Reductions in resting blood pressure after 4 weeks of isometric exercise training

Abstract

There is some evidence to suggest isometric training can reduce resting blood pressure in a shorter period than the typical 8 weeks, reported most commonly. The purpose of the present study was to explore whether 4 weeks of bilateral-leg isometric training can reduce resting blood pressure, and whether these changes are associated with altered cardiac output or total peripheral resistance. Thirteen participants volunteered for a 4-week crossover training study, involving three sessions per week (each session involving 4 × 2 min bilateral-leg isometric exercise). The training intensity used (95% peak HR) was equivalent to 24% MVC. In addition to blood pressure, resting heart rate, cardiac output, stroke volume, and total peripheral resistance were measured. Results demonstrated that bilateral-leg isometric exercise training for 4 weeks caused significant reductions in systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressure. Changes were −4.9 ± 5.8, −2.8 ± 3.2, and −2.7 ± 2.4 mmHg, respectively. No differences were observed in the other resting measures. In conclusion, this study has shown that it is possible to induce reductions in arterial blood pressure after 4 weeks of bilateral-leg isometric exercise.

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Correspondence to Gavin R. Devereux.

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Communicated by Niels Secher.

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Devereux, G.R., Wiles, J.D. & Swaine, I.L. Reductions in resting blood pressure after 4 weeks of isometric exercise training. Eur J Appl Physiol 109, 601–606 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1394-x

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Keywords

  • Arterial blood pressure
  • Isometric exercise
  • Muscle mass
  • Vascular conductance