Potential Mechanisms Behind the Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Dynamic Resistance Training

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2021 Jun 21;23(6):35. doi: 10.1007/s11906-021-01154-5.


Purpose of review: To elucidate the hemodynamic, autonomic, vascular, hormonal, and local mechanisms involved in the blood pressure (BP)-lowering effect of dynamic resistance training (DRT) in prehypertensive and hypertensive populations.

Recent findings: The systematic search identified 16 studies involving 17 experimental groups that assessed the DRT effects on BP mechanisms in prehypertensive and/or hypertensive populations. These studies mainly enrolled women and middle-aged/older individuals. Vascular effects of DRT were consistently reported, with vascular conductance, flow-mediated dilation, and vasodilatory capacity increases found in all studies. On the other hand, evidence regarding the effects of DRT on systemic hemodynamics, autonomic regulation, hormones, and vasoactive substances are still scarce and controversial, not allowing for any conclusion. The current literature synthesis shows that DRT may promote vascular adaptations, improving vascular conductance and endothelial function, which may have a role in the BP-lowering effect of this type of training in prehypertensive and hypertensive individuals. More studies are needed to explore the role of other mechanisms in the BP-lowering effect of DRT.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; Endothelial function; Hypertension; Hypertensives; Strength training; Vascular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Resistance Training*
  • Vasodilation