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Home-based isometric exercise training induced reductions resting blood pressure

Abstract

Purpose

Isometric exercise training (IET) reduces resting blood pressure (BP). Most previous protocols impose exercise barriers which undermine its effectiveness as a potential physical therapy for altering BP. An inexpensive, home-based programme would promote IET as a valuable tool in the fight against hypertension. The aims of this study were: (a) to investigate whether home-based wall squat training could successfully reduce resting BP and (b) to explore the physiological variables that might mediate a change in resting BP.

Methods

Twenty-eight healthy normotensive males were randomly assigned to a control and a 4 week home-based IET intervention using a crossover design with a 4 week ‘washout’ period in-between. Wall squat training was completed 3 × weekly over 4 weeks with 48 h between sessions. Each session comprised 4 × 2 min bouts of wall squat exercise performed at a participant-specific knee joint angle relative to a target HR of 95% HRpeak, with 2 min rest between bouts. Resting heart rate, BP, cardiac output, total peripheral resistance, and stroke volume were taken at baseline and post each condition.

Results

Resting BP (systolic −4 ± 5, diastolic −3 ± 3 and mean arterial −3 ± 3 mmHg), cardiac output (−0.54 ± 0.66 L min−1) and heart rate (−5 ± 7 beats min−1) were all reduced following IET, with no change in total peripheral resistance or stroke volume compared to the control.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that the wall squat provides an effective method for reducing resting BP in the home resulting primarily from a reduction in resting heart rate.

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Abbreviations

ANCOVA:

Analysis of covariance

BP:

Blood pressure

DBP:

Diastolic blood pressure

EMG:

Electromyography

HR:

Heart rate

HRpeak :

Peak heart rate

IET:

Isometric exercise training

MAP:

Mean arterial blood pressure

MCID:

Minimal clinically important difference

MVC:

Maximal voluntary contraction

\({\dot{Q}}\) :

Cardiac output

SBP:

Systolic blood pressure

SV:

Stroke volume

THRR:

Target heart rate range

TPR:

Total peripheral resistance

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Correspondence to Jonathan D. Wiles.

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Communicated by Keith Phillip George.

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Wiles, J.D., Goldring, N. & Coleman, D. Home-based isometric exercise training induced reductions resting blood pressure. Eur J Appl Physiol 117, 83–93 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-016-3501-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-016-3501-0

Keywords

  • Static exercise
  • Wall squat
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Normotensive
  • Physiological mechanisms