Impact of resistance training on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials

Hypertension. 2011 Nov;58(5):950-8. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.177071. Epub 2011 Sep 6.


We reviewed the effect of resistance training on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in adults. Randomized, controlled trials lasting ≥4 weeks investigating the effects of resistance training on blood pressure in healthy adults (age ≥18 years) and published in a peer-reviewed journal up to June 2010 were included. Random- and fixed-effects models were used for analyses, with data reported as weighted means and 95% confidence limits. We included 28 randomized, controlled trials, involving 33 study groups and 1012 participants. Overall, resistance training induced a significant blood pressure reduction in 28 normotensive or prehypertensive study groups [-3.9 (-6.4; -1.2)/-3.9 (-5.6; -2.2) mm Hg], whereas the reduction [-4.1 (-0.63; +1.4)/-1.5 (-3.4; +0.40) mm Hg] was not significant for the 5 hypertensive study groups. When study groups were divided according to the mode of training, isometric handgrip training in 3 groups resulted in a larger decrease in blood pressure [-13.5 (-16.5; -10.5)/-6.1(-8.3; -3.9) mm Hg] than dynamic resistance training in 30 groups [-2.8 (-4.3; -1.3)/-2.7 (-3.8; -1.7) mm Hg]. After dynamic resistance training, Vo(2) peak increased by 10.6% (P=0.01), whereas body fat and plasma triglycerides decreased by 0.6% (P<0.01) and 0.11 mmol/L (P<0.05), respectively. No significant effect could be observed on other blood lipids and fasting blood glucose. This meta-analysis supports the blood pressure-lowering potential of dynamic resistance training and isometric handgrip training. In addition, dynamic resistance training also favorably affects some other cardiovascular risk factors. Our results further suggest that isometric handgrip training may be more effective for reducing blood pressure than dynamic resistance training. However, given the small amount of isometric studies available, additional studies are warranted to confirm this finding.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reference Values
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Risk Assessment