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Hemodynamic Response to Upright Resistance Exercise: Effect of Load and Repetition


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 3 - p 479–487
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a7980f
Basic Sciences

Introduction/Purpose Upright resistance exercise causes large transient fluctuations in blood pressure during and immediately after the performance. We examined the effect of resistance load and the number of repetitions on the middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity (MCAv) response during and after upright squatting exercise.

Methods Healthy males (n = 12; mean ± SD: 26 ± 5 yr) completed 30%, 60%, and 90% of their six-repetition maximum load, completing two and six repetitions of these loads during two visits (order randomized). Beat-to-beat MCAv, blood pressure, and continuous end-tidal PCO2 during exercise, at nadir, and during recovery are reported as the change from preexercise standing baseline.

Results During exercise, MCAvmean increased 31% ± 16% (P < 0.001) across all loads (P = 0.74) and repetitions (P = 0.89), whereas mean arterial pressure (MAP) increased (all P < 0.05) as load and repetitions increased (e.g., 122 ± 9 (two repetitions) vs 135 ± 11 mm Hg (six repetitions) and 128 ± 13 vs 143 ± 14 mm Hg, at 30% and 60%, respectively). Within the six-repetition sets, peak MCAvmean remained unchanged across the set (P = 0.61), whereas MAP increased (P = 0.003). The 90% load produced the lowest MCAvmean nadir (pooled means, −18 ± 6 vs −10 ± 7 cm·s−1, P < 0.001 vs 30%) and MAP nadir (−34 ± 7 and −43 ± 5 mm Hg, for two and six repetitions, respectively; P < 0.001) after exercise. Postexercise MCAvmean reductions occurred via a selective, load-dependent (P < 0.001) decrease in diastolic MCAv. MCAvmean remained below baseline for the longest period after the 90% six-repetition set (10 s postexercise, P < 0.01) and took the longest to recover (14.8 ± 6.9 s, P = 0.002).

Conclusion These data indicate that higher relative loads produce a greater postexercise hypotension and result in a proportionate reduction in MCAvmean.

1School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Palmerston North, NEW ZEALAND; 2Department of Physiology, University of Otago, Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND; and 3School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Blake G. Perry, School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand; E-mail:

Submitted for publication January 2013.

Accepted for publication July 2013.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine