Resistance training and arterial compliance: keeping the benefits while minimizing the stiffening

J Hypertens. 2006 Sep;24(9):1753-9. doi: 10.1097/01.hjh.0000242399.60838.14.


Objectives: This study aimed to determine the effects of moderate resistance training as well as the combined resistance and aerobic training intervention on carotid arterial compliance.

Background: Resistance training has become a popular mode of exercise, but intense weight training is shown to stiffen carotid arteries.

Methods: Thirty-nine young healthy men were assigned either to the moderate-intensity resistance training (MODE), the combined resistance training and endurance training (COMBO) or the sedentary control (CONTROL) groups. Participants in the training groups underwent three training sessions per week for 4 months followed by four additional months of detraining.

Results: All training groups increased maximal strength in all the muscle groups tested (P < 0.05). Carotid arterial compliance (via simultaneous carotid ultrasound and applanation tonometry) decreased approximately 20% after MODE training (from 0.20 +/- 0.01 to 0.16 +/- 0.01 mm2/mmHg, P < 0.01). No significant changes in carotid arterial compliance were observed in the COMBO (0.20 +/- 0.01 to 0.23 +/- 0.01 mm2/mmHg) and CONTROL (0.20 +/- 0.01 to 0.20 +/- 0.01 mm2/mmHg) groups. Following the detraining period, carotid arterial compliance returned to the baseline level. Peripheral (femoral) artery compliance did not change in any groups.

Conclusions: We concluded that simultaneously performed aerobic exercise training could prevent the stiffening of carotid arteries caused by resistance training in young healthy men.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology*
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / pathology
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Tunica Intima / pathology
  • Tunica Media / pathology
  • Vascular Resistance*