Resistance training to reduce resting blood pressure and increase muscle strength in users and non-users of anti-hypertensive medication: A meta-analysis

Clin Exp Hypertens. 2021 Jul 4;43(5):474-485. doi: 10.1080/10641963.2021.1901111. Epub 2021 Mar 31.


Objective: The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review with meta-analysis to analyze the effect of resistance training variables prescription on resting systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and muscle strength changes. Methods: The search was conducted in the PubMed, Web of Science, and SPORTDiscus databases until August 2020 for randomized controlled trials with non-exercising control group. Results: In total, 36 studies qualified for inclusion in this meta-analysis. Eleven studies included users of antihypertensive medication, while the remaining 25 studies were conducted with non-users of antihypertensive medication. Resistance training only reduced SBP (-0.56 [-0.77 to -0.35]; P < .001) and DBP (-0.46 [-0.68 to -0.24]; P < .001) in anti-hypertensive medication users, with changes ranging from -6.1 to -2.8 mmHg for SBP and -4.6 to -1.6 mmHg for DBP. Muscle strength increased significantly in both users (0.76 [0.49 to 1.02]; P < .001) and non-users of antihypertensive medication (0.94 [0.71 to 1.16]; P < .001). Resistance training should be performed by users and non-users of antihypertensive medication for 8 to 16 weeks (2 to 3 days a week) and 8 to 12 non-failure repetitions. However, users should train with less load (60-80 vs 70-85% 1RM) and exercise sets (1-3 vs 2-4) than non-users of antihypertensive medication. Conclusion: Resistance training increases muscle strength and reduces resting SBP and DBP in individuals under BP pharmacological therapy, while in individuals who do not use antihypertensive drugs, resistance training only increases strength.

Keywords: Hypertension; blood pressure; cardiovascular health; strength; training.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Publication Bias
  • Resistance Training*
  • Rest / physiology*


  • Antihypertensive Agents