Isometric Handgrip as an Adjunct for Blood Pressure Control: a Primer for Clinicians

  • Cheri L. McGowan
  • David N. Proctor
  • Ian Swaine
  • Robert D. Brook
  • Elizabeth A. Jackson
  • Phillip D. Levy
Device-Based Approaches for Hypertension (M Schlaich, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Device-Based Approaches for Hypertension


Considered a global health crisis by the World Health Organization, hypertension (HTN) is the leading risk factor for death and disability. The majority of treated patients do not attain evidence-based clinical targets, which increases the risk of potentially fatal complications. HTN is the most common chronic condition seen in primary care; thus, implementing therapies that lower and maintain BP to within-target ranges is of tremendous public health importance. Isometric handgrip (IHG) training is a simple intervention endorsed by the American Heart Association as a potential adjuvant BP-lowering treatment. With larger reductions noted in HTN patients, IHG training may be especially beneficial for those who (a) have difficulties continuing or increasing drug-based treatment; (b) are unable to attain BP control despite optimal treatment; (c) have pre-HTN or low-risk stage I mild HTN; and (d) wish to avoid medications or have less pill burden. IHG training is not routinely prescribed in clinical practice. To shift this paradigm, we focus on (1) the challenges of current HTN management strategies; (2) the effect of IHG training; (3) IHG prescription; (4) characterizing the population for whom it works best; (5) clinical relevance; and (6) important next steps to foster broader implementation by clinical practitioners.


Hypertension High blood pressure Alternative treatments Clinical practice Isometric handgrip training 


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheri L. McGowan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • David N. Proctor
    • 4
  • Ian Swaine
    • 5
  • Robert D. Brook
    • 2
  • Elizabeth A. Jackson
    • 2
  • Phillip D. Levy
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Human KineticsUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of Medicine, Department of Emergency MedicineWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  4. 4.Department of KinesiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Life & Sport SciencesUniversity of GreenwichLondonUK

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