The effect of resistance training on blood pressure in normotensive women

Clin Physiol. 1991 Jul;11(4):307-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097x.1991.tb00659.x.


The purpose of the present study was to determine whether conventional resistance training alters 24-h ambulatory and manually determined casual blood pressure of normotensive women. Seven individuals (23 +/- 2 years old) trained 2 days week-1 for 20 weeks emphasizing the hip and knee extensor muscle groups. Three sets to exhaustion of the knee extension, squat, knee flexion and leg press exercises were performed. The load for each exercise represented approximately 80-85% of the one-repetition maximum. Average values for 24-h ambulatory blood pressure were not different (P greater than 0.05) pre- and post-training (systolic, 107 +/- 4 vs. 109 +/- 1 mmHg; diastolic, 73 +/- 2 vs. 71 +/- 2 mmHg). Ambulatory values over 8-h segments of the 24 h (day, evening, night) and casual resting determinations of blood pressure were also not affected. The lack of change in blood pressure cannot be explained by an insufficient training response. Knee extensor strength during dynamic or isokinetic actions increased (approximately 43%, P less than 0.05). In addition, biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle showed an increase (P less than 0.05) in average muscle fibre cross-sectional area of 32%. This hypertrophic response was further substantiated by an increase (P less than 0.05) in lean body mass (41.2 +/- 1.3 kg to 43.4 +/- 1.5 kg). These results indicate that resistance training, which increases muscular strength, muscle fibre area and lean body mass, does not alter ambulatory or casual blood pressure. Thus, the concern that conventional resistance training may chronically elevate blood pressure does not appear warranted, at least in normotensive women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hip / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Leg / physiology
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Time Factors