to Fast Talk before, you’ve likely heard us mention “cardiac drift” or “decoupling” in several episodes. It’s a favorite topic of Coach Connor’s.
The terms refer to cardiovascular drift, which is a “drifting” in heart rate and stroke volume over time. On the bike, we measure it by looking at a rise in heart rate relative to power. Many causes for CV drift have been theorized, including dehydration, muscle damage, cutaneous blood flow, and mitochondrial efficiency.
We’re very excited to have as our featured guest today Dr. Ed Coyle, the University of Texas exercise physiology researcher who published the definitive articles on cardiovascular drift in the 1990s.
In that research, Coyle, who is also the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the university, and his colleagues demonstrated that even when hydration is maintained, CV drift can be experienced. This increase in heart rate reduces the time the heart has to fill with blood, and this is the main reason for a drop in stroke volume, or the amount of blood pushed out by the heart with each beat.
In a practical sense, when a person becomes dehydrated during prolonged exercise, they also get hotter and experience a greater increase in heart rate and a lower cardiac output and circulation of blood: CV drift.
The exercise becomes very hard when it should not be hard at all. Competitive cyclists interpret this to mean they are getting a “better workout” because it’s more stressful. It certainly is more stressful, but that type of cardiovascular drift is a negative stress. It does more harm than good.
We’ll dive into all of this and much more today on Fast Talk, as we hear from Dr. Coyle and a host of other incredible guests who share their thoughts on cardiovascular drift.
Now, let’s make you fast!
- Acharya, U. R., Joseph, K. P., Kannathal, N., Lim, C. M., & Suri, J. S. (2006). Heart rate variability: a review. Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, 44(12), 1031–1051. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s11517-006-0119-0
- Atkinson, C. L., Carter, H. H., Thijssen, D. H. J., Birk, G. K., Cable, N. T., Low, D. A., … Green, D. J. (2018). Localised cutaneous microvascular adaptation to exercise training in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 118(4), 837–845. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3813-3
- Baak, M. A. V. (1988). β-Adrenoceptor Blockade and Exercise An Update. Sports Medicine, 5(4), 209–225. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-198805040-00002
- Banishing cardiovascular drift: a master stroke for endurance athletes? (n.d.).
- Boudet, G., Albuisson, E., Bedu, M., & Chamoux, A. (2004). Heart Rate Running Speed Relationships During Exhaustive Bouts in the Laboratory. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 29(6), 731–742. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1139/h04-047
- Colakoglu, M., Ozkaya, O., & Balci, G. A. (2018). Moderate Intensity Intermittent Exercise Modality May Prevent Cardiovascular Drift. Sports, 6(3), 98. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6030098
- Coyle, E. F., & González-Alonso, J. (2001). Cardiovascular Drift During Prolonged Exercise: New Perspectives. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 29(2), 88–92. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1097/00003677-200104000-00009
- Dawson, E. A., Shave, R., George, K., Whyte, G., Ball, D., Gaze, D., & Collinson, P. (2005). Cardiac drift during prolonged exercise with echocardiographic evidence of reduced diastolic function of the heart. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 94(3), 305–309. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-005-1318-3
- Dawson, Ellen A., Cable, N. T., Green, D. J., & Thijssen, D. H. J. (2018). Do acute effects of exercise on vascular function predict adaptation to training? European Journal of Applied Physiology, 118(3), 523–530. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-017-3724-8
- Dawson, Ellen A., Whyte, G. P., Black, M. A., Jones, H., Hopkins, N., Oxborough, D., … Green, D. J. (2008). Changes in vascular and cardiac function after prolonged strenuous exercise in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, 105(5), 1562–1568. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.90837.2008
- Dreisbach, A. W., Greif, R. L., Lorenzo, B. J., & Reidenberg, M. M. (1993). Lipophilic Beta-Blockers Inhibit Rat Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Respiration. Pharmacology, 47(5), 295–299. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1159/000139110
- Franke, W. D., Boettger, C. F., & McLean, S. P. (2000). Effects of varying central command and muscle mass on the cardiovascular responses to isometric exercise. Clinical Physiology, 20(5), 380–387. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2281.2000.00273.x
- Fritzsche, R. G., Switzer, T. W., Hodgkinson, B. J., & Coyle, E. F. (1999). Stroke volume decline during prolonged exercise is influenced by the increase in heart rate. Journal of Applied Physiology, 86(3), 799–805. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.19184.108.40.2069
- Juhlin–Dannfelt, A. (1982). Metabolic effects of β–adrenoceptor blockade on skeletal muscle at rest and during exercise. Acta Medica Scandinavica, 212(S665), 113–115. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0954-6820.1982.tb00418.x
- Juhlin‐Dannfelt, A. (1983). β‐adrenoceptor blockade and exercise: effects on endurance and physical training. Acta Medica Scandinavica, 213(S672), 49–54. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0954-6820.1983.tb01613.x
- Kerhervé, H. A., McLean, S., Birkenhead, K., Parr, D., & Solomon, C. (2017). Influence of exercise duration on cardiorespiratory responses, energy cost and tissue oxygenation within a 6 hour treadmill run. PeerJ, 5, e3694. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3694
- Kontogiannis, C., Kosmopoulos, M., Georgiopoulos, G., Spartalis, M., Paraskevaidis, I., & Chatzidou, S. (2018). Mitochondria in β-adrenergic signaling: emerging therapeutic perspectives in heart failure and ventricular arrhythmias. Journal of Thoracic Disease, 1(1), S4183–S4185. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2018.11.01
- Kounalakis, S. N., & Geladas, N. D. (2012). Cardiovascular drift and cerebral and muscle tissue oxygenation during prolonged cycling at different pedalling cadences. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 37(3), 407–417. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1139/h2012-011
- Kounalakis, S. N., Nassis, G. P., Koskolou, M. D., & Geladas, N. D. (2008). The role of active muscle mass on exercise-induced cardiovascular drift. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 7(3), 395–401.
- Kumagai, K., Kurobe, K., Zhong, H., Loenneke, J., Thiebaud, R., Ogita, F., & Abe, T. (2012). Cardiovascular drift during low intensity exercise with leg blood flow restriction. Acta Physiologica Hungarica, 99(4), 392–399. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1556/aphysiol.99.2012.4.3
- Oyake, K., Baba, Y., Ito, N., Suda, Y., Murayama, J., Mochida, A., … Momose, K. (2019). Cardiorespiratory factors related to the increase in oxygen consumption during exercise in individuals with stroke. PLOS ONE, 14(10), e0217453. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217453
- Tesch, P. A. (1985). Exercise Performance and β-Blockade. Sports Medicine, 2(6), 389–412. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-198502060-00002
- Tocco, F., Sanna, I., Mulliri, G., Magnani, S., Todde, F., Mura, R., … Crisafulli, A. (2015). Heart Rate Unreliability during Interval Training Recovery in Middle Distance Runners. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 14(2), 466–72.