Muscular strength is inversely associated with aortic stiffness in young men

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Sep;42(9):1619-24. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181d8d834.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aorta / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Elasticity
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Pulsatile Flow / physiology
  • Resistance Training
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Young Adult