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Effects of Weightlifting and Breathing Technique on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Lepley, Adam S; Hatzel, Brian M

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 8 - p 2179-2183
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e2741d
Original Research

Lepley, AS and Hatzel, BM. Effects of weightlifting and breathing technique on blood pressure and heart rate. J Strength Cond Res 24(8): 2179-2183, 2010-Weight training is a method commonly used to increase strength. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effect of breathing technique during weight training on heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP). After completing a health history questionnaire, 30 subjects (16 men: 21.25 ± 1.21 years, 180.26 ± 2.36 cm, 84.31 ± 19.32 kg; and 14 women: 21.29 ± 2.37 years, 170.08 ± 2.15 cm, 137.36 ± 62.31 kg) were familiarized and tested for an estimated 1 repetition maximum, on the chest press and leg press lifts using each of the 2 breathing techniques, hold breath (HB), and controlled breathing. Lifts were examined using each breathing technique with 1 set of 10 repetitions on separate days. Data were collected during the push phase on average of 3.72 times per set and again at 1 and 5 minutes post lift. Resting, during lift (peak, average); 1-minute and 5-minute post lift BP; and HR values were measured using the NIBP100A noninvasive BP system (Biopac Systems, Inc), for both breathing technique within each lift. The HB technique posted higher but statistically insignificant (p < 0.05) values for systolic BP (p = 0.420), diastolic BP (p = 0.531), and HR (p = 0.713) than the controlled breath technique. The HB technique used in this investigation produced minimal elevations in HR and BP and appears to be safe when performing the chest press and leg press lifts at a moderate resistance. Education on proper weight training techniques can help limit unwanted risks during these exercises.

Movement Science Department, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan

Human Performance Laboratory, Fieldhouse Recreation Center.

Address correspondence to Adam S. Lepley,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association