Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of risk factors in individuals with high risk of diabetes and heart disease. Resistance training (RT) has been proposed to be a safe, effective and worthwhile method for the prevention and treatment of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. However, no study has analysed the acute response of blood pressure (BP) and autonomic control of heart rate (HR) after a RT session in female patients with MetS. The aim of the present study was to analyse the response of laboratory assessed and ambulatory BP and cardiac autonomic modulation after a RT session in women with MetS. Nine women without MetS (35·0 ± 6·7 years) and 10 women with MetS (34·1 ± 9·4 years) completed one experimental exercise session and a control session. Laboratory BP, heart rate variability (HRV) and ambulatory BP of each subject were measured at rest, over 60 min, and for 24 h after the end of the sessions, respectively. There was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP), night time diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and mean blood pressure (MBP) only for women with MetS, for all periods after the RT session when compared with the control session (P<0·05). Significantly lower laboratory values of SBP and DBP (10, 30 and 40 min postexercise) and MBP (10, 40 and 50 min postexercise) were observed in women with MetS (P<0·05). Patients with MetS exhibited significant lower basal HRV and a lower autonomic responsiveness during the 60 min of acute recovery. These results confirmed that an acute session of resistance exercise induced a lower BP during day time and sleeping hours in women with MetS that may offer a cardio-protective effect. Women with MetS exhibited an impaired autonomic modulation at rest and a lower acute autonomic responsiveness to a RT session. The dissociation between BP and HRV responses suggests that other factors than autonomic control could be involved in the hypotensive effect of a RT session in MetS patients.