The blood pressure response to exercise in anabolic steroid users

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992 Jun;24(6):633-7.


We measured blood pressure at rest and during exercise in nine weight lifters using anabolic steroids, 10 weight lifters not using these drugs, and 10 sedentary controls. BP was measured using standard sphygmomanometry and an appropriately sized cuff. Maximal treadmill tests and leg press exercise were conducted in random order on separate days. Systolic blood pressure in the anabolic steroid users was higher at rest and during both forms of exercise. Diastolic blood pressure during exercise was also higher in the anabolic steroid users than in the other two groups. The maximal systolic and diastolic blood pressure change from rest to exercise was not different among the groups, suggesting that the higher exercise pressure in the drug users was primarily due to higher resting values. Body weight and biceps circumference were greatest in the anabolic steroid users. Adjusting rest and exercise blood pressure for body weight or biceps size eliminated statistically significant differences between groups, but had little impact on the absolute group differences. We conclude that the higher rest and exercise blood pressure values noted in anabolic steroid users may be related to their larger body mass or may be an artifact of the larger arm circumference in these subjects. Other factors may also be operative, however, because blood pressure remained nonsignificantly higher even after body weight and biceps size were adjusted for statistically.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Weight Lifting*


  • Anabolic Agents