Hypertension during Weight Lifting Reduces Flow-Mediated Dilation in Nonathletes

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether increased intraluminal pressure is the damaging factor that reduces flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in young, healthy subjects after resistance exercise to maximal exertion.


Attenuating the rise in brachial artery pressure during weight lifting by placing a blood pressure cuff on the upper arm prevents postexercise impairment of brachial artery FMD in sedentary individuals.


Nine sedentary individuals who exercise once a week or less and six exercise-trained individuals who exercise three times a week or more performed leg press exercise to maximal exertion on two separate occasions. During one visit, a blood pressure cuff, proximal to the site of brachial artery measurement, was inflated to 100 mm Hg to protect the distal vasculature from the rise in intraluminal pressure, which occurs during resistance exercise. Brachial artery FMD was determined using ultrasonography before and 30 min after weight lifting.


Without the protective cuff, brachial artery FMD in sedentary individuals was reduced after weight lifting (9.0% ± 1.2% prelift vs 6.6% ± 0.8% postlift; P = 0.005), whereas in exercise-trained individuals, FMD was unchanged (7.4% ± 0.7% prelift vs 8.0% ± 0.9% postlift; P = 0.543). With the protective cuff, FMD no longer decreased but rather increased in sedentary individuals (8.7% ± 1.2% prelift vs 10.5% ± 1.0% postlift, P = 0.025). An increase in FMD was also seen in exercise-trained subjects when the cuff was present (6.6% ± 0.7% prelift vs 10.9% ± 1.5% postlift, P < 0.001).


Protecting the brachial artery from exercise-induced hypertension enhances FMD in sedentary and exercise-trained individuals. These results indicate that increased intraluminal pressure in the artery contributes to the reduced FMD after heavy resistance exercise in sedentary individuals.

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