Muscular strength is associated with reduced mortality. Paradoxically, strength training may increase central artery stiffness, a predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the relationship between muscular strength and central arterial stiffness has yet to be defined.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between muscular strength and central arterial stiffness in young men.
Methods: Central and peripheral pulse wave velocity (PWV), augmentation index, muscular strength, and aerobic capacity (V O2peak) were measured in 79 young men (mean +/- SD, age = 23 +/- 4 yr). Height, weight, and brachial blood pressure were also recorded. Muscular strength was determined using a one-repetition maximum bench press and normalized to bodyweight. Spearman correlations were used to determine the relationships between relative strength, aerobic fitness, and hemodynamic/vascular measures.
Results: There was a significant negative correlation between central PWV and strength (r = -0.222, P < 0.05). The relationship remained significant when controlling for aerobic fitness (r = -0.189, P < 0.05). Muscular strength was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in men with low central PWV (5.2 +/- 0.4 m.s) compared with men with high central PWV (6.6 +/- 0.4 m.s).
Conclusion: These results show that there is a significant inverse association between muscular strength and aortic stiffness independent of aerobic fitness.