The effects of strength training on central arterial compliance in middle-aged and older adults

Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2008 Apr;15(2):149-55. doi: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e3282f02fe2.


Background: Contrary to aerobic exercise, strength training (ST) is associated with decreased central arterial compliance in young men. It is unknown whether ST, with or without concurrent endurance training, would have a similar effect in older adults with reduced baseline arterial compliance.

Objective: The primary aim of this study was to determine the effect of a ST program on central arterial compliance in middle-aged and older adults.

Design: Randomized, controlled intervention study in which 37 healthy, sedentary men and women (52+/-2 years) performed 13 weeks of ST (n=13), ST+aerobic exercise (n=12) or stretching exercises as a control group (n=12).

Methods: Participants were rigorously screened for cardiovascular disease and underwent pre-post testing for carotid arterial compliance (via simultaneous ultrasound and applanation tonometry), carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, plasma endothelin-1 and angiotensin II concentrations and carotid artery vasoreactivity (cold pressor test).

Results: ST performed alone, or in conjunction with aerobic exercise, improved maximal muscle strength and increased total lean body mass (both P<0.01). No significant changes were observed in carotid artery compliance or carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity following ST or ST+aerobic exercise. Carotid artery compliance increased significantly (23%) following stretching which may be attributed to a reduction in carotid pulse pressure. No significant changes were observed in plasma vasoconstrictor hormones or carotid artery vasoreactivity following the interventions.

Conclusion: Thirteen weeks of moderate ST two or three times per week does not reduce central arterial compliance in middle-aged and older adults.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging*
  • Angiotensin II / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / physiology*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Compliance
  • Endothelin-1 / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vasodilation


  • Endothelin-1
  • Angiotensin II