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Examining Arm Vascular Function and Blood Flow Regulation in Row-trained Males

GARTEN, RYAN S.; HOGWOOD, AUSTIN C.; WEGGEN, JENNIFER; DECKER, KEVIN; DARLING, ASHLEY; MANIYAR, RUHI; MICHAEL, AUSTIN

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 10 - p 2058–2066
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002014
APPLIED SCIENCES
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Vascular function and blood flow responses to upper limb exercise are differentially altered in response to different exercise training modalities. Rowing is a unique exercise modality that incorporates the upper limbs and can significantly augment upper limb endurance, strength, and power capacity.

Purpose This study sought to determine whether vascular function and blood flow regulation during handgrip exercise are altered in row-trained males.

Methods Nine young row-trained males (ROW, 20 ± 1 yr; V˙O2peak = 51 ± 2 mL·kg−1·min−1) and 14 recreationally active male controls (C: 22 ± 1 yr; V˙O2peak = 37 ± 2 mL·kg−1·min−1) were recruited for this study. Subjects performed multiple bouts of progressive rhythmic handgrip exercise. Brachial artery (BA) diameter, blood flow, shear rate, and mean arterial pressure were measured at rest and during the last minute of each exercise workload.

Results Resting values for BA diameter, blood flow, shear rate, and mean arterial pressure were not different between groups. During handgrip exercise, the ROW group reported significantly lower BA blood flow (ROW vs C: 4 kg [146 ± 21 vs 243 ± 13 mL·min−1], 8 kg [248 ± 29 vs 375 ± 17 mL·min−1], 12 kg [352 ± 43 vs 490 ± 22 mL·min−1]) across all workloads when compared with controls. The examination of BA dilation, when controlled for the shear rate stimulus and evaluated across all workloads, was revealed to be significantly greater in ROW group versus controls.

Conclusion This study revealed that vascular function and blood flow regulation were significantly different in row-trained males when compared with untrained controls evidenced by greater shear-induced BA dilation and lower arm blood flow during progressive handgrip exercise.

Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Address for correspondence: Ryan Garten, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, 1020 W Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23284; E-mail: rsgarten@vcu.edu.

Submitted for publication October 2018.

Accepted for publication April 2019.

Online date: April 19, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine